Doesn't the Royal Navy still exist? Why was the Thunder Child the only ship able to fight them? The navy had other ironclads.

1 Answer 1


Jeff Wayne's version, being as true to the novel as it could, was using the destruction of the Thunder Child as a simile for the failure of all humanity's conventional armed forces.

Yes, the Royal Navy had other ships, ironclad or not, but none fared any better.

About a couple of miles out lay an ironclad, very low in the water, almost, to my brother’s perception, like a water-logged ship. This was the ram Thunder Child. It was the only warship in sight, but far away to the right over the smooth surface of the sea—for that day there was a dead calm—lay a serpent of black smoke to mark the next ironclads of the Channel Fleet, which hovered in an extended line, steam up and ready for action, across the Thames estuary during the course of the Martian conquest, vigilant and yet powerless to prevent it.

Wayne was absolutely being true to Wells' original vision. He wanted people to see their warriors fail in heroic sacrifice.

That one scene was the best they accomplished, on every front against the Martians.

"No-one and nothing was left now to fight them. The Earth belonged to the Martians."

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    When I listen to the "Thunderchild Battle" / song on the album I still give a small "c'mon Thunderchild, come on!"
    – Blaze
    Commented Apr 1, 2022 at 23:32
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    @Blaze - Yeah, so do I. And I think that is part of Jeff Wayne's brilliance. He makes you root for the underdog, even though you know full well it's going to lose. Commented Apr 1, 2022 at 23:34
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    Such a great album
    – Broklynite
    Commented Apr 2, 2022 at 1:31
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    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torpedo_ram Commented Apr 2, 2022 at 13:40
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    @Jontia That's why I always found the movie adaptations that give the Martians invulnerable force fields are less effective. It just sets up the expectation for the standard "invincible foe will be defeated when the plucky heroes find their one weakness" tropes, rather than evoking despair. Whereas the original story has the Martians being perfectly mortal; we kill a few of their fighting machines. But it's abundantly clear that our technology has no hope of winning the war.
    – Ben
    Commented Apr 2, 2022 at 23:52

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