11 – In the Dark Castle

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11 – In the Dark Castle

Postby Pattertwigs Pal » Jun 25, 2017 6:51 pm

1. Lewis tells us: Puddleglum was thinking, "I wonder what game that witch is really playing with this young fool." Scrubb was thinking, "He's a great baby, really: tied to that woman's apron strings; he's a sap." And Jill was thinking, "He's the silliest, most conceited, selfish pig I've met for a long time." Which thought to agree with most and why? What do we learn about the characters based on their thoughts about the knight?

2. What does Scrubb mean by saying "It was the words of the sign?”

3. The children and Puddleglum wrestle with whether or not to let the Knight free. Does this kind of wrestling happen in real life? What can we learn from it?

4. What is your favorite part of this chapter? What do you like least?

5. 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: 11 – In the Dark Castle

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Jul 04, 2017 1:13 am

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

From this chapter onwards, the production of the rest of SC is going to be of the utmost importance to the final result. One problem is how to make this production much better than the BBC TV Silver Chair one. And we need to know how this new production will deal with this sensitive moment of the story. For example, how is Prince Rilian/Silent Knight going to be portrayed in his pre-silver chair state? The travellers do not immediately identify him, apparently because there is something a bit wrong with his face, quite apart from which he denies that he is Billions, Trillions or any other Rilian. The BBC TV version has him wearing some sort of aluminium combined mask and helmet, to enhance a grumpy expression, until he is freed from the ropes. Given that the BBC TV version was a low budget production making do with what was at hand at the time. What would this current production use?

I very much fear that this new alternative may well include the dreaded Green Mist, which will rear its ugly head once again. :-o Rilian will be not so much Silent Knight or even Black Knight as a green mist entity, enveloped in a loathesome green mist which will slowly dissipate until it is time for Black Knight to be tied into the Silver Chair, a most expensive piece of furniture, made out of those seven VDT swords, which turn out to have silver hilts, or complete silver swords, like that throne which featured in Game of Thrones. :-s But for the comfort of the actor, one would hope it has lovely green upholstery along with green whoopee cushions, which will certainly emit a loathesome smell when Rilian destroys it with his own sword. #:-s 8-}

However, I think the silver chair is meant to be uncomfortable to sit in, at the very least. Cold, hard and prickly. The trouble is why does the chair have to be silver? Or even silver-looking? If anyone wants an uncomfortable chair, a common, garden electric chair, with silvery metal fittings might do just as well. :ymdevil: Is it some sort of silver Throne of Judgement, where, via the news, one contemplates public opinion? Or is it meant to allude to money, commerce etc? Everything about this book suggests the moon, femininity, water and bathing, whether Jill and Eustace needing to wash at Puddleglum's wigwam, to the nice bath Jill enjoyed at Harfang, to the Black Knight's failure to indicate where the travellers can wash and refresh themselves.

Elsewhere on the forum, just to be helpful, I've suggested that somehow the enchantment on him reflects his thoughts onto the room's walls, especially what Rilian says LOTGK plans to do with him, and that these reflections make his face harder to see, whilst the three Travellers learn what he and the Queen are up to. Gradually diminishing effects of this thought projection makes not only Rilian aware that his hour is upon him, but also the film's audience and the travellers as well get a better idea of what might be happening to him. Someone else might have better ideas.

If there is one criticism I've got of the BBC TV SC version is that there is too abrupt a transition from Rilian's enchanted state to the time he feels the fit is upon him and is tied into the Silver Chair. It isn't the way drugs, magic or any other means of control works, or even a disease, unless it is too deadly and fast-working for words, like the bite that killed Rilian's mother. When there is such an altered state of mind and body, I'd expect increasing physical pain, diminishing effects from what was being inflicted on him or maybe small, jerking fits, abstractedness whilst talking (forgetfulness, losing track of what he is saying) or increased restlessness. You don't just get up from a dinner table, claim that you are having some sort of problem, unless it is indigestion, submit without a struggle into being tied in a chair, silver or not, and then start claiming that everything you've said up to that point is absolute nonsense. Especially if you were watching the news whilst eating.

Another aspect of the BBC production was the violence displayed by Rilian in his enchanted state. Was that really necessary, even though it made the scene more dramatic?

And I'd like it established, somehow, just what the Silver Chair actually does. Reflect back to himself Rilian's true state of mind, since silver reflects? Or does it reflect LOTGK who stays with him in his nightly fit, and what LOTGK truly is? And how is it the means for Rilian's reenchantment? Does the silver, like other shiny silvery metals, conduct electric-like jolts of magic? Or is its sole purpose to restrain Rilian/not so Silent Knight in a most uncomfortable but expensive looking chair? What is the importance of silver, in particular?

Also, anyone got any ideas of why does LOTGK normally stay with Rilian whilst he is bound in the chair? I think, myself, when at the end of his session, when he allegedly turns into a snake, it is LOTGK in her snake form, reflected back to him, who bites him. Like other mythical creatures, including snakes and spiders, she may have more than one poison, some slow-acting and some deadly.

1. Lewis tells us: Puddleglum was thinking, "I wonder what game that witch is really playing with this young fool." Scrubb was thinking, "He's a great baby, really: tied to that woman's apron strings; he's a sap." And Jill was thinking, "He's the silliest, most conceited, selfish pig I've met for a long time." Which thought to agree with most and why? What do we learn about the characters based on their thoughts about the knight?

Those comments made after the Black Knight has identified himself as being the same silent knight they saw near the Giant's bridge, also recall the three travellers' differing reactions to their Harfang lunch of Talking Stag. They also demonstrate the differing responses to LOTGK, his companion at the Giant's Bridge. Jill was the most forthcoming at that encounter, thinking how nice LOTGK was, and it was then she said p.74-5 my ed:

I expect he was shy... Or perhaps he wants to look at her and listen to her lovely voice. I'm sure I would if I was him.


But now she thinks he is the "silliest, most conceited, selfish pig I've met for a long time." Jill is a relative newcomer to Narnia, and is probably entranced by seeing the lovely clothes, horses and other aspects of a culture which in this story resembles strongly the historic culture of the Wars of the Roses, plus that of the troubadors and traditional ideas of "romance". And now she is being disabused of some of those romantic ideas. At least of "gallant, well-mannered and considerate", which Silent Knight is not. Jill is finding he is just as thoughtless as some of the Experiment House students, especially the bullies.

All those compliments Silent Knight pays LOTGK don't sound all that convincing, do they? Whatever one reads in romance novels, reality says that men as a rule behave somewhat differently towards women than how Silent Knight lauds LOTGK, saying how much she has done for him. And Eustace knows it, when he calls Silent Knight "a great baby, tied to LOTGK apron strings". Eustace has had a past history in Narnia, travelling with King Caspian and his two cousins, and was present when Silent Knight's parents met each other, though neither he nor Silent Knight can recognise this information. But I am sure he compares his new host to those male characters he met in VDT. Including Reepicheep, who "never stopped talking". And it is no accident that in previous chapters his is not the only reference to "babies", whether the Ettinsmoor Giants behaving like babies or the travellers' experiences in Harfang. Is Eustace perchance remembering his own pre-dragoning behaviour as well, do you think?

And then there is Puddleglum, a native Narnian who is asking all the proper questions, such as we, the readers, should also be asking. Or me, at any rate. :ymblushing: Such as: 1. "Why didn't he speak?" - referring to Silent Knight. Or... 2. "I wish we knew a bit more about her", on the same occasion. And now he is asking: 3. "I wonder what game that witch is really playing with this young fool."
Well might we be asking.

2. What does Scrubb mean by saying "It was the words of the sign?”

Scrubb, being logical, and having finally learned the signs, himself, knows it is indeed the words of the sign. But by now, there may be others who have learned the words and who are trying to fool them. Or very likely those words might be the real deal? After all, they did meet the Black Knight after they crossed the Giant's bridge and very possibly he could have overheard them then, especially as Jill was quite free with what they were doing until Puddleglum shut her up. And it was Rilian who told the travellers that "under me" was part of a longer inscription that LOTGK already knew about.

3. The children and Puddleglum wrestle with whether or not to let the Knight free. Does this kind of wrestling happen in real life? What can we learn from it?

Of course this kind of wrestling does happen in real life, usually when commanded to do something risky which may or may not lead to disastrous consequences, whatever course is taken. Such dilemmas happen, in war time, and sometimes in marriage as well as day-to-day occurrences. And there is the conflict between popular perception and prejudice and what is the best course to take. This kind of wrestling is so familiar thanks to the plays of William Shakespeare, and others, who wrote many plays about such moral dilemmas. Much depends on how these dilemmas are resolved. In fact, was C.S.Lewis alluding to William Shakespeare, when he described Silent Knight as being dressed all in black like Hamlet? And for both this unfortunate captive of the Silver Chair and Jill, in particular, was "To be or not to be" the real question?

And what is to be learned about such struggles? That when there is a serious moral dilemma then consequences of action or inaction should always be considered. Including the price of doing the wrong thing and doing the right thing.
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Re: 11 – In the Dark Castle

Postby Ryadian » Jul 17, 2017 2:55 pm

2. What does Scrubb mean by saying "It was the words of the sign?”
As is discussed in the following paragraph, it's the appearance of the sign, but there's still the possibility that, if the witch knew what sign they were looking for, she could tell the Knight to repeat those words during his ravings. I think Eustace kind of forgets that the sign was not just "Someone will ask for something in my name", but that it specifically states that the first person to ask for something in Aslan's name is the lost prince himself.

3. The children and Puddleglum wrestle with whether or not to let the Knight free. Does this kind of wrestling happen in real life? What can we learn from it?Oh, absolutely. First of all, I think this is a pretty cautionary tale on making promises like "No matter what, we won't untie you". It turned out to be a rather foolish thing to promise. Of course, the bigger question was whether or not it was safe - whether or not they should believe their own eyes and what the Knight had told them before he was bound, or whether or not they should follow Aslan's sign - especially since I'm not fully convinced that they still knew exactly what it said. That kind of leap of faith is terrifying, and especially if sprung upon you, it can be paralyzing. I think it's important to note that, as terrifying as it was to free the Knight, it turned out to be the right thing to do.

4. What is your favorite part of this chapter? What do you like least?
I do love how utterly convincing the Knight is as someone who is completely head-over-heels and dependent on the Witch, while at the same time hinting that this utter dependence on her may not just be a flaw in his character, but perhaps something more sinister. At the same time, it does make it strange that he seems to defy what the witch would want - he invites the updwellers to talk to him when it sounds like the Queen gave orders for them to be put in prison, and he allows for them to stay when he's bound even though she's supposed to be the only one who's present - so that does feel like a bit of a plot hole. Perhaps it's just the real Rilian breaking out a bit, but I don't really get that sense.
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Re: 11 – In the Dark Castle

Postby Pattertwigs Pal » Jul 18, 2017 1:46 pm

Ryadian wrote:I do love how utterly convincing the Knight is as someone who is completely head-over-heels and dependent on the Witch, while at the same time hinting that this utter dependence on her may not just be a flaw in his character, but perhaps something more sinister. At the same time, it does make it strange that he seems to defy what the witch would want - he invites the updwellers to talk to him when it sounds like the Queen gave orders for them to be put in prison, and he allows for them to stay when he's bound even though she's supposed to be the only one who's present - so that does feel like a bit of a plot hole. Perhaps it's just the real Rilian breaking out a bit, but I don't really get that sense.

I don't find it strange that he would invite them. The queen is bringing him up to be king so to speak. He expects to get his own way. The queen is away so he likely sees himself as in charge. They Queen ordered the Earthmen to put prisoners in jail not the Knight. She likely didn't expect him to meddle so didn't mention it to him. The Knight thinks that no one else but the Queen stays with him merely to protect others from what he says. He hasn't shown himself to be very kind so he probably doesn't care what the guests hear if they choose to come.
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Re: 11 – In the Dark Castle

Postby Hwinning » Aug 01, 2017 12:49 pm

1. Lewis tells us: Puddleglum was thinking, "I wonder what game that witch is really playing with this young fool." Scrubb was thinking, "He's a great baby, really: tied to that woman's apron strings; he's a sap." And Jill was thinking, "He's the silliest, most conceited, selfish pig I've met for a long time." Which thought to agree with most and why? What do we learn about the characters based on their thoughts about the knight?

I agree with wagga in that their thoughts are a product of their level of experience with Narnia.

2. What does Scrubb mean by saying "It was the words of the sign?”

He's still skeptical and probably afraid of getting his head chopped off.

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

When they're eating dinner, I've read Rilian as very ridiculous, self absorbed, etc. etc. But as his hour comes nearer, I think it would be appropriate for him while talking to pause, think, and doubt himself more and more (while trying to cover it up with bravado) until Rilian becomes scared of himself and recognizes his hour is near.

I'm no expert on film costume and design, but you could probably put absurd amounts of makeup on Rilian to make him seem like an overgrown baby, dress him up in equally absurd courtier's clothing to make him seem like a spoiled brat, slick copious amounts of hair gel, and put in unnaturally green colored contacts. He won't be obviously enchanted, but he'll just look like a spoiled, silly, creepy, overgrown baby.

Then, in the silver chair, take away the makeup, dress him in regular clothes (the clothes he had on underneath?), wash off the hair gel, and ditch the contacts to make him seem like an actual human being. It will make his previous state look like an enchantment.
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Re: 11 – In the Dark Castle

Postby Meltintalle » Jan 08, 2018 12:39 pm

1. Lewis tells us: Puddleglum was thinking, "I wonder what game that witch is really playing with this young fool." Scrubb was thinking, "He's a great baby, really: tied to that woman's apron strings; he's a sap." And Jill was thinking, "He's the silliest, most conceited, selfish pig I've met for a long time." Which thought to agree with most and why? What do we learn about the characters based on their thoughts about the knight?

I'd like to think I'd be as clear-headed and get to the heart of the problem the way Puddleglum does, but I think I'd end up more like Jill or Eustace and only pick up on the external cues that something is wrong.

2. What does Scrubb mean by saying "It was the words of the sign?”

He's identifying the quandary they're in; they've promised to follow the sign, but they also just promised the Knight that nothing he can say will possibly sway them. Two promises, but they can only keep one. They've muffed the signs so far, but the Knight is right there. It's a clash of honor and honor (and self-preservation if you believe that by freeing the knight you loose a deadly serpent).

3. The children and Puddleglum wrestle with whether or not to let the Knight free. Does this kind of wrestling happen in real life? What can we learn from it?

I liked that once they'd committed to a course of action, they followed through with it; they didn't try cutting 'just a few of the ropes, to see which way the enchantment goes' or anything else that would give them a way of avoiding dire consequences.

Rya wrote: At the same time, it does make it strange that he seems to defy what the witch would want - he invites the updwellers to talk to him when it sounds like the Queen gave orders for them to be put in prison, and he allows for them to stay when he's bound even though she's supposed to be the only one who's present - so that does feel like a bit of a plot hole. Perhaps it's just the real Rilian breaking out a bit, but I don't really get that sense.


I've always got the feeling that the Knight was bored and the thought of a fresh audience was irresistible. If the Lady of the Green Kirtle molded his personality into her ideal of a king, she planted the seeds of her own destruction.
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Re: 11 – In the Dark Castle

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Jan 27, 2018 9:36 pm

Meltintalle wrote:He's identifying the quandary they're in; they've promised to follow the sign, but they also just promised the Knight that nothing he can say will possibly sway them. Two promises, but they can only keep one. They've muffed the signs so far, but the Knight is right there. It's a clash of honor and honor (and self-preservation if you believe that by freeing the knight you loose a deadly serpent).


Maybe it isn't only what he said, but also the visual predicament he is in? For instance, what does that silver chair do to Rilian which might also convince them that it is the right decision? Turn him upside down for example?

I'm saying this because of something else Rilian said in this chapter:

Rilian Ch 11 wrote:"There used to be a little pool. When you looked down into it you could see all the trees growing upside-down in the water, all green and below them, deep, very deep, the blue sky"


I wonder if this little pool was at that picnic glade where his mother died?
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Re: 11 – In the Dark Castle

Postby Valiant_Nymph » May 08, 2018 1:56 pm

2. What does Scrubb mean by saying "It was the words of the sign?”
I think he is reluctant to believe it IS the sign, but he recognizes that it sure sounds like the sign.

3. The children and Puddleglum wrestle with whether or not to let the Knight free. Does this kind of wrestling happen in real life? What can we learn from it?
Yes, absolutely. We know what the right course of action is, but we are scared and try to reason it away. I like how Puddleglum accepted that it really might kill them if they set the prince free (rather than hoping things will turn out well), but chooses to do it anyways. I think that kind of acceptance of the consequences is important.

4. What is your favorite part of this chapter? What do you like least?
I do like Puddleglum's comment that they have to set the prince free, even if it leads to their death.
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