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Jadis the White Witch (Tilda Swinton in Narnia)

Jadis the White Witch


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

The Narnia novels are children’s heroic fantasy novels, written by CS Lewis during the 1950s. These are widely considered classics, and have had considerable influence on the genre. ”Narnia” is the name of the setting. The protagonists are almost always children, and there are strong Christian themes.

This profile is specifically about the movie adaptation of the first Narnia novel — The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — which was released in 2005. The titular White Witch was played by Tilda Swinton, which automatically makes her writeup material.


Background

  • Real Name: Jadis
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed
  • Known Relatives: Sister (Name unrevealed, deceased)
  • Group Affiliation: Ruler of Narnia, and commander of the winter creatures
  • Base Of Operations: A castle in Narnia
  • Height: 5’11” Weight: 130lbs
  • Eyes: Black on a weird, cold green iris Hair: Dirty blonde dreadlocks


Powers and Abilities

The White Witch is not, like some would expect, a traditional magic-user. She is, however, a formidable fighter, a decent general and a dreaded tyrant.

One of her most fearful weapons is her elaborate rod. Wielded like a sword, this rod will turn any living creature to stone with but a touch. The roar of Aslan could bring back those victims, though – for whom no time had elapsed.

Strength of Jadis

The Jadis from the books has superhuman strength. If you watch the movie closely for that specific aspect you will see it — swatting the two griffins aside, lifting children or controlling her chariot with but one hand, cleaving through Edmund’s breastplate…

Our game stats thus feature an ambiguous strength score, so she’s superhumanly strong but won’t be running around throwing cars either.

Magic of Jadis

While on Charn Jadis was clearly a spellcaster. On Narnia the situation is much much more low key. Facts :

  • She did clearly trigger winter over Narnia. It could be either an effect of Deep Magic (the Queen reflects the Land, and the Land over which the the White Witch reigns thus becomes cold, barren and mirthless), or a very specific Ritual.
  • Her artefacts have to come from somewhere. For all I know she ripped them from the hands of Father Christmas before kicking him in the nuts and ousting him, but it is also possible they are the result of a long crafting and enchanting process.
    She may have started working on her frost rod shortly after reaching Narnia, as the low-mana equivalent of her favourite Charn spell that turned people into dust.
  • At one point she blows off the fire trail from the phoenix. Since this is the only point where she *might* be casting a spell in Narnia and it seems to come from the rod, I’ve applied Occam’s Razor and made that a property of the rod in the game stats.
  • She does not cast *any* spell or Ritual in the movie, even to, say, cover the battlefield in a snowstorm. Thus, none of her previous Occult Rituals work in Narnia, and those few she found or created to work on Narnia are extremely slow to cast – hours, days, maybe even years. This is a Genre Rule for the Narnia universe – another example, this time from the books, is that her Rituals developed on Charn were powerless on Earth.

Video

A fan cut with much of the Jadis footage in the first Narnia movie.


History

(This section has been purposefully kept brief to avoid S P O I L E R S).

How the White Witch came into power is not recounted in the movie. She has, however, ruled for a hundred years, plunging Narnia into a winter as cold as her heart.

She relies on winter creatures — orcs, trolls, wolves, white tigers, minotaurs, giants and the like — to enforce her rule, and her secret police is composed of talking wolves commanded by the cruel Maugrim.

Some rebels commanded by the lion Aslan existed beyond the frozen river, but all knew, through a prophecy that doesn’t really rhyme, that the Witch would not be defeated until two sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve would come to Narnia.

Origin of Jadis

While the background of the White Witch is left unexplored in the film, it is presumably similar to the one in the books, since the adaptation is pretty faithful.

Essentially, she is a sorceress, originally hailing from a third world (neither Earth nor Narnia) called Charn. She was its sole survivor after unleashing the magical equivalent of Mutual Assured Destruction – a spell known as the Dolorous Word.

Charn was an old world, with a red sun, at least by the time children from Earth visited and accidentally freed Jadis (the White Witch) from suspended animation. She then hitched a ride with them — first to Earth and then to Narnia at its beginning. Once in Narnia, she immediately became the local equivalent of the Serpent in the Garden.


Description

Jadis is a unique blend of seductiveness and cold cruelty, with a particularly intimidating glare.

The movie rendition is different from that in the novel – the literary Jadis was a dark-haired giantess (about 7′).


Personality

The Witch is a cold, evil, angry ruler. While she is naturally manipulative, she has a terrible temper and doesn’t handle frustration well. Even when she was being all sweetness and honey to seduce Edmund, she had visible flashes of anger whenever something wasn’t going her way.

During the movie we do not see the Witch rule, but rather react to threats to her rule. She will haughtily kill anything that gets in her way, and bring terror and destruction to anything standing in her way.

She will not hesitate to call on the rules of the Deep Magic, the fundamental rules that bind Narnia, but has no honour. It is in fact possible that her very nature can only make her treacherous and temperamental, and does not allow her to understand honour and genuine kindness.

In particular, she is incredibly spiteful. In the books she would gladly destroy everything in the world to get back at her sister.

The Witch is pretty much a pure example of the Power Lust Motivation. She needs to dominate everything, no matter what the cost, no matter what the consequences. This is her nature, and the notion that something might have a hold on her (such as the prophesied children of Adam and Eve) looks weird and unreal to her. She prepared for it, but had trouble taking it seriously.


Quotes

“You know, Aslan, I’m a little disappointed in you. Did you honestly think 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 DIIIIEE !”

“I have no need for prisoners. Kill them all.”

“You’re here because *he* turned you in… for sweeties.”

“If it’s a war Aslan wants, it’s a war he shall get.”


DC Universe History

There is absolutely no reason that Narnia couldn’t exist as a mystical realm. Note that the White Witch, being an archetype from a very successful book, could quite possibly exist in the Dreaming.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

The White Witch, Queen of Narnia

Dex: 07 Str: 05 Bod: 04 Motivation: Power
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 06 Occupation: Ruler of Narnia
Inf: 06 Aur: 05 Spi: 07 Resources {or Wealth}: 010
Init: 018 HP: 050

Skills:
Animal handling (Riding, charioteering): 05, Charisma: 06, Military science (Field command): 04, Occultism: 05, Weaponry (Melee): 07

Advantages:
Credentials (Winter Narnia creatures, High), Iron Nerves, Headquarters (Expansive), Schtick (Paired swords)

Connections:
Maugrim (High), General Otmin (High)

Drawbacks:
Public ID, Serious Rage, SIA toward Power and spite

Equipment:

  • Frost Rod [BODY 04, Neutralize: 10, Petrification: 12, Suspension: 12, Bonuses/Limitations: Suspension is Useable on any Petrified target ; Suspension is automatically used on petrified targets if any RAP of Petrification is scored, without costing an Action ; Suspension lengthens the duration of Petrification ; Neutralize can only be used against effects based on fire, heat and warm light]
  • Snow Elixir [BODY 02, Fabricate: 06, Bonuses/Limitations: Fabricate requires that a drop of the elixir be placed on snow or ice]
  • Broadsword [BODY 09, EV 04 (06 w/STR), Note: Jadis carries such a sword during wartime, dual-wielding it with the Frost Rod. When the Rod was destroyed by Edmund, she picked another Broadsword from a fallen soldier and dual-wielded a pair.]
  • Her WAR CHARIOT [BODY 06] was harnessed to a pair of pretty big polar bears – use grizzly stats.

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005 movie). Character played by Tilda Swinton.

Helper(s): Roy Cowan, Pufnstuff, Chris Cottingham, vitruvian23, Monk2024

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