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Beavers' first names?  

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Cleander
(@the-mad-poet)
NarniaWeb Junkie

Hey everybody,

A quick question occurred to me after watching the LWW movie last night with my siblings. Why do Mr. and Mrs. Beaver not seem to have first/specific names? How do they tell themselves apart from all the other beavers in Narnia if all they go by is "beaver?"
(Ok, I think it's pretty obvious that Lewis didn't really consider things like this when he started writing Narnia. He seems to have started naming his animals in Prince Caspian. But just for the sake of some fun speculation, (which Narnia fans seem to love) how would you explain the beavers' apparent lack of first names? What do you think would make good first names for Mr. and Mrs. Beaver?

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Posted : April 12, 2020 6:17 pm
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Nut

In Prince Caspian, Nikabrik mentions that talking beavers are now extinct in Narnia, possibly because of the White Witch. Maybe there were so few beavers at the time of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe that they were totally defined by their species and had no names.

(OK, not a great explanation but it's the best I can come up with off the top of my head.)

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Posted : April 13, 2020 11:18 am
The Rose-Tree Dryad
(@rose)
Secret Garden Agent Moderator

I was thinking something similar, Col Klink. It reminds me of The Magician's Nephew when there is only two of each species, and we hear things like He-Elephant and She-Elephant. Irather think they don't have any name but Beaver, because when Aslan meets them in LWW, he greets them thus:

"Welcome, Peter, Son of Adam," said Aslan. "Welcome, Susan and Lucy, Daughters of Eve. Welcome He-Beaver and She-Beaver."

So he mentions Peter, Susan and Lucy's names and their ancestry, but no first names for the Beavers.

If they did have first names... even though it doesn't really seem Narnian at all, I kind of lean towards turn-of-the-century English names like John and Ernest and Hazel and Dorothy. ;))

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Posted : April 13, 2020 11:45 am
JFG II
(@jfg-ii)
NarniaWeb Regular

I think they didn’t have first names since, like the Professor, they are the only ones of their noble ilk in the first story.

In the long run, unlike the other characters we meet in LWW, I think Lewis intended Mr. and Mrs. Beaver to be the only talking Beavers in Narnia. It makes their discovery and protection of the children all the more compelling and dramatic for the story. It’s also achingly sad in PC. And elating in LB.

So I don’t think they had first names, except perhaps Heaver and Sheaver.

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Posted : April 16, 2020 12:35 pm
Cleander
(@the-mad-poet)
NarniaWeb Junkie

Great points, everyone. (I like the idea of John and Hazel Beaver, Rose!)
I wonder if C.S. Lewis maybe wrote the small explanations in Prince Caspian to account for this detail lest it should be noticed and questioned. The near-extinction theory sounds pretty convincing, but I wonder if Lewis thought of it later.

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Posted : April 16, 2020 6:32 pm
starkat
(@starkat)
Member Moderator

It could also be a sign of respecting the fact they were a "married" couple. Or maybe because they were introducing themselves to children?

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Posted : May 13, 2020 6:23 am
Reepi
(@reepi)
NarniaWeb Nut

Maybe their first names are just "Mr." and "Mrs." ;)

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Posted : May 24, 2020 10:29 pm
ericnovak liked
Geekicheep
(@geekicheep)
NarniaWeb Regular
Posted by: @col-klink

In Prince Caspian, Nikabrik mentions that talking beavers are now extinct in Narnia, possibly because of the White Witch. Maybe there were so few beavers at the time of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe that they were totally defined by their species and had no names.

(OK, not a great explanation but it's the best I can come up with off the top of my head.)

When I read the original post, this was my first thought too.  It may not be a "great" explanation, but it's definitely logical.  I kind of wonder if this was Lewis's way of answering the question for us...?  Nah!

The only other thought I came up with was, maybe Beaver was actually their last name - I'm on an e-mail list where I've seen a guy with the last name Homme (which is French for "man").  So somewhere in our world is a man named Mr. Man - is a beaver named Beaver really that much of a stretch? 😀  Maybe it's super-rare, and most other beavers have last names like Clubtail, Longtooth, or Damgood. 😀

While we're on the subject, here's a funny one: What about "Bulgy Bear"?!  Was "bulgy" just a mean nickname his friends gave him, or was that his actual name? 😀  Okay, I know I'm getting goofy and a bit off-topic here, sorry...

But all joking aside, it's extremely hard to come up with unique names for every character.  I'm running into that problem with my own writing, and Lewis probably struggled with it as well.  I mean he came up with Tumnus, Maugrim, Rumblebuffin, Shasta, Coriakin, Puddleglum, Pattertwig, Nikabrik, Trumpkin, Rillian, and so many others (not to mention names of places, which is equally difficult).  I'm not surprised a few characters never got named.

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Posted : June 23, 2020 6:55 pm
ericnovak
(@ericnovak)
NarniaWeb Guru
Posted by: @reepi

Maybe their first names are just "Mr." and "Mrs." ;)

I came here to say the same thing 😂


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Posted : June 24, 2020 6:21 am
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Junkie

You know, it just occurred to me that when Aslan addresses the Beavers, he simply calls them "He-Beaver and She-Beaver", which to me suggests Lewis didn't give them names at all. In fact, off the top of my head, I think Aslan is the only Talking Beast in LWW who is named.

It also occurs to me that while the Beavers are quite a bit more human-like than most of the Talking Beasts we meet in the later books — they live in a house, use a sewing machine, wear snowshoes, fry fish and boil potatoes and bake a marmalade roll — they don't have names, whereas nearly all the Talking Beasts from Prince Caspian onwards DO have names and yet aren't as anthropomorphic!! I can only guess that Lewis only gradually developed his concepts of what Narnia's animal inhabitants would be like, and at the time he wrote LWW he hadn't fully thought out any sequels and so it didn't occur to him that it might later seem strange that the Beavers don't have names, in comparison with other Narnian animals.

It also makes sense that the Pevensies, being polite and well-brought-up English children in the 1940s, would address two sentient and very civilised beavers as "Mr" and "Mrs". We've already seen that with Lucy and the Faun — when he introduces himself, all he says is "My name is Tumnus", but Lucy immediately calls him "Mr Tumnus" in reply, and that's how he's referred to from there on in. It's always felt natural to me in the context of the story that the children should address "grown-up" characters, even magical ones, by titles instead of first names — it'd seem strange in today's world, of course, but it fits the time Lewis was writing in and the way he himself would have been brought up. 

"Now you are a lioness," said Aslan. "And now all Narnia will be renewed."
(Prince Caspian)

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Posted : June 24, 2020 6:58 am
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