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Jadis the White Witch

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If it's a war Aslan wants, it's a war he shall get.
~ Jadis the White Witch, plotting to make war with her archenemy King Aslan.

Jadis the White Witch, simply known as Jadis, is the main antagonist of "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and "The Magician's Nephew".

Jadis is the evil self-proclaimed Queen of Narnia, who cast a powerful spell over the entire land so that it is always winter and never Christmas. This spell was so strong that it lasted for a full century. As a powerful sorceress, Jadis wielded a wand through which she could transform anyone who opposed her into ice and stone.

Despite the fact that she is a tyrannical usurper, Jadis was shown to be truly knowledgeable in the laws of Narnia as well as the ways of the Deep Magic. She is also served by numerous servants: Maugrim (her enforcer), Otmin (her general), Ginarrbrik (her servant), and the polar bears (her pets).

Jadis' tyranny over Narnia was brought to an end when she went to war against Aslan, the four Pevensies (Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy), and their Narnian army, which concluded with her being killed by Aslan himself.

She was portrayed by Tilda Swinton.

History

Jadis was once queen of the world of Charn until she was embroiled in a war with her sister who "forced" her to utter the Deplorable Word, which had the power to kill every living thing in Charn except the person who spoke it. Jadis mentions that she paid a terrible price to learn it, though it is never revealed what this was. When her sister managed to defeat Jadis' army, Jadis spoke the word and destroyed all life in her world rather than let her sister rule it instead of her. She then put herself into an enchanted sleep, only to awake when someone came and tapped a bell in the room she resided in. That unsuspecting person was young Digory Kirke. Digory and his friend, Polly, accidentally bring Jadis to our world (more specificly to Digory's Uncle Andrew) and she wreaks havoc on England for about a day. There is a fight then, outside of Digory's house, in which Jadis takes a lamppost bar and begins to hit people with it.

Using magical rings that Uncle Andrew had given them (which took them to Charn in the first place) Digory and Polly manage to get Jadis (as well as a good lot of other people) out of England and into Narnia. Narnia is then a void world with nothing but darkness in it. When the Lion (Aslan) starts singing Narnia into creation, Jadis flees. She is next seen in a Garden far up in the mountains of the young world where she had eaten an apple from one of the trees there, giving her eternal life and youth. Digory though takes another apple from the same tree back to Aslan and plants it. This becomes the Tree of Protection and guards Narnia from the Witch for many years (as whoever had taken and eaten the fruit from the tree without permission would be repelled by it). It is hinted at the end of The Magician's Nephew that many years afterward a storm destroyed this tree. Presumably this is when Jadis was able to take over Narnia.

By the time of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, over one hundred years have passed since her arrival in Narnia. This time, whilst Aslan is away in other worlds, Jadis has taken over Narnia. She has an enormously vast army of evil creatures including dwarves, minotaurs, polar bears, goblins, satyrs and her own police of wolves. She has set herself up as Queen of Narnia in a colossal palace made of ice. In order to sustain her castle's status, as well as that of her increasingly phenomenal powers, she has cursed the whole of Narnia with an eternal and unbreakable winter - a winter without Christmas, at that.

The good creatures of Narnia are terrified of Jadis, but there is also a prophecy that 2 sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve will enter Narnia soon, and when they do they will raise an army, defeat the White Witch and restore peace to Narnia. In order to rebuke this prophecy, Jadis made the presence of humans in Narnia illegal and punishable by death. During the events of the book, Lucy Pevensie enters Narnia and is taken under the wing of the Faun Tumnus, who is one of her spies. Tumnus's conscience and Lucy's incalculable kindness get the better of Tumnus and he helps her out of Narnia, instead of turning her over to Jadis.

Later, when Lucy visits a second time, her brother Edmund follows her. He encounters Jadis and instinctively reveals that he has other siblings, and that Tumnus has been offering hospitality to Lucy. Jadis feigns warming up to him, entrancing him with her apparent kindness. She manipulates him into returning with all of his siblings to Narnia, and in return he will be made king of Narnia alongside her. She uses enchanted Turkish delights to entrance him into doing this. She then leaves him.

He does return with his siblings, and they are taken in by a family of beavers. Edmund leaves alone, after learning of Aslan and the Prophecy. He is escorted by her chief of police, the wolf Maugrim, and at first she is enraged that he has come alone after she asked so little of him. He then desperately betrays their location to her. She then sends Maugrim and the rest of her wolves after the beavers, before incarcerating Edmund in her dungeon. She comes with her police to the beaver dam and arrives just as the children and the beavers escape. In a fit of rage, she uses her wand to turn many of the nearby creatures to stone.

She returns and interrogates Edmund, who unwittingly reveals that they are going to meet with Aslan. She responds by turning Tumnus, who she had recently imprisoned for harboring a human, to stone. She then takes Edmund along with her to hunt for Aslan in her sleigh. Throughout the ride, Edmund gradually reveals the cruel, psychopathic and malicious nature of the Witch. She imprisons him again once she has set up a camp with her army near Aslan's camp. Whilst she is organizing strategy, Aslan's troops attack and free Edmund.

In response, Jadis takes her army and wrathfully bargains over Edmund's life with Aslan. Jadis intelligently points out that traitors - like Edmund - belong to her, and are for her to kill. If she does not then, by magical law, all of Narnia will be destroyed in fire and water. They bargain alone, for a very long time, and Jadis agrees to renounce her claim on Edmund's blood, if somebody else takes his place. Aslan himself takes Edmund's place and approaches the Stone Table, where Jadis sadistically orders the torture and humiliation of Aslan. After he is finally pinned to the Table, Jadis discreetly reveals that his sacrifice will not stop her from taking Narnia and killing the people he loves. She then kills Aslan, and prepares her troops for the upcoming battle.

With Aslan apparently dead, Jadis and her colossal army meet Aslan's army - led by the Centaur General Oreius, and Peter and Edmund - at Beruna fields. Jadis declares that no prisoners are to be taken, and all opposition are to be killed. She then orders her army to charge and a full-scale battle erupts between the two enormous forces. Jadis enters the battle on a chariot pulled by polar bears, but the charity is eventually brought down and Jadis fights off the army with her wand and broadsword. She kills thousands of Aslan's troops, turning many of them to stone. She comes dangerously close to turning Peter to stone whilst his back is turned, but Edmund intervenes.

Edmund faces Jadis one final time and uses his sword to destroy her wand. Enraged, Jadis stabs him in the heart, killing him. This infuriates Peter into rage and he attacks her. She steals Edmund's sword to replace her wand and challenges Peter. A climactic duel breaks out between the two, in which Peter is clearly hopelessly out of his depth. Jadis, completely confident that she will win and knowing that Aslan is dead, toys with Peter during the fight, disarming and flooring him time and again with her swords, but not bothering to strike a killing blow.

Soon, though, Aslan reappears, having resurrected all of the animals who had been turned to the stone by Jadis in the past, and enters the battle. Jadis panics and attacks Peter, actually intending to kill him quickly enough to be ready for Aslan. He puts up a decent fight, but Jadis overpowers him and pins him to the ground by stabbing him in the arm. Just as Jadis is about to kill him, Aslan charges and bulldozes into her, taking her clean off her feet, and eats her alive. With Jadis dead, her army evaporates and the magic she has inflicted on Narnia is permanently undone.

In Prince Caspian, Nikabrik- a black dwarf- tries to get Caspian to call back the spirit of the White Witch with the help of a hag and werewolf. However, Peter and Edmund enter the scene in time to stop them.

Appearance

Jadis is extremely tall, muscular and incredibly beautiful. She has long, flowing black hair and icily blue eyes, and wears a huge golden crown. She has a look of such fierceness and cold, stern pride that it takes your breath away. After arriving in Narnia, her skin turns as white as salt or icing sugar - one of the factors earning her the name The White Witch. In the film, her hair is ash-blond and she wears a crown made entirely of ice.

Although she looks human, it is mentioned that she has no human blood in her. Mr. Beaver mentions that she is one of the children of Lilith, Adam's first wife in the Bible on one side, and on the other she is descended from the giants, which explains her great height.

Jadis possesses a magnificent sense of style and always dresses extravagantly in a way that incensed and publicized her power and status. In the events of The Magician's Nephew, she was depicted in long, flowing Romanesque robes, while in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, she wore white furs that covered her up to her throat.

She carried a golden wand in the second book - but, in the films, it is depicted to be silver, with a crystal of ice at the tip, and requires physical contact with a target in order to work its magic. During the Battle of Beruna, she wears green battle robes, a golden ornamental crown, and sports Aslan's mane around her neck and chest. She carries a broadsword during the battle.

Personality

Queen Jadis is the perfect personification of evil in the Narnian universe, a satanic temptress responsible for bringing evil to Narnia. She is highly intelligent and calculating, a tactical genius and capable of manipulating any situation to her advantage. Jadis is very manipulative and can control people's minds with just her words and feigned kindness, as she does with Edmund in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Jadis is a complete megalomaniac - she is obsessed with the obtainment and maintaining of absolute power in whatever world or reality she finds herself in. Jadis will do absolutely anything to achieve her selfish goals, including committing complete genocide of her own species just to have no opposition. She also is completely capable of using force of arms to achieve power, as she does in the second book. Because of her obsession with power, Jadis is extremely arrogant, narcissistic and self-centered to a fault. She genuinely believes that she has a right to rule over whatever world she inhabits, and expects all to do her bidding out of a delusional sense of entitlement.

Jadis is arrogant, in that she is incapable of viewing anyone as her equal, and sees others simply as tools to be used or obstacles to be demolished. With all these traits, it may be accurate to describe her as a sociopath. Jadis's personality was marked by a total lack of empathy or conscience. She has no concept of loyalty and no compassion for anyone, even after wiping out her entire species, she showed a remorseless pride in her actions. She is also a hypocrite, and curses her sister with using underhanded and dishonorable tactics to get what she wants, when Jadis herself does that constantly.

Jadis is known to represent the ever present power of warfare to the Pevensie children because the novel is set during World War Two, and the Pevensies have been sent off to the Dorset countryside to be protected from the war, yet they meet war when they go into Narnia, and they have to fight in the final battle of the Narnian war despite being sent away from London to be protected from the war in the first place. Thus, Jadis' personality represents chaos, warfare and murder. She has a nihilistic and amoral view of human and Narnian life, killing allies and enemies alike. However, despite her disrespect for human law, she has a respect for the Deep Magic or divine law - she would not let the world she had conquered perish as a result of letting Edmund go free.

She is utterly ruthless, and calmly expresses that she does not want prisoners taken, and will only be satisfied with all of her enemies killed. Jadis was shown to be extremely self-confident, almost to the point of rash impulsiveness, but showed fear and unease when around Aslan, though that part is understandable. Despite all her negative traits, she was willing to let Edmund go once he was marked as a traitor, so long as Aslan agreed to surrender himself to her and her force. 

Powers and Abilities

Being born into the royal family of Charn, Jadis had an innate talent in the magical arts, which she further attuned and enhanced through delving into the darkest side of magic, enabling her to emerge as a dangerously powerful magician. After eating an Apple from the Tree of Youth, Jadis became a goddess-level sorceress, and her incredible supernatural powers could only be surpassed by those of Aslan's.

Examples of powers Jadis displayed were:

  • Cryokinesis: Jadis has divine control and authority over ice, cold and snow. She is capable of holding Narnia in an unbreakable and eternal winter for more than a hundred years, and even capable of constructing an enormous palace entirely out of ice. She is also immune to freezing temperatures. She is also capable of creating enormous blizzards and snowstorms with relative ease.
  • Frigiokinesis: She is capable of - using her wand - turning living things to stone. This is not her most powerful trait, but it is her signature attack. Once inflicted, the power of the wand cannot be reversed by anyone, except for Aslan.
  • The Deplorable Word: Jadis's most terrifying ability is her knowledge of the Deplorable Word. This Word is incredibly powerful, and will effectively kill every single living creature on the planet it is being spoken on - the only person who is unaffected by the Word is the person who made the incantation. However, it is ineffective outside of her world.
  • Telekinesis: Jadis is naturally capable of manipulating objects without physically touching them. She is also capable of utterly reducing objects to dust.
  • Immortality: After eating an Apple from the Tree of Youth, Jadis was changed from having the longevity of her species to having complete immortality. Even if her body is destroyed, her embodiment will ultimately survive.
  • Preservation: Jadis has the unique ability to paralyze herself completely, sustaining her age, powers and physical condition unbreakably for an infinite amount of time.
  • Beauty: Jadis is incalculably beautiful, and any male creature who lays eyes on her will view her as the most beautiful creature that any individual has ever seen. Females, however, are understandably immune to this beatific charisma.
  • Telepathy: Jadis has the ability to read the minds of others.
  • Creature Control: She has utter control and authority over evil creatures such as minotaurs, wolves and dwarves. This is enough to create an army for herself.
  • Superhuman Strength: Jadis is incredibly strong. It is her physical strength that she can retain in other worlds. She can rip lampposts from the ground, deliver bone-breaking blows during fights, and lift people cleanly off the ground and throw them through the air over huge distances. Jadis's physical strength increases when she enters Narnia and eats the apple from the Forbidden Tree. In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Jadis is so strong she can carry a broadsword in each hand and deliver phenomenally powerful blows with each blade, despite broadswords being extremely heavy and meant for two-handed wielding.
  • Swordsmanship: Jadis is an incredibly talented warrior and a deadly swordswoman - she has survived hundreds of wars on Charn, honing her skills on the battlefield. During the Battle of Beruna, she effortlessly defeated every single opponent that she faced during the conflict with complete ease, even the extremely skilled Oreius. People may argue that this particular battle progress was due to her possessing a wand, but later when Edmund destroys the Wand, Jadis takes his sword along with her own and shows extraordinary proficiency with these weapons. In her duel with Peter, she completely outmatches him several times throughout the duel. It must be said that, up until Aslan appeared in the battle, Jadis was basically toying with him, never truly attempting to kill him but showing off her superior skill. However, when Aslan enters the battle, Jadis actually tries to kill him and comes close to doing so, but Aslan saves Peter just in time.
  • Supreme Reflexes/Speed: She has superhuman reflexes - when Edmund destroys her wand, she reacts quickly to recover from the horror of its destruction and overpowers and stabs him.

Gallery

Trivia

  • The White Witch never appeared in the book versions of Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. However, she did appear in the movie versions. Still, the book version of Prince Caspian mentions that people were trying to bring her back, so this does fit a bit with the movie version.


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