Our second impression of Narnia is through Edmund, whose experience with winter is more harsh right from the start. Even inside the wardrobe, Edmund's journey to Narnia is stressful and claustrophobic where Lucy's was enchanting and curious:
"He began feeling about for Lucy in the dark. He expected to find her in a few seconds and was very surprised when he did not. He decided to open the door again and let in some light. But he could not find the door either. He didn't like this at all and began groping wildly in the dark..." (25).
"There was crisp, dry snow under his feet and more snow lying on the branches of the trees. Overhead there was a pale blue sky, the sort of sky one sees on a fine winter day in the morning. Straight ahead of him he saw between the tree trunks, the sun just rising, very red and clear. Everything was perfectly still."We glimpse the parts of Narnia that the winter cannot touch- the light of the sun, a beautiful morning. This is a moment even more beautiful than the one Lucy first encounters. But notice the sudden turn as we narrow back on Edmund:
"Everything was perfectly still, as if he were the only living creature in that country. There was not even a robin or a squirrel among the trees, and the wood stretched as far as he could see in every direction. He shivered." (26).The stillness of winter is no longer serene, but eerie and uncanny. Even the bright, red sunrise cannot keep Edmund from shivering. Narnia is "a strange, cold, quiet place"(26) for him, and rightly so. As Mr. Tumnus tells us, the White Witch keeps it "always winter and never Christmas" (16). Keep in mind, however, that the 'never Christmas' remark means much more than merely not receiving presents. In a relevant post on The Hog's Head John Patrick Pazdziora says, "The White Witch keeps Narnia forever in the darkest night of all the year. It is a time of hardship and peril... but without the consolation and grace of the solstice and Christmas." Christmas and Father Christmas have a presence in Narnia that is much more real and natural than we would expect (when we meet Father Christmas, for instance he is described as being the real Father Christmas, of which our own world can only emulate). The stillness and strangeness that Edmund feels in Narnia is the effect of an unnatural winter. Narnia is both literally and figuratively frozen and Edmund, who is certainly the 'coldest' Pevensie, is both less able to notice Narnia's goodness and more sharply aware of its evil.
"She had waved her wand and where the merry party had been there were only statues of creatures (one with its stone fork fixed forever half way to its stone mouth) seated round a stone table on which there were stone plates and a stone plum pudding...And Edmund for the first time in this story felt sorry for someone besides himself" (113).and then, immediately, the snow lets up, Narnia warms, and life returns:
"And soon Edmund noticed that the snow which splashed against them as they rushed through it was much wetter than it had been all last night. At the same time he noticed that he was feeling much less cold...A strange, sweet, rustling, chattering noise-and yet not strange, for he knew he'd heard it before...it was the noise of running water...chattering, murmuring, bubbling, splashing..." (114)Edmund warms up from the inside out. Once he feels empathy for others, he is no longer alone. And the land that had seemed so endless and eerie to him before is now beautiful and in harmony with the natural forest:
"Soon wherever you look you saw dark green of firs or black prickly branches of bare oaks and beeches and elms. Then the mist turned from white to gold...Shafts of delicious sunlight struck down onto the forest floor and overhead you could see a blue sky between the tree-tops. Soon there were more wonderful things happening..." (116).Edmund is not just witnessing the coming of spring, he is truly enjoying it. He, like Narnia itself becomes rejuvenated and enlightened.
Lewis, C.S. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. 1950. Print