The Magician's Nephew

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The Magician's Nephew

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Aug 19, 2014 5:27 pm

Since we've already got threads here in GMD that are more or less devoted to general discussion for The Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle, I thought it would be a good idea to have a place to talk about ideas and possibilities for a film adaptation of The Magician's Nephew.

So, let the random discussion begin! To get the ball rolling: are there elements of the book that you hope the filmmakers will expound upon, or even changes that you would like them to make?

For instance, I would really like to see Digory interacting with his mother a bit more often so we can see why this relationship is so desperately important to him and why it is so painful to refuse Jadis's temptation later on. In terms of changes being made, I wouldn't mind it if they backed up the beginning of the story to the day that Digory and his mother arrive at the Ketterleys. I'd particularly like for them to include the moment when Digory heard Uncle Andrew's yell coming from the attic. That would be nice and creepy, especially if it was a dark and stormy night. :D
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Re: The Magician's Nephew

Postby PhelanVelvel » Aug 20, 2014 5:54 pm

Cool ideas as usual! :D I really want them to include the guinea pigs, for sure. XD It shows how careless Uncle Andrew is. He's willing to do all sorts of terrible things to the guinea pigs just to satisfy his own curiosity. It also shows that he's a coward, because he wouldn't dare try those experiments on himself. Digory and Polly basically serve as two more guinea pigs--literally and metaphorically.

This film will rely heavily upon atmosphere. The atmosphere in the attic, Uncle Andrew's study before Uncle Andrew appears, The Wood between the Worlds, and Charn, all need to capture the emotion of the situation. The viewer should feel as though they are really there. There isn't much talking during these scenes, either, so to quote GlumPuddle, it needs to be a "show us, don't tell us" situation. This film would be great for 3D, I feel, not for gimmicks, but for bringing to life the still, green Wood and the dark, yawning arches of Charn.

In my experience, the Narnia books seem to understand child-like mystery and wonder. I can remember how excited I was reading them when I was younger, because Lewis was describing exactly the sort of things I found interesting. It's when the mundane becomes magical that you feel justified for believing in magic: playing hide-and-go-seek and stumbling into a magic wardrobe, or as in MN, trying to sneak into an abandoned house and finding yourself in a secret room in your own house instead.

I think making Digory's and Polly's initial scheme seem grand and mysterious will only serve to amplify the shock the viewer has when Polly disappears, right out of this world. I don't know how a trailer wouldn't spoil it for people, but I just think it would be interesting to kind of lure the viewer into thinking the adventure will begin when they find their way into the "other house", when really, they never make it there at all. At least, that's what I remember feeling as a kid. I was shocked when it was revealed that they were actually in Digory's house.
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Re: The Magician's Nephew

Postby jewel » Aug 21, 2014 1:56 pm

It would be suspenseful girls. I like the idea of a Pegasus flying with his soaring and flapping wings way high in the air. I love all the chronicles.
The creation of Narnia is also very symbolic. Aslan breathing life into the creatures would be fascinating, and the rise of an evil witch to take over Narnia.
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Re: The Magician's Nephew

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Aug 22, 2014 4:00 pm

PhelanVelvel wrote:In my experience, the Narnia books seem to understand child-like mystery and wonder. I can remember how excited I was reading them when I was younger, because Lewis was describing exactly the sort of things I found interesting. It's when the mundane becomes magical that you feel justified for believing in magic: playing hide-and-go-seek and stumbling into a magic wardrobe, or as in MN, trying to sneak into an abandoned house and finding yourself in a secret room in your own house instead.


Yes. The filmmakers really need to work hard to infuse the films with this kind of atmosphere, especially the films that involve children who have never had experiences with magical happenings before, such as Digory and Polly in The Magician's Nephew.

This childlike wonder was something that C.S. Lewis understood well and seemed to hold onto throughout his life. Douglas Gresham, one of Lewis's stepsons, was quoted as saying, "Jack and I at the the Kilns, we used to talk about Narnia and characters and creatures as if they were real. We had this lake and wood up behind the Kilns, and we would go for walks up there almost expecting to see a faun leap out from behind an oak tree or something, at any moment. It was a great game we used to play."

jewel wrote:The creation of Narnia is also very symbolic. Aslan breathing life into the creatures would be fascinating, and the rise of an evil witch to take over Narnia.


I'm really looking forward to seeing the creation scene. That ought to be incredible, given that the budget and creative minds are up for the task of bringing it to life.

Something I've been considering recently is Aslan's song. What's it going to sound like? How would they compose it? Lewis wrote of it, "There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise [Digory] had ever heard."

I have no idea how a composer will go about interpreting that, or what kind of singer to suggest. :P All I can think of is Lisa Gerrard's Now We Are Free from Gladiator where she's basically singing in tongues, for lack of a more technical term. Oh, and this. Which has been stuck in my head for the last two days. 8-}

If they could find a male singer that could really hold his own and had incredible range, I think they could make it work... but they need to find a really talented and special voice. Even though Lewis says that only Aslan is singing (apart from the brief moment where the stars were singing after being created), I don't mind the idea of having three voices instead of just one. This would draw inspiration from the part in HHB where Lewis writes:

"Who are you?" asked Shasta.

"Myself," said the Voice, very deep and low so that the earth shook: and again "Myself", loud and clear and gay: and then the third time "Myself", whispered so softly you could hardly hear it, and yet it seemed to come from all round you as if the leaves rustled with it.


I like the idea of having three singers with voices that weave in and out of each other and allow for more complex harmonies. While I don't know a lot about singing, maybe a baritone or a bass for the first Voice, a bright tenor for the second, and a soft, whispery soprano for the third. Aslan, of course, would still have one voice (probably the second) and be interacting with the other voices; the deeper one being associated with raw creation and power, and the higher, softer one being connected with the wind and movement.
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Re: The Magician's Nephew

Postby FriendofNarnia2 » Aug 22, 2014 9:32 pm

I'm really looking forward to seeing how they handle the score in The Magician's Nephew, especially during the creation of Narnia. I hope they are able to nail it. Also, music could be a great asset to setting the proper ambiance for the different locations.

And I agree with The Rose-Tree Dryad, there should definitely be a strong connection between Digory and his mother. The best way to establish this is to back up in the story a bit. However, I want to keep Uncle Andrew as mysterious as possible until his big reveal on the day Polly meets him in the study.
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Re: The Magician's Nephew

Postby PhelanVelvel » Aug 23, 2014 7:30 pm

The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:I have no idea how a composer will go about interpreting that, or what kind of singer to suggest. :P All I can think of is Lisa Gerrard's Now We Are Free from Gladiator where she's basically singing in tongues, for lack of a more technical term. Oh, and this. Which has been stuck in my head for the last two days. 8-}


LOL. That video gets me every time. XDD

The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:I like the idea of having three singers with voices that weave in and out of each other and allow for more complex harmonies. While I don't know a lot about singing, maybe a baritone or a bass for the first Voice, a bright tenor for the second, and a soft, whispery soprano for the third. Aslan, of course, would still have one voice (probably the second) and be interacting with the other voices; the deeper one being associated with raw creation and power, and the higher, softer one being connected with the wind and movement.


I think more than one voice will be necessary to create the otherworldly/ethereal feeling, but also to make it believable. It sounds strange to suggest more than one voice coming from one person as believable, but if it's just one "voice" in human terms, it might sound too flat. I've always imagined it as music in general, something more like a choir with an orchestra, rather than a single voice.
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Magician's Nephew on film

Postby tuanhuylink » May 23, 2017 10:02 pm

Even the purest of purists know that certain changes need to happen to convert a book to film. That being said, what changes do you feel must be made, will be made, or should be made in order to make The Magician's Nephew into a movie?
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Re: Magician's Nephew on film

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » May 24, 2017 4:43 pm

tuanhuylink wrote:Even the purest of purists know that certain changes need to happen to convert a book to film. That being said, what changes do you feel must be made, will be made, or should be made in order to make The Magician's Nephew into a movie?


Welcome to the forum, tuanhuylink! :-h

When translating from book to screen, I wonder if they wouldn't change the rings element of the story in some way. Admittedly, it can be a little confusing. (Both Jadis and Uncle Andrew were confused about how they worked, for instance, and sometimes I can forget what color ring does what. Due for a re-read!) There's also the business of what-ring-is-in-what-pocket, and keeping track of that could be difficult for the audience. So I wouldn't be shocked if they might try to find a way to reduce the rings to just one ring, or something like that.
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Re: The Magician's Nephew

Postby Boethius » May 25, 2017 6:30 am

I would be interested to see how they would present Charn and its history. An awful lot of the story relies more on dialogue and characters telling stories than a movie might like. Maybe they would begin with the battle of Charn somehow in a pre-credits sequence. You could start with Jadis's sister ascending the stairs of Charn with a huge army behind her (in the background not right behind her) they exchange a few words (and we see a huge sun) and Jadis speaks a word (maybe she whispers it to her sister and we don't hear it at all) a moment of Jadis's sisters face then we shift to Polly. I'm not sure if I would be happy or sad to hear something like that.It would be cool to watch but maybe that just reflects my personal obsession with Charn. If I was to ever write Narnia fanfic it would definitely be abut Charn. Maybe we want to avoid making it to central o the movie.
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Re: The Magician's Nephew

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » May 26, 2017 5:08 am

Welcome to NarniaWeb, Boethius! :)

Boethius wrote:An awful lot of the story relies more on dialogue and characters telling stories than a movie might like. Maybe they would begin with the battle of Charn somehow in a pre-credits sequence. You could start with Jadis's sister ascending the stairs of Charn with a huge army behind her (in the background not right behind her) they exchange a few words (and we see a huge sun) and Jadis speaks a word (maybe she whispers it to her sister and we don't hear it at all) a moment of Jadis's sisters face then we shift to Polly.


I can see them doing something like this! One drawback, though, is that it could end up making Jadis's dialogue redundant in the scene where the children meet her. She has more lines in that scene than she does in any other in the book and it really gives the reader a sense of her personality, so I doubt they'd want to pare down the scene very much. I can imagine them interspersing her dialogue with images of her discovering the Deplorable Word and the apocalyptic war that followed, though. Maybe as she walks through the ruins of Charn with Digory and Polly, the viewer will be carried back and forth in time as they pass through each area, showing what happened with Jadis essentially narrating it all. That could be very visually interesting and impactful, and it wouldn't really feel like much of a change to me because Jadis's description of what happened is so lurid and calls forth so many images to one's mind anyway.

One other change that I would not at all be surprised by is if the filmmakers included the disastrous lunch that Uncle Andrew and Jadis had in London... I've always wanted to read about that in more detail. ;))
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Re: The Magician's Nephew

Postby waggawerewolf27 » May 28, 2017 11:11 pm

Yes, nice to meet you, both, Boethius and tuanhuylink :)

Boethius wrote:I would be interested to see how they would present Charn and its history. An awful lot of the story relies more on dialogue and characters telling stories than a movie might like.


Wall paintings Ancient Egyptian style or like in Assyrian or Babylonian palaces coming to life, as Jadis passes, might do the trick to fill out some of the dialogue. Such as when she says something about an ancestor at a banquet putting to death all the attendees for treasonous thoughts. Or other episodes of Charnian history. Except for that final battle of Charn, which will have to be depicted as she relates it, with Jadis' sister climbing the stairs, at the head of her army. Yes you are right about too much dialogue and character in that episode, but I'd still leave Jadis to tell about how she discovered the Deplorable Word, without pictures. It would be bad enough to see its effects on her sister's army.

Rose-tree Dryad wrote:When translating from book to screen, I wonder if they wouldn't change the rings element of the story in some way. Admittedly, it can be a little confusing. (Both Jadis and Uncle Andrew were confused about how they worked, for instance, and sometimes I can forget what color ring does what


Sorry Rose, if filmmakers do that there won't be anything to relate in Magician's Nephew. Digory ended up with three rings so he could help Polly get back to London, because Uncle Andrew sent Polly to the Wood between the Worlds by trickery. The rings were an asset, and they turn up again in the Last Battle, when the Seven Friends of Narnia considered using them to allow Eustace and Jill to go back to Narnia to find out what the apparition wanted.
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Re: The Magician's Nephew

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » May 29, 2017 8:06 pm

waggawerewolf27 wrote:Sorry Rose, if filmmakers do that there won't be anything to relate in Magician's Nephew. Digory ended up with three rings so he could help Polly get back to London, because Uncle Andrew sent Polly to the Wood between the Worlds by trickery. The rings were an asset, and they turn up again in the Last Battle, when the Seven Friends of Narnia considered using them to allow Eustace and Jill to go back to Narnia to find out what the apparition wanted.


Well, I wasn't so much thinking that they would get rid of the ring element completely, but rather that they might try to combine the green and yellow rings into (chartreuse?) rings that offer both functions, allowsing the person touching them to travel both in and out of the Wood Between the Worlds. Maybe there's some sort of knob on the ring that changes the ring from "in" to "out" if you twist it. Or perhaps it depends on whether you put the ring on your finger with it upside-down or right side-up. I do find myself wondering if such "solutions" could end up being just as potentially confusing as the original set-up, though. ;))
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Re: The Magician's Nephew

Postby AJAiken » May 29, 2017 11:42 pm

There are some wonderful ideas here! I love the thought of having the wall paintings come to life.

^ I agree with wagga, Rose - I think it's very important that there be two rings. Uncle Andrew tricking Polly not only means she can't get back but shows his true character. There would have to be a lot of fiddling to get the same impact of Polly being abandoned in the Wood between the Worlds. Also, I think that the filmmakers might like the fact there are two rings - usually there are only one of these items (at least, I can't think of any other film/book with two) and this might make it more interesting.

One of the things which I'd like to see done well is the comparison between the different worlds - London, the Wood, Charn, Narnia. And I really want to see them keep the characters (and therefore screen) in complete darkness when they first travel to Narnia.

I think one change may be to reduce or get rid of the "Brandy" subplot, with Uncle Andrew as the animals' pet. It doesn't add much to the story except for the gold and silver trees, which could be added another way.
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Re: The Magician's Nephew

Postby waggawerewolf27 » May 30, 2017 12:52 am

Rose-tree Dryad wrote:Well, I wasn't so much thinking that they would get rid of the ring element completely, but rather that they might try to combine the green and yellow rings into (chartreuse?) rings that offer both functions, allowsing the person touching them to travel both in and out of the Wood Between the Worlds. Maybe there's some sort of knob on the ring that changes the ring from "in" to "out" if you twist it. Or perhaps it depends on whether you put the ring on your finger with it upside-down or right side-up. I do find myself wondering if such "solutions" could end up being just as potentially confusing as the original set-up, though. ;))


Oh ok, Rose. But I'm just a technophobe who thinks that a child-proof bottle is also probably me-proof as well. :D But why chartreuse? :-o Perish the thought. :ymsick: Green sounds ok - emeralds or, better still, jade anyone? Though a malachite effect might be more showy. And yellow is fine. Yellow sapphire, yellow topaz, even yellow diamond, or plain gold leaf, even copper pyrites, if they really want to be fancily in budget. Chartreuse sounds like either an extremely expensive alcoholic drink or a rather sickly shade for a flash new overpriced automobile that wants to be different. :)) $-)

Personally I don't really care how they do the rings. The point of them is that Uncle Andrew somehow melded them out of some earth he was left. And that he used Polly to experiment on. To that extent they could look nice, but I doubt in this day of high class costume jewellery that coloured rings are going to be much of a difficulty. Frankly, I can see the movie marketing copies of such rings as must have movie souvenirs. :))

AJAitken wrote:I think one change may be to reduce or get rid of the "Brandy" subplot, with Uncle Andrew as the animals' pet. It doesn't add much to the story except for the gold and silver trees, which could be added another way.


Hmm.. :-? I'm rather expecting a movie to do without the whole sequence, since it is a subplot as you say. But it is a very funny subplot, which might well be kept in for humour, in a biter bit sort of way. As for the trees, themselves, there is plenty of silver and gold paint around to make a convincing pair of trees whenever required.

I don't see any harm in keeping the Brandy nickname alive, especially as it says so much about Uncle Andrew, himself, when you read the book. (By the way, I once called a pet chook Brandy when my gran fed her that substance in hopes of keeping the poor bird alive. Most regrettably that wasn't what transpired, but many years later our next door neighbours also called their beloved dog, "Brandy". Nor do I think they were the only ones who ever found it a useful pet name. =)) )

Uncle Andrew really fancies himself, you know, and in Jadis he found a soul mate if you could put it that way, especially as she was even more "uppity" than he was. :D Like Rose-Tree Dryad, I'm really hoping that any film-maker includes that disastrous lunch. Ostentation, with a capital O, with the most expensive and outrageous liqueurs and spirits allowable in a reasonable restaurant. ;) Nothing but the best French Brandy of course - Cognac or Armagnac to impress Jadis. Whilst she did her best to remain totally unimpressed.

AJAitken, I am so glad you liked my idea of wall paintings coming alive, though. It couldn't be too difficult to do such a thing, what with you tube and videos etc. I was thinking that the whole idea of Charn could be somewhat Theda Bara/Ancient Egyptian/Assyrian, in tone and dress. Theda Bara was a film star of my grandmother's era who, when I was living with my grandmother, was my idea of "Gothic". Sort of Art Nouveau, or Art Deco, I've never understood the difference. :ymblushing: But I suppose I am on the wrong thread to discuss art. :ymblushing:

It is easy to imagine what I'd like for Magician's Nephew because there hasn't been any real attempts to portray this movie. I wonder what everyone else thinks?
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Re: The Magician's Nephew

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » May 30, 2017 11:38 am

AJAiken wrote:I agree with wagga, Rose - I think it's very important that there be two rings. Uncle Andrew tricking Polly not only means she can't get back but shows his true character. There would have to be a lot of fiddling to get the same impact of Polly being abandoned in the Wood between the Worlds. Also, I think that the filmmakers might like the fact there are two rings - usually there are only one of these items (at least, I can't think of any other film/book with two) and this might make it more interesting.


Ooh, that's a great point about Uncle Andrew's trick illustrating his true character. (Although I suppose the exploding guinea pigs and all the ones that never returned also kind of do that. :|)

And then let's not forget that Uncle Andrew's whole scheme was to have Polly spirited away by one of the yellow rings and thereby forcing Digory to go after her with a yellow ring and a green ring. Since no sane person would ever voluntarily agree to being sent to who-knows-where-or-what (including his own nasty, cowardly self), Uncle Andrew had to trick one person and then entrap another to go rescue them. So yes, if they altered the ring situation, that could have significant ramifications for that scene. :-?

And it's true that the green and yellow rings are a very interesting/unique element (and also sets them apart from the One Ring!). They're pretty iconic for the whole story to me as well. I know I wouldn't like for them to change them, although I do wonder about the times in the story when the children know something about how the rings work and the adults don't, and how they'll illustrate that on screen. It just seems like it's the sort of thing that could easily cause confusion for some viewers as the story goes on and they've got to keep track of how the rings function. We'll see, though; I'll have to give it some more thought the next time I re-read the book.

waggawerewolf27 wrote: But why chartreuse? :-o Perish the thought. :ymsick: Green sounds ok - emeralds or, better still, jade anyone? Though a malachite effect might be more showy. And yellow is fine. Yellow sapphire, yellow topaz, even yellow diamond, or plain gold leaf, even copper pyrites, if they really want to be fancily in budget. Chartreuse sounds like either an extremely expensive alcoholic drink or a rather sickly shade for a flash new overpriced automobile that wants to be different. :)) $-)


Ha, when I was young I used to "drive" a chartreuse Lambourghini Diablo when I would race against my brother on a racing computer game. :)) I don't know what that says about my taste in cars, but I was like eight, so.... :P I mainly chose the word chartreuse because I was looking for a word that meant yellow-green, though. ;))

I also like your idea on animating the wall paintings! Although one problem is that some of the events she relates to the children happened right at the very end of Charn's existence. Unless Jadis stayed awake for a while to dabble in mosaics and illustrate her grand accomplishments (which I would not entirely put past her and her pride :P), there wouldn't have been anyone around to relate the apocalyptic war through art. I can imagine Jadis, however, using her magic to create such visions, or even animate the people in the Hall of Images to act out what happened in a kind of play. (Now that sounds creepy. :|) She was, after all, a powerful magician in her own right (at least in the world of Charn) and would probably be happy to have an audience to impress after so many years. Also, if she is shown as possessing loads of magical power while she and the kids are still in Charn, it will be more of a shock/game-changer when it's apparent that she no longer has those abilities once in London.

waggawerewolf27 wrote:It is easy to imagine what I'd like for Magician's Nephew because there hasn't been any real attempts to portray this movie. I wonder what everyone else thinks?


It's funny, because even though they've never made MN into a film, the concept of it as a film feels somewhat familiar to me. (As opposed to HHB or LB, which have never been made into movies either.) I guess it's because they've made so many films about a couple of children going on a magical adventure with a cast otherwise populated by adults. Aside from the much more unusual Creation scene, it just feels like something that Hollywood could easily get behind: the Victorian setting, the villainous relative taking advantage of the kids, the mischief caused by the Witch in London, Digory's desire to heal his mother, et cetera. It also feels a little old school, though, like a story that could have been made into a movie in the 70s or 80s.
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Re: The Magician's Nephew

Postby Anfinwen » May 30, 2017 12:05 pm

Boethius wrote:I would be interested to see how they would present Charn and its history

My views on many things in the Chronicles are colored by the FotF audio dramas. I grew up with those even more than the books. For the Charn scene they are all on a balcony or terrace overlooking the city. In the drama we hear the noises Jadis is describing as she says them: "the trampling of feet, the creaking of wheels, the cracking of whips and the groaning of slaves, the thunder of chariots and the sacrificial drums beating in the temples.... the roar of battle went up from every street." So for this scene I have always imagined the story coming to life in a shaky ghostlike form as she describes it. We look over the city and see empty streets; suddenly a vast misty army fills them and the sound of battle comes to our ears. As she describes it we see Jadis' sister coming up the stairs to this very terrace. Everything is horribly clear, then the deplorable word, and we are jerked back to the present emptiness and dust and desolation.

Something that is just in my head is what if Jadis' sister was not evil like her? A last good queen. Jadis describes her sister as looking "wicked" and cheating by using magic in war, but I don't think we can really trust everything she says. It would make the deplorable word even worse if the audience recognized that the "good" side was about to win. Anyway, just a thought that might be interesting in a movie. The book doesn't say who was older, so I've always wondered if Jadis was truthful in describing them as rebels, or if she was just voicing her twisted way of thinking. Jadis talks about wanting her sister to yield the throne, and it's hard to do that unless you already possess the throne. Ultimately Jadis army lost, her sister was greater than she was. Jadis resorted to ending the entire world rather than facing her defeat. Anyway, sorry for my flight of imagination. :ymblushing: Narnia sometimes does that to me, and I just needed to get it out of my system.

As to the rings, I think we need two. It isn't often we get a reason why the magic works, but Lewis does this quite skillfully. The dust was from the the Wood Between the Worlds, and Andrew managed to separate it into two types, one that was pulling toward it's home and one pushing away.
AJAiken wrote:Also, I think that the filmmakers might like the fact there are two rings - usually there are only one of these items (at least, I can't think of any other film/book with two) and this might make it more interesting.

This is a really great point. One of the best things about Narnia is that it is so original. Filmakers seem to fall into the trap of trying to fit it into their little box, but it is so much more beautiful and complex than that. Hopefully this time they will see that Narnia's value lies in its uniqueness.
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