Digory Kirke

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Bio Info

Titles: Professor Digory Kirke, Lord Digory

Age: 12 (MN), 52 (LWW), 61 (LB)

Species: Son of Adam

Home: London, England (MN); the English countryside (LWW)

Physical Description: No description as a boy; as the elderly Professor, he has shaggy white hair that grows over most of his face and head, and is a bit odd-looking; in Aslan's country, he has a golden beard that flows over his chest and a face full of wisdom

Tools: Magic rings

First Appearance: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Ch. 1 (1950)


Appearances

~ The Magician's Nephew ~ (1955)

Digory is staying with his Uncle Andrew and Aunt Letty while his mother is ill when he meets the neighbor girl, Polly Plummer. Their adventures begin when they explore the attic that connects their row of houses. They end up in Uncle Andrew's study where they are transported to another world by touching Uncle Andrew's magic rings. They find themselves in the Wood Between the Worlds, and decide to explore other worlds in the pools there. When they leap into one pool, they enter the dying world of Charn, where they find a gallery with wax-like figures and a pedestal with a bell and a hammer on it. Digory strikes the bell and awakens the last figure, Queen Jadis. When Digory and Polly touch their rings to escape Charn, Jadis catches hold of them and they bring her back with them to Uncle Andrew's study. Digory realizes that he must stop Jadis from wreaking havoc in London and manages to transport her back to the Woods. When they arrive, Digory and Polly realize they have brought not only Jadis, but Strawberry, Uncle Andrew, and Frank the Cabby as well. When they jump into a pool that they mistakenly think is Charn, they witness the creation of Narnia by the great Lion Aslan. Digory must undo the wrong he has done to Narnia in bringing Jadis there, and Aslan sends Polly and Strawberry (renamed Fledge and turned into a flying horse by Aslan) with Digory. They fly north to a hill with a garden on it, where Digory picks one of the apples as Aslan told him. As he turns to leave, he meets the Witch, who tempts him to take the apple to heal his mother. Digory refuses the Jadis's temptations and brings the apple to Aslan, who commands Digory to throw the apple into the river bank where it quickly grows into the tree that will protect Narnia. After the coronation of King Frank and Queen Helen, Aslan allows Digory to pick an apple to take back to his mother and then sends them home. Digory's mother is healed and Digory plants the apple core, which grows into the tree that is eventually used to make the Wardrobe.

~ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe ~ (1950)

The Professor is kind enough to allow the four Pevensies to move in to his home in the country during the bombing of London. While the children are staying with him, Lucy and Edmund discover Narnia in the Wardrobe upstairs. Concerned for their sister, Susan and Peter go to the Professor to explain the situation and ask for advice. They are stunned when the Professor asks them, "How do you know that your sister's story is not true?" He then explains that there are only three logical possiblities: either Lucy is lying, she has gone mad, or she is telling the truth. After the Pevensies' amazing adventure in Narnia, they return to the Professor's house and tell him the entire story to explain why his four fur coats are missing from the Wardrobe. The Professor tells them not to worry about the coats and that they will return to Narnia someday, but it will happen when they are not looking for it.

~ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader ~ (1952)

The Professor tutors Peter while Mr. and Mrs. Pevensie are visiting America.




~ The Last Battle ~ (1956)

Professor Digory and the other friends of Narnia are gathered together in England when King Tirian suddenly appears before them. They all sense that something is wrong, and decide to recover the magic rings so that Eustace and Jill can go back to Narnia to help. Digory tells Peter and Edmund to go to his old house in London and dig up the rings. Digory is with the others on the train when it crashes. Immediately after that, they find themselves in another world where Digory realizes that he and Polly are younger. Digory meets Tirian when Tirian throws himself through the stable door, and witnesses night falling on Narnia. Digory goes "further up and further in" with the others as Aslan leads them to His country.


About Digory

In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Professor Digory Kirke is introduced as a somewhat mysterious elderly gentleman defined by his logical thinking. He stuns Peter and Susan when they go to him for advice by suggesting that Lucy's story about finding another world in the upstairs wardrobe could logically be true. When the children return from Narnia and tell him about their adventures, he accepts their story without the slightest doubt. Later when Lewis wrote The Magician's Nephew as a prequel, the Professor's acceptance of the possibility of other worlds becomes clearer; he has been to Narnia himself as the boy Digory, and in fact witnessed its creation. Through Digory, Lewis demonstrates that logic and magic are not contrary to one another.


Inspiration

Professor Digory Kirke was modeled on Lewis' tutor W. T. Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick (nicknamed "Kirk" and the "Great Knock") was known for his emphasis on logic, reason, and clear thinking, and his influence on the 16-year-old Lewis was incalculable.


Quotes

  • "And I suppose you've sent Polly into it then. And all I can say, even if you are my Uncle—is that you've behaved like a coward, sending a girl to a place you're afraid to go to yourself." (MN, Ch. 2)
  • "There's not much point in finding a magic ring that lets you into other worlds if you're afraid to look at them when you've got there." (MN, Ch. 4)
  • "And, if you think I'm such a mean pig as to go off and leave Polly—and the Cabby—and the horse in a place like this, you're well mistaken." (MN, Ch. 8)
  • "Please—Mr Lion—Aslan—Sir, could you—may I—please, will you give me some magic fruit of this country to make Mother well?" (MN, Ch. 11)
  • "Logic! Why don’t they teach logic at these schools? There are only three possibilities. Either your sister is telling lies, or she is mad, or she is telling the truth. You know she doesn’t tell lies and it is obvious that she is not mad. For the moment then and unless any further evidence turns up, we must assume that she is telling the truth.” (LWW, Ch. 5)
  • "Yes, of course you’ll get back to Narnia again some day. Once a King in Narnia, always a King in Narnia. But don’t go trying to use the same route twice. Indeed, don’t try to get there at all. It’ll happen when you’re not looking for it." (LWW, Ch. 17)
  • "I saw it begin. I did not think I would live to see it die." (LB, Ch. 14)
  • "When Aslan said you could never go back to Narnia, he meant the Narnia you were thinking of. But that was not the real Narnia. That had a beginning and an end." (LB, Ch. 16)


Portrayals

  • Jim Broadbent: Disney/Walden The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, 2005

Born: 24 May 1949






  • John Woodnut (LWW/LB), Nathaniel Lippiett (MN): Focus on the Family Radio Theater, 1999 – 2002


  • Michael Aldridge: BBC TV series, 1988 – 1990







  • Maurice Denham (LWW/LB), Simeon Pearl (MN): BBC Radio Tales of Narnia


  • Leo McKern/Dick Vosburgh: LWW TV animated film, 1979







  • Jack Woolgar: LWW TV series, 1967
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