I love that people are still weighing in with comments on my Problem of Susan essay over three years after it was written. Warms the cockles of my heart, it does.

But although the post has generated a great many thoughtful remarks from readers on both sides, it took a quasi-anonymous comment from someone called "Nj_Librarian" today to bring out a point I've never seen made before:

SPOILERS for C.S. Lewis's 'The Last Battle' )

I can't believe this hadn't occurred to me (or, apparently, anyone else on the thread), but I'm very glad it's been pointed out now. Thank you, Nj_Librarian, whoever you are.
I have to confess that in general, the idea of Narnia fic makes me squirm. LotR fic also lacks any appeal for me, but Narnia in particular will always be my first fantasy love, and the prospect of wading through a host of "edgy, subversive" Narnia stories (however technically well-written) in search of something I could enjoy frankly nauseates me.

However, as with most rules, there is at least one shining exception, and I'm so very glad that I made it when I came across this link in the comments of [livejournal.com profile] kalquessa's LJ. Because the author of this story has faced the problem of Susan head-on, and written a postscript to the series which not only plausibly and (I think) fairly explains how Susan might have come to forget Narnia, but also addresses the question of whether or not she might, as Lewis intimated in one of his letters, yet find her own way to Aslan's Country in the end.

It's simply but beautifully written, it captures the spirit of Lewis without attempting to imitate him, and it did my heart good to read it. I think many of you will enjoy it too.

The Queen's Return by [livejournal.com profile] honorh.
This essay has been brewing in my mind for a couple of years now, and since I was recently reminded of it during a discussion on [livejournal.com profile] lizbee's journal, I figured I might as well bite the bullet and put it down on paper. Comments are welcomed, but as I'm due to have my third child on (or before, or around) this coming Saturday, I'm sure you'll appreciate that I can't guarantee a timely response.

Anyway, here it is:

* * *


Over the last few years I have heard many indignant complaints about the treatment of Susan in the Narnia books, specifically in The Last Battle. Numerous LiveJournal rants have been written on it, Philip Pullman (author of the His Dark Materials trilogy) has deplored it, Neil Gaiman has written a story about it (with the same title as this essay), and most recently it was brought up by J.K. Rowling in an interview with Time Magazine:

"There comes a point where Susan, who was the older girl, is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lipstick. She's become irreligious basically because she found sex," Rowling says. "I have a big problem with that."

Well, I have a problem with it too -- albeit for different reasons. And here they are, at quite some length )

ETA: Please also check out the brief follow-up post to this discussion, which brings up a very significant point raised by a commenter about the attitude of the Friends of Narnia to Susan.

ETA2: As of April 2013 I've been so inundated with spam replies to this entry that I've had to shut down Comments. Sorry to anyone who had further thoughts to add -- perhaps try the follow-up post instead.


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