The LotGK's Plot Against Narnia

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Re: The LotGK's Plot Against Narnia

Postby Reepicheep775 » Oct 02, 2016 1:58 pm

Oh, wow. Good find, Rose!

We need a Renaissance man to direct SC - someone who is knowledgeable about literature (specifically ancient and medieval literature) as well as film-making.

I would still prefer the film-makers keep the LotGK's true identity and backstory a mystery as I think that's, oddly enough, part of what makes her a memorable villain. I do agree that drawing on mythology for her backstory would be better than just making it up. I just want it to feel authentic. Lewis did such a great job of making things like the LotGK feel like they were lifted straight out of myth (the Seven Swords and the Green Mist, in comparison, felt like they were lifted from a video game or a bad 80s movie). If I was directing a Narnia film, I'd bring on a medieval literary scholar as a consultant.
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Re: The LotGK's Plot Against Narnia

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Oct 02, 2016 4:58 pm

Thank you for reviving this thread, Rose. I've found some more information about the original Melusine who was allegedly the ancestress of the St Pol family of Jacquetta of Luxembourg, the grandmother of Elizabeth of York, the wife of Henry VII, the Tudor King of England and ancestress of the present British monarchy.

Yes, Reepicheep, keeping LOTGK's origins a mystery and definitely mythical, would be a good idea. Because what she symbolises, in C.S.Lewis's work, and that of Tolkien, is the importance of myth and tradition in our lives to tell us something about ourselves and our choices in life, whether to be free or to live as a slave. This is a main theme of all of the seven Narnia stories, all reiterated in various forms. In SC, LOTGK is a myth trying to be real, by denying our capacity to think at all, let alone to choose. Rilian only parrots the thoughts she wants him to think. Her people work and speak like automatons and even the food they eat is tasteless and bland. In the stronghold of Harfang, the children do get to taste delicious food but, apart from porridge in the morning, don't know what it is they are served to eat. And she drugs them to agree that her world is the only one.

LOTGK as a serpent would be a poisonously cold-blooded reptilian. It is only due to Puddleglum's own determinedly frog-footed nature that he was able to resist her lures, on equal terms. I do see the resemblance between Melusine and LOTGK, but there are important differences as well. The Melusine legend is a medieval myth that was attached to some very real people, such as Raymond of Poitou, related to both the English and French monarchies, in particular, the Plantagenets, the descendants of Geoffrey Plantagenet who married Henry I's daughter, the Empress Matilda. Melusine appears in historical fiction, most recently in Philippa Gregory's stories of the later Plantagenets, Richard III and Elizabeth of York, the eldest sister of the Princes in the Tower. In LOTGK's world, Rilian and his three rescuers are being told to deny the realities of their own world to believe only in her mythical world without question, as if they were all sleepwalkers without minds of their own.

There is a reason why Narnia is so determinedly British in nature, despite its inhabitatants being talking animals and creatures of myth and legend. Its humans are English-speaking, whether they are the descendants of the half-way decent Frank, the London cabbie-driver, whose horse Strawberry is a much more hopeful character than Anna Sewell's Black Beauty. Or whether they are Telmarine descendants of South-Sea pirates, London child evacuees, or Calormene Tisrocs claiming to live forever. Tarkaans, whether Anradin, the Barbarossa lookalike, or Emeth, or escaping Archenlander slaves are just as English-speaking as is Governor Gumpas, Ahoshta and Arsheesh. Narnia is an English world, but it "isn't supposed to be a place for humans. It is a place for humans to be king of".

UK's history, laws and current democratic government have developed because of its kings and lack of kings, as much as through revolution or civil and world war which so dramatically destroyed four European empires. We usually think that English history, in particular, started with William the Conqueror, a Norman, but before him, a council of Anglo-Saxon leaders chose England's king, not William's predecessor, Harold II Godwinsson. Whatever he thought he was entitled to, because of a promise he had extorted from Harold II, William had overturned the will of the English people, whose throne he took. But the will of the people remained, nonetheless, asserting itself at various points in UK history, such as in June, 1215, at Runnymede, when King John signed Magna Carta.

His successors, through both conflict with nobles and Parliament and in co-operation with either or both, have worked out UK usages and its legal system between them, and through reforms, like abolishing slavery, giving all men and then women the vote and by how they dealt with the rest of the world, such as throughout the horrors of the 20th century. So far, it is established that that the legitimate head of state, that is, at the moment, Queen Elizabeth, represents and ratifies the law, and that, as Defender of the Faith, he/she must be answerable to God, himself, as per his/her coronation oaths, with Parliament representing the will of the people, through elections and through the process of enacting legislation. This process is still ongoing. Once Queen Elizabeth dies, unlike the Tisroc, who is told he can live forever, her crown passes automatically to her heir, Prince Charles, because even if she dies, the institution of the Crown, itself, like the law, doesn't die.

English, and UK, traditions, common law and usages matter, worked out long before William the Conqueror's son, Henry I, codified them, or his daughter and successor, married Geoffrey Plantagenet, who was a contemporary and probably a relative of Raymond of Poitiers. If the English-speaking world forgets that sort of thing, relegating where our laws come from, to the pages of mythology, we are in danger of forgetting who we are, and becoming slaves to bullies. Or to be dismissed by history as bullies, ourselves.

Narnia, without its legitimate Prince, and without a clear successor, Rilian, was in real danger of being obliterated. But its missing prince was also in danger of forgetting who he was and believing in whatever LOTGK told him reality was. "To be or not to be", indeed. I hope LOTGK does look every bit as alluring and enticing as the film industry can paint her, but it is how she looks as probably a special effects snake that is most important. That is the crunch. And the Hamlet-like Renaissance theme in SC would be an excellent and relevant reminder of the Tudors, the children and grandchildren of Elizabeth of York, allegedly descended from Melusine on her mother's side.
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Re: The LotGK's Plot Against Narnia

Postby Glumpuddle » Oct 04, 2016 5:16 pm

One of my biggest fears about the movie is that they will shift the focus to saving Narnia from the LotGK. This is about trusting Aslan's signs in order to reunite a son with his father, and restore hope for the future to Narnia. In the book, we don't even know Narnia is in any danger until the end (although the owls speculate it). Because it's not the point of the story.

Taking the time to explain what she was trying to do exactly, why she needed Rilian, why the enchantment only worked during certain times, and why the chair was needed... this would probably take way too much explanation and would shift the focus in the wrong direction. Instead, use that time to develop Jill's character or the sense of Narnia's despair.
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Re: The LotGK's Plot Against Narnia

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Oct 04, 2016 5:47 pm

A couple more speculative thoughts, particularly on the idea that the LotGK is trapped underground except for brief periods every several years, as is the case in some of Melusine's legends....

1. It would explain why her kingdom is exclusively inhabited by gnomes. If you were the Lady of the Green Kirtle and had the persuasive powers to rule over anyone, why just the gnomes? (This makes even less sense when you consider that she was building up a huge army, and the very tiny gnomes don't exactly offer a tactical advantage.) Of course, you have the Dwarfs who love to dig, but I get the sense that they don't burrow down very far or else they probably would've known about Underland.

2. It gives me a slightly different way of looking at the LotGK's attempted enchantment of Rilian and the questers. It always seemed kind of counterproductive to me that she was trying to convince the four that the sun and the sky didn't exist when her ultimate design was to take Rilian up into Overworld and have him reign there as king. I always just assumed that she was just trying to preserve the enchantment at all costs, regardless of whether it worked with her larger plan, but I wonder if her words here (like how she told Rilian he turned into a serpent every day when that may have been in fact her own curse) might actually indicate her own thought process when trapped underground for so many years. "There is no sun, no sky, no Aslan; there no world but my world, no world but myself" ... it makes me think of the profound self-absorption of someone in Hell, especially given Lewis's views.

And on the broader topic of Rilian being the LotGK's "escape" from her serpentine curse...

Could this tell us something about the function of the Silver Chair? It's never clear what actual effect the chair has on Rilian, especially since the LotGK seems quite capable of re-enchanting him and the others after the chair is destroyed. And yet, think of her white-faced fury when she sees that it has been bashed to bits. Why was this so upsetting to her? I am beginning to wonder that Rilian's time in the chair had less to do with the preservation of his own enchantment than it had to do with preventing the LotGK from taking on her form as a serpent. Rilian says that the moment he was loosed from the chair, he would turn into a serpent. Could it be that, without him being bound, that is the hour at which she would turn into a serpent? I had thought that the LotGK transformed out of her own volition after Puddleglum's speech, but it's possible that her time had just run out.

Reepicheep775 wrote:I do agree that drawing on mythology for her backstory would be better than just making it up. I just want it to feel authentic. Lewis did such a great job of making things like the LotGK feel like they were lifted straight out of myth (the Seven Swords and the Green Mist, in comparison, felt like they were lifted from a video game or a bad 80s movie). If I was directing a Narnia film, I'd bring on a medieval literary scholar as a consultant.


I really think this is imperative. All of the Narnia books have a very distinct tone (which is one of the reasons why I get so frustrated at the idea of trying to make the movies like a "normal" film franchise). The tone of The Silver Chair is strongly influenced by medieval myth and legend... there's a quest, a lost knight, a enigmatic woman, and a magical artifact. Even the way that Rilian and the Lady of the Green Kirtle talk plays a crucial role in this general atmosphere. It's extremely important that the filmmakers understand where Lewis was coming from with this book and to draw inspiration from those same fonts. The soul of the story will be missing if they don't, and I think the film would end up with something of the same vibe as Rilian before he's disenchanted.

waggawerewolf27 wrote:Yes, Reepicheep, keeping LOTGK's origins a mystery and definitely mythical, would be a good idea. Because what she symbolises, in C.S.Lewis's work, and that of Tolkien, is the importance of myth and tradition in our lives to tell us something about ourselves and our choices in life, whether to be free or to live as a slave. This is a main theme of all of the seven Narnia stories, all reiterated in various forms.


That's a really intriguing thought about the main theme of CoN! I'd never thought about that before, although I had certainly recognized it as a prevailing theme in many of the books. I'll have to meditate on that further.

Your historical perspective on Melusine was very interesting! I find it oddly fascinating that so many families claimed lineage with her. It's also curious that she was a popular mythological figure in antiquity, only to recently fade out of the public imagination, so to speak. It seems like we humans have, in many ways, lost contact with our roots and history—especially mythic—in the past century or so, and that's one of the reasons why I'm concerned about how they might interpret this character.

Glumpuddle wrote:Taking the time to explain what she was trying to do exactly, why she needed Rilian, why the enchantment only worked during certain times, and why the chair was needed... this would probably take way too much explanation and would shift the focus in the wrong direction. Instead, use that time to develop Jill's character or the sense of Narnia's despair.


I agree. While I really enjoy speculating as a Narnia fan, I worry that extensive speculation on the filmmakers' part could distract from the real story. I hope that they will just let the LotGK remain as a mysterious character. Unfortunately, the White Witch was such a popular villain that I'm concerned that they may try to expand the LotGK's presence in The Silver Chair in order to sell audiences on a new villain. I hope that if they do, they at least draw inspiration from something like Melusine instead of Disney's Maleficent.
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Re: The LotGK's Plot Against Narnia

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Oct 04, 2016 11:15 pm

Rose-Tree Dryads wrote:1. It would explain why her kingdom is exclusively inhabited by gnomes. If you were the Lady of the Green Kirtle and had the persuasive powers to rule over anyone, why just the gnomes? (This makes even less sense when you consider that she was building up a huge army, and the very tiny gnomes don't exactly offer a tactical advantage.) Of course, you have the Dwarfs who love to dig, but I get the sense that they don't burrow down very far or else they probably would've known about Underland


Why not just the gnomes? My feeling is no, the dwarves don't know about Underland, but then they don't always know about Down Under, either. ;) By the way, the gnomes are all shapes and sizes, looking different from each other, but including, at a guess, both male and female. With the head honchos we see most being mostly male. By the by, when I go to UK, like the dwarves, they very often don't know about Down Under, either. Even though we are still often related to them. :D And just as things that are Narnian stay in Narnia, things that are real-life sometimes do stay in real-life. We still chuckle about the taxi-driver we met in York who said he wanted take a taxi from Brisbane to Cairns and back to visit people he knew in one day. :-o Well, if he took a plane there and back he might be able to do the trip in one day, but not by taxi. =))

Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:The tone of The Silver Chair is strongly influenced by medieval myth and legend... there's a quest, a lost knight, a enigmatic woman, and a magical artifact. Even the way that Rilian and the Lady of the Green Kirtle talk plays a crucial role in this general atmosphere. It's extremely important that the filmmakers understand where Lewis was coming from with this book and to draw inspiration from those same fonts. The soul of the story will be missing if they don't, and I think the film would end up with something of the same vibe as Rilian before he's disenchanted


Yes, this is all very important, and I agree 100%. But I wonder how much people know about the mythical Melusine? Especially as Melusine was a relatively harmless water-spirit who only got annoyed when her spouse disobeyed her valid desire for privacy at certain times, and who would most likely have objected to paparazzi with long distance photo shots snooping on her just as much as any modern day celebrity?

Now that Silver Chair. What sort of connotations does one have about silver? Commercialism? Money? A silver bullet to slay whatever a vampirish groupspeak has told him to do? Oh yes a throne is a chair of some sort, where one ponders the workings of the world, as men often do after a good meal. But in his silver chair, our Rilian feels tied up with problems and work, and his own helplessness at solving them. Helplessness is the key word. He is also in pain, tied in it, like one is tied up in public opinion, perhaps? What one can say and what LOTGK will not let him say normally? Or that in his bewitched state she says it is all his fault that he becomes a monstrous snake at the end of it, and not she, herself, who can do no wrong? No, best leave the the Silver Chair a magical and unexplained artifact.

However the more I go down this path, the more I'm finding that it intrudes into current events this year and sheds light in weird sorts of ways into the political situation here in Australia. We've had council elections and federal elections and the hot topics are three plebiscite questions to amend our constitution, only one of which I feel comfortable at saying yes to as a voter. Unlike voters elsewhere, Australian voters may have to vote, otherwise they will be firmly reminded they are breaking electoral law, in letters, which will direct them how to pay the fine. For Elizabeth II is the honorary Queen of Australia, the boss, you might say, of our Australian-born Governor-General, who performs her Queenly Australian duties on her behalf for us.

And I wouldn't want the Queen of Australia depicted as LOTGK, in any shape or form. Nor would I want to see Rilian as a kind of Prince Charles figure, or, having forgotten about his English (oops, Narnian) heritage, Rilian depicted as a wannabe President of whatever Down under banana republic the press and politicians want to dream up as a replacement for our current arrangements.

So I ask, beg and plead the filmmakers, by all means do make it a struggle about myth, tradition, memory and thought, plus why we need law and structure in our lives. I don't want to see SC made some sort of political football, because "monarchies are so old-hat", as some would insist, and personally I'd prefer to make up my own mind what sort of society I want to live in, not what the rest of the world thinks I should want. Nor do I want to see SC reviewed and dismissed as a story about "just another bunch of English toffs", the way VDT was by one reviewer, probably the very sort of reviewer who needs to see the movie and understand in his/her heart what the story is really telling him/her about what is valuable in life.

The bit that resonates most with me is when Jill tells Rilian he would be a "wicked tyrant". Just what I thought. That is, if he takes the Narnian throne lawlessly under the aegis of whatever LOTGK thinks. Being a prince or king is just as much of a lawful job, as it is being a president, a protector of the Commonwealth like Oliver Cromwell, or as heading any sort of organisation. It is how people conduct themselves in the job that is important, not the power that people assume such positions entail. And voters, when they have the chance or, in my case, civic duty, need to choose wisely, according to their conscience, whichever sort of society they choose to live in.
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Re: The LotGK's Plot Against Narnia

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Oct 06, 2016 10:16 am

waggawerewolf27 wrote:By the way, the gnomes are all shapes and sizes, looking different from each other, but including, at a guess, both male and female. With the head honchos we see most being mostly male.


I suppose that's probable, but I'd never thought about there being female gnomes in Underland before... I think that's owing to Pauline Baynes' illustrations and the word Earthmen.

wagga wrote:Yes, this is all very important, and I agree 100%. But I wonder how much people know about the mythical Melusine?


If you'd asked me who she was three years ago, I don't think I would have been able to tell you, and it's not as though I had no interest in mythology or folklore, either.

I've often puzzled over why Lewis told us so little about about the Lady of the Green Kirtle, and generally came to the conclusion that her mystery was as important an aspect of her character as her cunning or beauty. And I do believe that that is the case, but now I also find myself wondering of Lewis felt that it wasn't particularly necessary to talk about her background and motives when there were so many obvious links with Melusine from the get-go (the fountain, the snake); perhaps it was so clear to him, with his own love of myth and legend, that it didn't occur to him that the most of us would be scratching our heads.

wagga wrote:Now that Silver Chair. What sort of connotations does one have about silver? Commercialism? Money? A silver bullet to slay whatever a vampirish groupspeak has told him to do?


I rather think that it's silver because of silver's connotations with the moon and femininity. (Doesn't Planet Narnia suggest that The Silver Chair is the "lunar" book of CoN? I can't believe I haven't read that book yet....) Acts 19:24 describes a silversmith who made silver shrines for Artemis, so this connection is an ancient one. The fact that silver embodies feminine power and that Rilian is literally bound to the chair seems to mirror his mental and emotional entrapment. Even the one hour a day that he is sane, she has him literally tied to an instrument of her evil magic in order to keep him under her control.

wagga wrote:So I ask, beg and plead the filmmakers, by all means do make it a struggle about myth, tradition, memory and thought, plus why we need law and structure in our lives. I don't want to see SC made some sort of political football, because "monarchies are so old-hat", as some would insist, and personally I'd prefer to make up my own mind what sort of society I want to live in, not what the rest of the world thinks I should want.


Oh, yes! This is actually a big concern for me. Gp was talking about keeping the focus on Jill and the despair of the Narnians, but while I think modern audiences would understand that Rilian's disappearance is a bad thing and that it's sad for Caspian to die alone, I'm not so sure that they would have much respect for the idea that the kingdom of Narnia is on shaky ground if Rilian does not return. There's a modern impulse to say "Well, what's the big deal? Why don't they just all vote and elect somebody as their new leader?" Lewis, however, was no great cheerleader for democracy; it seems the fact that Narnia and Archenland were small monarchies had just as much to do with his views about ideal hierarchy as it did with evoking the romantic past.
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Re: The LotGK's Plot Against Narnia

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Oct 07, 2016 1:28 pm

Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:I rather think that it's silver because of silver's connotations with the moon and femininity. (Doesn't Planet Narnia suggest that The Silver Chair is the "lunar" book of CoN? I can't believe I haven't read that book yet....) Acts 19:24 describes a silversmith who made silver shrines for Artemis, so this connection is an ancient one. The fact that silver embodies feminine power and that Rilian is literally bound to the chair seems to mirror his mental and emotional entrapment. Even the one hour a day that he is sane, she has him literally tied to an instrument of her evil magic in order to keep him under her control.


Yes, and Artemis is the Greek name for Diana, the name of a Princess of Wales whose death in 1997 caused as many problems as the abdication of Edward VIII before WW2. A weeping Diana, already preparing for divorce, mentioned in an interview she wanted to be seen as a Queen of Hearts. But Lewis Carroll's Queen of Hearts who often said "Off with their heads", was a satirical view of Queen Victoria, who was Queen in her own right, with Prince Albert as her late, lamented consort. I don't remember any King of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland. Queen Victoria died in early 1901, having authorised the proclamation of Australia's federation and independence. The only Princess of Wales who ever had that title in her own right was Mary Tudor, the daughter of Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII, who became Queen with the Catholic King Philip II of Spain as her consort.

Because it is customary for women to defer to husbands, and for most titles to be carried on by men, a consort can never have a higher rank than the monarch herself. Victoria became queen because of the behaviour of her father's three elder brothers, the eldest of whom detested his wife, and wouldn't let her be crowned as his consort. Their only child was Victoria's cousin, Princess Charlotte, who died in childbirth, but her husband, Leopold, did eventually become king of the Belgians in a similar setup to UK. Belgium, whose neutrality was violated by Germany in WW1, might be considered one of those small kingdoms like Narnia and Archenland you mention. It was around Belgium's border with France where the main fighting was where C.S.Lewis fought alongside Commonwealth troops.

Original mirrors were made of silver and bronze, reflecting back one's image. Often in a distorted fashion. What would a silver chair tell Rilian to torment him? That he definitely wasn't 'the fairest of them all'? Only a helpless wretch in a pillory, complicit in grabbing power over others that he could have exercised anyway by right? That to avenge his mother, he deserted his father to murder others?

Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:There's a modern impulse to say "Well, what's the big deal? Why don't they just all vote and elect somebody as their new leader?" Lewis, however, was no great cheerleader for democracy; it seems the fact that Narnia and Archenland were small monarchies had just as much to do with his views about ideal hierarchy as it did with evoking the romantic past.


Yes I read that link you included, but it depends on what you mean by democracy, how it is organised, who is included in it and who is not. Democracy started in Greece, but the Athenian hoplites who wanted a say in what battles they fought, did not include women. And the senate of the Roman Republic specifically made it illegal for their protesting womenfolk to "teach in public", to avoid their demands for representation if they were to be taxed. And the first democratic country in the world to enfranchise women was New Zealand, a Constitutional Monarchy, with Australia following suit in 1902.

The democratic system used in UK and Commonwealth countries is called the Westminster system and it depends on what is called the separation of powers. The monarch becomes so at the point of death of his/her predecessor and is head of state from that time until their own death. In that capacity he/she not only is head of the armed forces, but also interacts with Parliament, where the Prime Minister, or in Germany's case, the Chancellor, is head of government. Basically what the monarch does is to be the impartial Chairperson in politics, who can advise, warn or encourage each side but who must not take part in the political discourse. The trouble is, the Westminster system of democracy works fine when the government is headed by both a Prime Minister and a monarch or that monarch's representative, but doesn't necessarily work quite so well when the monarch's place is taken by a president, elected or not. Currently, Angela Merkel is Chancellor of Germany, and the President is Joachim Gauke in a Westminster-style republic.

When the Kaiser abdicated in 1918, he left Germany in disorder, especially due to the vengeful conditions set by the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. By the time President Hindenburg, who replaced the Kaiser, died, Hitler had already become Chancellor of Germany through repeated elections. Hitler took over the Presidency as a matter of practicality and got his actions confirmed by holding yet another election, rigged by intimidation and force. Bingo, the separation of powers no longer existed, and this is the way he got absolute power in Germany. Well might Lord Acton say that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The first cab off the rank in Hitler's power takeover was to outlaw any opposing political party, such as the Communists and Christian Democrats. Even Germany's disunited Christian churches were expected to bowdlerise the Bible, to get rid of any of those nasty bits, like the books of Daniel (Ch 2, 32-33) and Ezekiel (Chs 25-32), to suit Hitler, and those who resisted him were either imprisoned or executed, sooner or later, like Pastor Bornhoeffer and Admiral Canaris.

Women can be leaders, as Queens, even in war, sometimes dramatically so, despite the unwillingness of 12th century nobles to accept Empress Matilda as their rightful ruler, and not her cousin, King Stephen. But it was her son who succeeded him, not his own son, Eustace. It is when such Queens have been Queen Consorts, rather than Queens in their own right that they have caused the most grief, usually due to their husbands' weaknesses and frailties. In 1953, when the Silver Chair was published, Elizabeth II had her coronation as Queen Regnant, to succeed her father, George VI, whom C.S.Lewis greatly admired for taking his brother's place to lead UK through the traumas it underwent during World War II. Named after her own mother, she isn't the first Queen Regnant, not even the first Elizabeth. As well as Queen, she became Supreme Governor of the Church of England and Defender of the Faith.

I can well understand C.S.Lewis' nuanced attitude to democracy. He was born in Northern Ireland which remained as part of UK, when the rest of Ireland became a Republic. He served in WW1, was part of UK's efforts in WW2 to resist Germany, and then in 1963 died the same day as did USA's President John F Kennedy, who with his wife was sometimes regarded as USA's answer to King Arthur's Camelot. Was it purely co-incidence that on that day another famous person also died - Aldous Huxley who wrote A Brave New World?

Rilian, of course, could not be replaced by an elected someone else. Trumpkin could run the show effectively whilst Caspian was away on VDT, but he didn't meet the human qualification Aslan specified, even if he was elected by the Kings Council, the whole of Narnia, or even just by the Parliament of Owls. Besides, as Puddleglum pointed out, he, too was aging. And the elected someone else, could just as easily turn out to be someone like King Miraz or Jadis. Or LOTGK who planned to murder the chief men, anyway. And that is why Eustace had to recognise an old friend, why they had to go north to the Ruined City of the Giants so they could be instructed on what they needed to do next. And why LOTGK, who did not want them to be instructed at all, diverted them to the false and meaningless, but often popular, vision of what Royalty is all about, presented by Harfang.
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Re: The LotGK's Plot Against Narnia

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Oct 09, 2016 12:14 pm

waggawerewolf27 wrote:Original mirrors were made of silver and bronze, reflecting back one's image. Often in a distorted fashion. What would a silver chair tell Rilian to torment him? That he definitely wasn't 'the fairest of them all'? Only a helpless wretch in a pillory, complicit in grabbing power over others that he could have exercised anyway by right? That to avenge his mother, he deserted his father to murder others?


That's an interesting thought about the connection with mirrors—Rilian's time in the Silver Chair did certainly give him a different perspective or "view".

Like the Lady of the Green Kirtle, the Silver Chair seems to be a thing of beauty, but its true nature is evil. It also appears to be a kind of a throne, but again, a false one; nothing but a puppet show. And thirdly, it would seem to be a place of rest—not unlike how the distracting vision of the lovely woman by the fountain may have given Rilian reprieve from his grief—but it is actually a torture device.

As Wilhelm Spark pointed out in the discussion about the themes of The Silver Chair—"nothing is at it seems" is everywhere you look in that book!

wagga wrote:Rilian, of course, could not be replaced by an elected someone else. Trumpkin could run the show effectively whilst Caspian was away on VDT, but he didn't meet the human qualification Aslan specified, even if he was elected by the Kings Council, the whole of Narnia, or even just by the Parliament of Owls. Besides, as Puddleglum pointed out, he, too was aging. And the elected someone else, could just as easily turn out to be someone like King Miraz or Jadis. Or LOTGK who planned to murder the chief men, anyway.


I recently ran across an interesting argument suggesting that monarchies may be better at preserving the traditions of law and order because a king has the incentive to maintain the wealth and health of his nation (i.e. can't upset a lot of apple carts with new laws and taxes) for as long as he shall live, as well as leave something valuable to his successor. In a democratic republic, on the other hand, there is the game of musical chairs where elected officials are keen on "taking action" in the limited amount of time they are in power, often resulting in much more rapid evolution of government.

I'd say this argument applies somewhat better to those monarchies that are not the ambitious and invasive (such as the Telmarines) or empire-building sort. The simple precepts laid out to King Frank in LB and the kind of governance described at the end of LWW seem to have been key to the Narnian monarchy's unique success. When I read the part of The Last Battle where Jewel is talking to Jill about Narnia in peacetime, there is a strong sense that much of the beauty of Narnia was in its unchangingness:

C.S. Lewis wrote:"Oh, this is nice!" said Jill. "Just walking along like this. I wish there could be more of this sort of adventure. It's a pity there's always so much happening in Narnia."

But the Unicorn explained to her that she was quite mistaken. He said that the Sons and Daughters of Adam and Eve were brought out of their own strange world into Narnia only at times when Narnia was stirred and upset, but she mustn't think it was always like that. In between their visits there were hundreds and thousands of years when peaceful King followed peaceful King till you could hardly remember their names or count their numbers, and there was really hardly anything to put into the History Books.


In a system of elected leadership, you have the potential problem of "the Dwarfs being for the Dwarfs" and the like. The resulting constant state of flux would have likely created plenty to write down in a history book as rule in Narnia evolved... and it's well worth remembering that it wasn't that many years before the events of SC that Nikabrik was suggesting they call up the White Witch's ghost, of all things, when times were getting tough.

(Mods, if this is getting too close to the "no politics" zone, please let me know and I'll edit accordingly!)

Still, I'm not sure how the filmmakers would go about illustrating all that Narnia stands to lose if the LotGK's plot succeeds. Contrasting the happiness in Narnia with the despair in Underland would help, but it still doesn't show how Rilian is a key to that happiness as the son of Caspian and the one who has been brought up and educated to rule as did the many Narnian kings before him. Juxtaposing the genuine love that the Narnians have for their king and prince with the gnomes' hopeless, enchanted fealty may work better.

Another idea is talking about what happened after the Pevensies disappeared... Narnia was left in disorder and seemed to plunge into a kind of "dark ages" for several hundred years. They were wide open to invasion from the Telmarines, who subjugated nearly all of the inhabitants of Narnia and sent them all into hiding or slumber. They'll have time to discuss things during the "walking and talking" part of SC; perhaps Eustace and Puddleglum can do a bit of a recap of Narnia's history for Jill's enlightenment as well as the audience's.
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Re: The LotGK's Plot Against Narnia

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Oct 23, 2016 4:03 am

Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:I recently ran across an interesting argument suggesting that monarchies may be better at preserving the traditions of law and order because a king has the incentive to maintain the wealth and health of his nation (i.e. can't upset a lot of apple carts with new laws and taxes) for as long as he shall live, as well as leave something valuable to his successor. In a democratic republic, on the other hand, there is the game of musical chairs where elected officials are keen on "taking action" in the limited amount of time they are in power, often resulting in much more rapid evolution of government.


Up to a point you might say so. But much depends on the monarchs, what powers they have and what they share with others. Yes, changing governments can cause disruption, even in democracies, especially if there is a leadership spill or if a leader falls to misadventure. Next year we will be commemorating the centenary of the fall of Tsarist Russia, led by a distinctly autocratic monarch, and Nicholas II and his family weren't the only ones to come to grief through autocratic mismanagement, among other things. And being one of the losing countries, militarily speaking, in World War I.

There is an old saying that there is nothing more certain in life than death and taxes. The trouble is, that people want to pay as little as possible, and get rather cranky if they see other people who are obviously wealthier than they are, not paying their fair share of the tax burden. Especially if those who do pay perceive that they are being impoverished by such taxes. Also, war costs money, even if it brings in spoils as in ancient times. And this applies across the board, no matter what sort of government is running the show. It is far worse where leaders are autocratic, or barely lawful as well, alienating their own advisors and paranoid about possible opposition, like Miraz. Or if the likes of the Tisroc lives a luxurious life at the expense of others. Which is why both Miraz and the Tisroc would need to tax heavily to maintain security against hostile forces.

Caspian seems to have managed well enough until the death of his Queen, but what about that voyage he undertook to foreign parts to find out about those seven lords? It was his coronation oath to do so, but a determined opponent could suggest it was a pleasure cruise, and not a genuine job he had to do, akin to a modern royal tour. And what about those subjects who don't want to pay taxes at all, if they could get out of it? I'm inclined to see LOTGK disguised as one of the ladies at court, blending into the background and undermining the Queen with gossip and innuendo, biding her time until that picnic and using the occasion to kill the Queen and slither away. But I don't know how the filmmakers are going to depict that sort of information if at all.

Yes a monarchy can and does provide stability and continuity, especially if it is in co-operation with its councils and parliaments. And when a prince or princess is born to rule, he has the chance of being trained up to the job before he gets there. Monarchies are self-continuing and it is cheering to celebrate weddings and the birth of a baby instead of battles all the time. The trouble is that such marriages don't always work, and there have been many times when babies either fail to materialise or even if born they don't always make it to adulthood, thus causing a crisis about who is to succeed when the current occupant dies. Thus, the first duty of a king and queen is to provide an heir, more than one if possible, just in case.

For even a nicely trained young heir can die prematurely. Or go missing, like Rilian. It is at these times that opportunistic foes can exploit the situation to grab power themselves. Just like the Telmarines invaded Narnia after the Pevensies went missing. However, this particular plot was engineered deliberately to weaken Caspian's rule. With his Queen gone and grieving, he would be a less effective leader, and his enemies were watching. When over the years people who went to look for the missing Rilian failed to return, that, too would weaken Narnia. Turning his own son against him as well would certainly ensure that LOTGK would rule the roost in Narnia without much opposition. :(

Rose-Tree Dryad, I saw that bit you mention where Jill and Jewel discuss how peaceful Narnia was for long stretches, but that could be true of a lot of countries that for an extended time avoided being colonised by competing powers, because of isolation, or because they had smart leaders. One such place was Ireland, which was never conquered by the Romans and which shared with Scotland a kingdom called Dalriada. Often the histories of such places are written by their eventual conquerors whose main reason for doing so is either money or security or maybe both.
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