Backstory of Rilian's Disappearance

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Backstory of Rilian's Disappearance

Postby Glumpuddle » Oct 16, 2016 2:23 pm

It can be really difficult to get flashbacks to work well in a film. If you are not very careful, it totally disrupts the flow of the story. My guess is that David Magee has spent a lot of time pondering this problem.

In the book, we don't have any details about Rilian's disappearance until chapter 4 at the Parliament of Owls. An old owl explains...

- Rilian's mother was killed by a snake. She was bitterly mourned by all Narnia.
- Rilian began riding out, seeking vengeance.
- Rilian started encountering a mysterious woman.
- Drinian saw her too, but did not tell anyone.
- Rilian vanished.
- Drinian told Caspian he was responsible, but Caspian spared his life.

I predict this information will come out much sooner in the movie. The death of the queen might even be the opening scene. Just like they did in PC, they will try to alleviate the need for flashbacks as much as possible. My guess is that, sadly, Drinian will be cut out entirely. :( :( Those are my predictions, not preferences.

Here's the big challenge: All of this is not just exposition. These are scenes that need to have real emotional impact. It's not enough to know they happened. We need to feel the despair.

What do you think? Should they just do a long flashback like in the book? Is there a better way for the film?
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Re: Backstory of Rilian's Disappearance

Postby fantasia_kitty » Oct 16, 2016 3:08 pm

There's one event that you left out that I think is also important, and that's the countless knights that ride out seeking Rilian after his disappearance that never return. It does not have to be included in the above sequence of events, but it does deserve an important mention at some point because it's the reason Jill and Eustace must leave in secrecy.
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Re: Backstory of Rilian's Disappearance

Postby narnia fan 7 » Oct 16, 2016 7:43 pm

I agree that flashbacks can be difficult to do and often mess with a film pacing, but I don't really like the idea of opening the film the the Queens death/Rilian's disappearance I can see how it may be necessary but I think it's important for Jill to be the first character we see in the film since her is the main character and the entire film will be following her on her journey I would think it best to open the film with her just as in the book.

Right now I think that I would be in favor of having some flashbacks at the parliament of owls scene because then the audience would be learning about it along with Jill and Eustace the biggist drawback of this would be I think is that is the the Queens death and such might not be as fleshed out as I would like (I agree that unfortunatly Drinian will likely be cut)
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Re: Backstory of Rilian's Disappearance

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Oct 16, 2016 8:04 pm

Are we told what exactly happened to Drinian? Yes, he might well have died of grief or ill-health. And we know that in the book that Caspian did spare him. In a way, I'd be glad if he was cut in the film because such forgiveness isn't always part of cinematic productions. But if they did decide to include him, after all, that episode might end in his undertaking an oath to do whatever it took to find Rilian.

Then he might have been the first of many to be killed in the search. Depending how far along the search he managed to get. Maybe he was the only one whose body was ever found?
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Re: Backstory of Rilian's Disappearance

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Oct 17, 2016 11:08 am

If the movie begins with the backstory of Rilian's disappearance, one thing that I think could be good is to use the despair of the Narnians to lead into the bleak and despairing atmosphere at Experiment House. You can also juxtapose the old King's desolation and grief with Jill's own feelings of loneliness and abandonment. Let the tragedy that has befallen Narnia help set the tone of the grim and gray scenes back in England.

One potential problem with opening the film with Rilian's backstory is that it may end up making the Parliament of Owls very redundant. I suppose they could give Eustace and Jill a bare bones account of what happened, but I really like that scene and I don't want it to feel unnecessary. I've also always liked the idea of having Jill fall half-asleep during their story and we then see her dream, in hazy and shuddering images, about what she is hearing. (Have you ever fallen asleep during a movie or nearby a conversation and you start dreaming about it?) That could be a good way of including a flashback without revealing Rilian's identity.

Perhaps they could show the events of Rilian's disappearance in such a way that it's enough to make the audience curious, but without giving so much information that it takes away from the Parliament of Owls. For instance, don't tell us who the people are or even where the events are taking place; just indicate that a great tragedy has happened. Maybe close out the Narnian opening with the visual of the despairing king growing older as he sits on his throne, with the knights of his court gradually disappearing with the passage of time.
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Re: Backstory of Rilian's Disappearance

Postby fantasia_kitty » Oct 17, 2016 2:05 pm

Glumpuddle wrote:My guess is that, sadly, Drinian will be cut out entirely.

narnia fan 7 wrote:I agree that unfortunatly Drinian will likely be cut

Maybe, but somebody will need to be present when Rilian sees the Green Lady in order to pass the news onto Caspian. Otherwise nobody will know who to look for. And if that's the case, why not Drinian? Unless you think that bit of plot will be cut entirely and people DON'T know who to look for or even that he's been kidnapped at first. I guess that would make sense. They'll have to figure something out by the time knights start disappearing though.

But to respond to the actual content of this post rather than the side details ;)) unlike Prince Caspian which takes place here, there, and everywhere, and therefore hard to write into movie context, The Silver Chair is fairly linear. I think it makes perfect sense to have the flashback at the Parliament of Owls so Jill and Eustace can learn more about their mission. I don't really see any reason to change this particular aspect of the movie, though I could understand some kind of teaser at the beginning just to remind viewers about Narnia. But probably not the whole backstory. Heh, maybe they could even put in a bit about Caspian marrying Lillian so non-bookies know where she came from as they neglected to include that detail in VDT. :P
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Re: Backstory of Rilian's Disappearance

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Oct 17, 2016 2:58 pm

One other thought that I had for an opening... perhaps they could do something similar to the opening of Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame where Clopin is telling children about the backstory of Quasimodo. I've always thought it was a very effective opening sequence, and if the story of Rilian's disappearance was told by a Narnian to other Narnians, we could see first hand how the loss of their crown prince—and the loss of their queen and their previously happy king—has impacted them. (Maybe this would be a way to fit in the blind poet that is mentioned at the feast at Cair Paravel after Eustace and Jill first arrive in Narnia?)

fantasia_kitty wrote:Maybe, but somebody will need to be present when Rilian sees the Green Lady in order to pass the news onto Caspian. Otherwise nobody will know who to look for. And if that's the case, why not Drinian? Unless you think that bit of plot will be cut entirely and people DON'T know who to look for or even that he's been kidnapped at first. I guess that would make sense.


I actually think the filmmakers might make a point to conceal the knowledge about the woman at the fountain from the Narnians and Eustace and Jill, but without concealing that knowledge to the audience.

One of the few things that bugs me about The Silver Chair is that our questers don't immediately connect the beautiful woman in her green gown with the beautiful woman in green from the story told at the Parliament of Owls. I remember thinking that they were a bit daft to not pick up on that the first time that I read the book. I've considered that maybe the detail about her green outfit was missing from the owl's story, but still, she's a beautiful woman and Rilian was last seen with a beautiful woman, and here's this faceless knight... I suppose you can chalk it up to the confusion of their minds down in Narnia where the air as thicker, as well as their consuming longing for hot baths at Harfang, but I don't want people to be throwing their popcorn at the screen when our heroes seem to totally miss the fact that this woman has all the same identifying features as the woman who was involved with Rilian's disappearance.
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Re: Backstory of Rilian's Disappearance

Postby narnia fan 7 » Oct 17, 2016 5:20 pm

fantasia_kitty wrote:Maybe, but somebody will need to be present when Rilian sees the Green Lady in order to pass the news onto Caspian. Otherwise nobody will know who to look for. And if that's the case, why not Drinian? Unless you think that bit of plot will be cut entirely and people DON'T know who to look for or even that he's been kidnapped at first. I guess that would make sense. They'll have to figure something out by the time knights start disappearing though.

When I said that I think it's likely that Drinian may be cut from the film I was thinking mainly about the scene where Drinian ask Caspian to kill him for keeping silent about what he saw at the fountain and Caspian spares his life, it's a great powerful scene but I think he filmmakers will likely want to keep the flashbacks as short and to the point as they can and without that scene Drinian's part in the story is not vary important.

As for having the Narnians not knowing about Rilian seeing the lotgk I think that could possibly work they could still know that he often went to the fountain where his mother was killed so the knights that went looking for him would still have a starting point if it was done ell it could add a lot to the mystery of what happened to him.
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Re: Backstory of Rilian's Disappearance

Postby Reepicheep775 » Oct 17, 2016 6:39 pm

I suggested a while back that SC could have opening credits that tell the Narnian backstory through some kind of stylized imagery without any dialogue. Maybe stained glass images, carvings on a wall, or pictures in a story book (okay, maybe that last one would be too cliche :P ).

That way the owls in the parliament could give the Cliff's Notes version of the backstory and the audience could fill in the blanks with the information they learned from the opening credits and it wouldn't bog down the story or kill the pacing.
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Re: Backstory of Rilian's Disappearance

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Oct 18, 2016 7:04 pm

Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:One of the few things that bugs me about The Silver Chair is that our questers don't immediately connect the beautiful woman in her green gown with the beautiful woman in green from the story told at the Parliament of Owls. I remember thinking that they were a bit daft to not pick up on that the first time that I read the book.


Yes I agree, but a lot depends on what is meant by green. Too many shades of green to really put one's finger on it, and the BBC version had it sort of a camouflage version with mottled green and black shades. Also, owls have the keenest hearing of most birds, operate during the night and whether or not they can see colours is a moot question.
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