The Silver Chair

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The Silver Chair
Written by: C. S. Lewis
Central Theme:
Genre(s): Allegorical Fantasy
Series: The Chronicles of Narnia
Preceded by: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Followed by: The Horse and His Boy
First published: September 7, 1953
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The fourth installment of The Chronicles of Narnia. A few months after The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Eustace, with schoolmate and fellow outcast Jill Pole, returns to Narnia, and is sent on a quest to rescue Caspian's long-kidnapped son Rilian from a witch, reuniting them just before the king's death of old age.

Tropes used in The Silver Chair include:
  • Adipose Rex: The Queen of the Giants of Harfang.
  • Animal Nemesis
  • Big Bad: The Lady of the Green Kirtle.
  • Boarding School of Horrors: Jill's and Eustace's school, which is a mix of the author's personal experience and educational theories he spoke against in The Abolition of Man.
  • Brainwashed: A lot of people.
  • Catch Phrase: Puddleglum has one, I shouldn't wonder.
  • Collapsing Lair: Underland, after the queen's death.
  • Cuckoo Nest: The brainwashing sequence.
  • Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: Is the man in the Silver Chair telling the truth or lying?
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The army of the Lady of the Green Kirtle is mostly composed of unwilling slaves. The witch herself aguably plays the opposite trope.
    • Not to mention that said unwilling slaves make their home deep in the ground, farther than anyone has ever gone. They think it's utterly fantastic and describe some nice things about it.
  • Did Not Do the Research: Averted. Lewis was originally going to have the Lady's fire be a wood burning fire, but realized that a wood fire would continue to burn even after stamped out. Unable to figure out an appropriate fuel, he left it as a magical fire.
    • Some claim the Lady is actually Jadis, back (somehow) with a new identity. Part of this might stem from them both being played by the same actress in the BBC adaptations from the 80s. In regards to the source material though, aside from them both being witches and a brief mention in the ilustrators' notes, there's no actual basis for this assumption.
  • Ear Trumpet: Trumpkin uses one. This is both for comic effect (he mishears a good bit of information before he finally gets his ear trumpet) and to emphasize how old he is, and thus how much time has passed since the last trip to Narnia.
  • Eats Babies: Not literally, but it's mentioned that in Narnian culture, eating Talking Stag is considered just about as horrifying. When Puddleglum finds out the giants served it to him, he has a massive attack of Fridge Horror and is momentarily almost Driven to Suicide.
  • The Eeyore: Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle, though unusually for this trope, his pessimism saves their lives more often than not.
  • Exotic Entree: The protagonists discover that the venison served at the table of the "Friendly Giants" came from a Talking Stag. The author notes that for anyone of Narnian culture, this is the equivalent of cannibalism. If that weren't enough, the characters later find out they are on the menu for the following night.
  • First-Name Basis: Eustace and Jill when the group begins to escape Underland.
  • Fish People: Marsh-wiggles, though they're more like amphibian people.
  • Friend or Foe: After the death of the Lady of the Green Kirtle.
  • Grim Up North
  • God Save Us From the Queen
  • Have a Gay Old Time: "Gay", said Puddleglum... "That's what we've got to be. Gay. You must watch me, and do as I do. I'll be gay. Like this."
    • Also, "[Jill] made love to everyone -- the grooms, the porters, the housemaids, and the elderly giant lords..."
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: In the BBC miniseries, Puddleglum is the Fourth Doctor.
  • Hooked Up Afterwards: A potential interpretation of Jill and Eustace's relationship, given Jill developing genuine affection for Eustace during their time in Narnia.
  • I Ate What?: It wasn't just ordinary venison.
  • James Bondage: Rilian.
  • Lady and Knight: The children meet the Lady riding with her Knight (who turns out to be Rilian in disguise).
  • Let's Meet the Meat: Subverted in that Puddleglum overhears some giants talking about the stag they were eating and how it had told them that it was rough and that they would not like it. Cue in-universe Fridge Horror.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: The Underland floods once the Lady of the Green Kirtle is killed. Justified since she's a witch who set the place to magically self-destruct if she died.
  • Mondegreen: Owing to being hard of hearing without his Ear Trumpet, Trumpkin at first mishears "The girl's called Jill" as "The girls are all killed." He also mistakes "Eustace" for "Useless."
  • More Than Mind Control: The Lady's attempt to convince the four that Narnia doesn't exist and the Underland is the only world. It almost works, until Puddleglum decides their so-called fantasy world is far superior to the dreary "real" world of the Lady, thank you very much.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Puddleglum says that he's actually quite cheerful, at least compared to all the other marsh-wiggles.
  • No Matter How Much I Beg: Rilian.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The tactic by which Eustace, Jill, and Puddleglum escape from Harfang.
  • One-Winged Angel: Evidently, the Lady was unfamiliar with the Evil Overlord's Handbook, especially Item 34.
  • The Owl-Knowing One: Eustace and Jill receive some guidance from Glimfeather and the Parliament of Owls.
  • Plot-Sensitive Latch: Near the beginning, Eustace and Jill are escaping from some bullies towards a door that is always locked, and of course it turns to be unlocked. Justified in that Aslan has magically caused this to happen, but they don't know it at the time.
  • Pretty in Mink: At one point, Jill is given a mantle trimmed with white fur.
  • Scaled Up: The witch.
  • Silver Has Mystic Powers: The title item has brainwashing powers.
  • Slap Yourself Awake: Puddleglum employed this technique when he stomped out the fire that the Lady of the Green Kirtle was using as part of her hypnotic magic. Not only did it quash the aroma that was lulling the heroes into a trance, but the pain (he was barefoot) is specifically said to give him a moment's perfect clarity.
  • Sour Supporter: Puddleglum.
  • Shut UP, Hannibal: Puddleglum does an incredibly awesome one.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork/Fire-Forged Friends: Eustace and Jill.
  • Thanatos Gambit: The Green Lady has prepared spells that will cause her kingdom to be destroyed in the event of her death, thus presumably also taking out whoever killed her.

Puddleglum: "She's the sort that wouldn't so much mind dying herself if she knew that the chap who killed her was going to be burned, or buried, or drowned five minutes later."

  • To Serve Man: The "gentle giants" are quite happy that the Lady of the Green Kirtle sent the three heroes to them for the Autumn Feast...
  • The Vamp: The Lady of the Green Kirtle for Prince Rillian, even resorting to Mind Control.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Harfang.
  • Unfortunate Names: "His name unfortunately was Eustace Scrubb, but he wasn't a bad sort."
  • Why Did It Have To Be Underground?: Jill's claustrophobia makes the trip to Underland through several dark, incredibly cramped passages and tunnels paralyzingly terrifying for her.
  • Wish Fulfillment: Arguably, when Aslan, Caspian, and Eustace teach the bullies at the boarding school a lesson. Note that Lewis' autobiography, Surprised by Joy, reveals that he had a bad experience at a boarding school.
    • An in-universe example as well. Caspian says several times how it is his dream to visit a land on a planet that's round. Aslan allows him to briefly visit Earth.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Rilian refuses to hurt the Green Witch because she's a woman, making it very convenient that she decides to become a giant snake.
    • Actually, he only says after he kills her that he is glad she turned into a snake as he would have felt guilty for killing a woman.
  • You Have to Believe Me: The man in the Silver Chair really doesn't do much to dispel their suspicions that he's a raving lunatic.