Jadis the White Witch is the main antagonist from the 2005 Walt Disney Pictures feature film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which is based on the popular children's book series by C.S. Lewis. She was portrayed by British actress Tilda Swinton. Swinton's performance won particular acclaim among fans and critics. BBC film critic Stella Papamichael wrote:
“As the cold-hearted White Witch, Tilda Swinton sets the tempo for this bracing adventure. She is a pristine picture of evil, like the spectre of War that forces the children out of London to the sanctuary of a country manor.”
- 1 Personality
- 2 Appearances
- 3 Gallery
- 4 External links
Jadis is depicted as a depraved, satanic temptress embodying the pain in the world. She takes orders from no one and acts very sociopathic.
Despite this, she can be deceptive when she needs to be, pretending to be kind and gentle towards Edmund Pevensie as part of her ploy to circumvent a prophecy.
In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, set 1000 years after the events of The Magician's Nephew, Jadis has usurped power over Narnia, having magically forced the land into an "endless winter" during her reign, which as the book opens had lasted for a hundred years. Though it is always winter, she prevents Christmas from ever coming.
During her reign, the White Witch is styled "Her Imperial Majesty Jadis, Queen of Narnia, Chatelaine of Cair Paravel, Empress of the Lone Islands". She makes two claims to buttress her authority to rule over Narnia. The first is that she is a human from Earth (a "daughter of Eve"). At the beginning of Narnia, Aslan gave "sons of Adam and daughters of Eve" dominion over all the beasts and magical creatures of Narnia. (Narnian dwarfs are not considered to be human, even though they can and do reproduce with humans; they are called "Sons of Earth".) Although the White Witch appears human (despite her irregular skin color and abnormal height), Narnian rumor holds that she descends from Adam's first wife, Lilith, and was half-Jinn and half-giantess, and thus not even partially human. The Magician's Nephew, by contrast with this slander, recounts her origin on Charn; but whether the people of Charn are human is never addressed.
The White Witch's second claim is that she is a servant of the Emperor-Over-the-Sea and rules with his blessing. This is at best a half-truth: she is the first to rebel in Narnia, and by the workings of the Deep Magic she is given ownership of all traitors and the right to kill them. For this reason, Mr. Beaver characterizes her as the Emperor's hangman (though Aslan rebukes him for saying this). The White Witch favors the Stone Table for her executions.
When the Pevensie children arrive in Narnia via Digory's magical wardrobe, it is explained to them that, according to an ancient prophecy, when two sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve fill the four thrones at Cair Paravel as Kings and Queens of Narnia, the reign of the White Witch and the endless winter would end. Jadis is aware of the prophecy, and employs spies to tell her of any human that comes to Narnia. While there are other humans in the world of Narnia at the time of the first book — humans descended from the original King Frank and Queen Helen populate Archenland, Calormen, and the island kingdoms — humans are completely unknown in occupied Narnia, to the extent that the Narnians think them mythological.
The White Witch's most notorious deed, aside from uttering the Deplorable Word that destroys Charn, is killing Aslan on the Stone Table (as a surrogate for Edmund), her right by the Deep Magic. Aslan returns to life by Deeper Magic, and in the subsequent battle, Aslan kills the witch, ending her reign of terror.
In the Disney live-action film, Jadis is first seen when her sleigh nearly runs over Edmund Pevensie after he first entered Narnia pursuing his little sister Lucy. Ginarrbrik jumps out and attacks Edmund, threatening to kill him for disrespecting the "Queen of Narnia", but Jadis intervenes, recognizing Edmund as a Son of Adam, and after offering him a drink and Turkish Delight she conjures with a small chrism she possesses, she offers to make Edmund a king if he brings his siblings to Narnia and to her, also learning through Edmund of Lucy's previous visit and having met Tumnus the fawn, one of her spies. After she departs, she sends Maugrim and his secret police to capture Tumnus and bring her to her ice palace to imprison in the dungeon.
When Edmund returns to Narnia and arrives at her ice palace, she initially acts calm about his arrival, but then erupts in fury as she bellows at him that he dared to show up without his siblings when she asked so little of him. When he explains that they are currently with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver at their dam, Jadis has him taken to the dungeon while ordering Maugrim to summon his wolves and go after the other Pevensies. She later enters the dungeon to report to Edmund that her police turned the beaver dam upside-down and found no trace of Edmund's siblings. She prepares to punish Edmund, when he blurts out that they were on their way to meet with Aslan. Terrified of hearing the name of the true King of Narnia and his return, meaning her endless winter is to be ended and her reign overthrown, Jadis demands to know more, but Tumnus tries to convince her that Edmund knows nothing else, only to be beaten for his disruption and then told that Edmund sold him out earlier before Tumnus is then taken to be turned to stone and placed in Jadis' courtyard. Shortly thereafter, Edmund is brought up, loaded into Jadis' sleigh, and they set off after the Beavers and Pevensies.
However, they soon find their path blocked by the thawing river as spring returns to Narnia, meaning the sleigh is useless now, but Maugrim arrives with the fox that aided the Beavers and Edmund's siblings earlier, and Jadis prepares to punish him for his treason. As she prepares to turn the fox to stone, Edmund tries to save him by revealing that Aslan is at the Stone Table and forming an army of loyal Narnian troops to overthrow her. Hearing that, Jadis then turns the fox to stone anyway, to Edmund's horror, before smacking him for hiding information from her. At that point, she orders Maugrim to gather the faithful, as if it is a war Aslan wants, it is a war he shall get, turning an innocent butterfly that flits past her to stone to prove her point.
Once her forces have set up camp in the woods, Jadis goes over her battle plans with General Otmin, the minotaur in charge of her army, but as they are discussing them, a commotion draws their attention, and they go out to find several of their troops slaughtered and Ginarrbrik tied to the tree Edmund had been restrained to, meaning Aslan sent troops to rescue him. Annoyed by this, Jadis decides to go talk to Aslan personally.
Arriving at Aslan's camp to boos and jeers from Aslan's loyal forces, Jadis demands Edmund's life per the Law of Narnia, where every traitor's life belongs to her, and if she is not allowed what the law decrees, the Deep Magic will punish Narnia by overthrowing it and have it perish in fire and water. She then points to Edmund and declares that Edmund will die on the Stone Table per tradition. Having said her piece and how she can't be denied that right, Aslan requests he speak with her alone in his tent. After some time debating, Jadis and Aslan emerge, and Aslan announces that Jadis has renounced her claim on Edmund's life, to cheers from his forces. When Jadis asks if he'll keep his end of their agreement, Aslan roars ferociously at her, silencing her into sitting down in her throne for her cyclops handlers to carry her off in.
However, it turns out that, in order to spare Edmund's life, Aslan offered his instead, and he soon departs that night to head to the Stone Table where Jadis and her forces are waiting for him. As Aslan approaches the Stone Table, Jadis appears, wielding her Stone Knife, as she declares to her forces gathered there to behold the Great Lion before having her troops have their fun with him by attacking him, with Aslan putting up no resistance, binding him, then to further humiliate him, having his mane shaved. When that is all done, Jadis asks that Aslan be brought to her at the Stone Table. After silencing her troops for a moment before they begin rhythmically chanting for Aslan's death, Jadis whispers to Aslan that his sacrifice will be in vain as, come morning, she will be taking her army to wipe out his loyal troops, including the Pevensies, and securing her indefinite reign over Narnia for good, mockingly telling Aslan, "So much for love..." With that, she declares to her forces that the Deep Magic will be satisfied tonight, and tomorrow, they will take Narnia forever. With a scream of "DIE!!!", she plunges her Stone Knife into Aslan, mortally wounding him before he takes his last breath and perishes. With Aslan dead, Jadis declares victory to her forces before ordering Otmin to prepares his forces for battle, however short it may be.
The next day, with Aslan's mane decorating her battle attire, Jadis leads her larger army into battle against Aslan's, led by Peter Pevensie and Edmund. With the simple order to Otmin of "I have no interest in prisoners. Kill them all.", she gives the command to show no mercy to the enemy forces, wanting every last creature opposing her to be wiped out, so no one will dare stand against her or question her rule again. Otmin leads the first wave to thin out and wear down Aslan's forces, before Jadis then proceeds to advance with the second wave. Though Peter tries to slow her down by having a phoenix lay down a wall of flames in front of Jadis and her second wave, she easily dispels it with her magic, forcing Peter to order his forces back to the rocks where Edmund is waiting with the female centaurs and other archers to ambush Jadis' forces as they pursue the retreating Aslan forces.
However, Ginarrbrik goes off separately from Jadis and, seeing his chance, dismounts Peter by wounding his unicorn mount with an arrow. Aslan's general, the male centaur Oreius, immediately turns to charge Jadis and protect Peter. However, Otmin stands in his way and forces Oreius to stab Otmin in the back with both of his one-handed swords, killing the minotaur commander. Armed with his two-handed sword now, Oreius charges Jadis, but is unable to hit her and counterattack quickly due to his sword's bulk, allowing Jadis an opening to turn Oreius to stone with her wand. Dismounting from her polar bear-drawn chariot and arming herself with a sword from one of Aslan's soldiers, Jadis begins making her way on foot through Aslan's troops, cutting them down with her sword, or turning them to stone with her wand, as she approaches Peter to petrify him and prevent the prophecy from coming to pass. However, as she prepared to strike Peter while he was distracted, Edmund caught her by surprise and, after dodging a lunge from her wand, shatters it with his sword, destroying Jadis' ability to petrify her victims. Enraged by the loss of her wand, Jadis disarms Edmund and stabs him with what's left of the wand, mortally wounding him. Seeing this, a furious Peter charges her to engage her in combat. Despite it being sword & shield against dual-wielded swords, Peter is able to hold his own as Jadis was only toying with him, knowing she had victory in her hands with Aslan dead.
That all changed when a growl draws Jadis and Peter's attention to a cliff as Aslan, still very much alive, appears and lets off a triumphant roar, causing Jadis to whisper in shock and disbelief, "Impossible!", as she personally slew him. Worse, Aslan had brought reinforcements, and as they charge down to overpower Jadis' exhausted troops, Jadis, now frantic to save her crown, redoubles her attack on Peter, managing to trip him up, pin his sword arm to the ground with one sword, and disarm him of his shield with the other. As Jadis twirls the sword and prepares to end the eldest Pevensie's life to prevent the prophecy from coming to fruition, before she can, she looks up, just in time to see a furious Aslan pounce her with a snarl and pin her to the ground. For a moment, Jadis can only look into Aslan's eyes as she realizes she's finished, before Aslan mauls her to death, ending her threat once and for all.
- “It is finished.”
- ―Aslan after ending Jadis' life
With Jadis dead, her surviving forces either surrender, flee, or are killed, and the Pevensies are crowned the new sovereigns of Narnia by Aslan at Cair Paravel.
In Prince Caspian, 1,300 years later, Nikabrik (a dwarf), a hag, and a wer-wolf (to use Lewis's spelling) plan to bring the Witch back using black sorcery in their bid to defeat King Miraz. Caspian X and Trumpkin protest against this, stating "Wasn't she a tyrant ten times worse than Miraz?" Their plan backfires when they are killed in a fight with Caspian and his allies.
Tilda Swinton reprises her role as the White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. In a scene exclusive to the movie, the trio that planned to resurrect the Witch in the novel manage to conjure up an apparition of her form behind a mythical wall of ice. The Witch says that she needs a drop of blood from a son of Adam to release her entirely, which she tries to take from Caspian and then Peter. However, Edmund shatters the ice before the Witch can be fully released.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
During the final battle, the Green Mist assumes the shape of Jadis, who tries to tempt Edmund back to her side.
Powers and abilities
Jadis is an incredibly powerful sorceress - the most powerful example of Charn's people - and possesses an extraordinary variety of magical powers. She finds the majority of her powers widely useless on certain worlds - except for her supreme beauty and physical strength - but is still able to adapt to her surroundings and develop brand new powers in the process:
- Cryokinesis: Jadis has divine control and authority over ice, cold and snow. She is capable of holding Narnia in an unbreakable and eternal winter for more than a hundred years, and even capable of constructing an enormous palace entirely out of ice. She is also immune to freezing temperatures. She is also capable of creating enormous blizzards and snowstorms with relative ease.
- Frigiokinesis: She is capable of - using her wand - turning living things to stone. This is not her most powerful trait, but it is her signature attack. Once inflicted, the power of the wand cannot be reversed by anyone, except for Aslan.
- The Deplorable Word: Jadis's most terrifying ability is her knowledge of the Deplorable Word. This Word is incredibly powerful, and will effectively kill every single living creature on the planet it is being spoken on - the only person who is unaffected by the Word is the person who made the incantation.
- Telekinesis: Jadis is naturally capable of manipulating objects without physically touching them. She is also capable of utterly reducing objects to dust.
- Immortality: After eating an Apple from the Tree of Youth, Jadis was changed from having the longevity of her species to having complete immortality. Even if her body is destroyed, her embodiment will ultimately survive.
- Preservation: Jadis has the unique ability to paralyse herself completely, sustaining her age, powers and physical condition unbreakably for an infinite amount of time.
- Beauty: Jadis is incalculably beautiful, and any male creature who lays eyes on her will view her as the most beautiful creature that individual has ever seen. Females, however, are understandably immune to this charisma.
- Telepathy: She is capable of reading and controlling the minds of others.
- Creature control: She has utter control and authority over evil creatures such as Minotaurs, Wolves and Dwarves. This is enough to create an army for herself.
- Superhuman strength: Jadis is incredibly strong. It is her physical strength that she can retain in other worlds. She can rip lampposts from the ground, deliver bone-breaking blows during fights, and lift people cleanly off the ground and throw them through the air over huge distances.
- Master swordswoman: Jadis is an incredibly talented warrior - she has survived hundreds of wars on Charn, honing her skills on the battlefield. During the Battle of Beruna, she effortlessly defeated every single opponent that she faced during the conflict with complete ease, even the extremely skilled Oreius. People may argue that this particular battle progress was due to her possessing a wand, but later when Edmund destroys the Wand, Jadis takes his sword along with her own and shows extraordinary proficiency with these weapons. In her duel with Peter, she completely outmatches him several times throughout the duel. It must be said that, up until Aslan appeared in the battle, Jadis was basically toying with him, never truly attempting to kill him but showing off her superior skill. However, when Aslan enters the battle, Jadis actually tries to kill him and comes close to doing so, but Aslan saves Peter just in time.
- Supreme reflexes/speed: She has superhuman reflexes - when Edmund destroys her wand, she reacts quickly to recover from the horror of its destruction and overpowers and stabs him.
Behind the Scenes
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian