“The Silver Chair” by C.S. Lewis

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This year I will read all of the books in the Chronicles of Narnia series– five of them, and will complete a goal on my 2014 Manifesto. So curl up with a cup of hot coffee, your fuzzy socks and a blazing fire, and let’s get reading.

Narnia… where owls are wise, where some of the giants like to snack on humans, where a prince is put under an evil spell… and where the adventure begins. Eustace and Jill escape from the bullies at school through a strange door in the wall, which, for once, is unlocked. It leads to the open moor… or does it? Once again Aslan has a task for the children, and Narnia needs them. Through dangers untold and caverns deep and dark, they pursue the quest that brings them face to face with the evil Witch. She must be defeated if Prince Rilian is to be saved.

The Silver Chair follows The Voyage of the Dawn Treader with Prince Caspian as an old man, although Eustace has seen barley any time go by at all. Eustace and Jill learn that Prince Caspian’s wife met a terrible fate by a serpent – and that their son, Prince Rilian disappeared in his attempt to avenge her. Aslan needs the children to go on a journey to rescue the prince, as Caspian is nearing the end of his life without another heir. After Jill talks to Aslan and is given tasks to accomplish, and signs to remember, they show in the crowd of Narians just in time to see Prince Caspian leaving on a ship. With their first task bungled- ‘to greet [an old and dear friend] and if he does they will have good help.’ Eustace did not recognize Caspian in his old age, and Jill didn’t make the first task clear enough to him.

The second task is that they ‘must journey out of Narnia to the north till [they] come to the ruined city of the ancient giants. The third task is that they shall find writing on a stone in the ruined city, and they must do what the writing tells them. The fourth is that they will know the lost prince (if they find him) by this, that he will be the first person they have met in their travels who will ask them to do something in His name, in the name of Aslan.’ They start out on their journey and team up with Puddleglum, a Marshwiggle. They journey through giant country for a long, difficult time- until they reach a home that they believe holds friendly giants (as they were told by a passing queen), but in reality the giants plan on cooking them up and eating them.

After escaping from the giants they manage to literally fall into the Deep Realm, into a place called the Underland. This is where the Queen of the Deep Realm (who was the one that directed them to unknowingly become giant snacks) has kept Prince Rilian captive against his will for ten years with the aid of an enchanted chair. In the end, the chair is destroyed, the group escapes, and Prince Rilian makes it back to Narnia just in time for Caspian to bless him before he dies. The children find themselves back in Aslan’s land where they get to see Caspian again who is young again.

The major theme in The Silver Chair concerns following truth – the signs from Aslan- versus following falsehood which often appears to be true. Examples of false appearances include the disguise of the witch, the duplicity of the gentle giants, and the children’s misreading of the gnomes in Underland- whom they assume are after them following the demise of the evil witch, but were actually also under an enchantment she cast. Other themes include the image of Jesus/Aslan as the Living Water offering relief to our thirst, us laying down selfish pride, and Jesus/Aslan’s resurrection.

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