On The Chronicles of Narnia
King Edmund the Cute
Anatomy of a Girlhood Crush
Let’s get it straight: I wasn’t sitting around writing “Diana Hearts Edmund” in my Trapper Keeper, but I had an enormous crush on Edmund Pevensie when I was a kid. When I admit that to people, then and now, I invariably get a reaction that’s halfway between bemused and appalled. Edmund? they say. Isn’t he the petulant, whiny traitor responsible for Aslan’s death?
Yes, yes he is. In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. But that’s only the start of Edmund’s adventures in Narnia. He pulls it together by the end of that book and proceeds to rock out for four more. No, Ed doesn’t leave us with the best first impression in all of literature, but he more than makes up for it in the rest of the series.
If anything, his experiences in the first book1 give him a breadth of knowledge and depth of experience and sorrow that surpass that of all the other children who become “friends of Narnia.” C. S. Lewis wants Edmund to be one of the noblest characters in the series (barring Reepicheep, whom Lewis set up for sainthood from word one). He wants to show no mistake was too dire that you couldn’t rise above it. And Edmund not only rises, he kicks butt . . . and I swoon.
But not at first.
When we meet Edmund, he’s a cranky, spiteful little turd. His first act as a character is to ridicule his adorable kid sister about her Narnian “fantasies.” Within a few …