More on Narnia

Yes, I’ve been to Brisneyland and back. I might even blog about it one day..

In the meantime, here’s some further observations from N:TLTWaTW, which I’ve now seen three times[1]

* Aslan doesn’t strike me as much of a messiah figure. I meant, a wicked witch takes over his dominion and it takes him 100 years to get around to turning up to fix things.. what’s the point of that? He doesn’t even try to turn it into some sort of moral – he just says something along the lines of “Sorry about the mess, had to pop out for a bit, never mind, lets get the cleanup started shall we? *nervous laughter*”

* Edmund is quite clearly portrayed as being gay – or at least, Peter thinks he is. First Peter calls him “Dolly Daydream” after a cricket ball hits him. Then, Peter insists he wear a girls coat, leading to this exchange:

Edmund: But that’s a girls coat!

Peter: (forcefully) I know.

Lastly, Edmund’s “ow!” when hit by a snowball is quite stereotypically feminine.

* Edmund is really the only character I sympathise with at all. Peter’s too obsessed with (as Edmund points out) attempting to fill the role of their absent father for the whole movie for me to be interested (it doesn’t help that in trying to do this he mostly just comes off as an overbearing impatient uncaring tyrant…). Susan is only a little better than Peter, and also is far to unwilling to experience the adventure. Lucy is too young for me to have any connection with.

Edmund spends most of the movie being misunderstood and mistreated, but generally trying to do the right thing. He does make some mistakes, but on the whole I find him much more believably human and much easier to sympathise with than any of the others.

* There are repeated references to Aslan having his camp “at the Stone Table”. However, it’s quite clear that his camp is, in fact, not very close to the Stone Table at all.

For one thing, the LotR-inspired flyover of what starts as a paper (parchment?) map, turns 3D, and then blends into a flying shot over the real terrain is quite explicit – it starts at the Stone Table, crosses (from memory) a mountain range or two, some plains, and a few other features before the camera gets to Aslan’s camp.

For another, the ceremony that the Witch performs to kill Aslan is performed at the Stone Table; clearly, this wouldn’t be happening if Aslan’s followers were anywhere around. At minimum then, the Stone Table is well out of earshot of Aslan’s camp, and not in a direct line of sight or the torches carried by the Witches followers would be seen. Given that the Stone Table seems to be on a rise, and the countryside, being pre-industrial, would be quite quiet, this would seem to place it quite a distance away.

Additionally, it’s reasonable to assume that Aslan’s camp would have some kind of sentrys patrolling its perimeter, if not patrolling around the camp for some distance as well – it is, after all, a military camp, not just a few backpackers enjoying the wilderness. The Stone Table would thus have to be well out of earshot and line of sight from these sentries, who might themselves be just barely within earshot of the camp, or perhaps even beyond it.

* On the other hand, Aslan is able to walk from his camp to the Stone Table during the course of just part of the night. Assuming he leaves fairly early (say, 10pm), arrives just before daybreak (say, 4am), and manages 5km/h the whole time (not unreasonable, given the terrain he’s crossing and the fact that Lucy is able to keep up) – well, that’s maybe 30km between his camp and the Stone Table. Given that Lucy was able to keep up though, I’d expect that somewhere more around 1-2 hours would be the maximum distance, so no more than 5-10km.

* In fact, confusion over sizing seems to extend through the whole movie. As far as we can tell, the children start walking with the Beavers late in the afternoon at the Lamp Post, which is described as being at one extremity of Narnia. They have some dinner with the beavers, see Edmund enter the Witches castle, get back to the Beavers’ house, then flee the wolves. The encounters with SC and the wolves seem to happen fairly early the next day (presumably after an all-night trek?), and then they finally arrive at Aslan’s camp late that afternooon.

* In other words, Narnia can be crossed by a small child (Lucy), on foot, with little/no rest, in around 24 hours. So, not very large.

* Again, after his resurrection, Aslan is able to run from the Stone Table, to the Witches castle, revive everyone, and get them all back to the field of battle – and he doesn’t start till after the battle has started. Again, this is not a very big place we’re dealing with.

* This is borne out by the hunting scene at the very end… I think. Don’t remember exact details, but I’m fairly sure one of the girls mentions that Edmund made his boast in the castle – meaning they’ve ridden all the way from Cair Paravel (described as the other extremity) to the Lamp Post within a day’s hunting

* Just what is Narnia anway, though? N:TMN (the book) describes Aslan singing Narnia into being, just as The Last Battle describes Aslan presiding over its Armaggedon-analoge and the Last Judgement. However, books such as N:THaHB make it clear that Narnia is just one country, not the whole world. Having Narnia (the country) be metonymous for the whole world wouldn’t be particularly unusual, but it’s never clearly explained in the movie (or in the books, as far as I can recall)

* I’ve seen many other people talk about ways in which this is a flawed Christian allegory; one that I’ve not seen mentioned is the way Susan acts toward her bow. The Christian bible teaches quite strongly that one of the most important qualities for a Christian to posess is trust and faith in the divine. Similarly, when Susan is given her bow, she’s told to trust in her bow, and it will always shoot true. However, what does Susan do as soon as she’s decided she’s going to use the bow? She starts practicing – hardly indicating that she trusts the divine power that gave her the bow. This reminds me of several biblical stories – for instance, Moses striking the rock.

* Come to think of it – just why is there a Christmas in Narnia anyway? Christmas is the Christ Mass – unless there was a Christ in Narnia, having a Mass for him makes no sense at all.

That’s all from me for now… on this topic, at least.

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