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If Narnia were told in 1st person, whose perspective would each of the books be in?

KingEdTheJust
(@kingedthejust)
NarniaWeb Nut

Since all the Narnia books were told in 3rd person, whose perspective would the books be in if it were told in first person and why? Would The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe be told in Lucy's perspective because she is the one who discovered Narnia or Edmund's because he had the biggest character arch? Would The Silver Chair be told through Eustace's eyes or Jill's? I know The Horse and his Boy is mostly through Shasta's perspective, but what if the whole book came from Aravis? Would a different perspective make you like some characters more than others or perhaps understand them better? 

-KingEdTheJust 

"But even a traitor may mend. I have known one that did." - (King Edmund the Just, Horse and his Boy)

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Topic starter Posted : October 2, 2022 5:24 pm
Col Klink liked
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Junkie

Ooh, good question, @kingedthejust! That's a really tough one! I'm sure there are fanfics out there that have re-written the Narnia books or even broaden them out some.

The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe- It could even start with the start of the eternal winter in Narnia. One chapter could be told from Lucy's perspective and another chapter could be told from Edmund's perspective.

I imagine that The Silver Chair be told from Jill's perspective, because it's mostly about her learning to trust who Aslan is and following the signs. And the situation about her being bullied at Experiment House.

I think most of The Last Battle is from Tirian's perspective. Though I imagine that some of it could be told from Emeth's perspective, about his devotion to Tash, only to realize it was really Aslan he was serving. In a fanfic or a movie even, you could probably explore more of the Calormene side.

"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 : October 2, 2022 7:00 pm
rainyweather
(@rainyweather)
NarniaWeb Nut

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe would likely be told in Lucy's perspective, rather than Edmund's, because Lucy is with her siblings the majority of the book whereas Edmund runs off to the Witch. Were it in Edmund's perspective we'd miss some important moments such as meeting Father Christmas and Aslan. However, in Lucy's perspective, I suppose, we'd miss out on his experiences with the Witch (though perhaps those could be recounted through dialogue). But it might create some suspense if the readers did not know where Edmund had gone and that he had met the Witch. Another interesting idea would be seeing the story through Peter's eyes. Though Lucy may be a bit more directly involved since she was first to discover Narnia, with Peter we could experience his concern as the eldest, trying to care for his younger siblings in the absence of their parents. We could experience more of the battle this way, as well, but would miss the romp.

Prince Caspian would likely be best told through Lucy's eyes, since she is the first to see Aslan. Or a more objective perspective could come from Edmund, who ultimately believes her (and is the first to do so). 

Voyage of the Dawn Treader would almost certainly be told by either Eustace or Lucy, since they each have an individual adventure on one of the islands and some important character growth (Eustace on the Dragon Island and Lucy on the Island of the Dufflepuds). Eustace would certainly offer a very unique perspective as a newcomer and disbeliever, and he experiences a bigger change on the whole, so I would lean more toward it being through his eyes..

As @jasmine_tarkheena said, I think The Silver Chair would be in Jill's perspective (especially if Dawn Treader came through Eustace), since it seems to mostly follow her throughout the book, especially in the first few chapters (when Eustace falls off the cliff, we stay with Jill and witness her meeting with Aslan).

The Magician's Nephew should likely be in Digory's point-of-view because a lot of the conflict and character growth is centered around him and his family.

I also agree with @jasmine_tarkheena that The Last Battle should be in Tirian's point-of-view because the story pertains mainly to him as the last king of Narnia during the end of his world.

 

 

 

 

"We shall all, in the end,
be led to where we belong.
We shall all, in the end,
find our way home."

- The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo

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Posted : October 2, 2022 9:57 pm
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Junkie

This is a really interesting topic (hence my liking the OP) but I think that the only Narnia books that really lend themselves to first person narratives would be The Silver Chair (with Jill as the narrator) and The Magician's Nephew (with Digory as the narrator.) And even those have a couple of scenes (not super important ones) that couldn't be told by the main characters. (The Silver Chair ends with a summary of what happened in Narnia after Jill and Eustace left and The Magician's Nephew has the summary of what happened to Polly when she came home late with her shoes wet.)

None of the other books are told so completely from one character's point of view. Their ensemble stories that balance multiple perspectives. I was going to mention The Last Battle as another exception. Most of the first part is told from Tirian's perspective. But the first chapter is all about Puzzle and Shift and in the last act, Tirian is no more important than the Seven Friends of Narnia. It'd make no sense to have him narrate the final scene of Aslan addressing them.

For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen check out my new blog!

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Posted : October 3, 2022 1:35 pm
icarus
(@icarus)
NarniaWeb Junkie

Controversial opinion here perhaps, but I think Prince Caspian would work much better as a story if it were told exclusively from Caspian's Point-of-View. 

Not only would you get rid of the huge flashback problem in the narrative structure, but it's just a much more interesting perspective to frame the story in - flipping the entire Fantasy formula on its head by making our world the place of myth and legend told in storybooks to the young Prince of Narnia.

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Posted : October 3, 2022 2:33 pm
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Hospitality Committee
Posted by: @icarus

Controversial opinion here perhaps, but I think Prince Caspian would work much better as a story if it were told exclusively from Caspian's Point-of-View. 

Not only would you get rid of the huge flashback problem in the narrative structure, but it's just a much more interesting perspective to frame the story in - flipping the entire Fantasy formula on its head by making our world the place of myth and legend told in storybooks to the young Prince of Narnia.

I like that idea in theory, but I reckon the reason Lewis decided to start with the Pevensies and then tell Caspian's story in flashback was so that, for readers who'd already read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (the only other Narnia book he'd written at the time), the story starts with characters we're already familiar with. And then we get the jarring revelation that they're back in Narnia, but everything is strange and different, and this ruined castle is Cair Paravel where they were once kings and queens... so how did this happen and what went so horribly wrong?? I remember the awful shock of that, as a 7-year-old reader, very well.

(I'm always amazed at how low Prince Caspian rates in everyone else's ranking of favourite books, at least on this website; I feel like I'm the only one who actually loves it!! Tongue   The flashback makes the narrative a bit uneven, but I've never minded it. And the story itself, from a faith point of view — the loss and rediscovery of "Old Narnia" — is hugely meaningful to me personally and I hope there are at least a few other readers out there who feel the same way...)

Back on the topic, this is an intriguing premise, but I honestly don't think any of the Chronicles would work nearly as well told in first person, from only one character's perspective. Lewis as "third-person omniscient" narrator is able to tell the story from the point of view of different characters in turn, as in LWW, where we mainly get Lucy's perspective until the third chapter, where we switch to Edmund and his own first entry into Narnia and meeting the White Witch, and so on — and then the same switching back and forth happens several chapters later when Edmund slips away from the Beavers' house on his own. And we have similar things happening in all or most of the other books as well, particularly where one or more of the main characters are separated from the others for a time (the various episodes in VDT, or Shasta's and Aravis's different experiences in Tashbaan in HHB, for example).

And there's the problem — when a story is told strictly in first person narration, the author can give only that one character's perspective on everything. So the story can't then include anything that character didn't personally experience or witness or hear about directly. This might just work for a few of the Chronicles where there are no important scenes where the main characters are separated and each doing significant things; I can imagine The Silver Chair told entirely by Jill, The Magician's Nephew by Digory, or The Last Battle by Tirian, as those are all plots where there aren't any extended separate narratives going on, and the third-person narrator spends most of his time "in" those single character's heads as it is. For the other books, though, first-person narration would simply mean losing huge parts of the plot. I really can't see how it would work.

Also, actual first-person narration means there's no place for extra information and commentary from the author/narrator, which is what we have all through the Chronicles as they are, filling us in on what different characters are thinking or on some of the background to what's going on, for example, including things that the characters themselves don't necessarily know. Lewis does this a lot, of course, and it's a major part of his narrative voice (including his often humorous little "asides" to the reader!). So even in the books where having one first-person narrator wouldn't involve missing out on big parts of the story, it would be a lot harder to fill in all the background information that helps us as readers to understand what's going on. It could make for some interesting fan fic (and it's probably already been done!), but I can't imagine it would improve any of the books at all.

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

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Posted : October 4, 2022 7:23 am
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Junkie

I think there's opportunity for fanfic writers who want to tell their own version of each Narnia story. There is even the possibility of having each chapter being told from a different perspective. 

In The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, some chapters could be told from Lucy's perspective and some could be told from Edmund's perspective.

In The Horse And His Boy, some chapters could be told from Shasta's perspective, and some could be told from Aravis's perspective.

I'm sure you could play around a lot with perspectives of different characters in Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Some being from Caspian's, some being from Reepicheep's, and some being from Eustace. Since it is a more of a journey story (screw the Green Mist from the Walden adaption!), it would be no secret that each character would tell their personal journey.

In The Last Battle, most of it would be told from Tirian's perspective. But how about a whole chapter of Emeth meeting with Aslan told from his perspective? It is already in the book, but it is sure enough to fill a whole chapter.

"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 : October 4, 2022 8:02 am
KingEdTheJust
(@kingedthejust)
NarniaWeb Nut

I've read some books that switch between two characters. For example, one chapter would be told by one character and the next one would be told by another. It would be interesting to think of HHB like that. One chapter started by Shasta (Cor), the other led by Aravis in their own views and perspectives. As the chapters went on, Aravis' view of Shasta and likewise Shasta's view of Aravis would improve and by the end, they would respect and appreciate each other. I think we'd get more of a character arch for both of them if the book started with each of their perspectives and showed how they grew in maturity as the book went on. 

If PC was told the same way, I'd imagine it would switch between Caspian and the Pevensies, and in the middle of the book they'd meet through Caspian's perspective so the reader could fully feel the awe of seeing the Pevensies coming back after about a thousand years. 

-KingEdTheJust

"But even a traitor may mend. I have known one that did." - (King Edmund the Just, Horse and his Boy)

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Topic starter Posted : October 4, 2022 5:41 pm
coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator

@kingedthejust great idea!  Not that I would want to change anything that Lewis wrote, but it could be an interesting English writing assignment: writing part of a chapter from the perspective of a character.

VDT could be shared between Lucy and Eustace.
LWW could be told from Peter's perspective - even the part where Edmund had been to Narnia could be added in, introduced by Peter saying Ed told him this later.
MN could be shared between Polly and Digory

Posted by: @jasmine_tarkheena

I think there's opportunity for fanfic writers who want to tell their own version of each Narnia story. There is even the possibility of having each chapter being told from a different perspective. 

But as you know, we don't encourage fan fiction on Narniaweb. No no Wink  

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 : October 4, 2022 6:08 pm
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Junkie
Posted by: @coracle
But as you know, we don't encourage fan fiction on Narniaweb. No no Wink

No, but it's almost like you could write your own version of each story. But obviously, you can't change what CS Lewis wrote.

Back on topic, if anything could be told from a different point of view, possibly another would be in The Last Battle, there could be a whole chapter told from Poggin's perspective. His telling of what had happened at Stable Hill and overhearing Rishda and Ginger's secret plan is probably enough to fill a whole chapter.

 

"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 : October 4, 2022 8:59 pm
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