I’ve been reading a book on the Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion’s World, by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. I’ll be writing a full review later on. Meanwhile, this book has surprised and delighted me, so far. And I had spent years thinking Archbishop Williams was just another politically correct chucklehead… But he has said some wise things in this book. So far.
Like some of you, I’ve long thought there was a Narnia story yet to be written (see “The Missing Chronicle of Narnia,” March 13, 2013). Like many of you, I was shocked when Susan, one of the original Kings and Queens of Narnia at Caer Paravel, is left out at the end–despite the fact that Aslan himself made her a queen and declared, “Once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen in Narnia.”
Among the gems stored in Archbishop Williams’ little book is this excerpt from a letter from C.S. Lewis to one of his young readers, written in 1960, just three years before his death:
“Not that I have no hope of Susan’s ever getting to Aslan’s country, but because I have a feeling that the story of her journey would be longer and more like a grown-up novel than I wanted to write. But I may be mistaken. Why not try it yourself?”
As I felt sure must have been the case, Lewis did know there was a story he had not yet written. It seems he just wasn’t ready to write it: hadn’t quite decided how he ought to write it: knew what he didn’t want, but couldn’t yet see how he would have made it the kind of story that he wanted.
I wonder if he left it to each of us to write it for ourselves.
P.S.–I now understand that Lewis mentioned the eventual redemption of Susan in other letters, too.