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What if the Narnia books were each a musical?

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Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Junkie

As a musical fanatic and having grown up with Disney, every number is superb- Montage song, opening song, love songs, comedy songs, and villain songs.

The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe- I can kind of see a musical number about Turkish Delight in there.

Prince Caspian- Miraz singing his own edition of "Be Prepared", Caspian singing about the old days of Narnia.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader- A song about the open waters, Caspian and Ramandu's Daughter a love duet

The Silver Chair- Puddleglum singing about raining weather, a song about "Follow the Signs"

The Horse and His Boy- Shasta and Aravis with a dual duet about journey to the North.

The Magician's Nephew- Obviously the creation of Narnia is through song; Digory singing about his desire to save his mother.

The Last Battle- King Tirian singing about Narnia's past when he's tied up; Rishda and Ginger's secret conversation as a musical number

 

Anything else that could work in each book for a musical?

 

 

"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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Topic starter Posted : January 3, 2022 5:19 pm
coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator

I can't speak for the rest of them, but there are several musicals of LWW.

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 : January 3, 2022 5:24 pm
Movie Aristotle
(@risto)
NarniaWeb Junkie

Now this is an interesting topic idea. @jasmine_tarkheena, I think you’re on to something. Although, I think Shasta and Bree should have a song and then Aravis and Hwin could have a song. Then, later in the musical we could hear Shasta and Aravis sing their songs simultaneously, sort of like “76 Trombones” and “Goodnight, My Someone” in The Music Man.

I read an LWW musical stage play once, but only the script, so I’ve no idea how the music was, but I do remember a song about Turkish Delight in it.

I also know of a musical version of VDT, but have not had the pleasure of reading it.

 

Movie Aristotle, AKA Risto

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Posted : January 3, 2022 11:41 pm
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Junkie

Posted by: @risto

Although, I think Shasta and Bree should have a song and then Aravis and Hwin could have a song. Then, later in the musical we could hear Shasta and Aravis sing their songs simultaneously, sort of like “76 Trombones” and “Goodnight, My Someone” in The Music Man.

I actually haven't thought of that. It would almost sound like Shasta and Bree and Aravis and Hwin would have a dual duet, like in movies where there are two characters singing in each a different location, and the camera switches back and forth.

Posted by: @risto

I read an LWW musical stage play once, but only the script, so I’ve no idea how the music was, but I do remember a song about Turkish Delight in it.

I've seen LWW musical on youtube, but not in person. I think there was a Turkish Delight in song there... not very often a villain and hero sings a song together.

Posted by: @risto

I also know of a musical version of VDT, but have not had the pleasure of reading it.

I was reading up on something on a VDT musical, but I don't think it's as well known. So I could kind of see even Reepicheep singing the verse about the utter east as a musical number.

 

"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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Topic starter Posted : January 4, 2022 9:15 am
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Hospitality Committee
Posted by: @jasmine_tarkheena

The Magician's Nephew- Obviously the creation of Narnia is through song; Digory singing about his desire to save his mother.

I'm also now imagining Jadis, after Digory awakens her in Charn, doing a big musical number about who she is and how she destroyed her entire world... this is getting too scary to contemplate Shocked Grin  

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

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Posted : January 4, 2022 10:23 am
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Junkie
Posted by: @courtenay

I'm also now imagining Jadis, after Digory awakens her in Charn, doing a big musical number about who she is and how she destroyed her entire world... this is getting too scary to contemplate Shocked Grin  

I haven't thought of that one either. I also kind of thought that Jadis would sing about being "free from all rules". In The Silver Chair, I could even see the Lady of the Green Kirtle singing a song to lull the heroes to sleep, similar to "Trust in Me" from The Jungle Book.

 

"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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Topic starter Posted : January 4, 2022 10:36 am
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Hospitality Committee
Posted by: @jasmine_tarkheena

The Last Battle- King Tirian singing about Narnia's past when he's tied up; Rishda and Ginger's secret conversation as a musical number

And obviously an extended number (perhaps interspersed with dialogue at times) with the chorus "Further Up and Further In" as our heroes discover Aslan's Country bit by bit! Well, it all might start getting a bit too cheesy after a while, but it's fun to think about... Giggle  

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

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Posted : January 4, 2022 10:46 am
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Junkie
Posted by: @courtenay

And obviously an extended number (perhaps interspersed with dialogue at times) with the chorus "Further Up and Further In" as our heroes discover Aslan's Country bit by bit! Well, it all might start getting a bit too cheesy after a while, but it's fun to think about... Giggle  

Ooh, good number... it could even be the finale. Even Emeth's telling of his encounter with Aslan could be a musical number.

I think villains typically sing about their evil plans (I've seen it even on Disney movies). Imagine Miraz singing his own version of "Be Prepared" from The Lion King or The Lady of Green Kirtle singing her own version of "Trust In Me" from The Jungle Book or even Rishda singing his own version of "Mine, Mine, Mine" from Pocahontas. Not all villains sing about this, but a majority sing about their evil plan for world domination.

And a lot of musicals, the male and female leads have a love a duet. I could even see Caspian and Ramandu's daughter singing a love duet in Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

 

"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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Topic starter Posted : January 4, 2022 12:04 pm
KingEdTheJust
(@kingedthejust)
NarniaWeb Nut

Oh, this sounds so fun! 

In LWW, I imagine there's probably a song that Lucy sings by herself when she first goes into Narnia. It wouldn't be a long song, just a short little tune. The White Witch would sing a song as well, about her power and her great achievement of conquering Narnia. In all the musicals I know, there is always a 'villain song', so I assume if LWW was a musical, it would have one as well. Lastly, Edmund would most likely sing a song when walking to the White Witches castle, about his desire to be prince, and... the revenge he would take on Peter. Smile  

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

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Posted : January 4, 2022 6:06 pm
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Junkie
Posted by: @kingedthejust

In LWW, I imagine there's probably a song that Lucy sings by herself when she first goes into Narnia. It wouldn't be a long song, just a short little tune.

Oh yes. Even a chorus singing where Mr. Tumnus is playing his flute.

Posted by: @kingedthejust

The White Witch would sing a song as well, about her power and her great achievement of conquering Narnia. In all the musicals I know, there is always a 'villain song', so I assume if LWW was a musical, it would have one as well.

Oh yes, that would be a good one. Even in The Magician's Nephew, she could sing about conquering the world when she arrived on Earth from Charn.

Almost about every villain sings about his or her evil plan for world domination. Okay, not every villain sings a song about that. I don't think "Trust In Me" from The Jungle Book (if that counts as a villain song) is about world domination. It's kind of mesmerizing, makes one to fall asleep. The Lady of the Green Kirtle in The Silver Chair could sing something similar.  "Hellfire" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a villain song where Frollo sings about his struggle with his lust for Esmeralda, which is a really a dark and twisted song even from a kids movie. I don't know if any villain in Narnia would sing a song about that...unless Prince Rabadash sings about his obsession with Susan in The Horse and His Boy or Rishda sings a song about his obsession with Jill (supposedly he had one, but most likely his song would be about world domination) in The Last Battle, but I digress.

Posted by: @kingedthejust

Lastly, Edmund would most likely sing a song when walking to the White Witches castle, about his desire to be prince, and... the revenge he would take on Peter. Smile  

I actually haven't thought of that one. I know Edmund is kind of jealous of Peter because of his leadership, and Edmund is the younger brother.

 

"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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Topic starter Posted : January 4, 2022 6:27 pm
Wanderer Between Worlds
(@wanderer)
NarniaWeb Nut
You’ve given me a lot to think about @jasmine_tarkheena! Smile  

I like the idea of villain songs, though I don’t villain songs have to be about world domination. Particularly if the conflict is smaller-scale, like “Mother Knows Best” in Tangled or “Stars” from Les Miserables, the villain song is about interpersonal conflict between characters. I think that a smaller-scale villain song could work well for Uncle Andrew in MN, and then have a big show-stopper with Jadis later.  

I feel that if villain songs are a must for a Narnia musical, though, an “I want” song is equally as important. It’s a staple of musical theater, usually featuring the protagonist singing about their wishes or dreams. “Belle” from Beauty and the Beast (“I want much more than this provincial life”), “Part of Your World” from the Little Mermaid (“I want to be where the people are”), and “Journey to the Past” from Anastasia (“Let this road be mine...Let it lead me to my past and being me home at last”) are all popular examples.

I think that each of the Narnian books would benefit from an “I want” song, just as they would a villain song. I would imagine LWW’s to be from Lucy’s perspective, perhaps singing about how she feels left out or ignored by her siblings, being the youngest, and wishing for a world to escape to where she would be noticed and loved. It could also be about Edmund’s desire to be king and get revenge on Peter, as @kingedthejust suggested. Caspian could sing a song about longing for the old world to return and the fear, frustration, and burden of hiding out in the woods and leading a charge against Miraz. VDT could have an “I Want” song from several people aboard the Dawn Treader—Caspian and his desire to find the complete the quest and find the seven lords, Reepicheep and his longing for the Utter East, etc. (Side note: I think it would be really neat for VDT to have a sea shanty sung by the crew.)
 
SC could have a duet between Eustace and Jill, perhaps showcasing their conflicted desires to follow the signs and be safe/warm/comfortable (The thought of Puddlglum popping in to make it a trio makes me laugh. You could even give Puddlglum the base melody and have Eustace and Jill harmonize, introducing a bit of dissonance and creating a “push and pull” effect where Puddleglum would always be trying to nudge them back to the main melody, mirroring how he is the one to anchor them throughout their journey). HHB would be really fun to write “I Want” songs for. I like @risto ’s idea of having them Shasta and Aravis sing simultaneously. They could have two opposing melodies at the beginning and slowly begin to harmonize throughout the musical so that by the end, their melodies blend smoothly, mirroring the development of their friendship and the success of their journey. MN could have an song sung by Digory voicing his desire for his mother to get better and show his desperation/willingness to do anything to accomplish that, making it all the more impactful when he refuses to take the apple from Jadis. For LB, Tirian could sing a song looking back on Narnian history and forward to the future simultaneously, or Jill an Eustace could sing another duet, calling back to their song in SC.
 
Another important thing that musical theater and scoring in general has are leitmotifs, melodies that are associated with characters, situations, or symbols and can be used to great effects to evoke different emotions. John Williams did an excellent job of incorporating leitmotifs in Star Wars (Luke’s theme, the Imperial March, etc.) and though I haven’t seen all of it, I’ve heard Les Miserables has a ton of leitmotifs that are layered and combined in various ways to highlight dramatic shifts in the story.  
 
I think leitmotifs are essential component of adapting the books to musicals, especially if they are all connected, allowing themes to evolve and develop as the series progresses. They could also serve as foreshadowing. For example, Reepicheep’s theme/motif could be heard briefly in PC and developed further in VDT, where it could be revealed that the lullaby the dryad sang to him uses that same motif (or a variation on it). I think that this would add subtle depth to the narrative without using dialogue. Variations on a character’s theme would also wordlessly show how a character has evolved over time (for example, writing Edmund’s theme in a minor key in LWW but transposing it into a major key in PC and VDT, culminating in a regal but contemplative melody by HHB, where he shows a great understanding of justice when dealing with Rabadash). Susan’s could be the inverse, starting with a major key and transitioning to a discordant, warped minor theme by LB. The Pevensies’ motifs could even share a root chord or be variations on the same chord progression, demonstrating that they share a special connection (being family and the four children from the prophecy). In HHB, a motif for “Narnia and the North” might be fun, or a disguised variation of Aslan’s theme could play when they encounter the lions throughout the musical. A leitmotif could also be assigned to the four signs in SC, fading or becoming more distorted as Eustace and Jill forget about them but coming back in full force when they free Rillian in Underland.
 
Recontextualization of leitmotifs would also be an interesting thing to play with. For example, “Coming of Spring” could be expressed in a motif, playing throughout LWW and later revealed to be a part of or entwined with Aslan’s theme. By using the original “Coming of Spring” melody later in various contexts (the freeing of Narnia from the Telmarines, the journey to Aslan’s country), it could be developed and re-contextualized as a melodic symbol of hope and Aslan’s liberation. Assuming all of the musicals would progressively build on each other as the books do, this melodic theme would take on greater and greater narrative meaning as the musicals progressed, culminating with the “further up and further in” fulfillment of hope in LB. 
 
The possibilities are endless! Apologies if I ramble or my ideas seem scattered Giggle  
 
—Wanderer 
This post was modified 5 months ago 2 times by Wanderer Between Worlds

"I am,” said Aslan. "But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”

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Posted : January 4, 2022 11:03 pm
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Junkie

@wanderer Those are actually great ideas. I haven't thought of those. The list goes on for each musical number.

There could even be some comedy songs as well. As you've mentioned about Puddleglum jumping in to where Eustace and Jill sing, I could see Puddleglum singing a comedy song. Even a comedy song with Reepicheep on the Dawn Treader.

Also, love songs. The only love song I could think of that would work is a duet between Caspian and Ramandu's Daughter. I don't know where else a love song would work. Frank and Helen singing a duet in The Magician's Nephew, perhaps. There are times where a love song is not sung by the two lead characters, but by a side character ("Kiss the Girl" and "Tale as Old As Time" for examples). I guess The Last Battle could have Poggin sing about a love triangle with Tirian, Eustace, and Jill.

"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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Topic starter Posted : January 5, 2022 3:32 pm
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Hospitality Committee
Posted by: @wanderer

I would imagine LWW’s to be from Lucy’s perspective, perhaps singing about how she feels left out or ignored by her siblings, being the youngest, and wishing for a world to escape to where she would be noticed and loved.

I'm having visions of Lucy singing "Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz (mind you, we're never told in the book that she feels left out and she wants to escape into another world)...

Posted by: @wanderer

It could also be about Edmund’s desire to be king and get revenge on Peter

... and now I'm having visions of Edmund singing "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" from The Lion King Grin  

Seriously, though, some great ideas, Wanderer. Of course the use of leitmotifs is something that comes up in film music in general, not just in musicals, so it'll be interesting to see, or rather hear, what Netflix does on that score... oops, pun not originally intended, but I can't resist Giggle I'm not familiar with the Walden films, but the BBC version of Narnia from the late 1980s certainly has leitmotifs, often based on variations of the main theme tune.

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

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Posted : January 5, 2022 3:53 pm
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Junkie

@courtenay Harry Gregson-Williams, who also did the score for Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, Kingdom of Heaven, did the score for the first two Walden movies, and David Arnold did the score for Walden's Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

So it would be kind of interesting who would do the score for Netflix. It could possibly have a similar theme to Game of Thrones. Wonder if Netflix would actually do a musical. There might be some recording Christian artists singing in the credits, like Switchfoot sang "This Is Home" in Prince Caspian. Carrie Underwood, while not a recording Christian artist, but she is a Christian nonetheless, sang "A Place For Us" in Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Maybe we should also use this discussion to write lyric ideas for each musical number. Opening song, "I Want" song, Comedy song, Villain's song, Love song, just random song, finale song. It could even be a random version. For instance, Miraz's version of "Be Prepared" or even Caspian and Ramandu's daughter version of "I See The Light".

"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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Topic starter Posted : January 5, 2022 4:00 pm
rainyweather
(@rainyweather)
NarniaWeb Nut
Posted by: @jasmine_tarkheena

"Hellfire" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a villain song where Frollo sings about his struggle with his lust for Esmeralda, which is a really a dark and twisted song even from a kids movie. I don't know if any villain in Narnia would sing a song about that...unless Prince Rabadash sings about his obsession with Susan in The Horse and His Boy or Rishda sings a song about his obsession with Jill (supposedly he had one, but most likely his song would be about world domination) in The Last Battle, but I digress.

I could definitely see Rabadash singing about his obsession with Susan, but I don't know about Rishda singing about Jill. I haven't read LB in a while, but I don't remember picking up on any sort of attraction to Jill from Rishda. What makes you say he had one?

Posted by: @jasmine_tarkheena

I guess The Last Battle could have Poggin sing about a love triangle with Tirian, Eustace, and Jill.

I know most musicals do have love songs, but I'm not sure this would work either. This is entirely my personal interpretation of the books, but I really didn't detect any romance between Jill and Tirian. I remember he does call her sweetheart, but I took it to be more in a fatherly way. I would think he's probably a bit old for her, too. As far as Eustace-Jill romance (which I have taken the liberty of nicknaming Justace because it sounds funny  Giggle ), I will say that it is, in my opinion, a lesser evil than Suspian or any other non-canon Narnia romance anyone could come up with. I still have an aversion to it, though, for several reasons. For one, I always thought their relationship to be one of friendship. I detected no attraction whatsoever between them in SC (and they were too young for that anyways). As I said before, I haven't read LB in quite a while, but the only thing I can think of to be possibly interpreted as a sign of romantic attraction was Eustace's reaction after hearing Jill tell about her sneaking off and finding Puzzle in the stable:

"'Great Scott!' said Eustace. 'Well I'm--jiggered. I was jolly angry with you a moment ago, and I still think it was mean of you to sneak off without the rest of us: but I must admit--well, I mean to say--well it was a perfectly gorgeous thing to do. If she was a boy she'd have to be knighted, wouldn't she, Sire?'"

It said before that he was angry because he was frightened. On the other hand, though, he could absolutely be worried about her and impressed with her bravery without having to be attracted to her (and this is more likely in my opinion). They are very close friends, after all. And if there is any attraction then I think it's probably one-sided (at least at this time). Sometimes a boy and a girl can be the best of friends for a long time, but, as they get older, one of them ends up finding themselves unexpectedly attracted to the other. It's plausible, I suppose, that this did, or would've if they had not died, happened between Jill and Eustace. Who's to say what would have happened had they lived longer? The friendship could've blossomed into romance. Nevertheless, I think there was little to no (depending upon personal interpretation) attraction or evidence of attraction between them in the books. I honestly think any romance (even one-sided) would change the entire dynamic of their relationship, especially in SC when they weren't very close to begin with and often fought. Anyways, I didn't really see romance between them in the books, I wouldn't much like to see it in the Netflix movies or in a musical, either. Nothing against you, I'm just not the biggest fan of romance (especially society's views of it- especially how essential it is to a successful and happy life and the emphasis on attraction based on looks), and I would like any adaptations to convey the same feelings and ideas the books did for me.

However, I do very much like your idea of a love duet between Caspian and Ramandu's daughter. Smile I think it would be sweet and true to the books, elaborating on a wholesome romance that is most without a doubt present. 

“‘Now, Curdie!’ she cried, ‘won’t you believe what I told you about my grandmother and her thread?’...
‘There! - don’t you see it shining on before us?’ she added.
‘I don’t see anything,’ persisted Curdie.
‘Then you must believe without seeing,’ said the princess; ‘for you can’t deny it has brought us out of the mountain.’
- The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald

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Posted : January 22, 2022 1:51 pm
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