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Mrs Macready and the Wardrobe

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Cleander
(@the-mad-poet)
NarniaWeb Junkie

The true "Narnia-style" wardrobes are a little hard to find. I'm constantly finding wardrobe-like objects in thrift stores, but when I look inside, they tend to contain shelves (or they turn out to really be TV cabinets X( ). I've only seen one or two real, clothes- hanging wardrobes that I can think of, but they had solid wooden backs...

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Posted : March 22, 2019 1:52 pm
Narnian78
(@narnian78)
NarniaWeb Nut

There were miniature replicas of the Narnia wardrobe, but of course it’s the movie version and I think there was another one made of resin which may have been a bit closer to the one in the book. If you can find these items they may be a bit expensive. I kind of wish there was one made of ceramic (like my Dr Who TARDIS) since that is a nice material but not too costly.

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Posted : March 23, 2019 9:47 am
coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator

Is a closet different from a cupboard? Does it have to be larger than say, a kitchen cupboard? Is it defined by what it is used to store, as well as its being built in?

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 24, 2019 8:31 am
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Nut

An American closet is supposed to be as tall as a room but it's usually a lot thinner. Wish I could come up with a better description than that. Basically they're like the wardrobe in LWW but they're built into the walls of a house.

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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Topic starter Posted : March 24, 2019 1:03 pm
SirVincentofNarnia
(@sirvincentofnarnia)
NarniaWeb Regular

I believe that Mrs. McCready showed the wardrobe to people because if something is that big and intricate, you may as well show it off :) Anyway, I feel like the Professor probably didn't mention its true origin but probably told some other story to cover for it, as many of you have mentioned. Telling someone about a place like Narnia and its fantasticalness (not a word, but its ok ;) ) would be quite an unbelieveable story.

Let us go on and take the adventure that shall fall to us
-Queen Susan
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

People are quick to judge but slow to correct themselves
-Ezio Auditore, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

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Posted : March 25, 2019 4:32 am
waggawerewolf27
(@waggawerewolf27)
NarniaWeb Zealot

Is a closet different from a cupboard? Does it have to be larger than say, a kitchen cupboard? Is it defined by what it is used to store, as well as its being built in?

Usage does define whether a cupboard is a cupboard, a closet or a Wardrobe. In your laundry you may have a broom cupboard, that is, if your dwelling place has its own laundry at all, & if that laundry, itself, hasn't been fitted into its own laundry closet, or cupboard, with barely space for a small washing machine & a wall-mounted dryer, let alone a sink. Sometimes builders of houses, & especially apartments etc, don't seem to like the idea that people might actually have to live in the places they build & tenants of flats may have to share laundry facilities.

My grandmother used to have a sideboard which, when mated up with an enormous dining room table & a pianola, with a couch with storage space in the seat, took up the main living room or parlour. In the sideboard was all my grandmother's prized possessions, including what was left of a dining service for considerably more than the settings for six or four that may be still available now in department stores. You know, cutlery, crockery, the prized wear we had for when visitors arrived. Not the everyday cracked & chipped plates & daggy cutlery we normally used. A cupboard is, literally, a place to store cups in, whether in the kitchen or the dining room, though our current sideboard has a hutch, where all the nice glasses, crystal, trophies & souvenirs might be displayed. As we graduated from old stand alone record players, & stand alone radios, our sideboards became more like display cabinets with space to accommodate radios, record players, tape decks etc., plus those chunky speakers. My husband built ours, himself, as an after work activity, back in the 1970's.

Closets are for storage generally, built in or not. The closet may contain linen, that is to say a linen closet & most houses these days have one as a matter of course, for sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, etc. But it wasn't always so. There is a joke in VDT about Eustace, having been made a slave, was classed by Pug as WC. Which, try as I might, not to do so, does make me think of Water Closets, sometimes labelled as such in some buildings.

A wardrobe is mainly for clothes, & unlike a kitchen cabinet or pantry, may be mostly hanging space, though it may contain a section for drawers or just shelving. The one found by the Pevensies, was full of fur coats, but fur coats would be a very rare find today, & definitely not be for displaying to tourists, except in a museum.

In Melbourne's botanic gardens, you will find Captain Cook's Cottage. It seems terrible that the large family he & his wife, Elizabeth had were all crammed into this little space, with hardly enough room to move around, let alone cook, clean etc. His wife had a terrible life, and only one or two of their children even survived into adulthood, let alone outlive Captain Cook, himself. In those days, it would be something to own a sailor's sea chest, let alone the fancy wardrobes of a century ago, & suggested by the Narnian wardrobe, or even Uncle Andrew's own bedroom wardrobe, where he kept his bottle of brandy & best suit of clothes.

We were watching on TV, Neil Oliver's Coast New Zealand last Friday night. In the Bay of Islands segment, the alleged Mr Big of New Zealand, one Terry Clarke, had built for himself a very opulent & wonderful house with his ill-gotten gains. Eventually the police came knocking, but this Mr Big of crime had his own method of escape at hand. There was a built-in wardrobe, with a plain door, & containing coat hangers on a cross bar when the door was opened. The floor could be removed, to allow his escape, also the ceiling of the built in wardrobe to go upwards. The houses on either side of my own both have built in laundry chutes, a modern version of the old priest holes & other secret passages in old British houses & elsewhere, concealed by wardrobes, book cases & the like.

No wonder we had not only the Lion & the Witch, but also the marvellous Wardrobe which not only hid Lucy but also allowed her to go through the fur coats into a fir wood.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1QDQp ... N3dGM/view

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Posted : March 25, 2019 11:25 am
Lindsaydoering
(@lindsaydoering)
NarniaWeb Newbie

I am not entirely convinced that Mrs Macready was showing the tourists the wardrobe:

"And after that - whether it was that they lost their heads, or that Mrs Macready was trying to catch them, or some magic in the house had come to life and was chasing them into Narnia..."

then they go into the spare room and someone fumbles at the door and the door knob turns.  So - if it is the MacReady at the door (and not some magic) she is trying to catch the children - not show off the wardrobe. 

Having said all that - it is a very detailed and strange way for them to get chased into Narnia. 

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Posted : July 26, 2021 2:31 pm
coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator

The wardrobe (in the Spare Oom) was certainly not the ornate thing the movie makers used, (using pictures of things that Lewis had not written about in this story), nor as fancy as his grandfather's one. 

It was the sort that had a mirror set into the door. As it wasn't covered with a dust sheet in the book, perhaps Mrs McCready was going to take a quick look at herself to be sure she was tidy! Or she suspected the evacuee children were in the area and wanted to shoo them back to their rooms. 

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 : July 26, 2021 3:21 pm
waggawerewolf27
(@waggawerewolf27)
NarniaWeb Zealot

@Coracle: The wardrobe (in the Spare Oom) was certainly not the ornate thing the movie makers used, (using pictures of things that Lewis had not written about in this story), nor as fancy as his grandfather's one. 

It was the sort that had a mirror set into the door. 

I know the sort of wardrobe you mean. My mother had one like it, from pre-WW2. The mirror was oval, set into the centre door, but otherwise I only remember it as being rather too small for purpose. I don't remember if it was a wardrobe all the way through or whether on one side it had some drawers as well. I understand though that film makers would have wanted to make that particular wardrobe look fancier than normal to make it cinematically unique. A sort of a reverse of how the Indiana Jones movies depicted the Holy Grail, as a plain wooden chalice rather than the other chalices in the collection. 

@Coracle: Do you have metal ones these days? I can't imagine anything except wood or wood veneer.

Yes there are heaps of metal "wardrobes", in schools, staff tea rooms, laboratories, football & other sorts of change rooms etc. Whether they are half sized ones, for school pupils, or full height, they are called "lockers". But where people have to wear overalls, lab coats, sports uniforms & other work or leisure related clothing, often supplied by organisations, and which are normally not worn at home, or in public, they still serve the same purpose.

This post was modified 2 months ago 2 times by waggawerewolf27

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1QDQp ... N3dGM/view

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Posted : July 26, 2021 5:43 pm
Cobalt Jade
(@cobalt-jade)
NarniaWeb Regular

I always had the impression there were two entrances to the room, and the tour group was seeking to pass through it on the way to somewhere else. The movie room only had one entrance, and the wardrobe was set off against one wall and covered up like it was something special and worth seeing, and I think this is where everyone is getting confused.The book wardrobe seemed quite ordinary.

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Posted : July 28, 2021 12:26 am
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Nut
Posted by: @cobalt-jade

The movie room only had one entrance, and the wardrobe was set off against one wall and covered up like it was something special and worth seeing, and I think this is where everyone is getting confused.

Well, I read the book a long time before I saw the movie.

I think the illustration for the book might have shown another door in the wardrobe room. So there's that. But if that's what Lewis intended, how come he had all the Pevensies except Lucy initially leave the room without going through it?

P.S.

I'm pretty sure the cloth in the movie was to keep dust off.

This post was modified 2 months ago 2 times by Col Klink

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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Topic starter Posted : July 28, 2021 6:37 am
coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator
Posted by: @col-klink

P.S.

I'm pretty sure the cloth in the movie was to keep dust off.

It was a plot/design device to make it look more mysterious. But yes, it was a dust sheet, common in houses where not all the rooms are being used. With only 3 servants in the house,  I would think Mrs M wouldn't want to waste time dusting in unused rooms. 

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 : July 28, 2021 3:38 pm
Narnian78
(@narnian78)
NarniaWeb Nut

Mrs. Macready added some humor to the story.  They called her “The Macready”, referring to her domineering bossy personality. I think she thought that every part of the house had some historic significance.  That would include the wardrobe.  Her fussiness added some humor to the story. She was like the stereotype of an old maid schoolteacher, although of course that added some spice to the story. 🙂

This post was modified 2 months ago 2 times by Narnian78
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Posted : July 29, 2021 4:38 pm
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Friend of NarniaWeb
Posted by: @col-klink

I think the illustration for the book might have shown another door in the wardrobe room. So there's that. But if that's what Lewis intended, how come he had all the Pevensies except Lucy initially leave the room without going through it?

The illustration in the book does show a door on the far side of the room, past the wardrobe — which suggests there could be two doors in the room, IF the picture is drawn from the perspective of looking into the room as the children initially do (i.e. looking through the first door, which is outside the picture). But there's nothing in the text to suggest that at all. In fact, it's implied that there's only the one door:

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. There was nothing else in the room at all except a dead blue-bottle on the window-sill.

"Nothing there!" said Peter, and they all trooped out again — all except Lucy....

We're only told they looked into the room, not that they fully entered it — which they would have to have done if they were leaving by a different door from the one they came in through — and "all trooped out again" seems to suggest they left by the way they came, rather than walking onward through the room itself. I've always assumed there was only one door, despite the ambiguity in the illustration — which means the illustration must be drawn from the perspective of someone standing inside the room, opposite the door that the children enter and leave through.

(I love Pauline Baynes's artwork, as I'm sure most of us do, but although hers are the original illustrations, they aren't absolutely "canon" in the way that the text is. She and Lewis had relatively little interaction as she was working — by her own account, he mostly let her do as she liked with the illustrations and he only requested changes when she got something very noticeably wrong, such as showing a character facing the wrong way when rowing a boat. So to me, even if her illustration of the wardrobe room suggests there may be two doors, that doesn't necessarily represent exactly what Lewis was imagining for that room. Her illustration also shows a fireplace, which isn't mentioned in the text and which rather contradicts the statement that there was "nothing else in the room at all"!)

I never really stopped to think about the incongruity of "the Macready" taking her party of tourists into the wardrobe room when there was nothing to see there. Lewis as the narrator makes clear that he can't or won't give a definite explanation, and the children themselves seem baffled as to why it happens the way it does...

But when they had got out into the Green Room and beyond it, into the Library, they suddenly heard voices ahead of them, and realised that Mrs Macready must be bringing her party of sightseers up the back stairs — instead of up the front stairs as they had expected. And after that — whether it was that they lost their heads, or that Mrs Macready was trying to catch them, or that some magic in the house had come to life and was chasing them into Narnia — they seemed to find themselves being followed everywhere, until at last Susan said, "Oh bother those trippers! Here — let's get into the Wardrobe Room till they've passed. No-one will follow us in there." But the moment they were inside they heard voices in the passage — and then someone fumbling at the door — and then they saw the handle turning.

"Quick!" said Peter, "there's nowhere else," and flung open the wardrobe....

Reading over that excerpt, I think it implies even more strongly that there's only one door into / out of the room. Susan wouldn't have said "No-one will follow us in there" if the room was one that could be passed through to get to other rooms in the house. And if it was, the children would logically have hidden in the wardrobe immediately, so that Mrs M and the "trippers" would walk through the room and out the other side without seeing them — or, on seeing they were still being followed, they could have run out through the other door, which would mean there's not "nowhere else". The only explanation that fits is that the room has only one door.

So as for why Mrs Macready was taking the visitors into that room — the only hints we get are in the text itself. Either she WAS deliberately trying to catch the children, or there's "some magic" involved that was "chasing them into Narnia". Neither of which would satisfy a really picky and sceptical adult reader, but this is a book for children, and the four Pevensies hiding in the wardrobe is one of those "has to happen" things, so... Grin  

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

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Posted : July 30, 2021 2:58 pm
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Nut

@courtenay I'm impressed you put that much thought into whether or not the wardrobe room could lead into another room. I thought it unlikely from the text, but I didn't really feel like rereading all the relevant descriptions to prove it one way or the other. Giggle  

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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Topic starter Posted : July 30, 2021 4:27 pm
Courtenay liked
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