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Who was the Lady of the Green Kirtle?  

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SirVincentofNarnia
(@sirvincentofnarnia)
NarniaWeb Regular

Now The Silver Chair is one of the more interesting reads and there is a character called The Lady of the Green Kirtle, an evil being who tempts Rilian. So my question is, who is this Lady of the Green Kirtle?

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 : August 7, 2020 9:58 pm
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Nut

I don't really get why the Lady of the Green Kirtle needs to be anybody? Nobody asks who the Hermit of the Southern March is, or Tash.

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

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Posted : August 8, 2020 7:39 am
icarus
(@icarus)
NarniaWeb Junkie
Posted by: @col-klink

I don't really get why the Lady of the Green Kirtle needs to be anybody? 

 

I'm going to start off with a small side-rant about Star Wars to begin with, but I whole heartedly agree with this sentiment. One of the many numerous flaws of the recent Star Wars movies was their utter fixation on nostalgia, and everybody having to "be" someone - the son of this, or the daughter of that. The one time they made a bold decision to consciously make someone a "nobody" they immediately undid it in the next movie after fan backlash. So yes, it really frustrates me when storytellers feel compelled to have everyone "be" someone.

Back to the original question however, and avoiding any tedious debates about whether the LOTGK has any connection to the White Witch, i think there is a more interesting discussion to be had in terms of "who" she is.... not necessarily "what" she is (i.e. the daughter of whoever, or a reincarnation of whatever) but who she is as a person - what is her motivation for what she does, why does she choose the specific plan she chooses, why in that location, why at that particular time, etc.

Ultimately there aren't a great deal of answers to any of these questions in the books, but no doubt its something they might choose to expand upon if they ever get around to re-adapting Silver Chair for the screen. Perhaps they could come up with some compelling backstory that might give meaning to her actions, maybe it could make her more relatable, maybe it could make her more detestable. There is definitely a lot of directions you could go with it.

As for the books however, since this is a book discussion, the LOTGK is just the LOTGK, there's nothing more to it than that.

 

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Posted : August 8, 2020 11:54 am
SirVincentofNarnia
(@sirvincentofnarnia)
NarniaWeb Regular

@icarus

I agree, knowing the who can be so interesting, because sometimes what happened before defines what they do now

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 : August 8, 2020 7:53 pm
coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator

Lewis doesn't tell us.

The nearest he gets is the opinion of the owls, which really only tells us she is a witch of some sort, an evil creature.
Aslan told Jill that Rilian's mother was killed by a serpent, and that Rilian was charmed by a beautiful lady in the forest, and I think the owls agreed with Jill that the serpent and the woman were the same individual.

[We can definitely say that LOTGK was NOT the same individual as Queen Jadis of Charn/White Witch, who died in the battle in LWW, and did not return, ever! The Estate has also confirmed this statement for us.]

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Posted : August 8, 2020 8:16 pm
Courtenay liked
Wanderer Between Worlds
(@wanderer)
NarniaWeb Nut

     It is worth noting that in SC, the oldest owl does speculate that the Lady of the Green Kirtle/her magic is “of the same crew” as the White Witch and her enchantments. To be clear, this does not really support that they are the same person, and it could be just a blanket statement that both are witches/enchantresses wanting to take over Narnia, as @coracle said.  (Then again, it could be a speculation that the source of their magic is the same).

     As for non-canon theories within the NarniaWeb community, @rose has a theory (featured on the Talking Beasts podcast “Who Would Be on Narnia’s Mount Rushmore?”) that the LotGK is a sort of corrupt naiad.  I’ll see if I can find the quote.

Edit: Here is the theory.  It was submitted by Knight of Narniaweb, Andrew.

Thanks to the brilliant Rose Tree Dryad on the forums, I now subscribe to the theory that she [LotGK] is a corrupt naiad of some underground spring.  Her case goes as follows:

  1. The serpent initially appears at a fountain that flowed freshly out of the earth.  She then appears at the exact fountain when she approaches Rilian as woman.  Rilian and the Lady of the Green Kirtle could have easily disappeared via the fountain itself since it led underground.  Hence why no trace of Rilian or the Lady of the Green Kirtle was ever found.  
  2. It would explain why she was seemingly immortal as well, as nymphs only die when their tree or watery domain is destroyed.
  3. Another bit of evidence is the fact that Underland floods after the Queen is slain. It would indicate that her magical powers had some influence on the bodies of water underground.
  4. Then there’s also the fact that she plays a stringed instrument—something rather like a mandolin.  In The Lion the Witch, and the Wardrobe when the Pevensies are arriving at Aslan’s camp, Lewis writes, “There were Tree-Women there, and Well-Women (Dryads and Naiads as they used to be called in our world) who had stringed instruments; it was from they who made the music.”

     Glumpuddle goes on to suggest that if the LotGK was indeed a corrupted naiad, she might have lost her memories and turned down a dark path, ending up as the enchantress we see in SC.

This post was modified 4 months ago 7 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 : August 9, 2020 10:23 am
Cleander
(@the-mad-poet)
NarniaWeb Junkie

Just now checking out this thread....

The naiad theory definitely sounds convincing, Wanderer. I've heard a few people suggest that LOTGK is Jadis' sister.... but then again it's pretty clear she got 'Deplorabled to death' in MN.  As for a daughter.... not sure what creature would want to father the children of an ice witch. Straight face  

I'd agree that there's no need, beyond a desire for fun fan speculation, to find some hidden connection for the Lady. The obsession with interconnected characters seems to be the route taken with the hints about the Green Mist in the VDT movie being linked to the LOTGK. Fortunately we were spared seeing that in a Silver Chair movie. 

Overall I think I like the naiad theory best because it's not trying to draw unnecessary connections to other characters. If she is a naiad, we can say, "That's cool" and move on. (Though to be fair, would it really matter if she was related to Jadis?)

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Posted : August 9, 2020 10:14 pm
Wanderer Between Worlds
(@wanderer)
NarniaWeb Nut
Posted by: @the-mad-poet

As for a daughter.... not sure what creature would want to father the children of an ice witch. Straight face  

     The first thing that came to mind was Giants, as they are on her side in LWW and her family has had history with them, according to Mr. Beaver.  We don’t know much about the people that lived in Charn, but it’s entirely possible that there were Jinns and Giants there, meaning that her ancestry is not necessarily contradictory.  There are also Giants in Narnia, though not terribly bright ones, mind you.  Really, anything on her side during LWW might have been a candidate for involvement of that sort.  After all, she was the “Queen” for at least one hundred years, she is quite powerful, and the evil creatures under her command don’t seem to fear her too much (in comparison to, say, how the Tisroc’s subjects fear him).  I think it’s unlikely that she had a daughter, however, because if she was willing to kill her sister/parents/family in order to seize power in Charn, I doubt that she would have wanted to live with an heir that could usurp her.  Jadis just doesn’t seem like the warm, motherly type to me. Giggle  

Posted by: @the-mad-poet

Though to be fair, would it really matter if she was related to Jadis?

     I think that it would matter to some people, and I think it would matter to me (for better or for worse) just because I love the world of Narnia so much.  It would give the series a feeling of “connected-ness,” that we as the readers were privy to a secret or part of a world-shaking revelation.  At least, that’s how the reveal at the end of MN felt for me, about the wardrobe and who Digory really was.  But somehow that reveal seems of a different caliber, more important than the LotGK’s ancestry/origin.  
     Do I want her to be related to Jadis? No, not really.  It would make the world of Narnia seem so much...smaller.  Perhaps I would even go as far to say that it is a disservice to Lewis’s world-building.  The world of Narnia is big enough and complex enough to have multiple powerful enchantresses from completely different sources.  And I think that the reason that the reveal at the end of MN works so well is because it makes Narnia seem bigger.  Even though it’s making connection between the characters, it’s also highlighting the crux of the travel between worlds—the set of events that made the Narnia of the other six books possible.  The reveal also takes on greater depth in light of Aslan’s orchestrating events in HHB. Smile  

This post was modified 4 months ago 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 : August 10, 2020 7:01 am
Courtenay liked
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Friend of NarniaWeb

It's an interesting speculation, but I don't buy into the Naiad theory at all.

One thing I've often noticed, digging into the Narnia books, is that C.S. Lewis wasn't very strong on complex world-building and wasn't pretending to be. That isn't meant as a criticism of him at all (I love the Chronicles of Narnia more than any other works of fiction I've ever read!) — it's just that, when it comes to creating Narnia, he wasn't trying to do a Tolkien, so to speak. He's not interested in giving us a fully worked-out history and background to all the characters and creatures and places and events in his fantasy world over all the centuries of its existence. He needed a new villain for The Silver Chair, and he does give us a very mysterious and sinister one, but it seems he himself didn't think it necessary to go into her origins, other than the couple of little snippets we're given in the story itself:

"It means she has some use for him [Rilian], and some deep scheme against Narnia. Long, long ago, at the very beginning, a White Witch came out of the North and bound our land in snow and ice for a hundred years. And we think this may be one of the same crew." (Chapter 4)

And near the end, after she's described in the narrative as "a wicked witch (doubtless the same kind as that White Witch who had brought the Great Winter on Narnia long ago)":

"And the lesson of it all is, your Highness," said the oldest Dwarf, "that those Northern Witches always mean the same thing, but in every age they have a different plan for getting it." (Chapter 15)

That's as far as Lewis goes — that the Witch in The Silver Chair is "doubtless the same kind" (NOT the same person!) as the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. They both come out of the North, are both beautiful but with evil magical powers, and they both have schemes to rule over Narnia. The oldest Dwarf's comment suggests that "Northern Witches" are a known menace in Narnia, though Lewis never tells us about any other than those two.

What that logically tells us, though, is that the "Lady of the Green Kirtle" isn't a Narnian creature herself. She's recognised as coming from the wild wastelands to the north, beyond Narnia's borders. We're told in Chapter 4 that it was in "the north parts of Narnia" and "the northern woods" that Rilian's mother was killed by the serpent and Rilian discovered the beautiful, sinister lady in green; we already know from Aslan himself in Chapter 2 that Jill and her friends are to "journey out of Narnia to the north" in their quest to find Rilian. To me, that implies that the Witch didn't originate in Narnia and isn't recognised as Narnian by any of the peoples of Narnia. Like the White Witch, she's an outsider aiming to rule over Narnia by evil magic. There's no indication anywhere that she's really a native Narnian creature — Naiad or otherwise — who's somehow gone wrong and left Narnia and is now plotting to conquer it. That's making up stuff that isn't even hinted at in the book at all.

Apart from the very vague connections with water and a stringed instrument, there's zero evidence that the Witch has any similarity to a Naiad. Lewis doesn't ever tell us much about Naiads in any case — even less than he tells us about Dryads — and there's no suggestion anywhere that even if a Naiad turned bad (we're not told whether or not that could happen in the first place), she could somehow gain enough evil magical powers to enable her to turn into a venomous serpent, to control minds, to rule over an underground kingdom and to attempt to take over Narnia. Even though we don't hear much about "those Northern Witches" either, I get the strong impression that they are a much more powerful and dangerous kind of being than any Narnian creature, and inherently evil. Certainly none of the native Narnians had enough power to overthrow the White Witch during her reign, until Aslan arrived, and the Lady of the Green Kirtle doesn't seem to fear she'll have any great challengers once she takes over Narnia herself.

And if the Witch in SC was originally a Naiad — a water nymph — surely she would live mainly IN water, not just near it? Why would her alternative form be a land-based serpent (she's on land, or underground, both times we hear of her appearing in that form), instead of some aquatic creature? And even if it's true that "nymphs only die when their tree or watery domain is destroyed" — we are in fact only told that about Dryads, not Naiads — that's not what happens to this Witch. In fact, it's the other way around. She doesn't die when her domain is destroyed; her domain is destroyed when she dies. And her domain is clearly the Underland itself, not the water that starts to rise and engulf it after her death.

One other thing we do know about the Witch is that she is somehow in league with the giants of Harfang. We don't know if she's literally a relative of theirs, but she is described as "tall and great" when Drinian sees her, and we're certainly told in LWW that the White Witch "comes of the giants" on one side of her ancestry. (There are a LOT of contradictions between what we learn of her in LWW and the backstory Lewis later gave her as Jadis in MN, but even there he drops a hint about "giantish blood" in the royal family of Charn.)

So if I had to make a conclusion about the Lady of the Green Kirtle's identity from the evidence we're actually given in the books, I'd say she is the same sort of being as the White Witch — an alien, non-Narnian creature from the wild lands to the north, who may be somehow related to the northern giants. There's not much else that we can reliably figure out about her, mainly because Lewis doesn't tell us any more than that, so I would guess he hadn't thought about the topic in great depth himself and presumably didn't feel the need to.

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

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Posted : August 10, 2020 7:48 am
JFG II
(@jfg-ii)
NarniaWeb Regular

I’ve read all above posts, and so far, I have some thoughts:

On the books: I don’t want to be portentous, so I’ll be as brief as possible: In The Silver Chair, Lewis didn’t give The Lady any backstory - and he didn’t give Jill any backstory - because he just didn’t care too. It’s a mystery story, so the more mystery the better.  

Off-books: This is “slightly” portentous of me: The fan-made idea of The Lady being a corrupt nyad of some underground spring: I absolutely love it. I don’t care about the inconsistencies with the book. Thematically, it’s a wonderful, disturbing idea.

My 2 cents: She probably became corrupted during the Telmarine occupation of Narnia, so their is some genuine vengeance behind her plan to take over Narnia by marrying Rilian. 

The source of her evil powers doesn’t need to be explained any more than Jadis’. They are both witches of similar intent. Just one is from Charn, and the other, shockingly, is from Narnia.

Some people will consider this a mindless idea. Good for you. Narnia is ripe for imagining kooky, fill-in-the-gaps-yourself ideas. Being stuck on just what’s in the books makes a more stale re-reading for the average reader. Which is what I am.

That’s the end of my rant. Thank you for reading.

This post was modified 3 months ago 12 times by JFG II
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Posted : August 13, 2020 6:14 am
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