4 – A Parliament of Owls

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4 – A Parliament of Owls

Postby Pattertwigs Pal » May 15, 2017 2:59 am

1. Lewis writes: “It is a very funny thing that the sleepier you are, the longer you take about getting to bed.” Is this your experience?

2. After Glimfeather arrived at the window, Jill “remembered the Lion’s voice and face.” Why does Lewis specify it was Aslan’s “voice and face” in particular that she had forgotten?

3. As Jill climbs on Glimeather’s back, she thinks “I wonder how Scrubb liked his ride!” Why is Jill once again preoccupied with Scrubb experiencing new things first?

4. At the Parliment of Owls, when Scrubb says “But surely [Caspian would] let us go when he knew who I was and who sent me,” Jill puts in “Sent both of us.” Why does Jill feel the need to add this?

5. “The children began to see that the Narnians all felt about Trumpkin as people feel at school about some crusty teacher, whom everyone is a little afraid of and everyone makes fun of and nobody really dislikes.” Do you know any teachers like this?

6. How do the Narnians know that Caspian has never forgotten his voyage if he never talks about it?

7. “As long as the life was in [Rilian’s mother] she seemed to be trying hard to tell him something. But she could not speak clearly and, whatever her message was, she died without delivering it.” What do you think her message was?

8. Why do you think Drinian suspected the woman was evil?

9. If you were Drinian, would you have told Caspian about the woman?

10. “I have lost my queen and my son: shall I lose my friend also?” This heartbreaking flashback with Caspian and Drinian is not essential to the narrative; it could easily be removed. Why do you think Lewis chose to include it?

11. Discuss how this chapter should be adapted. (ex. what do you most want to see, what problems do you see, etc.)
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Re: 4 – A Parliament of Owls

Postby waggawerewolf27 » May 16, 2017 7:09 pm

1. Lewis writes: “It is a very funny thing that the sleepier you are, the longer you take about getting to bed.” Is this your experience?

Oh yes! Especially if the previous night has been sleepless. (-|

2. After Glimfeather arrived at the window, Jill “remembered the Lion’s voice and face.” Why does Lewis specify it was Aslan’s “voice and face” in particular that she had forgotten?

It was Glimfeather who reminded Jill about what she and Eustace were to do. And up to Glimfeather's arrival Jill had been so carried away with the feasting and story-teling she'd nearly forgotten, not only about why she was there, but more importantly, about her time with Aslan's voice and face.

3. As Jill climbs on Glimeather’s back, she thinks “I wonder how Scrubb liked his ride!” Why is Jill once again preoccupied with Scrubb experiencing new things first?

I wonder if Jill had any real interaction with any of the boys at Experiment House before meeting Eustace. Yes, she has been bullied, by children with whom Eustace has been associated, and yes, she knew that Eustace had had a reputation amongst the school students in general before the previous term, even if she had had no experience of being targetted herself by his pre VDT activities. But bullies don't have to be all boys, do they? And it seems like their schoolyard activities are when both girls and boys are at their worst, and least supervised. It may well have been the first time she ever interacted on anything like equal terms with anyone there, let alone Eustace, himself.

Eustace, she knew, was scared of the edge of the cliff. Jill didn't blame herself, initially, for what happened, denying she bore any responsibility, until the Lion forced her to own up that she was showing off. From the grumpy reaction she got from Eustace when she tried to get him to recognise an old friend, he probably didn't enjoy his trip to Narnia on Aslan's breath as much as she did, so naturally she would wonder how he would feel about this particular flight he took with Glimfeather before she did, even though at least both children would know what it is all about this second time. It doesn't all have to be about competition, even though Jill comes across as someone constantly measuring herself against other people's expectations.

4. At the Parliament of Owls, when Scrubb says “But surely [Caspian would] let us go when he knew who I was and who sent me,” Jill puts in “Sent both of us.” Why does Jill feel the need to add this?

When I re-read this bit it was "surely he'd let us go (italic book emphasis, not mine), when he knew who I was and who sent me". No wonder Jill would feel the need to add "Sent both of us", since if Jill was to go with Eustace, then both were sent. Aslan explained to Jill that she and Eustace would not have called to Aslan if Aslan hadn't also been calling to them. And it was Jill who had to learn about the signs.

5. “The children began to see that the Narnians all felt about Trumpkin as people feel at school about some crusty teacher, whom everyone is a little afraid of and everyone makes fun of and nobody really dislikes.” Do you know any teachers like this?

I suppose so but didn't really think about it much for many years. There were teachers I liked, and, believe it or not, some who seemed to like me. And there were others I didn't like much, like the one who sent me to be caned. But when that headmaster forgot to cane me, in my comment in Behind the gym, I didn't know much about how other students at that boarding school felt about the headmaster, being only 8 at the time. He still was expected to cane students, if they misbehaved at school, after all.

You see, that school I was at, did take both boys and girls, even though initially it, too, had been planned for boys only. But boys and girls only met in class, on the borders of the playground, in other sorts of neutral territory (like behind the gym) or on the way back to our very separated school accommodation, on either side of the main Assembly Hall. Even in morning assembly we sat on separate sides of the hall, where we were regaled, among other things, by a litany of misdeeds of mainly the boys, including those in my class. O:-)

It makes me think also that at Experiment House, Jill must have been an only child, just like Eustace, another reason for her being at a disadvantage when there was no brother or sister to look out for her, or even to look up to her.

6. How do the Narnians know that Caspian has never forgotten his voyage if he never talks about it?

By the fact Lord Drinian remained friends with Caspian for years afterwards, by wistful looks eastward, and by his willingness to seek out Aslan in Terebinthia, which can only be reached by ship. Maybe Caspian X wants to go further..... /:). Maybe he might even want to find Ramandu's Island, where he met his murdered Queen the first time?

If we ask how do the Narnians know that Caspian has never forgotten his voyage, if he never talks about it, how do the Narnians know how he felt about his wife being killed? Or his son going missing? Is it more that he is so generally sad that he can't bear to say anything more about that voyage any more?

7. “As long as the life was in [Rilian’s mother] she seemed to be trying hard to tell him something. But she could not speak clearly and, whatever her message was, she died without delivering it.” What do you think her message was?

A warning of some sort, I think. And I also think her inability to talk suggests what sort of poison the snake used to kill her. A paralysing sort of poison, so that she couldn't speak clearly, something that also stops her ability to breathe easy. It also confirms that the snake wants to conceal any future intentions, and that biting the Queen might not have been as random as it at first might seem.

Though I think it may be discussed elsewhere in the forum, why did the snake want to kill Rilian's mother? And why isn't she named, either in VDT or in SC? Isn't she also "She who must remain nameless"?

8. Why do you think Drinian suspected the woman was evil?

Meeting stray women in the woods has always been suspicious, especially since it was in the same glade where the Queen held the picnic and where she died. And when Jill said something about the snake and the woman being the same thing, I'd tend to agree. But why does Jill not remember herself saying this, later on in SC?

Drinian, who is in a good position to know who was who, would have a fair idea of who all the dryads of Narnia were, and how straightforwardly uncomplicated sorts they were, and if he couldn't put a name to her, then that is suspicious in itself. I'd expect he'd also know who were the humans about the place as well. So who is the woman, or if she really is a woman?

There is also a tendency to suspect beautiful women who merely come out of the woodwork. Think of all the mythical women that lurked in woodlands besides fountains - Melusine, Morgan Le Fay, the Hansel and Gretel witch - any others? Oh yes, that definitely non-mythical but alleged descendant of Melusine - Elizabeth Woodville, who became the wife of Edward IV and the mother of not only the Princes in the Tower, but also Elizabeth of York, who married Henry VII, after the Battle of Bosworth, and therefore became the ancestress of all future UK monarchs.

Also, some people are superstitious about green or seem to have a thing about linking green with poison. Odd, when we are always told to eat our greens. :-$

9. If you were Drinian, would you have told Caspian about the woman?

I'm not sure. The general tenor of ethics Narnia-style is not to be a tale-bearer, and Eustace, in particular, got a bad reputation for his sneaking around eavesdropping on others etc when we first met him in VDT. And if Drinian had "peached on" Rilian, mightn't that revelation have done more harm than good? Would Drinian have lost whatever influence he ever had with Rilian and something worse might have happened? But then, how much worse could matters have gone than Caspian losing, not only his wife, but also his son and heir?

The trouble is, that Drinian only had the one chance to decide one way or another, and by the next day, Rilian was gone. For good, it would seem.

10. “I have lost my queen and my son: shall I lose my friend also?” This heartbreaking flashback with Caspian and Drinian is not essential to the narrative; it could easily be removed. Why do you think Lewis chose to include it?

I daresay that this flashback could be easily removed, but it would take a lot away from the relationship that Caspian had long enjoyed with Drinian, the captain of the Dawn Treader, who had never intentionally tried to harm Caspian, and was himself heartbroken that his failure to tell Caspian of what Rilian had been doing up to his going missing. That excerpt is a character moment for both Drinian and Caspian. Since by the time Jill and Eustace arrived, Drinian had long been dead, there is no other way of telling whether Caspian murdered his friend for not keeping closer watch on Rilian, or whether he didn't.

11. Discuss how this chapter should be adapted. (ex. what do you most want to see, what problems do you see, etc.)

I want to see the lot of it, but, unfortunately, the Owls' Parliament is being held "in camera", and in the depths of the night. Which doesn't make for good viewing. Then there is the flashback which in the BBC TV edition, was pictorial and kind of fuzzy. Can the owls' relating of the events leading up to Rilian's disappearance be covered by dialogue alone? So that at least the owl that is speaking gets highlighted?
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Re: 4 – A Parliament of Owls

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » May 19, 2017 2:36 pm

1. Lewis writes: “It is a very funny thing that the sleepier you are, the longer you take about getting to bed.” Is this your experience?

Oh yes. And usually by the time I actually get to bed, I've become wide awake again. :P

2. After Glimfeather arrived at the window, Jill “remembered the Lion’s voice and face.” Why does Lewis specify it was Aslan’s “voice and face” in particular that she had forgotten?

Because they were the things about Aslan that made the most impression on her... how he looked at her, and how he spoke to her. (Such an incredible difference from any of the so-called authority figures she has known in her life before that meeting.)

3. As Jill climbs on Glimeather’s back, she thinks “I wonder how Scrubb liked his ride!” Why is Jill once again preoccupied with Scrubb experiencing new things first?

When I read this, I actually think that it's more of a nod towards Eustace's presumable fear of heights. Jill's got a good head for heights and even she thought the prospective flight seemed pretty unpleasant. It seems reasonable for her to suppose that Eustace would have liked it less.

4. At the Parliment of Owls, when Scrubb says “But surely [Caspian would] let us go when he knew who I was and who sent me,” Jill puts in “Sent both of us.” Why does Jill feel the need to add this?

She's being a bit childish but I can understand where she's coming from. Eustace seems to be taking control of the situation since he knows quite a bit more about Narnia than she does, and perhaps by extension ownership of the mission. Jill probably likes the idea of being on an important mission (it's self-esteem building stuff) and doesn't want him to hog the glory. I think it's also possible that she views Eustace as putting on airs after they arrive in Narnia, when in reality, the literal Narnian air is bringing back the strength that he won on his adventures sailing to the end of the world, as Lewis mentions in the next chapter.

6. How do the Narnians know that Caspian has never forgotten his voyage if he never talks about it?

A lot can be inferred from longing looks out at the sea!

7. “As long as the life was in [Rilian’s mother] she seemed to be trying hard to tell him something. But she could not speak clearly and, whatever her message was, she died without delivering it.” What do you think her message was?

I think she must have known something about the snake. Of course she could have been trying to share a last message with a loved one, but you can say "I love you" with a look and a touch, and the queen's struggle to speak seems to indicate the need to give a warning rather than comforting parting words. This leads me to ask, however: why would Ramandu's Daughter know something about the snake that no one else in Narnia does? Is this something she learned about on account of who her father was? (Ramandu knew a lot about Coriakin that he would not tell his visitors, for instance.) This has recently been leading me to wonder if the LotGK is possibly in a similar position as Coriakin—a fallen being sent to govern a fledgling people as punishment (in her case, the gnomes), except instead of fulfilling her duty like Coriakin, she went rogue. The gnomes don't seem nearly as primitive as the Dufflepuds do, though.)

And one other thought that is coming to my mind as I re-read this chapter... why did the woman wait a whole month after the queen's death before approaching Rilian? Was the snake unable to take on human form until then, or was she merely waiting until the right stage of Rilian's grieving process? Either scenario seems probable.

8. Why do you think Drinian suspected the woman was evil?

This has always really puzzled me, because nobody else has this reaction to the LotGK. Yes, Puddleglum is doing his usual worst-first thinking when he meets her, but he doesn't think she's evil. My present guess is that Drinian was able to see through her facade because she was, at that moment, directing all of her magical charms and wiles to Rilian alone.

9. If you were Drinian, would you have told Caspian about the woman?

I think I would have told Caspian, but it would have been difficult and my comfort level in doing so would depend on how much the king trusted my counsel. "Rilian's meeting a woman in the woods and I have a really bad feeling about her"... it doesn't sound that compelling on the face of it and certainly seems like you could be violating Rilian's trust. So I wouldn't have liked doing it and I would have wondered whether or not the King would think I wasn't just overreacting, but I wouldn't have been worried about being a tale-bearer. This is not blabbing about two sweethearts trysting in the woods. The woman is acting weird—her wordless beckoning is almost spectral, she vanished into thin air, and the effect she is having on Rilian is disturbing. There's clearly something strange going on.

10. “I have lost my queen and my son: shall I lose my friend also?” This heartbreaking flashback with Caspian and Drinian is not essential to the narrative; it could easily be removed. Why do you think Lewis chose to include it?

From a logical standpoint, it kind of needed to happen. Someone had to accompany Rilian or else no one in Narnia would know that part of the story, and that same person had to then refrain from acting in a way that would have prevented Rilian's disappearance. That character's choice to not take action then needed to have repercussions.

From an emotional standpoint, however: it is heartbreaking, but at the same time it is also heartening. If you remove that part of the narrative, the ending is something like "and the King was very sad because his queen was dead and his son disappeared." With this ending, however, not only do you get a much more dramatic last act to the story, there is also some comfort in knowing that Caspian still had a close friend despite his incredible grief, and that the evil plans of the LotGK weren't so complete that a friendship was destroyed and another life was lost.
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