Exercising the craft—March 13, 2013

By Ekta R. Garg

Prompt: Write a contemporary adaptation of a fairy tale using first-person narration from the point of view of the villain.

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Every morning when I wake up, I think of my sister.  And every morning I curse her.

She had started the war in Charn, not I.  She had insisted on challenging me for my rightful place as queen.  Had she simply taken me at my word that I would destroy her and the kingdom, if need be, I would not have ultimately followed through with that threat and then placed myself and my court under the enchanted sleep.  I would have ruled without any interference.  Instead that ridiculous boy—Digamy or something—found me and woke me.  And because of him I became exiled to this new world.  Narnia.

After I curse my sister, I curse the boy.

Of course due to his stupidity, he couldn’t have possibly known that Aslan would restrict me to Narnia’s borders.  That, try as I might, I could never escape.  I could never return to Charn—if it even still exists.

But that’s not to say this new world doesn’t have its advantages.  I found the tree with the magic apples, those that grant eternal life.  Aslan has no knowledge of my consumption of a golden one, and why would he?  When he first made the world he spent most of his time with those ridiculous animals.

Aslan’s ignorance has allowed me to rule this new world.  If I couldn’t continue to rule my homeland, I found an able substitute.  This young country offers much in resources and subjects.  And slaves.

Oh, at first the natives showed some resistance.  They didn’t believe that I had declared myself queen.  They kept asking when Aslan would return and address their grievances.  Then they began asking me to consider their problems.  As if it’s my duty to worry about their daily sustenance!  Slaves know they have no right to address royalty.  Why couldn’t these Narnians comprehend such a basic rule of the land?

They kept asking questions, kept bothering me as I tried to attend to the building of my castle.  That’s when I began turning them into stone.  Not all of them; only the ones that bothered me beyond my patience.  I acquired many new accessories for my castle that year.

But they refused to leave me alone.  They kept coming back with their questions and their imagined needs.  I think at one point some of them had begun fighting with one another, and then they began coming to me to solve their differences.  They truly didn’t understand the station of slaves.  They worked and built according to my specifications, but then they would come back after finishing their allotted time sections of building and keep trying to ask for my ruling on one matter or the other.

One day I simply couldn’t stand it anymore.  As they placed the last stones, in a fit of rage at my exile I waved my wand and placed the entire land under a spell: that of winter.  I had never used this spell in Charn, although I had considered it during the war with my sister.  But in that case I needed a more permanent solution.

As winter continued I noticed that the Narnians began coming less and less.  They found it difficult to trudge through the snow and make me listen to them drone on and on about borders and land rights and whether the fauns and the dwarfs should form an alliance or should work independently.  What did I care?  Once they did the work I assigned, I didn’t want to see their ugly, needy faces.

Besides, I’ve always had a fondness for snow.

Some of them continued to brave the elements, however, so I extended the winter and sent out a decree in the entire land.  Narnia would now endure an endless winter, and the residents would not have any benefit of the ridiculous holiday they know as Christmas.  Nor would they celebrate any other holiday, Narnian, Calormenian, or other.  Slaves need to work, not make merriment.

The land has finally come under control.  No one approaches my castle anymore—indeed, they don’t even look at the castle—without express instruction from me.  A few of the more plucky ones throw looks my way, their shoulders drooping, their mouths turned down, but I simply raise my head higher and order my driver to push the reindeer a little faster.  A queen cannot fraternize with the commonplace.

I have asserted my rule and enforced it.  I am the absolute law of Narnia.  Once in a while I hear rumors of Aslan’s return, but they come as whispers on the wind and dissipate just as quickly.  Cair Paravel sits at the mouth of the sea, and I now turn my designs toward it.  My own castle has slowly filled up with statues of the examples I have set, and I have no doubt that several of these examples would go on display quite nicely in the main hall of Cair Paravel.

I curse my sister every morning.  I curse the boy.  And then I thank both of them for fulfilling my dream of attaining absolute power.

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