Friday, January 14, 2005

Whatever Happened to Susan Pevensie?

While driving home from my office for the second time last evening (it's a long story), I had a thought:

What happened to Susan after the events recounted The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis?

You'll remember that Susan, along with her siblings, entered Narnia through a wardrobe in the first book of The Chronicles of Narnia epic, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.

But by the time Book Seven rolls around, Susan has gotten caught up in the shallow world of glamor magazines and such. She isn't even with her two brothers or sister when Aslan pulls them from our world to Narnia. And so, unlike them, Susan doesn't die, neither in a British railway accident or in the last dire fight before the end of the Narnian world.

So, whatever happened to Susan?

What was her grief like? (Remember that her parents and others she knew and loved all died at the same time.)

Did these events trigger complete despair or did she, in this world, cry for a consoling connection with Aslan?

Did she ever go back to Narnia?

Or did she suck it up, put the past behind her, and marry some BBC director?

Susan, always the most timid of the family, might well have rolled herself into a ball and become a recluse. Is that what happened to her?

In these speculations, the last thing I want to do is incite some fledgling storyteller to create a literary sequel to Lewis' classic books. Such efforts, written years after the inspiring works and usually by writers devoid of that spark of originality which made the first works so compelling, are notoriously bad. They're usually the written equivalents of grave-robbing.

But, if you feel so disposed, I would love to read your speculations in the Comments section below: Whatever happened to Susan?

13 comments:

Drew said...

Someone actually did write a sequel about Susan. I can't remember what it was called, but of course Lewis's estate forbid publication of it.

Steven said...

The author is Neil Gaiman, and the story is titled "The Problem of Susan". For years Gaiman didn't publish for fear of copywright infringement. But the story apparently references Narnia only very indirectly and can now be found in a collection of stories titled, Flights: Extreme Visions of Fantasy. (You can find it on Amazon.com)

Mark Daniels said...

Steven:
Thanks so much for that information! I appreciate knowing that and may well have to delve into it. Imagining what happened with Susan, and the guilt with which she might have dealt, would be a daunting yet compelling project for a writer who loves Lewis' stories.

God bless!

Mark

Ashleyjem said...

Susan became a gentle person after all her loved ones and the people she knew died at the same time at the age of 21 she became a gentle person again



P.S. The Lion Te Witch and The Wardrobe are the second book The Magicians Nephew are the first book

Mark Daniels said...

Ashley:
Thank you for writing. In recent editions, LWW has been placed second in The Chronicles of Narnia stories. And of course, the events it recounts come after those in The Magician's Nephew. But LWW was the first of the stories Lewis wrote and until recently was always considered volume one in the series. In the original series, The Magician's Nephew was volume 6.

But of course, Lewis once commented that it really didn't matter in what order one read the books.

Thanks again and God bless!

Mark

Anonymous said...

Hi: I just re-read the whole Narnia series this week, and I remember looking into the question of what happened to Susan once before. The answer I found was that Susan did not die in the railway accident with the others, but that her absence and the comments about her being "no longer a friend of Narnia" only applied up to that point in English time. "Once a King or Queen of Narnia, always a King or Queen of Narnia" - because it was not her time to die, her state wasn't irreversible or uncorrectible. There was the promise that, no matter what she thought at the time the others died, she would be all right when it became her time.

Mark Daniels said...

Lawyer:
Interesting comments. Of course, for Susan the question would be how she would respond to Aslan in that other form He takes in this world.

Mark

mac said...

I think the Calvinist would agree that “Once a King or Queen in Narnia, always a King or Queen in Narnia.” Then there are the parables of the prodigal son and the Shepherd and the lost sheep.
If I had the skill to write Susan's story, it would be from a friend's point of view to allow for the fact that no one can duplicate Lewis' unique genius. And of course she's saved yet not of her own power but the Lion's (Christ's).

CJ said...

I wish someone would write Susan's story, Mac. Neil Gaiman's version is horrible.

Oamara Mil said...

I can write the story of Susan using Lewis's style of writing
I have a huge imagination but some younger children might find it scary as i also find the monsters I create scares me
but still, I am just 'a kid' living in New Zealand and this place is the land of the long white cloud not the land of opportunities

I just feel so irritated that Susan is left by herself

Ellie said...

Susan was the favorite of some people in her family and I am very disappionted about Susan. Thanks so much for the informaetion.

ron said...

people are so funny... susan wasnt the one left alone... unless eustice and the others died on the train, too, susan wasnt the last alive who remember narnia.

ron said...

not to mention it was peter's declaration that she had abandoned narnia... how could she abondon something she was forbidden to return to? just cause the others lived in the past, she got on with living... probably quicker than the professor did. from what the books reveal, none of them found 'aslan' in this live before the train wreck.. hopefully susan and the others did.