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Aslan's creation includes the whole world Narnia is in, yes?

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Cobalt Jade
(@cobalt-jade)
NarniaWeb Regular

I always thought of Archenland as the friendly, "normal" Medieval fantasy country, in contrast to Narnia's population of dryads, fauns, Talking Beasts, etc. Something to contrast with it.

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Posted : July 4, 2022 11:20 am
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Hospitality Committee
Posted by: @cobalt-jade

I always thought of Archenland as the friendly, "normal" Medieval fantasy country, in contrast to Narnia's population of dryads, fauns, Talking Beasts, etc. Something to contrast with it.

Good way of putting it, although how boring then to live in Archenland if you could live in Narnia! Grin  

Lewis does seem to make the point (although it's never stated explicitly) that Talking Beasts don't live in Archenland at all, in contrast to Narnia. Shasta only starts meeting Talking Beasts after he crosses the pass into Narnia (during his night with that Unwelcome Fellow Traveller), and at the end of the story, when everything's settled, it's made clear that Bree and Hwin go to live (separately!) in Narnia and regularly "come trotting over the pass to visit their friends at Anvard". And even in the brief reference to the Lapsed Bear of Stormness, "which was really a Talking Bear but had gone back to Wild Bear habits", we're told its lair was "on the Narnian side" of the mountain. It's almost as if Talking Beasts — and presumably other non-human sentient creatures like Dwarfs and Fauns and so on — can't live in Archenland, or at least it would be considered somehow improper for them to do so. We're never told what's behind that; it just seems to be taken as a given!

The slightly odd thing about that is that Archenland was settled by humans from Narnia in the first place — its first king was a direct descendant of Frank and Helen (there's a disparity between what The Magician's Nephew says and what Lewis's later timeline says about that, whether it was their second son or a later descendant). Was there a reason that other Narnian creatures didn't come with them? Did Aslan set bounds for them somehow, that Talking Beasts and other native Narnian peoples weren't to settle south of the mountains or beyond the other borders of the original land of Narnia? More intriguing little mysteries that are just never answered anywhere in Lewis's writings, and I'm guessing these are also things he never thought out in detail himself...

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

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Posted : July 4, 2022 2:56 pm
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Cobalt Jade
(@cobalt-jade)
NarniaWeb Regular

I have a pet theory that the "talking beasts and living waters" of Narnia were meant to include the whole world of Narnia, but because Jadis and humans showed up, Aslan had to make a change of plans. He stopped before the creation process was complete for Digory to fetch the silver apple. When the silver apple rooted and the Guardian tree grew, it not only kept magic out -- it kept magic in. I speculate the anti-magic wall formed a complete circle / shell around Narnia, not just the North, so Jadis would not have been able to get in from the sea or the Western Mountains or the Archenland-Narnian mountains -- or from the air or underground. So the magic that, if things had gone according to plan, would have spread out from Narnia to put dryads in Telmar and fauns in Calormen etc. never happened. Those places were just "normal" places.

And though the magical Narnian beings could still visit them, they might be treated the same way magical beings might be treated in our universe -- imprisoned, exploited, or dissected.They would always feel more at home in Narnia, that was in their blood.

The naiads, dryads, hamadryads, and river-gods couldn't move from Narnia, of course, because their very lives were tied to its geographic features.

Some magic creatures did get out and move elsewhere, like Giants, dragons, and sea serpents. They managed to thrive, so I'm sure there were other pockets of mythic beings around.

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Posted : July 4, 2022 6:45 pm
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Narnian78
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I think Archenland  was much like medieval Earth, perhaps even more like England than Narnia.  The country probably didn’t have any have any bad kings or queens. I’m assuming since it had its own government there was no authority of Miraz and it didn’t have have high taxes or tyrants.  But then we are not told much about the royalty there other than King Lune’s family.

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Posted : July 5, 2022 2:55 am
Courtenay
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@cobalt-jade I like that theory — it makes a lot of sense and adds even more to the intrigue of Narnia's earliest history that we know so little about. It's a pity, I reckon, that The Magician's Nephew was written so late in Lewis's career — I believe he was writing it and The Last Battle more or less simultaneously and he actually completed The Magician's Nephew last, although they were published in the opposite order so that The Last Battle would be released last. A lot of his most innovative and striking ideas came out in The Magician's Nephew and they just never really got developed further, since he ended the series there and never tried to fill in the gaps between it and the other books that were written earlier but set chronologically later. So we never get to hear how exactly the tree protected Narnia, or how it (presumably) died and Jadis was able to return as the White Witch, or how Frank and Helen's descendants (also presumably) died out before that. Or how any of this ties in with the Stone Table and the four thrones at Cair Paravel, or indeed how Jadis took on the cosmic role of "the Emperor's hangman" — the official executioner of traitors that she is according to the Deep Magic in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

(I always get the nasty feeling Lewis forgot much of what he said about the White Witch in that first book by the time he wrote her origin story in The Magician's Nephew, as there are so many disparities between them that don't add up and that he never even attempted to reconcile. There are probably some fan fic writers who've made attempts there, but we'll never know how the author himself would have filled in that huge and mysterious hole in Narnia's history if he'd had the time and the impetus...)

Posted by: @narnian78

I think Archenland  was much like medieval Earth, perhaps even more like England than Narnia.  The country probably didn’t have any have any bad kings or queens.

... maybe not always so much "like England", then!! Giggle Wink

Posted by: @narnian78

I’m assuming since it had its own government there was no authority of Miraz and it didn’t have have high taxes or tyrants.  But then we are not told much the about royalty there other than King Lune’s family.

Archenland definitely wasn't under Miraz, that's one thing we know for sure and in fact the first thing we find out about it, reading the books in publication order. Lewis's first-ever mention of Archenland is in Prince Caspian — it appears on the map at the start of the book and the one thing we're told about it, in the course of the story, is in Doctor Cornelius's words as he tells young Caspian to flee for his life after the birth of Miraz's son:

"Try to get across the southern border to the court of King Nain of Archenland. He will be good to you."

So Archenland clearly wasn't conquered by the Telmarines (I wonder why not, since a kingdom inhabited only by humans would surely be easier to take over than a kingdom inhabited by magical beings?), and we can assume — though Lewis doesn't seem to have yet thought of Archenland when he wrote the first book — that it was also not under the White Witch's rule when she had Narnia frozen in the hundred-year winter. My "head canon" there is that all the mountain routes between Narnia and Archenland were completely blocked by snow and ice, so that all communication between the two countries was cut off until the Witch was overthrown and the Pevensies' reign began. Re-establishing the traditional friendly ties between Narnia and Archenland was probably one of their first acts of diplomacy!

In the meantime, I also assume Archenland was largely a stable and peaceful country throughout its history and its people always remained loyal to Aslan, even though they most likely saw him in person (er, in lion??) less often than the Narnians did. But those are just my guesses from what little we actually know about it from the books.

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

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Posted : July 5, 2022 5:57 am
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Narnian78
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@courtenay 

Archenland could probably have had a tourist economy, but I don’t think Lewis would have liked it as a tourist attraction.  It also seemed a lot like Austria and Switzerland, but since I haven’t travelled to those places I couldn’t say for sure. I think Lewis would have wanted tourists to stay away from both Archenland and Narnia, but there is not much of a chance of them visiting the places physically since the places are in books.  Lewis would have been glad of that.

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Posted : July 5, 2022 7:52 am
Cobalt Jade
(@cobalt-jade)
NarniaWeb Regular
Posted by: @courtenay

"Try to get across the southern border to the court of King Nain of Archenland. He will be good to you."

And, of course, his younger twin (or brother) would have been Nainen, or Nainun, or the like...

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Posted : July 5, 2022 11:18 am
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Courtenay
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@cobalt-jade I would guess so, yes — or Nainin! Grin   There's another thing we never find out about Archenland: how this quirky naming convention for older and younger brothers came about. The one comment is when Shasta explains that his real name is Cor, being the brother of Corin...

"Brothers' names run like that in Archenland," said Shasta (or Prince Cor as we must now call him). "Like Dar and Darrin, Cole and Colin and so on."

And so as far as we see, all first-born sons in Archenland have a monosyllabic name — Lune, Bar, Ram and Nain are the other ones I can think of that get mentioned in the books — and their younger brother by default gets the same name with an "-in" suffix. So we can assume King Lune's younger brother, if he has one, is Prince Lunin; wicked Lord Bar's would be Barin or Barrin; Cor and Aravis's second son would be Prince Ramin or Rammin (it's unclear, from the examples we have, when the last letter is doubled and when it isn't, as we have Dar and Darrin but Cor and Corin)...

And apart from the mystery of how and why that tradition developed, there are all the other questions it raises. What happens with third and later sons? Do third sons get yet another suffix added to the second son's name? (Could start getting awkward if you then have, say, Lune, Lunin, Luninin... and then Lunininin for a fourth brother?? Shocked ) Or does a third son get a different one-syllable name and the pattern of adding "-in" repeats with the fourth son?

And, of course, what about girls' names and a naming pattern of sisters, if there is one? I don't think we're given the names of ANY Archenlander women throughout the series, not even Cor and Corin's late mother. Do they follow a similar pattern with a feminine suffix — maybe it would be "-ine" or "-ina"? That would be a nice symmetry if they do, but we still don't know how this convention arose in the first place. More fodder for fan fic writers, I suppose — and while I've never tried writing any myself, I find it heartwarming that Lewis always encouraged his young readers to write their own Narnia stories to fill in the gaps he'd left, long before the modern term for that came about! Wink  

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

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Posted : July 5, 2022 2:25 pm
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Narnian78
(@narnian78)
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Do you like Archenland the way Lewis created it or do you think it is too good to be true?  I don’t know if the same could be said about Narnia. Both places are beautiful, but the villains like the White Witch must have ruined something that even Aslan couldn’t repair until the coming of the new Narnia at the end of The Last Battle, It may be that Narnia was what Lewis wished our world to be.

 

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Posted : July 6, 2022 6:57 am
Cobalt Jade
(@cobalt-jade)
NarniaWeb Regular

Courtenay, I wrote about Archenlandean naming conventions here.

I hadn't thought about -in being the only ending available, though.

As for all of Narnia-the-World's "European" type nations, in ALL the books, only a handful of names for the native-born ones are mentioned: Queen Swanwhite, Lady Liln, and Queen Prunaprismia. (Susan, Lucy, Helen don't count, because they were from Earth.) These three names are very different from each other so it's hard to say what naming conventions Narnia followed. We can guess at Calormen's because of Aravis, Zardeenah, and Lasaraleen, but not Narnia's.

Of all the Talking Beasts, and mythic creatures, only Mrs. Beaver got a name! And she was just Mrs. Beaver.

I wonder about Lewis' blind spot in this.

Of the other countries, I always thought of Galma as being like Scotland, but with the sailing and seafaring skills of 15th century Spain or Portugal. The Seven Isles, no clue. Terabinthia seemed more exotic, because of the name. Maybe Moorish Spain, or Greece, or Jordan/Syria/Egypt/Israel?

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Posted : July 7, 2022 11:54 am
Courtenay
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NarniaWeb Guru Hospitality Committee
Posted by: @cobalt-jade

Of all the Talking Beasts, and mythic creatures, only Mrs. Beaver got a name! And she was just Mrs. Beaver.

And Hwin?? Wink  

 
Posted by: @cobalt-jade

I wonder about Lewis' blind spot in this.

 

I've always figured any not-quite-up-to-today's-standards depictions of female characters in the Chronicles are probably a result of Lewis having been born in 1898 and writing in an era well before there was any huge pressure — from publishers or audiences — to include lots of prominent female characters, that's all. As a matter of fact, although we don't see so many "native Narnian" female characters, many of Lewis's strongest human characters are girls — particularly Lucy, Jill, Aravis and Polly — and he was definitely ahead of his time in some regards with those. But back in the 1950s and earlier, most readers and critics wouldn't have seriously questioned books with more male characters than female, or with female characters not being named and only being briefly mentioned. It was just the way most fantasy stories were written until quite recently, including a lot of the ancient myths that Lewis and indeed Tolkien loved. Talking of Tolkien, The Hobbit (first published in 1937) doesn't contain any female characters AT ALL!! But clearly his publishers had no problem with that...

We've had other discussions here about female roles and possible sexism in Narnia (especially the fate of Susan), but whenever I hear critics claiming — as a few have done — that C.S. Lewis had a problem with strong female characters, I just feel like saying, "Excuse me... have you ever taken a look at who he married??" Grin Grin   (Which is a little off topic, but it does say a lot about how he really felt about strong women!)

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

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Posted : July 7, 2022 1:14 pm
Cobalt Jade
(@cobalt-jade)
NarniaWeb Regular

I forgot about Hwin, yes! 😖 

I didn't to say there weren't any strong female characters in the books, because of course there are. I'll so far to say they were the real stars of the books. It's just that the female secondary and background characters don't get names -- for example, The Green Witch and Ramandu the Star's Daughter. They could have gotten names, and were important enough to get names, but Lewis never named them. Odd, that.

 

 

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Posted : July 7, 2022 3:07 pm
Jasmine
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@cobalt-jade 

The Walden film adaption of Voyage of the Dawn Treader named Ramandu's daughter Lilliandi. She actually looked like a star in a way, though I would have imagined her to be more subtle, not as much glow around her. She had a really beautiful dress on, yes, but I think she would have looked more human.

"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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Posted : July 7, 2022 3:52 pm
Narnian78
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NarniaWeb Junkie

At the end of The Last Battle it was possible to see any time or location in our world as well as in Narnia. So imagine what it would be like to see your own childhood home from Aslan’s country in Narnia!  I don’t know of any other book of fantasy which has something like those final chapters. Do you remember being impressed by this kind of travel first time that you read it?

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Posted : July 9, 2022 8:01 am
Courtenay
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NarniaWeb Guru Hospitality Committee

@narnian78 I was deeply impressed by it, yes — as a 7-year-old first-time reader — and still am!

Mind you, I don't get the impression that the characters in Aslan's country were able to see "any time or location in our world". We're told that they are seeing the real things and places, the eternal originals, of which all things in the mortal worlds (the Shadowlands) are only a shadow or a copy:

"Why!" exclaimed Peter. "It's England. And that's the house itself — Professor Kirk's old home in the country where all our adventures began!"

"I thought that house had been destroyed," said Edmund.

"So it was," said the Faun. "But you are now looking at the England within England, the real England just as this is the real Narnia. And in that inner England no good thing is destroyed."

So, as I read it, they're not standing in Heaven looking back down at Earth and seeing a chosen time or place in this temporal world's history. They're standing in Heaven looking at Heaven — looking at the immortal landscapes within Aslan's country, including the "real" versions of everything good and beautiful that they knew in the mortal "shadow" Earth and "shadow" Narnia. And those real things, it's made clear, are far more beautiful and wonderful than the mortal copies of them in the Shadowlands ever could have been, and everyone who arrives in Aslan's country instinctively knows that this is where they truly belong. Or as Jewel the Unicorn puts it, "The reason why we loved the old Narnia was that it sometimes looked a little like this."

The same goes for the "real England" that they see in the distance — it's not the "old" one, the temporal one, captured in a particular moment of time and space as we know them, but the eternal one that is as much part of Aslan's country as is the real Narnia that they're standing in:

"That country and this country — all the real countries — are only spurs jutting out from the great mountains of Aslan. We have only to walk along the ridge, upward and inward, till it joins on."

It's a concept of Heaven that absolutely bowls me over to this day!!

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

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Posted : July 9, 2022 10:37 am
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