Puddleglum's speech will be in the movie

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Puddleglum's speech will be in the movie

Postby Glumpuddle » Dec 20, 2016 11:08 am

Gresham confirmed that Puddleglum's famous "speech" from The Silver Chair will be in the movie. Not surprising of course; it's one of the iconic moments from the book.

I have been thinking through how this might play in the film, especially since I'm predicting the third act of the story will be tweaked the most in the adaptation (I'm thinking a PC level of re-structuring). I wonder... what if they made this into less of a speech and more of a conversation between Puddleglum and the queen? Make it seem more like a back and forth conflict. That might work better on film. Just a thought.

The one suggestion I would make to the actor playing Puddleglum is to make it clear that the character is not actually doubting Narnia's existence. He stamped out the fire and is no longer under a spell. The speech is about proclaiming the now-obvious truth, not trying to convince himself of something he's doubting.

Here's a video I just posted about it.
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Re: Puddleglum's speech will be in the movie

Postby narnia fan 7 » Dec 20, 2016 6:01 pm

For me this is one of the most important scenes for the filmmakers to get right. It's one of my favorite moments in the entire series and I really hope the film will do it justice.

I think you bring up a excellent point gp, about making it clear that Puddleglum is not in any way doubting the existence of Narnia, one thing I'm the tiniest bit little concerned they might potentially do with the scene is moving the speech to earlier in the scene before he puts outs the fire.
I could see them making a change like that to add more build up to him stomping on the queens fire, I really hope they don't do everything like this I think the triumph of Puddleglum overcoming the queens enchantment a part of that makes the speech so iconic. so perhaps it's silly to think they might change that, but you never know.

I think the idea of there maybe being a back and forth between Puddleglum and the Lotgk if could handled right could work and might help emphasize to the audience that puddleglum isn't doubting Narnia's existence.
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Re: Puddleglum's speech will be in the movie

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Dec 21, 2016 6:03 pm

Now I'm quite curious about your thoughts on a PC-level restructuring of the third part of SC... ;)) *points to the Changing and Rearranging thread*

You know, I've never really gotten the sense that Puddleglum was being sarcastic when he started off by saying, "All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder." It is Puddleglum, after all. Worst-first thinking is what he does. I don't think he believes her outright, but he doesn't try to argue against her claims, either. He concedes that she could be right. I do agree that Puddleglum has broken the immediate enchantment, but it's worth mentioning that two chapters before when they were sailing on the sunless sea, they started to feel as though they "had always lived on that ship, in that darkness, and to wonder whether sun and blue skies and wind and birds had not been only a dream." Underland has a profound psychological effect all of its own, the LotGK's magic and manipulation notwithstanding.

Although Puddleglum says that the LotGK may be correct, he also says he's a chap who likes to know the worst and then put the best face on it, and that's what he's doing here: he states that perhaps what the LotGK says is true, but it is still better to live like a Narnian and stay loyal to Aslan even if there isn't any Narnia or Aslan. I don't get a sense of sarcasm or slight smugness in what he says here, but rather earnestness and passion. I feel like this is why Puddleglum's speech is often looked at as an example of faith by so many: there are going to be times when you have doubts or you are going to encounter arguments that you are not sure how to answer, but that doesn't mean it's time to abandon faith and surrender to evil.

A couple quotes that I find relevant:

C.S. Lewis wrote:"Be not deceived, Wormwood, our cause is never more in jeopardy than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe in which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys."


(That's from The Screwtape Letters, for those wondering who Wormwood is.)

I feel like there's a thematic connection between this idea and Puddleglum. He is trapped in Underland, a dark prison where you doubt everything you ever believed, and yet he is still declaring for Narnia and for Aslan, even in those moments when he thinks that the Witch's words may be true. Over the years I've associated his speech with Jesus's cry on the cross for this reason—they are both calling out to God and staying loyal to God even when they cannot feel His presence.

C.S. Lewis wrote:Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.


I feel like much of The Silver Chair can be summed up in that quote, but I think it's especially relevant when it comes to Puddleglum's speech. To look at it as him stating an obvious truth would definitely be a significant shift in my perspective towards this scene. It has been interesting to puzzle over, to say the least! :-?

Regardless, I hope that they transplant the speech word-for-word into the film without trying to force a particular interpretation: if they do it in a way that's true to the character and true to the book, hopefully everyone will be satisfied. I'm not really wild about the idea of it being turned into a back-and-forth conversation with the LotGK... I love that he shocks her into furious silence, especially since she was in command of the conversation up until that point. I'll want to tell her to hush and be quiet if she interrupts Puddleglum during his magnum opus. ;))
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Re: Puddleglum's speech will be in the movie

Postby Glumpuddle » Dec 22, 2016 10:42 pm

Great post Rose, as usual! :D (even though I don't completely agree)

The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:You know, I've never really gotten the sense that Puddleglum was being sarcastic when he started off by saying, "All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder.""


I wouldn't use the word "sarcastic" exactly.

That line continues with "I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said." Puddleglum is consciously choosing to use his usual coping mechanism: If he can put a bold face on the worst possible scenario, then he can handle anything. So, for sake of argument, he "supposes" the Queen is right...

Suppose we have [made up Narnia and Aslan]. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right."

I sense a slightly mocking tone there that feels like reductio ad absurdum. A proclamation of the obvious truth: The Queen's argument is self-defeating. It just doesn't make sense. How could "babies making up a game" come up with things that seem so much more important than the real ones? If Narnia isn't real, then why does it seem to make so much more sense to live like a Narnian?
It'd be like arguing that food isn't meant for the human body. If that's true, why is it so nourishing?

This is the last time in the book Narnia's existence is called into question. As they near the surface, there is no tension about weather or not Narnia will turn out to be real or a dream. That terrible thought died with the Queen's fire.

I acknowledge the hopeless and mentally vulnerable place they are in, feeling completely cut off from Narnia and Aslan. But through all that, it was Puddleglum that kept his chin up the most. On the Sunless Sea, he reminds them they are following Aslan's signs. And he immediately rejects the idea that the words "under me" had nothing to do with their quest. Finally, he's the one that stamps out the fire, which "made everyone's brain far clearer." And his complete and total trust in Aslan through all that is the perfect example for Jill.

In short, he's the hero of the book and I want him on the next ballot. :ymapplause:
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Re: Puddleglum's speech will be in the movie

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Dec 23, 2016 10:47 am

Thanks! It actually took me a while to get my thoughts together because I've kind of been taking my interpretation for granted. ;))

Glumpuddle wrote:I sense a slightly mocking tone there that feels like reductio ad absurdum. A proclamation of the obvious truth: The Queen's argument is self-defeating. It just doesn't make sense. How could "babies making up a game" come up with things that seem so much more important than the real ones? If Narnia isn't real, then why does it seem to make so much more sense to live like a Narnian?
It'd be like arguing that food isn't meant for the human body. If that's true, why is it so nourishing?


I'm mostly in agreement with this. If the obvious truth is that the LotGK's argument rings false and that the world she offers is an empty one, then I don't have a problem with that at all. Clearly, Puddleglum believes this, full stop.

What I'm not sold on is the idea that Puddleglum is absolutely certain that the LotGK is wrong. To a "normal" person, it would not be difficult to have that belief when their mind is clear, but it's in Puddleglum's nature to imagine the most awful things and conclude that they are possible and often probable. Yes, his mind is cleared and he knows exactly what he thinks because of the shock of pain, but he's still Puddleglum and he's still a pessimistic thinker. So when he prefaces his speech by saying that "All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder", I don't think that he's being facetious, which he would have to be if he were absolutely sure that the Witch's worldview was false. That's not to say that he thinks that she is right, but he thinks it's possible that she is. Just as all of his other unpleasant ideas are not necessarily sure to be the case, he still thinks they are possible and perhaps probable.

To me, this is one of the reasons why the speech is so inspiring. If one of the most reliably pessimistic characters in literature can triumph over the Witch's lies, then anybody can. Faith doesn't have to hinge on what you're sure of; it can see us through those dark periods of uncertainty.

But perhaps I'm making the scene into something it's not! (Or at least, coming at it from the wrong angle, or quibbling.) It would be really interesting to poll people on whether or not they thought Puddleglum was being facetious with those opening lines of his speech. I do agree that Puddleglum was the "optimistic" one throughout the questers' excursion in Underland, and that his dogged adherence to following the signs and staying loyal to Aslan could certainly be used as evidence that he never entertained the Witch's argument in any way after stamping out the fire. I've just never read it that way.

Glumpuddle wrote:In short, he's the hero of the book and I want him on the next ballot. :ymapplause:


Amen! ("Sober leadership in the face of inevitable crises". :)))
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Re: Puddleglum's speech will be in the movie

Postby Glumpuddle » Dec 23, 2016 12:22 pm

Thanks for another great post, Rose.

To summarize...
I think this is our disagreement in a nutshell: During his speech, I think Puddleglum is 99% or 100% sure the Queen is wrong, and you think it's more like 51%. Is that fair to say?

I would be open to the idea that he is more certain the Queen is wrong at the end of his speech then he is at the beginning. But I think there's a clear mocking tone in the speech that tells me he is pretty darn sure the Queen can't possibly be right.

The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:one of the most reliably pessimistic characters in literature


This might be one of the roots of our disagreement. The way I see it, Puddleglum's defining trait is his constant search for the most optimistic view (putting on a bold face) of even the worst situations. Often comically so. Perhaps most famously, "there's one good thing about being tapped down here: It'll save funeral expenses."

And like I said in my previous post, he was the one who refused to despair throughout the entire journey in Underland. Even on the Sunless Sea. And I don't think that's surprising, given what we know about him. He's always trying to put on a bold face.

I think people seem to only remember that Puddleglum often assumes the worst... and forget that he also tries to put a bold face on it. And that's my fear for the character in the film. It would be very easy to just make him Eeyore or Marvin the robot. But I think he's a lot more complex than that. Great challenge for an actor!
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Re: Puddleglum's speech will be in the movie

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Dec 24, 2016 3:20 pm

Gah, I feel like I'm only getting in the ballpark of what I'm trying to say instead of hitting the nail on the head. ;))

I don't think I could put a percentage on Puddleglum's feelings about the LotGK's argument, mainly because I don't think that's where Puddleglum's focus is at that moment. I do take him pretty literally when he says that he shouldn't wonder if all she is saying is quite right, so I think that he is at least open to that possibility, but I don't think that the point of his speech is whose argument is objectively better. But let me "zoom out" for a second and see if I can explain what I mean a little more clearly.

Everyone, on some level, is telling themselves a "story" about the nature of reality. I don't mean telling a story in the sense that we are lying to ourselves, but rather that we all have our ideas about life, meaning, truth, existence and so on. Even people who try to base all of their views on facts and evidence are still forced to choose which information to trust and how to interpret it. So because we exist, we also try to make sense of our existence. We're telling a story, and some of these stories are going to be nearer to the truth than others. The fact is, though, we often aren't completely sure about what is absolutely true, and our stories about reality can clash with other people's stories, resulting in debates like the one that Rilian and the questers had with the LotGK.

There are going to be times that you are afflicted with genuine doubt, but I think you eventually reach a point where you have to make a choice about how you're going to live your life, irrespective of changing moods. At the end of the day, you have to live for the story that makes the most sense to you. (Logically and emotionally.) You may not be able to prove it, arguments may go in circles and satisfy no one, but this is the story nearest to the truth that you can conceive of and you're going to spend your life seeking it out.

Puddleglum's story—his "theory of reality"—is that Overworld is real and Aslan is their good lord. He may not be absolutely certain of that in that moment, but functionally, it doesn't matter. He has to make a choice, and that's the story that he's going to live for and he's going to live the rest of his life seeking it out. He's not going to argue with the LotGK anymore; her arguments ring hollow for him. There is nothing else for him to do than to live like a Narnian and go on looking for Narnia, because it is, to him, the most compelling story about reality. So while conceding that he could be wrong, he is going to go on searching for the truth, and the only way to do that is to follow the trail of what he thinks is most likely to be the truth. For him, that trail leads to Narnia and to Aslan.

I hope this makes sense. ;)) I think we're actually more on the same page than not. This is why I'm quibbling with the idea that he's profoundly certain about Narnia's existence, though, because a) I take what he says at the beginning at face value, and b) I think the speech is about determining, for yourself, what is most likely to be the truth, and then seeking after that truth and making a choice about how you are going to live your life regardless of doubt.

And I do agree that Puddleglum is not an "Eeyore" kind of character! He is a cheerful pessimist, not in the sense that he relishes bad luck, but rather that he supposes that the worst is likely to happen and that they might as well have a good attitude and make the best of it. When I say reliable pessimist, I only mean that you can count on him to come up with the worst possible outcomes any given day. ;))
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Re: Puddleglum's speech will be in the movie

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Dec 24, 2016 11:57 pm

Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:I don't think I could put a percentage on Puddleglum's feelings about the LotGK's argument, mainly because I don't think that's where Puddleglum's focus is at that moment. I do take him pretty literally when he says that he shouldn't wonder if all she is saying is quite right, so I think that he is at least open to that possibility, but I don't think that the point of his speech is whose argument is objectively better. But let me "zoom out" for a second and see if I can explain what I mean a little more clearly....Everyone, on some level, is telling themselves a "story" about the nature of reality.


There is a book called "Brave New World", in which everything said is supposed to mean something else so that nothing is what it seems, and resisting the powers that be is difficult. Or so I gather. Would you say that Puddleglum, when he made that speech, is in a similar predicament? LOTGK is enchanting the Prince and his rescuers to agree with whatever she says. Puddleglum is about to succumb to the same enchantment that is overpowering the humans, but resists by stamping the fire out. The pain shocks him into clarity about Narnia, and so he uses this clarity to resist her - his speech is so important for that reason.

I can't see how percentages really help since the powder and smoke were there to keep all four of LOTGK's opponents as befuddled, sleepy and hazy about what she is actually saying for as long as possible.
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Re: Puddleglum's speech will be in the movie

Postby King_Erlian » Dec 26, 2016 12:27 pm

I've just been watching the Walden LWW on TV and as usual, I've been in tears. But I ended up feeling sad for another reason, and it was remembering Puddleglum's speech. The made-up country - Narnia - seems more appealing to me than the real one - England. The make-believe Saviour - Aslan - is more real than the real one - Jesus. I've been "religious" now for 36 years, and God is no more real to me than He was when I was 17. And I can't equate the loving Lion with the harsh Judge who will send me to Hell because I don't love Him.

Sorry for the outburst. :(
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Re: Puddleglum's speech will be in the movie

Postby coracle » Dec 26, 2016 1:25 pm

Dear King_Erlian, I hope that in this coming new year, you and many people will grow to love the real as well as you love the picture. :ymhug:
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Re: Puddleglum's speech will be in the movie

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Dec 28, 2016 3:45 pm

waggawerewolf27 wrote:There is a book called "Brave New World", in which everything said is supposed to mean something else so that nothing is what it seems, and resisting the powers that be is difficult. Or so I gather. Would you say that Puddleglum, when he made that speech, is in a similar predicament?


I actually haven't read Brave New World, but now I'm quite curious about it! I'll have to take a look at it and see if I notice any thematic similarity.

wagga wrote:I can't see how percentages really help since the powder and smoke were there to keep all four of LOTGK's opponents as befuddled, sleepy and hazy about what she is actually saying for as long as possible.


Gp and I were actually talking about how certain Puddleglum was of Narnia and Aslan's existence after stamping out the fire. I'd agree that before then, it's pretty obvious that they're all in a really muddled state of mind.

King_Erlian wrote:I've just been watching the Walden LWW on TV and as usual, I've been in tears. But I ended up feeling sad for another reason, and it was remembering Puddleglum's speech. The made-up country - Narnia - seems more appealing to me than the real one - England. The make-believe Saviour - Aslan - is more real than the real one - Jesus. I've been "religious" now for 36 years, and God is no more real to me than He was when I was 17. And I can't equate the loving Lion with the harsh Judge who will send me to Hell because I don't love Him.

Sorry for the outburst. :(


:ymhug:

Have you thought about trying to retrace Lewis's path to Christianity? (The books he read, the people who influenced him, et cetera.) That's how he formulated his own understanding of the person of Jesus, and I think we encounter that concept of Jesus every time we open a Narnia book. Aslan is, after all, Lewis's supposal of what Jesus might be like in another world. Looking at how he encountered Jesus in our world might be helpful to you.
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Re: Puddleglum's speech will be in the movie

Postby coracle » Dec 30, 2016 12:06 am

The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:
waggawerewolf27 wrote:There is a book called "Brave New World", in which everything said is supposed to mean something else so that nothing is what it seems, and resisting the powers that be is difficult. Or so I gather. Would you say that Puddleglum, when he made that speech, is in a similar predicament?


I actually haven't read Brave New World, but now I'm quite curious about it! I'll have to take a look at it and see if I notice any thematic similarity.


If it's Huxley's book, be advised the book was quite contraversial in 1931 when it was written.
It might actually be "1984" you were thinking of, where the main character's job is to rewrite news to change the meaning and information to suit the official line!
(perhaps check out wikipedia on them both).
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Re: Puddleglum's speech will be in the movie

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Jan 01, 2017 4:32 am

coracle wrote:It might actually be "1984" you were thinking of, where the main character's job is to rewrite news to change the meaning and information to suit the official line!
(perhaps check out wikipedia on them both).


I did check out Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, which turned out to be a kind of dystopia, where individuality was at threat, so although I think you are right, I'm not sure I'm completely off track. It seems that Aldous Huxley liked to parody the hopeful science fiction of H.G.Wells, with much darker stories. I've also been amazed by the coincidence that Aldous Huxley died on the same day as C.S.Lewis, and JFK.

George Orwell's 1984, I agree, is a much better fit. But George Orwell, like Aldous Huxley, was writing satirically in the 1930's and 1940's when extremism, brain washing, doublethink and Newspeak could be very real things, and again, individuality was frowned on. I'm more familiar with Animal Farm.

Where Puddleglum fits in with all of this is his insistence on believing in Aslan and Narnia, even if LOTGK says there is no Aslan and no Narnia. Each time she asks them to define what they are talking about, only to reduce what they know to something considerably more trivial. LOTGK would have enjoyed living in Airstrip One, with 1984's Big Brother. Except it is she who would insist on calling the shots.

Much like the White Witch, but the tactics differ.
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Re: Puddleglum's speech will be in the movie

Postby Josh » Feb 09, 2017 10:48 pm

The confrontation between Puddleglum and the Lady of the Green Kirtle is my favorite scene in the book, so on one hand I want it to be adapted pretty faithfully.

On the other hand, it may come across as too lengthy and talky for a visual medium. It will be a challenge to keep most of the important dialogue and thematic depth while still not feeling like a play.
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