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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable and fun
This is an incredibly important book.

For some reason, this was the one Narnia book I could never get all the way through as a boy even though I was an otherwise voracious reader. I'm not really sure why. I just finished reading it to one of my own sons and he seemed to enjoy it quite a bit. I wish now that I'd read it all the way through a long time ago...
Published on August 22, 2004 by Theodore Csernica

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I disliked Jill Pole even more
Jill Pole and Eustace Scrubb both attend the same school. They are picked on by bullies at the school and, while running away from them, find that they are pulled into another world. They emerge high atop a mountain with a sheer cliff to their side. Eustace worries for Jill's safety, but in her arrogance in showing off and walking along the cliff, Eustace falls over...
Published 1 month ago by Jamie W.

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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable and fun, August 22, 2004
Theodore Csernica (Felton, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This is an incredibly important book.

For some reason, this was the one Narnia book I could never get all the way through as a boy even though I was an otherwise voracious reader. I'm not really sure why. I just finished reading it to one of my own sons and he seemed to enjoy it quite a bit. I wish now that I'd read it all the way through a long time ago. This is nothing less than a children's introduction to Christian spiritual warfare, in some ways far more general and comprehensive than Lewis' "Screwtape Letters" which covers the same subject for adults.

In order of authorship and according to the original ordering of the series "The Silver Chair" is number 4, coming between "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" and "The Horse and his Boy". Under the current numbering by the internal chronology of the narrative, it's second to last. In many ways neither ordering is really the most useful. In broad terms, the books divide thematically between allegorical (or better, fanciful) representations of salvation history, and guides to Christian living. Into the first category fall "The Magician's Nephew", "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe", "Prince Caspian", and "The Last Battle". The second category has "The Horse and his Boy", "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader", and "The Silver Chair". I believe this last is the most significant.

Lewis himself always denied his works were intended to be strictly allegorical, and in the case of the salvation history volumes this may well be the case. Element by element assignment from reality to story usually breaks down once you get past Aslan as Christ, and even where characters or events are not made to do double duty at different points (such as Edmund in "Lion") it's not alway possible to carry out this operation reliably. ("Applicability", as Lewis' friend J.R.R. Tolkien termed it, is another matter.) But "The Silver Chair" is far more nearly allegorical than the others, with symbolism that's crystal clear. This makes the lessons it teaches, in the context of a high fantasy adventure, all the more accessible.

It would take a long essay to explore all the lessons in this book so I'm not going to do that here, but they're not difficult to identify for an adult with a moderately thorough Christian education. Lewis packs an incredible number of subjects into this short book, everything from repentance and forgiveness to the basics of the theology of the image of God in our human nature. (Although in other works Lewis has promulgated what is, to Eastern Christian eyes, a faulty Augustinian Pneumatology, his treatment of the image here makes me think he must have been familiar with at least some Eastern Church Fathers.)

Lewis also anticipates, and armors his readers against, modern trends already evident in his time such as the despair engendered by the prevailing nihilism, extreme materialism, secular humanism, and others. He was very much spot-on in indentifying those ideas that would come to present the greatest temptations to Christian believers in the decades to follow, and this work, among others, reflects that. This means it's useful and relevant even today, over 50 years since it was written.

I now regret deeply that I never gave this book the attention it deserved when I was younger. I don't know, of course, how much of a difference it would have made, but it might have made at least some. As difficult as it is these days to be a Christian, no help can be neglected. If you're a parent of a Narnia reader, do what you can to make sure they don't skip this one. If you *are* a Narnia reader, "The Silver Chair" is worth your full attention and then some. It's a fun adventure too.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To Save A Prince, July 25, 2003
Mark Baker (Santa Clarita, CA United States) - See all my reviews
Eustace and Jill are called from their school to Narnia by Aslan for a task. King Caspian is old and his only son, Prince Rilian, has been taken hostage. Teaming up with the marsh-wiggle Puddleglum, they journey north from Narnia. But with winter fast approaching, their journey isn't easy. Not to mention the danger they face from giants and a stranger they meet. Will they remember to follow the signs Aslan gave them to help them on their way? Even if they do, can they save the prince?
I absolutely love this book in the series. I'd forgotten how much until I reread it. The quest gives a real sense of adventure. And they seem to meet up with plenty of danger along the way. I get a kick out of Puddleglum's pessimism, as well.
The allegory seems stronger in this book then the last couple. The themes of following God's word and Him using us in spite of our faults (and using our faults) is especially strong. Aslan has the entire thing under control from the beginning; it's just up to Eustace and Jill to actually follow his commands.
This is a wonderful fantasy story with some elements included that will make you think. Definitely a strong book in the series. If you enjoyed the others, be sure to pick this one up as well.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite books in the Narnia series!!!, June 2, 1999
By A Customer
One of the great things about the Narnia series is how each individual book stands alone! I mean, while it may be necessary to read them in order to better understand what's going on, each book has a certain charm unique in itself. And while I may like ALL of the volumes, I believe the BEST books are those in the middle, particularly "The Horse and his Boy", "The Magician's Nephew", and "THE SILVER CHAIR". These are the books in which C.S. Lewis really shines!
In this particular volume involving cousin Eustace and his classmate Jill Pole, Lewis hits hard at the British school system (I dread to think how he'd view America's public school system today!) The bullying that Eustace & Jill face is what launches their adventure into Narnia, and what an exciting adventure it turns out to be! Puddleglum is an excellently crafted character who accompanies them on their journey into the wild north, where they encounter a beautiful witch and a dangerous race of intelligent giants. It's a well-done piece of storytelling, worth reading a second time!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the Narnias., April 11, 2003
blurglecruncheon (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
Although I wore out a copy of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when I was younger, The Silver Chair(SC) has grown on me since then(and I re-evaluate my rankings each year.) Even without identifying with the nastiness Eustace and Jill deal with at the book's fringes, I can recognize great characterization done well in such a short time.
SC starts in the terrible school that helped make Eustace so in need of change in the precluding Narnia book, Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Now that he has changed, there are rumors he may need to be 'attended to.' He meets behind a gym with a crying Jill Pole, who has just been 'attended to,' and trusts her with how Narnia has changed him, suggesting they try to go back. After all, Eustace's cousins weren't allowed back, but no-one said he couldn't. They manage to get there.
But no-one is allowed into Narnia without a task, and theirs is to rescue a Prince who has been lost for ten years, with his father dying and no-one to inherit the throne. Despite given four signs to watch for by Aslan, the lion that poses as a God-figure for the Narnia series, they botch a few early and get to squabbling. Only their chosen companion Puddleglum, perhaps the most compelling nonhuman character in the series(a Marsh-Wiggle: ganglier and taller than humans and unflinchingly ironic to the point of eliciting "but we can" comments by poker-faced complaints) keeps them together. They hardly feel like heroes as they go through snow and the underworld. There are two telling moments of trust at the end--after several other people have broken their trust--and the escape from the underworld is dramatic.
Eustace Scrubb and Jill Pole don't sound like heroic names, and they make plausible mistakes more regularly than the four siblings of earlier books--Eustace even has to face that she's adapted better than he did to Narnia. And even Puddleglum shows some errors in judgement. But the book never moralizes on this. What also separates this book from the other Narnia chronicles in my mind is how Lewis uses the end of the book. I found I didn't want to let go. By throwing in some Narnian culture(i.e. a reason why Narnia was particularly worth saving) and meetings with old friends and a reckoning of sorts at the nasty school, Lewis gives us more of what we want.
Then there are the parts I can't spoil, like seeing old friends as you don't exactly expect them, or realizing you've made a mistake and need to face up to it, having to reassess the meaning behind people's actions(for better or worse) or when your mistakes have fortunate positive side-effects, and Lewis never dwells on all this. There's another interesting example to run off to.
I'd recommend buying all the Narnias instead of just one book, as the whole set will be cheaper in the long run, as once you have one you'll probably want the rest. They all have Lewis's vivid imagination molded into accessible language, and although they're quick reads they encourage rereading. Even if you're not "a kid" the series is still worthwhile. When I reread the books on the bus people often say they're glad they're not the only ones still reading this sort of thing.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic story and a spiritual allegory, May 17, 2004
If you have not read any of CS Lewis classic book series about Narnia, please do so. The stories are wonderfully written and will engage you like few other works. Part spiritual allegory and part fantasy and adventure, these stories are timeless.
My personal favorite of the 7 stories is this one: The Silver Chair. Starting with the unexpected trip into Narnia, the story involves the search for a missing prince and a dangerous and exciting journey to find him. While the plot is quickly engaging and always enjoyable, even after dozens of readings, in this story Lewis uses some of the most powerful of Christian allegories to depict faith, deception, and courage. Choices made along the way are often disastrous and are the result of convenience and comfort over faith. Truly a sound statement into our own journeys, and a spiritual struggle depicted accurately.
I will not spoil the plot, but if you have not enjoyed this series, pick up any of the seven books, or better yet get them all at once. The story starts either with "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" which was the first published, or "The Magician's Nephew" which is chronologically the first. Either way, you won't be disappointed. Next to "The Silver Chair", I also found "The Horse and His Boy" and "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" to be absolute classics.
Buy this series, and enjoy one of the true treasures in literature from a fabulous writer, the world renowned CS Lewis.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book 6 - A guide to the unending enchantment of Narnia, May 2, 2002
"The Silver Chair" was the fourth book published in the Narnia Chronicles, but chronologically is the second last in the series and is published as such by most modern publishers. The story revolves around cousin Eustace (a familiar face from "Prince Caspian") and his classmate Jill Pole. Eustace and Jill narrowly escape school bullies and find themselves in Narnia. In Narnia, Aslan himself commissions them on a quest to find Caspian's missing son and heir, prince Rilian, who has been abducted by an evil witch posing as a beautiful woman and a horrible green snake. They are joined in their quest by Puddleglum, a charming Marsh-wiggle whose extreme pessimism ( "he's always expecting the worst and he's always wrong" p.93) is matched by his bravery. Together they escape the perils of giants, and by rescuing Rilian from his enchantment in the Underworld and restoring him to his father, they prevent the Green Lady from by achieving her evil ambitions in becoming Narnia's queen.
As with all the Narnia Chronicles, on the level of children the story functions as a perfectly comprehensible and exciting fantasy adventure, but on an adult level it imparts powerful spiritual truths about Christianity by means of numerous recognizable Biblical allusions. Lewis intended "The Silver Chair" to portray the ongoing war against the powers of darkness. He emphasizes the truth of Deuteronomy 6 that in this war the signs of God's Word need to be carefully remembered and obeyed: "And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your minds from following the signs ... it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters." (p.24-26). Failing to follow these signs makes the task more difficult, but not impossible. These failures, however, constitute sin, which is clearly portrayed as the fault of man: "We must just own up" (p.123) and "We've brought the anger of Aslan on us. That's what comes of not attending to the signs." (p.132) The only solution is to drink from Christ the living water, for there is no other source of water apart from him "There is no other stream" (p.20-21). There are also strong allusions to the doctrine of predestination: "You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you." (p.23) "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.160)
As always, in all the upheavals and conflicts of Narnia, Aslan is the one constant, and it is his vital involvement that enables the children to complete their Narnian quest, just as it is Christ who inspires, comforts, guides, and saves in the real world. Narnia may exist only in Lewis imagination and ours, but these underlying truths about Christ ensure that a journey to Narnia is never without profit for the real world.
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22 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is BOOK FOUR, not BOOK FIVE: DON'T BE DECEIVED, October 26, 1998
By A Customer
Beware! The evil, foul-minded people who are publishing these works (The Chronicles of Narnia) have profaned the fantastic writing of C.S. Lewis by rearranging the order of the seven books so as to confuse the reader and steal away some of the magic and wonder by imposing it in a chronological order rather than the artistic one in which it was rendered. Is the horrible time witch at play again or it could be that rascal Screwtape at work? I shake my head sadly at the poor folk who will read these books in the wrong order, actually thinking that perhaps the author meant for them to read Volume Six first. Yes, of course these books come highly recommended but I think it is most important to stress that they should be read in the proper order, which is as follows: 1. The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe 2. Prince Caspian 3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader 4. The Silver Chair 5. The Horse and His Boy 6. The Magician's Nephew 7. The Last Battle Please, do yourself a favor, if you are reading these books for the first time, read them in the right order.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To Parts Unseen., February 1, 2006
tvtv3 "tvtv3" (Sorento, IL United States) - See all my reviews
THE SILVER CHAIR is the 4th book in "The Chronicles of Narnia." It follows the adventures that took place in THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER. Summer is over for Eustace Clarence Scrubb and he has returned to school. Scrubb doesn't attend a very nice school. It's more like a laboratory than a school (in fact its named Experiment House). It's only a few months into the term and everyone has noticed a difference in Eustace. So much so that he's on the bad list of the bad kids this term. During the afternoon Eustace runs into a girl named Jill Pole. She was crying because of the harsh treatment. Eustace tries to cheer her up and then he reveals to her his deepest secret: all about Narnia and his adventures there. Jill believes Eustace but soon they are being chased by bullies and run away until an old building. The pass through a doorway and when they do, they find themselves in Narnia.

Except, Jill hasn't been to Narnia before and she ends up messing things up from the beginning. As it turns out, even though only about 5 months have passed since Eustace returned from Narnia, over 70 years have now gone by. King Caspian is an old man and his only son and heir is missing. He disappeared over ten years before and now as Caspian approaches the door of death, all of Narnia wonders what will happen. Aslan sends Jill and Eustace on a mission to find Caspian's son, Prince Rilian, and bring him back home.

From LION to THE SILVER CHAIR each one of the Chronicles of Narnia becomes a little deeper and little darker. C.S. Lewis' faith is peppered throughout these books, but as one reads further in the series, the theological symbolism becomes just a little more broad and complex, such as the scene in THE SILVER CHAIR when Jill first meets Aslan. The stories also become a little more dark (which shouldn't be surprising for anyone familiar with the Bible). Subtly, Lewis is trying to illustrate that as the closer one comes to the end of the world, the more dark and difficult things will be. DAWN TREADER showed Eustace fighting a giant sea serpent, but THE SILVER CHAIR almost causes Eustace and Jill to be eaten by giants (not to mention there's an evil serpent in this story, too).

In the flow of the series, THE SILVER CHAIR mentions the story that is told in the next book in the series, THE HORSE AND HIS BOY. Chronologically, THE SILVER CHAIR is the 2nd to last story of Narnia. When reading the book, one can't help feal excited, yet a bit saddened because you can just tell that the adventures in Narnia are soon at an end.

THE LAST BATTLE is my favorite in the series, followed by LION. DAWN TREADER and THE SILVER CHAIR tie for my next choice and those two books really are companions to each other. Great telling of one of the last chapters in the great history of Narnia.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Into the lands of the northern giants, and beyond, December 30, 2005
Michele L. Worley (Kingdom of the Mouse, United States) - See all my reviews
Although set late in the reign of Caspian X (the Navigator), and thus being near the end of the series both in publication order and internal chronology, in some ways THE SILVER CHAIR would be a good place for a new reader to start, without re-covering a lot of material returning readers will have seen before. The viewpoint character, Jill Pole, is a complete newcomer to Narnia, and despite being accompanied by a more experienced schoolmate, she starts out with as unbiased a view of Narnia as any other character in the series, since she is separated from her companion Eustace Scrubb almost immediately.

Jill and Eustace are schoolmates at a very badly run boarding school - something the author knew a lot about from personal experience, though with a different set of horrors than Lewis himself went through. Eustace takes Jill into his confidence - he began standing up to the school bullies rather than sucking up to them this school year because he'd had some very strange experiences with magic during the holidays, though he hasn't time to explain very much before the two of them have to escape from a gang of the worst bullies, and flee through a door that unexpectedly opens into the Narnian world.

As is often the case, just as the two children were longing to escape into the Narnian world, that turns out to have been a sign that they were needed there. This time, the two of them are separated soon after their arrival thanks to some bad judgement on Jill's part. Consequently, when Jill meets Aslan for the first time and receives their instructions from him about the quest for which they have been called out of their own world, she does so alone and with no preconceptions about who the great lion is or what he's like.

Jill and Eustace (with whom she is reunited some hours later in Narnia itself), are to find the lost crown prince of Narnia - Rilian, the only son of King Caspian the Navigator - and bring him home. Jill is given a list of signs to memorize that, if heeded, will help them on their way, then is sent after Eustace by magic to Cair Paravel, the capital of Narnia.

In general, the two children are written very well; although they're both decent and mean well, neither is a saint, and they've got different strengths and weaknesses. Eustace is afraid of heights and can be matter-of-fact in a maddening way, but he's an experienced traveller thanks to his earlier adventures in Narnia. Jill's particular strengths take longer to come out, but she's game for adventure herself. In a way, this makes THE SILVER CHAIR an unusually pleasant read - while the protagonists have weaknesses, Eustace's trials in THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER helped him master most of his worst faults, and the problems the two of them have are mostly ordinary disagreements and bad temper under stress.

Not surprisingly after their separation, Eustace is rather annoyed with Jill and not inclined to listen, and they soon miss the first of the signs - Eustace having seen but failed to greet an old friend who could've helped them, not recognizing the now-elderly Caspian. By the time they learn the identity of the king sailing out of the harbour, it's too late - they're left to explain themselves to the regent, who's intensely loyal but too rule-bound to cope with an unorthodox situation. Fortunately, some of the younger members of the court, mostly talking owls, hear Jill and Eustace out, and set them on their way in the company of Puddleglum, a very trustworthy Marsh-wiggle who accompanies them north into the land of the giants, where they begin their search for the lost prince.

I recommend the unabridged recording narrated by Jeremy Northam (whose voice, especially at first, reminds me strongly of that of Jeremy Irons). As well as having a very good voice for Aslan, he does a fine job with Caspian's crusty old regent, the hooting voices of the talking owls, morose Puddleglum, and the honeyed voice of the Queen of Underland, among others. He's also able to handle the range of reactions without slipping into making inappropriate changes of tone - he can read some very annoying characters (a few giantesses given to rather soppy reactions to children, for instance) without breaking stride or character.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Silver Chair, October 6, 2005
A Kid's Review
After Eustace and Jill come across the magical land of Narnia, they must go on a dangerous quest to find the lost Prince Rilian. Once in Narnia, Eustace and Jill are sent by Aslan the lion to find the lost prince. They leave on their quest and meet a marshwiggle named Puddleglum. With his help, they travel through dangerous lands of giants and an underground civilization. Underground, they find that the Emerald Witch has enchanted Prince Rilian using a magical silver chair. Once they free him from the witch's spell, the prince helps them defeat her. The Silver Chair is a thrilling adventure that any reader will enjoy.

This story is very exciting and suspenseful. One of the most thrilling is when Eustace falls off the cliff trying to save Jill, but is saved by Aslan. Another is when Puddleglum, Jill and Eustace are spotted by the giants as they are trying to escape, barely getting away by going underground. The climax of the suspense is when the witch turns into a huge snake and almost kills the prince before she is slain herself.

The characters in the story are unique. Eustace and Jill seem to be average schoolchildren, but have enough courage to go on a dangerous journey and battle an evil witch to save a prince. Puddleglum is an interesting character. He thinks that he is not pessimistic enough like the other marshwiggles and goes on the adventure because he thinks it will help him put a bad face on things. The prince is persistent when he is looking for the serpent that killed his mother and when he tries to get free of the spell he has been under for years.

Everything in this story is extremely creative. All of the creatures like the talking animals, dwarves and Earthmen are very imaginative. Also, the land of the giants is creative and vividly described for a place that is not real. The underground civilization of Underland is unlike any setting imaginable with its underground ocean and strange inhabitants called Earthmen.

The Silver Chair is a great book filled with suspense and adventure that will capture the imagination of any reader. It is a wonderful story well worth reading.

P. Walsh
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The Silver Chair (Narnia)
The Silver Chair (Narnia) by C. S. Lewis (Hardcover - July 1, 1994)
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