What the Magic Wardrobe Should Look Like

This article is based on an ongoing discussion in the NarniaWeb Forum: New Era, New Wardrobe

Lucy Pevensie’s discovery of the magic wardrobe in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has teased generations of readers with the notion that the way into Narnia might be hiding in plain sight.

Bringing the Wardrobe to the Screen

“Anyone who loved the book is going to want to see the wardrobe,” Director Andrew Adamson said. “By covering it with that sheet for a moment, you get to hold on to that pleasure of anticipation a moment longer.”

For the movie, Production Designer Roger Ford drew some inspiration from the wardrobe designed by C.S. Lewis‘s grandfather, which is now on display at the Marion E. Wade Center. The result is impressive and imposing. Its shape is majestic. The carvings are intricate and seem to tell a story (readers of the books will recognize scenes from The Magician’s Nephew).

When Lucy (portrayed by Georgie Henley) enters the room, she seems to immediately sense magic emanating from the wardrobe. The chipper Oh Johnny tune is abruptly replaced by a low frequency rumble. Transfixed, she steps forward and removes the drop-cloth (in slow motion) and is visibly impressed with what lies underneath.

Back to the Book

Part of the magic of Narnia, in my opinion, is the idea of the awe-inspiring and the fantastic hidden behind the mundane.

Wanderer Between Worlds – NarniaWeb Forum

In the original story, the wardrobe apparently appears unremarkable to the Pevensie children. Peter says “Nothing there!” and leaves the room. Lucy stays behind, but only to check if there are fur coats inside.

The Next Wardrobe

Much as I love the ornately carved wardrobe in the Walden film and all of The Magician’s Nephew references, I think it would be truer to the book to have the wardrobe appear like an ordinary piece of furniture.

Reepicheep775 – NarniaWeb Forum

With more Narnia adaptations on the horizon from Netflix, there may be an opportunity to do another version of the famous wardrobe. And perhaps restore a small detail that the 2005 movie removed.

“I was worried about the fact that I didn’t have a mirror in the door because it’s described that way in the book,” Director Andrew Adamson said. “But Don McAlpine (Director of Photography) would have killed me if I’d put a mirror anywhere on that wardrobe because it’s so impossible to shoot around.”

Iā€™m not sure why I was so wanting a looking glass in the door, but the fact that it was absent made me very sad. I would love to see it included. I think that little bit of extra effort would win over a lot of trust from die-hards like myself. 

Sun-muffin – NarniaWeb Forum

Join the Discussion

What did you think of the wardrobe in the movie? What should Netflix do differently? Share your thoughts in The NarniaWeb Discussion Forum.

7 Responses

  1. valenia says:

    in my opinion netflix should not do a reboot anymore, netflix is more on modern this days which makes me feel they’re going to destroy the magical story, the first movies will be better and will always be

  2. JFG 11 says:

    Looking Glass = My Trust šŸ˜‰

    O.K. Not really, but if Netflix reboots the whole franchise, even after 2 WHOLE YEARS of inactivity, a simple, lovingly-made wardrobe with a mirror in it – a faithful rendition from the books – would get me excited for the Netflix reboot.

    (I’m a fan of sticiking to book descriptions of things, NOT the illustrations, unless the author drew them. Ex. Severus Snape does not have a beard. šŸ˜‰

    • Glumpuddle says:

      Silence doesn’t necessarily mean inactivity. šŸ™‚

      Matthew Aldrich was hired as the Creative Architect in June 2019.

      And COVID has certainly complicated things in the entertainment business.

      • JFG 11 says:

        o.k. Glum šŸ™‚ thanks

      • I agree. And Netflix is notorious for releasing very little news until 2 or 3 months before the release date, when the promotion goes to full swing. I *hope* that we can get news and images fed to us, but I am guessing they would not make a change just for the Narnia adaptations. Although maybe the presence of Narniaweb and other Narnia fan communities would be the reason, because it will be a form of promotion for them.

  3. Keeper of Lantern Waste says:

    I’m going to be devil’s advocate here and say I actually prefer the movie version of the wardrobe. Digory couldn’t bear the idea of the apple tree just becoming firewood, so I feel like him commissioning a special wardrobe that depicts the story around the apple tree is just as likely as him commissioning a plain wardrobe.

    Also I just prefer when movies really up their visuals in comparison to the source material. Like the most comic accurate Captain America suit is probably the one he wears in the first Joss Whedon Avengers movie, and it looks pretty lame. The ones in Winter Soldier and Civil War are less accurate but because of the extra detail, the muted colors, and the sort of weight the fabrics seem to have make the suits less like they were bought at party city and more like something you can fight in while still being an American icon/technically a propaganda tool.

    • Kaitlin says:

      I totally agree with you there. I too believe that Digory could have put some good effort into making the wardrobe memorable beyond just being the wood from the apple tree. And I do appreciate when movies take something good and use creative liberties to make it great!

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