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At the end of The Last Battle, Peter states that Susan has become 'too grown up' to return to Narnia. However, we do see grown-ups coming to Narnia, or Aslan's country - we see their parents. Also, it would be very harsh if no grown-ups could go to 'heaven'.

Was Susan ever able to return to Narnia?

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Susan probably made it back to Narnia, because her experience with faith reflects that of Lewis himself.


In 1960, C. S. Lewis wrote back to a reader and said that Susan is not in Aslan's country.

Not because I have no hope of Susan ever getting to Aslans's country, but because I have a feeling that the story of her journey would be longer and more like a grown-up novel than I wanted to write. But I may be mistaken. Why not try it yourself?

Source, provided by BESW in chat

"Oh Susan!" said Jill. "She's interested in nothing nowadays except nylons and lipstick and invitations. She always was a jolly sight too keen on being grown-up."

This implies that she's starting on her 'silly phase', to paraphrase Artemis, which she will eventually grow out of and redeem herself.


Now, if you claim that Susan died in the train accident, The Last Battle doesn't say that. It makes no mention of Susan near the crash:

"There's not much to tell," said Peter. "Edmund and I were standing on the platform...

...

"...probably on the same train though Lucy didn't know about it -"


This is actually quite like Lewis's own experiences.

In Inside The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by James Staurt Bell, Carrie Pyykkonen, and Linda Washington, it's mentioned several times that he struggled with religion and then became religious (partly due to an all-night talk with and another friend).

Don't forget this quote:

When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.
-Wikiquote

So, he looks like he's saying that he did the same thing that Susan did: Became 'grown-up', but then when he actually 'grew up', he was more 'childish'.


As @BESW stated in chat, this is sort of an intentional fallacy - this only is the case because CSL decided that this is the case, without there being proof from the work.


I've tried to find examples from the books about being 'grown-up' being a bad thing. I've only found a few things so far:

He didn't call his Father and Mother 'Father' and 'Mother', but Harold and Alberta. They were very up-to-date and advanced people.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, chapter 1

...

"Oh Susan!" said Jill. "She's interested in nothing nowadays except nylons and lipstick and invitations. She always was a jolly sight too keen on being grown-up."
-The Last Battle, chapter 13


So, it's entirely possible that she makes it, he just didn't feel like writing a 'grownup story'.

  • This would benefit from a little discussion of Lewis's own statements about faith, and adulthood, since in an answer which takes his extra-textual statements as primary sources, his ideas about those concepts are at the core of whether Susan can become a "friend of Narnia" after rejecting it. – BESW Jan 22 '17 at 9:20
  • @BESW I have endevoured to provide the relevant quotations. – user58 Jan 22 '17 at 9:32
  • I am curious @BESW or Mithrandir - do you think that The Great Divorce (which, at least in that story, includes the possibility of redemption even after death) has any relevance to this discussion? – EJoshuaS - Reinstate Monica Feb 24 '17 at 5:16
  • New YouTube video (today!) by Jill Bearup on this topic: youtube.com/watch?v=kz0w-O5JEws (also provided by BESW in chat). Well written answer, by the way. +1 :) – Shokhet Mar 1 '17 at 3:40
  • 1
    I think Susan might've been in America during the train crash. – heather May 5 '18 at 22:05
-1

Maybe.

First, it's important to realize that her attitude towards Narnia is only one of several reasons that Susan wasn't there. For example, unlike the other characters, Susan isn't dead yet. Everyone who was in Aslan's country in The Last Battle was either there because they were in Narnia at the end of the world (e.g. Eustice, Jill, and the others at the Last Battle) or because they had recently died (Peter, Edmund, Polly, and others had recently died in a train accident; Susan doesn't appear to have been with them at the time).

That being said, even if Susan had remained a friend of Narnia, there's absolutely no reason that she'd be in Aslan's Country at that point.

The only people actually recorded to have gone to Aslan's Country while still alive are those alive at the end of the world in Narnia and Reepicheep the mouse (in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader).

At a minimum, then, Susan has the opportunity to change. We can only speculate as to whether she actually did or not (although, as others have said, the text strongly implies that her current behavior was a "phase" she was going through), but I think that there was a good chance that she did.

Another point to consider: being "too grown-up" (at least in the sense of chronological age) doesn't seem to be an absolute exclusion. Several of the people there were already adults, or even quite old (e.g. Digory Kirke), so chronological age alone doesn't seem to be an absolute exclusion. This is especially true given that the Pevensies had already been told that they were too old to return to Narnia (Peter in Prince Caspian and Lucy and Edmond in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader). I think "grown up" in that sense refers more to a mental attitude (rather than just their age in years).

Also, I think that this quote from the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is very important:

“It isn't Narnia, you know," sobbed Lucy. "It's you. We shan't meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?"
"But you shall meet me, dear one," said Aslan.
"Are - are you there too, Sir?" said Edmund.
"I am," said Aslan. "But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.

We can't definitively answer from the books whether Susan ever did that, but the books do at least hint at the possibility that Susan would grow out of the "phase" she was in.

TL;DR The fact that Susan wasn't there in The Last Battle doesn't necessarily mean that she wouldn't be in the future. She had plenty of opportunities to change. With that said, we simply don't know whether she did or not.

  • Hmm. I didn't ask 'why isn't she there', I'm asking if she ever will be able to be there, seeing as she's no longer a Friend of Narnia. – user58 Jul 25 '17 at 14:11
  • @Mithrandir My point was more that the fact that she's not there now or the fact that she's not a friend of Narnia right now doesn't mean that she won't be in the future. The books don't definitively say whether she actually would be there later, but there's no reason to assume that she wouldn't be, and she had plenty of opportunity to change later. – EJoshuaS - Reinstate Monica Jul 25 '17 at 14:29
  • @Mithrandir I edited more to add additional information. – EJoshuaS - Reinstate Monica Jul 25 '17 at 16:13

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