One of the favorite activities of actors is to come up with purely fanciful situations. This is why writers can be called introverted actors—they do all the acting in their heads, simulating temporary “schizophrenia” so they can play (and then write about) all the different characters having conversations in their brains. Actors and writers think much the same way, except actors do all the pretending in front of people and writers do all the pretending while they’re locked away in secluded garrets.
As I have mentioned an uncountable number of times before, I am in a UU production of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The world’s weirdest conversations happen backstage. In fact, the whole backstage environment is weird, simply because everyone’s in bizarre costumes and their faces are made up to the point of clownishness. But one evening all of us actors playing forest creatures sat around in a circle, trying to figure out how we all got to know each other before the play’s storyline began.
Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, the Centaur, and I (the Unicorn) do a lot of hanging out in the story. We figured that this is because we all knew each other as students at Narnia University, back in the sunnier days before the White Witch came into power. We were members of a smaller-than-average graduating class, since due to growing political turmoil and an economic downturn, more than a few of us were forced to withdraw.
Mr. Centaur and I were probably president and vice president of the Young Hoofed Creatures League. He was a member of the varsity jousting and the varsity discus-throwing teams. He majored in health, fitness, and recreation with a minor in communications. Though wildly popular with the Niads, we only went on a few dates before settling into a comfortable bachelorhood.
Mr. Tumnus was a year or so ahead of us. He was a music major, flute principle. He was a nice fellow, very well-liked and great fun at parties. Unfortunately, he fell in with the wrong crowd towards the end of his college career, which resulted in him eventually becoming an informant for the Witch.
Mr. Beaver studied carpentry and minored in business administration. He was captain of the chess club for a few semesters before he met Mrs. Beaver at the spring dance, introduced to him by a mutual friend, the Badger. Mrs. Beaver was at NU to study home economics and pursue a minor in apparel design. She was on the cheerleading squad for the NU athletic team. The two hit it off immediately, and quickly became inseparable. They married a month after graduation. Mr. Tumnus played his pipe at their wedding.
Maugrim, the wolf, entered the university with his major and minor undeclared. He dropped out after a year and soon found his calling as captain of the Witch’s secret police.
Miss Unicorn had never been out of her neck of the woods, and she was ostracized at first for being one of NU’s freakier fanciful creatures (not to mention coming from a family reputed, however unjustly, for its snobbery). Once she met the Beavers and Mr. Centaur, however, her friends gave her the support she needed to figure out who she was as a person—er, unicorn. She studied the Umanities. This is like majoring in the humanities, only for unicorns. After the ascension of the White Witch, Miss Unicorn decided that since she was perhaps the swiftest creature in Narnia, she would dedicate herself to catching the White Stag, in the hopes that the luck it would bring might transport Aslan back to the land.
There you have it. The backstories of the minor characters of the Narnia universe. The things you never knew you never knew. And probably didn’t need to know.