The Silver Chair (Once Upon A Time Challenge II Book 1)

(first edition cover)
“…the filling up of the cuts with rubble, has left only two words that can still be read. Is it not the merriest jest in the world that you should have thought they were written to you?”

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…

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15 thoughts on “The Silver Chair (Once Upon A Time Challenge II Book 1)”

  1. I've only read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but I received a nice all-in-one collection of the stories recently. I really need to dive back in. I love C.S. Lewis, so I really can't believe I've never finished the series!

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  2. Andi, I felt the same way. I've read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe more times than I can count (my mother read it to me when I was five years old!), as well as The Magician's Nephew. But, I could never get into the other books in the series. This time, I determined to finish each one. I actually think, though, that they're better suited for adults in some ways. I hope you dive back in and get as much from them as I am now.

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  3. I admire anyone, who can sit back take a book written for children and enjoy it, even though it's not the target audience. I definitely, definitely couldn't finish the Chronicles of Narnia, not even one book and I am closest to age of the target audience. I do compliment the author of the originality and beauty of his world and I bow down to that since I love world building. I am just sad that I missed it, when I should have read it.

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  4. I'd really like to read these books someday. I read LWW in 4th grade, but I can only remember certain specifics (saw parts of the movie on the plane but mostly slept through it). I admire someone who can write a book that is targeted towards children but can still captivate adults.

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  5. I didn't know they had scheduled to film more Narnia movies beyond Prince Caspian. That is pretty cool. Although the movies could never live up to the books, I did think they did a decent job of at least not completely screwing them up.I love this series, and I lost track of how many times I reread them when I was younger. I really should pick them up again, they are such fun books with a lot of depth, like you said.

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  6. Daydream, I wonder why it is you could never, ever finish the Chronicles of Narnia? Do you dislike the underlying themes, or the characters, or something else? I, too, like the originality and beauty of his world, and I would love our to include Talking Beasts. (Since I normally like animals more than humans in the first place. :)Trish, I admire that quality as well, when an author can appeal to all ages. I find that true of all the really exceptional books. I've read books aloud to my third graders and just been enraptured; as much as they are!Kim, I hope that Disney doesn't screw it up (the filming of all the books). They seemed to do a fairly good job with The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, but I don't trust Disney with their penchant for making things real into fake. Or, things quiet into loud and colorful. Disney is just too much In Your Face, although I'm sure I'm in the minority in my disdain of them.

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  7. It's more about the way it was written and it was writen for children. I can't put my finger on what exactly it is that makes me unable to read, but it's like that for me and it's somewhere along the lines how the book is written.

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  8. Children's books are interesting. I think there is a definite 'magical' period of youth in which they ideally should be experienced and then I think there is a period where perhaps they are not so appreciated. However I think as we grow older, and especially as we have children, reading YA fiction can be done with eyes that we did not possess when we were children. That, to me, opens up an entirely new 'magic' to the books than that which is experienced as a child. Part of me certainly wishes I had read various books: The Lewis books, the Tolkien books, when I was a kid. However the reality is that I have gotten so much more out of the experience as an adult. I can look at them and see the depth of the mythology, etc. and that is solely because I am older and more well read and am bringing so much more to the experience.I haven't been disappointed with the movies thus far (the first at least) and the second looks good as far as trailers go. I think these are being made by people who have a heart to bring the books to the screen. Although if you know anything about film making at all you know that there is no way to do a true adaptation as films and books are just structured differently. I am impressed thus far. We'll see how the next one goes.

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  9. Becca, he's almost like a devotional for me, but in a good way not a preachy way. Just a reminder of what is true and honorable.Daydream, for the longest time I could NOT get into the Narnia series. I just couldn't get past The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and The Magician's Nephew although I tried several times. I think as Carl so eloquently expressed in his comment a few after yours, they strike one better when you're older. Who knows, maybe you'll pick one up some day and really enjoy it. Princess Haiku, I'm glad you feel encouraged to try it. Let me know if you do…do you like fantasy as a genre?Carl, I love it when you leave long and thoughtful comments. I so agree with your opinion, especially: "reading YA fiction can be done with eyes that we did not possess when we were children. That, to me, opens up an entirely new 'magic' to the books than that which is experienced as a child." As I replied to Daydream, I just couldn't relinquish myself to Narnia until my forties. Fortunately, now I can get much more out of them then I did as a child. One of the things I notice when I read them aloud in my classroom, of course with special sound effects/voices, the children adore them!! Perhaps that brings them a little more to life; I'd certainly never assume, though, that they know all that Lewis is trying to convey (as an adult would understand). I am, quite obviously, not a huge lover of film, but I agree with you that Disney did a good job with the first release of this series. Again, I thank you for this Challenge, because it encourages me to go places I would not have gone. I'm getting ready to post on The Princess and The Goblin soon…

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  10. I agree on what carl said. What I had in mind I guess, but well I am in the age that doesn't appreciate these books so much. However I do acknowledge the fact that Lewis has done wonders with this world. These books are on my TBR for future days.

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  11. Woo hoo! Plus, maybe more will entice you as the Once Upon A Time Challenge continues. Stay tuned, or visit the challenge site via Carl's Stainless Steel Droppings blog.

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  12. This and the much neglected The Magicians Nephew are my favourites in the series. I loved them as a child and then read them again a few years back as an adult. I want to get the BBC versions from when I was growing up (they did 4 of the books I think) and the animated film was one of my favourites as a child. At one point when I was about 5 I think I found some scissors and cut all my hair off. My dad swears I was expecting it to grow back overnight like Aslan's does after the witches cut it all off! Sadly it didn't and I looked a right mess for ages…

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  13. Rhinoa, I love The Magician's Nephew too, both personally and as a read aloud to my class. Every year the children are as mesmerized as I am. Who, as a child, has not cut off one's hair? I think it's a right of passage. The growing out part is the worst for anyone, any age!

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