C.S. Lewis Created an Atomic Bomb | Talking Beasts

In this season finale, the podcasters discuss The White Witch’s backstory as described in chapter 5 of The Magician’s Nephew, and her choice to use the Deplorable Word.

Bonus: Watch this episode’s post-show chatter.

We hope you enjoyed this season Talking Beasts: The Narnia Podcast. See you next Fall!

Rilian, Gymfan, Glumpuddle

7 Responses

  1. jrosg7 says:

    OMG, I really enjoyed this podcast. I like how the three of you pointed out that Queen Jadis/The White Witch, top favorite Narnian character & rock solid antagonist though she is, still managed to “miss the mark” a few times. Very entertaining program too. I had a good laugh!

  2. Cleander says:

    I too enjoy the “dazzlingly beautiful” line… almost as much as I enjoyed listening to you guys twisting your tongues on it!
    Great season!

  3. Col Klink says:

    I think I guessed that Jadis was the White Witch pretty quickly. Like Rilian, I think I’d read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe more than once before reading The Magician’s Nephew and I thought it was interesting that C. S. Lewis gave her a name in one line in the first book and then never used it again, so it remained in my memory. In the next chapter, C. S. Lewis also says that “some say there is giantish blood in the royal family of Charn” and Mr. Beaver said that one side of the White Witch’s family were giants. That pretty much confirmed it for me. But I think what really started my suspicions was just her dialogue. She just sounds like the White Witch if you know what I mean.

    Now I want to hear Barbara Kellerman say, “I.. JADIS! THE LAST QUEEN BUT THE QUEEN OF THE WOOOORLLLLDD!!!”

    I love how after Rilian was talking about how intimidating and powerful Jadis is here, Gymfan pointed out her Achilles heel and how it’s evident early on. I would push back against her point that it’s incredibly lucky that Digory and Polly came to Charn before the pool dried up. My theory is that the pools don’t dry as long as there’s one person alive in their corresponding world, which Jadis technically was.

    I think it’s reasonable to suggest C. S. Lewis was thinking about what were current-ish events for him, like the atomic bomb, since Aslan says to Digory and Polly in the last chapter, “It is not certain that some wicked one of your race will not find out a secret as evil as the Deplorable Word and use it to destroy all living things. And soon, very soon, before you are an old man and an old woman, great nations in your world will be ruled by tyrants who care no more for joy and justice and mercy than the Empress Jadis.” Of course, that doesn’t mean the book should be reduced to just a cultural commentary or even seen primarily as that.

    I’m far from an expert but I believe there have been as many slaveholding societies throughout history as there were cultures against slavery. Actually, there may have been more of the former, so I agree that it’s unlikely someone raised in a culture that accepted slavery would just instinctively be against the practice.

    I wish this episode could have talked a little bit more about Digory and Polly’s contrasting reactions to Jadis, but at least you got a little bit in at the end.

    I love this book and I’ve loved this season too!

  4. Aleem says:

    I knew Jadis was the white witch because we live in a world where the twist is so obvious

    • Col Klink says:

      I could be wrong, but I think it may have been less obvious in the culture in which the book was originally published. I’m not sure if prequels and origin stories and bringing back old villains were as common then.

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