When the World is Ending and We Don’t Care | Talking Beasts

This Fall, look for new episodes of Talking Beasts: The Narnia Podcast every 7th and 17th.

Podcast Discussion:
The Horse and His Boy, Ch. 10

At this point in The Horse and His Boy, the stakes get raised. No longer is it simply the story of Shasta, Bree, Aravis, and Hwin quietly sneaking their way to freedom. Now they must race to save Narnia before it’s too late.

In stories, it is often easier to get emotionally invested in just a few characters than it is to care about the fate of the entire world. Is this only true in fiction? Or does it also apply to the real world? Listen to Rilian and Glumpuddle’s discussion below. (And then post a comment!)

Something Else: Do you have an idea for a non-Narnia topic? Post a comment below or in the Talking Beasts Facebook group .


34 Responses

  1. Col. Klink says:

    I tend to be a lot more interested in stories about individuals rather than save the world conflicts. I thought it was just because I have an unusually individualistic mindset. So it's kind of nice to know it's not just me.

    I've unfollowed some Facebook friends from both sides of the political aisle because they kept posting memes and articles about how disgusting and wrong the people who disagreed with them were. It wasn't so much that I disagreed with them as it was how bigoted and obsessed they were coming across. (They're not that way in "real life.") You don't have to share every single thing you agree with. My theory on why political arguments on Facebook are so nasty is because, compared to some other forms of social media, it's actually not anonymous. People can see your name and a photo of you. So people feel more humiliated if they lose or back down in an argument and that makes them more aggressive.

    There's a lot of stuff in the last part of The Horse and his Boy that I think deserves discussion. (Bree's angst about his tail, Shasta and Aravis's awkward reunion, King Lune's welcome of Aravis, what happens to Rabadash, the little epilogue where we learn what happened to all the characters eventually) But Gymfan is one of my favorite Narniaweb podcasters. So I think she definitely deserves some "farewell" episodes. 🙂


    This doesn't have to do with this episode but I was rereading The Horse and his Boy recently and I was struck by what a good job Lewis did of making the Pevensies seem like the same characters grownup even though they're now Narnians and not English people. Edmund is still analytical like he is in the Deathwater scene. Susan is still sort of maternal (she's apparently Corin's mother figure) and quick to panic when things look bad. Lucy is still friendly and quick with the joyful explanations. She's also one of the few people who has compassion for Rabadash just like she had compassion for Eustace in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I really like how Edmund calls Susan "Su" in a really tense moment even though he addresses her more formally normally.


    BTW, the phoenix is in The Last Battle and I think it's Hwin who says "we all ran as fast as we could."

    • Glumpuddle says:

      We will definitely finish HHB, but probably not this season. I’m hopeful that the delay will be worth it!

      Thanks for the corrections.

    • aileth says:

      Yes, it is merely called a "wonderful bird" in MN, though I think we can infer it to be the selfsame bird as the phoenix of LB.

      Glumpuddle, perhaps you should should claim at least an extra half point for the stump question (nice one, DiGs); after all, saffron can be described as a golden orange.

      Now, what percent would that be, anyway?–33 1/3 plus sixteen and a half and a half of a third–oh, bother all that: call it 49 percent for good measure.

    • JillPole2 says:

      That's really true about the grown-up Pevensies!

  2. Cleander says:

    Hmmm… you asked for suggestions, and my mind is suddenly flooded with Narnia-related ones! For Something Else, however, I think discussions of older mythology/fantasy/allegorical books (some of which inspired Narnia) could be great. Maybe you could discuss medieval legends, since many people coming here for Narnia stuff might be interested in that. And some of these legends (like the Carolingian Cycle and the Lay of El Cid) are true! Or you could discuss the works of Edmund Spenser (in which we find the inspiration for the Lady of the Green Kirtle). The only problem I could think of is that it might come across as a little too scholarly and sophisticated to be fun…
    And before I forget, I do have one suggestion: I don't know if you've done this before, but maybe this winter you could have a Narnia photo contest! People could take photos that they think are evocative of Narnian scenery and send them in to be posted and judged. The winning picture could be the one that best resembles Narnia! (Of course there would have to be rules: no people in the photos, nothing crude of offensive, has to look SOMETHING like Narnia, etc.) Like I said, you might have done this before, but then, why not do it again?

    • Keeper of Lantern Waste says:

      Oh that photo contest idea is great! I've only been following for a few years but I don't think they have done anything like that.
      Maybe the prize could be a Reepicheep stuffed animal! Just kidding. SortaXD

  3. Keeper of Lantern Waste says:

    I enjoyed your points on the fate of the world is often less interesting and emotionally draining than a favorite character's fate. (Spoilers for a few old Marvel movies)

    I think the Winter Soldier is a great example of this: You kinda know HYDRA won't succeed in killing millions with those helicopter things, but you are very worried about what will happen to Steve and his brainwashed best friend Bucky. Will Steve have to kill him to complete the mission? Is Bucky past saving and Cap's gonna die trying to bring back his friend? (I was very nervous when he fell in the river)
    Or even in Civil War, they completely turn that trope on its head; instead of them facing off against "some psycho assassins" the final act is Tony losing it and trying to kill Bucky, the guy who (was forced to) kill Tony's parents. You don't want anyone hurt but everyone has an opinion on who's right in this situation.

    Super looking forward to next podcast even if it might ignite the comments (When I was a younger, I had waaaay too many people tell me that LOTR was better than Narnia because adults could read it -_-)

    Incidentally, the idea of Gymfan being a secret agent makes me hope someone will start a NarniaWeb fanfic comicXD

  4. Andy Harrelson says:

    You bring us some very good points in this podcast. I usually don't have a problem with dramatization, or movie cliche's in general, AS LONG as it's done tastefully. The problem with politicization you bring up was also very well put. I don't have a problem with them, except now it has become rather overwhelming. It reminds me of a Shrek meme I saw that said "Could you not get Political?.. FOR 5 MINUTES!"…Now that I think about it, imagine a discussion on a Narnia-Shrek crossover!

  5. For Something Else:

    1. The favourite place you have been to.
    2. The place in our world you would most like to visit.
    3. The place in Narnia and surrounding lands you would most like to visit.

  6. Another idea for Something Else.
    The idea of Consumerism in our culture. The level of Consumerism and how it is a hidden background factor in so many of our decisions in life. It is kind of like an Elephant in the Room. We ask "Which jeans should I buy?" instead of saying "Let me buy these jeans that fit me and dress me." We make decisions based on how it will make us feel – or how we will be perceived by others. For example, I heard a quote that if someone buys an $80,000 car when they could have bought a $20,000 car to get from A to B, then they have paid $20,000 for a car and $60,000 for some status.
    How does Consumerism affect the way we interact with books and films? How do our priorities factor in to this topic? Do we prioritize shopping or buying something over time with family or friends?

    I hope the above comments can be a conversation starter. If you speak on this, I would be interested to hear just 5 minutes.

  7. JFGII says:

    To Glumpuddle and Rilian etc.:

    I've grown to really like you're podcasts and the discussions you've had, especially in commentating the The Horse and His Boy. I also like your new segment on other subjects…

    I must admit, at first I only kept up with NarniaWeb for news on the movie adaptation of The Silver Chair (Kind of what I did with MuggleNet in the 2000's, and stopped following after the Harry Potter films ended). So I originally had no intention of becoming a community member.

    But NarniaWeb is different. I feel that if The Silver Chair were scrapped tomorrow and no more adaptations were down the road, I would still wait for your podcasts about the Narnia books. You guys (and girls) have hugely interesting discussions (not to mention funny) that are insightful and thoughtful. You sound like great people to talk to.

    Also, about posts: I had no idea "Is The Green Lady really the White Witch?" was banned. Good thing I never posted about that. Also, I apologize for any previous posts that did not have a place on NarniaWeb: I don't communicate through FB, so I have a lot to learn about not barging in on other people conversation posts. It would be best to become an actual full-time member.

    So, in short, thanks for the weekly optimism.

    P.S. Cannot wait for Narnia v Lord of The Rings…..!!!

    • Glumpuddle says:

      Glad you're enjoying these! And thanks for continuing to post comments. 🙂 It has been really exciting to see the comments section develop a life of its own over the past several months.

      The LotGK-WW topic was banned in the forum for a while back in the day, but is not banned anymore.

  8. JillPole2 says:

    What happened to "Voices of NarniaWeb" this episode? 🙁

    • Glumpuddle says:

      Episodes released on the 7th will have 'Stump a NarniaWebber' and 'Something Else.'

      Episodes released on the 17th will have 'Voices of NarniaWeb.'

      Just to mix it up! 🙂

  9. Cleander says:

    Just finished reading the Horse and His Boy last week! It occurred to me later that, complain as we might about a story kind of drowning out the characters with the thunderous themes of saving the world, this is really the pattern that every Narnia book follows. Every single one turns out to be a battle to free Narnia, or an epic quest with the future of Narnia at stake. These grand struggles usually provide some kind of resolution for the characters anyway- most noticeably with Digory Kirke saving his mother's life as a result of his adventures in The Magician's Nephew. This is how the Narnia books work- and judging by their popularity, there's little reason to suppose that the epic themes are at all detrimental to how readers liked the stories.

    • Cleander says:

      Just to clarify- that was the 7th or 8th time I've read the Horse and His Boy.

    • Col Klink says:

      Actually, the Voyage of the Dawn Treader doesn't build to a climax about saving Narnia (or Archenland.) It's about saving the last three lords (the sleeping ones) and Reepicheep achieving his dream of reaching Aslan's Country.

      • Keeper of Lantern Waste says:

        Hey do you think Last Battle fits in there too? I thought the climax wasn't the last battle (yes it's hilarious pun) nor was it the end of Old Narnia (actually would it be the New Narnia because Aslan's country always existed??) but them exploring and reaching the gates where all their (as they said in the shadowlands) dead friends were? I say that because the actual fighting part takes up little time in comparison to the several chapters of running at inhuman speeds or meeting the Calormene or even inside the Gates

      • Cleander says:

        Thanks for the correction on VODT, Col. Klink. I think that is totally true what you said- actually I realized that several hours after making the comment! The quest involved in that book is still heroic- and in a sense epic (finding the World's End, Aslan's Country)- but it isn't quite on the same scale as, say, The Horse and His Boy. The fate of the world is not at stake. (Only the accuracy of future Narnian mapmakers:)

      • Col Klink says:

        I sometimes forget about things after I comment too.

        It's hard to say what the climax of a book, like The Last Battle or The Silver Chair, is sometimes. Is it Rilian fighting the serpent? The heroes escaping from Underland? Jill and Eustace getting the head fired?

        I'm not saying that as a criticism by the way. I love all the extra climactic stuff in the books. It disappoints me when it gets cut in adaptations.

      • Keeper of Lantern Waste says:

        Okay I'm gonna try go deep literature philosopher and guess that Rilian killing LotGK is the denouement of the plot while the actual end is when the Head is fired (or possibly when they all decide to become homeschooled, depending on what you see as canon:D)

      • JFGII says:

        Slightly off-topic: I respectfully disagree with Glumpuddle that the climax of The Silver Chair is when Jill, Eustace & Puddleglum decide to release an irate Rilian from his bonds. That scene is the punchline of their quest, yet only the start of the third act. As for the book’s climax, I think it’s long after the Witch is killed. It’s when Jill disappears and the others think she’s been captured, but in reality Jill has been rescued by the Narnians, leading to the most joyful scene of the whole book: The Great Snow Dance. Everything after that feels like coda for Jill, Eustace, Puddleglum, Caspian, Experiment House. (Kind of reminds me of ARGO 2012 when the Americans clear Iranian airspace and there is this incredible joy of getting out alive.)

      • Glumpuddle says:

        Great comments here! The question of what the real climax is for SC would make a good podcast.

        But either way, I think we can all agree that even though all Narnia is being threatened in SC, that’s not where the emphasis is. It’s all about the question of whether our heroes will trust the signs and weather Rilian will be reunited with his father. The fact that there are larger stakes feels almost like an afterthought. And that’s our main point in the above episode: The stakes in HHB get bigger, but Lewis keeps us focused on the emotions of our main characters.

      • Cleander says:

        For me the climax of the Silver Chair has always been the whole scene of the killing of the Witch/Serpent and the collapse of her kingdom, as well as the final escape. To me all that is one continuous climactic scene. After that it's all pretty much resolution for the rest of the book.

      • JillPole2 says:

        Oh, I love that you pointed out how the Snow Dance chapter is really the climax of the plot in SC! I think I really agree with you on this. Perhaps the reason is that the goal of the main character's quest is (as glumpuddle pointed out) to rescue Rilian and bring him home to Narnia, and while they are still underground, with the water rising etc, the end result is still in doubt . But when they reach the surface, it's finally sure 🙂

      • JillPole2 says:

        (That comment was replying to JFGII :))

      • JFGII says:

        Well, I know screenwriter David Magee considers Puddleglum’s speech to be the “thematic” climax of the film. Maybe the destruction of underland is the “action climax”. I hope the filmmakers take that route, because then they would HAVE to include The Snow Dance, as the emotional climax!

      • Cleander says:

        I definitely want to see the Great Snow Dance in the SC film, mainly because in the previous films we NEVER got to see the Fauns dancing, even though the books constantly talk about their dances! The one time they came close to doing that in the movies was with the victory dance in LWW, and THAT ONE SCENE got dropped from the final product!

    • Glumpuddle says:

      To clarify: Rilian and I were saying that raising the stakes at the expense of character development is a trap that many stories fall into, but that Lewis skillfully avoids. Even though there is much more on the line at the end of HHB, his writing remains laser-focused on what his characters are thinking and feeling. So we remain emotionally invested.

      Technically speaking, all Narnia is threatened in nearly all the books… But there is so much focus on the characters, it's easy to forget.

      LotGK plotting to take over Narnia feels almost like an afterthought compared to the struggle to remember the signs and reunite a father and son. I'm hoping the movie will resist the temptation to put too much emphasis on this.

      • @Technically speaking, all Narnia is threatened in nearly all the books… But there is so much focus on the characters, it’s easy to forget….LotGK plotting to take over Narnia feels almost like an afterthought compared to the struggle to remember the signs and reunite a father and son. That is the flipside of what you are saying about the films and character development, isn't it? Yes, the children and Puddleglum do free Rilian, but when LOTGK turns up, there is a "not so fast moment", which I think is essential to the story. It isn't just a gaol breakout, we have to know the nature of what LOTGK had in mind for them, not only Rilian. The denouement comes when after Puddleglum says his speech, LOTGK turns into the murderous snake who killed Rilian's mother. And then they are free to return to Narnia. And the theme of forgetfulness and inattention continues. There are the freed gnomes, Bism and then Jill disappearing out of the hole in the ceiling in the tunnel. It is great to see how much Puddleglum and Eustace have learned to value her, but would you agree that this is also a counterpoint moment in the story to balance when she was the last to go down under the Giant's inscription?

  10. Anonymouse says:

    I love the voice of David Suchette as Aslan.

  11. I've been absent for a bit, and to tell the truth, the heading of this podcast was all too truthful for me to cope with for a while. I even thought you'd say that Silver Chair had been forgotten altogether. And these days it does feel as if the world is coming to an end, in reality, and nobody cares. Most dramatic disaster films, man-made or not, do go for hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and the like. Droughts belong in a far more insidious category. Little or no rainfall at all for weeks on end. Then there comes the time when the politicians are squabbling about some International agreement or other, and who is the right person to be in charge of the country, whilst we are all going down the gurgler. And then comes a child who says: Here is my $5 pocket money. If we all put in $5 then we can buy fodder from other states and use the money to buy expensive fodder to save the sheep and cattle. And that suggestion actually worked. For now at least. Collection points sprang up where we could donate our spare change, and so the farmers got a little reprieve. Plus a little rain, though we need more. What has this got to do with Narnia? Not a lot, since it is real life, not fantasy. But I suspect it has a great deal to do with what you are saying about how when making films, the stories of those films often swamp character developments. I think it also has a great deal with how C.S.Lewis plots his stories. Character development in SC, HHB etc, doesn't stop with making a useful suggestion, or accepting a mission, it is also persevering in the face of setbacks, human weakness and mistakes to put even a very useful idea into practice. Or it might mean that just when you think you have finished the job as Shasta clearly thought he had done, in HHB, when he reached the Hermit, that you are told to go on and finish the job. I enjoyed the podcast, and will comment further.