Jadis was born in the world of Charn as part of the royal family. Cruel and hard-hearted, she engages her sister in a gigantic war over the throne of Charn, with great loss of life. Just before she is defeated, Jadis speaks the Deplorable Word, which causes all living things to vanish, leaving her the only one left alive. Then Jadis puts herself into an enchanted sleep and waits for someone to wake her again by ringing a golden bell.
Eventually she is awoken by Digory, who along with Polly have stumbled into Charn by accident due to Uncle Andrew's magic rings. After hearing their explanation of their arrival, Jadis believes Uncle Andrew to be a great magician and commands Digory and Polly to take her to him at once. The children try to escape on their own, but Jadis manages to follow them into the Wood Between the Worlds, and then to Uncle Andrew's study in England. There she forces Uncle Andrew into submission and proceeds to go about London taking what she likes, intending to make herself ruler soon. After a wild rampage on the top of a cab through the streets of London, Digory and Polly manage to get Jadis out of England and into the Woods, planning on returning her to Charn. But they jump into the wrong pool and end up in a dark blackness, and then witness the creation of Narnia. Jadis, recognizing the supremity and goodness of Aslan, hates the sound of his voice and the very look at him. She throws an iron lamp cross-bar at him in an attempt to either kill or frighten him, but when he begins to approach her she screams and runs away in fear. She travels for miles until she comes upon the Garden where, ignoring the warning and not caring of the consequences, she eats the silver apple. This gives her immortality, but also makes her a deathly white.
After Digory planted the Tree of Protection on the Northern boundery of Narnia, Jadis is unable to go near it due to the effect of the apple she ate herself. She instead makes herself a kingdom in the North, biding her time until the Tree eventually withered away from neglect in 898 NT, and comes back down into Narnia, overthrowing the kings and queens there and creates the Hundred Years Winter soon after, with it always winter, but never Christmas.
She reigns as the terrible Queen of Narnia until 1000 NT, when she meets Edmund in the snowy woods of Lantern Waste. She is shocked to see a human there, as it foreshadows the beginning of the end of her reign, as foretold by a prophesy. Wanting to deal with the children all at once, she lets Edmund go but gives swift punishment to the faun whom she learned had let a child go free some time earlier.
When Edmund returns some time later but without his siblings, Jadis is enraged and drags him througout the Narnian countryside as a slave while she searches for the missing children, growing increasingly afraid and angry as winter, the sign of her power, begins to melt away into spring.
After Edmund is rescued by the Narnians, Jadis decides to go see Aslan herself to claim what is rightfully hers. Aslan cannot deny her right to Edmund's blood, but in a private meeting, offers to exchange Edmund's death with his own. Jadis accepts and true to his word, Aslan offers himself up to her that night at the Stone Table and is killed. Beliving herself to have triumphed over the last possible hurdle, Jadis then leaves to wage war on the remaining Narnians. But while Jadis' knowledge of the Deep Magic had been enough to put her claim on Edmund's blood and subsequently take Aslan's life, she had no knowledge or understanding of the Deeper Magic. When Aslan arrives at the battlefield later that day, her last expression is of terror and amazement as the Great Lion pounces on her, and thus Jadis is killed.
In 2303 NT, a few bad Creatures and Narnians attempt to resurrect Jadis through Black Magic so she will defeat Miraz, but this attempt is successfully stopped by Peter, Edmund and Caspian. Attempt notwithstanding, whether it was at all possible to bring Jadis back from the dead is not known.