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Digory Kirke

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Professor Digory Kirke
Digory Kirke
Character information
Years alive
Home

England

Gender

Male

Species

Human

Relatives

Mabel Kirke (mother),
Andrew Ketterley (uncle),
Letitia Ketterley (aunt)

Affiliation

Old Narnians

Appearances

The Magician's Nephew,
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,
The Last Battle

"Why don't they teach logic at these schools?"
―Digory Kirke [src]


Professor Digory Kirke (1888-1949) was a man from London who had traveled to Narnia in his earlier life.

As a young boy in London, England, Digory lived with his Aunt Letty and Uncle Andrew, who were siblings to his ill mother.

It was during this time that Digory befriended a young girl named Polly Plummer, which led to his first trip to Narnia.

He and Polly were the only Friends of Narnia to witness both the creation and destruction of Narnia.

The Creation of Narnia

RingsReduced

The magic rings used by Digory and Polly to travel between worlds.

Charn

As a young boy, Digory and Polly first visited Narnia by use of the magic rings. Digory's Uncle Andrew made sets of rings that allowed their wearers to travel to other worlds (of completely different universes) by first passing through the Wood Between the Worlds.

Uncle Andrew tricked Polly into trying a ring, then when she disappeared, he blackmailed Digory into going after her. After passing through the Wood Between the Worlds and finding Polly, they decided to jump into a pool at random, after first marking the pool that would lead them home.

The one that they chose led to a world called Charn, which had long since been destroyed of all life, save one.

Digory unwittingly broke an enchantment, by ringing a small bell, which accidentally released Charn's former Empress, and its destroyer, Jadis (who later became known as the White Witch).

After they released her, they tried to escape, but she followed the children back into the Wood. Though she was weak there, the Empress managed to arrive with Digory and Polly back in London.

London and Narnia

Jadis caused a good deal of commotion in the city before Digory, Polly, Andrew and Jadis, along with a cab driver and his horse, were transported to the newly born world of Narnia.

Because Digory had been the one who had brought Jadis, a great evil, into Narnia on the day of its birth, the world's creator, Aslan, sent him on a journey to help protect the land from her. He was sent to find an apple from a sacred tree, which would protect Narnia centuries to come.

Upon his arrival at the Garden of Youth, he found that Jadis had followed him there, and had already eaten one of the trees' fruits, thus making herself immortal. She tried to persuade him to not plant the tree that would lead to her banishment; first by encouraging him to eat the fruit himself, telling him that it would make him alive and young forever, and they could control Narnia together. Second, to give the fruit to his dying mother instead, assuring him that it would cure her of her illness.

Fortunately, Digory was able to resist both temptations, and even rebuffed her angrily. After his refusal, Jadis immediately set out toward the north, far from Narnia.

After he returned with the apple, Digory planted it, and it and grew into a magical tree called The Tree of Protection.

For his bravery, and his defiance of Jadis, Aslan gave Digory a piece of the fruit from the first tree, to take back with him to Earth, to give it to his ill and bedridden mother. The fruit healed her of her illness, and she lived to a ripe old age.

When the fruit was eaten to its core, Digory took the core and planted it in his yard. The tree grew just as well as its sister tree in Narnia, and seemed to have a link to the other tree - it sometimes moved when there was no wind...at least not in London. The tree was eventually blown down and its wood was used to build a wonderful Wardrobe.

The Wardrobe

Wardrobe

The wardrobe Digory had crafted from the felled apple tree.

Decades later, when Digory had become known as Professor Kirke, his wardrobe became the door by which Lucy, Edmund, Peter and Susan Pevensie made their first journey into Narnia.

When Lucy told the others about her visit to Narnia, Digory was quick to believe her - perhaps recalling his own trip to that world. The Tree of Protection had by then long since been destroyed, giving Jadis free reign over the world, until the Pevensies helped to vanquish her.

Some time later, Professor Kirke moved from his large country estate to a very small home, where he tutored Peter Pevensie. Periodically, the three younger ones (Susan, it was said, no longer believed in Narnia), along with their cousin Eustace Scrubb, Jill Pole and Polly, would get together to talk about their adventures in Narnia. It was at a time such as this that Tirian, the current king of Narnia, came to them like a ghost to ask for help.

The Real Narnia

Feeling that the spectre they had seen was surely Narnian, the six of them knew they had to find a way to get back. Digory suggested that the only way was to use the rings his uncle made years ago. Peter and Edmund were tasked to retrieve the rings while the other four took a trip by train to meet them. However, this led to the railway accident, which took the lives of all six. They did not know that they were dead, for they woke up, as it were, in Narnia.

As the final battle came to its conclusion, bringing with it the destruction of the Shadowlands and the reunion of all good Narnians in the true Narnia, Digory and the other Friends would live forever in Aslan's Country with him.

"It's all in Plato, all in Plato: bless me, what do they teach them at these schools!"
―Digory about Aslan's Country and the Shadowlands[src]

Behind the Scenes

Image

Michael Aldridge as Digory in the 1988 BBC miniseries adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

  • In the 1967 version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Digory was portrayed by Jack Woolgar.
  • In the 1979 version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Digory was voiced by Leo McKern.
  • In the 1988 version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Digory was portrayed by Michael Aldridge.
  • In the 2005 Disney film, Digory was portrayed by Jim Broadbent.
  • A curious coincidence is that Jim Broadbent, who plays Digory in the movie, played Professor Slughorn in the Harry Potter movies, which is coincidental as J.K. Rowling named two of her characters (Cedric Diggory and Kirke) after Digory.
Aslan-PC "Well done, son of Adam. For this fruit you have hungered and thirsted and wept."

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