Although it was the fourth book to be published, The Silver Chair unfolds the sixth chronological tale of Narnia. It’s only one of two in the series in which none of the Pevensie children appear (the other being The Magician’s Nephew).
The Silver Chair illustrates the battle that is constantly being waged against the forces of evil for the control of our minds. It also pictures the enslavement that occurs when the half-truths, distortions, and lies of the evil one are not replaced with the truth. This book teaches the eternal lesson of moral discernment and the need for courageous commitment.
Setting. The Silver Chair primarily takes place in the land of giants, gnomes, and the evil queen of Underland to the far north of Narnia. The story occurs at the end of King Caspian’s reign as he is preparing to die.
Plot Summary. Prince Rilian, the son of the elderly king of Narnia, has been kidnapped and missing for 10 years. King Caspian wants desperately, before he dies, to find his long-lost son.
To help with the search, Aslan transports Eustace (from The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader) and Jill, one of his school friends, to Narnia and commissions them to go on a quest to find Prince Rilian. He gives Jill specific instructions and signs that they are to follow, regardless of what their logic tells them.
The boy and girl are joined on their journey by Puddleglum, a tall green creature called a marshwiggle. Their journey brings them into the underground kingdom of the evil queen, where the kidnapped prince is under a strong spell of amnesia. He can only remember his former life for an hour each night. But he can’t escape because he is always bound to a silver chair during this hour when his memory returns. On one such occasion, the prince evokes the name of Aslan, and the children understand their shared loyalty to the great lion and free him from the chair.
The evil queen of Underland tries to mix truth and falsehood with her soothing voice to bring the prince and his rescuers back under her control. But they overcome her enchantment and kill her— after she turns into her true form as a poisonous serpent.
The prince returns to see his father, who soon dies.
Eustace and Jill are then transported to Aslan’s country where they see the dead King Caspian brought back to life and rejuvenated to his youthful self after Aslan uses a great drop of blood from his paw.
Spiritual Parallels. When Aslan sent Jill and Eustace to find Prince Rilian, he gave Jill four signs to look for along the way. She was to memorize them and review them daily. But Jill’s lack of attention to Aslan’s command almost cost them the successful completion of their quest.
Jill’s tendency to forget parallels our own journey in life. The Bible admonishes us to remember and to follow God’s counsel and instruction. This is the key to experiencing His presence and goodness in our lives (Ps. 119:9-11; Jn. 14:21).
The evil queen of Underland used alluring lies and deceptions to confuse Prince Rilian and his rescuers and to bring them under her control. In a similar way, evil often questions truth and affirms lies. Satan’s method in the Garden of Eden was to question what God said, deny it, and then replace it with his own false claims (Gen. 3:1-7).
Jesus said of this same deceiver: “When he [Satan] speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (Jn. 8:44).
Just as Prince Rilian and the children overcame the wicked queen by affirming the truth and the reality of Aslan, so affirming the truth that God has revealed in Scripture is the best defense against the enemy of our souls (Eph. 6:10-18).
At the end of The Silver Chair, Jill and Eustace are transported to Aslan’s country, where they witness the resurrection and transformation of King Caspian. This parallels the truth that followers of Christ are promised a new and indestructible body beyond the grave (1 Cor. 15:42-54).
The King of kings and Lord of lords “will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body” (Phil. 3:21).