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Pig Transformations in Prince Caspian: Truth or Legend?

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Pig Transformations in Prince Caspian: Truth or Legend?

Postby Col Klink » Feb 22, 2019 1:48 pm

I think it's interesting that one of the reasons some people dislike the liberation of Beruna at the end of Prince Caspian is that they don't like Aslan turning the obnoxious young students into pigs. The book never actually says he does do this. It just leaves it open as a possibility. Here's the relevant quote.

And it was said afterward (whether truly or not) that those particular little boys were never seen again but that there were a lot of very fine little pigs in that part of the country which had never been there before.

Lewis clearly says that they might have been turned into pigs but that might just as easily have been myths which sprung up later. If you like the idea of those characters turning into pigs, you can believe it. And if you dislike it, you can dismiss it just as easily. I'm surprised more people haven't picked up on this.

Which interpretation do you like? I don't think I have a strong preference myself. On the one hand, I love it when obnoxious children suffer. On the other hand, I love the idea that even with places and events as fantastic as this, storytellers still want to exaggerate.

I actually love that section of PC but I'm not actually the normal target audience for the Narnia books though I'm close. As a kid, I was much more interested in fantasies that were whimsical and crazy and humorous than adventure stories. Scenes that focused on military battles, while obviously interesting to the characters who experienced them, all sound the same to me. It's moments like these which keep the stories from being generic.
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Re: Pig Transformations in Prince Caspian: Truth or Legend?

Postby Cleander » Feb 22, 2019 2:11 pm

First, let me just say that those moments during the liberation (the assault on the two schools and such) always wierded me out because I was always imagining modern-looking schools, teachers and students, even though the book never directly describes them as such. Of course some people might say that it was Lewis' way of having the old and mythical triumph over the new and pragmatic (which is probably more truly said of the Silver Chair). I had a hard time deciding the first time I read it just how medieval-ish the Telmarines really were.
About the pigs- I don't know why this would really bother anyone that much, even if it was true. Lewis was probably using these boys and their school to represent what the prevailing values were that Telmarine youth were being taught- hence the disagreeable nature of their country. (It could also possibly be inspired by George MacDonald's The Princess and Curdie, which features certain ill-mannered people slowly becoming animals and monsters which share the character traits they had displayed).
But like you said, the whole thing is somewhat uncertain, so there's no need for anyone to take offense at it, even if you are bothered by people being turned into pigs at tender ages. It would be a scene probably best left out of any adaptation, though, if it really has that much of a problem just on paper.
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Re: Pig Transformations in Prince Caspian: Truth or Legend?

Postby Ryadian » Mar 03, 2019 9:16 am

I tend to agree that the book is deliberately vague about whether or not it's true, and very likely for the exact reasons that you said. One thing when it comes to whether or not I believe it, though, is that Rabadash experienced a similar punishment as a grown man after committing an act of treachery worthy of death. Despite this, he was given an opportunity to be turned back to a human and even lived out his days still ruling Calormen (though of course with the fear of turning back if he ever left Tashbaan).

Granted, this story was written well before that and from a "meta" perspective, perhaps it's not fair to judge the intent of this book by what came later. But within the stories, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me that these children would be punished so much more severely than a grown man with no hope of mercy. (Besides, it's always bothered me, the thought that one of their parents might ignorantly catch one of these pigs and make a meal of it - *shudder*!) I prefer to think that the boys were just scared senseless, and a legend grew up after the fact.
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