Introduction to Edmund Pevensie
Edmund Pevensie is a principal character in the fictional series The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. He is the third child among the Pevensie siblings, introduced in the first book of the series – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Edmund comes off as selfish, childish, immature, uncooperative and rebellious at the beginning of the story. However, he undergoes significant character growth throughout the series and grows up to be a wise and noble young man.
Other than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Edmund plays a significant role in Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and a minor role in The Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle. Edmund is perhaps the most complex of all the Pevensie siblings, and his evolution as a character makes him one of the most rounded and popular characters in the series.
Edmund Pevensie in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
In the first book of the series, Edmund Pevensie is often described as selfish, immature, and uncooperative. One of the first instances of his negative traits is expressed at the beginning of the story when Edmund ignores his elder brother's warnings to take shelter during the bombing of London and runs into their house to retrieve a picture. He risks not only his own life but his family's as well, and Peter accuses Edmund of being selfish.
“Why can't you think of anyone but yourself?”
During the train ride where the siblings are sent to live with a mysterious professor in the countryside to avoid the bombing, Edmund refuses help from his siblings. He is shown to be short-tempered and quite averse to following his eldest sibling’s orders.
When Lucy informs her siblings about a magical world in the Professor's wardrobe, Edmund does not believe her. Nor does Susan or Peter. But even after Edmund stumbles upon Narnia himself, he refuses to corroborate Lucy’s story. He accuses Lucy of letting her imagination run wild and staunchly denies Narnia’s existence, even though he experienced the magical world himself.
Later on, when Susan and Peter manage to enter Narnia, they are angry that Edmund lied to them. However, Edmund doesn't feel any remorse for lying and only apologizes to Lucy because of Peter's insistence.
Edmund also keeps quiet about his encounter with the White Witch when he stumbled across Narnia for the first time. The Witch immediately figures out Edmund's need for attention and validation and uses his insecurities to manipulate him with the promise of Turkish Delight. Edmund's greed doesn't allow him to see past the Witch's true nature. He is won over by something as insignificant as sweets and a promise to be king over Peter and doesn't think twice about betraying his own siblings.
However, Edmund's character is not irredeemable. Once he finds out the true nature of the White Witch and learns about Aslan sacrificing himself to free Edmund from her clutches, Edmund vows to fight beside Aslan’s army to free Narnia from the evil Witch. He feels guilty for betraying his siblings and wants to take responsibility for his actions instead of running away.
During the final battle against the White Witch, Edmund is obstinate and doesn't listen to Peter when he warns him to retreat. The time he spent with the White Witch made him realize that destroying her magic was the key to defeating her. This key information is what changes the tide of the battle and ultimately leads to the victory of the Narnians.
Edmund’s bravery is worth noting in the first book. It is best to keep in mind that Edmund is only ten years old. He is at an age where he is bound to be immature and against listening to elders (in this case, it’s Peter.) While Edmund is shown to be rash and selfish when he rushes to retrieve a photo from his home despite the threat of bombs, the picture is revealed to be of their father, who is off fighting in the World War. This shows that Edmund is just a young child who loves and misses his father.
In the final part of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Pevensies grow up to become Kings and Queens of Narnia. He earns the title of Edmund the Just because of his good judgment and counsel, and his intelligence makes him an accomplished diplomat. View Examples
Edmund Pevensie in Prince Caspian
Edmund Pevensie appears again in Prince Caspian as the Pevensie siblings are thrust into Narnia once again after Prince Caspian blows the magic horn to call them for aid. Even though the siblings had reverted back to their young age after leaving Narnia at the end of the first book, Edmund didn’t revert back to the immature boy he was at the beginning of the story.
In Prince Caspian, he expresses his intelligence when he is the first one to note that time in Narnia passes quicker than that in England. While it has been only a year since they left Narnia, ages have passed in Narnia, as is evident by their ruined castle.
While Edmund becomes somewhat of a secondary character in Prince Caspian, he still has an important role. For example, when Lucy insists on having seen Aslan, Edmund believes her completely, while Susan and Peter take her words with a grain of salt. Edmund's attitude is in stark contrast to his actions in the first book, where he knew Lucy was telling the truth about Narnia but refused to support her. In Prince Caspian, however, Edmund does not see Aslan himself but completely believes Lucy and reminds his other siblings of the consequences of not trusting Lucy’s words before.
In Prince Caspian, the readers see tension growing between Peter and Prince Caspian. When the prince had called for the aid of the High Kings and Queens of Narnia, he had hoped for the adult version of them to arrive. But instead, the younger version of the Pevensies had emerged, which disappoints Caspian. Peter, who had once been the High King and ruler of the Golden Age in Narnia, is offended at Caspian's attitude and expresses his frustration at Edmund for being treated as a kid. Edmund, the more rational of the two, reminds Peter that they are kids.
Edmund has always been rational and sharp-minded, to the point where he can sometimes come off as cold and calculative. Unlike Peter, whose decisions are influenced by morality and emotions, Edmund focuses on logic and doesn’t hesitate to adopt unfair means for the greater good. This can be seen in Edmund’s suggestion to Peter to forget chivalry and strike Miraz during their duel.
Edmund Pevensie in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The biggest shift in Edmund’s character can be seen in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. In Prince Caspian, Edmund reminded Peter that they were kids. But in this book, Edmund is tired of being treated like a child. He complains of "playing second fiddle,” first to Peter and then to Prince Caspian. The tension between Caspian and Edmund is at an all-time high in the story, as is apparent by Caspian accusing Edmund of waiting for the opportunity to challenge his leadership.
- S. Lewis expertly portrays Edmund’s inferiority complex and assertion in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. His faith is tested once again when he can’t resist the temptation of the magic pond that can turn everything into gold. He goes to the extent of going against Caspian, whom he believes stands in the way of him and Lucy becoming rich and powerful.
The green mist in the story keeps showing the characters their worst fear and temptation, and Edmund keeps seeing the White Witch again and again. This shows that Edmund has yet to recover from his fear of the Witch. However, this contradicts Edmund's character in Prince Caspian, where Peter and Caspian were almost tempted by the White Witch but were saved by Edmund.
In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Edward constantly loses his patience with his cousin, Eustace. Though he tries to be patient with the young boy, he is on the verge of losing his patience multiple times and is only held back by Lucy.
Edmund and Lucy’s relationship becomes stronger as the story progresses. In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Edmund is quick to dismiss Lucy and does not seem to care about her well-being. However, the two grow the closest of all the Pevensie siblings, as is evident by his always trying to protect his little sister and heeding her words instead of dismissing them.
Edmund Pevensie’s Transformation throughout the Narnia Series
Edmund Pevensie is the only character who undergoes a significant character arc throughout the Narnia series. The young boy of merely ten is seen as selfish, uncooperative, rebellious and a traitor. He is quick to betray his siblings for some sweets and doesn't hesitate to lie to his siblings. However, he learns from his mistakes and takes responsibility for his actions. He grows up to become a wise and just king of Narnia, earning the title – Edmund the Just.
Edmund's transformation is quite significant since it shows that human beings are not perfect. Temptations and jealousy can lead people to make the wrong choices, but redemption is always possible. Once Edmund realizes his mistakes and repents his actions, his siblings are quick to forgive him.
Edmund doesn’t become a wise person overnight. He has to work hard and learn from his mistakes, tame his inferiority complex and persevere in the face of temptations and fear. This makes Edmund one of the most complex characters in the entire series.
Edmund Pevensie, the third child among the Pevensie siblings, is one of the most popular characters in the Narnia series. He is not perfect by any means. He is selfish, shows no consideration for his siblings, and betrays them when tempted by Turkish Delight and the opportunity to be better than Peter. However, his redemption arc shows that he is not beyond saving. It is easier for readers to relate with Edmund because human beings are not perfect. Everyone has their flaws, and it is easier to root for Edmund as he grows into a capable young man after learning from his mistakes.