As it turns out, I’m reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to my ten-year-old daughter as this Lenten Season labors toward Easter. I didn’t really plan it this way. I just began working my way through our one-volume tome of the Chronicles of Narnia some weeks ago and here we are in the midst of the story, hearing rumors that Aslan is on the move, that the long, cold winter without Christmas is about to end.
As many will know from the book or the movie, the end of winter—and the reign of the White Witch—comes at a great price: the Christ-like sacrifice of Aslan for Edmund. And there is, of course, that “magic deeper still” in which “Death itself.. start[s] working backwards.” Aslan returns to life (“Oh, you’re real, you’re real! Oh, Aslan!” cried Lucy) and then breathes the warmth and vigor of his own renewed life into the stone-cold bodies of those slain by the Witch. It’s all here: sacrificial death, resurrection life, new creation.
That’s all to come, both in my reading of it to my daughter and in our celebration of it during Holy Week. At the moment, however, what is ringing in my ears is the prophecy Mr. Beaver tells the children just as Edmund is sneaking out to betray them to the Witch.
When Adam’s flesh and Adam’s bone
Sits at Cair Paravel in throne,
The evil time will be over and done
A little later Mr. Beaver elaborates: “—down at Cair Paravel there are four thrones and it’s a saying in Narnia time out of mind that when two sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve sit in those four thrones, then it will be the end not only of the White Witch’s reign but of her life…”