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Wolves of Narnia- Maugrim/Fenris Ulf  

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Cleander
(@the-mad-poet)
NarniaWeb Junkie

Like many people, I have a huge fondness for wolves. That said, I don't mind them being villains in stories, so Narnia doesn't bother me on that score. (And actually a few wolves are mentioned among Aslan's reinforcements at the battle in LWW, so it looks like C.S. Lewis was fair enough to concede that there could be good wolves. :D )
What does bother me is the way they're dramatized in every Narnia adaptation. I still have yet to see/hear a decent portrayal of Maugrim/Fenris Ulf. None of the actors who've played him before quite capture what I have in my head as his voice.
First of all, Fenris Ulf is a figure in Norse mythology, the ravenous pet wolf of the god Odin. He is actually a symbol of death in the Norse world.
With that in mind , I think Fenris/Maugrim should be played as a cold, stoic, terrifying character. Lines like "I hear and obey, O Queen," seem to suggest a deep, hollow voice. Not the flat, screaming, snarling, overacted voices of every actor who has played Maugrim since the books were dramatized. (American accents are also a bit annoying in a world with English origins.)
The voice most similar to what I'm imagining is that of Mullugutherum in the FOTF audio drama version of The Silver Chair. It sounds like a VOICE FROM THE GRAVE. Which is what I think of when I read Maugrim's lines in the book. The voice of death.
So what are your thoughts? What did you think of past Maugrim performances? How would you like him portrayed in the Netflix series? What actor would you like to be in this role? Also, would you like his character to perhaps be expanded somehow? (if the series gets expansive.)

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Posted : June 21, 2019 10:31 am
Glenwit
(@glenwit)
NarniaWeb Regular

Fellow wolf enthusiast here!

There's a part of me that really wants to hear Andy Serkis as Maugrim. Especially if we want the voice to have that deep, menacing, and probably somewhat animalistic timbre.

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Posted : October 29, 2019 6:39 am
Cleander
(@the-mad-poet)
NarniaWeb Junkie

Probably on the right track there. The Narnian wolves of the past have been too raspy and flat and snarly, so a deeper tone would definitely be the key to improvement. Charles Dance, perhaps?

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Posted : October 29, 2019 12:25 pm
wolfloversk
(@wolfloversk)
The Wandering, Wild & Welcoming Winged Wolf Hospitality Committee

Oh my goodness!  How have I not found this thread yet?!  Of course I'm a wolf enthusiast... it's in my username 😛

I don't mind the Narnian wolves (like Maugrim) being villains as Narnian animals are sentient beasts that have a concept of right and wrong and made a choice to follow the wrong side (rather than being born evil).  (This is in contrast to scenes in Beauty and the Beast, Frozen, or Little Red Riding Hood... the attacks there are often not consistent with wolf behavoir and biology and/or portray wolves as evil by nature 😛 ).  Further C.S. Lewis did make a point not to sterotype all wolves as evil... we don't know any of them by name, but he does mention there are good wolves fighting at Aslan's side in LWW.

I liked most of their voices in the 2005 LWW movie, but I didn't like their portrayal in previous adaptations... much too raspy.  There's dog-like and then there's over doing it 😛  I like the idea others are suggesting of a deeper tone... maybe something along the lines of Scar/Jeremy Irons from the original Lion King as Maugrim or even Benedict Cumberpatch?  I don't think they should be as deep as Liam Neeson or James Earl Jones.  (Well, ok, Liam Neeson might work, the longer I picture it.)

On another note I really want them to show some wolves fighting for Aslan in the first Battle of Beruna!  Even an introduced named good wolf or flying wolf character or two... that would be one change I would not mind in the slightest.  Bats eyes  

 

"The mountains are calling and I must go, and I will work on while I can, studying incessantly." -John Muir
"Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed." -Richard Adams, Watership Down

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Posted : June 8, 2020 4:52 pm
Geekicheep
(@geekicheep)
NarniaWeb Regular

I don't know enough about actors to answer that question.  As far as the voice, I saw the 1979 cartoon before I was old enough to read the book, so I never had to imagine what his voice would sound like.  It just fit.  But when you mentioned Mullugutherum in the radio version of The Silver Chair, I could immediately imagine the kind of voice you imagined.  I don't necessarily mind the raspy voices Maugrim has had in the past, but I think a voice like you described would be very fitting.

As far as expanding the story goes, I would rather reserve that kind of thing for fanfic.  I could see Maugrim at the center of a very good story: with his pack divided, which side would he choose?  We like to refer to Lewis' knowledge of mythology, the whole Norse symbol of death thing, but in Narnia he was just a wolf.  So maybe he sided with the Witch because she threatened to turn his family to stone if he didn't.  Or maybe it was because his rival, an Aslan supporter, stole his girlfriend.  Or maybe one of Aslan's followers killed his parents (look what that did to Batman, lol).  Wow... I kind of want to write this right now! 😀

But honestly, making villains relatable is a modern thing - it's a realistic thing, and has great potential in communicating good messages through story - but it just doesn't sound like Lewis.  I've had similar thoughts about the Witch herself - like what was the "terrible price" of learning the Deplorable Word (apart from, you know, killing everybody in the universe)?  What drove her to literally go to war against her sister?  I could go on.  And don't get me started on other characters (Coriakin, the Lady of the Green Kirtle, etc.).  But the gaps in the Narnia stories are part of what make them special - they leave fans to speculate and imagine and dream.  Few stories do that anymore, as we fans tend to over-analyze stuff like this.  So expanding the Narnia canon is not something I'd necessarily want to see.

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Posted : June 23, 2020 7:30 pm
Cleander
(@the-mad-poet)
NarniaWeb Junkie
Posted by: @geekicheep

As far as expanding the story goes, I would rather reserve that kind of thing for fanfic.  I could see Maugrim at the center of a very good story: with his pack divided, which side would he choose?  We like to refer to Lewis' knowledge of mythology, the whole Norse symbol of death thing, but in Narnia he was just a wolf.  So maybe he sided with the Witch because she threatened to turn his family to stone if he didn't.  Or maybe it was because his rival, an Aslan supporter, stole his girlfriend.  Or maybe one of Aslan's followers killed his parents (look what that did to Batman, lol).  Wow... I kind of want to write this right now! 😀

You write it and I'll read it! Sounds like an awesome fanfic!

I suppose I'd say Maugrim doesn't need a backstory, considering he's more of a henchman figure in the story overall. It might be nice to see some more semi-positive interaction with his "troops" though, just to help avoid the whole " wolves are evil" thing.

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Posted : July 2, 2020 10:28 am
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