Topics for VDT Book Podcast!

The cultures, creatures, geography — anything about the books!

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Topics for VDT Book Podcast!

Postby Glumpuddle » Feb 23, 2013 4:18 pm

We just posted the third and final part of our PRINCE CASPIAN book commentary, and we're getting ready to record our VDT commentary.

We could easily do a 5 hour podcast on VDT, so we need help narrowing it down.

Are there specific things you think we should discuss? Besides the obvious things like the undragoning and Dark Island. Maybe little things that we might otherwise skim over. Or maybe questions you've always had.

Let us know!
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Re: Topics for VDT Book Podcast!

Postby Louloudi the Centaur » Feb 23, 2013 4:28 pm

There's always the scene where Reepicheep has a dryad sing to him despite the fact the dryads were sleeping when Reep was just an infant.

That's pretty much all I can think of at the moment to start with. I'll see if I can come up with.
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Re: Topics for VDT Book Podcast!

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Feb 23, 2013 5:15 pm

It is not just Eustace's undragoning, which, I agree, is obvious, but why he turned into a dragon in the first place might be a useful discussion point. Why a dragon, in particular?

For what it is worth, I was in London last September from 5th to 14th. Not one, but quite a few of the tours we undertook in London mentioned that London is not just one city but two. London, itself, is a very ancient city, which goes back to the Romans. In just about all of its history London has been the business hub of the entire metropolitan area which from the time of Edward the Confessor also includes the administrative areas of Westminster and Kensington.

It is hard to know where one district begins and the other one finishes. The famous lions of Trafalgar Square are actually representative of Westminster, rather than London, itself. The old part of London starts at a statue of a dragon next to Australia House. It seems the symbol of London, itself, is the dragon. At this point on formal occasions, even Queen Elizabeth II, the head of state of UK has to ask permission of the Mayor of London to enter the city of London. As she also has to do at the Micklegate in York to enter that city.

I'm wondering how the dragon of London might be relevant to Eustace's dragoning in VDT.

I'm also wondering why Eustace should have thought that Calormen was the least phony of the Narnian places, especially after his experiences at being sold as a slave.
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Re: Topics for VDT Book Podcast!

Postby SilverSea » Feb 23, 2013 10:19 pm

Please discuss the Silver Sea and the World's End scenes and the gradual buildup to Aslan's Country; I think it's interesting to talk about what inspired Lewis to create an ocean covered in flowers and a wave that continually flows but never breaks.

maybe speculate on what's on the very Western side of Narnia (does the wave at World's End appear at the very Western side and encircles Narnia?) and why Lewis never really explored the West as he did the East in DT, the South in Horse and his Boy and the North in Silver Chair.
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Re: Topics for VDT Book Podcast!

Postby King_Erlian » Feb 25, 2013 5:27 am

SilverSea wrote:why Lewis never really explored the West as he did the East in DT, the South in Horse and his Boy and the North in Silver Chair.

Actually he did: in The Magician's Nephew, Digory, Polly and Fledge had to go into the Western Wild to find the garden where the Tree which had the fruit to protect Narnia was. And then in The Last Battle, everyone found themselves running that way and ended up at the Garden, only to find it was an even bigger and more real Narnia inside.

True, we didn't get to the western edge of the Narnian world, but we didn't get to see anything of Calormen south of Arsheesh's hut, or anything to the North of the Giants' castle either. Maybe Calormen stretched to the southern edge of the world?

I wonder, what was the whole world in which Narnia lay called?
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Re: Topics for VDT Book Podcast!

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Feb 25, 2013 6:21 am

King_Erlian wrote:True, we didn't get to the western edge of the Narnian world, but we didn't get to see anything of Calormen south of Arsheesh's hut


That's because Arsheesh lived "Far South in Calormen," according to the books. There wasn't much further south of him according to the Baynes Map.

I think perhaps the intriguing bit to which SilverSea is referring, is the mention in The Last Battle of bizarre looking creatures coming into Aslan's country from the islands of the great western sea.
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Re: Topics for VDT Book Podcast!

Postby PhelanVelvel » Feb 26, 2013 5:34 pm

Louloudi the Centaur wrote:There's always the scene where Reepicheep has a dryad sing to him despite the fact the dryads were sleeping when Reep was just an infant.

That's pretty much all I can think of at the moment to start with. I'll see if I can come up with.


This is like, the best observation about Narnia I've ever heard. I absolutely never noticed this and I've read the book like ten times over. That's insane. How, indeed, did a dryad sing to him when they were supposed to be in a deep slumber during Telmarine rule? Were there a few here and there who lived in hiding or something and managed to not fall asleep?

King_Erlian wrote:
SilverSea wrote:why Lewis never really explored the West as he did the East in DT, the South in Horse and his Boy and the North in Silver Chair.

Actually he did: in The Magician's Nephew, Digory, Polly and Fledge had to go into the Western Wild to find the garden where the Tree which had the fruit to protect Narnia was. And then in The Last Battle, everyone found themselves running that way and ended up at the Garden, only to find it was an even bigger and more real Narnia inside.

True, we didn't get to the western edge of the Narnian world, but we didn't get to see anything of Calormen south of Arsheesh's hut, or anything to the North of the Giants' castle either. Maybe Calormen stretched to the southern edge of the world?

I wonder, what was the whole world in which Narnia lay called?


The west area of Narnia definitely tantalised me. Even though we got a small taste of it in The Magician's Nephew, they talk about Telmar in Prince Caspian and they say it's far, far west. Well...where? Farther west than the garden? o_o I wonder about this world sometimes lol, it has to be terribly small if there's not much more south of Calormen and not much more west of the garden. The sea makes sense because it's a physical barrier that's hard to cross, but surely the world doesn't just drop off at the south and west?
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Re: Topics for VDT Book Podcast!

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Feb 26, 2013 6:13 pm

Why not North-West? Telmar could have been somewhere between North of Narnia, where the Ettinsmoors were, and due West where the Mountains were. At least that was the impression I got when I last looked at a map of Narnia.

Speaking of which, in VDT, here are another few topics. I've already mentioned the dragoning as well as the undragoning of Eustace. There are a few other topics I could mention:

1. Seven Lords and Seven Deadly sins.

2. Why does Eustace get dragged along into Narnia?

3. Why does Caspian, Edmund, Lucy, and Reepicheep, as well as Eustace get taken prisoner by slavers?

4. And lastly, as far as I can think, why does Edmund in the book appear to do nothing really wrong in the book, apart from squabbling with first Eustace at the beginning and also Caspian at Deathwater? In this case, my reading of the book shows Caspian at fault, in sharp contrast to the movie. This is also in sharp contrast to Edmund in LWW, in particular. And it is also in sharp contrast with Lucy with her Magician's Island temptations.
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Re: Topics for VDT Book Podcast!

Postby PhelanVelvel » Feb 27, 2013 8:57 pm

I don't know how great of a point of discussion this is, but the birds bring Ramandu fire-berries from the valleys of the sun to restore his youth, and Father Christmas says that Lucy's cordial is made from a fire-flower that grows in the mountains of the sun. There are definitely healing/restorative properties to the plants that grow on the Narnian sun.

[[Speaking of which, I always get really interested in how Lewis tried to be scientifically accurate about the sun. For example, they talk about new suns and old suns, and how Charn has a red giant. But I think it's almost impossible, if not impossible (would have to look into it more) for a sun to be close enough to a planet to give life-sustaining warmth in its yellow stage, but still be far enough away so that the planet isn't consumed or burnt to a crisp when it becomes a red giant. In The Last Battle, when the sun goes red it really should have encompassed Narnia, if we're to assume Narnia is roughly the same distance from its sun as Earth is from ours.

And anyway, in Narnia, stars are people...but the sun is a place? ._. Sun = a star, silly Lewis! The Narnian world is round like a table, but the sun is still spherical? Gah. I'm off-topic as far as VDT goes.]]

Anyway, there seem to be lots of juxtapositions of light and dark in the Narnia books, and the sun is a source of life and hope. There are many examples, from the travels underground in The Silver Chair and how they talk about the Overworld and the sun, to the absence of light at the Dark Island in VDT, etc., I'm sure you could find more. I would assume that's why the fire-berries and fire-flowers have their healing/restorative properties, because the sun is such a source of life. If you want to look at it scientifically, it's a source of life because it gives the planet warmth and gives plants energy, and so on. But I guess in Narnia it also has life-giving magic plants.

EDIT: Some other small things I've been thinking of as I've been reading it again.

Eustace thinks to himself that no one would be able to fight him as a dragon besides a knight. Well, he didn't even recognise a dragon by looking at one, because he hadn't read the right books. So how did he know that a knight would be able to slay him? P:

On Dufflepud Island, the Dufflepuds' weapons can't be seen until they leave their hands. But in the scene where they're serving the Narnians dinner, the plates and bowls can be seen hopping along through the air, even though the Dufflepuds are carrying them.

Oh, and...Edmund is crazy. It rains for thirteen days and we don't hear anything negative from him, but when it rains for ONE DAY he says he'd rather be in America with Susan! Watch your mouth, Edmund. That's why you're not coming back, you ingrate. ;)

Okay, I literally have nothing better to do, so here's some more little things I noticed.

The scene where Lucy is upstairs in Coriakin's house and reading the Magic Book is, I think, one of the best in terms of atmosphere. But that wouldn't have been possible if she wasn't alone. However, the Dufflepuds say that a little girl has to read the spell, and I think from their story it's safe to assume that they're present when the girl Dufflepud reads it. So...why couldn't Lucy bring Edmund or Caspian with her to have someone else there in case of danger? :P I think the spell would have worked just the same--but the atmosphere wouldn't have.

Lucy also says that the story in the Magic Book is the best she has ever read. She asks Aslan if he'll tell it to her. Aslan says he'll tell it to her "for years and years". Foreshadowing, perhaps, of Lewis' mention of "the Great Story" in The Last Battle?

One thing I've wondered--in Dark Island, it says there are two archers on the fighting top with Lucy. They aren't mentioned again and presumably aren't there because Lucy says she feels alone and wants to go down on the deck and be with Caspian and the others, but is afraid they've turned into something horrible. So, did the archers also go down to the deck when the rest of the crew went down to the oars, or did they stay there? I guess we'll have to assume they stayed there. It would be strange if she was afraid of going down on the deck but wasn't afraid of being trapped on the fighting top in close quarters with two archers.

Speaking of Dark Island, was its power purely psychological, playing upon the human tendency to imagine things and fear the dark? After all, it does say "everybody realised there was nothing to be afraid of and never had been." And was there a proper island? Or was it just a mass of darkness? Because how did Rhoop survive for seven years? He tells them to flee the "cursed shore". So there's a shore, is there? I never realised that. I always thought of it as a void of sorts without any place to land.

Oh, also, when reading this one as a child, I never understood what Caspian means when he says, like, oh, do I have to kiss the princess to break the enchantment? Now it strikes me as really cute and sweet. XD

Okay, they're not the most awesome or ground-breaking things, but I figured I'd throw in what I thought.

Oh and glumPuddle, if you're reading this, I wanted to say something about the Robin in LWW because for some reason I can't comment on that podcast. I thought that it was a talking bird who didn't want to be seen/caught helping the Pevensies and so didn't reveal that he could talk. Mr. Beaver says that he hears it from a bird that Tumnus was arrested, I assumed that the Robin was the one who saw and told him.
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