Father Christmas in the Netflix Series

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Father Christmas in the Netflix Series

Postby Col Klink » May 09, 2019 10:48 am

I've heard that some people object to the character of Father Christmas in LWW because he's a fantasy character generally aimed at children younger than the target audience for Narnia. (Doris T. Myers made the argument that Father Christmas is appropriate since each Narnia book represents a different stage of life with LWW being the youngest and LB the oldest. An interesting argument though I don't totally buy into it.)

I wonder if these skeptics might be reconciled if the new adaptation establishes that Father Christmas exists in the world of Narnia prior to his scene. Then he might not seem "random" to some people. They could have Tumnus and the Beavers, when discussing the White Witch's reign, mention that Father Christmas has not been seen in Narnia since the winter began. Or maybe this would just make the "problem" of Father Christmas worse if he's a bigger (offscreen) presence.

P.S.
If my memory serves, the 1970s cartoon didn't show Father Christmas but still mentioned him which seems...weird to me. Are they talking about Father Christmas figuratively or does he really exist in the world of the cartoon? :-?? ;))
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Re: Father Christmas in the Netflix Series

Postby JFG II » May 10, 2019 10:37 am

I think most people have an incorrect view on who exactly Narnia’s target audience is for. I think it’s for all kids old enough to read a 200-page book. For me, that was age 9. Ironically, that’s the age I finally realized the truth about... :(. ;) I think Lewis included Father Christmas because that’s a figure who would have delighted him in the 1900’s when he was 10 years old. Kids in the 1950’s may or may not have been very different, but I don’t think Lewis would have cared much.
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Re: Father Christmas in the Netflix Series

Postby Ryadian » May 15, 2019 12:40 pm

I think what JFG II says about the assumed age of readers plays into this, but I think another factor is that I think LWW was at the point when Narnia was the most "British" and before it had fully developed its own identity. I wish I remembered who and where, but someone on the forum recently commented on Mrs. Beaver having a sewing machine, too, which seems much more technologically advanced than anything else we see in Narnia (not counting the torch Edmund brings from England). I think, in that vein, Lewis may have felt that Father Christmas, for a primarily young and British audience, didn't really need introduction, and his existence was no more strange than that of talking animals or White Witches. After all, we already know that Christmas exists here, isn't Father Christmas only natural?

That being said, I think having Mr. Tumnus or the Beavers mention Father Christmas in a prior conversation is a perfectly reasonable way to acknowledge his existence beforehand. It's not like Father Christmas's existence in Narnia is supposed to be a surprise, so I think the biggest danger would be if it feels like clumsy foreshadowing instead of worldbuilding. I think the conversation in Mr. Tumnus's cave would make the most sense, so that it feels less like introducing the concept right before it's relevant, and because that's when "always winter, never Christmas" is introduced.
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Re: Father Christmas in the Netflix Series

Postby Col Klink » May 16, 2019 7:02 am

Maybe I should clarify that I don't have a problem with Father Christmas myself. I just know that some people out there do and its possible the creators of the new adaptation will too or be worried about viewers who do. If I remember right, the LWW movie had Susan initially react incredulously to Father Christmas, saying, "I've put up with a lot since I got here but this..." possibly reflecting the screenwriters' own reaction to having the character in the story. This might have annoyed me if the scene focused on it much or if it felt like the movie was getting cynical or self aware. But I was OK with it because the director kept it in the background and the main focus of the scene was the same as the book. It didn't even feel so much like a lampshade hanging as a natural reaction for the character who hadn't expected to ever see Father Christmas.
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Re: Father Christmas in the Netflix Series

Postby Monty Jose » May 17, 2019 2:10 pm

I'm still formulating my own thoughts on this, mostly because I've never been a huge fan of Bacchus and Silenus in the books, and having Father Christmas as a character is part of the same vein. I never had a real, solid problem with Father Christmas, though, and I like how Walden depicted him.

But if Netflix decides to include Father Christmas, I think it would be a smart move to make a conscious effort to include other such characters, as mentioned in the books. Don't shy away from Father Time or Bacchus and Silenus. Otherwise Father Christmas feels completely out of place when you consider the series as a whole.

Either Narnia is place where you encounter the people you only hear about in our world (as Lewis states) or it is not.
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Re: Father Christmas in the Netflix Series

Postby coracle » May 18, 2019 2:10 pm

Col Klink wrote: If I remember right, the LWW movie had Susan initially react incredulously to Father Christmas, saying, "I've put up with a lot since I got here but this..." possibly reflecting the screenwriters' own reaction to having the character in the story.

There was an interview reported with the two screenwriters, in which they had supposedly said 'Susie' was the voice of the author. It seems likely that they did actually say it, which helps to show what calibre of writers they were - they had no idea what they were taking on!

The final version of the scene presented it nicely, and the backgrounder comments explain that Lucy's line "I told you he was real" had been moved from earlier in the scene for a better effect.

The mythical person, who most of us know 'about', is part of our own world's myths, and I would be sorry if Netflix left him out.

The stage show I saw 18 months ago had a wonderful dancing and singing character (sounds corny but he was very special), and so my ideas of what FC should look like are wider than before.

I can't come up with any names, but I'd want someone with a warm deep voice who could give the same presence and semi-magical feeling as the actor I saw.
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Re: Father Christmas in the Netflix Series

Postby Cleander » May 19, 2019 2:50 pm

When I first read about Father Christmas in Narnia, I'll admit he seemed a little out of place. The image of the man in a red coat with the reindeer and sled is a relatively modern one, though the legend of St. Nicholas has existed since the 4th century.
Maybe in the next movies, something could be done to make him a little less like Santa Claus. In fact, some of the concept art of Father Christmas for the Walden LWW movie has a much more mythical feel- a tall, bearded man in a long red robe with a staff in his hand and a sword on his belt. I seem to recall someone describing him more as a "Norse warrior." This didn't really show up in the actual movie, but I think something like this would help him fit better into the world of Narnia, especially if Netflix decides to go darker, as some have predicted.
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