Story Title: Threads That Are Golden Don’t Break Easily
Author Name: paperclipbitch
Story Url: Story Link
Content Rating: Teen
Story Summary: Susan meets Captain Harkness at various points in her life.
Recently I was caught up in a mini-rant in which I griped about how much trouble I’ve had in tracking down good Narnia fanfic. Oh, there are plenty of Narnia fics out there. However, most of it seems so contrary to the spirit of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia, that it makes me feel a bit queasy. Incest? Really? Is that the best that the Narnia fandom of the internet-era can do in taking up C.S. Lewis’ challenge to write our own Narnia stories? Puh-lease.
So, I swear I nearly swooned when the friendly recipient of my mini-rant directed me to this fic. Then, when I realized how good it was, I’m pretty sure I hyperventilated for a good while.
This is good. This is SO good. I love exploring the mystery of post-Last Battle Susan. I completely understand what C.S. Lewis was saying about her, and in his Letters to Children he elaborates on the idea of how one could become so engrossed in the material, the present pleasures, that they forget about the ephemeral and sublime. So I’ve never had a problem with Susan’s depiction, and I still don’t. JK Rowling once complained a bit about Susan’s portrayal, and I completely disagree with her objections. There’s so much great theology in Susan’s portrayal, and in C.S. Lewis’ hopes for her future – that after her family’s death she would have come back to Aslan and better understood what it meant to be a Narnian queen on Earth.
This story isn’t exactly about all that, though. It’s much more. It’s so completely consistent with Narnia canon, and yet it acknowledges the idea that perhaps Susan was more than that – that she was better than any of them believed or understood. Even more interesting in some ways, Susan was also more hurt and bitter than they perhaps realized. And therein lies the natural tie-in with Torchwood.
Captain Jack was abandoned by the Doctor; left behind by the whimsical, amazing, unbelievable savior who rescued him, challenged him to be a better man, and for whom he had sacrificed everything. He wound up on Earth with a government that never understood his paradoxical devotion to the Doctor in spite of his bitterness, nor his idea of what it meant to live up to the Doctor’s ideals while stuck on Earth. Enter Susan Pevensie. She had been willing to sacrifice everything for Aslan and for Narnia. And then, Aslan tells Peter and Susan that they’re too old for Narnia and sends them back to Earth with no hope of ever seeing Him again. I’d never before thought about it, but there is a magnificent parallel there in those two relationships.
This story is not a bitter, woe-is-me pity party with Captain Jack and Susan. Susan never talks about Aslan to Jack; Jack never discusses the Doctor. But the author portrays their lives in such a way that it’s all there; their motivations, their missions, and their struggles with the mundane. When you add in the brilliant depictions of those WWII years and, later, the post-war world, petrified by the threat of Communism, everything comes together in such a perfect merger that it’s hard to imagine things not occurring as paperclipbitch imagined.
The story is exciting, it’s introspective, it’s an utterly natural joining of the two worlds, and it’s so very consistent with both The Chronicles of Narnia and Torchwood. And although Susan does struggle with the temporal, material desires mentioned in The Last Battle, I can understand that better here. It’s not quite like Lucy and her siblings described – it’s different. And in the end, I cheered for Susan and was so happy for her and what she accomplishes in this mortal world. It takes both Narnia and Torchwood canon to do so, but the author manages to bring about a surprisingly happy ending which is still utterly in keeping with both ‘verses.
Oh, this is so, so good.