As eldest brother of the Pevensie siblings, Peter becomes "the man of the family" when his father goes away to war, and accordingly, he steps up to guide and protect his younger siblings. He is mature, responsible, loyal, and noble-minded, qualities that serve Narnia well when he becomes High King in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Peter proves his valor time and time again, killing the evil wolf Maugrim, engaging King Miraz in single combat in Prince Caspian, fighting the northern giants, and more, and for these deeds he is given the name Peter the Magnificent.
Tenderhearted, pretty Susan, the second oldest of the Pevensies, is a skilled archer with a solid dose of common sense. At times she can be too skeptical for her own good. She logically disbelieves Lucy's tale of finding Narnia until Susan goes there herself in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and again doubts her sister when Lucy claims to see Aslan in the forest in Prince Caspian. She cautions her siblings against pursuing the White Stag, an outing which brings them back to their own world after years of ruling. Susan needs proof before she is willing to act, and eventually this skepticism turns into a complete loss of belief in Narnia. She becomes more involved in her own world, traveling to America with her parents and focusing on her social life at home, and as she ages, she sees the children's Narnian adventures as childish imaginings. No longer a "friend of Narnia," Susan is the only member of her family not killed in the train wreck at the conclusion of the series. While her family enters Aslan's country—a heavenly place—Susan goes on living her mundane, worldly life, blind to the paradise she has lost.
Edmund Pevensie experiences painful life lessons and tremendous personal growth during his time in Narnia. When he first enters Narnia in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, he is a petty, self-centered boy who lies and thinks only of himself. After betraying his siblings to the White Witch, he sees her true character and begins to feel true remorse for his actions, and compassion for others. He is nearly killed by the Witch, but instead Aslan sacrifices himself to save Edmund. This harsh lesson brings a complete change to the boy's character, who comes to be known as Edmund the Just during his reign as King. He stands by his sister Lucy when others do not believe her (Prince Caspian), advises mercy for the treacherous Prince Rabadash (The Horse and His Boy), and comforts Eustace Scrubb when the younger boy regrets his abominable behavior (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader). Edmund grows into a brave, loyal man and an admirable King of Narnia.
Lucy Pevensie's character remains much the same throughout the series, although she starts off as a very young child in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and grows into an adult while in Narnia. Throughout each story, she remains optimistic, loving, and above all, faithful to Aslan and Narnia. Unlike her sister Susan, Queen Lucy the Valiant goes to battle to stand up for her beliefs, taking her place among the archers in Prince Caspian. Lucy shows courage and compassion in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader when she agrees to help free the unhappy Dufflepuds from their enchantment, even though this means facing the mysterious magician who governs them. Lucy is the first of her siblings to enter Narnia (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), and the first to perceive Aslan when her party is lost in the forest (Prince Caspian). When Aslan instructs her to lead them (against their will) through the forest, she passes this test of faith by insisting they follow, even though they themselves cannot see the lion. These incidents suggest those of great faith are rewarded for standing up for their beliefs.
Aslan, a talking lion, is the son of the Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea, who is the supreme ruler of all worlds. Aslan is deeply compassionate, loving, playful, wise, and self-sacrificing, among other admirable qualities. However, as the characters repeatedly note, Aslan is "not a tame lion," and is often described as fearful or awesome. His might and ferocity are evident in his powerful body, sonic roar, and intimidating growl. He asks piercing questions that force characters to examine their own consciences, and never accepts anything less than the complete truth. Although Aslan appears in every book of the series, he is generally not present for long. He comes and goes, usually turning up at times of dire need or when called upon for help directly. Many readers consider Aslan to be an allegory for Jesus Christ, and indeed, the parallels are striking. Aslan is the son of a supreme ruler (deity figure), and shares many of the loving yet mighty characteristics Jesus is said to possess. Moreover, Aslan's sacrifice of his own life in place of Edmund Pevensie's is a direct echo of Jesus's crucifixion, an act intended to absolve the sins of mankind.
Queen Jadis, also known as the White Witch, is driven exclusively by lust for power. She has no remorse for any of her actions, and will use any means whatsoever to accomplish her aims. Among her wicked deeds, she steals and eats a forbidden Apple of Life, gaining endless youth that allows her to hide away for thousands of years, gaining magical power as she plots to overtake Narnia. Once in power, she plunges the once-verdant land into 100 years of winter, yet there is never a Christmas—Jadis is so petty and coldhearted she wants no one to have any joy in life. As Aslan states in The Magician's Nephew, the Witch's evil heart can offer her only endless misery, never happiness, and so she makes the lives of others miserable, too. Jadis turns countless Narnians into stone statues if they disobey her, and every creature in the land lives in fear of displeasing her in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. In her own world, Jadis had destroyed every living being in the world, including her own sister, who had refused to yield the throne to her. There is no redemption for a character like the White Witch, who represents wicked self-interest and pure evil.
Caspian begins the series as a naïve boy in Prince Caspian, unaware that his "protector," his uncle, King Miraz, killed Caspian's father to usurp the throne. The boy is drawn to stories of the Old Narnia of talking beasts and mythical creatures, which many Narnians no longer believe exist. The young prince has to grow up quickly when he is forced to flee the castle after Miraz has a son of his own. When, by luck, Caspian falls in with a small band of Old Narnians who pledge loyalty to him, he doesn't hesitate to lead them in the fight against his uncle—for although he is fighting for his own life, he is also fighting for the magical Narnia he has always believed in, deep down. Caspian leads with courage, heart, and humility, and once he becomes king, he quickly puts Narnian affairs in order. He subdues the troublesome giants to the north, voyages to the World's End to find seven loyal lords in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and serves the people of Narnia to a ripe old age in The Silver Chair.