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The Scribbler
(@scrib)
NarniaWeb Regular

Dear NW community, 

I am currently finishing up my last semester of school as an English major, which means I don’t have a lot of time to embrace on this writing project at the moment, but I do have some questions of you all as Narnia fans. This writing project will be quite involved and though I don’t want to give away what it will be yet, I hope I can get some insights from you all to include in this project. 

My first questions are...

1) what are your favorite Narnia Narrator moments?

2) what did you picture the narrator doing while writing that moment or how did he find out about it? 

mods, as always, please move this to the correct forum if it feels out of place.

Thank you all, have a lovely day! 
- Scrib

There is a Universal Thread that ties up all things together in a Strand of Importance that leads us through the Crack in the Wall between this Space and that of Eternity - B.B. Hatt

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Posted : January 27, 2021 4:30 pm
The Rose-Tree Dryad
(@rose)
Secret Garden Agent Moderator

Hi @the-scribbler! Your mysterious project sounds interesting. Smile

1) what are your favorite Narnia Narrator moments? One of my favorite Narrator moments, and quite possibly my favorite ending in all of the books, is the last few lines of The Silver Chair. I get chills every time!

The opening into the hillside was left open, and often in hot summer days the Narnians go in there with ships and lanterns and down to the water and sail to and fro, singing, on the cool, dark underground sea, telling each other stories of the cities that lie fathoms deep below. If ever you have the luck to go to Narnia yourself, do not forget to have a look at those caves.

2) what did you picture the narrator doing while writing that moment or how did he find out about it? Probably at a writing desk at England, but every time I read that passage, I am always struck with the feeling that the writer has actually been to Narnia and toured those wondrous caves. Daydream HOW they've been to Narnia before, I have no idea, but that is half the fun of it. Giggle

Twitter: Rose_the_Dryad

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Posted : January 27, 2021 6:01 pm
The Scribbler
(@scrib)
NarniaWeb Regular

@rose Thank you so much for these!! I've always loved that moment too, such a nice surprise at the end of the book! I tend to forget that the Narnians themselves would go and visit that underground sea... 

There is a Universal Thread that ties up all things together in a Strand of Importance that leads us through the Crack in the Wall between this Space and that of Eternity - B.B. Hatt

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Posted : January 27, 2021 6:31 pm
The Scribbler
(@scrib)
NarniaWeb Regular

Another question for you all on this thread... what are quiet / non-cinematic moments from any of the books that you were particularly attached to? 

There is a Universal Thread that ties up all things together in a Strand of Importance that leads us through the Crack in the Wall between this Space and that of Eternity - B.B. Hatt

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Posted : February 2, 2021 11:05 am
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Friend of NarniaWeb

I love so many of the "Narnia Narrator" moments, but I think this has to be my favourite — from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader...

And suddenly there came a breeze from the east, tossing the top of the wave into foamy shapes and ruffling the smooth water all round them. It lasted only a second or so but what it brought them in that second none of those children will ever forget. It brought both a smell and a sound, a musical sound. Edmund and Eustace would never talk about it afterwards. Lucy could only say, "It would break your heart." "Why," said I, "was it so sad?" "Sad!! No," said Lucy. ("The Very End of the World", p. 206 in the Puffin edition)

Apart from the beauty and mysteriousness of what's being described here, this is a narrator interjection that's quite stunning and audacious — for the first time in this book (and I think the only time in the entire series), Lewis is portraying himself as knowing the characters in real life and as having personally interviewed Lucy in order to get the story that he, as the author, is telling. I'm glad he doesn't do that more often, as it could easily start sounding awkward or pretentious. But here, just this once, at the emotional climax of the story, it gives us a sudden little catch-your-breath moment — as if Lewis is implicitly telling us "I'm not making this story up, you know. I know these children for real and I'm only telling you what they've told me."

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

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Posted : February 2, 2021 11:56 am
The Scribbler
(@scrib)
NarniaWeb Regular

Oh, I love that moment... thank you for quoting it too, it will make the writing project so much easier! For some reason I always though that moment was in Silver Chair, I don’t know why, I must have confused it with the moment Jill and Eustace arrive in Aslan’s country or something, but that particular little moment between Lucy and the Narrator is just wonderful... thank you @courtenay Rose  

There is a Universal Thread that ties up all things together in a Strand of Importance that leads us through the Crack in the Wall between this Space and that of Eternity - B.B. Hatt

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Posted : February 2, 2021 12:21 pm
Courtenay liked
The Rose-Tree Dryad
(@rose)
Secret Garden Agent Moderator

Occasionally I've considered re-reading the Chronicles and making notes on when the Narrator is mentioned, just because I've always been curious about their identity. Giggle If you search for Narrator in specific subforums like GMD and Talk About Narnia, you may find some old posts that will help with your project. (I remember speculating a while back in GMD that a new adaptation of Narnia could potentially include Polly as the narrator I know a lot of people tend to think perhaps it's Digory, but Polly is the one who is already a writer when The Magician's Nephew takes place.)

Posted by: @scrib

Another question for you all on this thread... what are quiet / non-cinematic moments from any of the books that you were particularly attached to? 

Ooh, this question was made for me. Grin Giggle I shall grab a quote of myself from the animation thread in GMD to start with:

Posted by: @rose

Whenever I read the line "The [water] drops dripped off the laurel leaves" in The Silver Chair, I am instantly transported to some long-lost early morning in my childhood when I was outside and it had been raining and the everything was misty, full of the sound of falling droplets and the scent of damp earth. I get such a visceral reaction out of that line! Lewis might as well be casting a time travel spell on me.

 (That scene is in the first chapter of The Silver Chair, btw.)

Curiously, a lot of the other ones that come to my mind have to do with birds. I have no real explanation for this. Giggle

Then came the Witch's voice, cooing softly like the voice of a wood-pigeon from the high elms in an old garden at three o'clock in the middle of a sleepy, summer afternoon, and it said: "What is this sun that you all speak of?"

The Silver Chair, Chapter 12

"This is lovely," said Lucy to herself. It was cool and fresh; delicious smells were floating everywhere. Somewhere close by she heard the twitter of a nightingale beginning to sing, then stopping, then beginning again. It was a little lighter ahead. She went towards the light and came to a place where there were fewer trees, and whole patches or pools of moonlight, but the moonlight and the shadows so mixed that you could hardly be sure where anything was or what it was. At the same moment the nightingale, satisfied at last with his tuning up, burst into full song.

Prince Caspian, Chapter 9

The castle of Cair Paravel on its little hill towered up above them; before them were the sands, with rocks and little pools of salt water, and sea weed, and the smell of the sea, and long miles of bluish-green waves breaking forever and ever on the beach. And, oh, the cry of the sea gulls! Have you heard it? Can you remember?

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Chapter 17

Such piercingly atmospheric writing by Lewis! Applause Praise  

Twitter: Rose_the_Dryad

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Posted : February 2, 2021 3:42 pm
The Scribbler
(@scrib)
NarniaWeb Regular

@rose thank you for these! I forget how much I love these little quotes... That first one sets up SC so well, especially with Jill having just cried. This little sing-song line feels like the last tear drops slipping from the face, waiting for something to happen!

That last quote reminds me of this puzzle I had that I used to put together every summer that reminded me of Cair Paravel... You can sense the pang of "otherness" in that last line! 

I am going through the series (when I can!) and marking all the narrator moments, but I love hearing the ones that stand out to others. 

There is a Universal Thread that ties up all things together in a Strand of Importance that leads us through the Crack in the Wall between this Space and that of Eternity - B.B. Hatt

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Posted : February 4, 2021 2:37 pm
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Friend of NarniaWeb
Posted by: @rose

The castle of Cair Paravel on its little hill towered up above them; before them were the sands, with rocks and little pools of salt water, and sea weed, and the smell of the sea, and long miles of bluish-green waves breaking forever and ever on the beach. And, oh, the cry of the sea gulls! Have you heard it? Can you remember?

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Chapter 17

Oh, this is my other favourite one! Smile Mind you, I grew up by the sea, so "the cry of the sea gulls" is definitely something I've heard and can remember — but there's a wonderful wistful yearning in that line that more than hints that the seaside meant a lot to Lewis and he's hoping his young audience will understand and share that feeling.

Incidentally, what evidence is there that "the Narrator" is meant to be anyone other than C.S. Lewis himself? I've always assumed it's him speaking directly to us when the narratorial voice comes in — obviously putting on a bit of a persona, like a friendly uncle telling these stories to a child, but I've never seen any indication that he meant us to think that another character altogether, like Digory or Polly, is the one narrating the story.

I think where I got that impression (that it's Lewis himself) in the first place was the dedication of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which fascinated me right from the start: "My Dear Lucy, I wrote this book for you... your affectionate Godfather, C.S. Lewis." There, Lewis definitely IS writing as himself, to his real-life god-daughter, whom he had in mind while writing the book. So I've just always assumed that when the narrator addresses the reader directly during the story, it's still Lewis speaking as himself, just as he does in the dedication. If he did mean for us to think these stories were being told by someone else, by one of his fictional characters, I'm pretty sure he would have said so, and he never does. But I'd be very interested to hear others' ideas on that topic.

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

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Posted : February 4, 2021 3:03 pm
The Scribbler
(@scrib)
NarniaWeb Regular

@courtenay I've always thought that it was Lewis too... Cool It made it feel that much more real to me, especially since he DID have a goddaughter named Lucy. I've been listening to the podcasts (even the super old ones) and I can't remember which one, but Rilian and Glumpuddle were talking about the narrator potentially being Digory. I don't think it is... but it its an interesting idea...

I want to know how the narrator gets the stories back to our world from LB... I have a theory... If the narrator (which is Lewis, but maybe a fictional version of Lewis?) is set to meet Professor Kirk at the train station in LB, maybe he has brought along all his "interview/stories" of Narnia to go over with him. When the train wreck happens, he too dies and goes to Narnia. Susan is later called to go through everyone's belongings, and finds the Narnia stories (including LB because of how Narnian time flows? Maybe the book was somehow sent to our world?). Something fun to ponder! 

There is a Universal Thread that ties up all things together in a Strand of Importance that leads us through the Crack in the Wall between this Space and that of Eternity - B.B. Hatt

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Posted : February 4, 2021 3:29 pm
aileth
(@aileth)
Member Moderator

I'd tend towards Lewis being the narrator.  If you read E. Nesbit (an author he liked) you'll see some of the same style.  Not that E. Nesbit never had first-person narration by her characters (particularly the Story of the Treasure Seekers. It took me a fair while to figure out what she was doing!) but the authorial narrator is quite apparent, including going off on rabbit trails that have little to do with the plot.

Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away ... my days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle

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Posted : February 4, 2021 11:21 pm
Courtenay liked
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Friend of NarniaWeb
Posted by: @aileth

Not that E. Nesbit never had first-person narration by her characters (particularly the Story of the Treasure Seekers. It took me a fair while to figure out what she was doing!)

Did you figure out which of the children was the narrator before it was revealed towards the end? Wink I remember I did, but Mum didn't (this was one of the many stories we read together when I was in primary school).

Posted by: @scrib

I want to know how the narrator gets the stories back to our world from LB... I have a theory... If the narrator (which is Lewis, but maybe a fictional version of Lewis?) is set to meet Professor Kirk at the train station in LB, maybe he has brought along all his "interview/stories" of Narnia to go over with him. When the train wreck happens, he too dies and goes to Narnia. Susan is later called to go through everyone's belongings, and finds the Narnia stories (including LB because of how Narnian time flows? Maybe the book was somehow sent to our world?). Something fun to ponder! 

I think by the time we get to the end of The Last Battle, there's no theory of "how the narrator knows this" that really makes much logical sense! Giggle I just go along with it and don't worry about it too much...

That said, I've wondered for a while if Lewis always intended the Narnia series to end the way it does. Apart from the "narrator moment" I mentioned before, in Dawn Treader, where Lewis is implicitly quoting a conversation he's had with Lucy in person, there's another moment earlier in the same book, after Lucy has read the wonderful story that she can't remember afterwards: "and ever since that day what Lucy means by a good story is a story that reminds her of the forgotten story in the Magician's Book." (p. 135 in the Puffin edition)

I notice the present tense there — "what Lucy means", "reminds her" — as if Lucy herself is very much alive in our world still. I can't remember where I got hold of this quote, but I know I read somewhere that Lewis remarked that after he'd finished writing VDT, "I was certain it would be the last" (or words to that effect). That would also explain why we have the near-revelation of who Aslan is in our world at the end of VDT, if Lewis at the time wasn't thinking of writing any more Narnia books (even though he does drop the hint about Eustace perhaps coming back, so I suppose he was leaving his options open). 

Even at the end of The Silver Chair, there's another brief narrator moment that suggests he's thinking of his characters as still alive in the present — when Jill and Eustace ride on the Centaurs: "But however sore and jolted the two humans were, they would now give anything to have that journey over again..." (p. 198, Puffin edition) Again, "they would now give anything" — rather than "they would afterwards have given anything", which would make more sense if Lewis was already envisioning that these two young people would be dead (in Shadowlands terms!) within a few years of this experience.

So, going by those hints, I do wonder if Lewis only fully settled on how to end the whole series towards the end of his period of writing the books — at least some time after he'd finished the first four. Maybe it was only as he went along that he gradually developed the idea that, since he'd woven in elements and echoes of Christianity and the Bible throughout the whole series, it would be logical to finish it by dealing with the "end times", death and the afterlife? I sometimes wish he'd left more notes and other hints of what his thought processes were as the series went on...

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

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Posted : February 5, 2021 8:27 am
Geekicheep
(@geekicheep)
NarniaWeb Regular

@scrib So cool to meet another Narnia fan who is also a writer (and even another English major)!  Sorry I don't have much to contribute, but I think my favorite thing about the narrator is how he constantly "breaks the Fourth Wall".  Like in MN where he says, "and as for sweets, I won't tell you how cheap and good they were because it would only make your mouth water in vain".  Or that line in LWW when he describes (or rather declines to describe) the White Witch's army.  I always felt like he was talking to me directly, as if we were sitting across from each other and he was telling me the story in person.  That style has played an important role in my own writing, though like any other writing tool it can be overused.  I never thought much about what the narrator must be doing, but I loved that he was talking to me.

PS: You're not the only one who has some fun Narnia stuff in the works. 😉

Yes, I'm a mouse... I mean, a geek!

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Posted : February 5, 2021 9:29 pm
The Scribbler
(@scrib)
NarniaWeb Regular

Oh my goodness... you’ve all been so kind and wonderful with your replies, my brain has just been a bit dead from senior thesis, so I haven’t had the wherewithal to make a good reply but I think you’re right @courtenay about Lewis not exactly knowing where the story was going with the end of Narnia, but that makes it all feel as though it’s happening in “real time” which only lends to the genuineness you feel reading it! 

@geekicheep I like those lines from MN too, so many times Lewis makes me hungry when reading his works, and as a kid I thought “ah, so not fair about the sweets...” 😂 Id love to read some of your work if you ever want to share! I love reading other writers works! 

There is a Universal Thread that ties up all things together in a Strand of Importance that leads us through the Crack in the Wall between this Space and that of Eternity - B.B. Hatt

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Posted : February 8, 2021 9:01 pm
Courtenay liked
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