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The Last Battle

Talk about any aspect of the films.

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Re: The Last Battle

Postby PhelanVelvel » May 07, 2014 7:20 pm

Haha, you're fine, I think my last post was just as long as yours. The small novels don't intimidate me. :P I'm more or less in agreement with you, I've read the book many times and while I can see that it's possible to interpret Susan and the dwarves as these "punished atheists", I'm not inclined to see them that way in the Narnian context. It is definitely their fault for not wanting to accept the truth, as the truth is right in front of their eyes. However, that's literally what happens. Some people are not content with the literal interpretation and will maintain that Susan is "the atheist". Even if this book wasn't intended to be heavy on allegory, people take seemingly every aspect of X in The Last Battle and label it with Y of our world.

I'm sure we've all seen arguments as to the lipstick, nylons, and invitations symbolising Susan's sexuality, that Lewis was uncomfortable with it, and so on. I think they're perhaps reading into it a little too much. The unfortunate thing is that well-known persons such as Philip Pullman and J.K. Rowling have espoused this interpretation, and you can bet safely that the commentary will start up again when the film adaptation comes along. Frankly, I think Susan is just as Polly says, a silly girl, totally consumed with looking pretty and partying, and doesn't have time for her "immature" friends anymore. I think it says more about turning one's back on one's friends than sexuality. And in the context of their universe, Susan doesn't go to paradise because she doesn't die. In the minds of many people, she doesn't go because Lewis was deliberately trying to make an example of her. I hope that with the film version, we can maybe see Susan's loss as an unfortunate circumstance. We should feel sympathy for her. She shouldn't have snubbed her friends, because life is uncertain and she should have made the most of her time with them, not scoffed at them for playing "childish games". She didn't deserve to lose all her loved ones because she was a bit of an airhead, it just played out that way, sadly.

I read one analysis of The Last Battle (on Lance Parkin's blog), which was actually really well-written, that stated its ending glorified death and negated life. He argued that belief and Aslan's favour were all one needed to live happily ever after: "What about all the great things Susan did? Does wearing lipstick really cancel out her actions as protector and High Queen? Clearly Aslan demands faith – it can be faith in Tash, but there has to be faith. Faith above action."

He goes on to make a point that I find myself agreeing strongly with: "So I object to children celebrating their deaths like they've just passed their Eleven Plus, but the root of my problem, the reason it’s always disturbed me, is the way we’re told not to question anything, not to worry. The talking animals who fail Aslan’s test are stripped of their reason … but if the people who pass the test find they don’t have the time or inclination to ask reasonable questions, then what’s the point of having reason in the first place?"

I understand that now their hearts of free of worry, and they know that everything is going to be all right, but I can't agree with their not asking questions, either. We know they can't want wrong things anymore, so it would have been nice to see at least one of the characters act a bit more sensible and say "This is all well and good, but Susan is all alone in England now. And what will happen to all those people and animals who saw fear when they looked you in the eye?" Aslan is a symbol of all that is true and good. I simply cannot imagine him saying "Well, they've met oblivion, of course, dear one, they chose not to come to me." At one point, even Jill refused to go to Aslan without coaxing, but he didn't give up on her. I can't imagine a being who serves as the pinnacle of all goodness would say well, you're out of luck if you weren't ready to come to me when the world ended. It may have been their choice not to go to Aslan, but I simply don't want to believe that their only choices were oblivion or Aslan.

Seeing our once plucky and rational characters, like Eustace and Edmund, sort of shrug things off and dive headlong into joy, made for an eerie experience. That's what I meant by feeling like they had become zombies. It made me feel like the book was telling me don't worry, take your stoma, then you won't have any worries anymore, either. I would have liked to have a chat with Aslan about everything that had happened, and I'd hope that he would have answered me, the same way he answered Lucy when she asked if there was anything Aslan could do for the dwarves.

Now, I know that they did do a bit of puzzling when they were trying to figure out where they were, before they realised they were in the "real" Narnia, and I know that when they were talking about Susan, they didn't realise they had died--they just thought they were on another Narnian adventure. But once they realised they had died, that is where I would have expected someone to say something, not just be like "Dang, we're dead. Sweet yo, let's run up some more waterfalls." :P
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Re: The Last Battle

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » May 08, 2014 1:29 pm

PhelanVelvel wrote:Some people are not content with the literal interpretation and will maintain that Susan is "the atheist".


It's possible they use that term in the sense that Susan stopped believing in Aslan, but I wish they wouldn't, because people will immediately associate Susan with atheism in our world and that may not be an accurate picture. For all we know, she could be a regular churchgoer back in England and profess a belief in God, just because it's the cultural norm. Doing either of those certainly doesn't stop some people from being consumed by superficial things.

PhelanVelvel wrote:I'm sure we've all seen arguments as to the lipstick, nylons, and invitations symbolising Susan's sexuality, that Lewis was uncomfortable with it, and so on. I think they're perhaps reading into it a little too much. The unfortunate thing is that well-known persons such as Philip Pullman and J.K. Rowling have espoused this interpretation, and you can bet safely that the commentary will start up again when the film adaptation comes along.


I would really love to see a creative filmmaker boldly challenge those assumptions about Susan's character. That would be awesome.

PhelanVelvel wrote:Frankly, I think Susan is just as Polly says, a silly girl, totally consumed with looking pretty and partying, and doesn't have time for her "immature" friends anymore. I think it says more about turning one's back on one's friends than sexuality. And in the context of their universe, Susan doesn't go to paradise because she doesn't die. In the minds of many people, she doesn't go because Lewis was deliberately trying to make an example of her.


It might be somewhere in the middle; i.e. Susan's death was postponed by the Powers That Be because she wasn't ready to go to paradise, or in a state of being that allowed her to go there. It makes you wonder what would have happened if Superficial Susan had been in Narnia at the time that the world came to an end, and what would have been her fate if she had been among the exodus of creatures that came to the Door and either went into Aslan's shadow or Aslan's Country. :|

PhelanVelvel wrote:I hope that with the film version, we can maybe see Susan's loss as an unfortunate circumstance. We should feel sympathy for her. She shouldn't have snubbed her friends, because life is uncertain and she should have made the most of her time with them, not scoffed at them for playing "childish games". She didn't deserve to lose all her loved ones because she was a bit of an airhead, it just played out that way, sadly.


I would really love to see the tragedy touched upon in some way. I've found myself wondering if Susan might be the inheritor of whatever Professor Kirke still owned at the time of his death. If he still owned the wardrobe and it was still in the cottage he had moved into because of financial troubles, the image of Susan going up to it—an echo of Lucy in LWW—and sitting down in the wardrobe, burying her face in her hands, could be a profound way to illustrate her state of mind.

Still, I'm not really sure where they could squeeze a scene like that into the film. It could be kind of jarring to be suddenly swept out of Aslan's Country and then swept back; it seems like it could mess up the flow. Maybe during or after the credits?

Hopefully we'll also see more of the meeting of the Friends of Narnia in the film, as well as an opportunity to see for ourselves what kind of person Susan has become instead of just hearing about it secondhand. I think that's one of the reasons why Susan's rejection of Narnia and her friends is such a shock to the reader in The Last Battle—we don't witness it, we only hear about it.

PhelanVelvel wrote:I read one analysis of The Last Battle (on Lance Parkin's blog), which was actually really well-written, that stated its ending glorified death and negated life. He argued that belief and Aslan's favour were all one needed to live happily ever after: "What about all the great things Susan did? Does wearing lipstick really cancel out her actions as protector and High Queen? Clearly Aslan demands faith – it can be faith in Tash, but there has to be faith. Faith above action."


(I googled for that blog post and read it myself—I agree with you that it's very well-written and has some points that are quite thought-provoking.)

You could turn this around, though. It's not so much faith is it is the desire to be with the Lion. If you don't, well—Aslan doesn't force that. If you do, he will welcome you, even if you're scared or feel like you are not worth it. Susan didn't want Aslan anymore, at least not right then, so she could not enter Aslan's Country. Emeth had longed for Aslan all his life, even he thought it was Tash that he sought, and that was why he could enter paradise to be with Aslan.

PhelanVelvel wrote:He goes on to make a point that I find myself agreeing strongly with: "So I object to children celebrating their deaths like they've just passed their Eleven Plus, but the root of my problem, the reason it’s always disturbed me, is the way we’re told not to question anything, not to worry. The talking animals who fail Aslan’s test are stripped of their reason … but if the people who pass the test find they don’t have the time or inclination to ask reasonable questions, then what’s the point of having reason in the first place?"


I will admit—being an intrepid question-asker myself ;))—that I'm disappointed there wasn't more inquisitiveness on the part of our characters after they've come to Aslan's Country, and I wouldn't be disappointed if the filmmakers found a way to insert a few more questions into the film. Sure, they're studying this new place and they're making deductions about it as they test its limits or lack thereof, but there are so many questions I would have been asking if I had been in their place, I'd think.

Still, Lewis cuts things off right after they learn the truth about having died, and the book ends. Once they know that this is truly the afterlife, they don't really have a chance to ask questions—at least not within the confines of the book.

I think one reason why Lewis may have written the book this way is because The Last Battle, though loved and enjoyed by all ages, is primarily a children's book and Lewis may not have wanted to unload a lot of Really Big Questions—and his personal opinions about them—on some unsuspecting kids. It may not have been because he thought they couldn't handle these big questions, but rather because they're the sort of questions that can divide Christian groups and he knew it might raise controversy. So instead, he left a lot of questions unasked and somewhat unanswered, and chose to let the reader ask them for themselves, when they're old enough and bold enough and curious enough to ask them.

I'm hopeful that whatever creative minds end up working on The Last Battle film will be unafraid to ask some hard questions, as long as it doesn't change the spirit or themes of the end of the book. Probably more than anything, I'd like the film to be presented in such a way that it inspires people to ask these questions for themselves, and make up their own minds. I think Lewis would be happy with that, and maybe that's what he was going for with the end of The Last Battle and its loose ends.

PhelanVelvel wrote:I understand that now their hearts of free of worry, and they know that everything is going to be all right, but I can't agree with their not asking questions, either. We know they can't want wrong things anymore, so it would have been nice to see at least one of the characters act a bit more sensible and say "This is all well and good, but Susan is all alone in England now...


(On the topic of being free of worry in Aslan's Country... well, there's the lines where Lucy says, "Have you noticed one can't feel afraid, even if one wants to? Try it," and then just a few pages later, she says, "We're so afraid of being sent away." Maybe I'm nitpicking, but apparently it's not a hard and fast rule? :P)

The more that I think about it, I'm actually starting to wonder if the reason why we don't hear any outcries about Susan's fate is because the people who knew her are quite sure that she will, in fact, be okay. That the girl who loved the Lion wouldn't be able to stay away forever; she would eventually come back home. Perhaps that's why Lucy wept for the Dwarfs, but not for her sister, because she knew that Susan, no matter what, was still "between the paws of the true Aslan."

Still, the lack of concern about the immense tragedy that has befallen her is a bit hard to believe. Again, though, the story ended very quickly after they learned that they had died.

PhelanVelvel wrote:... And what will happen to all those people and animals who saw fear when they looked you in the eye?" Aslan is a symbol of all that is true and good. I simply cannot imagine him saying "Well, they've met oblivion, of course, dear one, they chose not to come to me." At one point, even Jill refused to go to Aslan without coaxing, but he didn't give up on her. I can't imagine a being who serves as the pinnacle of all goodness would say well, you're out of luck if you weren't ready to come to me when the world ended. It may have been their choice not to go to Aslan, but I simply don't want to believe that their only choices were oblivion or Aslan.


I'm not really sure if going into Aslan's shadow meant oblivion or not. Even the narrator says he doesn't know what happened to them.

Looking into Lewis's views on salvation and Hell might be helpful in trying to understand what he meant by these scenes. While Lewis didn't seem to intend for his books to be an outright allegory of his Christian beliefs, many of his opinions and ideas about faith definitely seeped into the series. His books titled The Problem of Pain and The Great Divorce could be a good place to start. I've yet to get my hands on a copy of either, but I've run across quotes on the internet that give me some understanding of what you can expect to find in them. Here are three quotes from The Problem of Pain that may give you some insight on what Lewis might have meant:

I believe that if a million chances were likely to do good, they would be given. But a master often knows, when boys and parents do not, that it is really useless to send a boy in for a certain examination again... . Finality must come sometime, and it does not require a very robust faith to believe that omniscience knows when.

I notice that Our Lord, while stressing the terror of hell with unsparing severity, usually emphasises the idea, not of duration, but of finality. Consignment to the destroying fire is usually treated as the end of the story—not as the beginning of a new story. That the lost soul is eternally fixed in its diabolical attitude we cannot doubt: but whether this eternal fixity implies endless duration—or duration at all—we cannot say.

I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked on the inside.


I'll restrain myself from commenting further, as that sort of thing really belongs in a thread like Christianity, Religion and Philosophy. :P If you have any questions about Lewis's theology, that thread or The Man Behind the Wardrobe subforum would be good places to ask them.

Speaking of which—I hope we're not getting too far off topic with some of this discussion. :ymblushing:

PhelanVelvel wrote:But once they realised they had died, that is where I would have expected someone to say something, not just be like "Dang, we're dead. Sweet yo, let's run up some more waterfalls." :P


=))
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Re: The Last Battle

Postby fantasia » May 08, 2014 1:57 pm

On the subject of Susan in the LB movie, I always pictured a scene, probably at the end of the credits, where we're back in this world at the funeral home (or whatever the equivalent was back then) and have a line between two workers like "Excuse me, Miss Pevensie is here to pick up her families' belongings." Cut to a pile of Pevensie belongings, and on top is a dirty box that was revealed earlier to be the magic rings, and that's it.
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Re: The Last Battle

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » May 08, 2014 2:22 pm

^ *mindblown* :-o

That is brilliant. Please, oh please, let the filmmakers do something like that at the end of LB. :ympray:
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Re: The Last Battle

Postby PhelanVelvel » May 08, 2014 5:57 pm

The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:^ *mindblown* :-o


Ummm. My reaction exactly. That's an AWESOME idea.

Okay, had some more time to respond to your post, Rose.

The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:It's possible they use that term in the sense that Susan stopped believing in Aslan, but I wish they wouldn't, because people will immediately associate Susan with atheism in our world and that may not be an accurate picture. For all we know, she could be a regular churchgoer back in England and profess a belief in God, just because it's the cultural norm. Doing either of those certainly doesn't stop some people from being consumed by superficial things.


Well, the main reason I have a problem with depicting Susan as an "atheist" in any sense of the word is because in their universe, there's really nothing for her to be an atheist of. As I was telling my friend today, Susan sees Aslan in physical form, right before her eyes, several times. She has touched him, she's seen his supernatural powers, she's traveled between one world and another. What is there to believe in? It's like saying I don't believe in Spain because I haven't been there in such a long time and maybe I just imagined it all. It makes Susan seem a fool.

For purposes of analysis, sure, you can paint her as an atheist since Aslan is analogous to Jesus, but at the end of the day, the girl got all the physical evidence in the world, something I cannot say I have been given with regards to religion on this side of the wardrobe door. If I had ridden on Aslan's back, watched him breathe life into stone statues, and had multiple conversations with him, I would be hard-pressed not to "believe" in him, bar the possibility of some type of simulated reality.

The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:It might be somewhere in the middle; i.e. Susan's death was postponed by the Powers That Be because she wasn't ready to go to paradise, or in a state of being that allowed her to go there. It makes you wonder what would have happened if Superficial Susan had been in Narnia at the time that the world came to an end, and what would have been her fate if she had been among the exodus of creatures that came to the Door and either went into Aslan's shadow or Aslan's Country. :|


Maybe that's why it's best she didn't go. :O Never thought about that before!

The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:I would really love to see the tragedy touched upon in some way. I've found myself wondering if Susan might be the inheritor of whatever Professor Kirke still owned at the time of his death. If he still owned the wardrobe and it was still in the cottage he had moved into because of financial troubles, the image of Susan going up to it—an echo of Lucy in LWW—and sitting down in the wardrobe, burying her face in her hands, could be a profound way to illustrate her state of mind.


I actually really like this idea as well. Would be very cool to see Susan approach the wardrobe in a manner similar to Lucy, possibly try the back of the wardrobe and find it solid.

The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:I'm hopeful that whatever creative minds end up working on The Last Battle film will be unafraid to ask some hard questions, as long as it doesn't change the spirit or themes of the end of the book. Probably more than anything, I'd like the film to be presented in such a way that it inspires people to ask these questions for themselves, and make up their own minds. I think Lewis would be happy with that, and maybe that's what he was going for with the end of The Last Battle and its loose ends.


Fair point. I hope they do as well. The film-makers have an opportunity to illustrate more complexity of emotion than was present at the end of the book version. People may disagree with that, but I think a juxtaposition between Susan's loss and the joy of Aslan's Country would actually help it from becoming saccharine.
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Re: The Last Battle

Postby waggawerewolf27 » May 08, 2014 10:21 pm

Sorry, like you, Phelan Velvet, I never saw Susan as being an out-and-out atheist. Having read the book before I knew what an atheist was, I merely saw her as engaged or a bride who is worried about what her groom might think of her if she owned up to those Narnia memories, and embarrassed by her family's insistence on remembering those "funny games we played as children", nonetheless. I've even written a fanfic about it which you would find here, in 6 sections entitled If Susan Pevensie was a real person.

The dwarves, led by Griffle, had felt deceived so much by both the Calormenes, the fake Aslan and then Tirian's disguise, that they were sceptical and distrustful of everything that was said to them. I do see them as something like the USSR in WW2.

fantasia_kitty, that idea of Pevensie belongings and the box of magic rings is just brilliant. (But would they have disappeared in the accident?)
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Re: The Last Battle

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » May 09, 2014 12:04 am

PhelanVelvel wrote:Well, the main reason I have a problem with depicting Susan as an "atheist" in any sense of the word is because in their universe, there's really nothing for her to be an atheist of. As I was telling my friend today, Susan sees Aslan in physical form, right before her eyes, several times. She has touched him, she's seen his supernatural powers, she's traveled between one world and another. What is there to believe in? It's like saying I don't believe in Spain because I haven't been there in such a long time and maybe I just imagined it all. It makes Susan seem a fool.


I think a better analogy might be something like "I don't believe in the fairy world anymore because it's been such a long time since I was whisked away via a fairy ring and maybe I just imagined it all."

Nobody doubts the existence of Spain in our world, but you'd definitely be in the minority if you believed that you had literally traveled to a realm of fairies. You'd also have all of the "wise" people and scientific literature saying why such things couldn't and didn't exist, planting doubt in your heart every day and making you feel alienated from everyone around you.

Susan had always been the more pragmatic one among the Pevensies, and much more prone to doubt. In Prince Caspian, she's the last of the children to see Aslan during their moonlit trek, even though she admits that, deep down, she'd actually believed Lucy twice before when Lucy said she had seen him. She knew, based on Lucy's behavior and past experience, that her sister was speaking the truth. She just wouldn't admit it to herself and she convinced herself otherwise. She says it's because she just wanted to get out of the woods, and later, Aslan tells Susan that she had been listening to her fears.

If she was this susceptible to ignoring her own beliefs and reason when she's actually in Narnia, it's not terribly surprising to me that it would be much worse in her own world. In 1940's England, it would have been arguably more "normal" for her to say that she'd been abducted by aliens than to say that she'd traveled to another world by magic and had met animals that could talk. Keeping the faith in that kind of a scenario would be a challenge, and especially so for her.

PhelanVelvel wrote:For purposes of analysis, sure, you can paint her as an atheist since Aslan is analogous to Jesus, but at the end of the day, the girl got all the physical evidence in the world, something I cannot say I have been given with regards to religion on this side of the wardrobe door. If I had ridden on Aslan's back, watched him breathe life into stone statues, and had multiple conversations with him, I would be hard-pressed not to "believe" in him, bar the possibility of some type of simulated reality.


Now that would be a neat game for the Oculus Rift! ;))

She did have physical evidence, but it was temporary and she received it when she was the ages of twelve and thirteen. After she returned to England for the last time, all of the "proof" was literally a world away, while the practicalities of earthly reality were right in front of her, begging her to pay attention. Looking at her past behavior and her struggles with doubt, it doesn't really surprise me that Susan gave in to her fears and filled up the emptiness with worldly things instead.

Her character is quite complex—and quite relatable to a lot of people, including myself—and I really hope the filmmakers take some time to explore her point of view in The Last Battle, as well as give us some kind of idea as to how she ended up this way. I really hope they humanize her instead of just brushing her off.

waggawerewolf27 wrote:fantasia_kitty, that idea of Pevensie belongings and the box of magic rings is just brilliant. (But would they have disappeared in the accident?)


If they were actually on Peter's person and there wasn't a fire, there's a good chance they could have been recovered. Based on what's described in LB, it looks like the train derailed. If it crashed into the station and abruptly stopped, that would explain why so many people inside the train as well as outside the train were killed. Of course, it could be that it just derailed and there was also a fire, but fire's never mentioned in the book; just a terrible lurch and a roar, and the feeling of being hit by something with a bang.

That could be one scary scene in the movie. :-s I'm rather glad that they'll likely cut it short to preserve the surprise.
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Re: The Last Battle

Postby Anfinwen » May 09, 2014 10:27 am

fantasia_kitty wrote:On the subject of Susan in the LB movie, I always pictured a scene, probably at the end of the credits, where we're back in this world at the funeral home (or whatever the equivalent was back then) and have a line between two workers like "Excuse me, Miss Pevensie is here to pick up her families' belongings." Cut to a pile of Pevensie belongings, and on top is a dirty box that was revealed earlier to be the magic rings


Yes! I've imagined something like this as well, except that I think she should open the box. When sees the rings she should automatically reach toward them, but stop and put on her gloves first. Then cut to her riding on a train out into the countryside, a scene with her burying the rings, and then the final shot of her getting up and walking away.
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Re: The Last Battle

Postby fantasia » May 09, 2014 10:44 am

The problem that I personally have with that kind of an ending is it gives closure to the story of Susan with her foregoing other magical worlds. I don't want to see her put on a ring either. It needs to be left open because that's how Lewis left it. Does the spinning top fall or not? (Sorry, Inception reference ;) )

I truly believe that's one of the biggest misinterpretations of the books. So many people believe that Susan "goes to hell" at the end of The Last Battle because she rejected Narnia. But that's not what happens at all. We don't know what Susan's ultimate fate is, and I think it's important that the filmmakers reflect that.
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Re: The Last Battle

Postby PhelanVelvel » May 09, 2014 3:52 pm

I second leaving it open to interpretation. It does seem a little unfair that in a time where authors can "kill off" beloved characters to elicit an emotional response, Lewis can't exclude one of his main characters from the happy ending without being ridiculed. Even though I think he didn't develop the Susan issue fully, and it was glossed over/rushed past, I don't think it was wrong for the story. I mean, did people really want all seven friends to reach paradise simultaneously? The more I think about it, the more sensible it seems to leave some loose threads.

I feel like this notion of Susan "going to hell for putting on lipstick" is one that can only be held by someone who hasn't read the book. I will say that this discussion has eased my mind somewhat about adapting The Last Battle for film.

We're still going to have a problem with the dark-skinned Calormenes being the villains and apocalyptic catalyst, though...unless we can address the whole race issue beforehand in HHB. There needs to be some balance between the good and bad aspects of Calormen, it can't be portrayed as a country of evil-doers. I'm not sure exactly how this will be done, because I don't think Aravis and Emeth are enough on their own. They come off as exceptions to a rule, in my opinion. Aravis is the "good" Calormene in HHB and Emeth is the "good" Calormene in LB. I know I'm crossing over into HHB territory a bit here, but unless the Calormenes are depicted as multi-racial, I'm not sure how it will be done. It simply can't be light-skinned vs. dark-skinned. I will say, I just read the article by Dr. Devin Brown on sexism and racism in Narnia, and I can't believe I never gave the slightest thought to Lucy seeing the "real" Tashbaan at the end of The Last Battle. It's actually really interesting and neat that Lewis included that.

Wagga, I'll have to check out your fanfiction!
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Re: The Last Battle

Postby Impending Doom » May 10, 2014 11:08 am

We're still going to have a problem with the dark-skinned Calormenes being the villains and apocalyptic catalyst, though...


I don't remember hearing much about Prince Caspian being perceived as racist, even though our antagonist were all from Mediterranean ancestry. It's not fair how much flack HHB and LB receives from people accusing it of being racist. They just need to look past the surface. *sighs* But for the movies, they will probably need to have more sympathetic characters (like they did with General Glozelle and Prunaprismia) to avoid stirring the pot further.

I just hope the filmmakers won't split The Last Battle into two parts. It seems like everyone is doing it nowadays... :-s
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Re: The Last Battle

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » May 10, 2014 1:44 pm

Ditto to Impending Doom on adding more sympathetic characters. I'd also love to see more of Emeth and his perspective in the film.

I think that the filmmakers should make a point of presenting Calormen as being a country where the government, ruling class and state religion are primarily the problem, not that the population across the board is immoral. With slavery and arranged marriages being commonplace there, it seems that there were probably a lot of disenfranchised individuals in Shasta and Aravis's positions. Both slavery and arranged marriages reflect very poorly on wealthy and powerful Calormenes, but not necessarily Calormen as a whole.

Hopefully taking the time to present Calormen in a balanced and diverse light in The Horse and His Boy will prevent people from crying foul when The Last Battle is released. (Just another reason why I really want to see HHB hit the silver screen. :P)

Impending Doom wrote:I just hope the filmmakers won't split The Last Battle into two parts. It seems like everyone is doing it nowadays... :-s


That would really bug me. I don't think any of the Narnia books really warrant being split into two films, and I feel like doing that would basically be saying "I'm not a talented enough filmmaker to take this story and turn it into a concise, impactful film." I think one of the greatest markers of a well-told story is that it occupies just the right length of time, and doesn't drag along or rush through.
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Re: The Last Battle

Postby PhelanVelvel » May 10, 2014 5:26 pm

You guys don't want it to drag out into two films so we can have more Narnia? :P I can't say I would mind if both films were really well-done, but...it's probably not needed, you're right. I'm just being a tad selfish. :O

I don't think Lewis was racist, I think he was just putting an "Arabian Nights"-themed country in his stories the same way he did with mythological beings inspired by other cultures. And having read a good portion of Arabian Nights myself, it's a pretty brutal place. So many of the characters are good people who get the worst of it from the law or people of a higher social standing than them. Calormen is very reminiscent of The Arabian Nights in about a million different ways, and skin colour/dress is only one of those.
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Re: The Last Battle

Postby waggawerewolf27 » May 10, 2014 6:42 pm

Impending Doom wrote:
We're still going to have a problem with the dark-skinned Calormenes being the villains and apocalyptic catalyst, though...


I don't remember hearing much about Prince Caspian being perceived as racist, even though our antagonist were all from Mediterranean ancestry. It's not fair how much flack HHB and LB receives from people accusing it of being racist. They just need to look past the surface. *sighs* But for the movies, they will probably need to have more sympathetic characters (like they did with General Glozelle and Prunaprismia) to avoid stirring the pot further.


No, I don't think that C.S.Lewis was racist, and before the post 1963 Civil Rights movements I doubt that strictly speaking he could be called sexist, since most of English-speaking society in UK, USA and even down here could be called sexist, in the way they treated their womenfolk and also in what people of that time accepted as proper for a woman. However, I think that sexism can be regarded differently in Australia, which has far more emphasis on women's rights in education and the workplace as compared to men, than it seems is the case in USA, though I don't know for sure. In UK they seem far more concerned with clothing, tradition, and the outcomes of a student's education, and I fear for Aunt Polly's caustic, but probably true, summation of Susan's wasting educational chances.

It is odd that apart from his treatment of Susan, that both HHB and LB contain strong female characters who demonstrate how much C.S.Lewis had gained from his marriage to Joy Davidman. But right up until today, women, themselves, can remain very divided about what sexism is, and why they, themselves, can be very sexist to other women, for instance, in how they judge and target public figures on the Internet. Examples I am thinking of include the Duchess of Cambridge, her sister, Pippa, and Monica Lewinsky, who wrote an article for this month's Vanity Fair.

As I have said many times beforehand, the tyranny triggering WW2 was barely the beginning of world awareness of how evil racism is, was and always will be. South Africa was notorious for its apartheid and racism during those days, up until the 1990's, and so was Rhodesia, the former name of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mulawi, three countries which have had very different histories during the later 20th century. Australia can't feel superior, say, to any segregation practised in the USA of 1967, the year we voted in a referendum to make Aboriginal Australians full citizens: it wasn't until February 2011 that Kevin Rudd finally apologised, on behalf of the nation, for the way Aborigines have been treated since 1788, vowing that we should do better.

Furthermore, both racism & sexism go both ways, judging by the news of last week about those kidnapped Nigerian girls. As is also shown in both HHB & LB. And you make a good point about the Mediterranean ancestry of Prince Caspian. If that novel could be filmed without much murmur, why can't both HHB and LB be filmed also? As for Philip Pullman, why was he the first to call these books racist & sexist when they were first published by 1956, remaining in circulation since then? JK Rowling, who has admitted she never read, or finished, the Last Battle, wasn't even born until 31/7/1965.

Phelan Velvet wrote:Wagga, I'll have to check out your fanfiction!


I hope you do. It still needs a lot of revision, and I thought it was a bit cheeky of me to send her off to USA after the rail accident, when I have never been there, even to visit, and so have to rely on what I've read, and heard in the news, plus discussions here. So I'd like an opinion about that as well. I thought that USA sounded more likely than Australia, in the light of VDT, and was ever so pleased when Doug Gresham commented last November at Ashurst college that for all anyone knew, Susan was a great-grandmother living near there.

In it I did try to work out Susan's story without bringing in the atheism angle or even buying into sexism, too much. I think it could be easily dealt with, in a film of LB, by continuing the immediate post WW2 theme of the present movies, perhaps showing in the scenery plenty of billboards at railway stations and bus stops, advertising make-up and nylon stockings, and how attractive they would make women to the uniformed soldiers and the romantic heroes of their dreams. Some of the commentary could be adapted to show that Peter, and, especially, Aunt Polly, were more concerned about her choice of bridegroom, her avoidance of those meetings the 7 friends of Narnia had, and her flashing a diamond engagement ring around to the flibberty-gibberts of her social circle, seeminly having learned nothing from the Rabadash episode. A discussion of Rabadash, and why they didn't approve of either him or the (white?) bridegroom, might also be a good inclusion.

Much as I like fantasia_kitty's idea of the box with the rings being passed on to Susan, on second thoughts, I rather think that if Aslan had the power to rescue his Friends of Narnia from the trainwreck, as well as Mr & Mr Pevensie, he would also have the power to "vanish" the box of rings, lest they do any more harm.
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Re: The Last Battle

Postby PhelanVelvel » May 10, 2014 10:57 pm

waggawerewolf27 wrote:Furthermore, both racism & sexism go both ways, judging by the news of last week about those kidnapped Nigerian girls. As is also shown in both HHB & LB. And you make a good point about the Mediterranean ancestry of Prince Caspian. If that novel could be filmed without much murmur, why can't both HHB and LB be filmed also? As for Philip Pullman, why was he the first to call these books racist & sexist when they were first published by 1956, remaining in circulation since then? JK Rowling, who has admitted she never read, or finished, the Last Battle, wasn't even born until 31/7/1965.


Thank you. They come off as immensely irritating and self-righteous in their commentary of Narnia. It's pretty easy to accuse an author of dated views when you're living more than fifty years after his books have been published. I haven't read His Dark Materials, but I have read books 1-5 of Harry Potter, and if Rowling thinks she broke down all kinds of stereotypes with her female characters, I will say that Lewis did a better job at that every time. I don't even think it's a bias, the fact that a man writing during the 1950s could invent characters such as Lucy, Jill, and Polly is pretty extraordinary. People just don't seem to realise that back then, women were expected to be little more than wives and mothers. It seems nothing short of ridiculous to me now to paint Lewis as a sexist or racist, though I have wondered in the past about whether it could be possible.

And yes, I will read your fanfiction. XD I actually was going to earlier but I got distracted by your discussion of The Problem of Susan on the same page. :P I had such a hard time understanding what the heck was going on in that story, and I think I'm usually pretty decent at analysing things...
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Re: The Last Battle

Postby waggawerewolf27 » May 11, 2014 12:10 am

Sorry, I don't know how you would see my live journal, which is under the name, gadigal, an anglicisation of the name of the Cadigal mob, the first people who lived around Sydney Harbour in 1788. If you go into the journal through the link the first thing you should see is the first episode, entitled No longer a friend of Narnia? Part 1 of If Susan was a real person. The last episode is entitled Once a queen, always a queen. Ep 6 of If Susan was a real person, and ends how I see Susan dying. You should be able to read the fanfic consecutively, merely by scrolling down, for the first 6 sections, as everything I ever wrote in it is all on the same page. I struggle with IT, you see. I started this fanfic on 16th January, 2013, and finished it to my satisfaction on 16th December 2013, but to do this so it can be read, I had to do the sections in reverse order of when I wrote them due to the nature of Livejournal.

The year beforehand, I wanted to discuss "The problem of Susan". The Problem with Susan is Neil Gaiman's take on Susan Pevensie, published in a book of short stories in 2004, but this is definitely M rated, like his other stories in that volume. What I have written in my livejournal is partly a discussion of this story as well as LB. Gaiman's story is interesting to read for anyone who wants to film Last Battle, and it can be read on Internet. But it is a distorted tale, to avoid copyright issues, and I think most people here would dislike it, intensely, for the horrible way it depicts Aslan, in particular.

Professor Susan Hastings, according to Gaiman, becomes a Professor of Children's literature after the Rail accident. She never marries, has a love affair with a married man before losing siblings in a rail accident, and has horrible dreams about a battlefield after which she and her sister see a lion and a witch deep in discussion, but she doesn't know what they are deciding. A journalist interviewing her on a book she has written on children's literature takes her for the real Susan Pevensie, and questions her about that Last Battle scene, and Susan not going to heaven. When Susan dies during the following night, rather well, I thought, the journalist gets an even worse bad dream about Aslan and the White Witch.

I ended up writing my own fanfic, and that is all it can ever be, because I also disagree with Gaiman's version of Susan Pevensie's fate, which rather depends on Philip Pullman's criticisms of C.S.Lewis' LB, and Greta, the journalist's, poor understanding of both the book and any theology behind it. I wanted to work out my own take, and I think mine is at least as valid a point of view from a cultural perspective. Gaiman's story also adds weight to LB being PG13, since it is clear from Gaiman's short story, that younger children might not understand it very well, unless a suitable adult discusses it with them. I doubt I have put in anything, myself, that the mods here would object to, as it isn't my personal style, anyway.

Much of the rest of my live journal is a discussion of the HP novels. Even if JK Rowling agreed rather mildly, about 2003, when OOTP was published, that LB was sexist about the lipstick, and Susan discovering romance, she has also claimed to be heavily influenced by C.S.Lewis in her writing, especially VDT, which she read to her eldest daughter, and Magician's Nephew. I can also see this, in various parts of the HP series, and in its overall arrangement. At the time of C.S.Lewis' writing, people, and the publishing world, were more uptight about children reading about romance, at least in UK and the Commonwealth of Nations. At the time of OOtP's 2003 release, LWW was in the pipeline, GOF was already being filmed, Laura Mallory was trying to get HP banned and JKR was probably nervous about her delayed new book which was being criticised almost as vociferously as Philip Pullman had criticized LB & HHB. If necessary, I'll give you separate links for each section.
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