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Lord Sopespian. At best a generic traitor in the original book, but what about his film version? While flat, film's Sopespian conspires to take the power at any rate a la Shakespeare's Iago, even if that means exterminating his world's native race...

Hello guys! Today, here's my seventy-eigth PE proposal, and it's about the Lord Sopespian, the central antagonist of the film adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnian: Prince Caspian, the second installment of The Chronicles of Narnia book series by C.S. Lewis.

Early on this year, thanks to Disney+'s immense film catalogue, I decided to fully see the last two Narnia films (I went to the theather to see the second one when it was released, but I fell asleep and I didn't go to see the third one because it didn't look interesting), and after seeing them, got the idea for this proposal. Before pursuing it, however, I discussed Sopespian and additionally Governor Gumpas with Misry6, and we have decided to propose them.

BUT HEAR THIS: The version of Lord Sopespian proposed here is the one seen in the Prince Caspian film, not in the original Prince Caspian book. There have been some villains whose original book counterparts aren't PE but their movies versions are (I'm looking at you Peter Pettigrew, Barty Crouch Jr. and Medusa!).

WHAT'S THE WORK?

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is a 2008 high-fantasy film directed by Andrew Adamson, written by Adamson, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and starring William Moseley Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley and Ben Barnes. It's an adaptation of the 1951 novel Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis, the second installment of the popular The Chronicles of Narnia book series, and likewise the second installment of The Chronicles of Narnian film series. The series takes place in the fantastic and magical world of Narnia, hence the title. Like the book, the film is about how Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, the four kids who helped to restore peace in Narnia with Aslan and ruled it for fifteen Narnian years before returning to the real world, are transported back to Narnia and discover that during their absence, it has been conquered by the Telmarines, leading them to join forces with the surviving Narnians and Prince Caspian X, the true heir to the Telmarine throne, who wants to take back his kingdom and rule it fairly so the Narnians can come out of hiding.

WHO IS HE / WHAT HAS HE DONE?

Lord Sopespian is a Telmarine lord who is part of King Miraz's inner circle. However, like some of the Telmarine lords, Sopespian doesn't really like Miraz and wishes he could be king instead. Sopespian first appears during a meeting of the Telmarine lords the following day after Miraz's son is born and Prince Caspian "disappears". Sopespian admonishes the council for not having listed to him when he warned them about what consequences trusting Miraz would lead to, but then Miraz enters, so Sopespian and the other lords ask him about Caspian's whereabouts, with Sopespian hinting that he knows what really has happened, but Miraz convinces the other lords that he isn't behind his nephew's disappearance by bringing the Narnian dwarf Trumpkin, who was captured while the Telmarine soldiers chased Caspian, claiming that the surviving Narnians kidnapped Caspian.

Shortly afterwards, Sopespian accidentally discovers that Doctor Cornelius, Caspian's tutor, has been send to the dungeons under Miraz's orders, leading Sopespian to approach General Glozelle and ask him if they are even safe once all people close to Caspian disappear. Miraz then calls Sopespian, but Sopespian leaves Glozelle with the offer to side with him in these dangerous times now that Miraz is planning to attack the Narnians and wipe them out. Miraz puts Sopespian in charge of building a bridge in the forests so his troops and their weaponry can cross the river and get to Beruna, where the Narnians hide inside Aslan's How, with Sopespian requesting more men to complete the bridge, much to Miraz's irritation, who orders Glozelle to go find Caspian before the Pevensie siblings find him, teasing Sopespian for not knowing who he is talking about from.

Later on, Sopespian accompanies Miraz to interrogate Glozelle and three of his men after the Narnians ambushed them in the woods. Sopespian looks at how Miraz realizes that Caspian and the Narnians joined forces by stealing their weaponry, leading him to slap Glozelle and tell Sopespian that Caspian is in league with the Narnians so he will officially pronounce himself king. As Miraz departs, Sopespian shoots Glozelle a glance, finally convincing the general to join him.

Some days later, after Caspian, the Pevensies and the Narnians attack Miraz's castle with little success due to Peter and Caspian clashing, Miraz is crowned king, with Sopespian being the one who puts the crown on his head, later bowing to him alongside Glozelle and the other lords. They then all go with ther army to Aslan's How, ready to fight the Narnians. However, our heroes come up with a plan and they decide to have Peter face Miraz in a duel to death, in exchange for the losing side to immediately surrender. Edmund has an audience with Miraz and his lords, informing them of Peter's challenge. When Miraz tries to avoid accepting the proposal, Sopespian assures him that their army is enough to wipe out the Narnians and Glozelle opines that Miraz would be proud of showing his bravery to his subjects, provoking Miraz into accepting the challenge.

The duel starts and both Sopespian and Glozelle assist Miraz as his Marshals of the Lists, clearly uninterested if Miraz bests Peter or not, even sbutly mocking his king by remarking that Peter fights better due to his age during a three-minute respite. In the end, Peter wins the fight but chooses to let Caspian decide Miraz's fate, but Caspian relents from killing him and decides to not be a murderer like his uncle, so Sopespian and Glozelle go to aide their king. Or that it seems, because it's here when Sopespian, as he listens to Miraz promising to deal with him while supposedly aiding him, chooses to stab his ruler with one of Susan's arrows, killing Miraz and loudly accusing the Narnians of cheating, taking over the Telmarine army's leadership and ordering them to kill the Narnians. This causes a second battle on Beruna, which claims the lives of many Narnians and Telmarines, but just as Sopespian thinks that he will win, it's when the trees become alive again thanks to Aslan and aide the Narnians in defeating the Telmarines, incapacitating Glozelle.

Not knowing what to do, Sopespian commands his troops to go back to Beruna's Bridge and escape to regroup, but once they reach the bridge, they find out that Lucy and Aslan are waiting for them. Undeterred, Sopespian orders his men to follow him to strike Lucy and Aslan, but then Aslan summons the River God with all his might, leading most of the Telmarines to jump off the bridge into the river while the River God takes the bridge with Sopespian and his horse still on it. But for some unknown reason (possibly a not intelligent one), Sopespian prefers to stay where he is and falls towards the River God when he makes his horse slip to him while lunging his sword like if he were capable of stab water. Predictably, the River God swallows Sopespian and the Telmarines surrender, ending their tyranny over Narnia. What happens to Sopespian after dying is unknown, but assuming that the afterlives are the same as in the books, Sopespian likely went to Tash's Country. Hey Sopespian, greet Miraz for me!

HEINOUS STANDARDS

Okay, by this point, many of you will surely wonder this. And no, I don't mean opinions that he is a flat character, because while he may be indeed one, he still shows enough personality, like the MCU's Dormammu. Yes, Lord Sopespian is possibly worse than his king, as he is secretly the one trying to manipulate the situation like Iago from Othello (a comparison even made by the film's director himself) and intends to kill all Narnians, but how can he stand out when compared to more dangerous villains like Jadis the White Witch, Rabadash, his own king Miraz, the Lady of the Green Kirtle, Shift or Rishda the Tarkaan? His book counterpart, alongside Glozelle's, definitely fails the Heinous Standards to Shift, who did much worse than them with less resources. Not only that, the book version even fails to stand out compared to Glozelle himself, who in the books was the one who killed Miraz partly because he insulted him that morning, did much of the dirty work and actually dies (this was apparently going to happen in the film as well but Glozelle's actor proposed to redeem Glozelle). So again, how can he qualify if outheinoussed by all these villains? Easy answer? Because Sopespian DOESN'T need to be compared to any of them.

And why not? Because, unfortunately, the Walden Media film adaptations of The Chronicles of Narnian didn't continue after the third film (though given what happens in the last novel, this may be a good thing after all). Consequently, all the stories post-third book don't happen in this continuity (or at the very least they aren't confirmed to have happened) so there's no way to know if the Lady of the Green Kirtle or Shift (two of the evilest Narnia villains alongside Jadis) even exist in the film series continuity or not. Well, the Lady of the Green Kirtle was stated to exist in the films by having the third film's DVD commentary confirm her behind-the-scenes involvement, but this confirmation by the filmmakers can be chalked up as Word of God because these kind of statements don't count unless shown onscreen. As a result, Lord Sopespian can only be compared to any villains seen in the three films that got made, who are the following:

  • Jadis the White Witch is the first villain in the series and is just as evil as in the original book: she conquers Narnia, establishes an endless winter, sends her secret police after her enemies, wishes to kill any humans that get into Narnia to prevent a prophecy of her downfall, seduces Edmund with Turkish Delight (which possibly influenced him) to betray his brothers, chooses to kill Aslan in an humiliating way to prevent Edmund Pevensie's death only to then reveal that she will kill him later anyway and leads a battle against those loyal to Aslan to finally rule over Narnia. Unlike the books, Jadis even succeeds to still have some influence after dying, with Nikabrik, the Hag & Werewolf trying to bring her back in the second film.
  • King Miraz, Sopespian's superior, is the second villain in the series, being a member of the Telmarines, a race of human pirates which conquered Narnia after the White Witch's defeat. The second son of Caspian VIII, Miraz saw how his brother, the King Caspian IX, fathered a son who would be his heir, leading him to kill his own brother, banish seven lords who were loyal to him and assist his nephew Caspian X to rule until he comes of age, but later fathers a child with his wife Prunasprismia to ensure he can have a heir to claim the throne. To do so, Miraz tries to have Caspian killed and lies to his fellow lords that Caspian was kidnapped by Narnians, scapegoating them upon realizing they weren't extinct. He later kills some Narnians during their attack to the Telmarine castle, uses Caspian's apparent treason to proclaim himself king and even tries to kill them at Aslan's How before reluctantly accepting the offer to fight Peter, trying to attack him behind his back and later trying to incite Caspian into killing him. That said, unlike his book counterpart (whom Misry6 told me that could have a possibility of being proposed), Miraz is given a few sympathethic qualities, such as his care for his newborn son and love for Prunasprismia (who in turn is far nicer than in the novel).
  • The Green Mist, in a departure of the novels, is the third villain in the series, due to the third book not actually having an antagonist, but unlike Jadis and Miraz, it doesn't have a personality or any apparent concrete goals: it's just a formless substance of, well, color green which just corrupts all those who come on its way. The intention of the filmmakers behind the Mist is that it was created by the Lady of the Green Kirtle, as they intended to adapt the fourth book next, but didn't get to do so, so this was never confirmed onscreen to be the case, which undboutedly makes the Green Mist a Generic Doomsday Villain.
  • Other minor yet notable villains in the trilogy are Maugrim, who is Jadis' Secret Police captain, but just does what she orders him to do (aside from taunting Edmund when mistaking him for an intruder) and never gets to kill anyone onscreen; Ginarrbrik, the sadistic dwarf henchman of Jadis who tries to kill Edmund out of random spite but nothing more; General Otmin, one of Jadis' commanding officers but who just follows orders and dies fighting for his queen; the above mentioned Glozelle, who assists Sopespian but sees the errors of his ways; the above mentioned Nikabrik, Hag and Werewolf; three fanatics of the White Witch who try to resurrect her to get rid of Miraz and Governor Gumpas, the slave master who rules the Lone Islands and sells slaves to others, sacrificing the ones he can't sell to the Green Mist (and this is why Gumpas will possibly be proposed later on as I mentioned at the proposal's introduction).

So, how can Sopespian stand out if he just needs to be compared to the most relevant villains in the trilogy? Well, first of all, along with his king, Sopespian is a normal human who lacks magic powers, so they can't be fairly compared to Jadis, a witch who uses her magic against her enemies. Sopespian has authority as a lord of Telmar, though not as much as Miraz, but makes up for his low resources with his manipulation, swaying Glozelle to his side and provoking his king into taking decisions to further his own goals (much like how the Knave of Hearts manipulates the Red Queen in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, for example). And secondly, unlike his master, Sopespian doesn't get any sympathethic moments as Miraz, who at least is shown to love his son and wife, evidently caring for them. Glozelle has a few redeeming qualities as well, as he seems to join Sopespian due to how horribly Miraz treats him and redeems himself after the battle, choosing to go to the Earth alongside Prunasprismia and Miraz's newborn son when Aslan offers some Telmarines to leave Narnia. As for Governor Gumpas, well, mass slavery is a unique crime, but guess what? Sopespian stands out mainly because he also commits a unique crime for the film series, which is genocide.

Granted, some of you will surely say that genocide isn't a unique crime in this franchise due to Jadis killing all the population (even her own family) of her homeworld Charn, but that specific detail was just confirmed in the sixth book (oh, excuse me, so much nostalgia, as my teacher told us that book in second grade), which wasn't adapted for the film series (though it got actually close to be produced, likely to cash on Tilda Swinton's performance as the White Witch). Thus, it's never confirmed if Jadis killed all of Charn in the film series (or even if Charn exists at all) and, from what we see in the first film, Jadis never says that she will exterminate the Narnians, but instead conquer them, so it can be said that Jadis is considerably less evil in the films. Well, she did order her army to not take prisoners during the Battle of Beruna, but it's obvious that not all Narnians were there (and if she killed them all, then who would be her subjects?) whereas Sopespian does state his intentions to kill all Narnians by asking his soldiers to "crush them all". Even if he doesn't say he wants to exterminate the Narnians, it's kinda obvious that he knew that all the Narnians would go extinct had his army destroyed Caspian's, as he was present in the meeting when Miraz assured Edmund that the Narnians would go extinct again if the Telmarines won.

Also, the genocide on the Narnians was indeed Miraz's idea, with him even referring to them as "vermin" and "cockroaches", all while scapegoating them to justify him taking over Caspian's rightful throne. However, not only Miraz still doesn't qualify due to his care for his wife and son, but there's also a detail that may go undetected at first glance: when the Narnians, the Pevensies and Caspian come up with the idea to duel Miraz, Glozelle suggests the possibility that the Narnians may surrender, though Miraz guesses that they are too much noble to do that, possibly meaning that perhaps if the Narnians surrendered to Miraz, he would have accepted their surrender and spared them. Not convinced? Well, let's also note that even if he wanted to refuse it, after Sopespian and Glozelle provoked him into accepting the duel, Miraz accepted it, and while he cheated at the end, he still accepted his defeat at Peter's hands and before being killed by Sopespian, he just says that he will deal with him later, instead of saying something like "We are not gonna surrender, so tell our troops to give no quarter!", implying that he wasn't going to go after the Narnians after Peter and Caspian defeated and spared him fair and square. As Miraz was killed immediately afterwards, we can't know for sure if he would have kept his promise or not, but Sopespian killed him to prevent him from forcing the Telmarines to surrender, so the battle that follows afterwards is Sopespian's fault.

One last thing that makes Sopespian stand out, however, is his kills. Most purely evil villains kill, of course, but Sopespian's kills are most significative for these reasons. As surprising as it sounds, most of the kills Jadis commits in her film aren't that important. Why? Because most of them are reversed later on. Her enemies whom she petrified? They are later revived by Aslan. Aslan himself? He later resurrects. Edmund? She mortally wounds him, but he is thankfully saved by his sister's cordial. Jadis also petrifies some Narnians during the Battle of Beruna, but it's easy to assume they were later revived. Well, there's an hypogriff whom Jadis petrifies and later crashes against a rock, shattering him, but it can be said that this was on self-defense and Jadis didn't even look where the hypogriff landed, so it can be said that it was just bad luck that the hypogriff landed against that rock. Governor Gumpas suffers a similar thing, as those he sends to the Green Mist are ultimately liberated after the Mist is destroyed (thought it seems to be a fate worse than death). As for Miraz, he kills two characters as far we know: he kills his brother Caspian IX, but such murder is offscreen, and during the Narnian attack on his castle cruelly throws the satyr Tyrus to his death, but to be fair, Glozelle had already mortally wounded Tyrus and Tyrus had tried to kill Miraz, so it makes some sense that Miraz did this: who else wouldn't be pissed off at their attempted killer?

But Sopespian personally kills no other than Miraz just for the sake of usurping him (Miraz did say that he will deal with Sopespian, but it's unknown if he meant that he would kill him or just severely punish him), sadistically taunting him that it's over by stabbing him with an arrow. But not with any arrow, with one of Susan's arrows, quickly incriminating the Narnians of killing Miraz. As such, this leads the Telmarines to fight the Narnians in a battle that claims the lives of several Narnians and Telmarines (some fans have calculated that there were more Telmarine casualties), making Sopespian responsible for the deaths of not only many of his enemies, but also of his own people. What makes this worse is that Sopespian knew that Peter offered Miraz to duel to the death so they would avoid the abominable effusion of blood, and still choose to kill Miraz and incriminate the Narnians, sending many Telmarines to their deaths unnecessarily. Yet Sopespian doesn't seem to care at all. All that Sopespian does in the battle actually is just watching from a safe distance how Gozelle commands his men fight the Narnians, how they catapult rocks against Aslan's How (crushing some Narnians in the process) and how his men, including Gozelle, are incapacitated by the trees. Really, at least Jadis and Miraz had the courage of fighting their own battles! Oh, and if that isn't enough proof of what a cowardly traitor Sopespian is, once he reaches the bridge and finds Lucy and Aslan waiting for them, he has the gall to order his men to follow him and kill them, being fully willing of killing a child. He even foolishly tries to kill the River God instead of jumping off the bridge seconds before the River God finishes him off, proving that unlike Glozelle, who had seconds thoughts upon nearly killing Caspian and changed for good, Sopespian stayed murderous and unsympathethic to the end. If anyone deserves to be mourned when he is consumed by the River God, that's his horse, as the poor horse didn't do anything bad.

In the end, Lord Sopespian is a sly, traitorous and genocidal advisor who conspires to take all the power for himself, provokes his king into making bad decisions so he can get what he wants and is quick to kill the man who presumably gave him his title yet blames it on his rivals to ensure his army wipes them while while he preferably stays safe watching how they pointlessly die.

MITIGATING FACTORS?

Unlike his book counterpart, who shared his hatred for the arrogant Miraz alongside Glozelle, Lord Sopespian's relationship with Miraz is a bit more fleshed out in the film, and given how Miraz is such a terrible boss despite a few sympathethic qualities compared to his book counterpart, it isn't hard to see why some of his men, like Glozelle, hate him. Overall, in the film Miraz has a somewhat mixed reputation, as some of his lords, like Sopespian, correctly guess that he is trying to rule and shouldn't rule considering that Caspian is the legitimate heir, while other lords think that they should give Miraz a try, not wanting to turn on him without proof. Whenever Miraz is in the room, however, Sopespian feigns praise for him him, like when he laments how Caspian disappeared the night Miraz was blessed with a son.

However, even if Sopespian thinks Miraz is unfit to rule and Miraz doesn't really like him, it seems that Miraz tolerates Sopespian despite his sarcasm, given how he accepted him within his inner circle. In addition, Sopespian is never physically abused by Miraz unlike Glozelle, whom Miraz slaps at one point and disrespects frequently, which means that Glozelle reasonably has more reasons to hate Miraz than Sopespian, hence why he accepts Sopespian's offer to team up. Yes, Miraz occasionally speaks badly to Sopespian, but mostly when Sopespian subtly annoys him. Thus, it was mainly Sopespian's thirst to power what led him to turn on Miraz instead of mistreatment.

On the other hand, the original book established that Sopespian and Glozelle are cousins, but such familiar relationship isn't mentioned in the film (and it's unlikely they are cousins, because when Sopespian first approaches Glozelle, he doesn't refer to him like someone would refer to one of his relatives) and it's more than clear that Sopespian just sees Glozelle as a pawn to his scheme, as he doesn't object when Miraz slaps Glozelle (even looking apparently amused at Glozelle's expense) and doesn't seem to mind that Glozelle risks his life while fighting against the Narnians, even leaving him and other soldiers to save him, so it's unlikely that he cared for Glozelle even if Glozelle cared for him.

Lastly, while he running away with his remaining army from the Narnians to Beruna's Bridge, Sopespian swears "For Beruna!". However, I don't think that he says this because he cares for Beruna (as he commanded his army to use their weapons over the land, so it's not like he cared for its plant life), possibly saying this to look good in front of his troops. Besides, it's possible that Sopespian was referring that they should go to Beruna by saying that. Too ambiguous to determine if he does care for the Narnian lands.

VERDICT

Taking all of this into account, I would say yes about considering Lord Sopespian to be approved as PE.

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