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?