Only now, only now that I am old and no longer care about beauty and no longer fear my own ugliness, only now that I have accepted my fate as the seer and her vision, the lover and her beloved, the heartbroken girl and her ugly despairing reflection in the mirror, only know do I perceive the truth and distortion of that cunning glass in the Pillar Room. I Orual - the wise Queen of Glome, the veiled woman warrior who struck terror in the hearts of those who loved and obeyed but never saw me, now know that I took as perfect and true, one glance into that curved glass. I saw there the magnified reflection of a swollen and bruised tear-streaked face with an eye shut tight by brutality and neglect and assumed the ugliness of the image as my own. That moment when I first gazed at my reflection in the cunning mirror in the Pillar Room, my face distorted and swollen from my father’s beating, that was the moment which determined my fate. I mistook the copy for the original. The ugliness of that reflection, enhanced by the ugliness of my own desperation and despair was my sentence in life. I know now that what I saw in that mirror all those years ago was not the perfect image of my own true physical ugliness. For how can there be in this world, a perfect image of anything? No, the mirror image was the trickery of the gods.
And yet, I am still unsure. Was there something in that reflection more true than I realized? There was something in that image that was itself alive and driven? Did that Orual, ugly and swollen, wild-eyed and beast-like, exist? And, was that Orual separate from this flesh and blood Queen? You Greeks might say that that glance into the mirror was mere appearance, tha...
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...he true ugliness of being caught in that moment’s reflection. So, I betrayed Istra and her god and found in that betrayal echoed all the betrayals of myself, endlessly reflecting in a veiled face that was no face. My ugliness was everywhere and nowhere. In every glance, every shimmer, every movement, I was revealed as no thing.
1 I Arnom, priest of Aphrodite who is still sometimes called Ungit in this country, have recovered yet one more roll from our great Queen Orual of Glome’s final writing. I include these writings in with the previous book, assuming they are one piece of discourse. This scroll must be clearer to the Greeks than to those of us in Glome, for what our Queen saw reflected for so many years, was never our deep love and abiding loyalty to her.
Lewis, C. S. Till We Have Faces. San Diego: Harvest/Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1956.
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