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The Silver Chair (The Chronicles of Narnia, Full-Color Collector's Edition) Paperback – August 22, 2000
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When I order a brand new book I expect it to come looking brandnew. This book had 5 stickers on it that I had to work and use adhesive remover to get off, thank goodness the cover is well made and glossy or this would not have worked. And, there was a black mark on the bottom edge of the pages as if a black marker was used.
Packing-I would like to see a little better form of packing as I order a lot of books from many sellers, onine and not and it seems amazons books tend to come a bit banged up. The minimal pillow packs would be much better served if the books were simply wrapped in paper before being packed in the box.
Eustace and his school buddy Jill stumble into Narnia, and are given a request from Aslan to complete a mission: to rescue Prince Rillian, son of King Caspian.
All in all, a good plot with a challenge set forth for the characters to complete. A general good vs. evil storyline. And Aslan reigns over all.
"The Silver Chair", in my opinion, is least like the Narnia series. It takes the previous conceptions of Narnia, and throws them out. We don't' stay much in Narnia, we go away from it. Everything is different in the book, and the feel and flavour is very different from the others. It is a remarkable quest story, a story I wish I had written.
"The Silver Chair" stands as one of the most important books in my own artistic vision. The spell Lewis weaves here has quite a different taste to it than any of the other Narnia novels. The element that really captured my own imagination is the possibilities of underground kingdoms. This concept has always had a particularly unusual effect on myself, causing a mixture of fear and love at the same time. One of my most distinct memories is watching an episode of the 1950s version of Superman. It was the very first episode, and there were little men coming up from out of the earth. It was very eerie to me when I saw it, and this eeriness applies to this novel as well.
I'm a writer also, and I've read all of the Narnia novels (several times). I have three personal favorites. From the religious aspect, it is "The Last Battle (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 7)" (the last part of that book is the one of the most beautiful and stirring descriptions of heaven I've ever read, and in Lewis's canon the only thing comparable to the first part of Perelandra "Perelandra (Cosmic Trilogy)"). From the literature aspect, it's "The Magician's Nephew". There are so many classic images in that (The wood between the worlds, the bell and the hammer, Charn, etc). It is this and "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Movie Tie-in Edition (Narnia)" that best embody classic images. Then there is this, which to my mind is the strangest of the Narnia series. The entire story is truly grand, and it is one of the best quest stories I have ever read. (Another book I love is "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Narnia)". That is telling the life of a Christian.
Of all the atmospheres portrayed in the chronicles, in my own fiction I would like to capture this. It seems so unlike the rest of the Narnian series to my imagination to be almost an anomaly. One of the key virtues of this tale, and this also applies to the series overall with the exception of "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe", is that Lewis keeps focused on the tale and because of this Christianity comes into the story not as preaching but a natural foundation to the story. This also occurs with the opening book of the Space Trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet (Cosmic Trilogy).
There are several key practical points that come into play with this story. Lewis's common dislike of the present day condition of schools comes out. Schools should be maintained with discipline and respect. The whole interchange with Jill and Aslan after Eustace fell is a great scene, and introduces the reader to several key facets of God's personality. One of the most practical devices Lewis illustrates is the need for remembering the things God wants you to do. There are no promises that Jill and Eustace will discover the lost prince, but it does not let them off of the quest.
Although the temptation to not do the quest because they will be forgiven does not really show up, we get this in "Perelandra". Ransom tries to justify his actions by saying God will forgive him. The same temptation does not show up here, but Jill, Eustace, and Puddleglum do not use that rational. They do, however, muff up three of the signs because of the desire for comfort. We also learn from Puddleglum that if you are in authority and do not stop an occurrence which you know is wrong from happening, you are as much responsible as your subjects are. The children are under Puddleglum's authority, and he says he should have stopped them from going to the House of Harfang.
The scene with the Witch and Prince Rilian also is very good. We are not given to know what will happen if we obey the signs at times, but we are to obey them. Even if we do die following what God says, we will die in honour. We also get that theme of the hnau, to borrow Lewis's term for sentient beings from the Space Trilogy, which are not made to know everything. Lewis brilliantly illustrates this by the mysterious land of Bism and also the Sea people in Dawn Treader.
This is one of my favorites.
[This is a brief paper I wrote about how Lewis imparted truth to his characters and am including the text here as bonus content to the review proper:]
Lewis has his characters experience truth in a number of ways. The five works this essay will look at are "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe", "Prince Caspian", "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader", "The Silver Chair" and "The Last Battle". Not all of the truth the characters encounter are what the characters wanted.
In the first book, LWW, we have Edmond who has become a traitor. Edmond does not wish to believe that the Witch is bad, because she can supply his fix. This is one of the biggest truths that Lewis imparts to his young readers: addiction blinds you to the point of where your only god is the addiction itself and you will do anything it takes to get whatever you are addicted too. Edmond is a classic case of addiction, and if this were a work for adults it would have been quite appropriate to make his addiction drugs. When the Beavers are discussing Aslan, Edmond does not like the conversation. He feels this could pose a threat to getting his fix of Turkish Delight. Like drugs, this addiction ruins ordinary pleasures, and Lewis says at the beginning of Chapter IX that memories of bad magic food spoils the taste of regular food. He is so focused on his addictions that Edmond no longer cares about real life, and he will do anything possible to get it, even selling out his brother and sisters to the White Witch, which in everyday life could be a man who will let his family go hungry or will not pay the rent because he cannot get his cocain if he takes care of the basic needs of his family. Even in this degraded state of mind, Edmond gets a realisation of the cruelty of the White Witch, for what he craves the most she will not give him. For truth to come to Edmond, he must accept this terrible fact of his being a traitor and Aslan must die for him. Aslan and Edmond have a talk afterward, which, although we are not told what is said, Lewis does tell us that Edmond never forgot that conversation and he is truly a changed boy.
In Prince Caspian, Lewis gives us another boy who is struggling to discover truth. Caspian learns from his Nurse that there is an older Narnia where Talking Animals lived and there were dwarfs and tree and water people and various creatures who claimed Narnia has their home. His Uncle Miraz, however, denies this and sends his nurse away to be replaced by a Dr. Cornelius, who, as it turns out, is a half-breed of dwarf and man. It is notable that he is the only named example of interbreeding, although, according to Ford, Caspian's nurse may also have dwarf blood in her. Caspian must decide which "truth" he will believe, and because of his relatively good sense he chooses to belief the stories about Old Narnia. This ties into Lewis's theme about the longing for the truth. I highly doubt that, if a person is on Aslan's side (although Caspian is not to begin with), he/she will long for something in a deep spiritual sense and it not be the truth. Lewis talks of this in his Pilgrim's Regress, and it is God's prime instrument in conversion. People long for something true, and unless they are deceived by Satan, they will find their answer in Jesus Christ. It is also important to note the relationship between Dr. Cornelius and Prince Caspian. God wants to use you to help awake and feed that desire for God in someone else's life, and that is why He tells us to go make disciples of men. One reason Lewis chose Dr. Cornelius as a half-breed is to illustrate we are not to perfection yet, but we are progressing toward it, and also one reason the dwarfs intermarried was so the were not killed. Sometimes, as Christians, we cannot be open about our religion but must seek God to know who we should share it with. Of course, this does not apply to America yet, for we have tremendous religious freedom. As the world progresses, however, I fear that will change. Once you discover truth, then you are accountable to that truth and must help fight for it, which Prince Caspian does, and then becomes King Caspian.
Eustace Scrubb also encounters truth for the first time. Much of the first half of the novel Eustace is a perfect ass.
Jill also encounters truth in The Silver Chair. At the opening of the novel, she learns the appropriate ways to approach God, and these ways are not Satanic, as the dark magic she suggested to Eustace as a method of getting into Narnia was. She also learns in that opening scene with her and Aslan more of the nature of God. You cannot put God in a box, and Aslan will make no promises to her what he will do, but she does not doubt his word when the Lion tells her that there is no other stream. Throughout there rest of the novel Jill learns that no matter what God says, you must do as he asks, even if it seems that you will be killed or seriously harmed or seemingly impossible, and she also learns that, through the giants of Harfang, God will take care of you even if you err, but there will be unnecessary complictions if you do not do it his way.
Perhaps the most interesting of all, and certainly rather an anomoly as mostly the examples given are good characters becoming better, but in The Last Battle we have one of the central bad guys learn that there really are supernatural forces, even though he did not believe in them. Farsight, the Eagle, notices that Rishda Tarkaan is very surprised about what is in the stable and of Shift's destruction. His discovery of the truth, however, is horrific. Tash, the god he has called on but does not believe, has come to gather his lawful prey, and Rishda is shocked that Tash even exists. Lewis uses this character to illustrate to his readers that you should be careful in what type of belief system you invoke, for the worship of Tash was a cultural practice that Rishda practice not in belief but because it the culture, and he really does not believe in anything.
These are some examples of the numerous ways in which truth comes to Narnian characters.
[In April 2000, I wrote three Narnia reviews covering "The Last Battle", "The Silver Chair", and "The Magician's Nephew". I only completed and published "The Last Battle" review in April of that year. Here is the unfinished, previously unpublished 2000 review of "The Silver Chair"]
The Silver Chair, in my opinion, is least like the Narnia series. It takes the previous conceptions of Narnia, and throws them out. We don't' stay much in Narnia, we go away from it. Everything is different in the book, and the feel and flavour is very different from the others. It is a remarkable quest story, a story I wish I had written.
I'm a writer also, and I've read all of the Narnia novels (several times). I have three personal favorites. From the religious aspect, it is The Last Battle (the last part of that book is the one of the most beautiful and stirring descriptions of heaven I've ever read, and in Lewis's cannon the only thing comparable to the first part of Perelandra).
From the literature aspect, it's The Magician's Nephew. There are so many classic images in that (The wood between the worlds, the bell and the hammer, Charn, etc). It is this and LWW that best embody classic images. Then there is this, which to my mind is the strangest of the Narnia series. The entire story is truely grand, and it is one of the best quest stories I have ever read. (Another book I love is Dawn Treader. That is telling the life of a Christian.)
[Throughout the years, I have written a number of reviews that have never been published online on Amazon. These writings comprise two types of reviews: unfinished reviews, abandoned during various stages of composition, and completed reviews that for life reasons were never posted. Of the later type, back in September 2001 I wrote a cache of work, a full sixteen reviews of several different C. S. Lewis books which have never been released. I am publishing these reviews now for the first time, over a decade after they were initially written. This review text of "The Silver Chair" also included an abandoned unfinished review (the text of which is bracketed) written back in April of 2000 that has likewise never been published. Mike London 10-3-2012]