The “Rose” Review:
Once, in another world, a young prince named Rilian rode with his mother, the queen, and many squires and ladies. His mother rested on a grassy bank while the rest of the party went a short distance away from her. A green serpent stung the queen; though they hurried to her side, she was dead in minutes. The Prince rode day after day seeking the snake and revenge, but after a month, something changed. A Lord who went with him one day saw a beautiful lady dressed in a poison green garment. The next day the Prince was gone. Many sought him; none returned, and neither did the Prince.
Ten years later, in our world, a girl is crying behind her school gym. Her name is Jill Pole and she is hiding from “Them,” the school’s bullies. Her friend, Eustace Scrubb (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader), finds her and to cheer her up he tells her about Narnia – the land he accidentally found himself in, a land with talking animals, enchantments, and dragons, and the One who rules it all. Then after running from “Them,” they find themselves in a beautiful land, and later on in Narnia (and in many other less pleasant places.) Jill then meets Aslan, and is given a task – to find the lost Prince of Narnia, but there are signs she must follow if she means to find him.
Jill and Eustace must listen to the signs (and those around them who are wiser) if they wish to find the lost Prince. But who should they trust? Treachery lurks around the corner. Evil is rising. Things, and people, are not always what they seem to be.
Find yourself in Aslan’s Country, float into Narnia, fly on an owl’s back, visit with friendly giants, escape into tunnels, and discover an unknown realm and many hidden secrets when you read the Silver Chair. Don’t stumble … for ‘many fall down, and few return to the sunlit lands’.
Recommended age: 7 and above.
The “Jewel” Review:
When I first read this book as a child, and even subsequent readings still as a child, and then a teen, I decided I didn’t like it as much as the other books in the Narnia Chronicles. For a long time, I wasn’t sure why. Only recently did I realize what I had a difficult time with in the book: the mistakes.
The main characters, Eustace and Jill, seem to make one mistake after another, and it frustrated me so much. If they hadn’t messed up, they would have traveled together from the beginning, Eustace would have heard the instructions straight from the Lion’s mouth, the two of them would have received help from an old friend … their journey would not have been fraught with danger and difficulty.
Only recently did I realize that would have made The Silver Chair an extremely short book. And probably a very boring one. Maybe it wouldn’t have been a book at all.
Like our own stories. Fraught with difficulty and danger of our own making. Our own mistakes, borne of boasting or refusing to listen to the wisdom of friends, thinking we know better, or so much fear that we just have to get it right that we end up getting it wrong.
But somehow, through it all or even in the midst of it all, words ring in our ears and we find it impossible to forget. By some strange stream of chances that are no more or less than grace, we make our way through glum puddles and darkening mazes and underground coves and caves. And we find our way.
Re-readable: I have found it is more readable and makes more sense the older I grow.
Recommended age: 7 and up.
A Favorite Quote
Just on this side of the stream lay the lion … She couldn’t take her eyes off it … And the thirst became so bad that she almost felt she would not mind being eaten by the lion if only she could be sure of getting a mouthful of water first. …
“Are you not thirsty?” said the Lion.
“I’m dying of thirst,” said Jill.
“Then drink,” said the Lion. …
“Will you promise not to – do anything to me, if I do come?” said Jill.
“I make no promise,” said the Lion.
‘Do you eat girls?’ she said.
‘I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,’ said the Lion. …
“I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill.
“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.
“Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”
“There is no other stream,” said the Lion.