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For the Disney adaptation of the character, see Susan Pevensie (Walden).

"To the Radiant Southern Sun, I give you Queen Susan the Gentle."
Aslan[src]

Queen Susan Pevensie (1928-?) was the second-born of the Pevensie children (after Peter), and was the eldest sister. She was known to the Narnians as Queen Susan the Gentle, and was known to be logical (to the point of being stubborn sometimes), motherly, and more serious than her younger sister, Lucy.

During her reign at the Narnian capital of Cair Paravel, she was also known as Queen Susan of the Horn.

Biography

As the second-oldest of the four Pevensie siblings, as well as the older girl, Susan was inclined to be maternal, practical, and cautious. Hence, she only believed in Narnia when she entered it, and even then, as compared to Lucy and Peter, she seemed unadventurous due to her concerns about the evil White Witch and the chilly winter. Later on, just like Lucy, she developed a special connection with Aslan - noticing his depression, witnessing his death and resurrection, and even helping him to free the Witch's victims. After the Witch's defeat, and she and her siblings were crowned as monarchs who subsequently ushered in a Golden Age, Susan eventually matured into a woman famed for her beauty, her graciousness, and her incredible archery skills. Hence, she was courted by many Kings and Princes of both distant and neighbouring countries, such as Prince Rabadash of Calormen.

Unfortunately, during the Pevensie siblings' second visit to Narnia, Susan demonstrated indications that she had trouble believing in magic - she was the last of the children to believe and see Aslan during the nighttime hike to Aslan's How, and when she finally saw him, he told her she had been "listening to fears", and comforted her. However, she was also told that she would never again return, for just like Peter, she was "getting too old" for Narnia. Once she was back on Earth, she began to convince herself that Narnia was just a game because of the fun they had there, and she thought her siblings were silly to continue entertaining such childhood fantasies. Hence, she did not enter Aslan's Country along with her siblings.

Childhood

Susan was born in 1928. When she was two, her brother Edmund was born, and when she was four, in 1932, her youngest sibling Lucy was born. It is likely that in 1937, at the age of nine, she began attending a boarding school away from home.

In 1940, when Susan was twelve, World War II began, and the adult Pevensies, who lived in London, sent all four of their children away to escape the German Blitz bombings over the city. Susan and her siblings were sent to stay in the country with Professor Digory Kirke.

The first morning after the children were at the house, Susan's sister Lucy claimed that she had visited a magical land called Narnia, and Susan and her elder brother Peter began to fear that she might be going insane.

The Winter Rebellion

Susan's fears were laid to rest, however, when all four of the Pevensie children stepped through a magic wardrobe into a wintry forest, proving Lucy's claims to be factual.

Lucy took them to see Mr. Tumnus, a faun she had befriended on her first visit, but they found his home ransacked, with a warrant for his arrest on the door. The four children then followed a bird into the forest, and met a talking Mr. Beaver. The beaver told them that Mr. Tumnus had been arrested by the usurping Queen of Narnia, The White Witch, who had declared all humans outlawed.

Mr. Beaver invited the children to his dam for dinner, and Susan's fears about going off with strangers were over-ruled by her siblings' desire for food, and their instinct that Mr. Beaver was kind, since he "said he knew the faun."

After a delicious dinner with Mr. Beaver and Mrs. Beaver, Mr. Beaver explained the sorry state of Narnia: the White Witch had usurped its throne, and used magic to make it always winter and never Christmas. He also told them that Aslan, the great King of Narnia, was coming to overthrow the Witch, and that it had been prophesied that they would become the next kings and queens of Narnia.

In the middle of this discussion, though, Edmund had mysteriously vanished. Fearing (correctly) that he had gone to betray them to the Witch, the Beavers and the three children set out to join Aslan's Army at the Stone Table.

During their journey, the travelers met with Father Christmas, who gave each of them royal gifts to recognize their coming. Susan was given a bow and arrows, with which she was able to master shooting in virtually no time, along with a magical horn that would bring help to anyone who blew it, wherever they were.

Shortly afterward, Peter, Susan, Lucy and the Beavers reached the Stone Table, and met Aslan. After they arrived, Susan and Lucy were attacked by a talking wolf, Maugrim, who was the head captain of the Witch's Secret Police. Despite nearly fainting with fright, Susan blew her horn, to summon help. Peter heard it and ran to her, killing the wolf in his first battle ever. After Maugrim was slain, a second wolf fled, and Aslan sent some of his soldiers to follow it, in the hope that it would lead them to Edmund, which it did. And for Peter's courageous gallantry, he was knighted Sir Peter Wolf's-Bane, in his sisters' presence. The following morning, a rescue party returned from the White Witch's camp, bringing Edmund with them. He was penitent for his betrayal, and all four of them made up.

That same day, the Witch visited Aslan's camp, and claimed Edmund as her "lawful prey", according to the Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time]]. After holding a private counsel with Aslan, though, she renounced her claim and departed. Aslan immediately ordered that the camp be moved away from the Stone Table, telling everyone that "it will be wanted for other purposes tonight." Susan noticed that Aslan looked sad throughout the rest of the day.

That night, Susan and Lucy saw Aslan leave the camp, and they followed him. When he noticed them, he invited them to walk beside him, and asked that they put their hands on his mane. The girls walked with him back to the Stone Table, where they saw the Witch and her army waiting. They secretly observed Aslan turning himself in to the enemy, followed by being tortured, humiliated, and eventually his death on the Stone Table. The two princesses stayed with his body through the night, weeping over him.

At dawn, they were startled to see the entire table crack into two pieces, as Aslan's body vanished. Moments later, he reappeared, living again, and joyfully declared to them that he had been resurrected by the deeper magic from Before the Dawn of Time. Aslan then took the girls onto his back, and carried them to the White Witch's castle, in order to release the creatures the witch had turned to stone.

After freeing the oppressed, the group returned to the Fords of Beruna, where Peter, Edmund and the Narnians were waging battle against the Witch and her army. Susan fought briefly in the last moments of this battle, and witnessed her brother Edmund's knighting.

After the battle, a Narnian victory, the Narnians traveled east to the castle of Cair Paravel, where Susan was crowned by Aslan as "Queen Susan the Gentle" a few days later.

This took place in 1000 NT, and she and her siblings shared rule of Narnia for the next fifteen years.

Golden Age of Narnia

The period of their reign was known as the Golden Age of Narnia, and Susan was well-loved by her subjects, and had many foreign suitors. Their reign was one mostly of peace, and they enjoyed many banquets, feasts and jousts.

In 1014, Susan received a proposal of marriage from Prince Rabadash of Calormene. She and Edmund together visited Rabadash to consider his proposal, but while they were there, they discovered that he was proud, rash and cruel. However, they realised that if they were to simply refuse his proposal, the prince would make her his wife by force. They cleverly devised a plot to escape the city, and sailed back to Cair Paravel, but upon their arrival, they were informed that an enraged Rabadash was marching to attack their ally Archenland.

King Edmund, now grown and a skilled warrior, marched to Archenland's capital, Anvard, with Queen Lucy and an army, while Susan remained behind to rule and defend Narnia in their absence.

After living another year in Narnia, the four monarchs heard news of a magical White Stag in the Duchy of Lantern Waste, which would give you wishes if you caught him. The Kings and Queens set out to hunt it, and came across the Lamp-post near the wardrobe door, which brought back memories of their life in England. They followed the path to the wardrobe door, and found themselves back in the professor's house, and returned to their young ages again.

1940-1941

The children discovered that because Narnian Time is different from ours, their fifteen-year reign in Narnia had not taken any time at all on Earth. They told only the old Professor, with whom they had been staying with (although the children did not know this at the time, he had also visited Narnia as a child).

That autumn, Susan returned to boarding school, and the following year, Lucy prepared to enroll in as well. All four siblings set out for their respective schools, only to be involuntarily pulled back into Narnia on the way.

War of Deliverance

The four found themselves in an unknown forest on an island. After some exploration, they found the ruins of an ancient castle, and that night, as her siblings prepared to go to sleep, Susan found a well nearby, and a golden chess-piece, which exactly resembled the chess-pieces the four of them had played with during their reign.

This and other discoveries led them to conclude that they were indeed at their old castle of Cair Paravel. They then uncovered the long lost Treasure Room, proving their theory, and armed themselves with weapons. Susan found the bow that Father Christmas had given her, but she had lost her magic horn in the forest during her hunt for the White Stag.

The next day, the four came upon two soldiers trying to drown a dwarf. Immediately firing two arrows, Susan frightened away the soldiers, and she and Peter dove into the water to rescue the dwarf and the boat. After bringing him to land, they asked for the dwarf's story.

The dwarf told them that, to them, it had been 1300 Narnian Years since the Golden Age. Telmarines had since conquered Narnia, and driven the Narnians into hiding. The dwarf explained that the Narnians were being led in war against the Telmarines by Prince Caspian X, the young nephew of the Telmarine usurper Miraz.

Caspian had been given Susan's magic horn, and had blown it, magically calling the four children back to Narnia. The dwarf, Trumpkin, was a scout sent to bring them to the prince.

After the children convinced Trumpkin that they would be useful in battle, despite their apparent young ages, through several contests (including an archery contest between Trumpkin and Susan, which she won), the Pevensies and Trumpkin set out to find Caspian. The group got lost several times.

Once, Lucy saw Aslan and tried to get the others to follow him. Her companions, especially Susan, decided against it, and after meeting with several dangers, were forced to turn around and go back the way they had come. That night, Lucy saw Aslan again, and woke her reluctant siblings--who couldn't see the lion--and led them toward him.

Susan went very reluctantly, but at last Aslan was visible even to her, and she apologized to her sister. He rebuked her gently for her disbelief, but quickly forgave her and breathed on her, giving her courage. But this only occurred in the book.

The four arrived at Caspian's camp at Aslan's How (formerly the site of the Stone Table), where they split up. Aslan, Susan and Lucy went to wake the hibernating tree-spirits, and bring them to war. After rousing the forests and being joined by Bacchus, Silenus and many Maenads, they entered the city of Beruna. Most of the people who saw them fled, but a few joined them. Shortly thereafter, Susan witnessed the Second Battle of Beruna from afar, though she did not participate. At the end of the battle, the Telmarines surrendered to the Narnians.

After meeting Aslan and the two Queens, Caspian was made a knight, and a few days later, Aslan privately told Peter and Susan that they would never return to Narnia. At a public assembly later that day, he allowed many of the Telmarines the choice to return to the island on Earth, from which their ancestors had originally come from, having magically stumbled into the world of Narnia. Susan bids Caspian X goodbye like the other Pevensies', and she and Peter lead their siblings and many Telmarines through a magic portal back to Earth.

1941-1949

The siblings again found that no time had passed on Earth, and accordingly returned to their respective boarding schools. A year after her return from her second visit to Narnia, Susan went on a trip with her parents to America during the summer of 1942.

In 1949, when Susan was twenty-one, her entire family (along with her cousin Eustace Scrubb and several family friends) were killed in a train wreck. Susan herself was not present during the accident and thus survived, but by this time she had become fixated on other things and had either convinced herself or at least pretended to be convinced that Narnia was nothing but a childhood game.


Personality

"Oh, Susan! She's interested in nothing nowadays except nylons and lipstick and invitations. She always was a jolly sight too keen on being grown-up."
"Grown-up, indeed. I wish she
would grow up. She wasted all her school time wanting to be the age she is now, and she'll waste all the rest of her life trying to stay that age. Her whole idea is to race on to the silliest time of one's life as quick as she can and then stop there as long as she can."
Jill Pole and Polly Plummer[src]

The symbolism and significance of Susan's character has long been a topic of critical analysis. In particular, her absence from Aslan’s Country at the end of The Last Battle has prompted a great deal of speculation among readers. On the surface, the given reasons for her absence has led some to believe that Susan's maturing into a young woman was considered in-universe to be wrong, and that she was being punished for it.

Susan was practical, motherly, and bossy as a child. Her practical and intelligent nature kept her from some of the childlike imagination, which came more easily to her siblings. She found it hard to believe in the supernatural without the evidence of her senses, and eventually forgot about Narnia altogether because of when she was told she would never return.

Susan, true to the title Aslan gave her at her coronation, was very gentle. She did not enjoy her archery match with Trumpkin very much, not because she had any doubt about winning, but because her sweet nature did not like to beat someone who had been beaten already.

When she and her siblings were confronted by a wild Narnian bear, shortly before the War of Deliverance, she hesitated because she was afraid it might be a talking bear. She hated killing things, and stayed as far away as possible from the messy and gory business of skinning meat.

As Susan matured, she became absorbed in superficial concerns, prioritizing her appearance and social life. Eventually, she completely forgot about Narnia, dismissing it as nothing more than a children's game. Unlike her siblings, Susan did not meet her end in the train accident.

C.S. Lewis acknowledged the possibility that Susan might still remember the truth about Narnia and could return if she admitted to believing again. This uncertainty fuels fan controversy over whether Susan's absence in Aslan's Country is permanent.

While the other children enter the "new" Narnia, symbolizing eternal Heaven, through their deaths in a train accident, Susan remains alive on Earth. This lack of conclusive proof leaves room for speculation regarding her potential inclusion in Aslan's Country. Aslan's words at the coronation of the four Pevensies, declaring, "Once a King or Queen of Narnia, always a King or Queen of Narnia," provide a justification for the belief that Susan might eventually join her siblings in Aslan's Country.

Despite the unresolved nature of Susan's story arc, C.S. Lewis's refusal to write a follow-up to "The Last Battle" centered around her, citing concerns about it being too "grown-up," leaves Susan as one of the few major characters whose fate remains eternally open to fan interpretation.

Abilities

  • Expert Markswoman: Susan was an excellent archer, only partially due to her magic bow. Though she did not ride to wars, her aim was always marvelous, and she is truly fierce in battle and extremely protective of those she loved and cared for.
  • Skilled Swimmer: Susan was also a great swimmer - she won prizes for the sport at school, and she used her skills to save Trumpkin from drowning.

Physical ppearance

"And Susan grew into a tall and gracious woman with black hair that fell almost to her feet..."
―Narrative (chapter 17)[src]
"Grown-ups thought her the pretty one of the family..."
―Narrative (chapter 1)[src]
"...the most beautiful lady he had ever seen..."
―Narrative (chapter 4)[src]

Susan had long black hair and freckles and was always considered by adults to be the beauty of the family.

When she matured into adulthood as a Queen of Narnia, she was tall and gracious, and her hair fell almost to her feet. She was so beautiful that the Kings of the countries beyond the sea sent ambassadors asking for her hand in marriage, Shasta thought her to be "the most beautiful lady he had ever seen", and Prince Rabadash became obsessed with her, declaring that he "must have her".

In the BBC films, Susan has blonde hair, rather than black hair. She is, however, quite true to her character throughout the BBC series.

Disney-Walden Films

  • Susan was portrayed by English actress, Anna Popplewell, in the Disney and Walden Media films: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), Prince Caspian (2008), and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010).
  • Susan is portrayed with brown hair, a departure from the black hair described in the books.
  • Susan is portrayed significantly older in the films compared to her age in the books (Note: Each film age corresponds to Popplewell's age at the beginning and conclusion of principal photography):
    • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
      • Novel: 12
      • Film: 15-16
    • Prince Caspian
      • Novel: 13
      • Film: 18
    • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
      • Novel: (absent from novel, presumably 14)
      • Film: 20
  • Susan is given the middle name Elizabeth in the films, whereas C.S. Lewis did not assign her a middle name in the books.
  • In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), Susan mentions that the Pevensies are from Finchley, though the particular part of London where they hail from is not mentioned in the original book series. Ironically, Anna Popplewell, is from Finchley.
  • In the books Susan doesn't engage in battle, but Susan actively participates in two battles in the film Prince Caspian (2008): the Telmarine Castle Night Raid and the Battle of Aslan's How.
  • In Prince Caspian (2008) a romantic subplot is introduced between Susan and Caspian X. This subplot is absent in the original novel. Suspian is the ship name of the romantic relationship between them.

External Links

Appearances

Protagonists of The Chronicles of Narnia
Protagonists:
Peter PevensieSusan PevensieLucy PevensieEdmund PevensieEustace ScrubbDigory KirkeJill PolePolly PlummerCorAravis TarkheenaCaspian XTirian
Aslan-PC "Well done, son of Adam. For this fruit you have hungered and thirsted and wept."
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