How to Turn a Book Into a Movie | Talking Beasts

Posted April 17, 2017 5:00 am by Glumpuddle

Podcast discussion: Is it a good idea to turn the Chronicles of Narnia into films? What is a good adaptation? What kinds of changes are acceptable? Where is the line? Listen and then post your thoughts below.

C.S. Lewis Minute, our new regular feature, comes from William O’Flaherty. He is the author of C.S. Lewis Goes to Hell and creator of

Think you can stump a NarniaWebber? Submit Narnia trivia questions to podcast[at] with the subject “Stump” (please do not include the answer).

Look for our next episode on May 1.

25 Comments For This Story

  • Anfinwen says:

    You nailed it, Glumpuddle! The reason we love Narnia is that it has character, right and wrong, good vs. evil. C. S. Lewis didn’t try to blur the lines, or write something shocking, or make some sociopolitical statement.
    Dot also really expressed my feelings. Narnia is a good, actually great, story. The meaning and the depth were results of Lewis’ personal character. I want to see a good, enjoyable movie that doesn’t try to project things Lewis never intended.

  • Lord Argoz says:

    Great podcast! I totally agree with the gaping void for good, non-cynical fantasy movies As for future Narnia film adaptions, I would really like to see less emphasis on special effects, CGI monsters and epic battle scenes and more emphasis on getting the atmosphere, feelings and messages of C.S. Lewis’s books across. Frankly, I trust Douglas Gresham entirely; if he has tight control of the script etc., even if the budget is small, I will be very happy.

  • ElykRindon says:

    I agree with your point on the adaptations ad the future ones. Thank you for taking my question

    • The Rose-Tree Dryad says:

      Love your Narnia artwork! You should consider sharing it in the Narnian Fan Art section of NarniaWeb forums. 🙂

  • narnia fan 7 says:

    As always great podcast guys. I used to be one of the people who thought any Narnia film was better then none at all. I think because the LWW film was my first real exposure to Narnia and got me to read the books for the first time and for a while my love of the books was sort of intertwined the with films. Now I only want to see Narnia films of they are good and made with care.

    For me what makes a good adaptation is saying true to the core elements of the characters, story, themes etc that makes the book great, while still making being able to make some necessary changes for film. I think Glumpuddle brings up a great point about atmosphere, that’s something I really admire about Lewis’ writing how he so easily sucks you in to the world and the mood of the story,defiantly something that was lacking in the Walden films I hope they can improve on this with Silver Chair.

  • ChristianMan17 says:

    What im looking forward to seeing in the Silver Chair film is Jill, she is my favorite character, they had better not ruin the scene where Aslan gives his speech to her, that’s my favorite scene in the book. Thanks for pointing that out, Gumpuddle.

  • Lisa says:

    The green mist in the ship scene always reminds me of Raputin’s evil green creatures in the ’97 animated musical film ‘Anastasia’.

  • NarniaCouple says:

    I am a huge Narnia book fan and my husband has only seen the films (that I sometimes force him to watch back to back lol).
    I was so confused to see an older Caspian but I ended up really enjoying Ben Barnes’ performance. My husband and my dad were more into watching Narnia because Caspian wasn’t a child, so I think casting older, more experienced actors is good for attracting non-Narnia fans if it means minimal changes to the story.

    Since I practically live in the world of the books, I don’t mind if there wasn’t another Narnia film made but my husband disagrees. He says, "if it were a play, and you didn’t want to see it, you wouldn’t go for it. It’s your choice if you want to see the movie or not, but book fans shouldn’t rob movie fans of seeing it come to life." So there you go!
    I guess the best thing to do is put our faith into the filmmakers. I’m sure they’ve learned their lesson after Dawn Treader, especially considering all the time they’re taking on SC.

    • HPofNARNIA says:

      yeah, i did not understand why they made Caspain older, but i think Ben Barnes did a good job, and even before he was cast, i thought maybe, i forget his name, the actor who played Frodo in "lord of the Rings’ would make a perfect Caspian, but i was fine with Ben Barnes.
      yes, im sure they might have, Especially Micheal Apted, he was the one who wanted a Villain in it!

  • NarniaFan20 says:

    AGREED- Narnia isn’t only for kids. I’m 18 and I get made fun of in school because I like Narnia.
    Many of my friends think it’s a story for children. The films make it much cooler so YES they have to continue making the films. AGREED- Having experienced actors in their late teens/mid twenties for some of the characters would make it more approachable and definitely save me some teasing when I go to college next year -.-

    • Glumpuddle says:

      “I am almost inclined to set it up as a canon that a children’s story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children’s story. The good ones last.”

      “When I was ten I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”

      “They accuse us of arrested development because we have not lost a taste we had in childhood. But surely arrested development consists not in refusing to lose old things but in failing to add new things? I now like hock, which I am sure I should not have liked as a child. But I still like lemon-squash. I call this growth or development because I have been enriched: where I formerly had only one pleasure, I now have two.”

      – C.S. Lewis

      • NarniaFan20 says:

        That was quite an encouraging read. Thanks Glumpuddle.
        I love C.S Lewis and Narnia. I’m not ashamed about it, but I do wish I could change the minds of the people around me. Further up and further in!

    • MelanieJoy says:

      I am 40 now and have loved Narnia and Jack since I was 8. If you like them, like them. Who cares what others think. They still inspire me to this day. In fact, I find that they are one of the last innocent things I have left to cling to as an adult in this world. And we all need something like that in our lives. <3

  • Eustace says:

    The scene that crossed the line for me was the albatross scene it was just an easter Egg for fans. Easter eggs are fine but, this was just wrong.

  • L.L says:

    is Narnia Web different from the Narnia Fans website?

    • Rogin says:

      Yes, Narniaweb is much more user friendly.

      Narniafans is a ghost town…

    • coracle says:

      The ‘Fans’ site is another Narnia site that opened a little while after NarniaWeb. Its owner was a member here, and he had other ‘-Fans’ sites,for various movies.

    • coracle says:

      L.L, you are welcome to join us as a member here.
      Go to the front page (click the Lion picture) to find the place to register.
      Some people have joined both NarniaWeb and NarniaFans.

  • The Rose-Tree Dryad says:

    Great episode! I also really enjoyed the addition of William O’Flaherty’s C.S. Lewis Minute. He has some great content.

    I really enjoyed the discussion about the importance of atmosphere in stories… particularly the comments about how the world of Narnia needs to feel like it’s alive and how Lewis disliked The Three Musketeers because "there was no weather". It kind of makes me think of one of Russell’s lines in Pixar’s Up: "That might sound boring, but I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember the most." That’s not to say that Narnia is boring, but those scenes that allow the atmosphere to build, that give life to the story and give the audience a chance to *feel* something instead of sweeping them along with action sequence after action sequence… that is what Narnia is all about to me.

  • HPofNARNIA says:

    i was hoping that if they show the flashback to what happened to Rillian, they should have 2 actors to play him and one should look like a younger version of the other, and when we see him in the queen’s kingdom and for those who have not read the book, they might not think its him at first. Because in the BBC version, they said the same actor and when we saw him again, they gave him a beard and a mask (in the book he doesn’t wear a mask).

  • TameLion says:

    I feel like with The Silver Chair, all we can do is wait. Can we also talk more about the Horse and His Boy in the next podcast?

    • Glumpuddle says:

      Is there a particular aspect of HHB you would want to hear a discussion about? We’re currently gearing up for episodes based on posts in the Silver Chair reading group discussion forum (which launches May 1), but if our listeners want us to mix it up more, we’ll gladly do that!

      Thanks for the feedback!

      • TameLion says:

        Hmm I’m not sure actually! It’s my favorite book. Maybe some general thoughts on the main characters?

  • HighKingPeter says:

    Casting actors in their 20s to play kids hmmmm. Dont think it would work for Jill and Eustace, they have to be kids. Might work for Shasta and Aravis & I think Digory and Polly should be early teens.

  • Shasta says:

    Great podcast! I absolutely agree re. the need for atmosphere and character development over endless CGI and battle scenes.

    There were a plethora of awkward ‘comedic’ one liners or character interactions in the recent films that induced many a cringe. It’s interesting to note there are so few comedic lines/scenes in the BBC adaptations. C.S Lewis made some witty and canny observations about human behaviour which are beautiful morsals in the books. The recent films lack his subtlety. I guess Hollywood aren’t about subtle. *cough* $$$

    I am very partial to the old BBC adaptations having grown up with them. Yes, it was a low budget serial. However, this meant a stronger emphasis on character development. There is a commendable amount of Lewis’s original text in those scripts. These productions gave me the feeling that Narnia was a tangible place. Whereas when Lucy enters Narnia in the recent film (2005), yes there is wonderment from her character, but the viewer is thrust into a generic CGI snowy wooded scene. I love how the original BBC LWW gives you a sense of location with natural landmarks and real trees and sky. This is probably because it was shot in a real wood in Scotland!

    Also, can we remember the late Geoffrey Burgon who composed all that fabulous original music on a shoestring budget with limited means. Harry Gregson-Williams had some ‘nice’ moments yet succumbed to the steryotypical tropes of epic film scoring. AKA uninteresting pop chord progressions and a team of talented orchestrators to flesh out his too often mundane musical ideas. Burgon didn’t need a multi million dollar budget. His music is noble, warm, personable and at times frightening.

    Much of the appeal of Narnia is that C.S Lewis made it real for the Pevensies and readers alike. I don’t want to see another adaptation and be thinking ‘GREEN SCREEN!’ throughout. Having said that, it was a treat to see Aslan’s mouth move with ease as he spoke.

    Don’t get me started on ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’. What was Apted smoking when he approved that script?

    Naturally no one film maker is going to perfectly conjure up the Narnia in your imagination. Hopefully the new adaptation of The Silver Chair will benefit from a little hindsight.