Queen Lucy the Valiant: A Character Comparison Between Film and Book

By Always Narnian

Besides Aslan, I would think that Lucy Pevensie is perhaps one of the most iconic characters from The Chronicles of Narnia series. She seems to play a major part in at least three of the seven books and the story is often told from her perspective. This brave and loyal character is brought to life on film by Georgie Henley, who stars in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Lucy is very different from her elder sister, Susan, in many ways. She is, as her title describes her, valiant. She is truthful and has a very strong faith in Aslan. Lucy is possibly one of the more relatable characters in Narnia, having a slight temper and being very insistent when she knows she is right. Sometimes, Lucy does not have enough empathy for others. Lucy is a steady character — growing throughout the series, yet always remaining the same Lucy. The filmmakers may be easily justified in the area of making Lucy seem willing to fight in nearly all three of the films. In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, she voices that she believes she could use the dagger that Father Christmas gave her if she must. In Prince Caspian, she courageously tries to fight the dwarf Nikabrik and in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader she retrieves Susan’s bow to fire at the Sea Serpent. This seems to fit the adventurous side of Lucy who, in The Horse and His Boy novel, joins the battle at Anvard as an archer.

The Lucy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe book is very similar to her counterpart in the film of the same name. In both the film and book her siblings do not believe her about her discovery of another world in the Wardrobe, yet she does not turn away from what she knows is true to avoid ridicule — she knows she found the land of Narnia and does not give up so easily. From this story on, Lucy seems to bond deeply with Aslan, possibly more than any of her siblings. When she sees Aslan at the gorge in Prince Caspian the novel she tells the others: “And he wanted us to go where he was—up there.” When Edmund questions how she knows this, she replies: “He—I—I just know…by his face.” Lucy similarly does this in the film, telling them Aslan’s wishes: “He wanted us to follow him.” When the matter comes up whether or not it was really Aslan Lucy saw, she says: “I think I know Aslan when I see him.” This scene is handled well in the film on Lucy’s part, for in the book it is said of her that she was one “who understood some of his [Aslan’s] moods.”

In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader adaptation there is a scene where Lucy, captured by invisible creatures, is made to read a spell from a certain Magician’s Book. This spell is to make these unknown creatures visible again. Lucy searches the Magician’s Book when she comes upon a rather tempting spell — a spell to make one beautiful. In the film, she begins to say the spell and then tears the page out of the book. This deed is followed by a lion’s roar and Aslan begins to call Lucy’s name. Later on in the film, Lucy retrieves the page she had hidden in her tunic and says the spell, causing her to have a frightening vision of what things would have been like if she had become her sister, Susan, of whose beauty Lucy was jealous. In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader book, Lucy does see this spell and nearly says it:

“But when she looked back at the opening words of the spell, there in the middle of the writing, where she felt quite sure there had been no picture before, she found the great face of a lion, of The Lion, Aslan himself, staring into hers…At any rate she knew the expression on his face quite well. He was growling and you could see most of his teeth. She became horribly afraid and turned over the page at once.”

After this incident, she says a different spell instead, but she never says the Beauty Spell or tears out the page. It is rather surprising that Lucy says it anyway in the film, despite her having heard Aslan’s warning — though one may indeed argue that in the book she did want to say the spell very much.

There is also a somewhat shocking conversation in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader film between Reepicheep and Lucy. When Reepicheep mentions Aslan’s country, Lucy asks: “Do you really believe there’s such a place?” to which Reepicheep replies: “Well, we have nothing, if not belief.” Lucy then continues: “Do you think you could actually sail there?” In the book, there is no doubt in Lucy’s mind as to the reality of Aslan’s country: “But do you think…Aslan’s country would be that sort of country—I mean, the sort you could ever sail to?” Where the film’s dialogue misses the mark is this: although a very humanly thing to doubt, it is odd that faith is something Lucy would struggle with. In fact, it was one of her strengths — Lucy was always very trusting of Aslan. It is unlikely that Lucy would question the existence of Aslan’s own country instead of simply wondering if there was a possibility of sailing there.

Overall, I feel like the film’s Lucy is mostly held true to the character of the book. A quote that sticks in my mind is one in the book when Lucy hears Aslan’s name for the first time: “…Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.” Joy seems greatly associated with Lucy’s encounters with Aslan in both film and book.

After these brief articles on the Pevensie family, who do you think was the most faithfully portrayed in the films? Who were you most delighted with and who do you feel was changed for the worse?

9 thoughts on “Queen Lucy the Valiant: A Character Comparison Between Film and Book

  1. hobbit_of_narniahobbit_of_narnia

    I think they all were very similar to their book-versions in LWW, Edmund and Lucy were somewhat similar in PC, and VODT was a hugely expensive fanfiction. 😛
    Overall, though, I think Edmund was done the best, probably because his personality isn’t as obvious in the books and therefore the movie-makers could elaborate on him more without actually taking anything away from the books.
    And Lucy in VODT just isn’t Lucy anymore. I felt like crying at some of her lines when I watched it first. 🙁

  2. Ajnos GamgeeAjnos Gamgee

    One of the biggest problems I had with Lucy in VDT was how few lines she actually had and how short they often were: “Edmund, the painting!”; “Look!” Poor Georgie didn’t have a lot to work with. I did, however, quite like the Lucy-turning-into-Susan scene. Although it was an addition, I felt it was in the spirit of the kind of thing Lewis would write. In particular, I felt like it was meant to be a replacement for the scene in the book where Lucy says the spell to find out what her friend thinks of her, and the lesson was similar: magic is dangerous and it’s much better to leave things as they are.

  3. Ariel.of.NarniaAriel.of.Narnia

    As hobbit said, Edmund is probably the most flexible of the Pevensies and therefore the one with whom we’re a bit more comfortable with the liberties taken with him. I’d say Edmund and Lucy were the most consistently portrayed (for the first two films, anyway, as there were a couple sketchy things in VDT 😛 ).

  4. always narnianalways narnian Post author

    Wow, great comments! Hmmm, that’s interesting what you all have to say about Edmund. He is one of my favorite characters, and he is quieter. But in the books he was always very consistent and deep to me. It seems that lots of people think that the VODT film really missed the mark. I agree.

    Ajnos, that is true about Lucy’s lines; I never noticed it!

  5. Quill JillQuill Jill

    I agree that there are a lot of times in VDT when Lucy and Edmund are very much out of character. What Lucy says during that conversation with Reepicheep- “Do you really believe there’s such a a place?” is perhaps the line that dismays me most. It’s so un-Lucy. And there are a lot of things that make me squint in VDT.
    I think Edmund was done best. His true personality was really reflected in the films.
    And yes, all four are quite similar in LWW, as for PC Peter was obviously the one most changed…but I do like how the director gave more depth and insight into the characters and perhaps more reality is shown with their emotions. Overall, the first two films were the most faithful to the characters.

  6. hobbit_of_narniahobbit_of_narnia

    My brothers and I also noticed how many times Queen Lucy the Valiant screams for Edmund in VODT. We counted over a dozen times in just the first half hour of the movie.

    The main thing that I felt is out of chracter for Edmund in VODT is that he’s the one who suggests it’s time to go home at the end.

  7. always narnianalways narnian Post author

    Wow, I’m surprised to see Edmund has been the vote for most faithfully adapted thus far. I held with Lucy. It is interesting to hear everyone elses’ opinions.

    Jill— I agree with the dismaying line! It seemed so UN-like Lucy.

    Hobbit— Such a good point. I always thought Edmund talking for Aslan at the end of the film was very odd. I hadn’t thought of including that in my Edmund article. Excellent observation!

  8. Tenethia BrandybuckTenethia

    I think it’s a tie for me — between Lucy and Edmund. Excluding the Voyage of the Dawn Treader entirely, because it totally was fanfiction and neither of them were really Lucy or Edmund. 😛

  9. always narnianalways narnian Post author

    Hmmm, Yeah. I suppose why I chose Lucy is because I still feel Edmund’s attitude is more out of character in VODT. I can see how Lucy was changed, too. However, I also feel that Lucy was most consistent with the character they created in all 3 films, if that makes sense. Edmund was very different between Prince Caspian the film and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader film.

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