Edmund's moral state becomes especially clear when Mr. and Mrs. Beaver begin telling the Pevensies all about Narnia. When the four children hear the beaver say, "Aslan is on the move," they have no idea who or what Aslan is, yet the very name has a mystical aura, laying bare the very soul of each one who hears it. The word makes Peter, the eldest, feel "brave and adventurous." His sister Susan feels as if "some delicious smell or delightful strain of music had just floated by her." For the youngest, Lucy, it is like waking up to discover the summer holidays have begun. For Edmund, though, the very name Aslan induces "a sensation of mysterious horror."

Throughout the Chronicles, the surest gauge of a character's spiritual health is his or her response to Aslan. In "The Magician's Nephew," Digory begins to hear the voice of the lion singing Narnia into existence, and he finds it "beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he ever heard." Frank the cabby has a similar response, exclaiming, "Glory be! I'd ha' been a better man all my life if I'd known there were things like this." But while the cabby and the children drink in the sound with their eyes glistening, Uncle Andrew's knees shake, and he thinks he would rather crawl in a rat hole than keep listening to this voice. Jadis the Witch is also repelled by the sound. She senses in it a magic stronger than her own and wishes she could smash this new world to pieces to silence that voice.

When the lion himself appears, Andrew wants to shoot him with a gun, and Jadis throws an iron bar at him. (The bar is the crosspiece she has ripped off a London lamppost. It bounces harmlessly off Aslan's head, and in those fertile moments of Narnia's creation, it grows into a whole lamppost. Thus Lewis solved the problem of how a lamppost came to be standing all by itself in the wilds of Narnia!)

In "Mere Christianity," Lewis defined pride as "the complete anti-God state of mind." In the Chronicles, it is the prideful characters, the ones who would be gods unto themselves, who are most repelled by Aslan, who wish to escape his presence. Jadis and Andrew are a pair of villains, so of course they want to get as far away as possible from supreme goodness. But the same pattern emerges even among the middling characters of Narnia. In "The Horse and His Boy," when Aslan first appears to two Narnian horses, Bree and Hwin, their responses are quite revealing. Bree, the proud warhorse, is so startled that he bolts away and doesn't look back until he comes to a wall too high for jumping. The usually timid Hwin, however, trots toward the great lion, not away from him. Though shaking, she tells Aslan he's so beautiful that she would rather be devoured by him than fed by anyone else. "Dearest daughter," he answers, "Joy shall be yours."

Though Bree overcomes his initial shock and reins in his pride before Aslan, Edmund has a good deal further to go before his foolish conceit is shattered. Seeming to want to escape the very name of Aslan, he slips away from the others, headed for the White Witch's castle. The narrator explains that Edmund doesn't wish any actual harm to the others; he's just full of silly ideas about getting more magic candy and being made a king and paying back his older brother. He tells himself the queen can't be as bad as all that, though "deep down inside him he really knew the White Witch was bad and cruel." Edmund began his downward descent by lying to the others about Narnia as a real place. Now he has begun to lie to himself.

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