(The Inklings Series is a monthly series featuring the works of my two favorites, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, or books about them. But I don’t want it to be just me chatting about these books, so that’s where y’all come in! I’ll announce the book at least four weeks in advance of when the discussion post will go live, so you have plenty of time to get the book and read it. Then, the following month, I’ll post a discussion post and let the fun begin!!)
Another day and another adventure in Narnia! It had been a while since I read The Silver Chair, but as soon as I started reading it, bits and pieces started coming back and I looked forward to the parts I remembered and was pleasantly entertained by the parts I didn’t remember.
I will say, I forgot how much Puddleglum cracked me up. I loved his character – mainly because he was an endearing doomsdayer.
Overall what I loved about this story is the deeper meaning of calling. From not feeling qualified to getting distracted. Through the adventures of two children and a Marsh Wiggle, Lewis once again drops the mic. I know there are better ways of saying that, but sometimes I just don’t know how commentate on his genius.
One example of this is when Eustace was doubting on whether he had called on Aslan correctly. Aslan’s response?
“You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,” said the Lion.
Another one of the things I appreciate with Lewis is how he brings up, oh so casually, other Narnia books (especially when it’s one of my favorites):
“Horse and His Boy and tells of an adventure that happened in Narnia and Calormen and the lands between, in the Golden Age when Peter was High King in Cair Paravel. (I haven’t time to tell it now, though it is well worth hearing.)”
Also, Eustace needed to remember his cousin’s tale, because when Jill and Eustace listened to the lady (a.k.a. Serpent Witch) after the bridge I couldn’t help but say DIDN’T YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM YOUR COUSIN EDMUND?!
I also loved the friendship of the three. Both he and Tolkien knew how to write about friendship.
Other random thoughts include the following:
- I felt bad for the Gnomes, they got played. I also want to try diamond juice.
- I feel closer to Lewis knowing he also had an aversion to moths (“She got up, pulled the curtain, and at first saw nothing but darkness. Then she jumped and started backward, for something very large had dashed itself against the window, giving a sharp tap on the glass as it did so. A very unpleasant idea came into her head—“Suppose they have giant moths in this country! Ugh.”)
- When they were on the mountaintop and Caspian was made whole again? Don’t mind me while I cry.
- Lewis would throw in random thoughts from the children and they cracked me up. Example A) “Jill thought that when, in books, people live on what they shoot, it never tells you what a long, smelly, messy job it is plucking and cleaning dead birds, and how cold it makes your fingers.” #TrueStory
I was encouraged and reminded that even when we mess things up, God still works. He uses those mess ups to refine us and make us better.
Alright, I love hearing from y’all, so feel free to add your thoughts and/or use these questions to start things!
1. Who was your favorite character?
I want to say Aslan and be done with it, but I’ll be different this round! I was a big fan of Puddleglum. Have I mentioned how much he cracks me up? Like this: “Nice bits of color, you two are,” muttered Puddleglum. “Show up very prettily on a winter day. The worst archer in the world couldn’t miss either of you if you were in range. And talking of archers, we’ll be sorry not to have our own bows before long, I shouldn’t wonder. Bit thin, too, those clothes of yours, are they.”
Also, he was so brave! I loved this scene when he broke the trance. “The Prince and the two children were standing with their heads hung down, their cheeks flushed, their eyes half closed; the strength all gone from them; the enchantment almost complete. But Puddleglum, desperately gathering all his strength, walked over to the fire. Then he did a very brave thing. He knew it wouldn’t hurt him quite as much as it would hurt a human; for his feet (which were bare) were webbed and hard and cold-blooded like a duck’s. But he knew it would hurt him badly enough; and so it did. With his bare foot he stamped on the fire, grinding a large part of it into ashes on the flat hearth.”
2. Do you have a favorite scene?
There’s so many, but I loved Puddleglum’s reason for going with Jill and Eustace: “Don’t you lose heart, Pole,” said Puddleglum. “I’m coming, sure and certain. I’m not going to lose an opportunity like this. It will do me good. They all say—I mean, the other wiggles all say—that I’m too flighty; don’t take life seriously enough. If they’ve said it once, they’ve said it a thousand times. ‘Puddleglum,’ they’ve said, ‘you’re altogether too full of bobance and bounce and high spirits. You’ve got to learn that life isn’t all fricasseed frogs and eel pie. You want something to sober you down a bit. We’re only saying it for your own good, Puddleglum.’ That’s what they say. Now a job like this—a journey up north just as winter’s beginning, looking for a Prince that probably isn’t there, by way of a ruined city that no one has ever seen—will be just the thing. If that doesn’t steady a chap, I don’t know what will.” And he rubbed his big frog-like hands together as if he were talking of going to a party or a pantomime. “And now,” he added, “let’s see how those eels are getting on.”
I lied, I want to share another one.
“Then Eustace set his teeth and drove the thorn into the Lion’s pad. And there came out a great drop of blood, redder than all redness that you have ever seen or imagined. And it splashed into the stream over the dead body of the King. At the same moment the doleful music stopped. And the dead King began to be changed. His white beard turned to gray, and from gray to yellow, and got shorter and vanished altogether; and his sunken cheeks grew round and fresh, and the wrinkles were smoothed, and his eyes opened, and his eyes and lips both laughed, and suddenly he leaped up and stood before them—a very young man, or a boy.”
3. What’s one of your favorite lessons from Jill, Eustace and Puddleglum’s adventures?
I also loved this scene where Rilian cries out Aslan’s name and Jill and Eustace weren’t sure if they still should free him. Puddleglum’s response is so wise:
“Oh, if only we knew!” said Jill.
“I think we do know,” said Puddleglum.
“Do you mean you think everything will come right if we do untie him?” said Scrubb.
“I don’t know about that,” said Puddleglum. “You see, Aslan didn’t tell Pole what would happen. He only told her what to do. That fellow will be the death of us once he’s up, I shouldn’t wonder. But that doesn’t let us off following the sign.”
4. Do you have any favorite quotes you want to share?
I loved how once Rilian was free, he found his courage. I loved this quote:
“Courage, friends,” came Prince Rilian’s voice. “Whether we live or die Aslan will be our good lord.”
I’ll end with this one because it made me laugh. I can only imagine what Lewis would have to say about our political situation…
“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 she wasn’t much good even at that, they got her into Parliament where she lived happily ever after.”
As always, can’t wait to dive in!