It was always winter, but never Christmas.

In C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the land of Narnia was under the cruel reign of the White Witch. But Aslan was on the move. When the witch and lion finally meet, the witch says to Aslan that one of the children, Edmund, has been found to be a traitor. The law of Narnia is that anyone who is a traitor belongs to the White Witch, and will be punished with death.

So Aslan strikes a deal with the witch and agrees to die in Edmund’s place. But then Aslan comes back from the dead. After he returns, the children are confused.

“But what does it all mean?” asked Edmund’s sister, Susan.

“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know: Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.”

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