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Calormenes

Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Guru

So what would Calormenes wear in a film or series adaption?

They would have to find a way to distinguished the upper class and the lower class. A Tarkaan was known to wear a gold ring on his arm (it's probably a brace or something).

Aravis has different outfits: a warrior, peasant clothes, imperial dress.

I actually envision Lasaraleen wearing something bright and carrying a fan. 

The Tisroc could almost look like a sultan. 

Rabadash should have a jeweled turban, as described as in the book.

I can almost picture Rishda wearing the gold ring on his arm, given that he was a Tarkaan and some kind of sash.

I even picture Emeth wearing something similar except for the sash.

What are your thoughts on these ideas? Do you have any of your own?

"And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called me beloved."
(Emeth, The Last Battle)
https://escapetoreality.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/aslan-and-emeth2.jpg

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Topic starter Posted : April 2, 2023 5:54 pm
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Fanatic Hospitality Committee

I know I keep going on about this, but any screen adaptation of Narnia seriously can NOT afford to make the Calormenes look like a blatant caricature of Middle Eastern or Indian / Pakistani cultures — even though that's how they appear in the now-70-year-old original books — or it will be slammed as racist. Like it or not, that's the world we live in now.

If I were on the design / costuming team for a film of either of the two Narnia stories that include the Calormenes, I would probably look at clothing, jewellery, architecture etc. from a whole range of cultures in our world — mainly desert-dwelling ones, naturally — and try to come up with a general "look" that's very different from the Narnians and Archenlanders, but that doesn't look too much like any specifically recognisable Earthly culture. Turbans and scimitars would almost certainly be out, for that reason. I'd want to design headwear, weapons, ornaments and other such gear that would look "exotic" and believable for a highly materialistic, hierarchical, warlike people who live in a very hot and dry land, but which (hopefully) wouldn't have critics jumping on this as a caricature of any specific society — or religion — in our world. That wouldn't be an easy job, but as far as I can see, it's the only way those two books are ever going to be made into adaptations for the mainstream market at all.

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

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Posted : April 3, 2023 1:29 am
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Guru
Posted by: @courtenay

Turbans and scimitars would almost certainly be out, for that reason.

I haven't thought about that. Though it's hard to say whether filmmakers will want to go by the books.

Posted by: @courtenay

I'd want to design headwear, weapons, ornaments and other such gear that would look "exotic" and believable for a highly materialistic, hierarchical, warlike people who live in a very hot and dry land.

Yes, that is an option. There's probably different desert jewelry out there.

Now if I remember correctly, Rishda is described as wearing a helmet instead of a turban. And I think that's the only physical description of him we get in the book. So I guess he wouldn't need a turban. Then of course, a film adaption could decide to give him an exotic headgear to make him decide out from the rest of the soldiers, given that he's the captain.

And there aren't any female Calormenes in The Last Battle, except for Aravis who is presented at the reunion with the others from past Narnia books. Then of course, a film or series adaption could decide to add in female Calormenes (as background characters, that is). But I digress.

Now to get back on topic, here a couple of Calormene costume ideas.

https://i.pinimg.com/474x/b9/e5/68/b9e568673ad527575ee5def565d402ee--bridal-mehndi-indian-bridal.jpg

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/29/ea/2f/29ea2f7f885843f7c58ac980779819f3.jpg

 

I've actually came across these exotic jewelry online as well.

Painted Desert Necklace with Jasper Handmade

Men's 14k Yellow Gold Solid Nugget Bracelet 8.5

 

 

Please, feel free to share some ideas or even sketches for Calormene (including the Tisroc, Rabadash, Aravis, Lasaraleen, Rishda, and Emeth) costumes.

"And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called me beloved."
(Emeth, The Last Battle)
https://escapetoreality.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/aslan-and-emeth2.jpg

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Topic starter Posted : April 3, 2023 8:02 am
Courtenay liked
Eustace
(@eustace)
NarniaWeb Junkie

Although, I agree that maybe we should not paint the Calormes as a particular culture in our world, I am not sure that I agree that turbans are out. We could just have more people with turbans than the Calormens and then it wouldn't feel like a "racist" thing. For example, in BBC VODT we had Ramandu with a turban. 

But, in general I think the world of Narnia should take inspiration from our world for their clothes, and not be an exact replica. It does not make sense that these clothes would look the same as any in our world. With that in mind, I do not think that any of the clothes in Narnia or Calormen or Archenland should be exactly like a time period in our world. 

Naiads and Dyrads live in Narnia along with Sea people, mermaids, centaurs, fauns, and giants. Why wouldn't these people look different and dress different? We know that Archenland was descendants of Frank and Helen's kids who married nymphs and wood/river gods. So, why wouldn't their clothes be somewhat influenced by this. In turn, Calormen was started by certain exiled outlaws from Archenland fled across the southern desert and arrived in a then un-inhabited land.

Calormens were distance relations of the Archenlanders. So, I think their clothes should be related to naiads and dyrads as well. 

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Posted : May 4, 2023 8:00 pm
Narnian78
(@narnian78)
NarniaWeb Guru

I kind of wondered how good the Calormenes were at astronomy. And what would their costumes look like if they were the scientists of the country?  Perhaps they were like the wise men from the East in the Bible seeking the star of Bethlehem in their appearance. We don’t really know for certain what they looked like. They might have had something like the traditional clothing of people from our Middle East. Since there was a lot of desert in their country my guess is that the viewing of Narnian constellations as well as their own was very good with clear skies. So maybe they had stars, planets, and other astronomical objects shown on their clothing. I don’t remember any references to any Calormene stargazers, but there may have been some that we don’t know about. Were they like Roonwit the centaur or Doctor Cornelius in Narnia?  Probably there were at least some of them who were astrologers or more scientific astronomers.  We cannot know for certain, but it seems likely. Emeth might have had an appreciation for the night sky as a part of Aslan’s creation when he thought he was worshipping Tash. 🙂

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Posted : May 8, 2023 8:37 am
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Guru

@narnian78 

I actually haven't thought of that. We don't really know how Tash originally came to be in Narnia (though I do like the idea of keeping him mysterious).

It's sure something to think about how they might do Calormene costumes, and even speculate on what they might do. 

@eustace

I actually do remember Ramandu wearing a turban in the BBC adaptation of VDT.

I don't know if turbans would be out entirely for Calormenes. Though in The Last Battle, the book describes Rishda as wearing a helmet instead of a turban. So even if turbans are out for some reason, I'm sure they'll want to give Rishda a different look than the other soldiers, given that he's the captain (and not a very friendly one).

Anyhow, I'm sure someone will have a creative vision for the Calormene costumes.

"And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called me beloved."
(Emeth, The Last Battle)
https://escapetoreality.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/aslan-and-emeth2.jpg

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Topic starter Posted : June 3, 2023 6:00 pm
Narnian78 liked
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Guru

So when it comes to the Calormene costumes, well, I don't know if turbans would be completely out. Not only that, but turbans around helmets. I think in The Last Battle, Rishda could be the only one without the turban around his helmet, given that the book describes him as wearing a helmet instead of  turban, "and seemed to be in command."

The armor design, well, that may have to change than the books.

Then there's Rabadash in The Horse And His Boy. They would have to make him look like he's a prince. I'm not sure what princes would wear in that culture.

"And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called me beloved."
(Emeth, The Last Battle)
https://escapetoreality.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/aslan-and-emeth2.jpg

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Topic starter Posted : July 8, 2023 7:54 pm
icarus
(@icarus)
NarniaWeb Guru
Posted by: @jasmine_tarkheena
 
I don't know if turbans would be out entirely for Calormenes. Though in The Last Battle, the book describes Rishda as wearing a helmet instead of a turban. So even if turbans are out for some reason, I'm sure they'll want to give Rishda a different look than the other soldiers, given that he's the captain (and not a very friendly one.
Posted by: @jasmine_tarkheena
 
So when it comes to the Calormene costumes, well, I don't know if turbans would be completely out. Not only that, but turbans around helmets. I think in The Last Battle, Rishda could be the only one without the turban around his helmet, given that the book describes him as wearing a helmet instead of  turban, "and seemed to be in command."

 

 

If you are struggling with the Turban issue, here's how I would think about it:

Every visual aspect of a movie ought to be a deliberate choice that informs the storytelling in some way. Everything from the way a shot is lit and framed, to how the sets and costume are designed.

Therefore, what is it that you think the inclusion of Turbans would be trying to tell the audience about the Calormen culture?

For me, since Turbans are an important religious tradition in many different cultures, it feels wrong to trivialise that by making it symbolic of the villains. All you really seem to be telling the audience at that point with your visual choice is that the bad guys are bad because they represent non-Western religions. 

If though what we want to be telling the audience is that the Calormen are bad because they are a greedy and materialistic society, then the Turban is the absolute wrong choice to send that message.

 

For a potentially good example of how costume choices can be used to tell story, by leaning into cultural references, but without being overly problematic, I would look at Prince Caspian.

The use of Conquistador armour is there to tell the audience that the Telmarines are a colonising army who don't have respect for the indigenous population. The Conquistador helmet isn't a highly religious symbol and it doesn't carry associations which imply connotations to all Spanish people. But it does provide an easy visual shorthand to aid the storytelling.

Giving all the Calormen turbans would not do that in my opinion. If anything it would send a confusing and conflicted message.

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Posted : July 9, 2023 4:59 am
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Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Guru

@icarus

Some may even wonder if anyone was offended by the way that Peter Jackson depicted the Haradrim in his Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Maybe given at the time it was released, there probably weren't a lot of brows raise. The same could be for the Telmarines in Walden's Prince Caspian. There weren't a lot of brows raised when the Telmarines were depicted as Spanish consquitors.

Turbans actually predate Islam. I've looked it up, and it was worn in Ancient Babylon and Persia. Though some the costumes that are described in the book would probably have to change. The pointed shoes will probably be out.

"And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called me beloved."
(Emeth, The Last Battle)
https://escapetoreality.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/aslan-and-emeth2.jpg

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Topic starter Posted : July 9, 2023 2:18 pm
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Fanatic Hospitality Committee
Posted by: @jasmine_tarkheena

Turbans actually predate Islam. I've looked it up, and it was worn in Ancient Babylon and Persia. Though some the costumes that are described in the book would probably have to change. The pointed shoes will probably be out.

Turbans in today's world are actually far more associated with Sikhs than with Muslims (for practising male Sikhs, it's a religious obligation to wear a turban). But regardless of where and how these types of clothing originated, the upshot is the same. Any outfit for the villains that looks like a reference to ANY culture in this world that has been colonised, fought against, or otherwise vilified by "Westerners", is going to be taken as a racist slur. That honestly shouldn't be hard to understand.

@icarus has already made the point perfectly. The Calormenes are the bad guys because they represent a culture that is materialistic and imperialistic, not to mention violent, oppressive and misogynistic. (As lots of cultures in our own world have been throughout history, ancient and modern.) That needs to be what comes across most in the way they're portrayed. If a film of HHB or LB looks like it's suggesting the Calormenes are the bad guys because they're the dark-skinned, funny-clothes-wearing, exotic "Other" to the good white Christian Narnians... there's no way that film is going to get past the drawing board. I wouldn't want to see it done that way myself, even though I love the books as they are and wouldn't want them changed. There has to be a way to get Lewis's essential message across without repeating the sorts of stereotypes that were common at the time he was writing, but are rightly understood as unfair and unacceptable now.

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

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Posted : July 9, 2023 2:52 pm
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Guru

@courtenay 

Some may have thought the same about the Haradrim in Lord of the Rings, on what Tolkien was trying to get across. I wouldn't say that neither the Haradrim from Lord of the Rings and the Calormenes from Narnia are racist, though.

Well, whoever Netflix or whatever get to design the costumes for HHB and LB (still hopeful they'll get through all seven books), they will obviously have to do some kind of research for the Calormene costumes.

I know Logos Theatre did The Horse And His Boy stage production, and many of the Narniawebbers actually saw it. So I wonder how they did the Calormene costumes there.

"And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called me beloved."
(Emeth, The Last Battle)
https://escapetoreality.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/aslan-and-emeth2.jpg

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Topic starter Posted : July 9, 2023 2:56 pm
Eustace
(@eustace)
NarniaWeb Junkie

As much as I loved the HHB stage production, I do not think their costumes were anything to write home about. I personally have been thinking about the costumes a lot and I want the next adaptations to set themselves apart with their costumes. Instead of the costumes feeling very generic, I would rather that when you look at them you can tell they are from the world of Narnia. I want our costume designer to go big and think about how the fashion would have changed in Narnia from movie to movie and show the fashion designs of the years in Narnia's world. 

 

Here are some pictures I found of the Calormenes in the HHB play. 

 
Please do not pay attention to the names of these images, I did not realize the names would show up.
This post was modified 9 months ago 5 times by Eustace

Redeemed-Cousins-1
Homeschoolers taking over the World!
Member of RD's club.
VP of the CWM club
Dragon fan club
I Support Scrubb!

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Posted : July 11, 2023 5:30 am
Jasmine liked
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