Till We Have Faces

by C. S. Lewis

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In chapter 17 of Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis, what is Orual’s plan with Turnia?

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Despite the fact that she's only recently started exercising authority as queen, Orual already seems right at home in her new role. As the king progressively gets weaker, she grows in confidence and authority. Looking to the future, Orual starts to think about what kind of relationship will pertain between the rival kingdoms of Glome and Phars. The more she thinks about it, the more she realizes that Trunia, who happens to be imprisoned in the palace, would make a very wise ruler of Phars. He could certainly do no worse than his cowardly brother Argan, the present incumbent. With Trunia on the throne, thinks Orual, there'd be every chance of peace between Glome and Phars.

So to bring an end to Argan's damaging reign, Orual hits upon the idea of challenging him to a sword-fight. Argan's not very good with a sword, but as he wouldn't want to look like a coward in front of his people—even though he is one really—he'd have no choice but to accept the challenge. As part of the plan, Argan must take on someone so low down in the social pecking order that it would be shameful for him to refuse to fight.

Specifically, Orual thinks that Glome's champion should be a woman. Even more specifically, she thinks that she should be the one to engage in mortal combat with the prince of Phars. As well as achieving a number of important political objectives, the planned fight will give Orual the chance to be loved as a hero by her people and, just as importantly, by Psyche.

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