The problem of Susan

An intelligent and surprisingly sensible take on a character from Narnia:

How do you solve a problem like Susan Pevensie?

Oh, Susan.  The most maligned and misinterpreted of Pevensies.  And, incidentally, my favorite character.  Let’s talk a moment about these misinterpretations, particularly the ones that have absorbed themselves into the popular consciousness despite how many times I yell about them on Twitter.

In a Time Magazine interview, J.K. Rowling described her debt to C.S. Lewis.

“I found myself thinking about the wardrobe route to Narnia when Harry is told he has to hurl himself at the barrier in King’s Cross Station—it dissolves and he’s on Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, and there’s the train to Hogwarts.”

However, she points out that there were aspects of the Narnian chronicles that bothered her.  She also points out that Susan Pevensie

“…is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lipstick. She’s become irreligious basically because she found sex. I have a real problem with that.”

On that note, Philip Pullman penned an angry Guardian article where he claimed that for Lewis, a girl’s achieving sexual maturity was

“so dreadful and so redolent of sin that he had to send her to Hell.”

It’s so unsurprising that Pullman proves to be as hapless a reader as he is a writer.


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