Title: First In The Hearts
Disclaimer: I do not own the Chronicles of Narnia, nor the Lighthorse Harry Lee funeral oration that I shamelessly stole for the title and then mangled for the last line of the story.
Note: The answer to challenge 17: Together. Here I attempted to write a bit of a roundabout exploring how each of the Pevensies views their siblings and the Narnians view their kings and queens. I also have had a dastardly time trying not to use the word 'monarch' to describe the four, since technically they are tetrarchs, but 'tetrarch' just sounds weird.
Peter never favors one sibling over another; he loves each of them with all his strength, and he has more than enough strength to go around. He knows that to others, though, Lucy is the favored sibling and sovereign. She is Edmund's anchor; the younger king has always relied on his little sister and best friend to make him laugh and inspire him to the heights of faith. Susan is devoted to the youngest of the siblings, Lucy's smile the sun that warms Susan's sometimes tepid soul. Of course the Narnians love Lucy the best, for who could come near the Valiant Queen and not beam with joy? Lucy, the one bursting with faith in Aslan, the one who spreads child-like delight with her very presence. Peter knows Lucy is the favorite, but he will never hold it against her because her smile brings joy to him as well.
Lucy never favors one sibling over another; it is not in her nature to play favorites, too full of love to spend it on just one person when there is a world to embrace. She knows, though, that Susan is truly the favorite among the Four Sovereigns. Peter depends on Susan's gentle comfort when the stress of ruling the kingdom overwhelms the High King. Susan is the one who brings the light back to Edmund's eyes when he feels unworthy of his destiny, when he needs a reminder of the forgiveness given him. To the Narnians, Susan is the favored, tender queen. She is very rightly known as the mother of the country, the one who cares for the Narnians at home whilst her siblings protect the borders and deal out justice. Sometimes Lucy wishes she were more like Susan, but the youngest queen is content to be Valiant; there is no more Gentle heart in Narnia than her older sister's.
Susan never favors one sibling over another; she could never stand the hurt that favoritism would cause, nor could she honestly choose one over another. It also does not hurt her to know that she will always come second in the hearts of her siblings and her people, because it truly is logical that their favorite is Edmund. Peter could not survive without his brother, his dearest friend and companion, for Edmund protects him not only from physical danger, but also from the guilt that is Peter's worst quality. Edmund is the one who Lucy turns to when she needs a sympathetic ear for her troubles, or a supportive companion for her adventures. Of course the Narnians are devoted to the younger king. Once a traitor, repentant and forgiven, Edmund is their Just King, one whom the Narnians can trust to fully understand their problems and to met out justice with mercy and sympathetic compassion. Susan can not deny Edmund his place in the hearts of others, for she would never want him to change from the wise and caring king he has become.
Edmund never favors one sibling over another; he makes a determined effort to remain impartial, to never make one sibling feel less than the others, for each one is precious in Edmund's eyes. He fully understands, however, that Peter is the most beloved in the eyes and hearts of Narnia. To Susan, Peter is friend, confidant, and guardian: he is always first to protect the Gentle Queen, protect both her life and her tender heart. Peter is Lucy's hero. With stars in her eyes, Lucy will laugh and her joy will be all the greater when Peter gives her a smile. Though once he would have resented the awed love the Narnians give their favorite king, Edmund now takes comfort in the affection their people give to Peter. The High King is Narnia's sword and shield, her champion and defender. Edmund sees the blood and tears his brother sheds for Narnia, for Aslan, and concludes that his people and sisters are justified in their adoring love.
The Narnians never favor one of their sovereigns over another; it is considered the utmost vulgarity to speak of a 'favorite' king or queen. In fact, the idea of loving one of the Children of Prophecy over another does not even cross the minds of most citizens of Narnia. Peter is their magnificent, golden king. His devotion to Narnia and his love for his people give him the strength to fight and defend his realm. Queen Susan is Narnia's matron, the caring heart that fortifies her determination to provide for and nurture her people. All of Narnia looks to Edmund for their hope: he sacrifices his time, his dreams, his heart, and sometimes nearly his life to bring his people the redemption and mercy he was given - and his people are devoted to him in return. Lucy is the Narnians' sun, their spring on a cold winter's night when the morning seems so far away. In her the people find faith and joy and delight in life. Narnia has no favorite ruler because together, they are their beloved Kings and Queens: equal in status, equal in love, and equal in the sight and hearts of Aslan and Narnia.