Jadis: The White Witch
Jadis is the fabled White Witch of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (CS Lewis). She was wonderfully visualized by the ever-ethereal Tilda Swinton in the cinematic rendering of that book. She was one of the first witches I remember reading about as a kid, and I always thought she was coolly villainous.
The Wikipedia entry on Jadis says it best:
In her own dominion, Charn, Jadis is extremely powerful; but she finds her magic largely useless in other worlds. She eventually strengthens her powers and usurps the throne of Narnia, using her magic to cast the land into perpetual winter.
Her most feared weapon is her wand, whose magic is capable of turning people into stone. The petrified remains of her enemies decorate the halls of her castle. Her other powers, which she immediately loses after entering another world, include the ability to disintegrate objects and individuals, read minds, control the minds of animals (She does possibly retain or regain this power in Narnia) and the terrifying power of the Deplorable Word – the latter of which wipes out every living thing on a planet except for the speaker.
An extraordinarily beautiful, tall and imposing woman, Jadis enchants Digory Kirke, Andrew Ketterley and Edmund Pevensie on first encounters. She is also physically powerful and amazonian, capable of breaking iron with her bare hands and lifting human beings off their feet. She retains her superhuman strength in other worlds (except in the Wood between the Worlds), but must re-learn magic.
She is seven feet tall, as were all members of the Royal Family of Charn. A natural-born sorceress and a cunning strategist, Jadis is arrogant and cruel, considering herself above all rules and viewing others as tools to be used or obstacles to be demolished. After she eats the Fruit of Everlasting Life, selfishly and against the written admonition on the gate, she discovers that her sense of inner power and life is amplified. However her skin becomes as white as paper, symbolizing a kind of living death and the despair-to-come that is predicted in the text she deems she is above.
Her callousness and sense of entitlement is most clearly demonstrated when she uses the Deplorable Word in Charn to vanquish her sister, even though the Word would eradicate all life in that world but her own. She prefers to destroy that entire world than submit to her sister’s authority, and shows afterward a remorseless pride in her actions. Though her magic disappears when she leaves Charn, she manages to build it up again in Narnia’s world, exercising both her previous experience and her privilege to witness a new world’s dawning, to become again a sorceress of formidable power.
Wicked White Witch Quotes
“You know, Aslan, I’m a little disappointed in you. Did you honestly think by all this that you could save the human traitor? You are giving me your life and saving no one. So much for love. Tonight, the Deep Magic will be appeased, but tomorrow, we will take Narnia forever! In that knowledge, despair… and die!”
For More Witches, Wicked and Otherwise
Can’t get enough of witches? Be sure to order our anthology, Wax & Wane: A Gathering of Witch Tales, for 30 spellbinding witch stories!