Susan Pevensie

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Name: Susan Pevensie
Occupation: Queen of Narnia (formerly)
Relationships: Mr & Mrs Pevensie (parents)

Peter, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie (siblings)

Eustace Scrubb (cousin)
Fandom: The Chronicles of Narnia
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Susan Pevensie is a main character in The Chronicles of Narnia, a series of YA fantasy books written by C.S. Lewis.

The Problem Of Susan


The issue arises from this passage of The Last Battle:

"Where is Queen Susan?"

"My sister Susan," answered Peter shortly and gravely, "is no longer a friend of Narnia."

"Yes," said Eustace, "and whenever you've tried to get her to come and talk about Narnia or do anything about Narnia, she says 'What wonderful memories you have! Fancy your still thinking about all those funny games we used to play when we were children.'"

"Oh Susan!" said Jill, "she's interested in nothing now-a-days except nylons and lipstick and invitations. She always was a jolly sight too keen on being grown-up."

"Grown-up, indeed," said the Lady Polly. "I wish she would grow up. She wasted all her school time wanting to be the age she is now, and she'll waste all the rest of her life trying to stay that age. Her whole idea is to race on to the silliest time of one's life as quick as she can and then stop there as long as she can."

The Last Battle

The exclusion of Susan in the final book has been a point of discomfort among fans for a very long time. In response to a letter from a child, C.S. Lewis himself wrote:

I could not write that story myself. Not that I have no hope of Susan’s ever getting to Aslan’s country; but because I have a feeling that the story of her journey would be longer and more like a grown-up novel than I wanted to write. But I may be mistaken. Why not try it yourself?

The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis

What is the Problem of Susan?

The way Susan was treated and written out of the series by the author has been discussed both by professional fantasy writers and fans. In The Problem of Susan, a short story by Neil Gaiman (2004) interrogates the treatment of Susan in these books. Since then, the term has become used more widely as a catchphrase for the literary and feminist investigation into Susan's treatment.

In 2005, J.K. Rowling said:

"There comes a point where Susan, who was the older girl, is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lipstick. She's become irreligious basically because she found sex," Rowling says. "I have a big problem with that."

J.K. Rowling Hogwarts And All, article by Lev Grossman [1]

In 2015, Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials, said:

"I just don’t like the conclusions Lewis comes to, after all that analysis, the way he shuts children out from heaven, or whatever it is, on the grounds that the one girl is interested in boys. She’s a teenager! Ah, it’s terrible: Sex—can’t have that."

A Conversation With Philip Pullman, article by Katy Waldman [2]


Susan Pevensie is the character to whom C.S. Lewis give something closest to his own arc. Lewis and Susan are both childhood believers and then adolescent atheists. But Lewis became a theist again at the age of 30 and then a Christian at the age of 32, so there's that as well. [...] Lipstick and nylons and invitations are probably more about the superficial, materialistic trappings of growing up, rather than about sex or the awfulness of wanting to look pretty. [...] it's the desire to act grown up without really stopping to question what that means. Lipstick and nylons and invitations are the superficial trappings of adulthood, rather than the thing itself. [...]

To sum up then let me quote the man himself on the subject of being adult:

"Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of a merely descriptive term, cannot be adults themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adults is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairytales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I'm fifty I read them openly."

Jill Bearup, video essay [Is Susan A Problem?]



Crossover fic

Perhaps due to her coming back to the real world, Susan is a popular crossover character in oneshots.

Problem of Susan focus

Due to the prevalence of the term, there is also a popular The Problem Of Susan AO3 tag with over 300 works. Here are some popular examples


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