The Silver Chair is the fourth book in the “Chronicles of Narnia” series by C.S. Lewis. Eustace Scrubb, having learned some hard lessons in the previous book, returns to Narnia. There, he and a girl named Jill embark on a quest to rescue a prince and save Narnia from the machinations of a wicked witch.
Prince Rilian, son of King Caspian from the book Prince Caspian, suffers under the curse of the Emerald Witch, who has held him captive for ten years with the aid of an enchanted chair. Eustace and Jill, along with an amusingly melancholy creature named Puddleglum, are sent by Aslan to find Rilian and bring him back to Narnia. Aslan gives the adventurers four “Signs,” which they are to remember and obey. The Signs are soon forgotten, unfortunately, and the children are beset with many additional dangers as a result. This is symbolic of the Bible, which gives us the wisdom we need to take the right paths in life. When we forget its wisdom, we find ourselves in all kinds of dangers. In the end, however, the chair is destroyed, the captives are set free, and grace prevails.
The major theme in The Silver Chair concerns following truth—the Signs—versus following falsehood, which often appears to be true. As Aslan tells Jill in the second chapter, “Pay no attention to appearances. Remember the Signs and believe the Signs. Nothing else matters.” Examples of false appearances in the book include the disguise of the witch, the duplicity of the gentle giants, and the children’s misreading of the gnomes. The Lord Jesus (in the form of Aslan) is presented as the wise Guide who demands obedience yet patiently forgives those who go astray. Other themes include resurrection, encouragement, and the shortcomings of “progressive” education. The book also includes a wonderful picture of the “fountain of the water of life” (Revelation 21:6).