The 8th Narnia Book C. S. Lewis Started Writing | Talking Beasts

Podcast Discussion

Did you know that C. S. Lewis’ first idea for a follow-up to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe didn’t see the light of day… until after his death?

The so-called “Lefay Fragment” tells the story of a boy who has the ability to talk to trees and animals in our world. Yes, that’s right: Talking trees and animals in our world.

The unfinished manuscript was published in Walter Hooper’s book Past Watchful Dragons: The Narnia Chronicles of C.S. Lewis thirty years later. This is also where the Narnia timeline first appeared.

In this episode, Rilian and Glumpuddle give an overview of the manuscript and discuss your ideas for more Narnia books that were posted in the Talking Beasts Facebook group. Listen and post a comment!

67 Responses

  1. SusansArrow says:

    I have to add this. I've always wanted to come up with what might have happened to Susan (my favorite character), so I was looking up Fan Fiction for ideas and this is by far the best version I've ever seen. I don't quite like how the slight romance was dealt with, but overall, it was very good and worth the time!!!

  2. Cleander says:

    There's also The Centaur's Cavern, written by a Carmelite nun from New Jersey in the 70's.It basically redeems Susan.

    • MJS says:

      Has anyone managed to obtain a manuscript of The Centaur’s Cavern, the unofficial Narnia book written by the nun? Do we even know the nun’s name?

      • Cleander says:

        The manuscript of the book is almost impossible to find, as the C.S. Lewis Estate has some control in that area. I don't think there's any info about the nun, other than what I posted.

  3. Cleander says:

    Another good idea for a Chronicle would be the story of Telmar, and why it was uninhabited before the Telmarines came there. Aslan references it in PC, but doesn't go into the details.

  4. Eric Geddes says:

    I love Talking Beasts. Thanks to all of you. Keep going!

  5. Fireberry says:

    As a believer in Michael Ward's "Planet Narnia" theory, I believe any new Narnia book aspiring to legitimacy would have to also represent a planet, its namesake god/goddess and corresponding spiritual state. This would have to be a post-Classical planet, of course, beyond Saturn. Hmm, which ones are left?

    • Uranus, according to the Romans or Ouranos, in Modern Greek the actual Greek name. Apparently this planet represents the sky then. and was also called Caelus. If you listen to Gustav Holst's Planets suite, trickery is involved somehow, and showmanship. Then there is Neptune, also called Poseidon, involving the sea.

      • Fireberry says:

        Yes, lots of food for thought there!

      • Fireberry says:

        "Dawn Treader" already having lots of SEA in it, perhaps a Neptune-inspired Narnia book might take us UNDER THE SEA, to the world glimpsed by Lucy from the deck as they approached the End of the World.

      • Cleander says:

        YES! It could even involve an undersea knight going down into a dark sea-valley on a quest to slay the Kraken!

      • Did I mention that Pluto, a planet which has been demoted to either a glorified asteroid or a dwarf planet, is named after Pluto, the Roman God of the Underworld, and called Hades by the Greeks. Hades was a brother of both Poseidon and Zeus. Mightn't an 8th Narnia book involve a return to Bism? Or do you think an Orpheus and Euridice rip-off would also look like a rip off of the very genuine Narnia book of the Silver Chair?

    • Fireberry says:

      Bism is a very intriguing place, and not like the dark cold underworld of The Silver Chair at all, as i expect Bism would be a place of magma and fire and very strange fire creatures!!! … Another possibility? the very distant dwarf planet Sedna. Inuit/Narnian fusion, anyone?

  6. ChristianMan17 says:

    I remember when I’ve listened to the Focus on the Family Radio Theatre of PC, Douglas Gresham said that C.S. Lewis was writing a book about a boy named Diggory and a friend next door named Polly and Diggory had an old godmothers named Mrs. Lefay and they cut down a tree build a rafter. But, of course, he changed his mind about it and went with PC and later he would write ‘The Magician’s nephew’.
    I. Enjoyed your podcasts. They were great.
    I believe that sometime this Summer, we may get a big announcement for the Silver Chair movie.

    • narnia fan 7 says:

      I completely forgot about that! I know I had heard of the early version of MN before but couldn't remember where exactly I heard it.

    • Keeper of Lantern Waste says:

      I have my fingers crossed for a casting announcement! I'm hoping they have some known star power for Puddleglum and unknowns for Jill and Eustace but whatever happens I want news! Then we'll get a podcast on it too:)

      • Cleander says:

        People have suggested Johnny Depp for Puddleglum…

      • Col. Klink says:

        I think Johnny Depp is the most overrated actor of our time. (There. I said it. :)) I'd like to see Tony Shalhoub play Puddleglum. He may not look the part but he's great at saying ridiculous things with a perfectly and hilariously straight face.

      • ChristianMan17 says:

        I was thinking Noah Wyle as Puddleglum. The way he looks and talks made me think of him as that character.

      • Keeper of Lantern Waste says:

        Wait for real?? Woah… um yeah I don't think Depp would make a good Puddleglum at all.

        My choice? Although my knowledge of actors is limited, I think Benedict Cumberbatch could make a great Puddleglum. I mean, he kinda already looks the part, they could just give him make up and save on money for cgi or prosthetics. Although I would guess most bigger name talent's schedules are already booked.

      • JFGII says:

        Rick Moranis as Puddleglum ;P

      • JFGII says:

        or Barkhad Abdi – bring an enexpected diverseness to The Silver Chair casting… ✌️

  7. I am more excited about that book than the whole Marvel

  8. Thank you for talking about Narnia <3

  9. I am Groot says:

    I've created the Narnia story of my own too, I did that to LOTR and Harry Potter as well, but that's private, I'm the only one who can enjoy it. 🙂

  10. Col. Klink says:

    I'd heard of the LeFay fragment but I never knew it was actually available to read somewhere. Wow! Guess I'll have to find Walter Hooper's book now. Could anyone who has read it tell me why Digory isn't living with his godmother if his parents are dead. I thought that's what godparents were for.

    As an amateur writer myself, I think it's really interesting how author's ideas for stories evolve over time. Mine sure have. Like it's interesting that in the LeFay fragment Polly plays sort of a negative role in the story. (Initially anyway. No one knows where her character would have gone from there.) She's indirectly responsible for Digory's fall from grace. In the Magician's Nephew, she tries to stop Digory from succumbing to temptation. I wonder what influenced the change of character.

    • Glumpuddle says:

      In a conversation with Digory, Aunt Gertrude makes it clear she has a very low opinion of Mrs. Lefay and the whole institution of god-parents. But the exact reason Digory does not live with Mrs. Lefay is not made clear. It strikes me as important backstory that would have been explained later.

  11. What is the music at the end of the episode. I really liked it. Was it originally intended to be about Narnia?

    Is there a symphony of orchestral non-movie Narnian music??

    • Cleander says:

      A while ago I did see a CD on Amazon of music inspired by Narnia.(Not movie scores.) I don't remember much about it except that one of the tracks was called "Celtic Origins".

    • JFGII says:

      The music is the main theme from “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” animated TV movie. I like it a lot too. Don’t ask me where this version came from, I don’t know.

  12. Barana says:

    In m.n. diggory asks his mum about a picture of old Mrs Lefay when they lived in the country but she gives a poor response.Uncle Andrew discribes her as a prison fellon and a fairy who delt with magical ceremonies and elements.Mrs kirk wasnt yet dead and was being cared for on her deathbed.Stands to reason she and Digory would be with her brother and sister.Miss and Mr Ketterly.
    Mrs Lefay was Uncle Andrew's Godmother, not Digory's.

    • Col. Klink says:

      Um, I think you're a little confused. This podcast is talking about the beginning of a manuscript that C.S. Lewis abandoned, not the Magician's Nephew which we all know. In that manuscript there was a boy named Digory whose godmother was named Mrs. Lefay.

      • Barana says:

        Spoton. Thanks mate.I shouldn't stay up late and post.thanks for the correction 🙂

  13. twinimage says:

    I think it would be cool if Lewis wrote a collection of short stories about different happenings and historical events in Narnia. That would be awesome, build up the mythos and history of Narnia. A story similar in nature as Horse and His Boy could also be cool. It's my favorite of the seven books.

  14. Keeper of Lantern Waste says:

    Glenstorm: A Narnia Story! Just kidding (kind of)

    Personally I would love to know about the collapse of Narnia after the Pevensies as well.

    I also think that the Susan redemption story could be the animal/tree communication one. Maybe she doesn't realize how much she needs the better friends until she loses the ability and quests to regain it? Maybe with the help of the magic rings found in the wreckage of the train that killed her family? And maybe a "friend" catches her talking to a tree and tries to lock her in an asylum! But I digress

    On the subject of podcasts, I enjoy the C.S. Lewis minute (I wouldn't know he wrote a science fi novel without it) and the Stump question (I'm neutral toward Voices). I have been enjoying the chapter analysis and would love to see it for the rest of the books too:) because it's not like you guys have lives outside of NarniaWeb right?XD Keep up the good work!

  15. Larry W. says:

    I don't think there should have been an eighth Narnia book. Fragments may exist, but they are incomplete parts of a story. It would have been better for Lewis to resolve the issue of Susan's redemption in The Last Battle. But of course that is just my opinion. "Once a king or queen in Narnia, always a King or Queen." No one would want question the consistency of that statement as it is applied to any of Narnia's kings and queens. It's better to not to leave Susan in any kind of uncertainty at end of The Last Battle when everything else was brought to a conclusion. Even the old Narnia ended and Aslan replaced it with his new world.

    • MJS says:

      I tend to think that the nebulous outcome for Susan has had the impact on readers that Lewis wanted it to have. For decades Christians and non-Christians, children and adults, authors and academics, have all discussed the nature of salvation via Susan. I do love the idea of other authors writing their own take on what happened to her. The Lewis Estate could put out a marvelous book on Susan with a thoughtful preface on Lewis’s intentions with the character, the nature of salvation and then anthology of stories by different authors resolving her plot in their own way.

    • Col. Klink says:

      Out of curiosity, why do you think it's so important that no one question "once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen in Narnia?" The phrase only appears two times in one book out of seven.

      • Larry W. says:

        It's a matter of C. S. Lewis agreeing with himself. The phrase is very important because the word "always" shows the permanence and longevity of being a Narnian king or queen. The statement must be true even if it is mentioned only twice in one. It shows the importance of the position as Aslan established it. And I think it applies consistently to all of the kings and queens in all seven books. It was mentioned only twice in one book because that was all that was necessary to clarify the position of Narnian royalty. Also, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the book which introduces the kings and queens if you read the stories in publication order. It's the first time we see what Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are really like as they serve under Aslan.

  16. Jilian says:

    I’d love to see where the picture in the bedroom at Eustace’s house came from I’d also love to see more of Bisom

  17. JFGII says:

    Hello Glumpuddle & Rilian

    I would have liked to have known what countries lay to the far West and South-West of Narnia, OTHER than Calormen and Telmar. What other nations lay to the West that the Narnians knew nothing about? Who were the Calormens always going to battle with in The Horse and His Boy?? Where is the end of the world to the West??? But that's not important in the books, then again, the books are so full of in-between bits that I have a hard time thinking of ONE spin-off story that I would choose for diving into.

  18. JFGII says:

    Still, here it goes:

    I would have loved to have known C.S. Lewis's thoughts on the early history of Archenland & Calormen, and where their rivalry and mistrust began (ironically, Calomens were descended from renegade Archelanders).
    This includes: What was the tone of early Archenladers when they left Narnia to set up Archenland? Were they more or less happy than before? Later, when and why did certain Archenlanders move South across the desert to Calormen? (and, also, how did Calormens go from being a fair skinned celtic people to a dark skinned Babylonian culture? just saying). There is A LOT that is not known about Archenlend & Calormen during the events of the later books, particularly Archenland. That's the history book I wish I had.

  19. JFGII says:

    P.S. my dear Susan,

    As a 12-year-old, I concocted an idea on what happened to you (a way for me to deal with the Trauma that was the end of The Last Battle). It went something like this:
    The Friends of Narnia personally knew C.S. Lewis (even Digory knew Lewis since they were boys) and Digory, Polly, Peter, (You), Edmund, Lucy, Eustace & Jill told Lewis all your stories of Narnia between 1942 and 1949. Eventually, you began to think of them as nothing more: Just stories; You eventually cut off contact from them, even Professor Lewis. Sometime after the death of your family, and still grieving, you were asleep; Aslan gave you one final gift: A hopeful story in the form of a night's dream. You then told this dream to Professor Lewis, and this story becomes published as The Last Battle 7 years later. Your heart has not changed. You are not a friend of Narnia. Yet you are not the person that Lucy and Polly described at the end of the final story. Where your final destiny lies, only you and His Other Name can fathom.

  20. Col. Klink says:

    Here's some feedback for the podcast. Personally the only special segment I like is the voices of Narniaweb. There are really only nine books by Lewis that I really like so I tend to be bored by the C.S. Lewis minute. I think the idea for the Narniaweb Nana is good but I don't really like her voice. (Man, I feel mean for saying that. FWIW, I don't like my own voice on tape either.)

    I remember somewhere that you were thinking about doing a podcast where you talk about the good qualities of the Walden movies. I think that would be a good idea. You tend to focus on thing that the Walden movies did poorly that hopefully the Gordon movies will do well. But I think you're ignoring the very real possibility that the Gordon movies will do poorly the things that the Walden movies did well. Maybe that's just the Marshwiggle in me. But I think that the Walden movies had distinct virtues which you may be taking for granted in your optimism.

    I wish Gymfan could be on the podcast more. There's something sort of magical about having Gymfan, Rilian and Glumpuddle together. Their friendly chemistry is so great. But I realize it's probably not convenient.

  21. NArNiA NANA says:

    I believe the darkness that C.S. Lewis did not want is because of the possible association to Morgan Le Fay, the half-sister of King Arthur. The enchantress, Le Fay, tries to dethrone Arthur, even attempting to take his life. I believe "Jack" purposely used her name in the Magician's Nephew character and possibly with this fragment.

  22. Andy Harrelson says:

    Wow! What a season! I'm looking forward to more!

  23. Cleander says:

    I'm looking forward to a pre-production announcement for the Silver Chair next month!!

  24. Farsightings says:

    Glumpuddle and Rillian, could you research Doug Gresham's comment in the Radio Theatre audio drama series, (I believe it's Last Battle), where he mentions that Lewis had ideas for further books after the Last Battle, (without mentioning what they were)? I haven't been able to figure this one out, and would love to know the ideas were, as I'm sure you would too.

  25. beady-eye-of-tash says:

    I've read that the 'The Dark Tower' could be or probably is a forgery. I forget where I read that though.

  26. beady-eye-of-tash says:

    I, too, want moar!, and you're doing what you can, but I miss the PhD you used to have on. I like the meaning more than trivia (though I couldn't produce it myself so I can't really criticize). One thing I'd /love/ to see, is a George McDonald episode or three, or an offshoot of the show (C.S. Lewis said he considered G McD his master, and in some ways he wasn't merely being generous).

    Maybe I'll have to start it myself, stone-soup-style if I want it bad enough huh?

  27. Stylteralmaldo says:

    I’d like to know how the talking tree had come to our world, presumably from Narnia. Or perhaps was a descendant of talking trees that came from Narnia.

    • Col. Klink says:

      Do we know for sure that the book was even going to have to do with Narnia? Maybe it was a follow-up in that it was also written for children but didn't have to do with Narnia. That would explain why talking trees and animals are portrayed so differently. (In the Narnia books, they talk in Narnia but not on Earth. In the Lefay fragment, they talk on Earth but only Digory can understand them.)

  28. Cleander says:

    Less than 30 days till we get a pre-production announcement!! It'll probably come when we're not looking for it. Still, it's best to keep your eyes open…

  29. Cleander says:

    Less than 29 days until! Maybe I'll do a countdown comment every day until the big news arrives! Hopefully I won't have to do it for very long…

  30. Cleander says:

    Less than 28 days until the day!(Happy 4th of July for all those who have dual citizenships in the USA and Narnia!)

  31. Tess Eleniel says:

    Now I totally wish we'd known more about the "royalty" that had to take over after the Pevensies unceremoniously disappeared.

  32. Cleander says:

    Less than 27 days until the day! Hope ya'll had an epic 4th of July. Mine was spectacular, involving ripping my pants in the middle and surviving an explosion of fireworks that shot sideways! Anyway, hang on for the big news!

  33. Cleander says:

    Less than 26 days until the day!

  34. Eysee says:

    I'm pretty sure someone already said this, but I would've liked a book about the civilization of the stars, since we've already met three of them in one of the books. I also wonder about how the western end of the world of Narnia is different from the eastern end.