The last two books in The Chronicles of Narnia are the ones I remember the least. Whether that’s because I don’t like them as well or because every time I try to do a reread of the series I never get to them, I don’t know. But as I started to reread The Silver Chair, I was eager to re-experience the story with fresh eyes.
There are a few things I remember about The Silver Chair before rereading. I remembered Prince Rillian being missing and being under an enchantment. I remembered the Lady of the Green Kirtle and Underland. I remembered Marshwiggles and the Parliament of Owls and Caspian being old and feeble.
But I was delighted to learn more about each of these things and more. I love that Aslan blows Eustace and Jill into Narnia. I love that Glimfeather is the coolest owl ever. I love the terror with the giants and the weirdness of Underland. The Dancing Lawn party they stumble upon when escaping Underland. Jill and Eustace riding centaurs. Aslan and Caspian scaring off the bullies.
I love how even though Aslan gives them instructions to follow and they botch them completely, they still have victory in the end. Because life isn’t perfect, we’re not perfect, but we can still find hope and goodness in all things.
But most of all, I love Puddleglum.
Puddleglum is a rare type of character. I’m not sure if we’re actually supposed to like him because he’s so pessimistic and, well, odd. But it’s because of these aspects that I do like him. His dry humor—“there’s one good thing about being trapped down here: it’ll save funeral expenses”—made me laugh out loud more than once while reading. His attitude toward everything is just so deadpan you can hardly believe he’s serious. But he is.
And of course, it’s this seriousness that gives us one of the best moments in the book. When confronting the Lady of the Green Kirtle and her enchanted lies, Puddleglum doesn’t buckle. He stands firm. He holds onto what he believes even when it seems like what he believes isn’t real.
“…the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones […] That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.”
Faith is hard sometimes, especially for me. I grew up going to church. I know all the Sunday School answers, but I’ve never “heard” God’s voice like other people have. I’ve never had a moment where everything I was taught was revealed to me in crystal clear truth. But I still hold onto the belief that it’s real. That Jesus died on the cross for me so I will go to heaven when I die. That God cares about me and loves me. That He’s actively working in my life.
So Puddleglum, pessimistic and dry and just plain odd, holding onto something even when the world was screaming that it wasn’t true pierces me. I want to be like Puddleglum. I want that unshakable decision to believe in what I can’t see or hear or feel. In what the world claims isn’t true, and I want to hold onto that until I can truly know the truth. Until I can break through the enchantment and find myself in Narnia.
With every Narnia book, I see pieces of C.S. Lewis’s struggle with faith. I see where he’s a boy like Eustace that needed to be stripped away of his bad and become a new creation. I see his unbelief in Susan’s logical mind. His humbleness in Caspian. His hope in Lucy. His mistakes in Jill and Edmund. His courage in Peter and Digory. And his belief through Puddleglum. It’s why I love the Narnia books. Yes, they are exciting stories and adventures, but they also hold a lot of truth and important messages that still resonate with me sixty-some years later.
Narnia Reread Posts:
The Magician’s Nephew
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Horse and His Boy
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
13 thoughts on “Narnia Reread: The Silver Chair”
Nice review! For me, this has always been the best Narnia book, and it’s been my favorite ever since I can remember. Maybe it’s Puddleglum, maybe it’s the adventure and faith and hope, maybe it’s the Jill-Eustace interplay. I’ve never been sure, I just always know that it’s the one I like the best.
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