Puddleglum: Wikis

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Narnia character
Puddleglum
Race Marsh-wiggle
Nation Narnia
Gender Male
Birthplace Narnia
Major character in
The Silver Chair
Portrayals in adaptations
1990 BBC miniseries: Tom Baker
1999 Radio Drama[1]: Ron Moody

Puddleglum is a fictional character in the children's fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. Puddleglum appears in The Silver Chair, in which he is a principal character. He also appears briefly at the end of The Last Battle. Puddleglum is an uncommonly cheerful marsh-wiggle; however, as marsh-wiggles are best-known for their pessimism, he is still a rather gloomy fellow, described by other characters as a "wet blanket".

Lewis said that his gardener Fred Paxford served as a model for Puddleglum. (Sammons 1979, pp. 154)

Contents

Name

The name Puddleglum may be a typical Marsh-wiggle name, but it can also be viewed as a concatenation of "Puddle" for the wetland area where Marsh-wiggles live and "glum" which describes their outlook on life.

Biographical summary

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Character development

Nothing is known of Puddleglum's life before he appears in chapter 5 of The Silver Chair, where he first introduces himself by saying, "Puddleglum's my name. But it doesn't matter if you forget it." From then on, he is a caricature of pessimism and a bastion of gloomy fortitude: "I see you're making the best of a bad job. That's right. You've been well brought up, you have. You've learned to put a good face on things." (Lewis 1952, pp. ch5) But in the end Lewis gives readers a small sign that maybe spending time with Eustace and Jill has had an effect on him. After Jill surprises him with a farewell hug (and kiss), Puddleglum remarks, "Well, I wouldn't have dreamt of her doing that. Even though I am a good-looking chap." (Lewis 1952, pp. ch16)

In The Silver Chair

Puddleglum is the companion of Eustace and Jill as they search for Prince Rilian. He is a somewhat unique character in Lewis's works. He is neither dashing nor charming, neither a great fighter nor a clever strategist. Yet he is instrumental in breaking the Emerald Witch's spell and releasing the Prince by stomping out her magical fire (badly injuring his foot in the process, though not as much as a normal human would, since his feet are webbed). While the children initially (and not entirely without merit) consider him a "wet blanket" who removes the good from any situation, he proves to be a strong and steadfast companion, especially in Underland where he is all they have to cling to. It is Puddleglum who often spots the best course of action, and ultimately Puddleglum who wins the debate with the Lady, using an argument that incidentally reveals that he has overcome his cynical and pessimistic ways.

Christian elements

Lewis, himself an expert on allegory, did not consider The Chronicles of Narnia allegory. He saw them as "suppositional" answering the question, "What might Christ become like, if there really were a world like Narnia and He chose to be incarnate and die and rise again in that world as He actually has done in ours?' This is not allegory at all." (Martindale & Root 1990) While not allegorical, Narnia does present significant parallels with elements from Christianity.

Lewis is perhaps using Puddleglum to give a somewhat existential statement of faith when he writes, "Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all of those things—trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones." (Caughey 2005, pp. 47)

Portrayals

Puddleglum, as portrayed by Tom Baker in the BBC serial The Silver Chair

Allusions/references from other works

The Christian rock band The Swift were formerly known as Puddleglum.

Quotations

  • "Puddleglum's my name. But it doesn't matter if you forget it. I can always tell you again."
  • [while drunk or pretending to be drunk] "Nothing wrong with me. Not a frog. Nothing frog with me. I'm a respectabiggle [respectable Marsh-wiggle] . . . Reshpeckobiggle."
  • "Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all of those things—trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones."

References

  • Lewis, C.S. (1953), written at London, The Silver Chair, Geoffrey Bles
  • Martindale, Wayne & Jerry Root (1990), The Quotable Lewis, Tyndale House, ISBN 0-8423-5115-9
  • Sammons, Martha (1979), written at Wheaton, Illinois, A Guide Through Narnia, Harold Shaw, ISBN 0-87788-325-4
  • Caughey, Shanna (2005), Revisiting Narnia: Fantasy, Myth and Religion in C. S. Lewis' Chronicles, Benbella Books, ISBN 1-932100-63-6

Additional reading

  • Duriez, Colin (2004), A Field Guide to Narnia, InterVarsity Press, ISBN 0-8308-3207-6
  • Ford, Paul F. (2005), written at SanFrancisco, Companion to Narnia, Revised Edition, Harper, ISBN 0-06-079127-6
  • Lovell, Steven (2005), "Breaking the Spell of Skepticism: Puddleglum versus the Green Witch", written at Chicago, in Gregory Bassham and Jerry L. Walls, The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy: The Lion, the Witch, and the Worldview, Open Court, ISBN 0-8126-9588-7
  • Wagner, Richard J. (2005), C. S. Lewis & Narnia For Dummies, For Dummies, ISBN 0-7645-8381-6

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