Marketing 'Narnia' Without a Christian Lion

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Postby Entling » Sun Jun 03, 2001 5:11 pm

Hmmmm...very disconcerting. I love the Chronicles of Narnia and while I understand Harper/Collin's desire to sell more books, would not want to see them watered down or altered, especially by creating <i>'new Narnia novels by unidentified authors'</i>. (How, exactly do you define a 'Narnia novel' anyway? - but that's a different conversation...)<BR><BR>What I don't understand is why publishing companies aren't trying to do this to other books. I mean, let's market <b>other</b> books to a wider audience by tinkering with the idealogy they 'correlate' to. Why not remove all distasteful references to Communism from Karl Marx's <i>Communist Manifesto</i>? (Better change that title, BTW!) Or how about Hitler's <i>Mein Kampf</i> - I'm sure it will appeal to more people if we market it with no reference to his racist/genocidal agenda. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-rolleyes.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Knowing more about an author can certainly increase your enjoyment of their work, as well as deepening your understanding of it, because you know more about what shaped the ideas they present in the work. I'm hoping that everyone who has enjoyed the Chronicles of Narnia (Christian or not) will denounce this horrible plan. And I also hope that everyone will see what a horrible precedent this sets for publishing in general (on sale next week, The Bible Part II!)
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Postby Galadriel » Sun Jun 03, 2001 6:23 pm

This is horrible. I read the Narnia novels myself when I was 8, and I was read them all then before that. I will state this here and now, so I am clear.<BR><BR>Religion: Wicca<BR>Sect: What I adoringly call "bob" a lovely mixture of Dianic (femenist) and just plain old solitary practice<BR><BR>A point someone else touched on I think. Why doesn't Lewis or his family have copyright on his things? I was under the impression that anything published and put into the public was automatically copyrighted? Why doesn't his family put a stop to this? <BR><BR>Another point. I've read about C.S. Lewis and how he came to Christianity and that it was a very enlightened change for him. I would write a book about my change of religion, but I haven't the time. Why defame something this for money? People will read the Narnia books and always will so long as it remains published. I personally don't care about the religion in the book, because I just plain love a good story. Don't they realize that the majority of the population is like this? So long as they don't know, they don't care. I know it is common knowledge that christianity is related material in all of his books, but most people jsut don't care. They won't go and start boycotting his books because the general public is alerted to the fact that Aslan represents God and the white witch representing Lucifer. I could start a while thing on why did the satan representation have to be female, but I know the answer to it, so I won't just pitch fits over something I know the answer to.<BR><BR>This is a blasphemy to any person who respects literature in its many forms. I'm not mad about the change in the book over religion, but how it will change the story. <BR><BR>Goddess help us all.
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Postby Orc#5063 » Sun Jun 03, 2001 7:29 pm

Because women are eviler than men. Everyone knows that.
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Postby GoodSam » Sun Jun 03, 2001 10:05 pm

Xatia,<BR><BR>That was a good point you made about non-Christian children reading The Chronicles of Narnia. I know many non-Christians (or at least only nominal Christians) who have read and enjoyed these books. I see no reason to "make them over."<BR><BR>Gargoyle,<BR><BR>Perhaps a non-Christian 8-year-old would not understand the symbolism, but I know MY 8-year-old understood it. What's more, he would be ready willing and able to explain it to any of his friends that read it.<BR><BR>I am trying very hard to approach this in a non-alarmist way, but I am finding it difficult. Oh well, if they strip Christ out of Narnia, the books will have no point.
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Postby enchantress » Sun Jun 03, 2001 10:20 pm

<b>NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!</b><BR><BR>What in the heck are these people thinking?????? How can you change someone's work after they're dead?????? This is sssssoooo sad. Corporate mechanics are finding their way into lands of the imagination...'tis truly a sad day.....<BR><BR>Following Gal's example I will state my take:<BR>Religion: Wiccan, solitary, Dianic more than not, drawing on Taoism and Buddhism. ("bob" - I love it Galadriel !!!!! <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0> <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0> <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>)<BR>Grew up Roman Catholic though, and still holds high respect for that faith.<BR><BR>Although my convictions are not Christian, I am not in any way offended by the Christian imagery in Narnia. It is there, it is beautiful, it is Lewis' and thats all the defense it needs to stay there. If I wrote a book with Wiccan alegories I would consider it a great offense for anyone, anywhere at any time later to remove those from my work.....what are things coming too???? De-spiritualizing literature for the sake of $$$$$$ ???? <BR><BR>And I don't really see how Christian Imagery in the books limits the market....first of all, as Galadriel said, most people dont care. Second of all, does the fact that a book contains allusions to a religion different than your own turn you off from reading it? I know for me it certainly does not. <BR><BR>This is very, very sad....I hate corporate mechanics....we cannot make our imaginations succumb to the cult of money....sad..........<BR>Someone is trying to violate the very nature of Narnia here, and that hurts me.....a lot.........<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-sad.gif"border=0><BR><BR>~enchantress
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Postby crispycreme » Mon Jun 04, 2001 11:21 am

I'm bringing this back up to the top since there seems to be a little bit of groundswelling on this issue, as evidenced by other threads on this board (and on other LOTR sites). There was some good discussion on this thread that might benefit others new to this revelation.
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Postby Waxwing » Mon Jun 04, 2001 11:57 am

It seems a couple people have read into this that they will be changing the text of the original novels. That is not the case. <BR><BR>The article simply states that in their marketing they will not make any reference to the Christian allegory in the books, and the new novels set in the universe will not have the same Christian flavor (which, since the authors won't approach the project with the same point of view as dear Clive Staples Lewis, they would never be able to duplicate anyway).<BR><BR>Galadriel also asked about the involvement of the estate and why they haven't made an uproar about the copyright. The article stated that the estate fully supports the new developments-- and, if I remember correctly, initiated them. Harper Collins is proceeding with their full support.<BR><BR>I, for one, will not buy the new books or the toys. I doubt any author could do justice to the tenor and scope of Lewis's original series, and they definitely would bunnyslippers his vision. I don't agree with it at all. It's a scheme to make money off Harry Potter's success. I have a great distaste for marketing in general and I take great pains not to make myself OR my money a victim. Especially when one of my favorite literary works is involved.
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Postby nazgul_lord » Mon Jun 04, 2001 12:00 pm

Well, I cannot properly express my outrage at this. I'm glad this was brought back to the top. Now CC and Kel have said a great many things that I would have wanted to say, so I shall not repeat them. There are two things left...one that no one seems to have touched on.<BR><BR>First, as was said, it is not very hard, even for a seven year old child, to see some of the major allegory in the Narnia chronicles, particularly L,W,&W. Aslan dying and rising from the dead is a no brainer. But children do not pick up the book because it has Christian allegory, nor will they refuse to read because of it. An eight year old does not know what allegory is, and probably couldn't spell it if he did. The books are fine writing, and a captivation story. And after finishing the first book, I did not rush out to the library to find Prince Caspian because I wanted to find more Christian references, but because I wanted to read more of the story.<BR><BR>Second, a point made by the publishers which no one seems to have commented on. I'm not going to find the quote, because I am supremely lazy, but they said that children only care about seeking new and better things. Am I the only one who finds this statement to be the pinnacle of absurdity? A ten year old boy does not care if a book was written last summer or fifty years ago. Both books are equally new to him. And anyone who thinks so need only look at the continued popularity of such classic tales as Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, and a plethora of Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson stories to disillusion himself.
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Postby Durin VIII » Mon Jun 04, 2001 12:14 pm

Okay reading the article I think there are several things that the publishers and the estate of Mr. Lewis are doing. As Waxwing said they will be doing a big marketing push with stuffed toys and the like. Also there will be new books by unnamed writers that will not have the Christian themes. They are not rewriting the books! It is more like what has happened with Gone With the Wind (Scarlet), Foundation books, and the Dune prequel books. All of these are new books that the estate and publisher have done and in all cases of far inferior quality. Fortunately the new books will not change the wonderful stories CS Lewis wrote. <BR><BR>Also the Tolkien estate has tried to make as much money they can by publishing any little note that Tolkien wrote down about Middle Earth. All these lost tales were either never intended to be published, or far from being ready in the eyes of the professor. This did not stop his estate from lending him a helping hand and finishing them up for him and publishing the stories.<BR><BR>The good news with the Narnia thing is that it will bring more attention to the books. I believe that no matter what the publisher and the estate try the books will survive and people will continue to read, enjoy, and learn from them. Also the attention this is getting will make most people aware of what was intended in the orginal writings.<BR>
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Postby Telemachos » Mon Jun 04, 2001 12:45 pm

The point here is not that they will re-write the books, but that they are deliberately hiding and subduing themes that the author cared a great deal about and spent much time integrating them into his stories. The worst part is the creation of new stories into the universe that Lewis created; these stories, if they do not incorporate the same themes Lewis provided in the Narnia Chronicles, are CHANGING the universe he created. They might not be re-writing the original stories, but they are re-writing the universe that these stories un-fold in. And that is just as insidious.<BR><BR>btw, I find the new Dune books, despite how well researched they claim to be, to be utter and complete crap. And they DO change events established in the Dune universe, regardless of how minor or how subtly.<BR><BR>I encourage everyone who is disappointed and outraged with HarperCollins' approach to write or e-mail them and tell them your feelings. The link was posted earlier, but here it is again: <a target=new href="http://www.harpercollins.com/hc/aboutus/contact.asp">http://www.harpercollins.com/hc/aboutus/contact.asp</a>
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Postby enchantress » Mon Jun 04, 2001 12:53 pm

Thanks Telemachos<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0> I agree 100 percent. That is what I was trying to get at saying - <i>"Corporate mechanics are finding their way into lands of the imagination..."</i>....... It is a violation upon the world of Narnia, and it is indeed sad that money has such great value in our world.........Thanks for the email/link<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> I will make myself heard, thats for sure.<BR><BR>~enchantress
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Postby Narwen » Mon Jun 04, 2001 1:24 pm

Hmmm... this whole thing is both disturbing and puzzling. I am Christian, Catholic to be exact (like Tolkien !) and I'm wondering why they are trying to do this to the books. Not having a "theological" underpinning will make them weaker, IMHO. <BR>What's really weird is ... are they all going to be "prequels "? I mean, in the Last Battle Narnia was destroyed and made anew, Last Judgement and all. I don't know, but maybe C.S.L. did this precisely to stave off such later attempts, as well as to show the Christian beliefs ?
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Postby Galadriel » Mon Jun 04, 2001 5:39 pm

Hey, in the e-mail thing, who do you send it to? Zondervan?
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Postby sirbrown » Mon Jun 04, 2001 6:25 pm

WAR!!! WAR!!! WAR!!!<BR><BR>You folks keep me informed and I'll start passing out the guns and ammunition.<BR><BR>Oh...if you live anywhere around upstate New York and hear a lot of random gunfire in the distance...that's probably just me letting off steam.
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Postby crispycreme » Mon Jun 04, 2001 6:44 pm

Galadriel, choose the Harper Collins Childrens Publications mailbox(or something like that).
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Postby crispycreme » Mon Jun 04, 2001 7:27 pm

Heh, well, I've been on a web site blitz offering support to various Lewis/Narnia web sites. I encourage you all do to the same, should you feel so inclined. <BR><BR>I couldn't access the newsgroup alt.books.cs-lewis (or any other newsgroups for that matter), my news server isn't configured properly. Go fer it, someone <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0> .<BR><BR>Let the Lewis folks know that we Tolkien fans support them!<BR><BR>*brandishes his sword in exhilirating defiance*
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Postby Whistler » Mon Jun 04, 2001 8:34 pm

Hello, folks! Here's a visitor from the Movies forum!<BR><BR>I started a thread on this subject here which was utterly ignored...and for the very good reason that THIS thread is so exceptional! Glad to know I'm not a voice in the wilderness.<BR><BR>I can't think of a greater outrage to an author and his works. And I am especially pleased that even non-Christians see this horror for what it is, and have the integrity to speak up in support of an author whose views they do not share. <BR><BR>This is not about whether you like Lewis or agree with him. This is about greedy, amoral parasites slapping an author’s face, and pretending they’ve kissed him.<BR>
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Postby crispycreme » Mon Jun 04, 2001 11:01 pm

Glad to see ya over here, Whistler. I've been spending a good part of the evening on various C. S. Lewis web sites, and you can imagine the outcry! I popped in on the ones I could and let them know that there are other groups out there in (almost) full support. The point is though, it will take fans of the written word in general, and NOT just Christians (or even Narnia fans) to sway Harper Collins and the Lewis estate that this is a bad idea. That is especially true when a series like the Narnia Chronicles was BEGUN and ENDED. IT'S OVER. There's no ambiguity there, IMO.<BR><BR>Fortunately, I see a lot of support from our agnostic/wiccan/other-religion friends here on TORC, but that sort of groundswell needs to continue. This is not just a rape of the Professor's works, this is a frightening trend that could affect many of our most beloved authors.<BR><BR>DON'T MESS WITH MY NARNIA!
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Postby meneltarma » Mon Jun 04, 2001 11:34 pm

can TORC have a petition against this?...I'm mailing Jonathan or Ted.
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Postby HanSolo » Mon Jun 04, 2001 11:51 pm

I just can't figure out why people think they can improve something that was thought up purely by the author who are they to "improve" the work. <BR><BR>Christianity was definetaly alluded to in those stories but, even if you did not see or understand it it is still part of the story no if ands or buts about it.<BR><BR>This is very disturbing. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-sad.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Yes meneltarma good idea I will sign the petition!<BR><BR>
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Postby Star-of-Hope » Tue Jun 05, 2001 12:48 am

I have only read the first page, lazy me! <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-sad.gif"border=0><BR><BR>but this smacks very heavily of the almighty $<BR><BR>I wonder whether we will see Leonardo's art works altered to appeal to a wider audience next? <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-sad.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Another reason not to put your own work out there for others to pick at and recreate <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-mad.gif"border=0><BR><BR>This makes me real mad, I am not a Christian and I read these books first as an adult, when I read them to my children, they have special meaning and they are beautiful stories. I saw no reference to Christianity in them when I read them and see no reason why anyone should feel any need to change them.<BR>
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Postby crispycreme » Tue Jun 05, 2001 1:04 am

Ok, it's late at night here, and this is probably WAY out there, but, in light of other threads, I have started a 'fictionalized' representation of how these things unfold. Perhaps its a way to let off steam. Perhaps its a way of keeping such things in the limelight. I don't know. I just drink beer and type, dag gummit. Anyways - in the spirit of W.I.N.K.L.E. (without the humor or the script style) - here is the opening part of OPERATION CASTRATE LEWIS. Feel free to add your own parcels as necessary.<BR><BR>------<BR><BR>The board of directors at Holler Carpins leaned back in their soft, leather chairs, drawing deep on fine Cuban cigars. Everyone present had a relaxed smile on their face. The Chairman glanced over briefly at the calendar. June 5th, 2001. <BR><BR>Those pesky emails have trickled down to a mere whimper, he thought to himself, just as he had promised the board they would. Loois fans are so gullible. No, check that. They're not gullible, they're weak. Spineless. And the notion that some obscure Toolkeen web sites could assist in making a statement was so laughable! The Chairman had to set his brandy snifter down before snorting into it. This, he knew, was the coup de gras. This was the one crack in the Henry Patter armor. It was Holler Carpins way of regaining the market share of those bratty, spoiled urchins. <BR><BR>How simple really! After extensive focus groups and numerous polls, after exhaustive trend analyses and data manipulation, their cash cow - the Loois enterprise - needed only to be anesthisized and secularized for the 21st century and voila! An immediate 30\% increase in paperback sales revenue. The chairman rubbed the pentagram on his lapel thoughtfully as he considered the implications. If even the minimal expectations were met, the company could realize a 10\% market share gain, and perhaps a 30\% jump in market captitalization. And the potential for much more was there! His job would be secure until *he* decided it was time to move on. Let the fanatics rave! They couldn't stop this even if they really wanted to! And the Chairman wasn't all that sure that they did. <BR><BR>He finally stood up and looked at the directors. "Gentlemen," he began. The others around the table quickly ended their small conversations and looked over at him. <BR><BR>"Gentlemen, we are here today to finalize and approve our 2001 Nornia Strategy - outlined in the briefs before each of you. Most of you are somewhat familiar of what we are attempting to accomplish."<BR><BR>Various heads around the table nodded understandingly.<BR><BR>"We live in an information age," the Chairman continued, "immediate answers to questions. Video games, DVDs, rap music, and various other forms of instant gratification. And yet," he paused, "we hold the publishing rights to one of the most archaic and stodgy series of childrens books on the market. Left as is, these dinosaurs will rot away to dust unless we do something to enhance their image for today's youth. What is it about the Henry Patter series that is so successful in today's market? What is the appeal when so many <BR>youngsters have access to Saga Goonesis and Nontendo 65?"<BR><BR>Several murmers were heard in the board room. Evidently, many had asked that question of themselves before. <BR><BR>(1am here, and I'm done..feel free to add your own thoughts and frustrations as you see fit)
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