Podcast #101: ‘The Silver Chair’ Book Commentary (Part 1)

SC cover thumbRilian and Glumpuddle begin a perfectly-timed commentary on the fourth Chronicle of Narnia to be published, The Silver Chair! What better way to gear up for the upcoming film adaptation than to reflect on the timeless source material?

We are inviting fans everywhere to submit audio questions and/or observations about The Silver Chair to include in the podcast! Is there anything in particular (big or small) about the book you would like us to discuss? Any observations you would like to share? What are your favorites scenes and why? What are you most excited to see on film? What advice would you give to the filmmakers? We want to hear from you!

You can send audio files to podcast@narniaweb.com. For iPhones, using the Voice Memos app and then e-mailing the file would probably work best. Another method is uploading a video of yourself asking the question to YouTube (as an unlisted video if you’d like) and sending us the link. We are also still accepting e-mail questions and observations to read on the podcast. UPDATE: The next episode has been recorded.

Chapters discussed:
1. Behind the Gym (3:24)
          Audio question submitted by GymFan (9:11)
2. Jill is Given a Task (16:02)
3. The Sailing of the King (29:21)
4. A Parliament of Owls (34:18)

24 Responses

  1. Roger says:

    Excellent podcast. I completely agree that the movie should concentrate on Jill. The Silver Chair is her book. This book is one of my favorites. There is some Jill in all of us.

    I hope the movie keeps the scene in Aslan's Country almost verbatim. This is such an important part of the book. I think that Lewis had Eustace fall off the cliff was just to leave Jill and Aslan alone. This is about Jill learning obedience to Aslan. Did it matter if Aslan actually ate girls and others or is this a parable? To each their own opinion. Aslan was teaching Jill an important lesson quickly and needed her to complete a task.

    I hope the movie shows the lunar symbolism of this scene. Read the book Planet Narnia. I would like to view from Aslan's Country to be a view of the earth from above 70,000 feet, where the sky is black. Narnia and Aslan's Country are very different places.

    The Parliament of Owls scene is very tricky. The audience needs the back story but not too much. I think that we should never see the Green Witch here, the green snake maybe. That would ruin most of the movie. Maybe we should not see the Prince here, save him for later. We need to know the Queen was killed and the Prince is missing. One very important detail is that the audience must be explained about the differences of time between the two worlds. I was talking to someone today who had read the books over 20 years ago and she had forgotten this.

  2. Radagast II (The even more ridiculous!) says:

    Great podcast. Hope they get the scene with Aslan's country right! Further up and further in!

  3. The Rose-Tree Dryad says:

    Woot, let the SC discussion begin! Really enjoyed this podcast! I love the idea of making it more interactive with the fan base. I'll have to think and see if I have any comments or questions regarding the upcoming chapters that might foster discussion. =)

    Several years ago, I remember first reading the "Do you eat girls?" exchange and then thinking, "Wow, that was dark." It's taken me quite a while to wrap my head around it, to be sure. One thing that I think is very worth taking into account, in the process of studying Jill and Aslan's conversation, is the context of the scene.

    Jill has just made a very, very bad choice that would have resulted in Eustace's death if it hadn't been for Aslan's intervention. That's bad enough, but I'd say the real problem here is her response to the incident. She's understandably upset and in shock, but she's also unrepentant—"It's not my fault he fell over that cliff. If he'd left me alone we should both be all right"—and is blaming Eustace for what happened, even though he'd done something extremely selfless and heroic. It wouldn't have happened at all if she hadn't been showing off.

    We all know it was an accident, but her lack of repentance and shirking of responsibility compounds everything. She's made a mistake that nearly killed an innocent person, and then made it a hundred times worse by refusing to own up to it. And then, immediately after, she finds herself in a place where she believes that her own life may be in danger, and not without cause, either, if we are to take Aslan at his word. I don't think this was accidental on Lewis's part.

    Honestly, it reminds me quite a bit of Aravis and Aslan in HHB, except Aravis doesn't learn repentance until after she's experienced the pain that her servant was put through. Only then does Aravis inquire if any more harm will come to the servant because of what she has done. Because of Aravis's readiness to have the servant punished for something that hadn't been the servant's fault, and the fact that Aravis didn't care about it, Aslan punished her in a very proportional manner.

    Eustace nearly losing his life because of Jill's actions and then Jill fearing for her own seems to have a rather strong parallel to Aravis's servant being whipped and then Aravis ultimately being clawed because of her lack of contrition. Jill owns up to what she had done when Aslan questions her, and he tells her that her answer was very good, but it makes me wonder what might have happened if Jill hadn't admitted her culpability in Eustace's fall, and had remained unrepentant like Aravis until Aslan clawed her. Perhaps we would have seen exactly why Aslan said "I make no such promise" when Jill wanted him to say that he wouldn't do anything to her.

    Many rambling thoughts here, but in many ways, it may well be that Aslan is only as "tame" as our choices, and our attitudes about them.

  4. GemtheGiant says:

    I have been waiting anxiously for recent news, so im glad its a new cast. Where to begin on adapting this page to screen for the tone of it is honestly kind of gray, that's not to say its not a bad edition its a fabulous tale. But its has a bit of Drab tone to it don't you agree. Your coming back to Narnia after the luminous sea tale of Dawn Treader. And as Eustace said "When your in your own world, you have no idea how Narnian time is going. it might been any number of years in Narnia while were having one year at home. So it looks as its been seventy years." He was right of course, so while were in our own world like Scrubb. Anything could happened in Narnia's history and coming back its as if a cloud of Death or the beginning of it has cast a shade over the lands. that's just how i saw it whilst reading. Anyway, i'll discuss some print to film can's and cannot's.
    The scene after Aslan tells the signs to Pole and they are standing on the cliffs precipice, he tells her never to forget the signs and must repeat them, he "blows" her and eustace to Narnia. He..breathes them over a great distance of land, sea and sky and she floats.
    See, picture them attempting to do this scene in cinemas. A girl floating with no safety gear, it would just look silly. It works in print because we the comprehension to imagine this scene, but how would they do on screen.

    Here is a alternative: Aslan Does blow on Jill, But instead of floating over open ocean, the winds swirl around her instantaneously and she finds herself at C.P. the movie would save a few moments in time and more time for story.

    Second point: In BBC's adaption Glimfeather the owl was basically human size and therefore Jill was able to fly comfortably or slightly comfortable on the back. If they do that in the movie, how big would they make glimfeather?

    Final point: I loved Rillian's story, it was mysterious and enchanted and have a uneasy tone to it, what with this "mysterious green lady" he has fixed upon after the death of his mother. He had a kind of hallucative, dreamy like look to his face. this scene just made me feel uneasy, it was brilliantly plotted and i look forward to seeing it in film.
    So those were my thoughts on this part and i look forward to the next discussion, F.U.A.F.I.!

  5. Beorn says:

    I'm happy for the new movie. But I have think about it these day, think about movies which adapted from books. I found maybe some adaptation is not bad, but it's already ruins the the feeling you have when you 1st read it, such as The Hobbit, I like AUJ very much, but it still ruins my own imagination about The Hobbit book, and so Narnia L.W.W. and VDT, actually I think PC was a good adaptation, maybe it change some storyline, but it didn't ruins the feeling I have about the book. So, it's confuse, I don't know should I watching The Silver Chair, I feel very exciting when I heard they have greenlit it, but I'm worried it will ruin my own imagination about the story of SC.

    So… I have not decide yet whether to see it or not.

  6. Beorn says:

    I think if you really want to enjoy a movie, watch those which are not adapted from books or the movie you know you will never read the books which it adapted from, or read the book because you like the movie so much.

  7. Moon says:

    When I heard about the news that Silver chair was finally being adapted I decided to read the book which I finished about a month ago. And as I was reading the book I was picturing how they would do each scene and which parts they might skip or find an alternative to. As of the fist four chapters, my favourite part was the conversation between Jill and Aslan because it made me feel vulnerable like Jill even though I knew that Aslan wouldn't harm her so I want the film makers to put serious care into this part of the film to create the same effect on the audience. And I agree with you; I tried to picture Jill being blown away in the film but I just couldn't! I don't know how the film makers will be able to show that; but if they somehow pull that off they should win an oscar for that scene!
    And this is what I also think; if they are thinking of adapting one of the most beloved C.S lewis books into a film adaptation they MUST have high budget for it! If they don't they shouldn't even bother. I think that they absolutely ruined VOTDT by cutting off so many important scenes (like the merpeople scene) and making it such a short movie. I saw the early concept art and scripts for the movie and I think they should have stuck with those! I seriously think that VOTDT seriously needs a reboot or they should add some extra scenes to make it about 2 hours long. They can make the Silver chair visually amazing but if they don't have the budget then they shouldn't even bother to make the movie. That's my opinion.

  8. Shift says:

    I love hearing your thoughts on each of the books. Makes my want to go read them all again!

  9. manise says:

    I am a she btw.Glumpuddle thanks for using my email. lol I didn't know it would be in the podcast. now I hate the move Wardrobe because they get in by trying. Aslan's mane!

  10. GemtheGiant says:

    They made it clear that since this film is being adapted by a smaller company, it's going to be a smaller budget. I blame Disney for dropping the films in the first place, they made the films so big and epic and they really won their money back at the box office, same cant be said for DT, it did well overseas, not as much in america. Caspian was Too Dark said critics. Well this one has a much dark tone to it as well. What with half of it underground and the man eating giants. If there was no hope in this story,i honestly dont know what i would do.

  11. Rilian says:

    Best way to preserve your memory of the books is to read them many times before you see the movie 🙂

  12. Beorn says:

    And then I can't enjoy that movie anymore, if I found the movie change so much from the books or it didn't follow exactly like the book, that's what I'm worried about. 🙂

  13. DaughterofEve says:

    I love your thoughts on this! Thanks for sharing.

  14. DaughterofEve says:

    Oh, where to begin. After watching the BBC version yesterday and re-reading some of the book, I have to say that Eustace should be a younger child. Will Poulter was amazing, but the way Eustace and Jill act in this story is just too immature for him to play him again. Maybe they can get someone that looks similar at least? They should definitely keep all of the dialogue between Jill and Aslan at the beginning. There are just some parts in the story that they absolutely cannot mess up! They did great in LLW about keeping the magical feel of the important scenes and I hope this company can do the same, or even better, for this one.

  15. Swanwhite7 says:

    I can't wait to listen to this podcast! The Silver Chair is my all time favorite book. I can't wiat to see how it turns out as a movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Shift says:

    I don't remember critics complaining that PC was too dark. It was the overprotective parents who complained.

  17. miles365 says:

    What do you mean by trust? If you say the book is about Jill learning to trust, as in she needs to be willing to open herself to someone, to be herself and bear her heart and trust that she’ll be loved, then I think we’re in dangerous territory. A believe in yourself and do what you think is best sort of Disney movie. Especially if you mean this in a general way, and not in regard particularly to Aslan.

    If, however, you mean trust as in trust and obey, as in having faith in difficulty, following Aslan even when it looks as though it is the worst option, relying on the words he gave you, and believing that he is good and his plan is good, even if it might not turn out to be good for you, then I think your summary fits the story better.

    After all, towards the end of the book when they are faced (literally) with hell or high water, Prince Rilian basically says that even if they die, Aslan is still good.

    This scene in Aslan’s country shows him as just. He isn’t sorry about swallowing people. He makes Jill own up to her own bad behavior (which she had been trying to justify to herself) and tells her it will have consequences. But he doesn’t swallow Jill, he saves Eustace, and he gives them a task. He isn’t safe, but he’s good. His justice is part of his goodness – very different from the adults Jill has encountered as school. I think the emphasis in this scene is actually less on Jill learning to trust; I think the emphasis is more on Aslan as someone who is trust-worthy.

    It's interesting that Jill’s first encounter with Aslan echoes the feelings Lewis described of his own process of conversion.

  18. Impending Doom says:

    I can't wait to hear Glumpuddle talk about Puddleglum!

  19. Rogin says:

    Wow, it's been forever since I last read the Silver Chair! Time to go re-read the series so I'll be able to be more involved in the discussions.

  20. Sir Jack says:

    I think one can go to narnia by trying, (if Digory and Polly would have disobeyed aslan keept the rings and marked the narnia-pool like they marked the pool leading to our world) but thats only possible when you use magic. and Lewis makes clear that it's not good to use that kind of magic.
    when humans use magic in the serious no good comes from it.
    -digory and polly bring the evil into a newly created world.
    -Lucy ruins a good Friendship
    it's never clearly said, but you just sense, that it's not good.
    just as Eusace knows aslan wouldn't aprove of magic circles, and as soon as caspian realises, that it's a witch he's talking to, he backs off.

    only non human good people use magic, stars and a half dwarf.
    and of course aslan. but with aslan it's different, it's not the circle drawing kind of magic. he doesnt use spells, he just makes things happen.

    so .. what i'm trying to say is, that i think one can get to Narina by trying, but with the wrong and bad kind of magic, that never ends good. and also Aslan still is above everything. you can only use that kind of magic, because he lets you.

  21. Sir Jack says:

    and in LB they do try!
    they go to london looking for the rings. and it seems as if aslan wants them to do so. and on their way they get killed and end up in narnia.. so
    i dont know.. just thinking aloud, i guess.

  22. Sir Jack says:

    okay, i should just listen to the whole thing before comenting… 😛

  1. May 12, 2014


    Podcast #101: ‘The Silver Chair’ Book Commentary (Part 1) | NarniaWeb

  2. May 13, 2014


    Podcast #101: ‘The Silver Chair’ Book Commentary (Part 1) | NarniaWeb