The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle

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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle

Postby milona » Apr 13, 2018 9:10 am

I know that it's a bit premature, as Narnia 7, if it is made, will probably not come about until 2018 at the earliest. However, as that film, if it is made, will be the most dramatic and probably the best of the series, I wanted to create a thread to talk about it. Here are some of my thoughts:

Warning: Spoilers below

1. I think that the film should, like Deathly Hallows and Breaking Dawn, be split into two parts. This seems to be a trend that is becoming more and more popular in the fantasy Genre (Even The Hobbit is being split), and I think it would make the film much stronger. The midpoint of the novel is the Battle of Cair Paravel, which I think should be portrayed in the film and would make a good split point.

2. The final battle at Stable Hill should be larger and more climatic than it is portrayed in the film, and I think that Archenland should be involved in the battle. They are mentioned in the novel, but their fate is never determined.

3. Finally, Susan's fate should be shown, along with more of the real world. The events in England have great dramatic impact; Susan has lost faith, three of her siblings died in a train wreck, along with her parents, cousin, and the Professor. I also think that the film should show Susan regaining belief in Narnia, or at least imply that she does.

Those are some of my thoughts about the conclusion to Narnia. What do you think?
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Re: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle

Postby LucytheValiant23 » May 31, 2018 7:28 pm

milona I agree with you 100% for the concept of the last battle. I defintely want Susan to return but i think at the end show she believes again and is reunited with her siblings.
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Re: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle

Postby Reepicheep775 » Jun 01, 2018 12:57 pm

LB will be a very difficult book to adapt, so I hesitate to say that it will be the best of the series. I will say that, if they manage to pull this off, and make it a good movie and a good adaptation, it will be a film to remember.

I don't like the idea of splitting LB into two simply because it's a fairly short book and I don't think there's enough material to stretch the soup.

I think I would be fine with expanding the battle. I've probably read LB the least of all of the Chronicles, but I remember the battle being pretty prominent in the book (unlike the battles in the other books). It's even named after the battle. If you're going to have a big epic battle in a Narnia movie, this is probably the one to do it in.

I would actually like a little something extra with Susan. I don't think I would want a full-blown redemption arc, just a hint to say that her story is not over. We know from letters that Lewis thought that there could still be hope for Susan and I would like to see evidence of that in the movie. Susan's rejection of Narnia was never one of my favourite parts of LB. I still remember feeling sick when I read it as a kid. It adds reality to the story for sure, but it also puts a damper on the happily ever after ending.
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Re: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle

Postby hermit » Aug 10, 2018 3:51 pm

The issue of Susan's fate could be a severe problem for a film of LB if it ever gets made; which I'm not too optimistic about at the moment.

In the run up to the film's release I see critics of Narnia like Pullman and Toynbee crawling out of the woodwork. The infamous 'lipstick and nylons and invitations' line will frequently quoted (and misquoted) and the usual unjust accusations of Lewis' 'toxic misogyny' and 'demonisation of female sexuality' will be made repeatedly.

Of course you could leave out that line altogether but that would be a bit of a cop out. I think there definitely needs to be more background to the lives of Susan and the Seven Friends in England, to give that scene with Tirian some context, and I'm wondering if you could approach that by drawing a contrast between Susan and Lucy. It would need subtle writing but you could have Lucy as an older teenager who is moderately interested in things like fashion and makeup and parties but worried by her sister's obsession with them, and who criticises Susan for her superficial view of adulthood.
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Re: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Aug 10, 2018 4:57 pm

LucytheValiant23 wrote:milona I agree with you 100% for the concept of the last battle. I defintely want Susan to return but i think at the end show she believes again and is reunited with her siblings.


Be careful, because the way Susan returns could lose the "it could be you" aspect of the Last Battle, which Philip Pullman also lost in his whole misinterpretation of that story. Some background would be useful, such as looking into the real life and times of the book and series, that is to say in World War II United Kingdom and the post war years. The point of the train accident as it happened in the book was that C.S.Lewis based that particular accident on a very real train accident which had lots of victims, so that it included, not only the Seven Friends of Narnia, but also Mr & Mrs Pevensie, who had caught that particular train because they wanted to go to Bristol. In C.S.Lewis' last chapter, Lucy, talking to Tumnus, realises that there was a good reason why she didn't see her parents at first - they had gone to the Heavenly England of their ideals. Just as you would hope all that those innocent victims killed in any major disaster or catastrophe would go to a better place.

There needn't be a long ending. Just a montage of other disasters, or a commemoration service with Laurence Binyon's Ode to the Fallen. Maybe a scene of Susan as a very old woman throwing a rose or three on the tracks where her siblings and parents died. Perhaps as she dies in her sleep, where she dreams of going through a door - to see her sister and brothers waiting for her, which is Noel Gaiman's idea in his short story based on The problem of Susan. The point of Susan not going to Heavenly Narnia, unlike what Pullman would have us believe, is not to condemn her at all. But because Susan is a sort of Everygirl, wanting to fulfil other hopes and dreams of girls of that era, which she anticipated when she grew up, she cannot die until it is the right time, when her life is done. I hope - and I believe that C.S Lewis also would agree with me - that Susan's life will be a well-spent life, where at some point she starts to remember "those funny games we used to play as children", and to understand what she might have learned from them when she was younger.

hermit wrote:In the run up to the film's release I see critics of Narnia like Pullman and Toynbee crawling out of the woodwork. The infamous 'lipstick and nylons and invitations' line will frequently quoted (and misquoted) and the usual unjust accusations of Lewis' 'toxic misogyny' and 'demonisation of female sexuality' will be made repeatedly.


At the rate we are going, I hate to say, it is getting more likely that Philip Pullman, himself, let alone Toynbee, would pass away well before The Last Battle is ever screened. With the advent of Netflix etc., it is becoming increasingly likely that cinemas and theatre-going, plus box office results, will become just as obsolete as Video rentals.
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Re: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle

Postby hermit » Aug 10, 2018 5:30 pm

waggawerewolf27 wrote:
LucytheValiant23 wrote:At the rate we are going, I hate to say, it is getting more likely that Philip Pullman, himself, let alone Toynbee, would pass away well before The Last Battle is ever screened. With the advent of Netflix etc., it is becoming increasingly likely that cinemas and theatre-going, plus box office results, will become just as obsolete as Video rentals.


I agree it's quite possible Pullman and Toynbee will not be around when LB is screened (if it ever is) but I'm sure there will be critics with similar views to take their place. As for cinemas being made obsolete by online services like Netflix, well we'll see. The death of cinema has been predicted before but it's still with us.
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Re: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Aug 11, 2018 12:52 am

hermit wrote:....I'm sure there will be critics with similar views to take their place.


Oh I couldn't agree more. But meanwhile, there is the opposing view. If the opposing view isn't expressed, how is anyone to know there ever was an opposing view? That is important to myself, at any rate, since although we (including me, most definitely) haven't seen the last of the baby boomers, including Philip Pullman, himself, no baby boomer can say with confidence that they will live forever. A point that only Jadis, the White Witch, would argue with.
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Re: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Jan 18, 2019 2:57 pm

LucytheValiant23 wrote:milona I agree with you 100% for the concept of the last battle. I defintely want Susan to return but i think at the end show she believes again and is reunited with her siblings.


Sooner or later, though? People live longer nowadays. Well might Douglas Gresham in a 2013 interview at Asbury College say that for anyone knows, that Susan could be a great-grandmother living nearby. There are people around you, around me, who still live, having not only survived World War II, but any amount of subsequent disasters, not only natural ones, but also the horribly irrefutably human ones of Wars, atrocities, as well as accidents, as "nations rise against nations, & kingdoms against kingdoms". Which has always been the case up to the current 21st century AD.
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Re: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle

Postby Col Klink » Jan 18, 2019 4:18 pm

I think The Last Battle is a hard sell for a secular audience. I know some people would say that's true of all the Narnia books but I disagree. So much of the internal drama comes from Tirian and Jewel worrying that Aslan isn't who they thought he was or that other people might no longer believe in the real Aslan. This resonates with Christians and probably other theists but secular people might feel that they're making a lot of fuss over nothing. After all, they've never seen Aslan in their lives. Why should it matter if he's real or not?

I'm not criticizing The Last Battle BTW. I think it's a great book. Sometimes trying to be "universal" hampers a story and keeps it from being powerful because it can't be specific. Also there definitely are atheists who enjoy The Last Battle. I'm sorry if I've offended them.

I think they should probably show Susan so people know her disenchantment with Narnia was a storytelling decision and not because they couldn't get the actress back. But explicitly having her turn back to "the good side" would annoy me. Giving a happy ending to a story with a sad one strikes me as pathetic and delusional. It might be good to talk about her more so it doesn't seem like a sequel hook. (Sequel hooks tend to annoy me too.) C.S. Lewis wrote about Susan's character in a letter and said there was still time for her to reach Aslan's country "in her own way." Incorporating that into the dialogue would be a good idea.
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Re: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Jan 19, 2019 6:35 pm

Col Klink wrote:I think The Last Battle is a hard sell for a secular audience. I know some people would say that's true of all the Narnia books but I disagree. So much of the internal drama comes from Tirian and Jewel worrying that Aslan isn't who they thought he was or that other people might no longer believe in the real Aslan. This resonates with Christians and probably other theists but secular people might feel that they're making a lot of fuss over nothing. After all, they've never seen Aslan in their lives. Why should it matter if he's real or not?


I don't necessarily agree. Thematically The Last Battle, which concerned defeat, doubt and disaster, was written the way it was because C.S.Lewis needed to close off the series to show what endures. Last year we commemorated the end of World War I, once called "The Great War to end all wars". Unfortunately it did nothing of the kind, leading on inexorably to WW2. At the end of WW1, C.S.Lewis was not the only one who lived through such times who doubted if there was really a God to permit such horrible things. His stories of Narnia do reflect some of his own experiences in coming to realise that there was indeed a God. And as Neil Gaiman, who wrote "The Problem of Susan" has said, if Susan had not really understood the implications of the sacrifice Aslan made in LWW she might well have doubted Aslan was real, not understanding the religious themes in LB either. What is important then, is that it was a real train crash, not something of anyone's, let alone Aslan's, contrivance. He merely rescued Jill & Eustace to stay in Narnia, as he promised at the end of Silver Chair, to endure in his world. Why Susan was left alive was because she did not catch that particular train, having other things to do that were more important to her at the time. It wasn't only her siblings who were on that train, it was also her own parents who had nothing whatsoever to do with Narnia and who had caught the train to go to Bristol.

Col Klink wrote:I think they should probably show Susan so people know her disenchantment with Narnia was a storytelling decision and not because they couldn't get the actress back. But explicitly having her turn back to "the good side" would annoy me. Giving a happy ending to a story with a sad one strikes me as pathetic and delusional. It might be good to talk about her more so it doesn't seem like a sequel hook. (Sequel hooks tend to annoy me too.) C.S. Lewis wrote about Susan's character in a letter and said there was still time for her to reach Aslan's country "in her own way." Incorporating that into the dialogue would be a good idea.


I agree with you. But let's get back to the themes of Last Battle, itself, and how Neil Gaiman resolved what he called the Problem of Susan. As Neil Gaiman's version of Susan Pevensie points out in his short story, someone has to be left alive to bear witness and to tidy up. She may well have thought that the stories and games of her childhood would be put aside now that she is an adult. But nonetheless, she will remember those games, just as she remembers the rest of her family, whom she loved, for however long she lives.

Wherever you live in the major English-Speaking countries of the world, and maybe a few others as well, you are probably familiar with 11th of November being Remembrance Day. You may also realise that in Turkey, UK, Australia & New Zealand we commemorate 25th April 1915, when the Gallipoli campaign started, as ANZAC day, being important to all four nations. There is a Laurence Binyon poem which says it all, regardless of how anyone believes in all those countries.

They shall not grow old, as we who are left grow old
Age shall not weary them or the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.


I doubt if all the people who march on Anzac Day, who go to Gallipoli on 25th April, who leave flowers at spots where atrocities have happened, or who tie flowers to telegraph poles at the site of an accident, or who stand to attention at 11.00 am on what I think you call Memorial Day would necessarily be Christians. Even when the Recessional is playing. Do you know the second verse of that hymn?

The tumult and the shouting dies
The Captains and the kings depart
Still stands thine ancient sacrifice
A humble & a contrite heart
Lord God of hosts be with us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget.
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Re: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Feb 21, 2019 9:23 pm

I was re-reading The Last Battle not that long ago and I thought that an interesting way to start a film adaptation would be to show the hunter in the Western Wild, tracking and killing a dumb lion, before the resulting lionskin ultimately falls in the river and is carried downstream until it reaches Shift and Puzzle. Extra points if the audience thinks that the lion was Aslan at first! An unnerving way to start the story, I think.
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Re: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle

Postby Anfinwen » Feb 22, 2019 6:22 am

The Rose-Tree Dryad, I really like that idea! How do you think the whole conversation and interaction between Shift and Puzzle would work in a movie? I almost think they should show only an ape snagging the lion skin and looking very pleased before running off with it. I feel like the opening with Shift and Puzzle could be weird. The audience would immediately realize on seeing Shift again that he's the one that found the lion skin, and also, it would be more of a surprise for the audience when they found out it was a donkey in the lion skin (a very sweet donkey too).
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Re: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Feb 22, 2019 8:49 pm

Anfinwen wrote:I almost think they should show only an ape snagging the lion skin and looking very pleased before running off with it. I feel like the opening with Shift and Puzzle could be weird. The audience would immediately realize on seeing Shift again that he's the one that found the lion skin, and also, it would be more of a surprise for the audience when they found out it was a donkey in the lion skin (a very sweet donkey too).


I think that's an excellent idea! :ymapplause: Admittedly, whenever I read that opening chapter of LB, I always wonder how on earth they would adapt it to film. Out of all the books in CoN, I feel like LB has the slowest start — mainly because I can't stand Shift :P — and this is one of those rare cases that cutting out some material from the book might actually be the better choice in a film version. Especially because Jill's discovery of harmless Puzzle would be a much more interesting reveal... and the stiff legged, almost animatronic-looking "lion" would be a lot creepier when the audience doesn't know what is underneath it!
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Re: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle

Postby coracle » Feb 23, 2019 4:19 am

It would be easy to fill in the info that is in the very early dialogue between Shift and Puzzle, either when Jill chats with Puzzle, or Puzzle has a wee flashback. I'm just rereading the Chronicles on Kindle, and am a good way through LB.
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Re: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle

Postby JFG II » Mar 01, 2019 6:46 pm

I have so much I want to say about adaptation ideas & expectations for The Last Battle - but I’ll keep it simple, and hopefully this all makes sense to any who wish to read on:

In the Narnia series, there are 12 main human protagonists: Peter, Susan, Edmund, Lucy, Caspian, Eustace, Jill, Shasta, Aravis, Digory, Polly & Tirian. The 12 Apostles, dare I say. With regards to Susan in a LB adaptation, I think she could take the role of St. John as the surviving member, and the one who has a vision of The End of All Times.

This would require changing the book so that Susan is given a vision by Aslan - after losing her family - and becomes the narrator... instead of Lewis. But then again, TLB is the only Narnia book where the past-interview narration doesn’t work, because there’s no one to tell Lewis about that Last Chronicle. Susan could be the one to tell him. I know, it’s crazy. But as I said, this requires story changes of a most delicate kind.

In a way, Susan in the LB book is the bridge between readers and the main characters in that story - even though she never appears herself - because her lack of presence in the last chapters hurts like a knife. The good characters are now happy but we observe them only at a distance, cut off from them emotionally as they go further up and further in.

If you wanted, Susan could be interpreted as a bitter toss away in the book, which is probably why I hated TLB when I first read it: “Susan is not an upstanding character anymore? Now she’s Amy March gone bad? Lewis you jerk!” 12-year-olds. Such grabbers of nuance. Times have changed, Thank God.
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