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New Era, New Wardrobe?  

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The Rose-Tree Dryad
(@rose)
Secret Garden Agent Moderator

I'm re-reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at the moment, and one line really jumped out at me in the first chapter:

"And shortly after that they looked into a room that was quite empty except for one big wardrobe; the sort that has a looking-glass in the door."

Wait a second. Looking-glass? As in... a mirror? Shocked Why have I never really thought about this before now? 🤣

I can easily imagine why none of the film adaptations had a wardrobe with a looking-glass on it: mirrors are a nightmare to film! And even in a painting or a drawing, they're quite difficult to deal with. I honestly don't think I've ever seen a rendering of the Narnia wardrobe with a looking-glass door.

When people talk about ways for Netflix to set itself apart from previous adaptations... THIS would be perfect! I think it would be well worth any filming challenges, and Netflix would get brownie points for being super-faithful. Wink

What do you think about this idea? Is the mirrorless wardrobe too famous at this point to change? Hmmm

If you're having trouble imagining what it would look like, here's some antique looking-glass wardrobes that I've found online... I think I'm in love. 😍

 

Twitter: Rose_the_Dryad

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Posted : June 7, 2020 4:02 pm
Glenwit
(@glenwit)
NarniaWeb Regular

This is interesting timing, because I was recently thinking about this as well...while it might be a challenge to film, I think it would actually be really cool.  Especially after seeing the pictures attached.

When Lucy first gets into Narnia the first time, having her reflection in the mirror as she's walking towards the wardrobe would add an interesting layer of suspense to the scene that previous adaptations might not have had (if they are able to keep the camera from getting in the mirror...that would ruin it).

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Posted : June 7, 2020 7:14 pm
Sun-muffin
(@sun-muffin)
NarniaWeb Regular

That was one thing I was disappointed about with the Walden LWW. I’m not sure why I was so wanting a looking glass in the door, but the fact that it was absent made me very sad. I would love to see it included. I think that little bit of extra effort would win over a lot of trust from die-hards like myself. 

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Posted : June 7, 2020 10:43 pm
coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator

Ooh I love the third of those wardrobes!

I'd like to see a mirror represented in the wardrobe door. I'm trying to recall what is done on stage when there has to be a mirror as a prop part of the scenery, and I think it may be painted over in some way to avoid light reflecting all over the place. 

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Posted : June 8, 2020 5:30 am
Eustace
(@eustace)
NarniaWeb Junkie

For some weird reason until now, I always thought the mirror was on the inside of the door not on the outside of the door. But, I looked to try to find a wardrobe like that, with a mirror on the inside but, there does not seem to be any. I like those pictures Rose-Tree Dryad found. I also found one more that I'd like to add to the mix. 


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Posted : June 8, 2020 1:10 pm
Carley
(@carley)
NarniaWeb Nut
Posted by: @eustace

For some weird reason until now, I always thought the mirror was on the inside of the door not on the outside of the door.

I did too!  I don't know why I never thought of it as being on the outside.  But, wow, these are cool pictures!  Now I really hope Netflix will try something different with the wardrobe.  Not that I didn't like the wardrobe in Walden's LWW.  It would just be nice to have something different.

 

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Posted : June 8, 2020 2:35 pm
Reepicheep775
(@reepicheep775)
NarniaWeb Junkie

I never thought about the difficulty of filming scenes with a wardrobe with a mirror in its door(s). It makes sense why the Walden movie went a different route.

Much as I love the ornately carved wardrobe in the Walden film and all of the MN references, I think it would be truer to the book to have the wardrobe appear like an ordinary piece of furniture. I like the scene where Lucy walks into the wardrobe room for different reasons, but it is pretty different from the book. In the movie, it feels like destiny. Of course Lucy is going to find a magical land on the other side of the wardrobe door! In the book it feels more unexpected.

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Posted : June 10, 2020 8:56 am
Wanderer Between Worlds
(@wanderer)
NarniaWeb Nut
     @glenwit, I especially like your idea of adding suspense when Lucy is opening the wardrobe and the idea of her reflection.  Perhaps even have the mirror be dusty to show the passage of time and have Lucy wipe the dust away to show her reflection more clearly.  You could do some amazing camera work—maybe digital editing after the fact would help erase any hint of the camera’s reflection?  I don’t know much about digital editing/production, though. 
Posted by: @reepicheep775

Much as I love the ornately carved wardrobe in the Walden film and all of the MN references, I think it would be truer to the book to have the wardrobe appear like an ordinary piece of furniture.

     I think you’ve hit on an important part of LWW, @reepicheep775.  While I like the references to Narnia carved on the wardrobe (particularly the reference to the Tree), it doesn’t seem to be, as you said, “ordinary” enough.  When Peter looks into the wardrobe room, he says “Nothing there!” rather dismissively.  Lucy stays behind because of her wonder and curiosity about what could be inside the wardrobe, but there’s no indication that it was ornate or particularly special. Digory also doesn’t strike me as the sort of person who would have an especial love or affinity for “fancy” things, and that could be why he chose not to have it carved in a more elaborate manner.  The Walden version just screams “there’s something special inside!  Come in an take a look!”  
     Part of the magic of Narnia, in my opinion, is the idea of the awe-inspiring and the fantastic hidden behind the mundane.

"I am,” said Aslan. "But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”

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Posted : June 10, 2020 9:48 am
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Junkie

I LOVE that third wardrobe in Rose-Tree's post especially, but I have to agree with Reepicheep775 and Wanderer — there's nothing in the book to suggest that the wardrobe looks like anything out of the ordinary. I think every film / TV / stage version I've ever seen has the wardrobe looking elaborately carved and mysterious. But as you've said, the other children shrug it off as soon as they see it and only Lucy is drawn to look inside — and even then, there's nothing in the book to suggest that she's expecting to find anything more exciting than the fur coats (which she loves to touch). Having her catch sight of her reflection in the mirror and come closer to wipe the dust off it could be a really good idea (if they can manage the difficulties in filming it) as a way to have her gradually drawn to what could otherwise be a fairly plain and ordinary-looking wardrobe.

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Posted : June 10, 2020 10:08 am
The Rose-Tree Dryad
(@rose)
Secret Garden Agent Moderator
Posted by: @glenwit

When Lucy first gets into Narnia the first time, having her reflection in the mirror as she's walking towards the wardrobe would add an interesting layer of suspense to the scene that previous adaptations might not have had (if they are able to keep the camera from getting in the mirror...that would ruin it).

Agreed! It would totally change the feel of the scene, and given that it's one of the most iconic scenes from Walden's version, I think it would benefit a future adaptation to do something really different with it.

I think it would be really fun if they shoot the beginning of the scene through the mirror, with the kids poking their heads in and saying there's nothing interesting in the room, with Lucy lingering behind and looking curious, and then the camera angle changes and we see that she's walking up to a wardrobe, and that the mirror was the wardrobe.

Posted by: @reepicheep775

Much as I love the ornately carved wardrobe in the Walden film and all of the MN references, I think it would be truer to the book to have the wardrobe appear like an ordinary piece of furniture. I like the scene where Lucy walks into the wardrobe room for different reasons, but it is pretty different from the book. In the movie, it feels like destiny. Of course Lucy is going to find a magical land on the other side of the wardrobe door! In the book it feels more unexpected.

I agree. And while I really love that third wardrobe, too, @Courtenay — there's something very Narnian and young Digory-ish about it — I think I would have to go with something more like the second one. It looks like it could have been made in the 40s, and like something Professor Kirke could have commissioned (Digory doesn't strike me as the arts-and-crafts type either, @wanderer-between-worlds).

I think what's also really interesting about having a mirror in the door is that it reflects our world — the empty, ordinary room; the summery light streaming in the window; the bluebottle on the windowsill. It would appear to be the exact opposite of a portal to a magical world! I think that would make it even more of a jolt when Lucy discovers the nighttime wood, because up until the point where Lucy opens the door, the wardrobe is camouflaging itself by reflecting its environment. It would have a very different effect compared to the dark, beautiful, mysterious wardrobe in Walden's version.

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Posted : June 10, 2020 8:32 pm
Glumpuddle
(@gp)
News Poster, Podcast Producer
In the commentary, Adamson says he didn't include the mirror because the DP "would have killed me." Sounds lazy to me, personally. There are ways to make it work. But maybe, since he was already having to deal with having a child actor on set, he probably didn't want to add one more complication. I think that was his approach to the entire movie, which is why the movie feels visually a little uninspired visually, but the actors performances are great.
Posted by: @reepicheep775

Much as I love the ornately carved wardrobe in the Walden film and all of the MN references, I think it would be truer to the book to have the wardrobe appear like an ordinary piece of furniture.

100% agree: The wardrobe should look very ordinary, at least at first glance. In the book, the kids peek inside the room and say "Nothing here!"  But in the movie, the music stops, the camera dramatically tracks in slowly, and Lucy looks like she senses something magical. Then she pulls off the cloth in slow motion to reveal the super impressive looking wardrobe. Totally the opposite effect of the book.

I admit The Magician's Nephew carvings were really fun to geek out over, but the wardrobe should look very ordinary. In the book, it made it easy for me to imagine I might stumble on Narnia anywhere. Like mild-mannered Clark Kent actually being Superman.

 


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Posted : June 11, 2020 10:50 am
Sun-muffin
(@sun-muffin)
NarniaWeb Regular

Keeping the wardrobe simple would be best I think. But I think it would be neat if they had one carved apple somewhere on the wardrobe. Either on the top, or as the handle, or something. It doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that Digory would have wanted to put something on the wardrobe so that when he looked at it, he would always remember where it came from.  (Not that he would necessarily have trouble with that though!) 

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Posted : June 11, 2020 6:40 pm
Reepicheep775
(@reepicheep775)
NarniaWeb Junkie
Posted by: @sun-muffin

Keeping the wardrobe simple would be best I think. But I think it would be neat if they had one carved apple somewhere on the wardrobe. Either on the top, or as the handle, or something. It doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that Digory would have wanted to put something on the wardrobe so that when he looked at it, he would always remember where it came from.  (Not that he would necessarily have trouble with that though!) 

That's a good point. It's not like a plainer, more ordinary wardrobe can't have a few MN references. I like the idea of an apple motif because it doesn't seem inherently magical like carvings of the Jadis or Fledge. 

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Posted : June 12, 2020 9:52 am
Cleander
(@the-mad-poet)
NarniaWeb Junkie

For some reason I'd always envisioned the mirror being on the inside of the door. Could doing that instead help with the camera angle issues, I wonder....?

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Posted : June 12, 2020 10:14 am
narnia fan 7
(@narnia-fan-7)
NarniaWeb Guru

Honestly, I tend to forget that the wardrobe is described as having a mirror. I don't really have any strong opinion on whether or not future adaptations should include that detail, I certainly don't begrudge it being left out of previous ones. Definitely would be a bit of a pain in the neck for a director or DP. Though, I guess if you just had to have a mirror they could always just digitally remove any unwanted reflection in post or something.

As much as I like the design of the wardrobe in the Walden movie, I would 100% be on bored with a simpler, more ordinary design.

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Posted : June 14, 2020 3:00 pm
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