Reepicheep's Characterization

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Reepicheep's Characterization

Postby Col Klink » Dec 01, 2018 5:43 pm

This isn't a thread to talk about the casting of Reepicheep. It's for talking about his overall portrayal. I feel like Reepicheep is one of the hardest characters to get write. Both the BBC series and the Walden movies did some aspects of the character well but others not so...much. I think this can be affirmed by looking at the threads when Eddie Izzard was recast. Some Narniawebbers were really disappointed that he wouldn't be returning. Others were neutral or even glad.

My problems with BBC Reepicheep mainly had to do with the casting. While his dialogue was drawn from the book, I feel like the actor lacked the dignity and courtliness to evoke the character. He mostly came across as really angry. Of course, Reepicheep should be fierce. He's probably the most bloodthirsty good character in the books. :)) But he's also supposed to be really polite and aloof. Like I said, it's hard to hit that sweet spot for this character.

Both the voice actors for Reepicheep in the Walden movies were fine IMO. But the scripts portrayed him as too cynical and self aware for my taste. I mean Reepicheep should be self aware but his status as a mouse; it's a sore point for him. But I feel he shouldn't mention this himself except very delicately. For example, when a shocked Caspian says, "you are a mouse," I don't think Reepicheep should have sighed and said, "I was hoping for something a little more original than that." Instead he should have just give Caspian a death glare. X( Sort of like that but icier.

To pick one controversial line, a commentator on one of the podcasts objected to Reepicheep telling Pattertwig to "shut up" because he felt it went against Reepicheep's kindness. https://www.narniaweb.com/2018/04/lasar ... /#comments I also object to the line but for totally different reasons. ;)) I don't feel like Reepicheep was a particularly kind character in the books. I see him as being very aloof and, like I said, bloodthirsty. The nice things he does are done out of a sense of duty rather than charity. The "shut up" line bothers me because I feel like Reepicheep should use more elaborate and dignified language even when under stress. That's part of what makes him entertaining, the contrast between his small stature and his big vocabulary.

Looking back on what I've written, I'd say that main thing that's been missing from portrayals of Reepicheep has been courtliness. What do you guys think?
For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen
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Re: Reepicheep's Characterization

Postby King_Erlian » Dec 03, 2018 1:50 am

I don't agree that the nice things Reepicheep does are done out of a sense of duty rather than charity. Look at the way he comforts Eustace when the latter had been turned into a dragon. Reep had no "duty" to help him; instead he went out of his way to offer him kindness and encouragement. He took a risk given that he and Eustace had been at loggerheads ever since the children had appeared on the Dawn Treader, and now Eustace was a dragon he could have swallowed Reepicheep in one gulp.
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Re: Reepicheep's Characterization

Postby Reepicheep775 » Dec 05, 2018 9:33 am

What a great topic! :D

I agree that Reepicheep comforting Eustace was an act of charity, but I think I get where Col Klink is coming from. Eustace is almost at the point of despair after he becomes a dragon and I think Reepicheep recognizes that and changes his attitude towards him. Does that make him a "kind" character? I guess it depends what you mean by "kind". If your definition of "kindness" includes "patience" or "indulgence", then I don't think that's a good description for him. He holds himself and others to a high standard and isn't afraid to let people know if he thinks they are behaving dishonourably. Before Eustace reaches his low point and is acting disrespectfully or like a bully, Reepicheep has nothing but harsh words for him.

It brings to mind King Lune's words to Cor in HHB: "Never taunt a man save when he is stronger than you: then, as you please." Reepicheep will resist an enemy that is stronger than him (and, in his case, that's almost everyone :P), but he recognizes that it is shameful to kick a man when he is down.

This is in contrast to Lucy, who I would definitely think of as a kind character. She tries to be nice to Eustace pretty much throughout the book regardless of how nasty he is being to everyone around him.

I think the VDT movie made Reepicheep too mellow. I think that, in the book, once Eustace is turned into a dragon and his behaviour is improved, Reepicheep genuinely cares about him. But, he was also genuinely upset and offended by Eusatce's lack of respect earlier in the book. The antagonism was real. The movie made it more playful, so it didn't really feel like the real Reepicheep to me.

As for Reepicheep saying "shut up" to Pattertwig... I can definitely see Reepicheep getting frustrated with such a silly statement as "we could collect nuts" during a council of war (again, going back to the idea that Reepicheep holds high standards for others), but I agree he wouldn't use the words "shut up". Maybe something more like, "Spare us your frivolities, Pattertwig!" :p
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