665: Prudence

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
Prudence
Moments later, the White Witch rolls up and, confused, tries to tempt the probe with a firmware upgrade.
Title text: Moments later, the White Witch rolls up and, confused, tries to tempt the probe with a firmware upgrade.

[edit] Explanation

This comic references the fantasy novel series "The Chronicles of Narnia" by C. S. Lewis. In the first book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Lucy discovers the fictional world of Narnia which can be accessed through a wardrobe, and she walks into it without ever considering the risks. Her three older siblings do not believe her, so she travels back alone again. But this second time her brother Edmond follows her, and he is seduced by the White Witch in order for her to be able to kill him and his three siblings (see title text explanation below). Thus proving that it was a rather dangerous move to just walk into the wardrobe.

The comic mocks the imprudent behavior shown by the protagonists Lucy of the novel, who enter the world of Narnia without knowing anything about its dangers. In the comic, Megan discovers the magical wardrobe while playing hide-and-seek, like in the book. Unlike Lucy in the original book, Megan does not precipitately set foot into Narnia. Instead, she fetches her technical equipment and sends a remote-controlled probe through the wardrobe door in order to sound the situation first.

The probe is clearly modeled after Mars rovers like Spirit and Opportunity, which Randall depicted for the first time only a few comics later in 681: Gravity Wells and then in 695: Spirit. The probe looks even more like the one in 1504: Opportunity. This also explains the title of the comic, as it is the name of Megan's probe. The naming scheme is similar to the two probes mentioned above that were already on Mars at the time of this comics release. And even more so like the upcoming Curiosity rover which was first launched two years after this comic, but had been named earlier in the year this comic was released. Lucy was curious in the first Narnia book, Megan is prudent in this comic..

The probe encounters Mr. Tumnus the faun with his umbrella at a lamppost in a snowy wood on the last panel. This picture is the first impression of Narnia in the novels and was apparently Lewis' original idea for the series.

The White Witch mentioned in the title text is the main antagonist in the novel. She originally lures Edmund with a hot drink and magical Turkish delight after her sleigh passes right by him. In the scenario mentioned in the title text, she is confused when she rolls up to the rover and then tries to tempt the probe with a firmware update accordingly.

The procedure of sending a probe first through a portal has also been used in the early Stargate episodes. This draws a parallel between the wardrobe in Narnia and the Stargate, both connecting two distant worlds. The stargate probe can be seen at here

Megan takes a scientific approach to Narnia again in a later comic. In that comic she uses the different passage of time in Narnia to her advantage (it usually runs much faster than on Earth). That effect would have been a problem with controlling the rover...

[edit] Transcript

[Megan is running towards a closed wardrobe.]
Voice (off-panel): Everyone hide! 99... 98... 97...
[Megan opens one of the two doors on the wardrobe.]
Wardrobe: click
[Megan is looking inside the wardrobe through the fully opened door.]
Megan: !!!
[Megan puts a hand to her chin.]
[Megan walks away.]
[Megan returns with an armful of electronics including lots of wires and a rover with wheels.]
[Megan is kneeling, typing on a laptop, which has a cord extending into the wardrobe.]
[In a forest with many tall leafless trees the Mars rover is approaching a lamppost with a lit candle. Behind it stands a faun with horns, goatee beard and hooves holding an umbrella.]


comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!

Discussion

Anyone else reminded of the MALP from Stargate? Portal to another world, the probe is similar in design, etc 141.101.99.228 19:14, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Exactly what I thought 108.162.229.48 16:47, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
The probe is similar to the Mars rovers Randall drew several times after this comic, and the naming is similar to Curiosity which was Lucy's problem rather than Megan's Prudence. But interesting with the probe through portal. Have moved this down to the bottom as it has nothing to do with explaining the comic. --Kynde (talk) 15:02, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
The design looks nothing like a MALP, and it requires a cable to work. I bet Monroe didn't even consider it. --Rhmcoff (talk) 03:33, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
I'm actually watching stargate right now as I read this! I agree, very MALP like!05:04, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

I'm curious to see what people think would happen in this scenario time-wise. In the book, time passes at a very different rate in Narnia than in the "real world" - in fact, at one point, the four protagonists grow to become adults in Narnia, yet when they accidentally return to the real world through the wardrobe, only a few minutes have passed. So if that detail is consistent here, Megan using a probe to observe Narnia from the "real world" side of the wardrobe should either cause a time paradox, or she should see things happening extremely fast through the probe. KieferSkunk (talk) 21:25, 25 June 2015 (UTC)

Mentioned the time problems in the explanation for the comic that used this fact. I belive that CS Lewis only intended to write the first book to begin with. The ending does't fit well with the behaviour of Narnia time in the next three Prince Caspian books. And hence the other books does paint a different picture of how Narnia time works, and this inconsistency makes the question hard to answer --Kynde (talk) 15:02, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
Personal tools
Namespaces

Variants
Actions
Navigation
Tools

It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal?