Mr. Tumnus Can Go To Hell
What is the deal with this nasty faun and why must I contend with his existence?In DepthIn Depth
Image: Rune Hellestad/CORBIS/Corbis
In the beginning of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, little Lucy Pevensie is one of the first of the siblings to discover Narnia. Waiting on the other side of the wardrobe, in the snowy environs of a world that I’d like to think is a collective hallucination, is a figure ripped straight from my nightmares: Mr. Tumnus, a shirtless faun with a hidden agenda who absolutely cannot be trusted.
Like most bits that I’ve committed to over the years and refuse to drop, I’m not sure where my dislike for Mr. Tumnus, the faun from C.S. Lewis’s Jesus fantasia, came from. To be clear, my knowledge of the world of Narnia is relatively limited: Turkish delight, a lion named Aslan, a snow queen with a bad attitude, and Tumnus, my nemesis for reasons that are just beyond my ken. At face value, Tumnus is ultimately helpful. When Lucy emerges from the wardrobe and into Narnia, she’s (rightfully) confused! And there’s ol’ Tumnus, with a plan to either turn her over to the witch gal who wants to eat her or whatever, or to just risk his own life and not.
Because Tumnus picks the latter, he is turned into stone and immortalized as some sort of statuary. Sucks for him, but it’s great for me, because if I had my druthers I would absolutely have eliminated Mr. Tumnus on sight. Lucy can’t be expected to suss out this sort of danger, as she is a child, but I begin to wonder about her situational awareness when I remember that she let this faun lead her into his house for a pan-flute concert for one, which was, again, a trap.
In the 2005 film, Tumnus is played by James McAvoy, an actor that many people believe to be attractive but I, unfortunately, do not. (After watching Split, a movie that features the Scottish man playing, like, 18 different people, any sexual attraction I might’ve held fizzled immediately.) If I did find McAvoy attractive, then maybe I’d love Mr. Tumnus, or at least understand him more. But alas, my loins do not ignite for the satyr, and his general mien is unattractive. Coupled with his nature, which is both untrustworthy and deeply suspicious, I cannot abide his presence. There’s no reason to like this faun—and I don’t. He can do what I think most satyrs should: hop a ride on Charon’s pontoon boat down the River Styx, and go straight to hell.