I think I have discovered a serious error in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia–an author’s slip-up that nobody seems to have noticed.
Remember, in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, when the four Pevensey children stumble into Narnia, they’re the only human beings in the country. Tumnus the Faun tells Lucy that he’s never seen a human being before. When the four become kings and queens of Narnia, they’re still the only human beings in the country. This is still the case at the end of the book, when they stumble back into our world.
But then there’s The Horse and His Boy, a flashback to a time before the end of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Peter and his siblings are kings and queens of Narnia: but now they have a whole nation of human subjects in addition to the talking animals, dwarfs, fauns, etc. The kingdom of Archenland is also inhabited and ruled by humans; and south of that, there’s the vast empire of Calormen, inhabited by another race of humans culturally very different from the Narnians.
Given that only a few years could have gone by since the Pevenseys were crowned kings and queens… where did all those people come from?
Adding to the confusion, in the prequel, The Magician’s Nephew, Digory and Polly are present at the creation of Narnia. They return to our world; but Frank, the London cabman, and his wife, Helen, remain in Narnia as king and queen. And Aslan prophecies that their descendants will be kings and queens in Narnia and Archenland. But by the time the Pevensey children discover Narnia, there is no trace left of any of those descendants, and human beings are the stuff of Narnian folklore.
Where did those people go?
In Prince Caspian, in a story that takes place many centuries after the Pevenseys left Narnia, there is another race of human beings ruling Narnia. But these are Telmarines, the descendants of a band of pirates who somehow found their way into Narnia from our world, couldn’t get back, and multiplied into a whole nation. So they don’t count.
Now it’s not hard for an author to stumble into inconsistencies when he’s writing a series of books. Believe me, I know! My extremely able copy editor, Kathy Franklin, has been kept fairly busy correcting the inconsistencies that slip into my Bell Mountain books. Had she been C.S. Lewis’ editor, The Horse and His Boy would have surely prompted an urgent email to the author: “Jack, where did all those people come from–the ones in Narnia, Archenland, and Calormen?”
Is there anyone else out there who has noticed, or even researched, this seeming inconsistency? If so, I’d love to hear about it!