Digory Kirke

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Digory Kirke
Narnia character
Race Human
Nation England
Gender Male
Birthplace England, Earth
Family
Parents Mr. Kirke and Mrs. Mabel Ketterley-Kirke
Family Andrew Ketterley (uncle), Letitia Ketterley (aunt)
Major character in
Portrayals in adaptations
1988 BBC miniseries: Michael Aldridge
2005 Walden/Disney film: Jim Broadbent

Digory Kirke is a fictional character from C. S. Lewis' fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia. He appears in three of the seven books: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Magician's Nephew, and The Last Battle, and is mentioned in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

In the 2005 film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, he is played as an adult by Jim Broadbent.

Biography[edit]

The Magician's Nephew[edit]

In The Magician's Nephew, the sixth book to be published but the first in the chronology of Narnia, Digory is a young boy. He lives in London with his Uncle Andrew and Andrew's sister Leticia, because his father is away in India, and his mother is deathly ill. Andrew, an eccentric old man, has made magic rings that allow whoever wears them to travel to other worlds by passing through the Wood between the Worlds. Uncle Andrew first tricks Digory's friend Polly Plummer into trying the ring; when she disappears, he then blackmails his nephew into following her with another ring in order to bring her back. Upon meeting Polly, the two agree to go back into the pool that will lead them home; Digory, however, persuades Polly to first try one of the many other pools. They find themselves in a completely abandoned world called Charn, over which a dying red sun hangs. In a great hall, they find a hall full of wax figures, and a golden bell with a little hammer and an inscription; although Polly is vehemently opposed to it, Digory rings the bell, thus breaking the enchantment that holds Jadis, the future White Witch, in an enchanted sleep. After finding out that she is a powerful sorceress who destroyed her entire world with one word, they try to leave her behind in the Wood Between the Worlds and return home, but Jadis grabs Digory's ear when they jump into the home pool. Digory resolves to take her back to Charn after she causes havoc in London, but instead brings her (and Uncle Andrew, and a cabbie and his horse) into the newly created Narnia, where she runs away after failing to hurt Aslan with a crossbar she broke off a London lamppost. While Digory is in Narnia, Aslan, in order for Digory to repair the wrong he did by bringing evil into Narnia, sends him on a mission across the mountains to retrieve an apple from a mysterious locked garden, which promises to grant anyone who eats an apple their heart's desire. Jadis appears and tries to tempt Digory first into eating an apple himself, and then stealing one to take back to his mother. Reluctantly, Digory turns down her urgings and returns the apple to Aslan, who instructs him to plant it by the river. From this apple grows a magical tree, which Aslan promises will keep the Witch at bay for nine hundred Narnian years (because Jadis stole an apple, which gave her desired immortality, but "despair with it"). With Aslan's permission and blessing, Digory takes an apple from this tree back to the normal world, where his mother eats it and is miraculously cured of her illness. With Polly's help, Digory then buries the magic rings and the apple core behind the Ketterly's house. Eventually the apple grows into a peculiar tree, and blows down in a storm at the end of the book, many years later; not having the heart to turn it into firewood, Digory has it crafted into the wardrobe which becomes the portal to Narnia in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe[edit]

40 years later, in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie stay with the now 52-year-old Professor Kirke at his house in the country during The Blitz of London. The four children discover Narnia via a wardrobe, revealed at the end of The Magician's Nephew to have been made from the wood of the tree which grew from the apple Digory had fed to his sick mother. After Lucy visits Narnia for the first time and her siblings do not believe her story, Kirke speaks to them wisely and shows them that she is logically likely to be telling the truth. The professor's first name of Digory is not used in the text.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader[edit]

In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, it is mentioned in passing that Professor Kirke has lost his fortune and has had to downsize to a cottage with only one spare bedroom. (This explains why Edmund and Lucy, at the beginning of the book, are forced to stay with their cousin Eustace Scrubb when their parents and Susan go abroad, with only Peter being able to stay with the professor so as to be tutored for his upcoming university examinations.)

The Last Battle[edit]

In The Last Battle, Digory dies in a train accident and is pulled into Narnia, with the other listed major characters. He and Polly (age 60 and 61), both become young again. They are thus allowed to take up lives in New Narnia. The Last Battle also notes that, prior to the events of the book, Digory, Polly, the Pevensie siblings (with the exception of Susan, who comes to believe that Narnia was a youthful fantasy), Eustace, and Jill Pole had been gathering on occasion as "friends of Narnia", to reminisce about their various adventures.

Portrayals[edit]

Michael Aldridge as Digory in the 1988 BBC miniseries adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Jim Broadbent as the adult Digory Kirke in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Michael Aldridge played Digory in the 1988 BBC miniseries adaptation.

Jim Broadbent played the character in the 2005 film.

References[edit]

  • Ford, Paul (2005), Digory Kirke (in The Companion to Narnia: A Complete Guide to the Magical World of C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia), HarperSanFrancisco, ISBN 0-06-079127-6