You’re Peter, the oldest child in the first Narnia book.  Should you try to free the land of Narnia from its current state of “always winter, never Christmas”, or just let it be?  (We’re assuming that you have complete authority over your siblings’ decision, too – they’ll follow your lead.)


1. Moral imperative.

(a) The White Witch is really oppressive.

(b) She oppresses fauns like Mr. Tumnus and the talking beavers, both of whom are simply adorable.  So these rights abuses are exacerbated by the fact that its victims are really, really cute and lovable.

(c) You’re the only hope to free them.  It’s been like this for a hundred years, there are clearly little to no prospects of the talking beavers et al being able to throw off the White Witch on their own.

2. Personal imperative.

(a) Narnia’s a heckuva lot better than your personal life, which is living in this creepy old house with this creepy old alleged “Professor” while the Nazis blow the shit out of everything around you.

(b) Escapism is, in general, good.  That’s why so many people love these books.  Now you not only get a chance to read about adventure, but actually live the adventure.  Millions of kids would kill for an opportunity like this.

3. Theological imperative.  Look, remember that this whole thing is a Jesus parable.  And these kids are devout Christians.

(a) Dude, it’s Jesus.  You’ve got to help him.

(b) Not only is it Jesus, but it’s Jesus in the form of a badass lion.  That magnifies the benefits I told you about.

(c) Jesus will protect you from harm, so any element of danger side opp throws in your face will go away.

Also, fight the power!  We’re talking about a White Witch who keeps everything blanketed in white snow, clearly a racist conspiracy.  Stick it to The Man.


Observation: No doubt side opp will go on and on about how this is Christian symbolism and you have to help Jesus.  But… come on, you’re kids!  You don’t know about the Christian symbolism!  When I read these books as a kid, I sure didn’t!

And also, even to the extent you do know that this is Jesus, Jesus will win all on his own – if Jesus can’t smack around a two-bit witch without the help of some prepubescent kids, he’d be pretty sad indeed.  The reality is, Jesus will win no matter what (worst comes to worst, he calls in help from his dad, The Man Upstairs), you can’t help him; all you can do is jeopardize him, if perhaps the White Witch were to take him hostage.  You’re a liability, not an asset.

1. It’d be damn dangerous.

(a) Natural enemies.  It’s really cold and you might freeze to death.

(b) Living enemies: That witch is fierce.  And she has lots of evil minions.

(c) Chance of treachery, from Edmund.

(d) Obligations to your siblings.

Even if you yourself (Peter) are willing to accept the danger, you’re facing responsibility for your siblings as well.  Lucy’s like 6 and Edmund’s like 8.  Sending them into a dangerous ice land infested with enemies seems like a really bad idea.  They’ll almost certainly die, and when they do, their blood will be on your hands.

(e) By contrast, the alternative is much better: you get to live in this palatial old mansion with this kindly relative of yours.

2. You simply aren’t capable of helping very much.

You’re a bunch of kids!  (see above)

(c) In fact, not only can’t you help the cause, but you may hurt it, by being taken hostage or something.

3. Foreign policy analogy: meddling in the internal affairs of not merely another country, but another >world.

(a) In principle, this meddling is wrong.  Let the denizens of Narnia determine their own affairs, not have you dictate things to them.

            Analogy to the Star Trek Prime Directive

(b) In practice, doing this would result in a backlash.  Foreign policy analogy: we’d be meddling in the internal affairs of not merely another country, but another world.  Just imagine the backlash and resentment that would cause!

(c) Also, remember that this is a fantasy world.  Who knows what could be the effects of your actions?  Maybe if you so much as breathe on the Magical Sword of Slaying the wrong way, the entire fantasy world will explode into a fireball.

This is ultimately the key issue in the round, since it trumps all other issues.  Oppressed beavers?  Well, better that they’re oppressed than dead.  Help Jesus?  Better that Jesus has to be alone than dead.

Also, snow is pretty.


One dynamic is that to the extent you believe that action is needed to free the denizens of Narnia since they cannot free themselves, you have to concede that the personal danger increases.