Friday, September 18, 2015

The Silver Chair

The Silver Chair
© 1953 C.S. Lewis
217 pages

Escaping from bullies in their oppressively modern boarding school, Eustace Scubbs and his friend Jill Pole opened a door and promptly fell into Narnia. Visits to Narnia always come unexpectedly, and never without purpose.  Though only a year has passed since Eustance's sea voyage with Caspian, Lucy, Edmund, and their Narnian comrades, a lifetime has passed for the friends left behind. Young Caspian is now an aged, bearded king driven to despair over his son, ten years missing. According to story, he was last seen in the company of a beautiful woman, dressed in green, while hunting for a serpent which killed his mother. A dozen of Narnian lords have ventured into the northern wastes where the Prince was last seen in the hopes of finding him, to no avail: they never come back. Now it's time to send in the A-Team:   Aslan, and the heroes he has chosen.  Armed with four signs and a very pessimistic frog-thing,  Eustace and Jill journey into the land of the giants and discover the truth of the prince's captivity.  If only they listened more;  they might have known that the lady in green who greeted them in the giant lands, and referred them to a Giantish city ("they'd love to have you for the August feast") was up to no good.  Previous Narnian adventures have seen innocents in distress rescued, mysterious objects returned to their rightful owners, beasts dispatched, spells broken   -- but now the heroes, like Odysseus, must descend into the Underworld, fighting their own fears along the way. Jill, like the other children thrown into Narnia's animal-dramas, proves resilient. Despite missing clue after clue, they continue to rise to the occasion -- as they do when the Witch, having captured them deep within the bowels of the Earth, attempts to enchant them into believing her realm is the summation of reality, and that their memories of Aslan and the skies above are mere dreams. Pleasant dreams, to be sure, but dreams nontheless.   Some dreams, however, have more weight than reality, and so they fight on.

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