The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Summary and Analysis of Chapter 9: In the Witch's House

Chapter 9 opens with Edmund heading for the home of the White Witch. Plagued by thoughts of Turkish Delight, he had not been enjoying the dinner at the Beavers' very much, and had left just after hearing about Aslan and the Stone Table. Edmund tells himself that everyone was saying nasty things about the Queen because they are her enemies: "She was jolly nice to me, anyway, much nicer than they [Mr. and Mrs. Beaver] are." At the same time, the narrative reveals that "deep down inside him he really knew that the White Witch was bad and cruel."

Heading for the White Witch's home, Edmund refuses to consider the possibility that she might do anything bad to his brothers and sisters: he thinks only of how nice she will be to him. Although he has forgotten his coat, he cannot turn back, and continues to walk through the dark cold. He slips in the snow, and imagines that he will put in clear roads once he is made King. He also looks forward to putting Peter in his place.

The moon rises, and Edmund sees the home of the White Witch, noticing its many towers. He is filled with a sense of fear, but thinks that it is too late to turn back. The great iron gates stand wide open before him. Edmund focuses on his hatred for Peter to gain courage, and enters a courtyard, where he sees a lion and a dwarf. Slowly, he realizes that the creatures are made of stone, and that the courtyard is filled with similar statues. Thinking that the lion is Aslan, he takes a pencil and draws a moustache and spectacles on it. He mocks it in a childish way, though "the face of the great stone beast still looked so terrible, and sad, and noble." There is a stone wolf standing in the doorway, and he inches toward it, but it suddenly begins to talk. Edmund explains to the wolf who he is, and the wolf tells him to wait. Moments later, Fenris Ulf, the grey wolf and Chief of the White Witch's Secret Police, appears at the doorway and invites him in.

Edmund passes into a great hall and notices a stone faun with a sad expression standing near the door. He wonders whether the stone faun is Lucy's friend, Mr. Tumnus. The White Witch angrily asks Edmund why he hasn't brought his brother and sisters with him, but he tells her that they are all at the Beavers' house. He also tells her about Aslan and the meeting at the Stone Table, and the White Witch orders her sledge to be prepared - without bells.


This chapter is written from Edmund's point of view, and reveals his motivations for abandoning his brother and sisters. The craving for the White Witch's Turkish Delight (something sweet, sticky, and not particularly good for him) continues to gnaw away at him. As a result, he is unable to enjoy the wonderful, nutritious meal offered at the Beavers' home. The craving, instilled in him by the White Witch from early on in the narrative, propels the fundamental question of the story: will Edmund be able to change, allowing for the defeat of the White Witch and the fulfillment of the prophecy?

Driven by his appetite and envisioning his future as King of Narnia, Edmund's thoughts begin to mirror those of the White Witch. He thinks not about the comfort and happiness of the citizens of Narnia, but only about what will be of the greatest benefit to him. He imagines how he will build roads all over Narnia, making it easy for him to walk about. This echoes the White Witch's decision to make it always winter in Narnia, because she is most comfortable in the cold. This is not an appropriate way to rule: Edmund is not concerned with what is fair, and wishes only to exert his power over others. Edmund's attitude in Narnia recalls his behavior on the other side of the wardrobe, where he teased his fellow students and bullied Lucy.

This chapter also offers more evidence to support Edmund's carelessness. He forgets to bring his fur coat, much as he carelessly shut the door of the wardrobe. Indeed, Edmund is continually shown acting in a hasty manner and misjudging people and events. Upon first arriving in Narnia, after leaping through the wardrobe after Lucy, he mistakes the daylight of the forest for the light of the empty room, thinking that the door he has shut has suddenly come open. Once in the home of the White Witch, Edmund demonstrates an even greater capacity for misjudgment: he mistakenly believes that the stone lion is real, and then wrongly assumes that the lion is Aslan. As he approaches the doorway into the castle, he mistakes the grey wolf for a statue, only to discover that the wolf is in fact very real.

Edmund's mockery of the stone lion foreshadows Aslan's experience at the Stone Table: the White Witch's followers swarm around him, cutting his hair and mockingly calling him a "cat". In this chapter, Edmund scribbles a moustache on the statue, though the lion's face remains noble and majestic in spite of it. This type of mockery, Lewis appears to believe, is a "very silly and childish" impulse rooted in a mixture of fear, poor judgment, and the desire to exercise power.

Edmund does, however, appear to have the capacity for redemption. Lewis is careful to state that Edmund is bound to the White Witch not out of his own inherently evil nature, but because he has eaten enchanted Turkish Delight. Had he not accepted the food, he may not have betrayed his siblings and comported himself in such a base manner. The narrative also reveals that, deep down, Edmund recognizes that the Witch is evil. Finally, the narrative reveals that Edmund does not wish actual harm to come to his brother and sisters; he only wants to be treated especially well by the Queen. Edmund, it appears, is not all bad. With the right combination of experience and education, his character has the potential to change.