This was like cold water down the back to Scrubb and Jill; for it seemed to them very likely that the words had nothing to do with their quest at all, and that they had been taken in by a mere accident.
“Don’t you mind him,” said Puddleglum. “There are no accidents. Our guide is Aslan; and he was there when the giant King caused the letters to be cut, and he knew already all things that would come of them; including this.” (p. 154)
Just as in any good fantasy story, we find this sixth book of C.S. Lewis’ with Aslan giving Jill a quest: she must obey the four signs he gives her to seek a lost prince until she has either found him or died in the attempt.
Of course, once we are given a clear set of instructions what’s the first thing that’s bound to happen? We forget exactly what they are. Or, we doubt their veracity.
When Jill and Eustace meet the Prince he is disguised as a knight. He warns them that he is under an enchantment which causes him to turn into a serpent. When they seem him bound to the silver chair they must not, under any condition, release him no matter how much he pleads with them to do so. They agree to this, and then they see the spell come over him and hear him say after much entreaty, “Once and for all,” said the prisoner, “I adjure you to set me free. By all fears and all loves, by the bright skies of Overland, by the great Lion, by Aslan himself, I charge you-“
What are they to do? In one state he begs them not to listen to his pleas. In another, he begs them to release him. It’s a dreadful conundrum. Until they understand that they really have only one choice.
“Oh, if only we knew!” said Jill.
“I think we do know,” said Puddleglum.
“Do you mean you thing everything will come right if we do untie him?” said Scrubb.
“I don’t know about that,” said Puddleglum. “You see, Aslan didn’t tell Pole what would happen. He only told her what to do. That fellow will be the death of us once he’s up, I shouldn’t wonder. But that doesn’t let us off following the sign.”
I can’t tell you what happens; that would only ruin the surprise of this powerful novel. I could hardly call it a children’s novel because the theology is so deep, and yet, it is presented in a childlike way for us all to understand.
In my journeys through the internet, I found this wonderful site which has announced that The Silver Chair will be made into a film by Disney in May, 2011. And surely by now every one has heard that Prince Caspian will be released May 16, 2008. So, hurry up! Read the books before they are spoiled by, I mean before you see, the movies.
C.S. Lewis always comforts me in my own personal Quest…