Narniathon: The Silver Chair
THE SILVER CHAIR is the fourth book in the Narniad (in published order). I finished reading it for the Narniathon21 I’m participating in on Thursday of last week. (The Narniathon’s hosted by Chris at Calmgrove.)
This is the only book in the Narniad that I remembered nothing from my previous read 14 years ago. Okay, I remembered that Eustace Scrubbs was one of the main characters, but that’s it. Other than that, I was basically reading this installment as if it were my first time again. I thought once I started rereading THE SILVER CHAIR, the story would come back to me–it didn’t.
I really liked THE SILVER CHAIR. It was a lot different than the previous three books, which I found kind of refreshing. I did get annoyed by the owls “tu-whoos” and Puddleglum’s negativity, but not enough to make me hate the story. There were also a couple of times I was frustrated because I understood what was happening a lot sooner than the characters did (e.g. Autumn feast, Rilian’s enchantment). I had to remind myself that these are children’s books so I wouldn’t get too mad, lol.
I thought the allegory was more subtle in THE SILVER CHAIR than in the previous installments of the Narniad until the end, anyway. Then the allegory is obvious when Aslan asks Eustace to pierce his paw with a thorn. Even though the imagery’s unmistakable, I thought how Lewis tied it in with Caspian’s death was beautiful. It’s my favorite ending so far in the series.
The more subtle parts of the allegory are the four signs that Aslan gives to Jill to follow so she and Eustace can find Prince Rilian. Aslan tells her to recite them when she wakes up in the morning and before she goes to sleep at night so she doesn’t forget them. Over on Chris’ blog, he commented:
I think Aslan’s insistence that Jill repeat the Four Signs rubric morning and night is deliberately redolent of saying prayers before and after sleep.
I agree that by having Jill recite the signs like Aslan asks, the signs are reminiscent of morning and nightly prayers. And, the fact that Jill, Eustace, and Puddleglum don’t recognize the signs before they come upon them reminds me of the “signs of the times” that Christians look for as signals of Christ’s second coming. As a Christian, I’ve been brought up to believe the “signs of the times” can help me prepare and be ready for when Christ comes to reign again on the earth.
I also think, and I don’t think I’m alone, that there are many interpretations of the signs. Look at the book of Revelations, for example. Scholars and theologians can speculate what they think John the Revelator meant by what he wrote. And, I think we’re all going to be surprised as to what he meant by what he wrote when everything happens. (This is, of course, if you believe like I do that the book of Revelations is a book of things to come.)
I also thought of the signs in conjunction with following Christ’s commandments. Jill and Eustace do their best to follow the signs. They try to keep their minds from getting confused as Aslan warns. They, as Jill puts it, “muff it up” a few times. Aslan is gracious and forgiving and gives them many chances to follow the signs as Christ does with us. I believe as long as we’re trying to follow Christ and do good, He will give us as many chances as we need to follow Him and do as He asks.
I’m looking forward to reading THE HORSE AND HIS BOY this month. It’s one of my favorite installments in the Narniad.
Have you read THE SILVER CHAIR? Did you like it? Why? Why not?
Beautiful review. One day I want to read the Narnia series.
Thank you, Wendy! I hope you like the series when you do read it. Read it in publication order not chronological order. It’s better that way.
I appreciate your analysis of the signs and the connection to the end times. I was just alking to a friend not long ago about how some Christians see the end times and use it as an excuse to not care about social issues like climate change because why should it matter if the end is nigh? I think Lewis was using vagueness like Christ used parables or how the prophets would report what they foresaw without context. Whatever it was, I found this book refreshing, also.
My husband and I talk about what seems to be some Christians’ apathy toward social issues or their deliberate antagonism toward everything that to me seems opposite of Christ’s teachings (e.g. inclusion, charity, philanthropy). I think it’s important to try to change the world for the better despite, as you say, “the end is nigh.”
Wonderful discussion post. I have read this but so long ago that I no longer remember the story. Maybe it’s time for me to read these again!
Thanks, Louise! 🙂 You should read it again. It was fun to experience the story again.
Yes, I have read The Silver Chair! It has been a fair few years since my last re-read though, but I do remember enjoying this one, even if it isn’t a favourite of mine from the series. Reading your thoughts makes me think I need to plan a re-read soon! 🙂
I’d be very interested in hearing your thoughts about the whole series if you do decide to reread the series. 😀