Horse and His boy film idea

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Horse and His boy film idea

Postby bardiafox7 » Jun 17, 2017 9:32 am

I have an idea for a framing device that could bookend the Horse and His boy film.
We open in a little boy's room that is dark. The boy is in bed supposed to be asleep but instead he is wide awake. Then the bedroom door opens a crack letting a little light in. A woman,his mother, pops her head through the door to check on her son. She sees that he's still awake; she admonishes him to go to sleep. The boy begs his mother for one more story. She says no and to got to sleep. He begs and begs and she gives in. She opens the door all the way and walks in with a lamp in her hand. She sets the lamp on the stand beside his bed. She sits down on the bed next to him and tells him this is the last one and to go to bed after this. He asks her for his favorite story. She settles down and begins to tell the Horse and His boy. Her narration is pulled verbatim from the first two pages of the book and it plays over scenes with Shasta and His father. Then her narration cuts off by her saying, "And so the boy thought this would be his life for many years to come, but one day an unexpected visitor would change the course of his entire destiny." And the film proceeds from there.
At the end of the scene with Cor and Corin discussing the kingship, the mother's narration is picked back up . She tells what became of Bree, Hwin, Corin and Rabadash. It's revealed that the mother is none other than Aravis herself and the boy is Ram. Then we cut to a man leaning in the doorway--it's King Cor. He looks at his wife and child tenderly. Aravis rises from the bed, tucks Ram in, and kisses his forehead. He turns over on his side and closes his eyes. Aravis grabs the lamp from the stand and strides to her husband. They both take one last glance at their son. Aravis closes the door behind her . End film.
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Re: Horse and His boy film idea

Postby Glumpuddle » Jun 17, 2017 1:27 pm

Interesting. I feel like I've seen a dozen films open that way, but I do like the idea of HHB being presented as a bedtime story. And maybe having some narration throughout. That feels right for HHB.

And I like Ram trying to eavesdrop. ;)) Like his father eavesdropped on the fisherman.
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Re: Horse and His boy film idea

Postby bardiafox7 » Jun 17, 2017 3:32 pm

Another alternative is to connect HHB to SC. It was mentioned in the SC that Eustace and Jill heard the story of the HHB while at Cair Paravel. So you could open the film with Eustace and Jill at CP preparing for dinner than have the HHB be told after the dinner. If the SC is a popular film it would be a nice tie in.
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Re: Horse and His boy film idea

Postby AJAiken » Jun 21, 2017 1:50 am

I like how this would tie up the very end of the book by showing they married rather than telling the audience it happened.

Though the SC idea is interesting I feel that it might be odd to be introduced to characters who never appear again until the end. It would perhaps be disappointing for those who want to see more of Eustace and Jill, and confusing for those who haven't seen SC. That's what's nice about the bedtime story idea, because it all ties in to the story being told.

It could also be interesting to turn the bedtime story idea on its head a little. Imagine the film opens with a black screen, and a child's voice asking for their favourite story. "Please?" "All right," says an adult's voice. The story unfolds. At the very end, the adult and child are revealed - either Bree or Hwin, telling the story to one of their respective foals. However it doesn't have the moment between Aravis and Cor I like so much!
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Re: Horse and His boy film idea

Postby fledge1 » Jun 21, 2017 3:12 pm

WOW! I actually like this idea. This is my favorite book, and the thought of it starting as a bed time story being told by the ones who lived it would be pretty legit. I am not a huge fan at all of bringing in SC for the same reasons mentioned. I am both extremely excited and nervous about this one. More so then the other ones made. Love this idea so much!
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Re: Horse and His boy film idea

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Jun 22, 2017 2:01 pm

I quite like your first idea, bardiafox7! Especially since it's established in the story that Aravis, like many Calormenes, is a very gifted storyteller. I can easily imagine her children asking for her to tell them stories time and time again. And I love how it would allow the film to tell the viewer what became of all its main characters.

The only thing that doesn't quite work for me is pulling the narration verbatim from the beginning and ending of HHB. (Which is a shame, because I love Lewis's narrative voice and often wish it would show up in the movies more!) Aravis's storytelling style is quite different from Lewis's. Although I imagine that she could have picked up some influence from Narnian and Archenlander storytelling after her time in the North, I still think it would be a little weird hearing Lewis's words come out of her mouth, if that makes sense. I would probably want them to change the wording so it sounded more like something Aravis would say.
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Re: Horse and His boy film idea

Postby fledge1 » Jun 22, 2017 5:52 pm

The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote: I would probably want them to change the wording so it sounded more like something Aravis would say.


Very good point. Didnt think of it that way. They could actually make it sound incredible. Fantastic idea!
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Re: Horse and His boy film idea

Postby Rogin » Jun 26, 2017 2:05 pm

How can you guys think about anything other than The Silver Chair these days?! It's a great discussion but my mind is too focused on the current adaptation and will not be swayed ;)
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Re: Horse and His boy film idea

Postby shastastwin » Jul 19, 2017 6:29 am

I started listening to the audio book of The Horse and His Boy (read by Alex Jennings) again today, and had a flash of inspiration for what the movie could be like.

One thing I'd like to see is a slightly more balanced view of Calormen -- sort of a reversal of what Prince Caspian does for the Narnians. There, we see not all Narnians are automatically on Aslan's side; here, I'd like a wider demonstration of the idea not all Calormenes are on Tash's. I think this can be achieved in a few small ways without damaging the story. Arsheesh tells the Tarkaan that he found Shasta the year the current Tisroc began his reign. That means it was some time after the Pevensies began theirs. Given the amount of political subterfuge in the book, I wonder if there couldn't be an argument made for the old Tisroc being less hostile toward the northern countries and more interested in keeping the peace. That would make the current Tisroc's (and Rabadash's) behavior more threatening and lend credence to the whole alliance marriage concept with Susan.

This would also tie in with my other main idea: to make the Archenlanders ethnically mixed between Narnia and Calormen; my main argument for this being that Shasta's skin tone (while clearly northern in the eyes of the Tarkaan) should be less likely to draw attention, even in a small fishing village on the coast. We might even see something like Shasta's mother or grandparent being a Calormene noble. This, coupled with the new change in Tisrocs, would set up the backstory of Shasta's kidnapping/rescue/adoption. (It would also help smooth the way for Aravis joining the family at the end.) With such a history of (at least surface-level) alliance and cooperation, the treachery of Rabadash is heightened and the racial tension lessened.

All that is background, however. It wouldn't necessarily be something we get in an info-dump, but rather should be dropped piece by piece throughout the film (unless we get some sort of prologue/flashback dealing with Shasta's disappearance).

All that being said, I do like the bedtime story idea. It fits with all the storytelling going on in the book and sets up a nice visual resolution for Cor and Aravis, as y'all have said.

I would however like to see a bit of Shasta's life fleshed out in small scenes; perhaps we see him in the market with Arsheesh and hear the haggling and so on that Lewis mentions Shasta has heard before. This doesn't need to be a long sequence, but a minute or so of small things that show what Shasta's life in the hut and the village was like would go a long way. One scene in particular that I'd like is Shasta talking to the donkey about how he can't seem to love his "father." Lewis mentions this in passing, but I think it would be more powerful to hear it spoken by Shasta himself. Something like this:
(We see Shasta mending the nets while the donkey grazes. There are tears, not of sorrow, but of anger, frustration, or even confusion, on his cheeks, one of which is bruised.)
"I can't love him, donkey (or whatever they name it, if anything). I know a boy should love his father. It is only right. But there is nothing in my heart that will ever be able to love him."

We could probably have this scene flow directly into the Tarkaan's arrival. Having Shasta talking to the donkey also sets up his talking to Bree a bit later.

I'm not sure whether I wish to see Arsheesh's story about Shasta's arrival in the boat when he tells the Tarkaan about it or not. The FotF radio version opens with this scene as a prologue, and while that works, I don't think that's where the film should begin. It takes away too much of wonder about Shasta's origins. However, if we see this scene here, I would like there to be an extra splash or something after Arsheesh has plucked Shasta from the boat. Then, when Aslan gives the "I was the lion" speech (happy shivers), we can see this scene from a slightly wider view to reveal Aslan has pushed the boat to shore.
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Re: Horse and His boy film idea

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Jul 20, 2017 8:29 pm

shastastwin wrote:Given the amount of political subterfuge in the book, I wonder if there couldn't be an argument made for the old Tisroc being less hostile toward the northern countries and more interested in keeping the peace. That would make the current Tisroc's (and Rabadash's) behavior more threatening and lend credence to the whole alliance marriage concept.


That's an interesting thought. I mean, think about the way that the Lamb describes Tash in The Last Battle: "They say he has four arms and the head of a vulture. They kill Men on his altar. I don't believe there's any such person as Tash. But if there was, how could Aslan be friends with him?" If a Talking Beast who has probably lived all its life in Narnia has such a low impression of the Calormene religion, how on earth could Susan have possibly ever considered marrying into Calormene royalty? (A family that claims to be direct descendants of Tash, no less.) So maybe there's a case to be made that the Calormene religion had evolved to become more violent and depraved between the events of HHB and LB.

On the other hand, maybe it indicates that the Northern countries didn't know much about Calormen yet in those days. You could have the Pevensies make the disturbing discovery during their time in Tashbaan that the Calormene royalty presides over ritual human sacrifice to appease their god. That would change their minds about Rabadash and the whole outfit pretty quick, and it would be very dramatic as well. Kind of reminds me of discovering something worth knowing in the house of the Gentle Giants, actually.

I do like the idea of having other Calormenes living in Archenland before Shasta and Aravis. Whether previous Tisrocs were friendly or not, it's easy to imagine that there must have been others seeking to escape Calormene rule before the events of HHB. And perhaps Lady Liln could have been a Calormene princess since she was captured by Giant Pire, and Mount Pire (what is left of the two-headed giant) is on the border between Archenland and Calormen.
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Re: Horse and His boy film idea

Postby shastastwin » Jul 21, 2017 5:57 am

I hadn't considered the Lamb's words, Rose. Thanks for the reminder. The revelation of those religious behaviors might fit in well with what Susan and Edmund say about Rabadash's true nature being revealed when they visit him in Tashbaan. It seems that Narnia lost a great deal in the 100 years of winter, both their history and their knowledge of the wider world. it wouldn't surprise me if they have much less understanding of Calormen than before the Witch's reign. What's more, it's possible the extremes the Lamb mentions are word of mouth and have less connection with reality than we might guess at first. Many cultures often take a dimmer view of other cultures that are seen as "other".

Rose wrote:And perhaps Lady Liln could have been a Calormene princess since she was captured by Giant Pire, and Mount Pire (what is left of the two-headed giant) is on the border between Archenland and Calormen.


I do like that!

Other ways to weave in the political struggles mentioned in the book have occurred to me as I've worked further into it. Aravis (a relative of the Tisroc's, she says) has a brother who died in the quelling of a rebellion in the west. I wonder how much his loss will be carried over into the film, giving Aravis a certain sadness she along with her haughtiness. If the rebellion is any indication, there would be other Calormenes wishing to leave the Tisroc's rule, so that fits in with our other ideas about Calormenes in Archenland.
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Re: Horse and His boy film idea

Postby Glumpuddle » Jul 21, 2017 7:54 am

shastastwin wrote:my main argument for this being that Shasta's skin tone (while clearly northern in the eyes of the Tarkaan) should be less likely to draw attention, even in a small fishing village on the coast.


Perhaps, but I do think it's important that Shasta kinda stand out. That vague sense of not belonging is really essential. "O my Father, what is there beyond that hill?" All his life, Shasta has felt in his bones that is real home is somewhere else.
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Re: Horse and His boy film idea

Postby shastastwin » Jul 21, 2017 9:01 am

I agree; Shasta's longing for his true home is essential to his character (and fits with the series' overall themes of joy and longing). But no one in the novel makes any remarks about his being different aside from the Tarkaan saying he's obviously not Arsheesh's son and Bree saying he's northern. Despite all the many encounters Shasta and the others have with Calormenes (on the way to Tashbaan and in the city itself), there's no other attention drawn to his appearance. So in some way his appearance isn't as universally significant in setting him apart as those two comments may lead us to believe.

Perhaps this indicates that the Calormenes were in the habit of taking Narnian, Archenlander, and islander slaves more frequently than we get a sense of. (Certainly this matches with Bree and Hwin being captured, but there's no mention that I recall of their taking human slaves from other countries. Though the Calormenes in LB certainly treat the Narnians little better than slaves.)
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Re: Horse and His boy film idea

Postby daughter of the King » Jul 21, 2017 10:14 am

shastastwin wrote:One thing I'd like to see is a slightly more balanced view of Calormen -- sort of a reversal of what Prince Caspian does for the Narnians. There, we see not all Narnians are automatically on Aslan's side; here, I'd like a wider demonstration of the idea not all Calormenes are on Tash's


The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:So maybe there's a case to be made that the Calormene religion had evolved to become more violent and depraved between the events of HHB and LB.


I'm going to have to re-read LB again to be sure about this, but in HHB the Calormenes mention multiple gods, not just Tash. I don't remember the Calormenes talking about any god other than Tash in LB. Perhaps in between HHB and LB invoking the other gods fell out of favor?
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Re: Horse and His boy film idea

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Jul 21, 2017 4:29 pm

shastastwin wrote:What's more, it's possible the extremes the Lamb mentions are word of mouth and have less connection with reality than we might guess at first. Many cultures often take a dimmer view of other cultures that are seen as "other".


Ooh, I hadn't thought of that. The Lamb's description of Tash was at least a secondhand account, after all. Then again, none of the Calormenes present challenge him, and paired with what Aslan says later to Emeth about Tash being is complete opposite... sacrificing men on Tash's altar is in complete opposition to Aslan who goes to the sacrificial altar in man's stead. Still, I find it odd that we don't—at least as far as I can remember—hear anything about human sacrifice during the events of HBB. :-?

shastastwin wrote:Perhaps this indicates that the Calormenes were in the habit of taking Narnian, Archenlander, and islander slaves more frequently than we get a sense of. (Certainly this matches with Bree and Hwin being captured, but there's no mention that I recall of their taking human slaves from other countries. Though the Calormenes in LB certainly treat the Narnians little better than slaves.)


I've always gotten the impression that there was a lot of slavery present in Calormen... I need to look in VDT and check, but I'm pretty sure that there were Calormene buyers at the slave auction in the Lone Islands.

daughter of the King wrote:I'm going to have to re-read LB again to be sure about this, but in HHB the Calormenes mention multiple gods, not just Tash. I don't remember the Calormenes talking about any god other than Tash in LB. Perhaps in between HHB and LB invoking the other gods fell out of favor?


I know they mention Azaroth and Zardeenah briefly during HHB, but I don't recall any mention of them in LB. As I think about it, the polytheism of the Calormene religion does make it rather difficult to say that Aslan and Tash are interchangeable, although I can imagine a Calormene arguing that Father Christmas and Silenus and Bacchus and Pomona and wood gods and wood goddesses equates to polytheism as well. (And I would reply that none of those are worshiped in Narnia. :P) I do get the sense even in HHB, though, that Tash is the highest, most powerful god of their pantheon—"Tash the inexorable, the irresistible" is often repeated.
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Re: Horse and His boy film idea

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Jul 21, 2017 5:43 pm

Shastatwin wrote: Given the amount of political subterfuge in the book, I wonder if there couldn't be an argument made for the old Tisroc being less hostile toward the northern countries and more interested in keeping the peace.


I daresay the Old Tisroc might well be less hostile to the northern countries, having a good reason for it, when he didn't want to tangle with a dangerous White Witch. The present Tisroc seemed to have had much the same attitude to Narnia, itself right up until that fateful meeting with Aravis hiding behind the Tisroc's sofa in HHB. Until Rabadash took that trip to Cair Paravel to investigate the looks of the fair Susan and managed to spy out the land as well. The present Tisroc might have also known of the fall of the White Witch, since either he or his predecessor seems to have instigated spy expeditions into Archenland, which enabled, in turn, Lord Barr to steal away one of the King's twin sons. Even if no spying was officially recognised, there were also those people who lived by stealing away the likes of Hwin and Bree.

All that politicking around suggests to me that the bulk of the Calormenes were more interested in leading their own lives, that Tash-worship was more a ritual and a tradition than a useful faith, and an excuse for some of the Calormene leaders such as the Tisroc, himself, to behave badly. Emeth, the genuinely idealistic Calormene, surely wasn't the only one of his kind, but in his own Tarkaan class there seems to have been too many like Rishda Tarkaan who paid lip service to anything more than his own power and influence.

I thought the Calormenes in general were treated in quite a balanced fashion, in HHB, given that the society it depicts is definitely pre-television, and Internet, that Tashbaan could describe any city in the world where its civic leaders are more interested in enjoying themselves than in actually running the place, where bad practices such as widespread use of slavery have grown up. Even the Tarkaan Andradin was probably inspired by an actual historical character or two, the Barbarossa brothers. A couple of generations ago, there were so many people among those older people of the post war era who thought they wouldn't bother about girls' education because "girls only get married", and even in today's newspapers I read an article here about schools having to identify so-called "child brides" among students whose parents can't wait to marry off their daughters.

Yes, I like the idea of HHB being bookended like a story being read to a child. But there is something right at the end of Silver Chair, where Jill wears her Narnian outfit to a fancy dress party which enables HHB to be bookended anyway, in a social group, even though it isn't a bedtime story. The advantage of this idea is that it could be done in a context where we could briefly meet all the non-native Narnian characters we need for the remaining films. And it is so easy for Eustace and Jill in HHB, having joined such a group to mention right at the beginning that they had heard the story of HHB at Cair Paravel, and to ask Edmund about it. Eustace and Jill, having heard the story could then supply the missing information that Edmund and Lucy would not know, which was that Aravis and Cor did marry and go on to be the parents of Ram. They might even remember Prince Rilian happily whistling a tune about Corin Thunderfist's exploits with the Lapsed Bear. Especially if the tune unaccountably turns up on some radio station ot other. ;)

The question is, how would you link the end of HHB to Magician's Nephew?
Personally I'm wondering if it would be better to link HHB after MN, because then we have the allusion to LWW at the end where we are told that Digory Kirk would be the Professor in that book whose wardrobe introduced Lucy to Narnia.
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