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When and how to do The Horse and His Boy?  

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

I was thinking earlier about how Narnia, compared to other book series, has always been harder to adapt because it changes up the main characters a lot. People get attached to the Pevensies, only for Peter and Susan to exit stage left after book two, and Lucy and Edmund after book three. Netflix has had a lot of success with Stranger Things, which has followed a cast of kids/teens that audiences have gotten attached to over the years. If audiences become similarly attached to the Pevensies, Netflix won't want to let those characters go.

Cue HHB thought: after the VDT adaptation is released, what if they leap backwards in time and bring back all of the Netflix Pevensies for a Golden Age-era series that includes the events of HHB? While certain quotes in HHB and Lewis's timeline suggest that HHB took place in the year or so before the Pevensies returned to our world, putting them at ages ranging between 23 and 28 during HHB, I can't think of any particular reason why they have to be that old. As long as Susan is old enough that it makes her "romance" with Rabadash believable, I think it could work.

From a filming logistics standpoint, it would need to be produced in tandem with The Silver Chair because the actor playing Eustace will also be growing up, but if Narnia is popular enough, I don't think that would be a problem. Or you could do SC first, since there's a gap of seven years (our world time, not Narnia) in between the events of SC and LB anyway.

Twitter: Rose_the_Dryad

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Posted : January 25, 2021 3:46 pm
icarus
(@icarus)
NarniaWeb Junkie

Weirdly enough, just today, I was reading a news story about Netflix's other big Fantasy book series adaptation - The Witcher - and their plans to adapt part of the mythology for that universe into an animated special to accompany the upcoming release of Season 2 of the main show (not quite sure on the release date for either but they appear to be roughly concurrent projects).

Anyway, two things struck me about this with regard to Narnia. Firstly that Netflix aren't afraid to mix things up with regard to format and style - The Witcher is a live action TV Series, this spin-off is an animated feature film. Secondly is that neatly ordered release strategies of regular intervals isn't really that much of a concern - i.e. you can have two different things going on at the same time in the same universe. Audiences can cope.

So it made me wonder whether this is would be a good approach for Horse and His Boy. Don't get me wrong, I would love to see a live action adaptation of HHB, however I could see this as a logical possibility. The "story within a story" concept lends itself to being a sort of Animated Storybook set within the world of Narnia. You could even bookend it with the live action King Peter or Tumnus or whoever to introduce the story, or have them narrate the animation as if they were reading the story to someone in the real world of Narnia.

It could also help cut way down on budget and also sell the idea that this is an additional side story, rather than part of the overall meta-narrative of the main book series 

Side note - it's also worth pointng out that this animated Witcher spinoff is an entirely new story, providing backstory to a character from the books, so I guess there is that implication as well - that Netflix aren't afraid to expand out their universe with original spinoffs.

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Posted : January 25, 2021 5:44 pm
Cleander
(@the-mad-poet)
NarniaWeb Junkie

@icarus, I think an animated HHB might solve the sequencing issue, though I think it's a book that lends itself a bit more to the big "epic live action" image the producers apparently are aiming for. (After all, who wouldn't rather see the battle of Anvard in live action?) So while animation might solve a problem, I think Netflix is less likely to do it with HHB...although that wouldn't rule out the idea of an animated Golden Age spinoff, which I think would be just fine, since it would be a different format for a different, noncanonical story. It would also follow the same apparent line of thinking behind the animated Witcher spinoff.

This post was modified 5 months ago by Cleander

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Posted : January 25, 2021 9:03 pm
The Rose-Tree Dryad
(@rose)
Secret Garden Agent Moderator

I had not thought about the animated spin-off for The Witcher in regards to Narnia AT ALL, @icarus, but that's actually quite cheering to ponder. Hmmm

One of my big fears about this upcoming adaptation is that Netflix will pull the plug before telling all seven stories because it becomes too costly; it would be maddening to get to VDT and then they pack up shop. I can't go through that again. Giggle On the other hand, if they decided to animate The Magician's Nephew and The Horse and His Boy to manage the budget... well, it wouldn't be live-action and it certainly could feel a bit choppy or haphazard for different Chronicles to be adapted with different mediums, but we'd still have feature length adaptations of two books that have never been made into films before and that's a major win. Count me in on that. (And I can never make up my mind on whether I'd most like to see an animated Narnia or a live-action Narnia anyway, so technically that would be perfect for me. Tongue )

Twitter: Rose_the_Dryad

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Posted : January 27, 2021 6:14 pm
JFG II
(@jfg-ii)
NarniaWeb Regular

When and how to adapt HHB? Great question.

My answer: If Narnia is adapted into chronological order movies or series (and the books are combined/expanded to accommodate story changes), then I would film MN, LWW & HHB at the same time, but would release HHB separately from the first two. 

The actors who play Shasta/Corin and Aravis would be roughly the same ages as Peter and Susan’s actors, respectively. The Pevensies would have adult stand-ins playing their older selves. (I would want to do the same for King Cor and his Queen, showing them as young adults, and married, and with a Calormen-Archenland baby 🙂 ).

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Posted : January 28, 2021 10:30 am
Reepicheep775
(@reepicheep775)
NarniaWeb Junkie

I can certainly see the appeal of staying with the Pevensies longer and doing HHB right after VDT. I think the biggest reason, it took me a while to be sold on Narnia as a series when I was young was because the Pevensies seemingly went away after Book 3.

If I was being selfish and not thinking of new viewers though... I would put HHB as the penultimate movie/series, right before LB. It would allow the Pevensie actors to age for a little longer and the Calormenes would feature in two stories back to back. I also think it would be better to have the characters be actual children rather than teenagers, partly because there's less of a temptation to go action fantasy rather than fairy tale, so once LWW is filmed, I would want PC, VDT, and SC knocked out fairly quickly.

I think the order I would go would be MN, LWW, PC, VDT, SC, HHB, LB.

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Posted : February 2, 2021 5:26 pm
Mrs Smooshy
(@mrs-smooshy)
NarniaWeb Regular

I read the books out of order (PC, VDT, SC, LWW, LB, HaHB, and then TMN) so not really sure I can judge how the impact would best be served.  I would like to see chronological order because that is my favourite way to experience Narnia and I don't see why the adult Pevensies from the end of LWW could not be used for HaHB.  They aren't front and centre anyways.  But it could work coming after the "Caspian Trilogy" too.  It could be a 'treat' to see the Pevensies again.

 

I was just discussing with my husband tonight that my biggest complaint with the Walden Media movies is they didn't really succeed in making the world of Narnia feel like a character in itself.  Part of the appeal of Narnia is you love the land and the culture of its inhabitants.  It isn't just about the Pevensies.  It isn't about the individuals living in Narnia (as they change in every story too) It's about the world and it's about Aslan.   In "The Last Battle" it hurts to see Narnia losing its freedom. We don't know the individual talking horses but because of Bree and the culture and the world we know and feel how evil it is to see them chained up and being whipped and thinking it is Aslan commanding it. 

 

All that to say, the show/mini-series would have to really emphasize the beauty and wonder and sense of belonging that makes Narnia so appealing.  Make it that we are so eager to return to see Narnia and Aslan again that we don't care who we have to tag along with to get there.  Get that right, and the hand-wringing over the order wouldn't be so severe.

 

And I really want a live action of HaHB.  It's my favourite book of the series and I want to really see it come to life.

The Mr, the Mrs (that's me) and the little Smooshers....plus our cats

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Posted : March 25, 2021 10:07 pm
coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator

People who love chronological ordering in stories might have issues with it, but I'd prefer not to have HHB released immediately after LWW, even though it is part of the long reign of the four siblings.

However I do think there will need to be references  in PC to that long reign, including HHB ('issues with Calormen' and 'friendship with Archenland') - even though when Lewis wrote PC he hadn't yet dreamed up HHB and its characters, nor any other events in the Golden Age. 

HHB deserves to stand alone, as a story from the Golden Age, told at a shared Narnia/Archenland feast, perhaps requested by High King Peter (who was away dealing with giants), and told by Shasta and one of the Pevensies, and then flowing into the live action story.

Another possibility is to place it within a meeting of the Seven Friends of Narnia; Eustace and Jill had once heard the short version, at the end of Chapter 3 of Silver Chair, so perhaps they ask for the full story and Lucy and Edmund narrate it as it flows into the action.

This is also an ideal context for the Professor and Aunt Polly to tell their account of the beginning of Narnia, narrating over the live action story as required. 

There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.

"...when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards."

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Posted : March 26, 2021 8:39 pm
Lu_valient, Cleander, Courtenay and 1 people liked
Lost in Narnia
(@lost-in-narnia)
NarniaWeb Newbie

@mrs-smooshy

But if they decided to do things chronologically, they would have to include the White Stag hunt in HHB, anyway, it seems. I don't mind going back and forth in time the way Lewis did but it would feel weird when the LWW ends with the Pevensies returning to England and the next film/series goes like "Okay, so now let's jump back in time for a while, just to tell this completely unrelated story of this Shasta boy". And then, PC goes like "So, you remember how the Pevensies came back to England in LWW? Well, a year has passed since that time and..."

Unless HBB will be presented as a story, which is told by the kids to the Professor, maybe? But personally, I'm not a fan of those dramatized narrations. It's okay in books. It might be acceptable as a part of the film (like Trumpkin's story in PC) but not as a whole movie. It removes the sense of immediacy and immersion which action-fantasy films always strive to create.

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Posted : April 12, 2021 7:21 pm
Courtenay liked
SonofStone
(@sonofstone)
NarniaWeb Regular

        When and How to do the HHB? A very thought provoking question! Well, on the 'when' side of it, I think that they should do it AFTER they establish the feel of Narnia (say after the LWW, PC, VoftheDT, with maybe the MN thrown in somewhere) because HHB has a feel that is rather different than the rest of the books (i.e. Climaxing in a battle, being written with most of the main characters not having have explicate connections to Narnia, a different style of writing, the the most detailed description of the Corlormen culture in the whole set of books etc.) so it should come pretty late in the series, say, last three movies.

         On the 'how' side, I think they need to capture Shasta/Cor feeling that he doesn't belonging with the Colormen (an I spelling that right?). Also Bree's was a very unique person/beast, (rather prideful, talkative and indignant), but what I have just said is only the tip of the iceberg on an amazing work of literature. One last thought, I think that HHB is going to be (possibly) the hardest book to adapt. What do y'all think?

 

Child of the King: SonofStone

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14

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Posted : April 14, 2021 5:13 pm
Courtenay liked
coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator
Posted by: @reepicheep775

 

If I was being selfish and not thinking of new viewers though... I would put HHB as the penultimate movie/series, right before LB. It would allow the Pevensie actors to age for a little longer and the Calormenes would feature in two stories back to back.

Thinking of just this part of your post, I agree; we could then have the pleasure of all four Pevensies in the two films!

Yes, even Susan could be in LB;  perhaps in little flashed scenes of social life in post-war England, as the others explain her absence.

On Lewis's timeline LB is 9 years after LWW, making them 17 - 22, while in HHB they have got to 22 - 27.

I think it is possible to use two sets of Pevensie actors: one for the older as they leave Narnia in LWW, seen again in HHB, and one for the young Pevensies in LWW, PC and VDT.
The option is to have just one set, age them up as required (warning: you can never tell young people how and when to grow!) and stand-ins for the LWW adults.
The actors playing Eustace and Jill would need to be played as up to 15 or 16 in LB.
They should be played as 10 - 12 in VDT and SC (SC is supposed to be soon after the summer holidays in which Eustace went on the Dawn Treader).

There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.

"...when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards."

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Posted : April 15, 2021 12:58 am
jewel
(@jewel)
NarniaWeb Nut

I think the film should be filmed somewhere in the Middle East. I would like the film only to be released now after new film adaptions of the first two Narnia books. That said, The Horse and His Boy should center largely on Shasta and the contrast between several of the kingdoms in the Narnia world. I think the romance you referred to would also be interesting. 

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Posted : May 5, 2021 6:37 pm
SonofStone
(@sonofstone)
NarniaWeb Regular

      Speaking of romance, I wonder how they are going to handle the marriage of Shasta/Cor and Arivis. I think that they will fall prey to the temptation of making romance in the body of the story, which it was not in, it was 99 percent after the body of the story was done in the more 'Epilogue' piece. I also think that another thing they might change is the relationship of Bree and Hwin (or the lack of thereof), I honestly thought that they would get married at the end of the book when I first read it, yet they didn't, and I thought it was a nice touch, to switch it up a bit. This is a touchy story as far as romance went, and there was a defiant line that Lewis expertly walked in it with the above stated subject.

 

Child of the King: SonofStone

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14

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Posted : May 5, 2021 7:34 pm
jewel
(@jewel)
NarniaWeb Nut

Hey SonofStone! I think that a romance between Shasta and Arivis along with the desire of Rabadash for Susan would contrast between a genuine friendship romance on the romance hand, and a selfish impulse on the other. Alas, this would add two interesting stories into one good movie. 

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Posted : May 8, 2021 11:30 am
SonofStone
(@sonofstone)
NarniaWeb Regular

      The HHB, out of all the Chronicles of Narnia, most defiantly had the most romance, whether it was Rabadash's mad desire (I'm not going to say love, because that isn't what is was) for Susan, or Shasta/Cor and Arivis getting married. This is something, as I have said before, that you must be careful with, whether you are C. S. Lewis or the director of the Netflix series. Yet I do like what you said Jewel, that Shasta and Arivis weren't necessarily in love during the body of the story, they were just friends (and yes, I'm talking to you Netflix). But, seeing as it just went to #1 in my favorite narnia books, I would be very mad if Netflix made it into a love story. I also think that the Colormen culture and Tashbaan are going to be impossible to get right, because I know that everybody who read this book has a wildly different idea of what they/it should look like, so when this film is made, 10 percent of the viewers will be happy with it, and 90 percent viewers will spend the next 3 mouths butcher the movie (hey, this is narniaweb, that's what we are here for).

 

Child of the King: SonofStone

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14

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Posted : May 8, 2021 7:13 pm
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