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YMMV: The Chronicles of Narnia

Subjective tropes for the book series as a whole:

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Even though Edmund Pevensie, is a jerkass Anti-Hero that does a Heel-Face Turn in the first book, his personality is quite ambiguous and hard to define in the rest of the books and especially the movie versions. While he is on the good side in the second and the third parts, many factors like his Deadpan Snarker tendencies and his dark thoughts that seem to be brought to surface in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader several times still reveal traces of his Anti-Hero mode. He's the only character who has a page specially dedicated to his personality.
  • Broken Base: Should the books be read in chronological order or in publication order? Somewhat annoyingly, C. S. Lewis's Word of God on the subject seems to go both ways, though ultimately coming down on "It probably doesn't matter that much."
  • Common Knowledge: Despite the fact that it would be impossible for anyone who has read the books to miss the fact that Narnia is one country out of many in the other world, many people think that Narnia is the other world itself.
  • Designated Protagonist Syndrome: In his review of Prince Caspian, Roger Ebert's editor Jim Emerson asks why Narnia needs to bother with human rulers when they've got plenty of capable, charismatic, non-human leaders.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Out of the four siblings and main characters, it seems Edmund has fared quite a lot, compared to the others. This is probably due to the character's Anti-Hero status that he still kept even after his Heel-Face Turn and especially due to the actor's natural dark, bad boy look that he easily manages to pull off without even trying.
    • Eustace Scrubb and Puddleglum are this too.
    • Reepicheep as well. Enhanced by the Prince Caspian movie.
  • Epileptic Trees: One such theory recently turned out to be true! A researcher found a thematic link between the seven books and the seven major planets (see Lewis' other best-known work, the Space Trilogy).
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: The Last Battle. The children will live in Narnia forever, which is what they always wanted (Narnia being Heaven), but it's still jarring to realize that, in our world, they're all dead.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: The books contain the lesson that the real world is a harsh and violent place that sometimes takes a fair amount of violence to survive in. C. S. Lewis was even quoted once as saying that pretending otherwise would do a great disservice to children. Once again, an example of a very true and important Aesop, but one that many parents would rather their children didn't know.
  • Fair for Its Day: Lewis has taken a lot of flak for his Values Dissonance-laden statement in LWW that "battles are ugly when women fight." But other books do show that Susan and Lucy and Jill Pole are capable fighters and can hold their own in a battle. In other words, the statement is not that women shouldn't fight but that Men Are the Expendable Gender. Consider that the U.S. Military didn't allow women in combat zones until the 1990s, and not in direct combat at all until 2013.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Reasonably friendly ones with the other big fantasy series such as The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. A somewhat less friendly one with His Dark Materials, which serves as a microcosm of the Christianity vs. Atheism.
  • Filler: The Horse and His Boy at first glance seems to have no effect on the overall plot of the series. However, it is the telling of the Cryptic Background Reference epic poem in The Silver Chair; it thoroughly establishes the Calormenes, basically a throwaway reference in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, as the Evil Empire; and it contains a chilling Foreshadowing of how the Calormenes will figure in The Last Battle: "On this venture you are to regard every drop of Narnian blood as more precious than a gallon of your own. On this venture, I say. The gods will send us a happier hour...."
  • Incest Yay Shipping: Well, since the four main protagonists are siblings...it was to be expected.
  • Mis-blamed: Some assume Susan was left out of Heaven due to pursuing "nylons, lipstick, and invitations", i.e. maturing, rather than the fact that she isn't dead yet. On the other hand, it should be noted that Jill's and Polly's (and by implication, Lewis's own) opinion was that Susan's notions of "maturity" were, in fact, immature and shallow, as Susan thought "growing up" meant going to parties and gossiping. Aslan makes it clear in Prince Caspian that growing up and actually maturing (even leaving Narnia behind for living on Earth) is a good thing. Word of God in a letter from Lewis to a worried reader was that Susan was still alive in England and 'might very well get back to Narnia in her own time and her own way'. Susan was meant to show how one could turn one's back on Grace. But once a King or Queen in Narnia, always a King or Queen. Given Lewis's personal history, it's probably safe to say that, to his mind, those who turn away from Aslan get the chance to turn back.
  • Real Women Never Wear Dresses: Again, Lewis's critics accuse him of pulling this in his treatment of Susan compared to the other, largely more tomboyish female characters.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Yes, it's all very wonderful for Peter, Edmund, Lucy, etc. that they get to go to heaven with Aslan and live forever in paradise. But Susan (ignoring any discussions on why) has just had her entire family, including her parents, killed in a horrific accident. May also double as Fridge Horror.
    • A meta-example is that Lewis wrote The Magician's Nephew in order to do, in fiction, something he was tragically unable to do in real life: save his mother.
    • Caspian and Rilian's reunion, as the former lies on his deathbed.
  • Unfortunate Implications:
    • The fact that the Fantasy Counterpart Culture of the Middle East is on the side of evil (even worshiping the Satanic Archetype of the series) has been a point of controversy ever since the books were first published.
    • Lewis has also been criticized for his treatment of Susan Pevensie in The Last Battle. Susan is criticized by her siblings and friends for being (in C.S Lewis's words) a "silly, conceited young woman," who has forgotten Narnia. This manifests itself in her love of "nylons and lipstick and invitations." Some critics have contended that this description paints an unflattering picture of his attitudes to women. Indeed, Lewis's treatment of Susan in particular and women in general, like his treatment of the Calormenes, remains a point of contention to this day.
    Joanne Kathleen Rowling, on Susan's treatment: "There comes a point where Susan, who was the older girl, is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lipstick. She’s become irreligious basically because she found sex. I have a big problem with that."
    • The Dwarves in The Last Battle, depending on who you ask, are extremely offensive portrayals of either Jews or atheists.
    • They also repeatedly refer to the Calormenes as "darkies."
  • Values Dissonance: Lewis' attack on secular education in the form of Experiment House may also come across this way to some readers.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: The Mole is recruited when the Big Bad gives him a drug addiction, as magic gives starch and sugar with lemon and ground, boiled rose petals the addictive punch of crystal meth. Then, Santa Claus hands out weapons to the child heroes. Peter: Sword, Susan: Bow, Lucy: Dagger, Luftwaffe: Groups of medium-range bomber aircraft that can destroy cities.

Subjective tropes for the Walden Media film series as a whole:

  • Accidental Innuendo: Ending of the first film, anyone? When the four kids fall out of the wardrobe:
    Professor Kirke: What were you all doing in the wardrobe?
    Peter: You wouldn't believe us if we told you, sir.
    Professor Kirke: (weird grin) Try me.
  • Actor Shipping: All actors are shipped between them, but the most prominent ships are William Moseley/Anna Popplewell and Skandar Keynes/Georgie Henley (Willanna and Skangie), since the characters are related, even though that doesn't stop a lot of people shipping their characters.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Edmund, surprisingly enough. A lot of fans love the darker, initial version of Edmund and ignore his Heel-Face Turn from the first part, still considering him a dark and edgy character. He is quite often portrayed as a snarky, witty bastard, sometimes to downright violent and unstable. That's why most fans prefer him in Fanfiction and especially romance fanfiction, where he's practically shipped with every existing character and numerous Ocs and Mary-Sues.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Among all the protagonists that appear in the seven books, Edmund has come out as the favourite so far, due to his Deadpan Snarker tendencies and his several Crowning Moments of Awesome during Prince Caspian. The actor became Tall, Dark and Handsome, which combined with the snarkiness and the Heel-Face Turn from The Mole he was in the first film, it definitely makes him an Anti-Hero.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Even knowing he was going to die and later be resurrected, Aslan's death scene in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The sight of that great, proud cat, so cruelly bound, with his mane hacked off, knowing he is sacrificing himself for love... *cue hysterical sobbing* Simply how realistic and emotionally well done the death scene was. The parallel too.
      • The BBC version, however, is a completely different story. The buildup is sad, but the death sequence is ruined by The White Witch's acting (and the....shall we say, less than stellar animation).
    • And, precisely because you know what's coming, Peter and Susan's walk with Aslan near the end of Prince Caspian, and Peter's subsequent acknowledgement to the others that he would not be allowed to return to Narnia.
    • The final scene in Prince Caspian when the Pevensies leave. Throughout the movie you see the devastation the four of them have suffered at being ripped from Narnia and back into the normal world. And now they've finally come home again they have to leave. It's utterly heartbreaking and you realize that no matter what anyone says, or how old they grow, they're never going to recover from losing Narnia.
      • And when Lucy's glances back, Narnia's just...gone.
      • And the music doesn't help either. The lyrics are simultaneously perfect and horribly bitter.
    "I'll come back...When you call me...No need to say goodbye...No need to say goodbye...
    • On a similar vein the end of the The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Lucy and Edmund just look at each other and at the painting, suddenly realizing that's it. No more adventures, no more Aslan, no more magic: they're trapped in the normal world forever.
    • The end result of storming the castle in the Prince Caspian film is absolutely devastating - particularly the moment in which Peter looks back through the portcullis at the trapped Narnians, and at least one voice is clearly heard calling for him to save himself.
      • You see the Narnians at the gate, all screaming and trying hopelessly to get out, and you know that each and every one of them is dead. And the look of anguish on Peter's face as he realizes the same thing, and there's nothing he can do about it...
      • Props also to the brave Minotaur who held the gate open for as long as he could, only to be shot and crushed under its weight—a Heroic Sacrifice which saved many of the heroes, made even more poignant when one remembers that Minotaurs were "evil" in the first movie.
    • Lucy's goodbye to Aslan in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Made especially more poignant, when you remember that Lucy was the first of those siblings to find Narnia.
      • Eustace's goodbye to Reepicheep. Considering the development their relationship has had throughout the movie, that scene was heartwrenching.
  • Foe Yay: Between Edmund and the White Witch, especially in the The Voyage of the Dawn Treader film. He's haunted by visions of her on and off throughout the journey, taunting him about how he's trying to prove his worth. It gets especially explicit when she repeatedly offers to make him "her king", and that she can make him a man. Some of the things she says are borderline Mind Rape, stating that she'll always be alive in his mind despite the fact she's died arguably twice now (the second time by Edmund's own hand). Considered Squick by some for obvious reasons.
  • Magnificent Bitch: Jadis. She's outplayed by Aslan however!
  • Memetic Molester:
    • Mr. Tumnus. He lures a little girl into a small dark cave, lulls her to sleep with a flute, and when she wakes up, he's crying and saying he's been doing something bad.
    • The White Witch. Wrapping Edmund in her fur with her, being all close, asking Edmund to come to her castle, and to bring his siblings too. Jeez lady, and to only up the creepiness with Edmund, in the third movie, constantly whispering almost seductively, "Edmund, I can make you my King... and much more."
      • Though Edmund might've consented to a powerful, hot witch fawning over him. And this might have been partly why he joined her forces.
    • And even Edmund has some accidental, several creepy moments of this towards Lucy, especially in the first part, where he clearly shows how much he enjoys tormenting her and following her in the dark just to scare her, and in the third part, where he glares darkly at her and actually tries to lure her into becoming the most powerful person in the world along with him.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Edmund Pevensie is the biggest example. He's the black sheep of the family in the first book, The Unfavorite and the villainous sibling from the main four, as he betrays his siblings to the big evil and torments and bullies Lucy. He easily becomes most fans' favorite character by the end of the second book and movie.
  • What an Idiot: Granted, Maugrim didn't think that Peter had it in him to kill, but that doesn't mean that jumping directly onto Peter's sword was a smart move.

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