Turkish Delight

I haven’t read the Chronicles of Narnia series in a while, at least four or five years. I don’t even remember if I’ve read the entire thing or not, but I do remember reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe more than once. One thing that always puzzled me was Edmund’s betrayal of his family (and Aslan, of course). Why did he do over something so dull as candy?

Edmund, as you may recall, was for some reason obsessed with Turkish Delight and getting as much of it in his mouth as possible. I remember reading the scene where the Witch seduces him into betraying his siblings by waving a tray of the stuff in his face, and his response being basically “yeah whatever give me the stuff nom nom nom.” The first time I read TLTWATW I had no idea what Turkish Delight was, let alone why Edmund was so gaga for it.

Then, this past Saturday, my family and I went to World Market, an overpriced imported goods store that had a lot of tempting candy selections. Luckily I had a coupon and could indulge a bit, and so I bought various candies from around the world– including a box of Turkish Delight. I specifically bought it with Edmund in mind, wondering what it would taste like and would it really be worth throwing my family under the bus for? But really all I was hoping was that it didn’t taste nasty because then I’d have wasted nearly $5.

Well. It’s not nasty. I actually really like the taste: rose and lemon with the sprinkling of sugar on top. It’s fun to eat, and while I eat it I feel very luxurious and rich. And isn’t that why Edmund wanted to eat it, too?

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe takes place during World War II, when England was on rations and candy was seriously hard to come by. All of the children wanted to indulge themselves– remember that dinner scene with the beavers, with the food lovingly described?– it’s just that Edmund wanted to indulge himself to excess.

I didn’t get that before, when I was younger. I just though Edmund was silly and stupid and greedy, and while he was he was also a little boy who missed having sweets (and a stable home, probably) and was lured into a bad situation by an adult who needed to get a different hobby than conquering fantasy worlds. Getting a different perspective on a character I previously actively disliked is a pretty interesting experience, and I can’t begrudge the nearly $5 I spent to have it. And since I know what happened to Edmund when he ate too much Turkish Delight, I’m going to close the lid on this box of Turkish Delight and put it away again before I eat too much myself– and barf all over this keyboard. Five pieces seems to be my limit. Ugh.

Have you ever suddenly gotten a different perspective on a character? Did it make you understand them or the story better? How did it happen to you?

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0 thoughts on “Turkish Delight”

  1. When I was little I thought Turkish Delight was some sort of turkey and gravy dish! I read this to my kids last year and we bought some to try. It was surprisingly good!

    1. Yeah, the first time I read about Turkish Delight I thought it was some mysterious thing from the Middle East, possibly something naughty, possibly something related to 1001 Arabian Nights and/or Aladdin (the Disney movie). I don’t think I even associated it with food until later– but I don’t know WHAT I thought Edmund was eating if it wasn’t a foodstuff!

  2. He didn’t exactly betray them for candy. For candy he put aside his reservations about the White Queen and told her a bunch of stuff about his family. The reason he betrayed them, properly and deliberately, was wanting to be a prince, and being mad at Peter. But that’s a good point about the rationing, and it didn’t occur to me until years after I first read the books.

    Every time I see Turkish Delight I want to buy some and see what Edmund saw in it, except I’ve always been pretty broke when I’ve seen it. One day when I am rich I will buy some.

    1. I think I just see the candy as the catalyst for Edmund’s whole situation, because yeah he was mad at Peter and wanted to be royalty, etc. etc., but if he wasn’t so intent on getting that candy in the first place I don’t think he could have been tricked so easily into giving up info. Because doesn’t the Witch lure him into her sleigh with the Turkish Delight first? And then everything else happens after that. By giving into the candy urges he let himself give in to the rest of it as well, sort of.

      It’s really been a long while since the last time I read TLTWATW, so I apologize if I’ve got something wrong. 😀

      And yes! Turkish Delight is horribly expensive; the only reason I got some was because I had a coupon that brought it down to a more reasonable price. Marzipan’s even more expensive, though, and I’ve always wanted to try some because of the Harry Potter books. (They eat marzipan in the HP books, don’t they? Now I can’t remember.)

      1. I always want to try marzipan because its old name is marchpane. And I read this book one time with a nasty character in it called Marchpane. Someone described marchpane as “rich and sticky. You very quickly have enough of it. It was a good name for her.” 🙂

  3. Hmm! Would you be interesting in joining me and a few other bloggers for Narnia Week at the end of November? We’re going to read the five main books during the weekdays and The Horse and His Boy and The Magician’s Nephew during the weekend as optional selections.

    To be a massive nerd, that did happen to me with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I didn’t pay much attention to Zelda herself until I realized the absolute hell she had been through, the fact that she doesn’t know if the choice she’s making at the end will work, and the fact that it’s all her fault. She’s now one of my favorite tragic figures.

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