Related to Why was Susan treated so unkindly?

The children were in Narnia a long time, at least as far as time in the UK goes. By some counts at least 15 years even if just for the first time, not to mention their later few journeys.

The timeline seems to be:

  • 1940 - Age 12, spend ~15 years in Narnia
  • 1941 - Age 13, spend ~1 (?) year in Narnia
  • Age 19, no longer believes in Narnia

It seems unlikely to me that someone would forget a large percentage of her memory in a relatively short period of time.

Is there an in-universe explanation as to how Susan could forget or come to believe that Narnia wasn't real even though it was such a large percentage of her life? Is there a "Narnia time" effect? Or am I misunderstanding how long they were actually in Narnia?

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    I don't know for sure but possibly when you are in a different world your memories of the other world fade. I know that by the end of the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe they had forgotten England but remembered as soon as they returned. – Bellerophon Oct 31 '16 at 22:32
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    she grew up, and thought it was all fantasy, she didnt forget per say – Himarm Oct 31 '16 at 22:54
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    @Himarm In 4 years she wrote of nearly half her life as fantasy? – Bellerophon Oct 31 '16 at 22:55
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    To her it probably became like a dream. While still dreaming you think it is completely real, and for a time after you wake up you can remember it in perfect clarity and it still feels real. But after a few hours or a couple of days it becomes less tangible and eventually passes from memory completely. – Xantec Oct 31 '16 at 23:02
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    Note: In Prince Caspian, the Pevensies spent no more than 9 days in Narnia, by my count. – Matt Gutting Nov 1 '16 at 14:48

It wasn't that she 'forgot', per say. She remembered about Narnia, she just didn't believe that it was real anymore. There are two theories.

First, Susan was always the one with the least faith in Narnia and Aslan. Even at the beginning of Prince Caspian, she is trying to get them all to forget, and just live their lives in London, like normal people. Since young, she was always the motherly type, so she was very mature and practical. Thus, very grounded in the real things around her.

So when it was confirmed that she and Peter would never go back, she didn't actually lose the memories, she just stopped believing that it was real. I mean, even if she spent those 15 years in Narnia as Queen the first time, when she came back, she was back to her original age, etc. So it could very well have seemed like a dream to her. And she didn't hold on to the faith in Narnia, like the others did. She just kept on with her life, and grew into a rather silly woman (like most girls nowadays, actually), losing that part of her childhood. She remembered, she just didn't believe anymore.

The second theory: Susan loved Narnia. She was heartbroken when she was told that she and Peter would never come back. So as a sort of self-defence mechanism, she pushed those memories out of her mind. She convinced herself that it was not real and that it was just a game they played as children, to dull the pain at not being able to return. She told herself that so many times that she actually believed it in the end. [This theory may not be canon, but it sort of fits]

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    It wouldn't be the first time a character in the Narnia books told a story so long that they ended up believing it- that happened in Voyage of the Dawn Treader as well, as I recall. – Broklynite Nov 1 '16 at 12:17
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    cannon -> canon. – Faheem Mitha Nov 3 '16 at 22:05
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    Also, "per say" -> "per se". – Faheem Mitha Nov 7 '16 at 16:12
  • "grew into a rather silly woman". Well, that's just what Lewis thought. Or his characters, which amounts to the same thing. – Faheem Mitha Nov 7 '16 at 16:42

Susan never forgot Narnia

“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.’”

CS Lewis was trying to draw a Christian analogy here (a common theme in Narnia). In this case, he seems to be touching on a thorny issue: Christians losing their salvation. I'll try to stay as on-topic for SF as I can for this.

Jesus once gave an analogy of a man sowing seed. One part of that analogy was seeds falling among thorns/weeds and being choked away. Based on what little we know of Susan's falling away, it seems that is the case here

“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.”

Susan gets cut out with Peter at the end of Prince Caspian. It sounds like, after that, Susan got seriously into the "in" crowd. So imagine that you have this world, and half a lifetime of experiences, that cannot be verified by anyone. People would think you're mad. And your siblings and their friends won't stop talking about it so you "let them down gently", as it were, and pretend it's all been just a silly game. Such a transition could easily happen within the span of six years, especially considering she's a teen-ager. Once you've crossed that line, it's not hard to see her really coming to believe it. That it had all been just a game or a dream.

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