The Silver Chair
The silver chair has always been my favorite Narnian novel. I heard an audio version of it the other day.
For those of you who don’t know the story, prince Rillian has been captured by the evil witch who killed his mother.He is enchanted every day by the witch to make him biddable and to forget who he is. Every day he is chained to the silver chair and for an hour each day he remembers who he is. Two children and a marshwiggle (played memorably by Tom Baker BBC 1990) have to witness his hideous transformation from a polished urbane gentleman into the savage man who’s realized he has been captured and enchanted for years in an underworld of cold dark stone.
Only the mention of Aslan’s name clears up for the them which is the real man and which is the enchanted puppet.
The prince is released, the silver chair is destroyed, the evil witch returns. She tries to convince them, with the help of a drugged smoke, that the sun does not exist; that the world above does not exist; that our world – their world – does not exist. That there is nothing other than the dark underworld around them.
The marshwiggle – a very pessimist at heart – rescues them all by stamping out the fire. And perceived reality shifts back again. They know the things they have seen are real.
Perception is a very tricky thing. When faced with two alternatives how do you decide which reality to believe? Is it about reality or about hope? There is always the other reality lurking in my head – the one in which everything is hopeless and grey – and I keep it at bay with the mental equivalent of magic smoke.
By Aaron D.Key