Zi71bFS9nQHnivtvUJquhejTHIQ The Story Factory Reading Zone: Part 1 of 'The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe'- Finding Trust and Narnia

Friday, 16 July 2010

Part 1 of 'The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe'- Finding Trust and Narnia

Having read to the end of Chapter 6 and watched the movie up to the same point, the main difference that has struck me is the increased lack of trust shown by the children in the film version. The reasons for this are clearly set up- they have been evacuated in the middle of the Blitz, having already experienced a terrible air raid themselves. There father is at war and Edmund, in particular, is extremly fond of him. Much more is made of this than in the book, probably because of an expectation that the audience may not understand the background to events as the original reader would have. I do wonder however, whether the addition of Edmund's worries about his father are not a product of our blame culture, as if what he is going to do is simply a result of the terrible society in which he has grown up. Anyway, with this background in mind and combined with our modern fears, it is easy to see why the movie includes more trust issues.

Firstly, Mrs McCredie makes a big issue about not just interrupting her tours but a mirad of other things including not disturbing the professor. It is as if she cannot trust the children to behave without her direct instructions. Secondly, when Lucy meets Mr Tumlus it is not only the faun that is shocked but her as well. They both come across as a lot more scared. This gives an opportunity for the film Lucy to be reassured prior to an invitation to Mr Tumlus' house which, incidentally, she seems to be more hesitant about still. Thirdly, on a similar theme, Edmund needs to be saved by The White Witch before he trusts her enough to accept food, and then he only accepts said food after talking for a while. One wonders if these are the director's attempts to reinterate 'don't accept food from strangers'- the character has to be established as a possible friend before food can be taken. Fourthly, partly in reaction to Mrs McCredie's added warning, the Susan and Peter seem a lot more wary of talking to The Professor. In the book it is there choice to go to him and they talk freely with the reassurance that the story will be sent home if necessary. In the film they seem almost worried of being judged unable to look after their sister. They only talk to The Professor because they are forced to be Lucy's bumping into him, and then they do it hesitantly. Lastly, Peter and Susan's talk to The Professor seems to suggest that they agree with Edmund that little children often carry their imaginations too far. The only mention of madness, or that she could really believe what's happening, comes from the adult present and then only in passing. The implication is that it is totally reasonable not to trust strangers, adults you've only known a short while (even if they are officially caring for you) and young children (even siblings)- in short that it is natural not too trust others.

Interestingly, there is one difference between the movie and the book that does not fit this pattern! The final entry into the wardrobe in both versions is made when escaping from Mrs McCredie. But, in the book, this is simply because there is a tour going on which they've been told not to disturb. In the film not only are the children already in trouble for waking The Professor, they've also broken a window. I wonder if this increased impetus for running away does not reflect the difference in seriousness needed to reprimand children in today's society. To run away simply because they were happened upon is no longer enough- in such circumstances today could they not have simply stated that it was an accident there being there!

Anyway, back to the book.
I wanted to look at the different ways in which the children enter Narnia, referring to The Magicians' Nephew (which I recently read) and occassionally the film version as well.
  1. The first child to enter is Lucy. Lucy has no prior conception of Narnia when she enters, she simply wishes to explore (something that is lost in the film). Like Digory and Polly, she has to reassure herself that she will be able to get back home. But, like them,  she also has the childlike innocence that allows her to be open to new ideas. She has no issue with their being such things as fauns, in-fact she hardly seems surprised to come across Mr Tumlus. The movie portays this innocence beautifully when Lucy first sees the woods- and it is worth watching only for this moment. I couldn't help but think that this is what Jesus must have meant by entering the kingdom of God like a child. It is almost with sadness that I read about her beginning to doubt that it was real.
  2. The next to find Narnia is Edmund. He already found that he could not enter the other world when he was looking for it. He has told everyone that he doesn't believe Lucy and we are told that he enters the wardrobe only to tease her. However, we are also told that he is only a year older than Lucy and his teasing reminds me very much of that of a young boy who mocks something because he is scared to believe that it might be true. And whilst he's not prepared for the weather in Narnia, he doesn't seem to surprised to be there really. The book simply says that he was reluctant to admit that he had been wrong. Interestingly, he seems naturally afraid of the new place in a way that none of his siblings seem to have been. Is this, like Uncle Andrew, because he knows he's done something wrong?
  3. Finally, Susan and Peter enter Narnia. They too could not enter the other world when they were searching for proof. Is this C.S. Lewis' way of saying that if we search for proof of our faith then we will not find it? Eventually, when least expecting it, they do manage to get into Narnia. At this point they are not even considering what Lucy had said and even if they were, they have been prepared by The Professor to be more willing to accept the truth. Was that talk necessary to allow them entry into the other world?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...