Lucy did not think that her oldest brother was afraid of dying. He had gone into battle dozens of times, always leading the charge into the melee. And in truth, he was glad she thought this. Someone needed to be confident in him. He certainly wasn't. Because death would mean leaving his family alone in the middle of a war and not being able to protect him. And that – that terrified him.
It drips from his brow when his helmet chafes him there. It falls from her fingers when her bowstring twangs. It looks like the life-restoring liquid in her vial. It stains his sword long after it is cleaned. None of them forget that the spilling of blood only kills one to save another.
There has to be a reason, a "just cause", for doing something. Edmund remembers this every time he sits down to review a petition, every time he steps onto a battlefield, every time he kneels to pray. And he wonders every day why Aslan thought he was worthy of saving; someone worth dying for.
Susan knows that each time she lets an arrow loose that it will strike truly. She knows that her brother and sister love her. She knows that Aslan died, and that he came back to life. But there are times when she wakes up feeling like Narnia is a dream that she is just living in temporarily.
Lucy tries to find the good in everything. She can excuse the bullies at school. She forgave Edmund his teasing; Susan, her bossiness; Peter, his pride. She has only knows a few things that were bad. And though she has not met either of them, thankfully, she thinks as she remembers Jadis killing Aslan, and then Aslan returning the favor, that Hitler is not so invincible either. In the end, good always wins. She believes that with everything she has.
When they are standing on the crest of a hill, overlooking their enemy in the first real battle without Aslan, and the lion of his shield reflects the sunlight and he looks at her and asks if she trusts him, what else can she say but yes?
Peter used to play a game: if a genie could grant you one wish, what would it be? Now all of his wildest dreams have come true and he promises himself that he will never take what he has been given for granted.
He had once been so proud of himself for being able to make Lucy cry or Susan storm off or Peter yell at him. Now these are the things he thinks of as his lowest moments. It is not when he is sitting on his throne, or atop Philip, or soaring with a Gryphon, but when he is on his knees that he is finally at his highest.
When Lucy was little – very little – she didn't understand much of anything and didn't like to go out in the wintertime. But as she got older and was able to enjoy it more, she started to like it: the skating on the pond and snowball fights and Christmas. But in Narnia, joy has gone out of the ice, and out of almost everything else with it.
It took just one piece of Turkish delight to ensnare Edmund surely in the White Witch's trap. It took just one mistake to ruin his life. It took just one sacrifice to fix it. And when he thinks of who he is and who Aslan is and how the Lion for him could not possibly be a fair trade, he wants to make sure everyone else who is undeserving like him gets the same grace he got, and he will administer it himself if he must.
Susan knew she was supposed to be gentle. She remembered going to church with her mum, ages ago, and being instructed not to murder. Father Christmas told her battles were ugly when women fight. But as she notches an arrow and stares into the face of death, feeling the presence of her brothers beside her and her subjects at her back and the Lion in her soul, she knows she is justified.
Peter hates darkness, whether it's with his family in a bomb shelter, with his troops on the battlefield during a night raid, or alone in his quarters in his too-big bed. People say he is the magnificent one, but they forget the siblings holding him up and the golden Lion guiding him.
Edmund's most oft-used complaint was once "It's not fair." And when Lucy comes to him, crying, one night relating a nightmare about Aslan's death for him, he weeps with her. Aslan kept him from getting what he deserved – death – for no other reason but love.
Lucy plants a garden and tends it every day. It pains her, having to cut it back every once in a while, but everyone reminds her that it's the only way it will grow. Life always seems to stem from pain: it takes rain to bring beautiful flowers.
Just because they are the kings and queens of a nation and everything they rule is supposed to pay tribute to them does not mean that they are not subject to the authority of something else – or rather, Someone else.
Edmund and his siblings have been given gifts: uncountable riches, priceless gems, untold troves. And as he and Peter confer about their sisters, and the possibility of marriage alliances, he knows that they are richer than he could have ever dreamed, and that these treasures should not be given away.
There have been court singers and jesters and all kinds of entertainment brought before them, but Susan's favorite thing to do is sit by herself in her room in the window-seat overlooking the sunset, and know that even in the silence she is never really alone.
Peter doesn't know why things are the way they are – why Aslan made him High King – just that they are. And that they feel right.
Edmund used to hate always being in his brother's shadow, but now he finds it much better than the place of darkness he was once in.
Sometimes, when she looks at her sister dancing with the princes and dignitaries and diplomats, Lucy wonders whether anyone will ever think that she is as beautiful, as worthy of attention. But she tells herself that she does not need it, because she knows that she is wonderfully made, and she knows that she is loved.
Even though she is called the most beautiful woman Narnia has ever seen, knowing how many hearts she has broken and that a war might be fought over her hand makes Susan sometimes feel when she looks into a mirror that she is ugly inside.
Lucy isn't sure why she got the title, not when she is the only one who isn't out there on the battlefield. She doesn't know that her siblings think that it isn't their destroying that makes for bravery, but the fact that Lucy always picks up the pieces afterward.
As they face the challenges of leadership, and the ensuing temptation, pride, and apprehension, the siblings come to learn that of all their foes, the most important thing they must conquer is themselves.
If anyone in Narnia thought that their new sovereigns were too inexperienced to make good leaders, they didn't say so. It was assumed that they just believed, as did the royals themselves.
There used to be an expression about living in a zoo. But with the Animals roaming about and offering him advice, without a cage in sight, the thing is, Peter had never felt freer. And if that was the case, he never wanted to leave.