Nymphs, Naiads, and...
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Nymphs, Naiads, and Dryads?  

The Rose-Tree Dryad
Secret Garden Agent Moderator

Assuming that nymphs in Narnia are real people instead of special effects in the new adaptation, what should dryad and naiad clothing look like?

I love the idea of drawing a lot of inspiration from ancient Greek design. Check out these styles of dresses here and here... there is so much variety among those silhouettes and I think that would work so well with all of the different types of trees and watery dominions.

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Posted : November 10, 2018 12:38 pm
Member Admin

I think I'm the only person in the world who liked the dryads in LWW and PC. ;)) That aside, I like the idea of their garments being made of the elements where they dwell. Dryads being very tree-like with leaves and maybe bark looking dresses? Or at the very least, very earthen tones and colors. Didn't Jill describe one looking like she was walking through dirt or something like that? I don't have the book on hand to double check.
Same deal for naiads, probably a really wet look would be appropriate with lilies or seaweed dresses? Something like this, but obviously a bit more decent. ;)

Posted : November 11, 2018 8:07 am
NarniaWeb Junkie

I've always wondered what Lewis imagined tree-folk to look like- he's never very detailed in his descriptions. I was wondering if the "tree-like " appearance could be achieved by giving the skin a bark-like texture, with fingernails made to look like tiny leaves and clothing that is made of leaf-like fabric?
As for "wading through the earth," perhaps they could glide along the ground like ghosts, (adding to their spiritual aspect) with their feet concealed in the earth, and a fine mist swirling at their ankles. (Though perhaps not a GREEN mist. =)) )

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Posted : April 25, 2019 11:54 am
Lady Arwen
The Mermod Moderator

There's a stylized version of the Gotham City Sirens version of Poison Ivy that I've often found to be very "tree like"--she quite literally creates plant life from her body and in her hands, but it very much flows as part of her body. It always struck me as very dryad. Unfortunately, I can't remember the run, so I'm not finding any scans of it. ;))

As far as going with dresses, I would actually lean more toward more of a lehenga style, with the earth/plantlife/water replacing the hem embroidery, and moving from the movement of earth toward the stillness of the embroidery. That might also give more of the "wading" effect, and would also echo the WW waterfall dresses (not that it's in the same continuity, buuuut.....) :P

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Posted : May 9, 2019 6:41 pm
The Rose-Tree Dryad
Secret Garden Agent Moderator
Posted by: @cleander

I've always wondered what Lewis imagined tree-folk to look like- he's never very detailed in his descriptions. I was wondering if the "tree-like " appearance could be achieved by giving the skin a bark-like texture, with fingernails made to look like tiny leaves and clothing that is made of leaf-like fabric?

A few passages sprinkled throughout the series come to my mind...

  • "She knew exactly how each of these trees would talk if only she could wake them, and what sort of human form it would put on. She looked at a silver birch: it would have a soft, showery voice and would look like a slender girl, with hair blown all about her face, and fond of dancing. She looked at the oak: he would be a wizened, but hearty old man with a frizzled beard and warts on his face and hands, and hair growing out of the warts. She looked at the beech under which she was standing. Ah!—she would be the best of all. She would be a gracious goddess, smooth and stately, the lady of the wood." Prince Caspian, Ch. 9
  • "Pale birch-girls were tossing their heads, willow-women pushed back their hair from their brooding faces to gaze on Aslan, the queenly beeches stood still and adored him, shaggy oak-men, lean and melancholy elms, shock-headed hollies (dark themselves, but their wives all bright with berries) and gay rowans, all bowed and rose again, shouting, "Aslan, Aslan!" in their various husky or creaking or wave-like voices." Prince Caspian, Ch. 11
  • "Into these [buildings] the Owl led them, and there a most delightful person was called to look after Jill. She was not much taller than Jill herself, and a good deal slenderer, but obviously full grown, graceful as a willow, and her hair was willowy too, and there seemed to be moss in it." The Silver Chair, Ch. 3
  • "With the last "falling," the speaker came in sight. She was like a woman but so tall that her head was on a level with the Centaur's: yet she was like a tree too. It is hard to explain if you have never seen a Dryad but quite unmistakable once you have—something different in the colour, the voice, and the hair. King Tirian and the two Beasts knew at once that she was the nymph of a beech-tree." The Last Battle, Ch. 2

It seems to me that dryads* have a human form that is very similar to a human, and yet there's an ineffable something that makes them like a tree, too. Whatever the differences are, they're subtle. They also seem to vary a lot in appearance, either quite short or quite tall. The Silver Chair mentions them wearing crowns of leaves during the Snow Dance revelry, too.

*There's also hamadryads, who are mentioned in Prince Caspian but not really explained, but according to mythology they are much more closely tied to the tree that they inhabit... I'm thinking they might have more of a human-esque form rather than an actual almost-human form.

Anyway, I do hope that the Dryads' human forms are quite human-looking in Netflix's adaptation, seeing as the sons and daughters of King Frank and Queen Helen married dryads and naiads and wood gods and river gods. I could never imagine kings and queens of Narnia being descended from the "leaf confetti" dryads in Walden's versions. Giggle

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Posted : June 13, 2020 3:56 pm
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