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What Happens When Susan Pevensie Remembers Narnia

“Call the police! My car was stolen!”

My brother and cousin left their shopping in the small store and burst into action. “What does it look like?” my brother asked. Once she answered, they ran to the door, shouting over their shoulders. “We’ll find the thieves!”

We gathered around the lady while she called the police. I watched my brother and cousin tear out of the parking lot, wondering if they would return to the store with bullet wounds.

(You should know this was Missoula, Montana back in the late 1980s. Car robberies weren’t too common even if we considered it a large city.)

In just a few minutes, my brother and cousin returned. Free of bullet wounds.

“We found it!” they exclaimed. “Whoever took it drove three stores away and parked in front!”

The lady with the stolen car stopped her crying. “Oh, no,” she said slowly. “This isn’t good.”

She explained that she just remembered that she had parked in front of that store and walked to the furniture store. She had left the store, expecting to see her car out front, and panicked when it wasn’t there.

“No one stole it. I just forgot.”

Every time someone in our family remembers this story, we laugh. We laugh at my brother’s and cousin’s willingness to chase down the robber. We smile at the forgetfulness of the lady.

But I often wonder what the lady feels when she remembers that day. (If she does.)

Sometimes remembering makes you feel awfully silly.

That’s why I believe Susan Pevensie will feel awfully foolish one day when she remembers Narnia again.

In case you didn’t know that Susan forgets Narnia, we find a little information about it in The Last Battle, Chapter 12. King Tirian, the last king of Narnia, is just meeting Digory, Polly, Peter, Edmund, Lucy, Eustace, and Jill. Tirian asks where Susan is.

“My sister Susan,” answered Peter shortly and gravely, “is no longer a friend of Narnia.”

“Yes,” said Eustace, “and whenever you’ve tried to get her to come and talk about Narnia or do anything about Narnia, she says ‘What wonderful memories you have! Fancy your still thinking about all those funny games we used to play when we were children.’”

“Oh Susan!” said Jill, “she’s interested in nothing now-a-days except nylons and lipstick and invitations. She always was a jolly sight too keen on being grown-up.”

“Grown-up, indeed,” said the Lady Polly. “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.”

Some people have attacked C.S. Lewis for this passage. While some say Peter is too unconcerned about it, I see pain in his response. Others say C.S. Lewis was afraid of women, and that’s why Susan can’t wear makeup and go to Narnia. However, I’ve already stated why that is false. What the critics forget is that Susan made choices. Her choices kept her away from the train station that morning. Peter and the rest of the them were killed and taken to Aslan’s Country. Susan was the lone Pevensie left in this world.

And perhaps there was a deeper reason for that. Perhaps Susan needed a little more time here on Earth to remember.

Just because Susan Pevensie forgot Narnia doesn’t mean she will never remember Aslan.

The books never says Susan cannot reach Aslan’s Country. Her story simply isn’t finished. Lewis himself explained that fact in The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis:

“I could not write that story myself. Not that I have no hope of Susan ever getting into Aslan’s country, but because I have a feeling that the story of journey would be longer and more like a grown-up novel than I wanted to write. But I may be mistaken. Why not try it yourself?”

Besides, I forget all the time. Important stuff. Little stuff. Most of it comes back. (If you know where my lipstick is, let me know.)

Forgetting is normally followed with a time of remembering.

In fact, we find it most heartbreaking when the ability to remember doesn’t work the way it should, as in the case of Alzheimer’s and dementia. One dear friend shared that her mother’s memory was, “like a shaken snow globe. The memories seemed to be swirling around in her head, came randomly without coaxing and left just as swiftly.” Where I would tend to use words like ‘destroy’ to describe these terrible diseases, friends who have watched their loved ones fight them used vivid word pictures like “The ability to remember dissolves like sugar in the rain” and “I watch another little piece of the person who taught me to read and write just blow away like a fallen rose petal.”

But Susan Pevensie didn’t have Alzheimer’s. She just forgot.

And, although this is a fallen world, and some things are never remembered, most often humans forget and then remember. And then forget and then remember again.

Forgetting is not always permanent. After it comes remembering.

Even Lewis alludes to this remembering in the dedication of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:

My Dear Lucy,

I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say but I shall still be

your affectionate Godfather, C.S. Lewis

Perhaps upon returning to this world, Susan focused on the adventure and forgot the Adventure-Maker. And when life ceased to be an adventure, she had already forgotten Aslan.

But Susan doesn’t need to remember Narnia to get into Aslan’s country.

With The Last Battle, Narnia is gone. While the memories may lead her to find God in this world, don’t forget that the Pevensies’ parents ended up in Aslan’s Country without even going to Narnia.

Aslan says that the purpose of the children going to Narnia was so that they would be able to find Him better in this world. Peter, Edmund, and Lucy found God in our world. Susan, at the time of her siblings’ death, hadn’t yet.

But there’s that powerful word.

Yet.

Susan’s story isn’t finished yet.

I wish this is something people would repeat to themselves as they criticize Lewis. (But I think they would forget.) (See what I did there?)

Susan has a horrible path to walk. Her whole family survived World War II. Then they all die in a train wreck at once. I can’t begin to fathom her grief.

I think this is one of the reasons we struggle with Susan. We leave her there in her forgetting. We don’t see her when she receives a phone call about the train wreck that will forever change her life.

That’s why the next story needs to be written. One of Susan a dozen years later. Still forgetting Aslan. Or at least trying to.

Susan is now married with two children. When trouble strikes, she is forced to sort through the possessions of her family and friends killed in the train accident. The remembering begins. Much like frostbite that must have nipped at her toes when first in Narnia, the thawing hurts. But she has to sort through letters, pictures, clothes of her parents and siblings.

When the grief grows too deep, Susan collapses with a plea for help. A warm breath of air caresses her face and blows away her tears. She breathes in deep, feeling the strength of a lioness returning to her. Courage overtakes fear. Love conquers darkness.

And grief slowly gives away to something she hasn’t felt for a long time.

Joy.

She has found Aslan in this world.

She remembers. Every moment. Every little tiny detail from the bravest giant all down to the smallest of mice.

And from then on, she never forgot again. Well, sometimes she did, just as we all do when life gets busy.

How do I know all this?

Because I once scoffed at the dedication in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and swore I would never forget. But I did. Until something amazing happened.

I remembered.

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22 Comments

  1. Yes I did see the other replies and it was very great and sweet of you to have the patience to reply even though you were busy, thank you. And may God give you more inspiration to write more encouraging and heart lifting precious articles. I hope you see this cause there was no reply button on the Question you wrote, if i saw your other replies well I did and I have to say even though they were written twice to get to the other reply it was better that way cause i am more encouraged and brave enough not to fear, so thank you so much and keep up the good work.

      1. You’re very welcome!!! 🙂

        1. Hey, you should sign up for my email list. I rarely send anything out, but if I start writing Susan’s story, you’ll know that way!

          1. Oh, I would really love to, I have to ask my parents permission first, if they allow me I’ll sign up, but um… were is the email list were I can sign up? Sorry for my lack of knowledge I don’t have an email at the moment, in case your wondering how I sent my previous messages I was using my sister’s email, so I cant at the moment when I do get my own email account I’ll definitely sign up. It’s going to delay to covid 19, I say this because I can only get an email if necessary that means if I get a job, which is necessary:), I am obliged to get an email account ofcourse but at the moment I cant. But I’ll try asking my mother to use her account and she can tell me when the information would get out, I that is she’ll be willing to. Thankyou!!

  2. Oh please Vickie V. Lucas, please write a book about Susan Pevensie when I read your article you had an artistic skill of old fashioned (well not so old fashioned but your writing had a fantasy novelistic writing to it which I thought was to cool) kind of like c.s lweis himself, and if I say so myself you would fit perfectly for the job. You also have an understanding of why c.s lewis chose to make that decision and the feelings he portrayed in the book about Susan. I know I might be too pushy but I just think you would do great writing it more than anyone since like I said you have a better understanding of c.s lweis, I know a lot do. But you like fantasy so why not give it a try. Please don’t feel pressured I’m just suggesting to you cause its an important issue to talk about never the less you don’t have to write it if you don’t have the passion.

    1. Oh, you are so sweet! I would love to, but there are a few obstacles in the way. You have certainly encouraged me to think about it more! Thank you!

  3. Wow, what a great article! I really wish such a book would be written!

      1. Why don’t you write the book, after all you seem to be passionate about her story and understand c.s Lewis more than anyone else I’ve read, so why not make up a story about it. i don’t mean to be pushy just a thought no pressure please don’t be pressured just think about what i said> Cause i’m desperate for a book about her. She is my favourite pensive.

        1. Oh, you are so sweet! You’re not being pushy at all. I long for a book of her finding happiness again too. Maybe I will one day. Why is Susan your favorite?

          1. I don’t know, she just has that sort of personality I think a lot of us relate to. With fear holding us back from the truth and us wanting to find other things that give us pleasure in the flesh than really looking at what God wants in our lives. But I think I feel sympathy for her cause she is the only one struggling. Also, she is the second oldest and very cautious of her little sister like I am to my little sister we have a very close bond also I’m the second oldest and can be a bit not so brave as my older and younger siblings.

          2. Sometimes when you’re older, it’s hard to be brave because you can see bad things that might happen. You make an interesting point. She is the only one struggling that we know about. Edmund had his problems at first, but then the problems were taken care of and all was good. But Susan has more of a consistent struggle.

          3. Hi I don’t think you got my reply cause I don’t see it in the comment section, you asked; ’why is Susan your favorite?’ Well my answer was, because she was the second eldest and had three siblings and, I’m the second oldest also have three siblings too. Actually I’ve watched her ever since, I can’t remember, but when I was young (and still innocent a bit) she was so brave with her archery and I fell in love with her skill with the archer and because of her I love archery even though I don’t have one but hope to one day. She also relates to a lot of us when it comes to fear we all fall back from doing something that is good for us due to fear and the logical sense that gets in the way, like you’ve written and sometimes fear can be a big target in leading us away from the truth that ultimately your life is not your own but God’s. And I also feel so sorry for her cause she is the only one struggling and the only one that is eventually left behind of all the other Pevensie children and Jill and Eustace. I hope you get this comment this time and I hope you like my answer. But if you did get the other comment just let me know otherwise this was just in case you didn’t read the first reply.

          4. I did get your reply! Sorry! I’ve been busy! That’s really cool that you are so similar to Susan in regards to siblings! Fear is a scary thing that can take away our faith, and the best thing to fight it with is faith in God! I know. Poor Susan has a lot of sad things happen in her life! That’s why we need to get her to a happy place! Did you see my other replies?

            Onward and upward,
            Vicki

  4. i wish this post will exist forever, ive just seen it and it musthave been from years ago. thankyou for writing this

    1. Not years ago! And yes, I’ll keep here for a very long time! I’m so glad you liked it.

  5. Oh phew, because I found myself tearing up, too. Something about redemption and being found and loved after all — always makes me cry. Thank you. I love this.

    1. You’re welcome. My heart’s desire is to get Susan home. I think she’s been waiting long enough.

  6. Your Susan posts all seem to make me cry. But especially this one. No matter how many times I read it!

    1. They make me cry, too. I feel so sorry for Susan’s journey, but I know it will end in joy, as all do who love God.

      1. Me too. I hope she chooses to look to Aslan in her grief instead of going to more worldly pleasures to comfort her, but I’m sure she’ll have learned her lesson when her grieving process is over and realize there is more to life than lipstick.

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