Did Strawberry the Horse Make the Most Important Decision in Narnia’s History? | Talking Beasts

Welcome to a new season of Talking Beasts: The Narnia Podcast! We are continuing our commentary series on The Magician’s Nephew. In this episode, the podcasters discuss Chapter 8 in which our heroes witness the creation of Narnia.

Watch part 2 of this discussion.

Rilian, Gymfan, Glumpuddle

6 Responses

  1. Col Klink says:

    I never get any impression that the worlds need people there to start time. There are countless pools in the World Between the Worlds and no indication that anyone besides the guinea pig and, I guess, whoever got the dirt in the Atlantean box was ever there before Digory and Polly. In the next chapter, Aslan seems totally indifferent to the characters from Earth and later describes them as unexpected nuisances. You don’t get the impression he needed them there to jumpstart Narnia.

    I feel like what Glumpuddle misses is that time in all the worlds in the Narnia books’ multiverse progresses linearly. While time stands still in our world for the people go to Narnia and there’s no telling how much time passes there while they’re back home, but there’s never an example of someone going to Narnia at an earlier time than people were there before. The only exception is the backstory for the Telmarines in Prince Caspian and that was written so early in the series and is such an anomaly that I feel comfortable ignoring it. The impression I always got was that the characters show up in Narnia just as it’s beginning because it simply hadn’t begun before. That being said, I interpreted the reason the Charn pool dried up at the end of the book as being that before there had always been one person (sort of) living there still. The world didn’t really come to an end until Jadis left. So while Digory and Polly didn’t create Narnia, they did destroy Charn.

    Ironically, I feel there’s no way an adaptation could capture the feeling that Aslan’s presence gives the characters, but I do think they could capture the beauty of this scene. I can think of musical moments in movies that have given me a similar sense of awe, mainly the Circle of Life scene from The Lion King. (Maybe that’s just because it also features a lion and a bunch of animals though.) I may have an advantage over Glumpuddle when it comes to imagining the scene because I live in a wide-open prairie area where you can really see the sky. I can easily picture it totally dark and then all the stars turning on like a switch has been flipped. And it is an awesome picture.

    I love the humor and randomness of the cabbie’s presence but you should keep in mind that I’ve always felt that the Narnia books were supposed to have comic relief. It doesn’t bother me if Lewis passes up on an opportunity for things to be all doom and gloom. I would dislike it if they had cut to the cabbie earlier in the book to establish his character since I like books to have a couple main characters and just stick to them. If we had gone from Digory and Polly in Charn to some random cabdriver, I would have been deeply annoyed. That doesn’t mean earlier scenes establishing him couldn’t be well done in an adaptation. How about seeing Jadis steal his horse and cab? That might work.

    I love that you guys brought up the little moment of Jadis feeling briefly flattered when the Londoners sarcastically cheer for her (though I think I interpret it as more of a funny moment than you do.) To me, C. S. Lewis is establishing there that Jadis isn’t “bad all through,” to use Mrs. Beaver’s words, yet. It’s only after she eats the apple of youth that she becomes 100% evil.

    The chapters about the creation of Narnia are some of my favorites in the series and I loved hearing you guys discuss this one! Thank you.

  2. ara says:

    Wish there were transcripts of these discussions since I prefer to read rather than listen. Can someone tell me why the videos aren’t up in the Youtube channel too?

  3. I enjoyed this episode because it was both lighthearted and deep. I don’t mean ‘deep’, like emotionally deep. But perhaps I mean detailed and insightful and Nerdy!!

    I like the idea of the Horseshoe theory. I know of someone who made a work of art with someone else, and they met because my friend came to my birthday party instead of driving home (which was a decision he made at the last minute).

    I would love to see the creation of Narnia portrayed in stop-motion animation by Wes Anderson! That would be awesome. With some poetic, lilting, melodious, strong singer as Aslan.

  4. Impending Doom says:

    Great episode! Thanks for always producing such entertaining content ☺️

  5. J says:

    For a Magicians nephew movie adaptation, here’s my opinion.

    A losing-the-rings subplot – I’d don’t think it would really work. For two reasons:

    One, if Digory had dropped the rings on the ground, they would’ve burrowed into the earth and eventually turned into trees. Hehe.

    Two, the audience/readership already knows that Aslan can send children back to their own world (because of previous Narnia stories). The fact that this is the first encounter with Narnia doesn’t change that expectation. (And the audience’s expectation is worth so much with regards to affecting storytelling.) So there wouldn’t be any real tension of “Will they find another way to get home?”, because kids & adults would simply think: “Aslan will send them back… eventually”. Of course there are exceptions to the dropping-the-rings action, but ultimately there wouldn’t be much tension there, I think. I think teasing the possibility could work, if done well. But sticking to the book is probably best.

    P.S. I’ll bet several ’Mirican Dollars that a certain Hogans Hero will respond first. Heh 😉