Puddleglum, the Splendid Marshwiggle

I’ve recently been getting a lot of people coming here looking for ‘Puddleglum’. I mentioned him in this post but there was not a lot of information, just a mention in passing. So, here are some Puddleglum musings.

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this bizarre marshwiggle when I first encountered him in ‘The Silver Chair’. He was so pessimistic and doleful and…well…glum (appropriately named I suppose). The ridiculousness of the assertion that he was considered flighty and irresponsible by other marshwiggles caused my 10 year old self to giggle at the thought of how staid and practical Puddleglum’s parents must be.

He was such a beautiful foil for his two travelling companions; Eustace, who was only just beginning to grasp the concept of responsibility; and Jill, who had barely ever exercised the virtues of trustworthiness and reliability. Puddleglum was sturdy and dependable, and the voice of reason, albeit a particularly gloomy one. (He reminded me a little of Samwise Gamgee – the real hero in ‘The Lord of the Rings’.)


When Eustace and Jill made error after silly error Puddleglum countered with wise and cautious words, but his most glorious moment was, most surely, in the house of The Lady of the Green Kirtle.

This Queen of the Underworld comes perilously close to irrevocably bewitching Eustace, Jill and Puddleglum, (and, by this stage, Rillian), with sweet and subtle and logical reasoning denying the possibility of Narnia’s existence, the sun’s existence and, most devastatingly, Aslan’s existence. The image (and the easily imagined smell) of this splendid marshwiggle stomping his flat and frog-like foot into the fire to destroy the entrancement is, for me, the apex of this Narnian chronicle.

Puddleglum’s indomitable words, “I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can, even if there isn’t any Narnia.” (The Silver Chair, Ch 12) in response to the Queen’s insidious cadence, “There is no Narnia, no Overworld, no sky, no sun, no Aslan. And now, to bed all. And let us begin a wiser life tomorrow. But first, to bed; to sleep; deep sleep, soft pillows, sleep without foolish dreams.” (The Silver Chair, Ch 12) show such strength of character. Easy and smooth words that we know are false, no matter how palatable, should never go down easy, but should stick in our craw.

Puddleglum brings me great joy.