Thread: What if Lewis wrote LOTR and Tolkien wrote Narnia?
Ok folks...I'm not very good at this, and this required a little bit of improvisation on my part. Below I've transcribed a scene from LotR, specifically the infamous "Balrog Scene" from the chapter "The Bridge of Kazad-dum", one of the most tense scenes in the series. First is the portion written by Tolkien himself. Following that will be the scene written, as I would imagine, CS Lewis would have done if he was writing it with a Chronicles of Narnia mindset.
Please, don't stone me!
The Bridge of Kazad-dum
The dark figure streaming with fire raced towards them. The orcs yelled and poured over the stone gangways. Then Boromir raised his horn and blew. Loud the challenge rang and bellowed, like the shout of many throats under the cavernous roof. For a moment the orcs quailed and the fiery shadow halted. Then the echoes died as suddenly as a flame blown out by a dark wind, and the enemy advanced again.
"Over the bridge!" cried Gandalf, recalling his strength. "Fly! This is a foe beyond any of you. I must hold the narrow way. Fly!" Aragorn and Boromir did not heed the command, but still held their ground, side by side at the far end of the bridge. The others halted just within the doorway at the hall's end, and turned, unable to leave their leader to face the enemy alone.
The Balrog reached the bridge. Gandalf stood in the middle of the span, leaning on the staff in his left hand, but in his other hand Glamdring gleamed, cold and white. His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings. It raised the whip, and the thongs whined and cracked. Fire came from its nostrils. But Gandalf stood firm.
"You cannot pass," he said. The orcs stood still, and a dead silence fell. "I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udun. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass."
CS Lewis wrote:
The same scene in a style Lewis may have written it in:
A swarm of orcs flew towards the Fellowship, of such kinds and descriptions that were I to describe even a few your parents would not let you read this book. Then, suddenly, one could see a large shadow, coming up through the orcs. And if you looked closely enough you could even see that the orcs themselves were a little frightened. Boromir blew his horn loud and true until the orcs stopped in their place and the Fellowship saw that even the large shadow hesitated.
"All of you must get over the bridge! Quickly, now", commanded Gandalf, lifting himself a little higher. "You must run, for only I can fight an enemy of this power!" Aragorn and Boromir didn't respond quite at first, still stubbornly standing next to Gandalf. The small Hobbits gathered in the doorway at the other end of the hallway to see what would happen next and what Gandalf would do.
The Balrog put one foot on the bridge while Gandalf stood in the centre, his staff helping him to keep his balance. In his hand the magic sword Glamdring glowed brightly. Then suddenly the Balrog stopped. All of the sudden the shadow unfolded even larger. Have you ever seen how an umbrella pops open on a rainy day? It was like this now, and the Balrog's shadow moved out from its sides and fell upon the walls. And there it was, larger than anything any of them had ever seen before. In it's hand it held a fiery whip, which it swung around menacingly while it looked at Gandalf.
"I will not let you pass!", Gandalf shouted. The orcs had stopped moving, watching what their massive leader's next move would be. Gandalf spoke again. "I will not let you pass! I am the holder of the knowledge of the Secret Fire, wielder of the magical fire of Anor. Your weapons cannot hurt me, monster of Udun. Go back from where you came, but you will not pass me here!"
[b:3jbpssx8]Gandalfs Beard's Post[/b:3jbpssx8]
Allrighty then Shadowlander, I take your Lewisized Tolkien and in return have Tolkienized Lewis:
From The Horse and His Boy
"But Corin will be the King then, Father," said Cor.
"Nay, lad," said King Lune, "thou art my heir. The crown comes to thee."
"But I don't want it," said Cor. "I'd far rather---"
"'Tis no question what thou wantest, Cor, nor I either. Tis in course of law."
"But if we're twins we must be the same age."
"Nay," said the King with a laugh,"One must come first. Art Corin's elder by full twenty minutes. And his better too, let's hope, though that is no great mastery." And he looked at Corin with a twinkle in his eyes.
"But, Father, couldn't you make whichever you like to be the next King?"
"No. The King's under the law, for it's the law makes him King. Hast no more power to start away from thy crown than a sentry from his post."
"Oh dear," said Cor. "I don't want to at all. And Corin--I'm most dreadfully sorry. I never dreamed my turning up was going to chisel you out of your kingdom."
"Hurrah! Hurrah!" said Corin. "I shan't have to be King. I shan't have to be King. I'll always be a prince. It's princes have all the fun."
"But, shall not Corin be High Lord and King, Father?" asked Cor.
"Nay, my son," responded King Lune, " You are my heir, and the throne of Anvard and all the lands of Archen shall be your noble obligation."
"But I do not desire it, my Liege and Father. I would prefer--"
"'Tis no question of your desire, my son, nor of my own. It is a matter of law."
"Surely, Sire, we are twins. Do we not share the same number of years?"
"Nay," laughed the High Lord of Archenland, "One must be first-born. You are the elder son by twenty minutes. And the most worthy by all reckoning, though that is no great task." And King Lune cast his eyes upon Corin. The lines of the King's years softened and his eyes gleamed with mirth.
"Can nothing be done whatsoever? Can you not, as High King, choose your heir?"
"No. The heir is not chosen by whim, but by law. A King has no power, unless bestowed by law. And no right to refuse the duty of his station."
"If the law requires it, then, my Liege, I shall fulfill my birth-right." The new High Prince turned to his brother, his face anguished and stricken.
"Brother...Corin...I beg your forgiveness. In all my dreams, never did I believe I would upset your rightful position as heir to the throne of Anvard and the Lands of Archen."
An unexpected smile crossed Corin's lips.
"Do not fear my brother. I had no desire for the crown nor for the kingdom itself. I chafed under the burden that power thrust upon me. For a Prince Eternal now shall I be, with all the benefits of royal lineage and little of it's obligations."
I hope that wasn't too awful. I enjoyed the challenge. Okay, have at it.
Peace and Long Life
A friend of mine and I were thinking of "Tolkienizing Narnia." How to go about it? Well, the most obvious difference between the two (as it appeared to us at the time) was the length. Tolkien was a lot more articulate and wordy. He also had to have a background for everything. So, we started filling in chinks of the Narnian background. This mainly consisted of the story of the men of Telmar. But this branched into other things. Where did the Calormen people come from? What about the giants of the North? How did the islands get populated? How did the famine (the one that drove the Telmarines into Narnia) get started? Was it something other than nature? How does the Narnian universe work on a map? (We spent hours on that one. The answer: It just doesn't .)
This is just a sampling of the "holes" that Lewis left open. This is one of the fundamental differences between Tolkien and Lewis. With Tolkien, there is an explanation for everything. You can trace things from their beginning to their end. There aren't as many "holes" that are left to the reader. With Lewis, he focused on the story, and didn't bother with constructing an entire complete universe.
As I was out walking today I thought about having Tolkien rewrite the beginning of Voyage of the Dawn Treader--in the manner of The Hobbit.
"There was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it."
Too similar to the sound of "In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit."
Give me time; I'll do it. I even thought of incorporating the part about the special underwear--"and THAT means comfort."
Too silly though. Not really exactly in the spirit of what you did, but fun to try anyway. I'm smiling and thinking about it, and I'm sure others are too. Give things time to ferment a bit...
I have long been fascinated by the other cultures on the Narnian continent. Telmar was originally inhabited by Spanish or Portuguese Pirates and their Pacific Island wives (there are at least 4 big clues Lewis gives us). The even more fascinating culture is that of the Calormenes. They are polytheistic and the indicated culture seems to be Persian/Indian in origin (some big clues for that too), though there is no indication as to how they arrived in the Narnian world.
Hi Otto's World, I didn't see you there . Thanks for the kudo's. I think I'll find a few other choice Lewis passages and translate them into Tolkien too. I particularly liked the passage I chose because the "Hurrah, Hurrah," and the "chisel" lines are so incongruent. Sort of like Anakin hollering "Yippee" as he blows up a ship in Star Wars: Episode One.
Hilarious stuff guys.
As to CS and his imagined world - I do think folk overplay the Christianity thing. Narnia seems such a pagan world. And, of course, there were other dying and resurrecting Man/Gods in the ancient world - as you all know. I've thought for a long time that Christianity itself is fairly pagan anyway. This is not a criticism, for I find Christianity to be a life enriching myth (especially as I'm someone who is not at all keen about my own mortality!)
Anyway, excellent job of translating CS into T and T into CS, GB.
And again we are on exactly the same page re: Paganism and Christianity. I posted a lot of stuff about that on the Fairy Story thread, and the Feminism thread, and the Providence in LotR thread. And also in dribs and drabs around the board. It is probably my Life's Thesis, and the basis for the book I am attempting to write.
I hope to get back to Narnia and find a few more passages that could use a little "Tolkienizing". And I may have a stab at Lewisizing a Tolkien passage myself at some point.
But I am also hoping that other aspiring writers may take up the challenge (hint, hint ).
As to your hint-hinting: I probably won't have a crack at doing the T to CS thing, just sit back and enjoy others doing it (call me bashful).
"Not all who write, write golden,
Some are just odd-Oh don't I know!
It's in two left hands this pen is beholden,
I therefore write very bad prose!"
And only very bad poetry, too.
I also recently ran some of my key points past Dr Michael Ward, Oxford Don, Anglican Minister and author of Planet Narnia. Who, despite his own (liberal) Anglican views, concurred with them to a fair degree.
I also have a number of posts all over this forum (and Narniaweb 1.0), that serve as notes from many years of reading various books on Mythology, and Religion. A lot of the work is really compiling my notes and original source material and reviewing it so as to correctly attribute the sources. Plus, I still have a number of Lewis books to read or reread. A bio of Blake to re-read...
Gaaah....I could go on for a while listing the material I still have to track down. But I think the evidence for my thesis is abundant.
In any case, I'll get back to you soon. I'm not sure if I have room in a PM to send you some of my key material--so I might have to send you an email if you want to exchange emails.