Queen Lucy, the Valiant|
The following analysis is ® Mark Feezell, and may not be reproduced or redistributed without permission
Why is Lucy crowned "Queen Lucy, the Valiant" at the end of the movie? How does Lucy Pevensie become Queen Lucy over the course of the film? This analysis will attempt to systematically approach the question of Lucy’s character development. To simplify and focus the discussion, I am addressing her character specifically in the movie, not the book. Her development in the book is certainly of interest, but would merit a separate discussion.
Comments are orginized by the movie scene order, and you can jump to any particular part of the character analysis by clicking on one of the links below.
1: London Blitz
2: Station Goodbye - Train Ride
3: Arrival at Professor Kirke's
4: Hide and Seek
5: Lucy's first visit to Narnia
6: Edmund follows Lucy into Narnia
7: Lucy and Edmund in Narnia
8: From Lucy and Edmund's exit to third visit
9: Pevensies explore Narnia
10: Meeting the Beavers
11: Edmund sneaks off to the White Witch
12: Kids/Beavers Chased
13: Father Christmas
14: Escape across River
15: Pevensies at Aslan's Camp
16: Edmund's return - Parlay
17: Stone Table - Battle Preparations
18: The Battle Commences
19: Aslan lives! - The battle rages
20: The battle ends - Edmund is saved
21: Coronation! Celebration!
22: Adult Pevensies
23: Back in England
24: Bonus Scene: Lucy and Professor Kirke
1. London Blitz
The first time we see Lucy, she is covering her head in bed in a state of pure terror. Susan has to grab her hand to get her moving so they can escape the bombing. From the beginning, Lucy is able to experience "pure" emotions - she responds to a situation from the depths of her tender heart, without pretense or "grown-up" ambition. Yet she is not crowned "Lucy, the Gentle" at the end. What Lucy must learn is the courage to act for good based on the pure feelings she has in her heart.
2. Station Goodbye - Train Ride
In the train station, Lucy cries bitterly, helpless to affect the world around her, yet feeling deeply the pain and sorrow of the situation. She is seen holding her teddy bear like the scared little girl that she is. On the train, she and Susan are seen reading a book - an image that will return later.
3. Arrival at Professor Kirke's
It is Lucy who first sees the professor’s shadow under the door. Her open, pure heart allows her to see things that others cannot (another common theme). She is still such a little girl - "the sheets feel scratchy" -– drinking the full draught of her rich emotions, yet powerless to act for good based upon them.
4. Hide and Seek
As the youngest, it makes sense that we see Lucy as the one who suggests the game of hide-and-seek. She appeals to Peter, the authority figure, for approval of her plan. This is the first time we see Lucy taking some positive action to improve the situation around her (in this case, to alleviate boredom), and as such it is the first hint, the first bare glowing ember, of her future royal title.
5. Lucy's first visit to Narnia
Much has been written about Lucy’s purity of heart, her childlike trust, her open innocence, and how these led her to be the first to discover the world of Narnia. The movie does a great job showing her expressing these pure emotions on screen - looking at snowflakes in wonder, staring at the lamppost in open curiosity, then hiding behind it in pure terror upon seeing Mr. Tumnus. In her conversation with Tumnus she shows again and again the pure innocence of her emotions. "You’re the nicest faun I’ve ever met...I thought you were my friend..." We also see a further hint of her bravery: "Keep it [the handkerchief]...you need it more than I do." Even now, we can see that Lucy has grown quite a bit from the crying girl in the dark London bedroom. But it isn’t her inner approach that is growing and developing. Instead, Lucy is learning (step by step) how to take the beauty that is inside and direct it outward for the good of others. Of course, she is crushed with pure sorrow when the others disbelieve her. Her powerlessness returns in full force when Peter and Susan tell her to stop her stories, and Edmund teases her.
6. Edmund follows Lucy into Narnia
In one of my favorite moments of the movie, Lucy decides that she is going back to Narnia. Notice I say, "Narnia," not merely the wardrobe. We see a wonderful shot of her slippers and boots next to one another. She chooses the boots! Lucy believes that when she goes to the wardrobe, she will indeed be going back to Narnia. Her pure trust in the truth of Narnia is rewarded.
7. Lucy and Edmund in Narnia
Lucy isn’t in this scene very much, but again we see her pure joy upon seeing Edmund. Significantly, there is absolutely no hint of "I told you so" when she greets him. All of Lucy’s emotions are pure, without ulterior motive, without an urge to beat others down or lift herself up. She is genuinely overjoyed to see Edmund, and when he complains about being cold, she is happy to show him the way back to the lamppost and the exit. Notice again, even though it is a small thing, how Lucy is empowered to help others in Narnia.
8. From Lucy and Edmund's exit to third visit
How does Lucy respond to Edmund’s spiteful denial of Narnia? Not, it seems, with hatred toward him. She feels pure sorrow, pure rejection, but it seems to be directed mostly inward. We never evidence that she is hating Edmund here, although she has every right to be. Instead, she withdraws, and we see Lucy avoiding her problems, hiding under the sheets, as it were, like she did during the London bombings in the first scene. While they are playing cricket, we notice a shot of Lucy reading a book. Although there are only two such shots of books (plus the dictionary in Susan’s ‘guess the word’ game), I think that we see that books are a means of escape from the troubles of daily life, and a means toward empowerment perhaps.
9. Pevensies explore Narnia
A vindicated Lucy responds, not with anger or by "rubbing it in," but with a playful snowball fight. Her response to Edmund is significant: "Some children don’t know when to stop pretending." This line takes on a whole new meaning now: that those who seem the most "grown up" are often the ones who are "pretending" - meaning, covering up and manipulating their emotions for the sake of selfish ambition. Lucy forgives Edmund immediately and completely, as will be proven in future scenes. Her pure heart enables her to have pure compassion as well as pure sorrow and pure joy. Peter gives her the option to decide what they will do. Again, in Narnia we see Lucy empowered to act out her inner goodness, albeit in small ways at first. She is the first to urge them to help Mr. Tumnus after the children find his cave ransacked.
10. Meeting the Beavers
Lucy is the one that makes the connection with Mr. Beaver, based on her handkerchief. In the first shot of the children walking after Mr. Beaver, we see Lucy leading the way, with Peter just behind her. Susan and Edmund are in the back. Lucy’s pure trust, or pure faith if you prefer, is leading them onward toward their destiny. Lucy doesn’t say much in the discussion with the beavers, just drinking it all in. It is Peter and Susan who protest over the prophecy. Lucy is perhaps trusting it, but she is nowhere near brave enough to speak her feelings against the will of the two elder siblings.
11. Edmund sneaks off to the White Witch
When we see Edmund go into the castle, Peter and Susan get in a fight, and it is Lucy who says, "Stop it! This isn’t going to help Edmund!" Her compassion (a major theme) is validated by Mr. Beaver, who explains that she is right and they must all go to Aslan.
12. Kids/Beavers Chased
In the tree, Lucy’s mouth has to be covered to prevent her from crying out over the fox when the fox is grabbed by the wolves. Again we see her unrestrained, pure emotional response of compassion for others. And again, she is powerless to act on that compassion in a meaningful way.
13. Father Christmas
Father Christmas arrives, and Lucy is the first one to greet him, "Merry Christmas, Sir." She makes it quite obvious that she knows exactly who he is, and when he pulls out his sack, she exclaims, "Presents!" in another beautiful expression of childlike wonder and joy. Lucy receives her present FIRST; another in a long list of firsts for Lucy: first into Narnia, first to follow Mr. Beaver, first to receive her present, etc. Again and again and again her pure emotional response leads the way.
In a powerful turning point for Lucy, Father Christmas opens the sack, and although it is bulging over with teddy bears EXACTLY like the one she held in the train station scene, he pulls out something that will empower her instead: the healing cordial, and her little dagger. IMPORTANT: Her response to the gifts is, "I think I can be BRAVE enough."
As Father Christmas pulls away, Lucy turns to Susan, saying, "Told you he was real!" Lucy is looking less and less like Lucy Pevensie, and just a little bit more like Queen Lucy.
14. Escape across River
This is a scene about Peter and Susan, primarily, but it is interesting that when she reappears after having seemingly been lost in the river, she is completely innocent to the possibility that she could have drowned, thinking only of her missing coat. On the way into the camp, it is Lucy who sees the trees. (Add first to see the trees to her list of firsts.)
15. Pevensies at Aslan's Camp
At the river, Lucy accuses Susan of being "boring," referring to the fact that Susan has lost her free, childlike emotional response in favor of always trying to be "smart." Lucy hits the bull’s eye right in the center. Again, we see her incrementally empowered.
16. Edmund's return - Parlay
When Lucy sees Edmund, she cries out and wants to run to him. She still doesn’t quite know how to handle her compassion and channel it in the most productive way. She is the first to forgive Edmund. She is the first to understand that, "They need us...ALL FOUR OF US." She is the only one of the children that sees the sorrow on Aslan’s face after his announcement that the Witch "has renounced her claim on Edmund’s blood."
17. Stone Table - Battle Preparations
Lucy is the one that sees Aslan walk by the tent in the dark. Lucy is the one that wakes Susan and leads her out after Aslan. Right as Aslan is being killed, there are 3 shots back and forth between Aslan and Lucy. Significantly, Susan is NOT in the last two shots, even though she is right there with Lucy. The emotional connection is between Aslan and Lucy most directly...we feel the pain of his death through the purity of her emotional response. Lucy is the one that wants to stay with Aslan’s body. She tries to use her cordial, but again we see that Lucy has not yet learned how to channel her pure compassion into a productive response to those around her. All along, she has had the right feelings, but never been empowered to act on those feelings. It is Lucy who suggests that they use the trees to communicate (a nice setup for her relationship to the trees in Prince Caspian).
18. The Battle Commences
Lucy is not in this scene.
19. Aslan lives! - The battle rages
When Susan says they must leave just before daybreak, Lucy says, "It’s so cold." This is surely a reference to her emotional state and not just the weather. When Aslan comes back to life, she pulls her dagger, ready to take on the entire army of the White Witch herself. This is certainly quite a development from the crying girl holding a teddy bear that we saw in the opening scenes. Aslan calls her, "dear one," a title reserved in the movie solely for her. Her pure heart grants her a special relationship with Aslan (For the Christians, "the pure in heart shall see God"). Lucy weeps for Tumnus in the stone courtyard, powerless to help him. Now she is brave, but not completely sure what her role is to be.
20. The battle ends - Edmund is saved
Finally, finally, finally Lucy’s character development is complete when she uses her cordial to heal Edmund. She acts out the compassion she has felt all along (especially for Edmund) and is able to be the ONE to save him. This powerful culmination represents the moment when Lucy Pevensie ultimately becomes Queen Lucy the Valiant, the pure of heart empowered to act with courage and power on behalf of the hurting. With marvelous joy, Lucy sees Aslan breathing on stone creatures and realizes that SHE is the one with the power in her hand to bring healing to the injured all over the battlefield, and as the camera pans up we see Queen Lucy ministering life among the dying.
21. Coronation! Celebration!
At the coronation, Lucy receives the title that reflects her true character: Valiant. She is now Queen Lucy, the one who is pure of heart and brave enough to act powerfully on behalf of others. What an amazing look of joy we see when Mr. Tumnus places the crown upon her head!
Lucy is crowned "to the glittering Eastern Sea." Although not clear in the movie, it is well known in Narnia that Aslan comes from the east, over the sea. So it is certainly fitting that Queen Lucy, the Valiant, the visionary, the first to see Narnia, the last character to see Aslan in the movie, would be crowned to the first glowing rays of dawn.
22. Adult Pevensies
Ever playful, it is Lucy who says to Susan, "Maybe we should just let them [the boys] go back to the castle, and we will catch the stag ourselves." It is LUCY who goes first, drawing the other children back toward the wardrobe and their exit from Narnia. This is the last of a long series of "firsts" for Lucy.
23. Back in England
There is no significant character development for Lucy in this scene.
24. Bonus Scene: Lucy and Professor Kirke
Lucy wants to get back into Narnia. There is a wonderful ambiguity in her line, "Will we ever get back into Narnia?" Does the "we" include the professor? Has Lucy’s open heart seen into his secret past? We aren’t sure, but the movie ends with a shot of Lucy smiling in anticipation of her next visit to Narnia. Indeed, aren’t we all?
By the way, although this analysis is not about Georgie Henley’s acting per se, Georgie Henley, if you read this, and I know you will, allow me to send my utmost congratulations on your outstanding job bringing this character development to life. Your natural acting instincts brought out subtleties you may not have even been consciously aware of. Congratulations and all best wishes. I look forward to your future performances as Queen Lucy.
Also, my kudos go out to the writers and all who had a hand in the script. You have allowed me to see things in the book and implications of the characters that I never saw before.
- Mark Feezell