Uncle Andrew

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Bio Info

Title: Uncle Andrew Ketterley

Age: 60

Species: Son of Adam

Home: London, England

Physical Description: He is tall and thin, has a long clean-shaven face, a sharply pointed nose, extremely bright eyes, and a great tousled mop of gray hair

Tools: An Atlantean box of magical dust

First Appearance: The Magician's Nephew, Ch. 1 (1955)


Appearances

~ The Magician's Nephew ~ (1955)

Uncle Andrew has a secret. His godmother Mrs. Lefay had given him a box of magical dust from another world before she died. She told him to destroy it, but instead he decides to use it himself. After much experimentation using guinea pigs, Uncle Andrew succeeds in creating magical rings that will transport a person into another world. Uncle Andrew is delighted when his nephew Digory and the neighbor girl Polly stumble into his study. Before he allows them to leave, he offers Polly a yellow ring that causes her to vanish as soon as she touches it. To Digory's horror, Uncle Andrew explains that Digory must also touch a yellow ring and take two green rings with him so Polly can return to Earth. Uncle Andrew is initially very pleased with his experiments when Digory and Polly return, accidentally bringing with them Jadis, the last Queen of Charn. But Uncle Andrew is quickly cowed by Jadis as she forces him to take her all over London at her whim. When Digory catches hold of Jadis to take her back to the Wood Between the Worlds, Uncle Andrew is also taken along. Once there, Digory jumps into the wrong pool, landing them all in Narnia. Uncle Andrew witnesses the creation of Narnia, but unlike the others, he is horrified that the Creator is a lion. Though he is not pleased with the inhabitants of this new world, Uncle Andrew is delighted to see how the piece of lamppost from London grows when it touches the Narnian ground. He immediately makes plans to return home and bring back bits and pieces from our world and grow them in Narnia to make money. But before he can get far, the children (taking the rings) go off to talk to Aslan and Uncle Andrew is spotted by the Talking Beasts of Narnia. As he has convinced himself that they cannot possibly be talking, all he hears are grunts and squeaks. As they run towards him to figure out what he is, he tries to flee them. The chase ends with Uncle Andrew falling into a stream and passing out. While he is unconscious, the animals come to the conclusion that Uncle Andrew must be a tree and they attempt to plant him in the ground (right side up, fortunately). When the Elephant waters him, Uncle Andrew is awakened and begins screaming. His misery is ended when Aslan causes him to fall asleep. Uncle Andrew wakes up safe and sound back in London.


About Uncle Andrew

Uncle Andrew is a futile old man when the story opens. He has spent his life ferreting out the secrets of his godmother's box of dust, and is frustrated that no one, not even his nephew Digory, takes him seriously. Uncle Andrew believes that moral law only applies to ordinary humans, not great explorers and inventors like himself. His mercenary tendencies show up when he plans to bring scrap metal from Earth to Narnia in order to grow it there for profit. Uncle Andrew is also something of a coward, as he tricks Polly into going to another world rather than going himself. Uncle Andrew knows this is cowardly, but he is also adept at the art of self-delusion. Indeed, the story ends with Uncle Andrew continuing to lie to himself and others, pretending that his terrifying experience with Jadis was actually his gallant entertainment of foreign royalty.


Quotes

  • "It is a shock when you first see someone vanish. Why, it gave even me a turn when the guinea-pig did it the other night." (MN, Ch. 2)
  • "Congratulate me, my dear boy. My experiment has succeeded. The little girl's gone—vanished—right out of the world." (MN, Ch. 2)
  • "The moment I picked up that box I could tell by the pricking in my fingers that I held some great secret in my hands." (MN, Ch. 2)
  • "But of course you must understand that rules of that sort, however excellent they may be for little boys—and servants—and women—and even people in general, can't possibly be expected to apply to profound students and great thinkers and sages. No, Digory. Men like me, who possess hidden wisdom, are freed from common rules just as we are cut off from common pleasures. Ours, my boy, is a high and lonely destiny." (MN, Ch. 2)
  • "In fact, Digory, you are now talking to the last man (possibly) who really had a fairy godmother. There! That'll be something for you to remember when you are an old man yourself." (MN, Ch. 2)
  • "Andrew, my boy, you're a devilish well preserved fellow for your age. A distinguished-looking man." (MN, Ch. 6)
  • "My dear gel, you don't understand. I shall have some quite unexpected expenses today. I have to do a little entertaining." (MN, Ch. 6)
  • "My dear young lady, pray don't say such things. It can't be as bad as that. Ah—Cabman—my good man—you don't happen to have a flask about you? A drop of spirits is just what I need." (MN, Ch. 8)
  • "A devilish temper she had, but she was a dem fine woman, sir, a dem fine woman." (MN, Ch. 15)


Portrayals

  • Richard Syms: Focus on the Family Radio Theater, 1999 – 2002
  • Robert Eddison: BBC Radio Tales of Narnia
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