The White Stag, Part 4

What happens to Kings and Queens used to “battles, quests, feats of arms, acts of justice, and the like” when they become children again, left adrift with vague memories of another life?

What if any or all of them had refused the White Stag’s “call” (as if it was predestined) and remained in Narnia instead of passing the lamp post?

Was the White Stag a friend or foe to them, or a mere agent of change?

I’ll be looking at some of those Narnian fanfics here.

elastic recoil, by acrosticacrumpet

In this flashfic the author plays with the idea that the White Stag was never a physical being at all, but one of the manifestations of Jadis’s dying curse.

Gone from the World, by Kastaka

There are more than a few fanfics that portray the aftermath of the Pevensie’s disappearance at the end of LWW, speculating on what happens in Narnia after that loss (as Lewis did not.) In this short fic, the thicket where they vanished is cut down, and dwarves dig through nearby ruins hoping to find some trace. Mr. Tumnus searches as well, persevering when others have not, and is driven to hunt the White Stag himself for some answers. The author portrays the stag as neither good or evil, or even being able to speak; but it grants Tumnus a vision of Lucy attending classes at an English school, and he is satisfied. Though Lucy probably isn’t.

Impaled on Thorns, by Gehayi

This excellent short story takes the viewpoint that the White Stag was not creature of folklore but the tool of an angry god (Tash) used to punish the kings and queens who humiliated Prince Rabadash and the Calormenes. The author touches on a lot of the points I brought up in this series of posts and followed the same research, and also referenced the series of Narnia deconstructions posted by now-discredited LGBTQ critic Ana Mardoll. There’s even a reason given for the Pevensie’s twittery Medieval-speak. Recommended!

Nothing Gold Can Stay, by TerminalVelocity

This story brings climate change into the mix. Drought, storms, floods and hail wrack Narnia, and the four kings and queens realize that Aslan means for them to hunt the White Stag. But for what, they don’t know. Since it’s pretty beastly of Aslan to punish the land just to force the kids back into England, this story sits on “the stag is evil” side, with Susan in particular forming resentment. This story is part of a longer series of mournful conjectures on the Pevensie’s post-Narnia life.

Medieval Hunt, from an illuminated manuscript

the woods are lovely, dark and deep, by AlexSeanChai

This short story of the stag hunt is told from the viewpoint of 12-tear-old Princess Victoria, Queen Susan’s child, who witnesses her mother and her siblings vanish through the wardrobe door. It’s an examination of what would happen to the four empty thrones at Cair Paravel in such a case, as Lewis made no provisions for succession in his book. The princess knows she must grow up immediately and fill them for the sake of keeping the prophecy fulfilled. It’s melancholy, but not out of the ordinary for a fanfic… until the princess thinks about who will fill those seats, implying the Pevensies have not only been busy with battles and affairs of state while in Narnia.

The King’s Heart, by OUATLovr

This fanfic was a longer story, melancholy as the above was, that deals with the disappearances but also with the wishes the Pevensies made, of which Lucy’s and later Peter’s come true. At first I thought the story was about Lucy, who of all her siblings, retains memories of England the longest in Narnia, and wishes to see her mother’s face again; the author handled the failing memories of the others like a kind of senility to which Lucy reacts with sorrow. Then the story moves to King Peter’s history, his taking of a dryad for a wife, and his wish for an heir. Really well done.

we have come to our real work, by be_themoon

In this short AU only Peter and Lucy have gone back to England. This is one of those stories where the kids who return keep their memories, and they DON’T want to be back in England. Susan and Edmund are left to rule, but things go downhill for Narnia from there, and despondency abounds.

Golden Lads and Girls, by Songsmith

A what-if that depicts what happens in Narnia after the Pevensies disappear. Dryads and naiads scream and go into hibernation, and the kingdom mourns.

Kings and Queens Hunting the White Stag, an AI-created piece of art

Quest for the White Stag, by Narnian Pirate

Short flashfic depicting the Pevensies not catching the stag after all, realizing they don’t, in fact, need to wish for anything.

Fulfillment, by lurkisblurkis

Lovely, lyrical description of the stag hunt on a moonlit autumn night. Each Pevensie has a different wish, yet when Lucy blurts out hers, the others concur with it, and the stag weaves his magic. This is one of the few stories in which the stag speaks (“Well done, Kings and Queens of Narnia. You have pursued your prizes valiantly. I am honor-bound now to offer each of you a wish, a request which I shall do all in my power to grant, though mayhap it be not after the manner of your imaginings”) and the High Romance nature of the chase itself is adhered to. The ending of the story is the same as the book’s, but the why of it, is what Lewis left out. Recommended.

Return Through the Wardrobe, by Queen Maedhbh

What if the four kings and queens had nearly come out of the wardrobe into England, then realized their mistake and pulled back? This is first chapter of a longer work with an intriguing premise — seems five years have passed since they hunted the stag, and Oreius the centaur is now in charge after the Telmarines have invaded. This story is not as well written as the others, and plays loose with the Narnian timeline, but what a concept!

One Thing, by Kosetsuno Tenshi

This story plays around with the idea that if one thing (get it) about the hunt of the stag had been different, what happened next would by very different too. In part one,  Lucy does not go, so when the others try to re-enter the wardrobe, the magic doesn’t work since there are only three of them, and though they return they are still bewitched by the lantern, to Narnia’s detriment. In the second part, Susan’s warning is heeded and all of them turn back, continuing their royal lives and leaving descendants, but doom still arrives, as in the first part, by the invading Caspian I (even though many centuries pass between the end of LWW and Prince Caspian. I prefer stories that stick to canon, but I also recommend this for being so creative. It’s a shame no more chapters were posted.

This is what you do with The White Stag when you catch him.

The White Stag has certainly led us on a merry chase. What a fitting end for this Summer of Narnia!

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