Harry Gregson-Williams Comments on Narnia Music Composition, Dawn Treader

Harry Gregson-Williams, the composer for the first two Narnia films, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, was recently interviewed by a reporter for Examiner.  He talks about how he first landed the job of the Narnia movies, as well as how David Arnold took over those responsibilities on The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  I know from my interview with David Arnold, that they are friends.  Here’s where Narnia came up in the interview:

How do you “know” when it is time to pass the torch? I was surprised to see David Arnold’s name attached to the new CHRONICLES OF NARNIA movie instead of yours.

With all due respect to David, I didn’t pass him any torch, nor did he grab the torch from me. The way that these things happen is quite natural, actually, and it is for the good of everybody, really. You could ask yourself then, “How is it that Harry Gregson-Williams got to score the first two CHRONICLES OF NARNIA movies?” And I’ll tell you quite simply: Andrew Adamson.

I knew him, because I had done the first two SHREK movies with him (which he directed), and then he moved on to do his third film, which happened to be THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. And he basically took me with him. So I was very fortunate to do that! And when he did PRINCE CASPIAN, he asked me to do it, too.

Now, he was NOT asked to do the third film. Another director had already established a relationship with a composer, who turned out to be David Arnold. Now, I would be extremely bummed out if Andrew was asked to do the fourth NARNIA movie and ended up asking David to score it.

Read the rest of the interview at Examiner


  1. Thanks for posting that! I’d been wondering what exactly their relationship (and similar relationships between different composers for a single series) was like. Glad to see they don’t seem mad at each other or anything!

  2. I was kind of sad when I first found out that Harry Gregson-Williams wasn’t composing for the third movie. But I think David Arnold’s not bad too, I think they both did a great job. Although I would still hope that Gregson-Williams is going to compose for the fourth movie.

  3. I loved the new score! I’m just happy there were no hard feelings. I wonder what he thought of how David incoorperated the older themes (I thought it was done brilliantly). I wonder what he thought of it at all!:)

    But again, the new score was awesome! Even my brother (who’s not one for music in movies– he only goes for Owl City) was like: ‘wow! That music was amazing!’ 🙂 My soundtrack might get here today! I can’t wait!! 😀 I ordered it before the movie and was so stinking afraid I wouldn’t like it– but I couldn’t believe how wonderful the music was!! 🙂

    • HAHA about the Owl City…I was actually listening to Owl City while I read the comments (and I still am). In fact, I was listening to “To The Sky,” Owl City’s song for the movie The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. How ironic!

  4. Harry Gregson-Williams’ score was a MILLION times more inspiring, beautiful, iconic, and fitting! I acually loved it so much I bought some tracks! Sure, they’re both “movie music”, but David Arnold’s was nothing BUT movie music. If they go on to The Silver Chair, they better get Harry Gregson-Williams or ditch David Arnold and get a real musician…but that will never happen with Michael Apted as director of course…

    • No offense, but your comment is bordering on ignorance. Any person would only have to listen to his score from Amazing Grace to realize that the man knows what he’s doing. The thing I liked the most about Dawn Treader’s score is that it was different. It wasn’t the same kind of music as the first two, something that was sorely needed. Gregson-Williams didn’t hardly have any variety on the 2nd film. It was practically LWW’s score, with a few additions. That gets old and boring very quickly.

      • I don’t think the second score was AS similar as you think. Look at the battle songs and some of the more sinister scores. I know that some of the same notes are there (I’ve played a lot of the music on with my orchestra) but those are active themes which are important in connecting the two movies. I think that for the purposes of the movies it worked. It’s good that this third soundtrack is different then the first two, because this is a totally different type of adventure while the first two were more war like.

      • Almost every song on the PC soundtrack contains music that was literally copied-and-pasted in from the LWW score. Totally not acceptable. However, if Gregson-Williams doesn’t repeat that and returns for future films, I will be very happy. I missed all his previous themes.

      • OK, i take back my thoughts on David Arnold….I LOVED the amazing grace soundtrack. i didn’t know he was the one that composed it. STILL, Harry Gregson-Williams + Narnia + Andrew Adamson = PERFECTION

      • No offence, but anyone who has actually listened to the first two score heard that they are thrilling. Changing a composer without keeping the main themes is kind of wrong, on that case (changing the composer as well, for that matter). George Lucas cooperated on 6 movies with John Williams, who didn’t change the score over 30 years. And Star Wars’ scores don’t get a bit old throughout the 6 movies and the years. Changing the sound of a movie, especially that one, takes away a part of Narnia’s magic. This movie’s score is not brilliant, it’s ok, but definitely not up to the first two’s.
        And as much as I loved David Arnold’s other movies’ score, this one is not really original. This is a big mix between some pretty famous scores, and it might be good, it doesn’t add up to the images on the screen.

  5. In my opinion, David Arnold did a good job, but Harry Gregson-Williams did a much better one. Somehow, his music gave the film a more magical feel. I would love to see Andrew Adamson return to direct The Silver Chair. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was good, but not near as good as it could have been if Adamson was at the helm. Narnia is his series, it’s just as simple as that. He is familiar with the way he has done it from the beginning, the actors love him, and Narnia felt like Narnia in the first two films. I’m not bashing Dawn Treader, I’m just praising LWW and PC. LOL, someone should start a facebook page for Adamson to direct Silver Chair and see if we can get enough people to like it. Hey, it worked on Betty White.

    • So…you would have had Narnia do worse because of Adamson? Nobody would have seen the movie had Adamson’s name been on it. And I really don’t think that people will flock back to the series if his name is on TSC. Why? Too many fans were upset with his butchering of Prince Caspian; I personally would have thought “well, since Adamson is directing the film, it won’t be anything like the book”, and I’m not a book purist. That’s another reason why Narnia hasn’t done so well, IMO.

      They should find somebody who has had no involvement with narnia whatsoever to direct the next film. Having somebody unknown to Narnia fans in terms of directing Narnia films would be the best route.

    • I am with you Josh…I enjoy a movie based on how the theme and music collaborate and make me feel…I felt everything for the first movie..the feelings experienced for that movie will rest with me throughout life…the second movie was good…I enjoyed the two of them but the third movie, I did not purchase for it left me wanting-both the quality of the film and the music score….I truly hope that the original duo return for the next film..

  6. Oh, and did nobody consider the fact that the SCRIPT plays a big role in the film? No, of course not. Let’s blame the people most convenient to blame.

  7. I hope Andrew Adamson will direct the Silver Chair. He did such a great job on PC and LWW. I think that whoever scored VDT would make it sound very different because VDT is a very different story. I think that SC should sound a lot more like PC and LWW. I like both composers, but I would love to hear Harry Gregson-Williams score SC.

  8. I like how it’s worked out so far.

    As much as i like Adamson’s way with Narnia (big fan of PC), it works really well with Narnia having movies that are their own as much as the individual stories are singular from the previous ones. I hope we get another Adamson Narnia but too soon to do it now i think.

    Michael Apted would be good for Magician’s Nephew i think, it is episodic and probably more studio staged type of production again for the most part. Also it would lend itself to more of a sci-fi interpretation, all be it, within the Narnia chronicles as they really are going to diff. worlds rather than diff. islands and Jadis is kinda an alien in it, so it could all kinda afit well with a HG Wells staging of a Narnia story, which i don’t think would be incompatible with Michael Apted’s older more traditional english sensibilities to adventure.

    Silver Chair to me is more of a ‘sweeping’ hans christain anderson fairy tale & i would have someone new do that. The one who did the not so distant Peter Pan adaptation was good working with the younger actors and basically made a great kids fairytale in that job, but i would have Silver Chair being slightly more edgy than that so it is a fairy tale for young and old more, with a slightly more çold clammy evil enchantment running through it. Having fun with the Giants and puddlegum but leaving the Rilian enchantment/tradgedy and Lady of the Green Kirtle as is. So much potential for that resonance in film in relation to all other arcs to be totally awesome.
    Then I would bring Andrew Adamson back for Horse and his Boy, and do another sweeping Prince Caspian fantasy intrigue as Narnia is learnt about & journeyed to from another country in that realm. But it’s all really too early to say with certainty anything much:) maybe will have better/more useful idea/comments depending on what’s in store in any effort to make the next one if meant to be.

  9. I almost cried when i saw that Harry Gregson-Williams would not be composing the VDT soundtrack. the music for the first 2 narnia movies was so, so, perfect. it TOTALLY captured the Narnia feel. He is amazing and so is Andrew Adamson. I love them both. Nothing against david arnold or Michael apted but i think that andrew and harry make the bestset team and i love them.


  11. Just saw it today and HARRY GREGSON-WILLIAMS music is buy far more of the Narnia “feel”. He establish it’s key theme and anthem for the movie and even though it was mentioned 2 times with David composing, it still wasn’t as great as Harry’s.

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