Friday, November 12, 2010

The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis

I wasn't sure how I'd like this book because it began a little more roughly than the others, but I was soon engrossed in the story. Eustace Scrubb from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader makes a reappearance here and because of his chastening experience in the previous book, he’s a much more likeable character.

He and his friend Jill Pole are thrust into a Narnian adventure when they receive orders from Aslan to search for King Caspian’s missing son, Prince Rilian. Along the way they meet marsh wiggles, giants and evil queens. Their guide to the ruins of the giant city is the frog-like marsh wiggle, Puddleglum. (If you are familiar with gloomy Eeyore from the Winnie the Pooh books, you’ll have a small idea of how pessimistic and funny he is.) I laughed out loud at most of his depressing predictions for their future. And I loved him for his faithfulness and courage in the face of his doubts.

As in all the books, the author’s wisdom and insight shine through especially in the characters’ interaction with Aslan. Lewis’ wit is lurking on practically every page and it’s a delight when it manifests itself. One example is in the final chapter when the children are receiving a lesson on the eating habits of a centaur:

“Son of Adam, don’t you understand? A Centaur has a man-stomach and a horse stomach. And of course both want breakfast. So first of all he has porridge and pavenders and kidneys and bacon and omelette and cold ham and toast and marmalade and coffee and beer. And after that he attends to the horse part of himself by grazing for an hour or so and finishing up with a hot mash, some oats and a bag of sugar. That’s why it’s such a serious thing to ask a Centaur to stay for the week-end. A very serious thing indeed.” (p. 205)

The Silver Chair has many gentle jabs at modern education which are shrewd and witty. I'm glad I made it my goal to read the Narnia Chronicles this year.


Janet said...

I read the series in junior high and had this one filed away in my mind as "not a favorite." But when I reread it as an adult I absolutely loved it.

Enjoyed your review!

Sarah at SmallWorld said...

This has always been one of my favorite Narnia books. I'm reading through with my kids this year and looking forward to The Silver Chair in a couple of months!

Anne@HeadFullofBooks said...

I reread The Voyage of the Dawn Treader this summer in preparation for the upcoming movie. This book will be next. I love the whole series and the book I have read most recently is always my favorite. Ha!
I'm stopping by from the Saturday Book Review Tour.

the Ink Slinger said...

Great review of a superb book in a superb series! Thanks for sharing!

jenniferarb said...

This is my favorite book in the series. I love the scene where the Green Witch is trying to convince them that there is no Sun. Such a great analogy! And of course Puddleglum is absolutely hysterical. You quoted one of my favorite quotes. Here is another great one:
"And in the inquiry all sorts of things about Experiment House came out, and about ten people got expelled. After that, the Head's friends saw that the Head was no use as a Head, so they got her made an Inspector to interfere with other Heads. And when they found that she wasn't much good even at that, they got her into Parliament where she lived happily ever after."

hopeinbrazil said...

Jennifer, I almost used your quote in my blog post. It was a toss up as to which one was funnier!

Spark and Madison said...

I'm enjoying scanning your blog and look forward to exploring your archives. Thank you for sending a link.
We just completed a read-aloud of the entire Narnia series for the second time with my younger four children. What a delight!
I'm surprised you hadn't already read them. My first reading was as an adult and it's been great fun to share them with my children.
Your taste in reading seems to closely parallel mine and I appreciate that you've taken the time to share here.