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Old 01-06-2012, 02:16 AM
Sir Godfrey Sir Godfrey is offline
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Default The Lady of the Green Kirtle: Two Dimensional?

The Narnian narrative is nearly perfect, with the exception of villains. Jadis, The White Witch is a brilliant villain, but the others are a hit and miss. In PC you have Miraz (King Saul), in HHB Rabadash, in VODT the Sea Serpent (although not exactly a cognitve reasoning villain) and pirates/slave traders, and in the LB Shift and Tash. Then there is the Lady of the Green Kirtle who is the greatest threat since Jadis. The Lady of Green Kirtle is obviously of the same race of Jadis, perhaps she came from Charn (She might be the sister Jadis wagged war with). However, despite being formidable, the LOGK perishes. Unlike his contemporary Tolkien, Lewis didn't have a central villain whom the heroes and protagonists battle throughout the Chronicles. Jadis is the only villain to be featured in more than one book. I think that Lewis deliberately choose not to create a enduring nemesis like Sauron because he wanted the tales to be more about the journey than the struggle against evil's incarnations. Narnia is more about self improvement, learning life lessons, and developing a trusting relationship with Aslan than waging war against an insidious force (although on occasion the visitors do fight the forces of darkness). In the case of SC, The Lady of Green Kirtle is just a piece of Lewis' narrative. She is two dimensional because she is not as important as the trial Eustace, Jill, and Puddleglum undergo in her presence. While LOGK has some iconic moments, It's really the lies she speaks that the are a real threat to our heroes. Which then leads to a more profound thought, is the devil or his lies worse? Granted the Evil One is deplorable, but his words are what fester in the mind and cause the faithful to doubt. His words however are instrinc with his heart and therefore are him. So then LOGK lies are her, which makes her more complex and thus less two dimensional.

Please feel free to make your case in favor or against what I have said. I delight in comparing my point of view with other interpretations.
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Old 01-06-2012, 02:45 AM
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Well, I'm not going to make a case for or against. All I want to say is that for a villain, she wasn't much of a match. At least not without her magic. She kept Rilian a servant with the aid of her magic, but the moment that magic left her, she was easy. She died rather quick and in a simple battle that I've come to think that the actual person wasn't really the villain. The villain was the magic, the thoughts, and the ideas she was planting in the minds of the others.

So I guess that sort of agrees with one of your last lines that her lies were her. Once the lies were gone, so was she.
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Old 01-06-2012, 04:07 AM
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Well, I'm not going to make a case for or against. All I want to say is that for a villain, she wasn't much of a match. At least not without her magic. She kept Rilian a servant with the aid of her magic, but the moment that magic left her, she was easy. She died rather quick and in a simple battle that I've come to think that the actual person wasn't really the villain. The villain was the magic, the thoughts, and the ideas she was planting in the minds of the others.

So I guess that sort of agrees with one of your last lines that her lies were her. Once the lies were gone, so was she.
I agree that she is not as formidable as Jadis, at least in personality. Her spell did keep Prince Relian under her control, but she was unable to beguile Puddleglum and thus was unable to sieze control of Eustuce and Jill. This indicates that Relian was quite subseptable to the power of magic and one could argue that he is not suited to rule Narnia despite that he renders her in two with his blade. Relian is fortunate he never encountered Jadis, he would have been done for.
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Old 01-06-2012, 04:08 AM
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Well, I'm not going to make a case for or against. All I want to say is that for a villain, she wasn't much of a match. At least not without her magic. She kept Rilian a servant with the aid of her magic, but the moment that magic left her, she was easy. She died rather quick and in a simple battle that I've come to think that the actual person wasn't really the villain. The villain was the magic, the thoughts, and the ideas she was planting in the minds of the others.

So I guess that sort of agrees with one of your last lines that her lies were her. Once the lies were gone, so was she.
I agree that she is not as formidable as Jadis, at least in personality. Her spell did keep Prince Rilian under her control, but she was unable to beguile Puddleglum and thus was unable to sieze control of Eustuce and Jill. This indicates that Rilian was quite subseptable to the power of magic and one could argue that he is not suited to rule Narnia despite that he renders her in two with his blade. Rilian is fortunate he never encountered Jadis, he would have been done for.
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:51 AM
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Well, there's a lot we don't know about the Queen of Underland, and I think you're right - that was deliberate on Lewis' part. I don't think anyone can question the power of her magic, though - she did create that whole underground world and enslave all those gnomes for all those years. I think her magic was pretty formidable, but we didn't get to see much of it. I think the fact that she was so easy to knock off after Puddleglum put his foot in the fire was due more her temper than anything. I think in her fury she just lost it and morphed into her snake form, yielding any advantage she might have had.

I think you're also identifying something subtle and significant about Lewis' point in making her, essentially, a bit part. Sure, her scheming and machinations are the main driver behind the whole drama, but as far as the story line goes, she's a trivial character. This is a pattern that Lewis follows throughout the Chronicles - the emphasis is not so much on The Big Heavy as it is on the character and integrity of the protagonists. In Lion Jadis is the clear antagonist, but it gets a little fuzzier with Caspian (Miraz is also something of a minor character), and vanishes altogether with Dawn Treader, where there is no single antagonist. Even in Horse Rabadash is more a distant threat than a living antagonist.

I think this fits wonderfully with Lewis' viewpoint, which I think comes out most clearly in Silver Chair (which I consider to be the very best of the tales): that the issue is far more about us and our obedience to Aslan than it is how formidable our foes are. The Enemy we have to conquer is ourselves - once we've done that, Aslan knocks off the external foes without difficulty. Notice that the central drama of Chair was believing and obeying: they had to believe the signs and obey them. Even to the last dramatic moment, as the mission wobbled on a knife's edge as they debated whether to cut Rilian loose from the chair, it was all about believing what they'd been told and obeying.

That being the case, whatever evil antagonists we have to deal with are simply backdrop. This is one thing that differentiates Lewis and Tolkien (and Williams, to some degree) from other fantasy writers such as Fritz Leiber and the like: to them, the evil is always outside their protagonists, something to be overcome by might and cleverness. Lewis, and to an even greater degree Tolkien, recognize that the struggle is more within than without. In Lord of the Rings, the main antagonist doesn't appear at all, though his malicious will is the main framework for the story. But once the main characters - every one of them - accept death in order to overcome him, he is vanquished.
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Old 01-06-2012, 10:20 AM
CORIN THUNDERFIST II CORIN THUNDERFIST II is offline
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I agree that she is not as formidable as Jadis, at least in personality. Her spell did keep Prince Rilian under her control, but she was unable to beguile Puddleglum and thus was unable to sieze control of Eustuce and Jill. This indicates that Rilian was quite subseptable to the power of magic and one could argue that he is not suited to rule Narnia despite that he renders her in two with his blade. Rilian is fortunate he never encountered Jadis, he would have been done for.
I quite agree! The Lady of the Green Kirtle is not in the same league as Jadis! The latter is a truly fantastic villain, really formidable, far superior to all the other Narnian villains put together! Even without magic, Jadis is a terrifying foe to face --- she was exceptionally powerful, in a physical sense, e.g the easy manner in which she snapped off the crossarm of an iron lamppost, and possessed a high degree of skill in physical fighting. Only Aslan was capable of dealing with her, and if Jadis hadn't been overambitious, but had insisted on having Edmund's life, instead of agreeing to kill Aslan in his place, it is hard to see how the prophesy could have been fulfilled at that time
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Old 01-06-2012, 01:33 PM
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I agree that she is not as formidable as Jadis, at least in personality. Her spell did keep Prince Rilian under her control, but she was unable to beguile Puddleglum and thus was unable to sieze control of Eustuce and Jill. This indicates that Rilian was quite subseptable to the power of magic and one could argue that he is not suited to rule Narnia despite that he renders her in two with his blade. Rilian is fortunate he never encountered Jadis, he would have been done for.
I agree but I'm with Copper Fox. LOTGK had to be powerful and cunning, as that city attests too. It seems she is a little like the Queen of Hearts in respects of temper, like a small child she is very temperamental when she is not obeyed (though she would be much more dangerous than the Queen of Hearts). Also, she couldn't be Jadis' sister, as the unspoken word destroys everything living but the one speaking it.
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Old 01-06-2012, 05:47 PM
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Well, there's a lot we don't know about the Queen of Underland, and I think you're right - that was deliberate on Lewis' part. I don't think anyone can question the power of her magic, though - she did create that whole underground world and enslave all those gnomes for all those years. I think her magic was pretty formidable, but we didn't get to see much of it. I think the fact that she was so easy to knock off after Puddleglum put his foot in the fire was due more her temper than anything. I think in her fury she just lost it and morphed into her snake form, yielding any advantage she might have had.

I think you're also identifying something subtle and significant about Lewis' point in making her, essentially, a bit part. Sure, her scheming and machinations are the main driver behind the whole drama, but as far as the story line goes, she's a trivial character. This is a pattern that Lewis follows throughout the Chronicles - the emphasis is not so much on The Big Heavy as it is on the character and integrity of the protagonists. In Lion Jadis is the clear antagonist, but it gets a little fuzzier with Caspian (Miraz is also something of a minor character), and vanishes altogether with Dawn Treader, where there is no single antagonist. Even in Horse Rabadash is more a distant threat than a living antagonist.

I think this fits wonderfully with Lewis' viewpoint, which I think comes out most clearly in Silver Chair (which I consider to be the very best of the tales): that the issue is far more about us and our obedience to Aslan than it is how formidable our foes are. The Enemy we have to conquer is ourselves - once we've done that, Aslan knocks off the external foes without difficulty. Notice that the central drama of Chair was believing and obeying: they had to believe the signs and obey them. Even to the last dramatic moment, as the mission wobbled on a knife's edge as they debated whether to cut Rilian loose from the chair, it was all about believing what they'd been told and obeying.

That being the case, whatever evil antagonists we have to deal with are simply backdrop. This is one thing that differentiates Lewis and Tolkien (and Williams, to some degree) from other fantasy writers such as Fritz Leiber and the like: to them, the evil is always outside their protagonists, something to be overcome by might and cleverness. Lewis, and to an even greater degree Tolkien, recognize that the struggle is more within than without. In Lord of the Rings, the main antagonist doesn't appear at all, though his malicious will is the main framework for the story. But once the main characters - every one of them - accept death in order to overcome him, he is vanquished.
Well said. I like the concept Lewis and Tolkien explore in their tales that our greatest foe lies within. Tolkien takes this to another level with The One Ring, it being temptation to use our own will to make things right. I like how Gandalf put it in FOTR "I would use this ring with the desire to do good, but through me it would wield a power to terrible to imagine." This hearkens to best intentions leading to great folly. Lewis illustrates in his Chronicles that self will gets us in trouble (Edmund, Eustuce, and Digory), while obediance and adhering to Aslan, trusting and abiding his will brings forth prosperity and the end to evil. Lewis even wrote that one of three most vile demons is Self Determination. Aslan calls for the Sons of Adam to trust him and not connive their own way to solve Narnia's problems. Lewis is conveying one of most important doctrines, that we must lay aside selfish ambition and fallow the path of Aslan.
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Old 01-26-2012, 08:10 AM
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I agree that she is not as formidable as Jadis, at least in personality. Her spell did keep Prince Rilian under her control, but she was unable to beguile Puddleglum and thus was unable to sieze control of Eustuce and Jill. This indicates that Rilian was quite subseptable to the power of magic and one could argue that he is not suited to rule Narnia despite that he renders her in two with his blade. Rilian is fortunate he never encountered Jadis, he would have been done for.
Before you point the finger at Rilian, do remember that he was at a much more vulnerable state when he was captured than Eustace, Jill and Puddleglum. The Emerald Witch may not have been as powerful as the White Witch but she was certainly cunning.

Do remember that Rilian had just lost his mother, the queen of Narnia. He was young and consumed by thoughts of revenge. It is my belief that his grief and hatred are in part what made him susceptible to LotGK.

The Emerald Witch created a situation which she knew would devastate him and then she came to him, not in the form of the snake he was looking for, but in the form of a beautiful woman who was able to take his mind from his heartache. She met him at a time when she was expecting to face him as a possible foe and when his guard was down because he was expecting a snake; not a woman-especially not an enchantress.

The children and Puddleglum had the advantage of knowing Rilian's backstory. They knew he was kidnapped by a woman in a dress as green as poison after searching for a deadly serpent which was as green as poison. They knew that several warriors had been lost in an attempt the find Prince Rilian and thus could gather that some sort of magic was involved. Rilian had no such facts. He had no idea he would be kidnapped. All the clues he had were that the snake was green and the woman's dress was green. Big deal. Trees are green. Grass is green. Green happens. Who would count that as a clue until after the fact?

Pluddleglum and the children went on their mission expecting to find a snake or a beautiful woman. Even they, who had been sent by Aslan to help the prince, who had been given signs by the Lion Himself, managed to pass LotGK and Rilian as the Black Knight on the way to Harfang. And this AFTER being given her description and actually knowing what they were looking for. We could attribute their blindness to magic on the part of the witch or stupidity on their part, perhaps a little bit of both. We may never know.

This isn't to say that Rilian was without fault. I would just like to point out that Rilian's mind was clouded by the circumstances and he did not have all the facts his three rescuers had. By the time he was able to think clearly enough to realize he'd been had it was too late and the enchantment was already too strong for one person to conquer alone.

As for Rilian being "fit to rule Narnia" after being under such a powerful enchantment, Aslan didn't seem to be in the habit of choosing people who were "fit to rule". In the Magician's nephew we have King Frank, the cabbie. Seems like a perfect king Oh I know, how about four kids who accidently stumbled into the world, one of whom also fell into the hands of a witch? Or what about the young orphan who's fleeing for his life to escape his murderous uncle? Did I mention he's a Telmarine, therefore he's not even supposed to like Aslan or Old Narnians? If one was fit to rule all on his own then all the credit would go to man and not Aslan. Aslan is One to choose the unlikely so that His strength is made perfect in their weakness.

As for the White Witch all who faced her would've been done for if not for Aslan. The only reason anyone in the Chronicles ever defeated a witch was because Aslan was the one who ordained the defeat. Aslan had sent Eaustace, Puddleglum and Jill to rescue Rilian and so it was at that time he was able to be freed and all were able to overcome the witch. Because Aslan had willed it so.

It's not all about the evil we face, nor is it about overcoming the evil within ourselves by our own strength because we're powerful enough to do it on our own. It's all about what Aslan can do when we obey Him and it's about Him helping us defeat our darkness. It's about His strength being made perfect in our weakness. Because of Him we are able to take on difficult tasks, whether we're "fit" do to them or not. It's not about what we're capable of. It's about what He's capable of doing in and through us.
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:49 AM
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It's not all about the evil we face, nor is it about overcoming the evil within ourselves by our own strength because we're powerful enough to do it on our own. It's all about what Aslan can do when we obey Him and it's about Him helping us defeat our darkness. It's about His strength being made perfect in our weakness. Because of Him we are able to take on difficult tasks, whether we're "fit" do to them or not. It's not about what we're capable of. It's about what He's capable of doing in and through us.
EXACTLY!!!

Very well put, Chisha! I think that's exactly the message of the Chronicles in general, and especially Horse, Chair, and Battle.
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