Ways the Movies Improved upon the Books

Disclaimer! This article contains spoilers for both the Narnia books and films

Most people have some complaints about the various Narnia films that have come out over the years. More often than not, their problem with the films is not casting, effects, or technicalities, but rather with the way the movies deviate from the books. However, a handful (a very small handful, mind you) of these deviations might be considered as fit to be included in the Chronicles of Narnia books, if not improvements on them. Examples of some of these scenes are Aslan’s Resurrection (Animated LWW), The “Sorcery and Sudden Vengeance” scene (Walden PC), Edmund’s torch use (Walden PC/VDT), certain scenes with Reepicheep (Walden PC/VDT) and the Painting (Walden VDT).

One aspect of the Animated The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe that would have worked well in the book was the white flowers that grew up under Aslan’s feet after his resurrection. Lewis was a reader of mythology and often took inspiration from the stories. In Welsh mythology, there is a tale told of a woman who had white clovers sprout where she walked. [1] Because of Lewis’s interests in mythology, this scene at the Stone Table seems like something Lewis would have written. In fact, this movie addition has been known to fool people into believing that was actually in the books.

In “Sorcery and Sudden Vengeance”, a chapter in Prince Caspian, Nikabrik and his evil friends attempt to bring back the White Witch. The Walden Prince Caspian film takes that just a little bit further and actually has the magic almost completed before the Pevensies come in and save the day. That extension would not have worked in the book because Edmund, Peter, and Trumpkin were standing around the corner and would not have let sorcery go that far. However, because we did not know where Peter and Edmund were in the film, it worked well enough that the witch was nearly brought back to life. (But seriously, Caspian, why’d you stand in the circle? You’re an idiot.) If, in the book, we hadn’t seen Edmund and Peter and Trumpkin listening from the corner, and just knew they were on their way, the movie scene could indeed have worked well in the book.

Another well-done aspect from the movies that could have (in parts) worked in the books was the use of Edmund’s torch in Prince Caspian (Walden) and again in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Walden). While I do not condone the night raid scene of PC, it did make sense that in other situations Edmund could have used his torch for signalling troops, and also for a weapon (Electric torches! Who knew, right?!). In VDT, I thought it was a nice touch that among the items we associate with the royals (Lucy’s cordial, Peter’s sword, and Susan’s bow and horn) was Edmund’s torch. Also, (although the batteries would not have still worked in our world, in Narnia, where the air seems to have a different affect on things, it might have still worked) it came in handy during the exploration of the different islands.

Then there’s Reepicheep. The way Lucy healed Reepicheep in Walden’s Prince Caspian worked more efficiently than the way she healed him in the book. In the book, she has to put a single drop of cordial on all of his wounds, whereas in the film, she puts a single drop in his mouth, which is more efficient. Another thing about Reepicheep that might have been nice in the books was his protectiveness of his tail in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Walden.) Aslan did give him that tail, and I could see that Reepicheep would be against his tail being touched.

Finally, in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Walden), one thing that would have improved upon the book was how the movie took the children to Narnia. I have personally always been unsatisfied with the scene in the books, as I wasn’t exactly sure how the children got onto the painting, and whether they shrank to fit, or the picture grew. It left a bit to be desired for me. In contrast, I appreciated the way they had water flood the room and had the children swim upwards out of the room into Narnia. This scene was another that would’ve worked very well in the books.

Do you have a movie scene that you think would have worked in the Chronicles of Narnia books? Comment down below!

[1] Wild Flower Europe: “British & Irish Myths”. (see Clover)

16 thoughts on “Ways the Movies Improved upon the Books

  1. HermitoftheNorthernMarch

    I agree that all those changes are good, Tenethia, except the Sorcery and Sudden Vengeance change in Prince Caspian since I don’t want Jadis to come back after LWW.

    Other changes I really like:
    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
    When Mrs. Pevensie says goodbye to the children, and Peter sees a boy not much older than he is going off to war.
    Tumnus saying: “You’ve made me feel warmer than I have for one hundred years.”
    Gryphons, they aren’t mentioned in the books, but they are very neat.
    Jadis turning the butterfly to stone – it shows how cruel she is.
    Edmund being actually put in the dungeon and seeing Mr. Tumnus in there.

    Prince Caspian
    Trumpkin getting to stand up to Miraz!
    The scene with Edmund challenging Miraz to a duel.
    Prunaprismia actually turns out to be pretty brave: she’s willing to go to another world she knows nothing about.

    The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
    The scene where they are tossing an orange around the deck of the Dawn Treader.
    Coriakin’s flying map.

    1. Tenethia BrandybuckTenethia Post author

      Oh oh oh, I loved that line of Tumnus’s too, Hermit! And yes! Gryphons were pretty awesome. ;D

      The scene where Edmund challenged Miraz to a duel is my favorite, probably of all three Walden films. It was so… awesome XD “So you’re bravely refusing to fight a soldier half your age” – priceless!

  2. SwanwhiteSwanwhite

    I will admit I almost spluttered a little at the title of this… but found the contents more to my liking. I would title this something along the lines of “film additions or alterations that were not necessarily terrible.”
    Okay so I am a bit of a purist. I kind of consider the books as the defining standard of all that is good so considering a change as an improvement sounds like an oxymoron to me. The additions however I can see as decent fanfiction.

    1. Tenethia BrandybuckTenethia Post author

      *grins at Swan* But you only spluttered, and so I’m happy 😉 I was kind of concerned when I volunteered to write this article that I’d get put on the guillotine 😛

      *nods understandingly* This explains how you were when we watched VDT with Lil 😀

  3. hobbit_of_narniahobbit_of_narnia

    Maybe I’m just weird, but I don’t have a lot to complain about with the movies. I always considered VODT as a very expensive fanfic, so I *ahem* won’t go into that one.

    I’d read LWW (for the first time) years before I watched the movie (for the first time). I remember that the main things that I went away from saying “wow…wow…wow” were Tumnus’ talking back to the White Witch and the duel between the Witch and Peter at the end (I’m glad she got swords instead of the knife).
    In PC, I liked Edmund’s chance to “kill” the Witch, and (yeah, I know, everyone’s going to yell at me) I actually liked the night raid. Since they had the Pevensies come in sooner in the movie than they did in the book, they would have been in on the battles that didn’t go so well that were mentioned in the book. (But Peter and Caspian didn’t have to fight about it afterwards! 🙁 )

    1. Tenethia BrandybuckTenethia Post author

      You consider VoDT very expensive fanfiction?! Hey, me too!!
      That’s a thought about the night raid. Perhaps if Peter had the right reasons for attacking and stuff… and yes, minus the fight afterwards 🙂

  4. KristiKristi

    I also liked the orange scene. I think the development of a relationship between Reep and Eustace before Eustace turns into a dragon was handled very artfully. I do kinda miss Reep getting actually swung by his tail though.

  5. albero1

    Ooh, nice article. I have no problems with any of the scenes in the movies, seeing as how I watched the movies /years/ before I read the books (it’s been just about a year since I’ve read the books, and several years since I first watched the movies.) Let’s see…

    I think the Sorcery and Sudden Vengeance scene in the movie is a little overly creepy, but it’s seriously cool how Ed smashes the White Witch. 🙂

    I liked the orange scene as well, especially when Eustace thought that Reep fell off of the side of the ship. 😛 I thought it was interesting how they revealed that Gail was hiding. I think that it must have been kind of nice for Lucy to have another girl on board the ship with her. 😀

  6. Ajnos GamgeeAjnos Gamgee

    This isn’t an improvement as such, but I remember there being a discussion on here as to whether they should leave out any of the islands in VDT because there were so many. As a result, I thought is was clever of them to combine Deathwater and Dragon islands for filming purposes. With regards to the Night Raid, I have mixed feelings and I think there were people who were for and against it after it came out. I don’t like the build-up to it, but I liked some of what happened during it (including the cat scene). Also, although it isn’t cannon, it does have a cannon origin: in the book Reep and the mice want to storm Miraz’ castle at once 😛 .

  7. booklover4

    I enjoyed the way the played the White which in the movie, She was a bit more Proud And Sinister then I imagined her whilst reading the book. I liked the aspect of Edmunds torch from PC to VDT, other then that I think Books triumph exept a few small details.

  8. always narnianalways narnian

    This title can be scary at first, right? But Tenny handled it excellently! 😉

    I am one who complained about the White Witch actually coming in the film at Sorcery and Sudden Vengeance. In the book, Caspian never would have allowed it to go that far. He was much more on top of things than in the movie. He was a little clueless in the movie.

    I don’t think it possible for someone to knock out armoured men with a flashlight, but….Yeah, that’s a minor complaint.

    I think the idea of the white flowers is pretty neat.

    Good job, Tenny! Sorry if I’m a real marshwiggle!

    1. Tenethia BrandybuckTenethia Post author

      Oh you aren’t a Marshwiggle at all, Ann! And you’re probably right about the flashlight 😛 I’ll try it sometime and let you know

  9. knightofnarniaknightofnarnia

    My favorite moment the films added is from PC when Miraz says, “Prince Edmund.” And Edmund answers, “King Edmund.”

  10. Ajnos GamgeeAjnos Gamgee

    Ooh. I’d forgotten about that. How do people feel about Jill being mentioned at the end of VDT? I’m not entirely sure. I did quite like what Aslan says to Eustace about “Narnia may still have need of you.” It was significant in the film (though not necessary in the book) because of the uncertainty at the time over whether there’d be another film and what it would be. 😛

Comments are closed.