7 – The Hill of the Strange Trenches

Moderator: Pattertwigs Pal

7 – The Hill of the Strange Trenches

Postby Pattertwigs Pal » May 29, 2017 7:15 pm

1. Why is Jill willing to consider Puddleglum’s dire predictions about creatures in the trench but not about the Knight or the danger of Harfang?

2. What strikes you most of the description of the land they travel over in this chapter?

3. What do you think of the conversation Jill, Eustace, and Puddleglum have after Jill and Eustace investigate the trench?

4. What does it say about Puddleglum that he is the first one to speak at Harfang?

5. What was your reaction to Puddleglum getting drunk?

6. Discuss how this chapter should be adapted. (ex. what do you most want to see, what problems do you see, etc.)
Image
Silver Chair Reading Group
NW sister to Movie Aristotle & daughter of the King
User avatar
Pattertwigs Pal
Moderator
Cookie Queen of NarniaWeb
 
Posts: 4944
Joined: May 16, 2009
Location: U.S.A.
Gender: Female

Re: 7 – The Hill of the Strange Trenches

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Jun 02, 2017 1:11 am

In the previous chapter, "the Lady" that our three travellers meet after they crossed the bridge, said:

SC.p73, my edition wrote:...I'll be free with mine [counsel]. I've often heard of the giantish City Ruinous, but never met any who would tell me the way thither. This road leads to the burgh and castle of Harfang, where dwell the gentle giants. They are as mild, civil, prudent, and courteous as those of Ettinsmoor are foolish, fierce, savage, and given to all beastliness. And in Harfang you may or may not hear tidings of the City Ruinous, but certainly you shall find good lodgings and merry hosts. You would be wise to winter there.....


And now, in this chapter 7 we are about to arrive at Harfang, itself. I wonder how truthful is LOTGK's advice to our three travellers....:-?

For example, I wonder how does LOTGK know about the Ettinsmoor giants, to compare them to the Harfang ones? Does she know for sure, that Jill, Eustace and Puddleglum must have met Ettinsmoor giants? And if so, how does she know?

1. Why is Jill willing to consider Puddleglum’s dire predictions about creatures in the trench but not about the Knight or the danger of Harfang?

Good question! It seems that Jill has been overawed by LOTGK's beauty and her television-style presentation of the "Harfang Homestead Inn" she has been advertising. She and Eustace are so longing for hot baths, warm, comfortable beds and good, square meals, that they don't want to listen to anything Puddleglum says, even his views about what the strange trenches might represent. By now, she has long ago stopped repeating the signs, and can't really remember what comes next. But I doubt that is all that troubles Jill, if neither she nor Eustace will listen to what Puddleglum has said.

It seems that after her experiences with Scrubb's fear of heights, Jill Pole might be nursing a few fears herself, that she doesn't want to admit to, let alone face up to. We saw a preview of this in the Parliament of Owls chapter when she was less than delighted that her flight ended in a black hole of an owlish hideout. The BBC TV production of SC has her screaming as Glimfeather enters the place where the Parliament is to be held.

As a matter of interest, if Puddleglum had said nothing about giant earth-worms, giant beetles or dragons being associated with trenches like the ones she and Eustace explored, would she have been more comfortable, say, with camping overnight in those trenches, which did at least offer protection against the weather? Or would she have been a bit more ready to consider Puddleglum's misgivings about going to Harfang? It wasn't as if anything really happened to her whilst she was in the trenches.

2. What strikes you most of the description of the land they travel over in this chapter?

In contrast to the mountains the travellers have been crossing, the land seems to have changed drastically. Trees seem to be left behind, but not necessarily the boulders and stones. The land has flattened out somewhat, the road has deteriorated and its surface is in considerably more disrepair. On each side there seems to be huge walls and what looks like factory chimneys. The place where Jill falls into a trench seems to be on a flat-topped hill between the end of the road and where they can all see Harfang, ahead on a crag. They even have climbed up what looks like some stairs to get to the top of this hill. The weather is terrible out in the open, but the children, at any rate, are anxious to reach Harfang before the gates close.

3. What do you think of the conversation Jill, Eustace, and Puddleglum have after Jill and Eustace investigate the trench?

A somewhat heated conversation. Puddleglum tries to draw their attention to what their surroundings look like, despite the poor visibility, but Jill doesn't want to know. Puddleglum asks what the next sign is, but Jill flies into a temper, because she has forgotten to repeat the signs, is not sure herself what the next one is and feels uncomfortably guilty. Eustace is not much better, asking "is this the time to admire the scenery"? Both of them really want to get out of the miserable weather, and the three of them have the most serious row that they have had up to date. Puddleglum, though reminding them again of the dangers of Harfang, feels obliged to go with them, especially as they aren't listening.

4. What does it say about Puddleglum that he is the first one to speak at Harfang?

Of the three travellers it is Puddleglum who is the most brave by being the first to speak. After all, he didn't want to go there, and is not deluded by LOTGK's claims, unlike Jill and Eustace. It must have taken courage of the first order to ring that doorbell and talk to the porter. How "mild, civil, prudent, and courteous" are these Harfang giants really, when compared to the Ettinsmoor ones? Do we really know yet?

However, the porter seems ok. He sends a youngster over to the main part of the building to notify the giantish leaders and meanwhile Jill and Eustace thaw out beside the fire whilst Puddleglum gets to sample a giantish version of the same nasty-tasting beverage he, himself, has taken along with him. The trouble is, though Puddleglum might be persuaded into believing he is sampling something he should be used to, the giantish version might be far more alcoholic per salt-shaker container than the substance Puddleglum normally drinks. So what he drinks may well affect him rather more drastically.

5. What was your reaction to Puddleglum getting drunk?

To be honest, I feel I don't want to judge him for getting drunk after what he has had to put up with up to then. But though it might ease Puddleglum's state of mind for the moment, his drunken state puts him out of action for some time. Despite his insistence on his respectability, he is somewhat comical, and it is ironic that when the three of them are summoned to the throne room, that reshpeckabiggle Puddleglum is carried off unceremoniously and dumped down in the main hall, looking not unlike one of the creepy crawlies he had warned Jill might be lurking in those trenches, but which weren't there.

And now let the fun begin.... :p
User avatar
waggawerewolf27
NarniaWeb Zealot
 
Posts: 6635
Joined: Sep 25, 2009
Location: Oz
Gender: Female

Re: 7 – The Hill of the Strange Trenches

Postby Anhun » Jun 07, 2017 6:30 pm

waggawerewolf27 wrote:
For example, I wonder how does LOTGK know about the Ettinsmoor giants, to compare them to the Harfang ones? Does she know for sure, that Jill, Eustace and Puddleglum must have met Ettinsmoor giants? And if so, how does she know?


As long-lived and well-travelled as the Green Lady is, it would be strange if she didn't know about the Ettinsmoor giants. Also, the trio are trudging up from the south, so she could have deduced that they would have gone through Ettinsmoor, even if she was as innocent as she seemed.

2. For me the most striking thing about the description of the table land was the mini-labyrinth going nowhere. I've always liked the idea of a labyrinth, so that moment stuck with me, and I wondered (until the next chapter) who could have constructed such a thing?

3. This conversation was frustrating on re-read. I kept wanting to yell at Puddleglum, "Tell them there in a ruined city!" I could understand Eustace and Jill being too distracted by their hunger and fatigue stop and admire the scenery, but if he had actually pointed it out to them . . . maybe they still would have ignored him. Who knows?
User avatar
Anhun
NarniaWeb Nut
 
Posts: 480
Joined: Dec 29, 2010
Location: P3R-233

Re: 7 – The Hill of the Strange Trenches

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Jun 07, 2017 7:41 pm

Anhun wrote:As long-lived and well-travelled as the Green Lady is, it would be strange if she didn't know about the Ettinsmoor giants. Also, the trio are trudging up from the south, so she could have deduced that they would have gone through Ettinsmoor, even if she was as innocent as she seemed.


Well.... :-? Maybe.... I've asked directions lots of times in my travels. And others ask me. Sometimes it has paid me to act dumb. ;) How does it pay LOTGK to also do so? I'd be suspicious of a lady from the North who seems to know all about the Ettinsmoor giants in the South, when she doesn't know anything about a City Ruinous or where it is in the North from whence she, herself, came. Yet, she can still tell us about a first rate place to stay run by giants at Harfang which is in that same general Northerly direction.

Especially when she seems interested in finding out why the children want to go there. And Puddleglum basically thinks like me when he tries to discuss the weather, and insists on keeping his own counsel. Frankly, the more you say she is "long-lived" and "well-travelled", the more "sus" she seems to my reading, and the more I want to suss her out. Does she regularly pay visits to the South, as she is in the process of doing? How far South has she travelled in the past? And how long ago did she visit Narnia, if she got that far South? Or am I getting ahead of myself a little? Of course, Jill and Eustace aren't nasty, suspicious people like me. :ymdevil:.

Anhun wrote:3. This conversation was frustrating on re-read. I kept wanting to yell at Puddleglum, "Tell them there in a ruined city!" I could understand Eustace and Jill being too distracted by their hunger and fatigue stop and admire the scenery, but if he had actually pointed it out to them . . . maybe they still would have ignored him. Who knows?


I know how you feel. ^:)^ Yes, the terrain does get really bad. Rocky, too many trees, no road repairs for ages, etc. Just what one would expect to find on the road to a City Ruinous. And it becomes much worse the further North they went. And then rubble, rather too sculpted ruins and...factory chimneys? Something that even school-aged children in UK's 1953 would surely have recognised, so soon after WW2 bombings.

If it wasn't for the snowstorm about to descend upon them, I'd have lost interest in Useless Eustace and Chilly Jill entirely at this point for not listening to Puddleglum, who was trying to get them to realise for themselves exactly where they were. Yes, in that City Ruinous they were trying to reach. Whatever Puddleglum said later on, he couldn't have physically hauled both children away from Harfang, kicking and screaming, especially in that weather, without damaging both his coldblooded Marshwiggle capabilities and his own moral integrity.

And from the moment Puddleglum bangs on the door at Harfang to gain entry, I'd only have one way to describe LOTGK: :^o

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

For a start, I'd want the producers to stick to the book, so as not to give too much away too soon. I've also found it frustrating answering this question, in particular, without referring to what I knew was about to happen later on, and those who will see the film need to be also kept on tentahooks for what the catches and clues might be. We know the signs, and there are clues littered all through their journey so far, ever since Puddleglum agreed to set out with Eustace and Jill. And we should be mindful of what Eustace said about Caspian having beaten the Giants in battle.

I wouldn't make the scenery look too dull and dreary, just difficult enough for people to walk over and get thoroughly tired. Otherwise the story might get too grey, dark and fuzzy. And there are whole swathes of SC that are either underground, up a tree or in gloomy weather, which will be a real challenge for the film crew to make the action clearly visible.

It shouldn't just be the bright, poisonous garb worn by LOTGK which identifies her decisively, but also the TV style glossy advertisement she favours the children with. However lovely LOTGK looks, there should be something a teensy "off" about her. Such as a brief deadpan expression some people get when they might not be telling the truth or less of the truth than they should. ;) Enough to get Puddleglum's alarm bells ringing.

The giants on Ettinsmoor seem more like an outlying border patrol, which plays games to while away the boredom, and might very well be rotated with those other Giants further north from time to time. By now, there are a few reasons why so many who set out to find the missing prince never made it back. If the border patrol didn't get them, the terrain would. Or they would have been intercepted by LOTGK, to misdirect them to Harfang. Going to Harfang should be somewhat scary, and frightening, no matter how LOTGK extols the place, and despite the more hotel-like look of Harfang, itself. The porter's lodge should be almost as grim a place as can be found in any fortress, despite the lovely fire, and even though the giants they meet are relatively jolly, in the same rough and ready sort of way that might be found in any army barracks.
User avatar
waggawerewolf27
NarniaWeb Zealot
 
Posts: 6635
Joined: Sep 25, 2009
Location: Oz
Gender: Female

Re: 7 – The Hill of the Strange Trenches

Postby Ryadian » Jun 30, 2017 11:27 am

1. Why is Jill willing to consider Puddleglum’s dire predictions about creatures in the trench but not about the Knight or the danger of Harfang?
In the trench, she's already frightened and uncomfortable because she doesn't like underground places. Believing Puddleglum in that scenario is all too easy. However, if she believes him about the Lady and Knight being untrustworthy, and Harfang being dangerous instead of a safe haven, then she has to give up the idea of a warm place to sleep.

2. What strikes you most of the description of the land they travel over in this chapter?
The book is constantly calling attention to how unusual the terrain and obstacles they encounter are. Even if we can't get a clear picture because the characters can't see, we get a clear idea that there's something very unusual about where they are.

4. What does it say about Puddleglum that he is the first one to speak at Harfang?
I think it says a lot both about his bravery, and the fact that he does genuinely seem to put the group first.

6. Discuss how this chapter should be adapted. (ex. what do you most want to see, what problems do you see, etc.)
I'm really curious how they'll handle a scene where the characters can barely see in a visual medium like a movie.
Image
N-Web sis of stardf, _Rillian_, & jerenda
Proud to be Sirya the Madcap Siren
User avatar
Ryadian
Moderator
 
Posts: 11401
Joined: Jun 10, 2004
Location: Minnesota, US
Gender: Female

Re: 7 – The Hill of the Strange Trenches

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Jul 09, 2017 4:17 pm

1. Why is Jill willing to consider Puddleglum’s dire predictions about creatures in the trench but not about the Knight or the danger of Harfang?

Because it's convenient for her; she's already scared. Confirmation bias. :P

*notes that this passage confirms that Eustace does, indeed, have a phobia of heights* I could never remember if I was just assuming that or not.

3. What do you think of the conversation Jill, Eustace, and Puddleglum have after Jill and Eustace investigate the trench?

I keep finding myself wishing that Puddleglum had jumped down into the trench with the other two... it gave them some shelter from the awful weather, but the minute that he pulled Eustace and Jill back out into the bitter cold above, they didn't care a whit about the mystery of the trenches anymore and instead could only focus on Harfang. If Puddleglum had only joined them, they could have had a proper conversation and maybe realized what was right under their feet! (Until somebody mentioned how the giants lock the door in the mid-afternoon and forgot the signs in their desperation, I suppose. And I imagine there was some concern about being able to climb back out.)

5. What was your reaction to Puddleglum getting drunk?

I thought it was amusing, especially my mental image of him vaguely kicking at the air when the giant picks him up, but I can quite understand Eustace's feelings when Jill's fear and Puddleglum's inebriation leave it to him to address a whole hall full of giants. :P

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

One thing that comes to my mind is that I hope they do a wonderful job with the weather... it's described as being a beast of a day, and I really want to empathize with the kids for wanting to get on to Harfang. Jill says they'll die if they stay out on a night like this, and the giants think they have naturally blue skin when they arrive at Harfang because they're so chilled to the bone! So no pretty, Christmass-y snow scenes here, please.

waggawerewolf27 wrote:For example, I wonder how does LOTGK know about the Ettinsmoor giants, to compare them to the Harfang ones? Does she know for sure, that Jill, Eustace and Puddleglum must have met Ettinsmoor giants? And if so, how does she know?


Maybe that one that saw them but only stomped away laughing was an informant? :-\
—The Rose-Tree Dryad, a.k.a. Rose @};-
Image
NW sister to Melian_Maia, lover of narnia, Elanor and juzuma loves lucy + NW twin to MissRosario
User avatar
The Rose-Tree Dryad
Moderator
 
Posts: 3735
Joined: Aug 21, 2010
Location: A secret garden
Gender: Female

Re: 7 – The Hill of the Strange Trenches

Postby Hwinning » Jul 13, 2017 6:26 am

1. Why is Jill willing to consider Puddleglum’s dire predictions about creatures in the trench but not about the Knight or the danger of Harfang?

I agree with Rose Tree Dryad, Convenience!

5. What was your reaction to Puddleglum getting drunk?

Unlike everyone else, I'm more scared than amused. Is he losing hope? Is he throwing in the towel? Or,
is he faking it all along so he can have the advantage of surprise?
Either way, him getting drunk seems very out of character

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

~I want to make the Harfang giants look eerily similar to the Ettsinmoor giants. ~Don't make what's going to happen obvious. When I read the book for the first time, I remember feeling uneasy. I knew something bad would happen, I just didn't know exactly what. Let's keep it that way.
~To add to that, I imagine the characters being oblivious
to their immediate danger
User avatar
Hwinning
NarniaWeb Regular
 
Posts: 18
Joined: May 30, 2017


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron