Summary of Chapter Three: Edmund and the Wardrobe
Lucy runs out of the room and finds the others and announces she is back. They wonder what she means. She says she has been away for hours and hours. She tells them about her adventures in the wardrobe, but they tell her she has only been gone a moment. They think she is making up a story. When the other children all go back to see, they find an ordinary wardrobe. Lucy bursts into tears when they tell her to stop joking. She is miserable for the next few days because though she could make up with the others by denying her story, she is truthful and will not.
Edmund “could be spiteful” (p. 26) and continues to jeer at Lucy. Though the children are outdoors swimming and fishing and climbing trees, she can’t enjoy herself. The next rainy day they play hide-and-seek. Lucy goes to the wardrobe to hide, and Edmund comes after her. He pushes through the coats until he is in the wood of Narnia. It is sunrise and “as if he were the only living creature in that country” (p. 29). He shouts for Lucy. He sees that she was telling the truth, and says he is sorry, but she does not appear.
He hears a sound of bells, and a sledge approaches harnessed to white reindeer the size of Shetland ponies. A fat Dwarf with a red hood is driving them. Behind him sits a great lady, taller than a woman, dressed in white fur. She has a gold wand and a gold crown. Her face is white as snow, and she looks cold and stern. She wants to know who Edmund is and he stammers that he is Edmund on holiday from school. She says he should know how to address the Queen of Narnia properly.
Commentary on Chapter Three: Edmund and the Wardrobe
There is some satisfaction for the reader in having the spoiled Edmund blunder into Narnia to meet the dreaded Queen. He finds someone able to put him in his place. Lucy meets someone friendly, but he meets whom he deserves to meet. The other children do not believe Lucy’s story because she says she was gone for hours when to them, she was gone a moment. This point brings out that there is a different time scale and reality in Narnia. The reader knows the Queen’s wand is dangerous, but Edmund does not know the Queen is treacherous. He is easily fooled, as is revealed in the next chapter.
Summary of Chapter Four: Turkish Delight
The Queen wants to know if Edmund is an overgrown dwarf. He says he is a boy. She says, “a Son of Adam?” (p. 34). He does not know what she means, and the Queen thinks he is an idiot. He admits he is human. The Queen is alarmed to learn there is a door to the human world: “This may wreck all” (p. 35). Since he is only one, however, she thinks she can handle him. She begins to play up to him, offering him warmth under her mantle, and something hot to drink. She takes a small bottle of copper and lets a drop fall on the snow. When the drop hits the snow, it becomes a jeweled cup of a steaming hot drink. It is delicious. She asks what he would like to eat, and he says, Turkish Delight. Another drop from her bottle produces a box of Turkish Delight tied with a ribbon.
Edmund stuffs himself on this candy, and the more he eats the more he wants. He confesses he has a brother and two sisters and that one sister has been in Narnia already visiting a Faun. The Queen says casually that she wants to meet his brother and sisters and says she will give him more Turkish Delight if he brings them to Narnia to meet her. She would like a nice boy like him to bring up as a Prince who could be King of Narnia after her.
The Queen sends Edmund home, showing him where her house is between two distant hills. She warns Edmund not to tell the others about her. As the Queen leaves, Lucy appears and calls out to him. She has been having lunch with Mr. Tumnus, and Tumnus thinks they can be friends without the White Witch knowing about it. Edmund does not know who the White Witch is. Lucy says she calls herself the Queen of Narnia, and she can turn people into stone. Because of her it is always winter in Narnia with no Christmas. Lucy is excited about telling the others that both of them got in and thinks they can all have fun in Narnia together.
Commentary on Chapter Four: Turkish Delight
The Queen pays special attention to the fact there are four human children. This refers back to Mr. Tumnus’s statement about the prophecy of the four thrones at Cair Paravel. What this means is still a mystery at this point in the story. The Witch is concerned obviously because she tries to trick Edmund into bringing the others to her. The doorway to the human world disturbs her.
There is an important contrast between Edmund’s and Lucy’s experience of Narnia. Lucy is innocently enjoying herself with her friend the Faun, but Edmund has already consumed the poisonous candy of the Witch that could kill him and that makes him into an even nastier person. The Turkish Delight is a trap, an addiction that makes the person desire what is not good for him. Edmund’s greedy nature is shown up in this episode. Not only does he want an endless supply of the candy, he also readily agrees that he wants to be Prince. He wants to go the Queen’s house immediately. The Queen says he should bring his brother and sisters so she can make them into courtiers to serve him, but Edmund does not want to share with his siblings: “There’s nothing special about them,” he says (p. 39).
The Queen has flattered Edmund that he is clever and handsome, but with his sticky fingers and face he does not look or act the part. He is an easy target for her and anxious to join her: “he was already more than half on the side of the Witch” (p. 43). She takes the precaution to make him promise not to tell the others their little secret and tries to cast suspicion on Fauns. Edmund repeats her teaching to Lucy: “You can’t always believe what Fauns say” (p. 42), when she tells him what Tumnus said about the White Witch. Lucy is happy and excited, not knowing that Edmund has already betrayed her and her friend to the Witch. Edmund is now very sick from the candy. Yet all he can think about is getting more Turkish Delight, and he does not like having to admit to the others that Lucy was right.