Beating the School Bullies

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Beating the School Bullies

Postby Reepicheep775 » Jun 24, 2015 11:27 am

The last time I read through The Silver Chair one of the scenes that I thought would for sure be cut from the film is Jill, Eustace, and Caspian beating the school bullies with the flats of their swords and a riding crop. I thought this partly because the ending is so long that I'm sure at least some parts after the LotGK's death will have to be cut, but more because corporal punishment is frowned upon in our society (as Eustace can attest :p ). If I had to guess, I think this scene will consist of Aslan roaring and the bullies running away without any beating.

Would this be an important change? It wouldn't ruin the movie for me by any means, but I still think it would be significant.

In my opinion the main theme of The Silver Chair is doing one's duty, even when it's uncomfortable, even when it could mean the death of you. You've just got to "put a bold face on it" and do the right thing. I think that a big reason why the kids, especially Jill who has never been to Narnia before, have a hard time sticking to their duty is because they have essentially been brought up in a place (i.e. Experiment House) that disbelieves in right and wrong and therefore duty. At Experiment House those who torment people weaker than them are not considered bad people but "interesting psychological cases" and blatant bad behaviour is never punished or even acknowledged as being bad.

The ending isn't just Lewis leaving the story on a comedic note, but it bookends the story thematically and affirms the ideas of personal responsibility and justice. I love the scene at the end with the bullies, not because I'm a sadist, but because justice is finally being done.

So what do you think? Will this scene be changed for the movie, will it not be there it all, and is it important?
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Re: Beating the School Bullies

Postby Lake Lachrymose » Jun 25, 2015 4:07 pm

You're right. I also bet that this scene will consist only on Aslan roaring to the bullies to scare them away. The beating scene, with the swords and the whip, would be too rude for some more "sensible" parents, the ones who are always and constantly worried about "what movies can teach to their innocent children", haha. Jokes apart, I don't think this little change will do much difference in the end since the message will still be passed on, but on a more "soft" version. Maybe they can make Jill and Eustace brand the swords and all just for a dramatic and more scary look for the bullies, but nothing more. I just love this scene in the book for the same reason as you, the sense that justice is finally being done is refreshing.

Who knows, we can't do much since we don't know what type of Narnia and what type of movie they want to show us this time. It will have a lot to do with the director too. Andrew did a pretty awesome good job with the fight scenes with the children without being too harsh for the target audience. They were believable and cool (Peter and Miraz's fight scene anyone?). In VDT I think they made them look too unnatural, I don't know (but well, we didn't had much fight scenes in it to be fair). At least the fighting when they were trying to rescue Lucy and the rest were a bit dull and lacked something. But in TSC we don't have lots of fight scenes as well so I don't why I'm talking about this at all LOL But you got it, right?

What I think is that they could do something similar to the book and still be cool and suitable for their audience, but I would be totally fine with just Aslan roaring at them. In real life, it would be scary to death to see a lion like Aslan opening his mouth at me, haha.
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Re: Beating the School Bullies

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Jun 26, 2015 12:01 pm

I'm really opposed to leaving out the bullies' comeuppance. The story will feel unfinished without it; we need some kind of conclusion to the nasty situation at Experiment House. I just don't think that the audience is not going to be satisfied unless justice is served on some level, especially since bullying is such a popular movie theme these days. Plus, it's the only way to end the movie on a lively note. While Caspian's resurrection is ultimately joyful, it's also a very sober and emotionally wrenching scene. I don't think it's a good scene to close the film.

So, the question that remains is whether or not they will modify it or leave it as is. That depends. I think there are two elements that must be included in order for the scene to get a pass from modern audiences:

1. The school staff must be shown as being absolutely horrid. In today's world, "go tell a teacher" or "talk to an adult" appears to be the very first thing that anti-bullying campaigns tell children. It needs to be made clear that the school staff are doing nothing to remedy the abusive situation among the students and are, in fact, encouraging it. ("Interesting psychological cases.") Make it clear that it's a boarding school where the help of parents is inaccessible. Ideally, have Jill or Eustace attempt to involve a teacher during an instance of bullying, and show that teacher turning a blind eye or even mocking them. If they don't do this, then I have a feeling that people will take issue with Caspian and the kids taking matters into their own hands, even though it is at Aslan's direction.

(Still, I suppose that some people might say that having the staff portrayed as awful and unhelpful might discourage kids from seeking help for bullying. Hmm. Perhaps they could show one sympathetic teacher who is too far down on the food chain at the school to do anything. I don't know. I'm very resistant to the idea of making the bullying situation seem like something that would just go away if you talked to the adults about it... it's clear in the book that Experiment House is a mess precisely because the adults are nuts. Anyway....)

2. Indicate that the bullies are physically abusive. If they're just calling the kids names, responding with physical force will probably be seen as excessive. Lewis refrains from describing exactly what is going on at Experiment House, but we can gather hints: Eustace describes keeping a secret "under torture," he shudders at the thought of being "attended to" by Them, and there's a mention of a rabbit that might imply animal cruelty. The fact that Eustace and Jill were more or less running for their lives gives some indication of what they were up against. There was something seriously wrong at that school, and that needs to be shown in some way. Even nowadays, most people won't have a problem with defending yourself as long as it seems proportional. If the bullies are wielding branches or cricket bats and coming at them, fighting them off with the flats of swords and quickly sending them off running shouldn't cause a problem.

It's funny, because fears that they would try to add an "epic battle scene" to Silver Chair have often been discussed on this board, but in a way, this is a fight scene of sorts. (Albeit one that's very quickly won. :P) While I'm not dead set against them toning it down a bit if they feel that it's necessary, I really hope they don't soften it too much; everyone is going to want to see the bullies get their just deserts.
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Re: Beating the School Bullies

Postby Future Narnian » Jun 26, 2015 12:51 pm

Did they even actually hit anyone in the book through? I always understood it as they basically just showed the crop etc and the bullies went ripping off screaming and crying (actually I think Aslan scared them more than anything!) I seem to recall the BBC version just had them being chased, so I think that would be adequate. And then finish off with Jill writing home talking about how wonderful the school is with all the changes.
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Re: Beating the School Bullies

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Jun 26, 2015 1:54 pm

Future Narnian wrote:Did they even actually hit anyone in the book through?


Yeah, they actually did. Let me see if I can find the quote...

Their faces changed, and all the meanness, conceit, cruelty, and sneakishness almost disappeared in one single expression of terror. For [the bullies] saw the wall fallen down, and a lion as large as a young elephant lying in the gap, and three figures in glittering clothes with weapons in their hands rushing down upon them. For, with the strength of Aslan upon them, Jill plied her crop on the girls and Caspian and Eustace plied the flats of their swords on the boys so well that in two minutes all the bullies were running like mad, crying out, "Murder! Fascists! Lions! It isn't fair."


I do like your idea about Jill talking about how the school had improved in a letter to home, though! (Especially if they find a way to sneak in the bit about the Head being elected to Parliament; I love that part. ;)))
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Re: Beating the School Bullies

Postby Reepicheep775 » Jun 29, 2015 5:11 am

Very good points, Rose. I remember watching some family movies as a kid where the bratty/snobby child-antagonist would get their "just deserts" in the end and it didn't sit well with me. It's probably because I felt the punishment excessive (they weren't that bad) and they seemed to just promote revenge. I never got that with SC though and I think it's largely because of the two points you mentioned.
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Re: Beating the School Bullies

Postby SilverSea » Jul 30, 2015 12:40 pm

Yeah, I agree that kids attacking other kids with real swords might not make it in the film. :P
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Re: Beating the School Bullies

Postby coracle » Jul 31, 2015 7:20 pm

I'd be happy to see the children arrive with swords, threatening and scaring the bullies, but without actually hurting anyone.
There doesn't need to be any actual use of the swords or riding crop, because whatever the bullies and teachers report happened, when the police etc arrive they will find no trace of it.
For these people the threat of physical punishment is actually worse than the physical bullying [was it actually physical? or just mental? yes there is a reference to torture], and bullies are famously cowards.
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Re: Beating the School Bullies

Postby Dernhelm_of_Rohan » Aug 06, 2015 5:04 am

And the bullies very quickly show their terror before physical punishment, coracle. But does their fear really mean they have been punished? And can a riding crop really be called torture? It's specifically designed not to do any actual damage to the horse, just to sting. I grew up in a house which still used corporal punishment, (not that I needed it much O:-) ) and my parents used wooden stirring spoons. No one was ever hurt for more than a few minutes, and there was no bruising afterward. So I think it quite possible that Jill's weapon, and even the flat part of a sword, wielded by a good swordsman, would not do any lasting damage.
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Re: Beating the School Bullies

Postby Adeona » Aug 06, 2015 12:51 pm

Unfortunately, I don't think any sort of corporal punishment will get shown. But we should at least get to see Jill and Eustace chase the bullies - maybe laughingly, to prevent it from being overly threatening to the audience - with their weapons. That plus a roar from Aslan should be sufficient (if not as satisfying to the reading audience).

I really like all of Rose's points/ideas and I do think the teachers and staff should have enough screen time to demonstrate their collective awfulness, sword-beatings or no. But you're right that it might be seen as reflective on teachers overall (why can't people give children a little more credit then that?!), and while it would be possible to include one good-but-ignored teacher, it would probably be pretty difficult to get all these details across understandably in the small amount of time before Jill and Eustace get in to Narnia.

By the by, who else thinks, in the event the scene is included, Jill will have a sword just like the boys?
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Re: Beating the School Bullies

Postby Pattertwigs Pal » Sep 27, 2015 11:59 am

I doubt we will see the children actually hitting the bullies. It would not be deemed appropriate for this day and age. The BBC had the children only threatening the children so I doubt the current adapters would dare. I'd like it to be included because it is in the book and well, provided it wasn't done too hard, I think the bullies likely deserved it. In the time period that this story was set, that type of punishment was acceptable. We know that the adults at the school were not effective in dealing with the bullies. Talk had done nothing. Eustace and Jill were finally in a position where they could stand up for themselves. If Aslan weren't present and hadn't sent the children, it would different and probably shouldn't be included. But, Aslan was behind it so the punishment was appropriate. He warned them not to be too rough on the bullies. We know that Aslan takes action against beatings sometimes (the boy in PC) so we can assume that while it is not always justified it is in the bullies' case. I'm not exactly sure where I'm going with all this ...

Assuming that we are shown that Jill and Eustace are being bullied, then I think the scene at the end is necessary in at least some degree. The scenes at the school bookend the adventure in Narnia. There needs to be some kind of closure with the bullies. I can see why filmmakers might cut the physical part of the punishment but I feel that the scene is appropriate given the setting of the story. I hope we get to see this scene acted out in its entirety. (I'd love to see the head going crazy.) But I think it is very likely to get shortened or left out.
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Re: Beating the School Bullies

Postby jayce76 » Sep 30, 2015 5:40 am

Pattertwigs Pal wrote:I doubt we will see the children actually hitting the bullies. It would not be deemed appropriate for this day and age. The BBC had the children only threatening the children so I doubt the current adapters would dare.

Assuming that we are shown that Jill and Eustace are being bullied, then I think the scene at the end is necessary in at least some degree. There needs to be some kind of closure with the bullies. I can see why filmmakers might cut the physical part of the punishment but I feel that the scene is appropriate given the setting of the story. I hope we get to see this scene acted out in its entirety. But I think it is very likely to get shortened or left out.



Agreed, it's a somewhat important scene, but I have doubts as well that today's culture & cinema will do it as the book lays out. Especially in a day in age where even spanking is now considered abusive & wrong.

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I have been surprised that the modern films have been able to keep the general Judeo-Christian message that they have. But as someone mentioned before, it will probably play out with Aslan scaring the bullies or possibly doing something magical in the way of punishment to a degree. I think that's the best we can hope for in today's overly PC and secular society. Or like you said it might just be cut altogether.
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Re: Beating the School Bullies

Postby coracle » Oct 01, 2015 3:49 am

jayce, the films are being made by/on behalf of the C S Lewis estate, with stepson Douglas Gresham being in the team of producers.
He is even more in charge for this film, so we can be hopeful of a good level of the material that shows Lewis's world view.
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Re: Beating the School Bullies

Postby Eustace » Nov 04, 2015 10:15 pm

I was very worried that this scene would be cut from the movie entirely, so I am very happy about this discussion. I would be happy just to see Aslan roar and scare off the bullies, but, I would love it if they did more of the scene. :)
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Re: Beating the School Bullies

Postby jayce76 » Nov 17, 2015 2:08 pm

coracle wrote:jayce, the films are being made by/on behalf of the C S Lewis estate, with stepson Douglas Gresham being in the team of producers.
He is even more in charge for this film, so we can be hopeful of a good level of the material that shows Lewis's world view.



Oh wow! Did not know that. Always very nice to hear that he has more control over the content. Thanks for this my friend. ;)
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Re: Beating the School Bullies

Postby Glumpuddle » Jan 12, 2016 12:49 pm

My suggestion:

The bullies cough and wipe the dust from the fallen wall from their eyes. Close-up of Adela Pennyfather's terrified expression. Cut to the final shot in the movie: An epic super-slow-motion shot of Jill, Eustace, and Caspian emerging from the cloud of dust towards the camera with weapons draw. "FORRRRR NARNIAAAAA!!!!!!!!" Fade to black. Roll credits.

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