Why are we tempted to serve other gods?
Prince Caspian returns from a crushing defeat. The ancient kings and queens of Narnia, summoned by the call of Queen Susan's horn, have failed to take Miraz's castle. Many Narnians were slaughtered. Battered and broken, Caspian walks into Aslan's How, in an underground cavern, and is met by the dwarf Nikabrik, who suggests that there are other powers one can call on.
Idolatry, Desperation, False gods, Impatience, Worship
Nikabrik tells Caspian that just because one ancient power failed to deliver what Caspian wanted, doesn't mean that they shouldn't try another one. Nikabrik says, "You want your uncle's blood? So do we. You want his throne? We can get it for you." When Caspian seeks and explanation, Nikabrik tells him about a power that once kept Aslan out of Narnia for a hundred years (he is speaking of the White Witch from the first film). As Nikabrik speaks, Caspian notices that they are not alone. He calls out, "Who's there?" A hooded figure appears, saying, "I am hunger. I am thirst. I can fast for a hundred years and not die. I can lie a hundred nights on the ice, and not freeze. I can drink a river of blood, and not burst. Show me your enemies!" At the last, the figure throws back the hood to reveal the face of a werewolf. A second figure, a woman with a bird-like face -- a hag, appears and tells Caspian, "What you hate, so will we. No one hates better than us." Caspian is troubled, but his desire to end the fight with his usurper uncle is stronger, "You can guarantee Miraz's death?" The hag promises this, "and more." Taking Caspian's silence to be consent, she calls for a magic circle to be drawn. She begins an incantation in an ugly language. Her voice rises to a crescendo and she drives what appears to be a crystal-tipped scepter into the ground. Suddenly, a wall of ice appears before Caspian, completely obscuring the image of Aslan on the wall behind it. Afraid, Caspian says, "Wait, this isn't what I wanted." But either because it is too late, or because Caspian's objections seem feeble, the werewolf steps in and takes Caspian's hand and presses a knife against his palm. From the ice prison that seems to hold her, we see Jadis, the White Witch. She calls to Caspian, "One drop of Adam's blood, and you free me. And I am yours, my king." Caspian weakly struggles, saying "No," but he remains inside the circle as the White Witch's hand reaches out from the ice toward him. All he has to do is grasp her hand and she will be free. Nut from the back of the room, Peter, Edmund, Lucy, and Trumpkin come running, yelling, "Stop!" A battle ensues, and Edmund slays the werewolf, Peter kills the hag, and Trumpkin, with a little help from Lucy, overcomes Nikabrik. But the danger is not passed. Peter, having shoved Caspian aside, is now standing within the circle. One son of Adam is as good as another. The White Witch looks out upon Peter and says, "Peter, dear, I missed you. Come. Just one drop. You know you can't do this alone." Peter stands, transfixed. His desire to win, to overcome on his own terms, is too great. He reaches out his hand toward the White Witch, who greedily moves toward him. But just before she is free, we see a sword pierce her image in the ice. She goes limp, the ice shatters, and there, standing in front of the image of Aslan, stands Edmund. He dryly tells Peter, who is shocked by his own brush with the Witch, "I know. You had it sorted."
Caspian and Peter are in tough straits. Their best laid plans are in ruins. Their army is in tatters. A malevolent enemy threatens. Their attitude has shifted from one of brash confidence to one of deep desperation. What can they do? Of course, this is not the whole story. Earlier, Peter rejected Lucy's advice, on numerous occasions, to follow, wait for, or to seek Aslan. Caspian, who only knows of Aslan through the stories of his tutor, might have some slight excuse for his impatience. But Peter, who knows Aslan, refuses to heed Lucy's advice because he wants to win this one all by himself. We are all, at times, a lot like Peter. There are two truths universal to the human condition: We want our own way. And we want to win. When our will is challenged, when defeat seems imminent, many of us will grasp at nearly anything to avoid defeat. If there are unknown consequences, we argue, we'll deal with those later. Right now, there is a war of wills engaged -- a battle to be won. God, however, does not operate on our timetable. He has His own will, and His own way. He tells us to wait on Him We can choose to wait on Him, and to trust Him with the outcome, or we can forge ahead with our own plans, engaging whatever other help might present itself. Unfortunately, this is the path we sometimes take. Like King Saul who would not wait for the prophet Samuel to offer a sacrifice, but went ahead in disobedience because he saw his circumstances and was afraid, we disobey God because we believe we see opportunities slipping away (1 Samuel 13:8-14). Like King Saul, who sought out the Witch of En-dor for advice, violating God's law against trying to converse with the dead, we seek counsel from anyone but God (1 Samuel 28:4-19). Like the people during the time of the Judges, everyone seeks to do what is right in his or her own eyes, rejecting God's will as revealed in the Scriptures. And like the children if Israel, who would rather make bargains with Baal, than bow the knee before the Living God, we will latch on to almost anything that will promise to deliver our desires -- not recognizing that such bargains imperil our souls (Deuteronomy 32:15-18). Let's pray that we are tempted to do anything to win -- to seek our own will instead of God's -- that we all will have an Edmund in our lives. Someone who thinks clearly enough to recognize the danger of dealing with demons, and is willing to put themselves on the line to rescue us from our own foolish choices.
Idol, Idolatry, Idols, Demon, Demons, False God, False Gods, Win, Winning, Worship, Devil, Devils, Desperation. Impatience
This is a lengthy scene, but very instructive. This scene has images of a hag and a werewolf that might be scary to very young children. The hag engages in an occult ritual, that is clearly a bad choice. Prince Caspian has his hand cut in order to get blood for the ritual. And there is some bloodless battle violence.