1980: Turkish Delight

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
Turkish Delight
I take it Narnia doesn't have Cinnabons? Because if you can magic up a plate of those, I'll betray whoever.
Title text: I take it Narnia doesn't have Cinnabons? Because if you can magic up a plate of those, I'll betray whoever.


The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a fantasy novel by British novelist C. S. Lewis, the first published and best known of seven novels in The Chronicles of Narnia. In it, a group of four sibling children discover another world called Narnia. At the beginning of the story, the land is in a perpetual winter caused by the White Witch (the antagonist of the story). One of the children, Edmund Pevensie, is approached by the White Witch and offered Turkish delight, a type of confection, in exchange for leading the other children to her. What the book says and what the movie leaves out is he doesn't know the sweets are enchanted by the White Witch to make the eater want them the more they eat them. Not a full mind control, but more of a strong urge to get more.

Turkish delight is very different from typical confections found in the modern Western world and isn't very popular in the United States. The primary flavoring agent of Turkish Delights, rosewater, has a strong perfume-like taste and is generally considered an acquired taste for western palates. Randall, who has made comics about being unimpressed by food in the past, comments that he was very disappointed when he tried Turkish delight, especially after having read in the novel about how delicious the characters considered it. If he were in Edmund's shoes, he would not have been persuaded.

It is not uncommon for present-day Narnia fans to be disappointed when they try Turkish delight, as different as it is to modern confections. However, in the late Victorian era when Lewis grew up, Turkish delight was very popular in England. Because it was nearly impossible for local confectioners to make properly, it had to be imported from Turkey, at great expense, making it a status symbol for the wealthy and a rare treat for those with less money. When Lewis wanted to come up with the perfect temptation for Edmund, he drew on his own childhood memories of a favorite rare and expensive treat--which would have been even harder to come by because of sugar rationing during World War II, when the story was set. It also serves to emphasize how powerful the White Witch is for her to be able to offer such an expensive and hard-to-obtain treat so easily.

Cinnabon (referenced in the title text) is a popular chain restaurant in the USA which serves mostly cinnamon buns covered in a thick, sugary glaze. The chain is not well known in Britain, but has recently opened a few restaurants, mainly in the London area. (A more common UK equivalent of the cinnamon bun is the Chelsea bun.) There are presumably no branches of Cinnabon in Narnia.[citation needed] Randall is saying that he finds cinnamon buns delicious, to the point where he would betray anyone for them. It should be noted that, in the books, it was Edmund who requested the Turkish Delight, implying that they're his favorite treat. Thus, had it been Randall instead of Edmund, he very well could have requested cinnabons.


[A person wearing a cap, a fur coat, and gloves sits in a sled handing over a plate with small cubic pieces on it to a small boy with dark hair standing beneath. The boy reaches one hand to the plate.]
Person in the sled: Have some Turkish delight. If you betray your family, there's more where that came from.
[The boy tastes one piece.]
[The boy looks at that piece.]
[The boy looks up, to the direction where the gift came from, the piece still in his hands.]
Boy: Wow.
Boy: This is ... not great.
[Caption below:]
The Narnia books gave me a really unrealistic impression of how good Turkish delight tastes.


comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


whomever172.68.26.71 15:42, 13 April 2018 (UTC)

On the distinction (to or for whom something is done) one of my favorite knock-knock jokes goes: >"KnockKnock..." <"Who's there?" >"to" <"...to who?" >(quickly, with emphasis)"to WHOM" Elvenivle (talk) 02:52, 15 April 2018 (UTC)
That's a pretty good one. Have to remember it.Linker (talk) 23:28, 15 April 2018 (UTC)

Randall is a known Animorphs fan, and Cinnabon is portrayed in the books as being foremost among the favourite foods of Andalites when in human morph. Possibly the title text is meant to introduce the narrator as one? It wouldn't be the first time that mousing over has revealed the identity of a character in the strip. D5xtgr (talk) 17:57, 13 April 2018 (UTC)

Would it be useful to include an explanation of what Turkish Delights are and what they’re made from? It could help to explain why he might be let down. 19:41, 13 April 2018 (UTC)

This might be helpful for background The Lion, the Witch, and the Really Foul Candy Odysseus654 (talk) 21:22, 13 April 2018 (UTC)

One point that might be worth mentioning, is that this happens during World War II, more specifically during The Blitz (the Kids were being sent off to the professor's to get them out of the city, since the city was being bombed to crap. This kind of thing was rather common.) Rationing had been in place for some time, and ANY sort of confectionery would've been exceedingly difficult to come by. Poor Edmund probably hadn't had any candy at all for months. -Graptor 22:00, 13 April 2018 (UTC)

Candy was definitely in short supply during the war, and it was still being rationed in the UK even at the time The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was published. But the witch offered Edmund any kind of food he might want, and what he requested was Turkish delight, which she magically conjured up. ("What would you like best to eat?" "Turkish Delight, please, your Majesty," said Edmund. The Queen let another drop fall from her bottle onto the snow, and instantly there appeared a round box, tied with green silk ribbon, which, when opened, turned out to contain several pounds of the best Turkish Delight.) It wasn't like the witch had only Turkish delight to offer and Edmund was grateful for it only because he had no other access to candy. He could have requested chocolate bars or some other kind of candy from the witch, if he had wanted to. -- 22:51, 13 April 2018 (UTC)

I'm getting ridiculous deja vous... did Randal publish this comic before? Or did he steal the punchline from somewhere? I could *SWARE* I've seen this before.... 23:31, 13 April 2018 (UTC)

I had similar Deja Vu... I don't think from another comic. It might have been this article:
C.S. Lewis’s Greatest Fiction Was Convincing American Kids That They Would Like Turkish Delight 18:20, 14 April 2018 (UTC)

Should Narnia get its own category? Also, the title text has a noteworthy grammatically incorrect sentence: it’s “whomever” instead of “whoever.” 23:54, 13 April 2018 (UTC)

I'm not sure, there have been several Narnia comics before, but I'm not sure if they could stand out as a category on their own. Maybe as a subcategory of the fiction category? Herobrine (talk) 01:07, 14 April 2018 (UTC)
Five comic references I have moved to a new trivia section here, but reading those comics again gave me the conviction to this new category Category:Chronicles of Narnia. --Dgbrt (talk) 19:55, 14 April 2018 (UTC)

I'm not a fan of pushing the prescriptivist grammar here. The subjective/objective distinction in the who(m) words is no longer regularly used in many dialects. Simply using "whom" among these people labels one as being excessively formal. If Randal's dialect does not use "whomever," then it is hardly a mistake. Trlkly (talk) 02:37, 14 April 2018 (UTC)

Make them Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and you've got a deal. BTW, Is there a category for "comics drawn in a style uncommon to XKCD"? These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 01:06, 15 April 2018 (UTC)

If there was I wouldn't put this one in it... What are you talking about? All I can see is that the sled is drawn at an angle, in a 3D style, but that doesn't seem worth mentioning... NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:46, 15 April 2018 (UTC)
Click on the Random Page link 20 times and see how many highly detailed, thin-lined, realistically proportioned images you find. XKCD's signature style is block text and stick figures. These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 10:22, 17 April 2018 (UTC) (oops, forgot to sign)
I think there should be, was there ever action taken on this? I can't think of many comics that have fully drawn people versus just stick figures. Even non-human (But humanoid) characters are always stick figures, such as Entwives. I'd be curious to see how many other non-stick figure humanoids Randall has drawn, all I can think of right now is Boy in a Barrell. Fifteen12 (talk) 17:18, 18 September 2023 (UTC)

OMG, ME TOO! Although it was the miniseries for me, didn't try the books until like 10 years ago. Took me 25 years before I found out I could get Turkish Delight - Rose Petal, didn't think they meant that it was the actual flavour. Tried it and... ??? My experience was better than that linked article, though, LOL! NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:42, 15 April 2018 (UTC)

Something funny I thought of... What if the implication is that she'll force the kid to eat more of the stuff if he betrays his family, therefore she's trying to keep him loyal? It doesn't make much sense with the context, but it's a different angle to examine this from. 14:57, 15 April 2018 (UTC)

Uhm...ever considered that Lewis was a devout Christian and everything he wrote had a moral, i.e. evil is *supposed* to look nice but tastes lousy? ;-) 17:32, 15 April 2018 (UTC)

I don't love Turkish delight but it's OK. What is really awful is any confectionery that comes from the USA. Geolocate my IP. 07:31, 16 April 2018 (UTC)

Aw, I was expecting you to be in the US. That would have been rather funny. 16:19, 16 April 2018 (UTC)

When "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" was translated into Polish, hardly anyone in Poland new what turkish delight was, so it was translated as ptasie mleczko which is delicious indeed. 07:50, 16 April 2018 (UTC)

But in the movie it was reverted to the original treat - rachatłukum (Polish transcription of the Turkish name) - Malgond (talk) 09:42, 17 April 2018 (UTC)

I'm removing the part about whoever vs. whomever. It adds nothing to the article. Goodbye, world! (talk) 17:12, 2 March 2020 (UTC)

I think the modern hysteria over dangers of sugar (fast carbs, "sudden hunger" after digesting sugar etc.) would justinfy referring to sugar as "White Witch" But I persnally would just ban coffee. 02:14, 9 May 2020 (UTC)