Peter Pevensie

Peter Pevensie

Peter Pevensie (1927 - 1949) is a major fictional character in the children's fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. Peter appears in four of the seven books; in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, he is a principal child character, and in The Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle, he is an adult. He is also mentioned in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

In Disney's live-action films, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, Peter is portrayed by English actor William Moseley. Actor Noah Huntley portrays an older Peter at the end of the first film.

Peter is the eldest of the four Pevensie children and shares his adventures in Narnia with his sisters Susan and Lucy and with his brother Edmund. As the High King of Narnia, Peter has authority over all other Kings and Queens the country will ever have.

Name

Peter shares some similarities with Saint Peter (see Christian elements below) and that may contribute to Lewis' choice for his name. An early draft of The Lion begins, "This book is about four children whose names were Ann, Martin, Rose, and Peter. But it is most about Peter who was the youngest." Peter is the only name that makes it into the final work, but as the oldest child instead of the youngest.

Pevensey, on the southeast coast of England, is the site of a medieval castle that figures importantly in British history at several points. In Rudyard Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill (1907) at least one of the characters refers to Pevensey as "England's Gate", which the celebrated wardrobe in Lewis's books quite literally becomes. The surname "Pevensie" does not actually appear in the Chronicles until the third published book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Biography

Prior story

Peter was born in 1927 and is 13 years old when he appears in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. As a monarch of Narnia's Golden Age, he rules with his brother and sisters for fifteen years, reaching the approximate age of 28 before returning to his youth in England at the end of Wardrobe. By The Last Battle he is a 22 year old university student with his heart still in Narnia.

In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

As the eldest brother, he tries his best to protect his other siblings and to act like a responsible young adult. He is evacuated to the countryside with his siblings by train because of the air-raids of World War II. In the countryside, they stay at the old mansion of Professor Digory Kirke until the end of the war.

When Lucy first stumbles on the wardrobe, Peter doesn't believe her, thinking it is just her imagination until he and the other Pevensies enter the wardrobe themselves; "A jolly good hoax, Lu". He later apologizes to Lucy for not believing her and is quite angry with Edmund for earlier denying Narnia's existence; "Well, of all the poisonous little beasts". This is caused by Edmund's revelation of his deceit when, upon entering Narnia, he says; "I say...oughtn't we to be bearing a bit more to the left, that is, if we are aiming for the lamp-post?".

Peter received his sword, Rhindon, and shield from Father Christmas during the journey to find Aslan and is later knighted "Sir Peter Wolf's-Bane" by Aslan after he kills Maugrim the wolf, chief of the White Witch's secret police, who was trying to kill Susan. This is Peter's first battle. In the American editions of the books on which the 1979 animated film was based, Lewis changed the chief wolf's name to Fenris-Ulf, after a figure from Norse mythology. In those versions, Peter is given the epithet "Fenris-bane". He is the head General of Aslan's army. After the defeat of the White Witch Jadis, self-styled Queen of Narnia, and her evil allies, in the Battle of Beruna Ford, he is crowned by Aslan as His Majesty King Peter, High King of Narnia, Emperor of the Lone Islands, Lord of Cair Paravel, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Lion. He is also called "High King Peter the Magnificent". The ancient prophecy of two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve coming to sit on the four thrones of Narnia at Cair Paravel has come to fruition. This marks the end of the hundred years of winter and the reign of the White Witch, and is the beginning of Narnia's Golden Age.

In Prince Caspian

After the Pevensies arrive in the ruins of Cair Paravel, they find the castle's treasure chamber, where Peter, Susan and Lucy find the gifts they were given by Father Christmas. Peter takes his sword, Rhindon, and his silver shield, and again serves as the leader of the group. When the children are forced to make a decision, Peter, as High King, has the final word. Buying time for Aslan to awaken the other Narnians and stall the war, Caspian suggested that Peter would fight Miraz in a one on one duel. After the Pevensie children help defeat the Telmarines, Peter formally gives authority to Caspian to rule Narnia as king. Aslan gives Caspian the authority to rule "under Us and under the High King". Peter later confided to Lucy and Edmund that he was told by Aslan that he and Susan will never return to Narnia, as they are now too old. The four children returned to their world, in which they were waiting for their train that will take them to their boarding schools.

In Voyage of the Dawn Treader

While not physically present in the book, it was mentioned that Peter was under the tutelage of Professor Kirke in preparation for exams.

In The Last Battle

Peter has a minor role in the story, however he was the only one to directly address Tirian when the young king begged them to come to his aid.

Peter and Edmund went to London to retrieve the magic rings that Professor Kirke buried in The Magician's Nephew in the Ketterley's yard dressed as workmen, hoping to use its power and allow Eustace and Jill to reach Narnia. Both were waiting for Lucy, Eustace, Jill, Digory, and Polly at the station platform when the train crashed and killed them and everyone else, transporting them to Narnia.

Peter is described by Tirian as having the face of a king and a warrior. After Tirian passed through the stable door and saw Tash for the first time, Peter calmly ordered the demon to leave with his prey. As Aslan brought about the final destruction of Narnia, Peter was asked by Aslan to close the door, which he then locked with a golden key, and was one of the many people admitted in Aslan's country.

Christian elements

Lewis, himself an expert on allegory, did not consider The Chronicles of Narnia allegory. He saw them as "suppositional" answering the question, "What might Christ become like, if there really were a world like Narnia and He chose to be incarnate and die and rise again in that world as He actually has done in ours?' This is not allegory at all." While not allegorical, Narnia does present significant parallels with elements from Christianity.

There are similarities between Peter Pevensie and St. Peter, who was one of Jesus's original twelve disciples. Like St. Peter, who was given that name from Christ, Peter Pevensie is given the name Sir Peter Wolfsbane by Aslan. As the traditional first Bishop of Rome, St. Peter and his successors, are Primus inter pares, or first among equals with the other leaders of the church. Similarly, Peter Pevensie is given the title of High King. Lastly the biblical St. Peter, according to Catholic tradition, was given the "keys to the kingdom of heaven" and Peter Pevensie shut the door, locking it with a golden key, sealing the destroyed Narnia after the judgment in The Last Battle.

Portrayals

Notes

References

Additional reading

See also

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