Delicious Deceit: Temptation in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
by Savanna Mathis
Andrew Adamson’s fantasy and adventure film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005), based on the novel by C. S. Lewis, follows four siblings who are sent to a safe home in London amidst the bombings of World War II. Upon their arrival, they discover a wardrobe that transports them to a magical land by the name of Narnia. The siblings soon learn that they are destined to save Narnia from the evil of the White Witch (Tilda Swinton). While they receive guidance from their lion companion Aslan (Liam Neeson), the White Witch has her own tricks up her sleeve, utilizing food to tempt the siblings to turn on one another.
One of the most entrancing scenes involving food occurs when Edmund (Skandar Keynes) meets the White Witch in the snowy woods of Narnia. The White Witch becomes irritated immediately, questioning Edmund’s identity and how he has found her land. Upon learning there are multiple siblings, she turns affectionate and offers Edmund anything he would like to eat or drink. As Edmund sips from a chalice of hot cocoa and devours a tin of “Turkish Delights” (gummy candies made from starch and sugar that come in a variety of flavors), the White Witch plants ideas in his head about his potential rule of Narnia and tricks him into agreeing to bring his siblings to her.
This manipulation of food with the Turkish Delights emphasizes the strong desires for specific foods that could tempt anyone to do things both good and bad, but this portrayal of food also demonstrates how it can be weaponized. The White Which takes advantage of Edmund’s naivety and desire for Turkish Delights to get him to not only put his family in danger, but to also put all of Narnia at risk. Throughout the film, she continues to tempt Edmund with Turkish Delights to keep him on her side until he sees her true colors and is freed by Aslan.
This film and its relationship to food produce many lessons about just how prominent and powerful food is in human functioning. Food is typically viewed in a positive lens as nourishing and eliciting happiness from those who consume it, but the food in this film is portrayed negatively with emphasis on greed, temptation, betrayal, and more. Food sets our desires into motion and the foods that are dangerous and forbidden initiate our biblical nature of temptation.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Dir. Andrew Adamson. Walt Disney Pictures. 2005.