C.S.

LEWIS & THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA BBC REWRITING AND ADAPTATIONS RADIO AND TV
C. S. LEWIS – THE MAGICIAN’S NEPHEW It is the beginning of it all and yet it was written long after the first published book. C.S. Lewis felt he had to give to his successive and successful stories that had already been published for some of them a fundament and it is this novel. Two children manage to go on the other side of reality by using, but rather as victims, the tricks of an old selfish and both irresponsible and incoherent uncle who believes himself a magician. The rings he has manufactured lead them to the antechamber of many different worlds. And since curiosity kills the cat, but not children, they jump from that antechamber into a dying if not already dead world, actually killed by its Empress. But this Empress is a witch and she kidnaps the kids into taking her to their own world. When she arrives she has lost her magic but not her size and strength, and she wants to conquer without stooping. I guess stooping must have sounded too stupid to her. Within hours she has created havoc and she has to be brought back to her world. Unluckily again the uncle, a cabby, a horse and the two kids are thrown back into the vestibule to the many worlds along with her. But they land in a new world that is just being created by Aslan, the lion, Narnia. The witch is chased away and she gets refuge in the wild west while everyone is busy with the new world that is appearing. The boy, Digory, is entrusted with the mission of collecting a special apple in the West that will protect Narnia once it is planted. They find the witch there and have to fight against her because she tries to lure Digory into taking her back to his own world for her to conquer it. But temptation is long lived and peters out. Then the apple is brought back, it is planted, the tree will protect Narnia, Digory can go home with an apple for his sick mother and life goes back to normal, except that the mother is now saved from cancer, the father comes back from India with a rich inheritance. All is well that ends well. Yet the novel lacks the freewheeling atmosphere of the others because it is a sort of order: it has to bring together in the most logical way the adventures of later books that have already been written. So it is at times slightly artificial. Yet the book is essential for the meaning of Narnia. Aslan, the lion, crowns as King and Queen the Cabby, Frank, and his wife, Helen, brought to him by super-magic. This new world has a creator, Aslan, and a king and a queen, hence is a kingdom with the problem that the king and queen are entrusted with managing the kingdom properly, generation after generation, and that goes against the grain of democracy. This is particularly true when Aslan gives a warning to the race of the Children of Adam and Even the human race, that they have to learn how to manage their world properly otherwise it will die out like the world of the witch because one day a bad and evil person will come and conquer and destroy it. That warning goes along with the command to bury away the rings of the Uncle. C.S. Lewis even manages to invent a source for the future wardrobe connected to Narnia to explain its magic power: it was made with the wood of the tree that grew out of the seeds of the core of the apple fed to Digory’s mother to heal her, a magic tree though limited in its magic but powerful nevertheless as a door to Narnia. That sounds good to be standing on two strong feet, but the story is a little bit artificial, even if the language is so fluent and flowing that we just let ourselves be carried by the flow, or should I say the flux. Dr Jacques COULARDEAU

C. S. LEWIS – THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE The wardrobe made from the wood of the Narnian apple tree planted in a garden on earth and brought down in its old age by some storm is going to be the door to Narnia in the old and magnificent

Aslan negotiates and takes Edmund’s place. Lucy first. The origin of Queen Jadis is Adam and his “other” wife Lilith.S. The sacrificial altar is found in many cultures. like the Celtic messenger from the other world or the Arthurian quest-announcing messenger. That rule seems to have been broken though since three passages took place. the Christian for one example. and its number is 666. But though once a king of Narnia always a king of Narnia. We also have to think of the French meaning of Jadis which is “once upon a time”. Susan. a Jinn. who has taken over the country. Edmund second. and Mrs. but she is a female witch whereas the Beast of the Apocalypse is a male monster devouring pregnant women. He’s sacrificed but an older tradition resurrects him and he recovers his power because he himself had done no mischief. to remain within the Eurasian geographical zone. and even the Jewish tradition. the traitor Queen Jadis used to get the information she needed. That leads to the confrontation of Aslan and his human and Narnian supporters on one hand. and C. We have to think of the Beast when dealing with Jadis. Then the battle is a victory because Edmund gets his vengeance and destroys the Queen’s magic wand. and Queen Jadis and her own supporters on the other hand. We must also think that the four kids around the Lion are reminiscent of the four animals or living creatures around the altar. and what’s more they all ended up in the same world in the same time period. This motif of the savior being a resurrected sacrificed person is quasi universal in many religious traditions. Beaver and it is then that Edmund escapes and goes back to Queen Jadis.mansion or maybe castle where four kids. One day. though not only – elements in the legend. He will have there the strongest and most interesting surprise in his life. a lion. Four is like order re-established beyond disorder when the traitor or stray sheep comes back to the fold. Edmund and Lucy. and the four children third. Lewis regenerates the motif by making the traitor the hero who will save the day by destroying the magic of the witch. Lewis uses many of them. the past in fairy tales. They are all taken into their homes by Mr. Dr Jacques COULARDEAU . and then later taking some giant blood in her stock. Peter. The resurrected savior is well known in many mythologies and religions. The future is in the hands of Aslan and the kids. they can’t go back the same way. leads them back to the lamp post and they come back to this side of the wardrobe door. Her brothers and sister make fun of her. Aslan has to be sacrificed to be resurrected to save Narnia. The real stake is Edmund. The Queen demands from Aslan that the old tradition of the execution of the traitor be implemented. have taken refuge away from the bombing of London by the Germans in 1940. The most interesting aspect of this book is the secularizing of religious – deeply Christian. The four kids are crowned kings and queens of Narnia till one day a White Stagn.S. She charms him with Turkish Delight and makes him promise to come back with his brother and sisters. Finally the Queen/Witch with her secret police is of course a political discourse to children and it exposes tyrannical means and situations as unacceptable because inhumane. A common vision from the Gospels as much as from Saint John’s Apocalypse. C. The charm of the book is of course the transmuting of that more or less religious magic into a secular marvelous sorcery that can also be magical. a human-faced animal and an eagle. She is then powerless. Tumnus has been captured and his house ransacked due to the blabbering Edmund had done with the witch. They all discover that Mr. when the children are trying to fly away and hide from a group of visiting tourists in the mansion. hence of the four Evangelists in Saint John’s Apocalypse. a bull. among others the Celtic culture. Lucy first goes through the door and spends a few hours there having tea with the faun Tumnus. they hide in the wardrobe and find themselves in Narnia. The traitor is more Christian and yet there are traitors in Sumerian and Mesopotamian traditions. Edmund will be second and he meets the Witch. Queen Jadis. That number four is crucial in the writing and style as opposed to three that seems to represent disorder. or the Roman or Greek cultures. white or black. in a way.

C. On the following morning they save a dwarf to be drowned in the river by two soldiers who run away after a first and only arrow reached them. particularly young readers of course. That Grand Vizier is particularly humiliated by the Tisroc’s son. uttering all kinds of maxims. Slaves are the greater part of the population in Calormen and the country is governed by an absolute ruler. Rabadash. Rabadash is defeated thanks to the alarm raised by the two escapees. a war. His main minister is a Grand Vizier who is nothing but a clown and a humbler sufferer. LEWIS – PRINCE CASPIAN This fourth novel starts with the abduction into Narnia by the magic horn Susan had received in the second novel and she had left behind. The story is packed with gentle and nice events and military and picaresque rebounding details with an invasion. I will only regret the “Arab” allusion on the side of the slave state with the Grand Vizier for instance. On their way they have to cross the capital city of Calormen and that leads them into some adventure in which the girl. But with some explanation we can easily bring a younger audience to understanding we are dealing with a detail that has to be overlooked due to the time when the story was written. of the four kids from the railway station while waiting for the train to take them back to their boarding schools after summer recess. gets the opportunity to eavesdrop a conversion between the Tisroc. The main interest of the story is the comparison and confrontation of the slave kingdom or Calormen to the peaceful and humane kingdoms of Narnia and Archenland. Dr Jacques COULARDEAU C. and other magic presents. except the horn that has been lost. An episode during the reigns of the four children who came to Narnia through the wardrobe’s door and became Kings and Queens for a life time that lasted hardly a second in earth time. the Tisroc. The story is pleasant and light and the contrast between a slave state and a democratic kingdom is quite clearly stated and explained for the better education of the readers. misplaced if you prefer. his son Rabadash and the Grand Vizier in which Rabadash explains his plan to invade. This is a rather dated detail today that has to be handled with care. then humiliated into becoming a donkey in the paws of Aslan and then publicly revealed as such when he turns back to his human form in some ceremony in Calormen. that is to say the 1950s when the myth – but is it a myth? – of Lawrence of Arabia was going o n full swing. Archenland and Narnia in order to capture Queen Susan with which he is deeply in love. the King of Archenland. They find themselves in their old Cair Paravel palace and the old treasure chamber where they recover their swords. bows and arrows. S. with two hundred horsemen. . LEWIS – THE HORSE AND HIS BOY This is the third story in the chronology of the saga (not its publishing). a victory and many other adventures. They escape together after some chance meeting along with two talking horses from Narnia that had been abducted in their time to become slave horses. proverbs and apophthegms to make a point that will always get him reviled and rebutted. He will he forced by Aslan’s magic to be peaceful. Aravis. It is very difficult to write literature for a younger audience and stories that are not trapped by what is happening in the real surrounding world and hence such literature most of the time ages slightly if not a lot at times. S. who is also shrewd and cruel. The escaping boy is revealed to be the older twin brother of Corin. lost if you prefer. the son of King Lune. The story is that of the escape of an abducted Narnian boy and of a local lord’s daughter who does not want to marry the old Grand Vizier.

We discover that they were able to rule over Narnia because they were humans. in fact the re-instated old rule. and finally was going to be executed because his usurping uncle had just had a son of his own. the youngest child. After all these novels were written during the Cold War and C. The battle turns to Caspian’s advantage when trees appear and walk and frighten the Telmarines. took over. But could the same situation have produced a de-westernized story that could have accepted that non-humans could perfectly well govern themselves in a democratic and humanistic way? We will of course never know. The legitimate king Caspian 9 was assassinated by his brother and the lawful heir marginalized. These primitive populations of dwarfs and other non human humanoids plus all kinds of magical beings. and a werewolf. Then another human race. humans. The do it only after the four children do it first. And finally here some humans who got stranded in Narnia had taken over and had to be pushed back to their island by the four kids. though the children will find themselves back on their railway station platform and the Telmarines in their island. a genre for adults. this one or the other world or worlds? Or does it mean that the only humans can rule this Narnia world respectfully. And the aim is to nicely encourage positive values in these readers. With the complicity of Professor Cornelius he escapes just in time and goes back to the old Narnians who had disappeared when the Telmarines had arrived. because she is the only one to believe in him. The untrained and undisciplined old Narnians under the command of Prince Caspian are routed in no time and have to escape and find refuge in Aslan’s How. then the White Witch. During these battles Caspian had blown the magic horn that abducted the four kids. and Susan will be last and reluctant. the action. They suggest to propose a single combat to solve the strife and that proposal comes from Peter who is the High King of Narnia. Peter quite later. Aslan builds a door in the air with three sticks and suggests that the Telmarines go through back to their South Sea island. He stuck to fairy tales after all. even if the only form of government can be a monarchy? Or. and many other things. Dr Jacques COULARDEAU . The first kings were four children. but the kings and queens are still the four kids. kill the usurper and lead the Telmarine army into combat. Does it mean only human beings can rule the world. They come just in time at Aslan’s How when a bitter dwarf was going to call the White Witch back with the help of a Hag or bad witch. and Narnia itself. but the usurper is on his tracks and war breaks out. a sort of monument built over the old Stone Table where Aslan had been executed by the White Witch to resurrect afterwards. In spite of all logic the usurper accepts the challenge and is on the verge of losing when two of his courtiers cry treachery.The dwarf Trumpkin tells them the situation. The army is made prisoner and Aslan reinstates Prince Caspian on the throne as King Caspian X. This novel makes it clear that Narnia can only be ruled by a son of Adam or a daughter of Eve. at least for the general ecology of nature and life.S. since Peter and Susan are excluded for the next episode because they are too old. does it mean only human children can rule Narnia? That’s the aspect of the saga that is most surprising and it can only be explained by the fact that this saga is written for children and the four children are the go-between for the readers to be able to identify with the heroes. Edmund will be next. marooned pirates in some South Sea island where they had found a door to Narnia. He is able to rebuild some kind of an army. and yet all humans are not necessarily good for that. These come to a ford where there should be a bridge but that bridge has been demolished during the battle by Aslan and the girls with the help of some giant ivy. the Calormenes try to take over. certainly not sever them from what definitely looks like western established ideas. or to go to a land of their own. because she is too young. This simple fact has to be understood and it is not simple. Lewis refused science fiction. Narnia has been conquered by the Telmarines from th Telmar. respectful of differences and of democracy. beasts that speak and trees that walk have to be colonized by people connected to Adam. one fourth daughter of Adam. and yet she is the only one to see Aslan who has come back. But they get lost on the way because they don’t listen to Lucy. The Telmarines are proposed either to stay and accept the new rule. With the help of the dwarf they try to join forces with Caspian.

including in their adult world though Aslan does not tell his name in this adult world of ours. This sense of aging based on the distantiation the author introduces now and then and regularly in the text with references to our world with “you” and “we” and “I” and even things like the lions of Trafalgar Square. But it may also be a way to perform something good or that leads to a good ending. LEWIS – THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER It may start like the film – or rather the two films – made after this book.S. We could also insist on the importance of magic in these adventures. Edmund and Lucy. discover and appreciate all by yourselves. C. The three of them are swallowed into a maritime picture in some bedroom and they find themselves in the end aboard Caspian’s ship on his self-assigned mission: looking for the seven Lords who went North towards the end of the world. always based on the temptation for evil and pro and con arguments for good. but here the model is extremely black and C. Lewis makes it all the more full of light. They go to the USA with their parents for the summer during which the father has a lecturing tour to perform in universities. in a way or another. And we can wonder why the two films change the ending of this story. And he refuses to commit himself about Eustace. just the same as if the evil choice were made there would be a punishment. But there is another model.S. Simple. but the films part from the book when Eustace becomes a dragon. .S.S. Lewis’ novels. First the two elder Pevensie brother and sister. But for the readers it is a farewell. though some darkness can prevail here and there. and they have to bear their local cousin.C.S. at least for the older readers who are intended to join the adult world like the fours original children of the saga. It is the story of a long sea voyage looking for seven Narnian Lords who had been sent away by Caspian’s usurping uncle. is most of the time what is missing most in children’s literature. Caspian for instance marries after this adventure and becomes the grand father of many generations of kings and queens. which corresponds to a “maybe” or maybe even a “probably” for his coming. This book then crosses an important stage since afterwards the four original children will no longer be able to visit Narnia and also because it closes the illegitimacy introduced in Narnia by Caspian’s uncle by bringing back the seven Lords. but also good magic.S. That’s where Lewis’ children’s literature is best. black magic. Dr Jacques COULARDEAU . an Irish traditional tale that C. or identifying with those who make the good choice. They have become too old. We could follow the story and just consider the fate of the seven Lords. He presents that magic as what it is. an extraordinary way to perform something that can be a punishment of some sort against someone who does not respect a simple rule. The natural turn over of the audience of children’s books is here embedded in the book itself. Lewis could not ignore in his days. The first model ids the Odyssey and several allusions are made to it. Lewis does not try to make us suspend our disbelief. are trapped for the summer at some uncle and aunt’s. This novel ends on a sad note because Aslan announces Edmund and Lucy won’t come again. But that you can read. It is where we find the models at work behind the novel. Growing up again. the Voyage of Mael Duinn. Eustace. His children heroes are grownups in the becoming. though he still is a human being somewhere rather than a talking beast. That sense of aging is ever present in C. Lewis seems to be an exception. but rules have to be abided by. And when the good choice is made there is always a reward. But Aslan will always be alive for them. due to his Irish roots and his academic specialization. It aims at making children experience good and evil and situations in which the choice is most obvious and he leads the children into making the good choice. It does not try to teach children good and evil. even if it is a bad rule. We could concentrate on the change in Eustace who from being a self-conceited nuisance becomes a courageous and even adventurous being. have to be gotten out of the way since they were announced as not taking part in the next mission by Aslan himself. What’s surprising about this aspect of the novel is that C. Peter and Susan. Then we can wonder what else could happen in the next volume? Have we reached the end? Of course not since there are two more novels to come. The two younger brother and sister.

though we will learn that in this quarter after the summer recess he has become quite more tolerable than before. when Aslan calls them off to Narnia where they find Caspian X on the verge of dying. They have to go to a ruined giant city and Rilian is supposed to be under it. and a certain Jill Pole who has no connection with Eustace. We are underground and going down. Then the four heroes. The story is bleak not only because most of it is underground and because the danger and menace come from that underground dark world.S. They will be welcomed by the giants of Harfang over that ruined city who see them as some delicatessen for their fall celebration sent by providence to enrich their banquet tables. that the children and Puddleglum discover he remembers who he is in that fatidic hour. There is only one escape which is the collaboration of children from our world and from Narnia to regulate events into some acceptable form in both Narnia and our world. Eustace. from a distance. Rilian and Puddleglum go away along an underground road that leads them eventually to the exit the Queen was building to invade Narnia and reconquer it under her control of Rilian. the deepest and the bleakest. and in our world the parents’ substitutes in boarding schools are incompetent and cruel. And the three go north looking for Rilian. That’s when the story gets bleak. four instructions if you prefer that they have to remember and keep all the time. Rilian’s father dies as soon as he reaches Cair Paravel. He recognizes Eustace and Aslan authorizes him to go to the children’s world for five minutes and there the three teenagers can settle some accounts of C. is absent for the moment and they discover Rilian is supposed to be tied up to a silver chair every night officially to prevent him from becoming dangerous. whose targets they are. his son Rilian having disappeared. the Land of Bism to which all the gnomes run and in which they take refuge. the snake that had killed Rilian’s mother. Then Aslan takes them to his own country where they discover Caspian dead and buried in a lake but going back to his young age. They recuperate a partner in some marsh. But that can only be . That’s during that séance of tied up enslaving to the Silver Chair.C. He gives them four signs. dwarves and centaurs and be brought back to Cair Paravel where the two children can see. This death liberate the underground world from the charm or curse and the gnomes she was using as slaves liberate themselves and the bottom of this Underworld opens to reveal a world of fire and melting gems or previous metals. Aslan gives the two kids the mission to find the Prince and bring him back.S. in fact from being able to escape. He is a Marsh-wiggle and his name is Puddleglum. It is considered as an expression of the psychological freedom of the bullies and thus it should not be meddled with and in anyway controlled. the legitimate heir. The three salvation pilgrims liberate him. a trail they had slightly neglected. the cousin we have already met in the previous episode. LEWIS – THE SILVER CHAIR This sixth volume of the saga is also the one I consider. Lewis’s against the school system and get rid of an incompetent Head by implementing the Peter’s Principle at a double degree of incompetence and the incompetent head becomes an incompetent inspector and she ends finally as an all the more incompetent but inoffensive Member of Parliament. which had led them into some kind of a snare from which they do have a very narrow escape. but also because Rilian’s mother is killed by a witch. Jill. Abd there is only one to run still. His Lady. the arrival of Caspian X. They manage to be saved from this dark underworld by fauns and dryads. the teenager he was in the previous book. so far. They are brought to a castle in a distant subterranean city where they find Rilian who is under some kind of charm and does not remember anything. the Queen of this Underworld. They manage to escape and they finally go back on the trail of the Prince. destroy the silver chair and it is then the Queen arrives and she tries to enchant them back into obedience and she nearly succeeds but Rilian and Puddleglum manage to behead the Queen who was becoming a snake. probably kidnapped in the north. It starts in some kind of experimental mixed boarding school in which bullying is slightly more than tolerated. They find refuge in an underground cave but hundreds of gnomes are waiting for them and they have to follow in corridors and tunnels that get narrower and narrower and finally open onto a deep sea without any light what so ever. his last meeting with his son Rilian and his death. They are in the midst of a bullying chase. The two favorite victims of this band of bullies are Eustace Scrubb.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU C. This ape is manipulated by the Calormenes into enabling a total invasion and conquest of Narnia by the Calormenes. He is projecting the trauma himself and his brother lived when they lost their mother. Lucy. to Aslan’s country. and a few others and yet lead to a complete revival of Narnia away from the danger of inner strife and outside enemies? That’s where the tale turns both surreal and amazing. Aslan could have done better and he did not.S. That merging of . But this very direct Christian inspiration is weird because the end of Narnia is on the pattern of a totally inverted Genesis. Jill and Eustace. Lewis’ imagination merged together the fantasy of Nordic epics or sagas and the Christian vision of such human and historical crises as seen and depicted in the Book of Revelation or Genesis and some other Biblical books. like all good sagas. Narnia disappears in flames and destruction and is abandoned to beasts and monsters. The survivors and then all those who will be saved from utter destruction cross a symbolical door that leads them from sure fatal lethal end to resuscitation. Lewis projects his own grief for the loss of his own mother to cancer. but also the trauma Joy’s two sons must have lived when they were in the rather long process of losing their own mother to cancer too.achieved by children with the help of the Lion Aslan who is discretely identified as love in our own culture. then the kings and queens Peter. We do have battles and fighting but it leads to deception upon deception.S. But the book seems fine so far though sad somewhere. Aslan. And the best secret of this new Narnia is that the deeper you go the wider the circle in which you find yourself and this circular pattern is at the same time transcended by a star image in which each world is a spur on the central mountain of Aslan. and then his second grief for the dying Joy Gresham who was his very late love in life. Since the ape is speaking in the name of Aslan that he presents to everyone every night he is believed and his orders prepare the enslaving of the Narnians and the conquest of Narnia itself. We are back to the very first verse of Genesis when the universe was only water in darkness with God and his spirit hovering over it.S. But C. Lewis resuscitates Narnia beyond that portal of his and our heroes go up and away always deeper and always higher in this world to the inner garden of Aslan where they meet with all the previous heroes of the saga and the kings and other famed characters of Narnia. isn’t it? So much suffering and disorder in everyday life because love is absent from our hearts and minds. Of course C. Lewis wants to terminate the series. How can this complete destruction of Narnia be witnessed by the current king. In fact this whole seventh book is governed by the seven human heroes of the saga: the original ones. Aslan of course brings his favorite kids to Narnia to save the situation which they do not really help and in fact they become the witnesses and even the in-between go-betweens of the current king Tirian and the end of Narnia. a train on which they were all present at that particular moment. not to speak of our souls. It is the vision of a difficult period for the world divided in antagonistic blocs that could only be humanized via imagination and C. But that’s rather easy in the story. To close that story he has to bring Narnia to an end and at the same time to a new beginning. Of course he makes our human heroes all be the victims of one train accident. This last volume though seems to have another dimension: it is a legacy to the world. Polly and Digory who witnessed the birth of this world. Why does the author want to kill that world of dream and epic Fantasy? You can imagine there is no easy answer. and the latest two heroes Jill and Eustace.S. These seven are finally reunited with Narnia in the inner garden of Aslan. rebirth.S. even a dragon. The Lord of the Rings for instance. Edmund. some inheritance given to the author’s survivors. LEWIS – THE LAST BATTLE C. with the skin of one lion. survival. Then they go ever further and upper into this country which is some kind of messianic Jerusalem after the apocalypse of Narnia which is very clearly inspired by The Book of Revelation. He brings the end from an internal strife of an ape which uses a donkey to play the lion. cold and water. But love is difficult. which die in the end and that destroyed world is taken over by darkness. two children. treachery upon treachery and the dwarfs severely impair any chance of a turn around and even speed up the fall by deciding to fight against both sides. Suzan is absent because she has chosen the real world instead of Narnia.

Lewis used it as the salvaging symbol. Lewis’s books are deeply committed to a democratic system. disappears and I think it is a loss. 1989 and 1990. But since the novel “The Boy and His Horse” is not there the rejection of political totalitarianism is absent. That is important because then the values that are presented in the films are pedagogical and not only entertaining. plus some extras. Poor Suzan in a way. The first adaptation is capital since it sets the tone and the main characters. The third adaptation concerns “The Silver Chair”. the Witch and the Wardrobe” about the city Wardrobe in the country Spare Room. It is a lot more respectful of the spirit of the story than the ending of the recent long feature that can be seen in cinemas right now. school inspectors and Members of Parliament.S. but the end of that world not in physical rebirth or survival but in mystical rebirth and survival after the drama of a collective death of seven people in a train accident is bleak in a way. with fauns and dryads and satyrs and dwarves all dancing together.S.S. The films are far from being as clear as the books. and it was necessary to do a good job with it since it was an essential element and it had to fly properly. There is a fair and clear condemnation of slavery and the exploitation of animals. as if the author wanted a group of seven human children mourning – and rejoicing in – the birth and death of Narnia. Lewis was not that pure. Lewis on the English school system and the incompetence of headmasters and headmistresses. even if there is a lot of sugar on those very final ten paragraphs of the last volume of this saga. but that is in the novel. The tone is that of the novel and it is done for children. They are kind of simple and stiff.Christian and non-Christian inspiration is a real treat for the readers and the children. and the first (in fact the last but one in writing chronology. The regular touches of this storyteller adding here and there a remark about “we” or “this world” or even the “lions of Trafalgar Square”. The set also defends the basic humanistic values of the books in fair contrast with the situation of the world at the time or with the literature of Lewis’s time. as if Narnia could not die without being born first. Lewis in three separate DVDs and in three miniseries of six episodes each. The first adaptation is “The Lion. We must note it keeps the story of the Dawn Treader the way it is in the novel and the end is the real end including the final pilgrimage of the mouse Reepicheep and the return of the children. I like the idea of Eustace and Puddleglum taking part. No love is wasted on anyone and friendship even is rather kept as lily pure as possible.S. Lewis at all when there is a voice over. They were done in 1988. meaning the real world.S. particularly Aslan when it moves in the air. which is not the case with other flying animals. They insist on the fact these stories are not heroic fantasy in any way but only children’s literature. the one before this last one) was not adapted either because it appears slightly artificial. any subject that is not childlike or childfriendly.S. There is no attempt at making it for older audiences. But this set of adaptations is interesting in spite of the shortcomings and the rather primitive special effects. The escape from the underground city does not try to explain the even deeper world of fire and incandescence into which all the gnomic slaves of the witch jump back happily. It sounds slightly naïve at times because the storyteller is no longer constantly present and is not C. The dragon though is a good nice creation. Puddleglum is of course slightly too fat for the part as seen by C. . addressing the children’s audience from an external adult point of view. The second double adaptation makes the two full novels into one story with a shift from the first one to the second that is at least abrupt and the packing up of the two in six episodes makes psychological details and even descriptive details scanty and rare. The last adaptation is long enough to give details and the witch is a marvel though her becoming a serpent and being killed is less impressive since no green blood is shed and only Prince Rilian takes part in that execution. But well at least they keep the details of King Caspian X’s death and his resurrection in Aslan’s country though they soften the harsh commentary of C. reminding us of the fact that this is all a story. Seven is a magic number and C. It is also important because it avoids. The allusion to the usurping uncle in Prince Caspian is by far not enough. It is this end that explains probably why this last volume was never adapted to the screen. Even C. The second brings together “Prince Caspian” (two episodes) and “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” (four episodes). Dr Jacques COULARDEAU BBC – THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA This collection of four DVDs gives us the complete set of the BCC adaptations of the Narnia novels by C. I miss the big celebration outside the hole from which they extract themselves. as if the saga needed a beginning to have an end. Lewis but that’s a detail. like the books. The story becomes in a way a story line more than a fully developed story. The Calormenes are absent for one example.

I miss the big celebration outside the hole from which they extract themselves. But for me the main absence is in fact the last novel “The Last Battle” because it reveals two essential things in these seven novels: the idea that all worlds have a beginning and an end. the Witch and the Wardrobe” (1988) about the city Wardrobe in the country Spare Room. It is a lot more respectful of the spirit of the story than the ending of the recent long feature that can be seen in cinemas. The escape from the underground city does not try to explain the even deeper world of fire and incandescence into which all the gnomic slaves of the witch jump back happily. Lewis in three miniseries of six episodes each. The dragon though is a good nice creation. with a very narrow aristocracy. or MPs. They wanted to avoid in anyway the bleak atmosphere of “The Lord of the Rings” or of “The Time Machine” but they produced a brave new world that lacked most of its pith and marrow. The second adaptation makes two full novels into one story with a shift from the first one to the second that is at least abrupt and the packing up of the two in six episodes makes psychological details and descriptive details scanty. Eustace and Puddleglum taking part is nice but in the novel. The regular “we” or “this world” or even the “lions of Trafalgar Square”. dryads. The first is “The Lion. that is to say the power of the people.In the same way the films are a lot less clear than the books on the fact that only humans or people having some human blood can rule Narnia. Dr Jacques COULARDEAU BBC – THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA (SHORTER VERSION) This collection gives us the complete set of the BCC adaptations of the Narnia novels by C. meaning the real world. which is not the case with other flying animals. including jinn blood by the sexual partner Adam had to procreate that line of descent. The series are interesting but only as entertainment for children and they lose the didactic and pedagogical dimension the books constantly keep. It keeps the story of the Dawn Treader the way it is in the novel and the end is the real end including the final pilgrimage of the mouse Reepicheep and the return of the children. But well at least they keep the details of King Caspian X’s death and his resurrection in Aslan’s country though they soften the harsh commentary of C. and that was necessary since it was an essential element and it had to fly properly.S.S. and Suzan is definitely not served very fairly. with fauns. mixed with other bloods. including Queen Suzan. because he did not trust political parties of any sort and preferred an aristocratic monarchy in which the kings and queens are of a different sort and kind as compared to the people and the masses. . It sounds slightly naïve at times because the storyteller is no longer constantly present and is not C. disappear and I think it is a loss. The main difference between Calormenes and Narnians is that The “master” (who is a Calormene by birth and genes) of the Calormenes governs them as slaves. The third concerns “The Silver Chair” (1990). satyrs and dwarves all dancing together. including the White Witch of the first film who is a descendent of Adam. for the people and by the people. The tone is that of the novel and it is done for children. including Narnia. invasion from outside and political manipulation of the masses that are shown as basically easy to manipulate into divisions or into obeying absurd commands. The last adaptation gives details and the witch is a marvel though her becoming a serpent and being killed is less impressive since no green blood is shed and only Prince Rilian takes part in that execution. They are mostly simple and stiff. Lewis on the English school system and the incompetence of school principals and inspectors. reminding us of the fact that this is all a story. Lewis at all when there is a voice over. and the “king (who has to be genetically different from all the Narnians by having at least some human genes) of the Narnians grants them freedom and the right to diversity. The second (1989) brings together “Prince Caspian” (two episodes) and “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” (four episodes). The masses sure make history but only when some individuals and foreign forces join their efforts to conquer the minds and imagination of these masses. that this end can only come from both inner strife. plus some extras.S. The absence of “The Boy and His Horse” also deprives us of the description of the four initial human kings and queens of Narnia. The first adaptation sets the tone and the main characters. The story becomes a story line more than a fully developed story. addressing the children’s audience from an external adult point of view. particularly Aslan. This last novel was Lewis’s testament in a way and he showed in it that he did not really believe in democracy.

The real tale is that life always has a beginning and an end and that during this life you start young and end old. The magic of these books is in the imagination of the listeners that have to accept to believe what they are told and to fill in the images they are not given with their own images. if they can. At the same time we . That’s the only way to make sense. It is only the cover and title page of the real tale. It is also important because it avoids. because he did not trust any politicians but preferred an aristocratic monarchy in which kings and queens are of a different sort from the people and the masses. like the books. for the people and by the people. That is important because then the values that are presented in the films are pedagogical and not only entertaining. including the White Witch of the first film who is a descendent of Adam. you start a believer and too often end an unbeliever. faith. Narnia is only the key to his real tale not the real tale itself. and if you learn how to believe again at the end it is only out of fear and not out of belief. The main difference between Calormenes and Narnians is that The Calormene “master” (who is a Calormene by genetic birth) governs Calormenes as slaves. any subject that is not childlike or child-friendly. Lewis’s books are deeply committed to a democratic system. This last novel was Lewis’s testament and he showed in it that he did not really believe in democracy. To avoid in anyway the bleak atmosphere of “The Lord of the Rings” or “The Time Machine” they produced a brave new world that lacked most of its pith and marrow. including jinn blood from the sexual partner Adam had to procreate that line of descent. The general meaning then comes up and after fifteen hours of listening you see the whole project C. the power of the people. Dr Jacques COULARDEAU BBC4 – FULL-CAST DRAMATIZATION – THE SEVEN BOOKS OF THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA The BBC 4 radio did a pretty good job with these Chronicles of Narnia. and the Narnian “king (genetically different from all Narnians by at least some human genes) grants them freedom and diversity. we’re British. One has to believe life is only one transient phase of our existence and that we live a long time before and a long time after our birth and death. The films are also a lot less clear than the books that only people having some human blood can rule Narnia. including Narnia. including Queen Suzan who is definitely not served very fairly. A fair and clear condemnation of slavery and the exploitation of animals. The allusion to the usurping uncle in Prince Caspian is by far not enough. Ut also defends the basic humanistic values of the books in fair contrast with the the world at the time or the literature of Lewis’s time. The series are interesting but only as entertainment for children and they lose the pedagogical dimension the books constantly keep. But for me the main absence is in fact “The Last Battle” because it reveals two essential things in these seven novels: the idea that all worlds have a beginning and an end.e. Calormenes are absent for example. But since the novel “The Boy and His Horse” is not there the rejection of political totalitarianism is absent.S. But this is not any Christian easy fable. You have to take the seven books in Narnian not in publishing chronological order. The films are far from being as clear as that. We live before our birth because we are born what other people. have imagined we will be and they provide us with a tremendous inheritance. you start nimble and end stiff. mixed with other bloods. The masses make history but only when some individuals and foreign forces join their efforts to conquer the minds and imagination of these masses. please. No love is wasted on anyone and even friendship is rather kept lily pure. our parents and many other people of their time. with a very narrow aristocracy. They are stories that have to be told in words and music. No kissing. that this end can only come from both inner strife. that door to our future. i. Lewis had in mind. And that goal these radio dramatizations perform perfectly. in pure sound effects and dialogues. They insist on the fact these stories are not heroic fantasy but only children’s literature.But these adaptations are interesting nevertheless. The absence of “The Boy and His Horse” also deprives us of the description of the four initial human kings and queens of Narnia. invasion and political manipulation of the masses that are shown as basically easy to manipulate into divisions or obeying absurd commands. It is the wardrobe of the beginning.

and that is true of all visionary people in the world. in our death that gives way to younger people who will go farther. by this next generation. maybe even more than in the previous films the menace against this marvelous world comes from the inside of those who want to defend it. the mission and its objective of bringing the seven swords of seven old knights to the table of Aslan. envy.S. a blue star like a blue fairy in some other old story.S. The evil forces are over there far away in some distant island but they have no power by themselves and they find all the power they need to dominate the world in the greed. The real problem for us. to give even more than we can give. They are not prophets but they are achievers. who are bound to die and who will our heritage to the next generation. the lion Aslan who can intervene to save a lost situation at the very last minute. and that is always an exacting and exhausting task and mission we are given not by some extraterrestrial god or demon but by our absolutely deepest and most spiritual mind and benevolence. His lasting fame is Narnia and not his medieval and philosophical writings. And if anyone tries to do that. always deeper and wider. or a demon. These adventures are dangerous but marvelous and the final destination of these adventures is to liberate the world of evil forces. So life is not to serve a god. Dr Jacques COULARDEAU THE THEATRICAL FILM ADAPTATION THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA : THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER This latest episode of “The Chronicles of Narnia” is bringing to an end a generation of children who have been confronted to that magic world. C. He was only understood after. It is to serve others. Lewis was known in his time for his ethical and literary books. What we will give the next generations is not what we were but what we did. Too many people just live their life as if it were some chore. And that’s the next lesson. The objective is to defend Narnia against external menaces but in this film. But these forces don’t . and the goal of that mission which is to liberate people who have been taken hostages by the evil forces. That is the main lesson for the children: you have to learn how to dominate these negative feelings you nurture day after day in your egotism. Those who want to get everything are wrong. That’s probably the ethical and moral message of this visionary author. where children can become heroes and fight fundamental battles for a better future for everyone. to improve. Unluckily their achievements will only become visible after their going on to another world. The best reward people can get in this world is to give others a chance to be better. at the worst they are temptations. No one can say ahead of time what will survive them and be their eternal fame. particularly for children. If we really have something to will to the world we will probably not be understood long before or after our passing away. and now he is mostly known for his children’s tales. Then all the rest is nothing but adventure and its dangers are not real dangers. That’s what Narnia is all about. That is probably what fascinated C. For children it is first of all a magic world where animals speak and can be your friends. We are in what we give to the younger generation and not to our bank accounts. long after his death. You may peal as many skins as you want from the onion each peal will reveal a wider world than the peal that has just fallen. to do good to others and for others. further in and further up.live a long time after our death because first we will remember forever what our life was and we will give the next generations all we have done and achieved. some unbearable load without seeing that the harder their life is. Lewis in Jesus. But in this world there are some guides you have to follow. he will turn up a pretty criminal mind because he will try to force history instead of enhancing it. the more adventurous it is too and the more creative it is. jealousy and other negative attitudes that reside and develop in the minds of the defenders of Narnia. is that we might not be understood. The lesson is always further up and further in and life is like an onion the deeper you get the wider each circle becomes. at first at least. And this Narnia fable can find an end and be rejuvenated only in death. In the present context the original meaning of WW2 is put aside.

Differences are the richness of this human vision. Elles n’ont d’ailleurs aucune figure sinon une silhouette vaporeuse parfois. ici réunir les sept épées de sept anciens chevaliers. . The grouchy unwilling participant at the start will become the hero who saves the situation. Le grincheux emporté dans cette aventure sans son consentement. He will take the form a dragon. Tout le reste n’est alors qu’aventure et les dangers ne sont pas de vrais dangers. A sad change but inevitable. His worst enemy is a mouse at the beginning who will become his best friend at the end.S. and with H. One day comes with that important change you must accept: not to be children any more and to assume the responsibilities the world has entrusted you with or is going to entrust you with as adults.G. Lewis believes we are all different. celle de vouloir être belle. For adults this film.S. Pour les adultes. Le sens est modifié. tout au plus des tentations. Mais ces forces du mal n’ont pas figure humaine. La tentation de la cupidité. C’est là la leçon principale pour les enfants. On a dans ce monde des guides qu’il faut apprendre à suivre : une étoile bleue. C. Dr Jacques COULARDEAU LE MONDE DE NARNIA : L’ODYSSEE DU PASSEUR D’AURORE LA MAGIE D’UN AUTRE MONDE. The trick of the story is to put it upside down from beginning to end. la mission et son objectif. où vous allez recevoir des missions humaines. That’s the second lesson for children. Pour les enfants c’est un monde magique où les animaux parlent et sont vos amis. Un dragon sera la forme qu’il prendra. deviendra celui qui tranchera le nœud gordien. où les enfants tout court sont emportés dans des aventures à la fois dangereuses et merveilleuses.have any human or physical form. Et encore il faut comparer celui des enfants et celui des adultes. etc. le sens est simple : ce sont les différences qui font les hommes et chacun de nous doit accepter ce qu’il est et ce que sont les autres. Wells to that evil is a severe eugenic policy eliminating all racial and social groups that may endanger the balanced development of civilization. has to be put in perspective with T. like the original story. C’est la seconde leçon pour les enfants : un jour vient où vous ne serez plus des enfants car il vous faudra grandir et choisir entre un monde imaginaire pour toujours où le monde réel où vous avez reçu des responsabilités. Narnia. but a good dragon. tant en son temps ancien d’écriture qu’en son temps actuel de mise en écran. at best a vapor in the air and an image that springs from our own phantasms.G. allusion à de nombreux films pour enfants où le dragon est un ami personnel. each one of us must accept what they are and what all others are. Il s’agit de défendre un monde. the fascists and Nazis and calls us to fight against them. nos défauts. nos peurs. an allusion to Siegfried’s dragon Fafner. Et sa pire phobie sera une grosse souris qui deviendra son meilleur ami. The answer of H. celle de la jalousie. retourne la situation du début à la fin. Wells who develops a Marxist form of social Darwinism in which the working class becomes an underground species that are the predators of the bourgeoisie that has become another species on the surface. comme d’ailleurs un peu les précédentes. le but à atteindre par cette mission. contre des menaces extérieures mais dans ce film plus encore que dans les autres la menace contre ce monde merveilleux vient de l’intérieur de ceux qui veulent le défendre. où les enfants grincheux deviennent des enfants héroïques. Eliot and his “Murder in the Cathedral” where he denounces human evil forces. le lion Aslan. Bien sûr que les pires ennemis de chacun de nous ce sont les envies et les cupidités ou jalousies que nous nourrissons au fond de nos âmes trop souvent envahies d’une obscurité parfaitement égoïste et que nous appelons lumière. mais évanescente et sans densité et encore qui trouve sa source dans nos propres fantasmes. ici libérer des personnes qui ont été faites prisonnières par les forces du mal. Ces histoires ont été écrites dans le contexte de la deuxième guerre mondiale et les films viennent en salle dans un tout autre contexte. mais un bon dragon. nos impatiences. Cette histoire. allusion directe au dragon Fafner de Siegfried. an allusion to other dragons in many stories. Les forces du mal qui existent bien là-bas très loin dans une île mystérieuse n’ont que le pouvoir que nous leur donnons avec nos envies.

“Gulliver’s Travels” and probably many more.S. Lewis in the Kilns in Oxford. Eliot qui dans « Meurtre dans la Cathédrale » dénonce les forces négatives de l’humanité et appelle à les écraser. The book is trying to bring together the two essential dimensions C. A duty to his own friend Edward Courtnay Francis “Paddy” (for Patrick) Moore. It would at best explain some dark sides of his personality but in no way the bright sides of it. sins and prayer. T. and so many other elements in a world of fiction. That would bring nothing new in the picture and that would not in any way explain the career and life of C. Lewis prêche un monde de la différence et de l’entraide entre les individus différents où le mal est avant tout en nousmêmes et nous pouvons l’extirper de nos esprits parfois troublés. . Lewis. magic. One will make a military career heavily accompanied with alcohol and alcoholism. imagination. teenage innocence and yet teenage vanity. Yet his style and his other world that he calls Shadowlands or Narnia. and those are only the most important ones. and with a heavy habit forming practice of writing books and especially books for children. C. a death that was arriving.S. but a ghost nevertheless. He brings together several lines of inspiration: “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Strangely enough love and death are these two dimensions. Lewis. that made him look after and take care of Paddy’s mother and sister after World War I that brought death to this Paddy who must have been cherished by C. Jack for most people. And this love for children is expressed in the most reserved and yet luxuriant style and imagination. marvelous.S. Eliot dénonce le fascisme.S.S. THE LOVE STORY OF C. heavily accompanied with cultural and artistic enquiry and research. Lewis. Happiness because he finally discovered what love really was. wonder.G. Why did love come so late and in such dramatic conditions? First because he met death in his own mother when he was a child along with his slightly older brother. Oxford and Cambridge. justice.S. existed. A duty to love the world.G. his friend Paddy second.S. repentance and the end of it all which is a liberation.S. but also “Winnie the Pooh”. religion. action. And that is or was the happiness and the curse of C. “Peter Pan”. The two boys were scarred for life by this cancer and this suffering and this end. A duty to his newly discovered God and that duty will make him write book upon book on God. power. A duty to his own brother when this one retired from the armed forces and came to live with C. LEWIS AND JOY DAVIDMAN The author is very careful not to psychoanalyze C. later on his friend Joy.S. “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll. Lewis est à comparer à T. His whole life is thus punctuated with self-imposed duties. haunted as if by a ghost that he had turned into a Holy Ghost. and curse because that love was doomed and developed within death itself. and strangely enough love is what he was most deprived of in his life and at the same time death is what was most present all along his life and love is finally found and experienced in an inseparable intertwining with death. already here or a death that was promised for the nearest future imaginable. are a fascinating mixture of escape. with a deep faith in God and Christ that came rather late in his life as a compensation for his loss. Lewis saw in life.S. and we have quite a vast array of ghosts in his life: his mother first. H. Wells qui développe un darwinisme social marxiste qui pose que les ouvriers deviendront une race souterraine prédatrice de la bourgeoisie qui survivra en surface comme un simple gibier ou bétail de la race souterraine. ainsi qu’à H. evasion. Lewis.C.S. The other will make a career in academia. Wells en appelle à un eugénisme contre toutes les entités raciales et sociales inférieures. Dr Jacques COULARDEAU SHADOWLANDS LIVING WITH JOY LOVING JOY WITH LOVE AND HOPE BRIAN SIDLEY – THROUGH THE SHADOWLANDS. other people and to share that love with everyone and first of all children. His religion is so personal that at times we just wonder if he is not haunted by his God and his faith and belief.

Wells representing the most extreme white eugenic approach of cultural diversity. whereas the other great Ring. Lewis. and the last one has been remade very recently. A world of bad and evil. I must say the slow rhythm of the film. of fighting for good and against evil.” Shouldn’t he have said “Men must enjoy their going hence. books for children or stories for children all my life and yet I discovered C. The Second World War was a simple crime against humanity that no religious or simply ethical mind could envisage completely. for the children he will never have. C.” Jacques COULARDEAU ANTHONY HOPKINS – SHADOWLANDS This is a very strange film. As Macbeth would say: “Men must endure their going hence. but on a sick bed in a hospital. she has bone cancer and will eventually and soon die. The diplomatic marriage will eventually give way to a real marriage. their aim. She finds out.S. That love that makes you mute and talkative in the same minute.R. love is for life and even beyond life. I think personally the difference is in the fact C. but never beyond.S. In that postmodern vision of his of a world not even worth living for. He finally learned how to be a fully blooming man. film. explain in no way at all. entirely dedicated to learning and knowledge. T. The First World War was a trauma for C. their target and they cannot be derailed from this perspective. And that’s what C. he built a Christian faith and a Shadowy world of Narnia to set some truth and some love in that permanent cemetery that the world is. And the ghetto implodes. The top echelon of that academia. Till one day when an American woman and her young child comes up and asks for an autograph. love takes its place. and written. Lewis and his brother are two unmarried professors in Oxford. Lewis is a special case in that entirely ghettoized intellectual world. It is their function.S.S. Lewis discovers there is another love he had never really thought of and certainly not experienced: love for another human being that becomes your horizon and for whom you are dawn and dusk at the same time.S. I am one of those who have read.R. H. But not him. They are righteously living in the comfort of academia. for death if it comes and when it comes. And that’s how C. totalitarianism that made him concentrate an important part of his life on Thomas Beckett rendered as a murder in a cathedral (play. book). living together in the same house.love and beauty. it is the soul of the heart and the mind of life. understand in any way. dangers and pleasures. Oxford is their own territory and their own world and the world has no limits within these limits of Oxford. Love never turns into ashes and never goes back to dirt because it is not dirt. Love is for life I was going to say. oh yes. a most extraordinary film. He writes stories for children. the delicacy of . to the maturation of men in the teenagers they get every year. too late of course. And death then becomes an unacceptable step away from this reality.G. The peace is gone. And yet his life is a routine that would kill thinking out of any human being. the very intimate scenes. year in and year out.S Eliot representing the deepest ethical vision of terrorism. longing. but it hurts so much when you learn love from within the death of your beloved.S. Shadowlands is the world of light and sunshine and this world is the world of death and crimes. and an eventual trip to London for a lecture. If these seven volumes have been turned into four films.S. it’s because of this alliance of antagonistic and yet always extraordinary circumstances. C. Tolkien who took refuge in some old Norse saga and tried to bring some finality in this world of violence and war with his rings that come finally reunited. and plenty others around him. Lewis rather late and I still wonder why Alice in Wonderland is so much more famous than Aslan and Narnia and why Alice in Wonderland would be considered for adults as well as for children whereas Narnia is only for children. Love as a feeling of total gift of yourself to the other and of the other to yourself. wanting. In that world there is only death that counts. Death comes and love will never go away and will turn into suffering. Lewis actually discovers late in his life and never forgot after that. These stories are about a strange world beyond the bottom of a wardrobe in the attic of his home. the one of the Nibelungenlied will always lead to some more blood shedding. Lewis was inspired in his life by the worst imaginable tragedies and crimes of all human history and that he lived these events with his friends of all types. adventures. Another of his friends was J. They are living in this haven of peace that Oxford is. We just wonder why Johnny Depp did not attach his name to Narnia and preferred Alice in Wonderland. needing and never getting the satisfaction you could ever wish to get. with the tremendous responsibility that goes along with it. so much the one and so much the other that your tongue trips on your muteness and your words get strangled in your talk.

It seems to be able to last for ever and ever. and yet the young son. is there to remind you the show of life goes on for ever and ever on the stage of the strutting human beings we are. and the art of Anthony Hopkins serve that theme so well. now step-son.the language and the acting. Dr Jacques COULARDEAU . so beautifully.

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