I’ve informally written about this before, but something reminded me of it today.
It has been a while since I’ve watch The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, but something made me remember poor little Edmund. I feel for him. Many viewers categorize him as a bad guy, a traitor, a mischevious troublemaker. And while that may be how things turned out, I beg to differ.
Things aren’t going well for Edmund from the start. He’s the annoying little brother, teased and looked down upon by his older siblings (who, of course, he idolizes). He never really had actual evil intent. He was suffering from insecurity and guilt through the entire beginning of the story, which in turn surrendered him over to the White Witch.
I think it can be easy to assume that he got suckered into the turkish-delight-dispensing dastardly dame’s grip because he was into power and indulgence, and a bit jealous and vengeful, but there’s way more to it than that. Think about it. He is afraid to admit to finding out about Narnia because he knows that Susan and Peter wouldn’t believe him, and he’d look silly, which he is already deathly afraid of. When he’s in Narnia, the witch toys with his mind. When all the Pevensie quartet is in Narnia and Edmund is proved both wrong and a jerk to his little sister, he is ashamed and bewildered. When they find out about Mr. Tumnas being taken, and that it happened to be because of Edmund’s information, he feels overwhelming guilt. So much guilt that, if he admitted it, he’s afraid of losing everything good in his life, everything he strives for: his sibling’s love and respect, and his own dignity and reliability. So he runs away and goes back to the white witch. Not because he wanted to, necessarily, but because he was more afraid of everything he held so high crashing down and crumbling, than he was of hanging out with an evil being. His guilt and shame consumed him. Just like the real Devil does, poor Edmund got used as a tool for evil without even choosing to actually “be evil.”
As for me, I pray that I may be able to spot various young Edmunds I might come across in my own life, and then be able to see through their annoying or mischievous exterior and help build them up. After all, if I truly have a “burden for souls,” I should want everyone to be saved from being a tool of the devil without even realizing it, no matter how annoying and possibly infuriating they may be on the surface. God help me. Who knows, I can and probably have been a young Edmund myself at many times throughout my life.
So there you have it. While thoroughly evil and witchy people do exist and we should be on guard, know that many angst-ridden troublemakers aren’t necessarily bad to the bone, but just might need some help.
(And I just can’t get enough CS Lewis. I hope to meet him someday in the Great Beyond and we shall enjoy conversation over tea. Maybe a heavenly crumpet or two. Maybe the tea we’ll drink will be “Celestial Seasonings.” *giggle*)