Till We Have Faces

by C. S. Lewis

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Student Question

Who said, "Why, yes, it’s a pity about her face. But she’s a brave girl and honest. If a man was blind and she weren’t the king’s daughter, she’d make him a good wife."?

Quick answer:

This quote is something that Bardia says to another soldier about Orual. Orual is unused to compliments or affection from men, and when she overhears this, she counts it as the closest she has ever gotten to receiving a declaration of love.

Expert Answers

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This quote is spoken by Bardia, the captain of the royal guard. Orual overhears him say this to a solider after the soldier catches a glimpse of Bardia's and Orual's combat lessons. He is referring to Orual and acknowledging that though she is not conventionally attractive, she has many other good qualities. Although Bardia did not mean for Orual to hear these compliments, they greatly affect Orual and her feelings for Bardia. She confesses that she considers them "the nearest thing to a love-speech that was ever made me."

Orual is unused to affection, especially from male figures in her life. Her father is devoted to Psyche and has little time or love to spare for his less beautiful daughter, even calling her a "hobgoblin" behind her back. To hear a man she respects speaking about her kindly, not just to her face but to others not in her presence, is a rare and exciting event. Although she knows he is married, these compliments, combined with Bardia's kindness towards her and his help in journeying to the mountain, make Orual fall in love with him. Unfortunately, Bardia is never aware of her feelings for him and though he respects her, does not reciprocate her romantic love.

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