Doctor Who’s Ecocritical Revisit to Narnia

Akgün B.

Litera: Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, vol.33, no.1, pp.91-106, 2023 (ESCI)


This article analyses the writers Steven Moffat and Sydney Newman and the director Farren Blackburn’s Doctor Who Christmas Special episode titled “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe” (2011) as a retelling of C. S. Lewis’s The Magician’s Nephew (1955) and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950) with cross-references to the two books in the light of ecocritical theory. Employing Jane Caputi’s terminology, the article argues that “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe” is an invocation of the “Mutha,’” that is, Mother Nature-Earth. The article asserts that as opposed to Digory’s ill mother Mabel and not so brave or competent Susan and Lucy respectively in the first and second books and unlike what Father Christmas claims in the second book, Madge, akin to the “Mutha,’” demonstrates in the episode through her kindness, resilience, and wits that battles do not get ugly when women come to the aid of those that are in danger—be they human or non-human. It illustrates that the books accommodate both arcadian and imperial ecologies whereas the episode offers arcadian ecology as a countermeasure against imperial ecology. This article states that the episode not only condemns wars and ecocide like the two books do, but also refers to the imperialism and colonialism and rectifies the speciesism and sexism in the two books.