Fourth in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia series, The Silver Chair is one of my favorite fantasy books. It tells the story of two children from England who get called into the world of Narnia to find a missing prince. Aslan, the mighty lion and ruler of that world, sends them on this journey. He gives them specific signs that show them where to go and what to do. Unfortunately, their own disobedience and forgetfulness takes them on some dangerous twists and turns. Finally, they reach the underground fortress in which the prince is being held – but not against his will.
Unknown to them, a wicked witch has been keeping him under a spell, by means of a silver chair. He is bound to this chair every night, lest he regain his sanity and break free from her control. Only the name of Aslan can free him.
Does any of this sound familiar? Those familiar with the Bible should have no trouble recognizing the allegory:
- The prince’s enslavement to the witch clearly represents demonic bondage. Such bondage, of course, begins with deception. In this case, the deception begins with a beautiful woman who is not what she appears. Can you picture the serpent that tempted Adam and Eve in the garden?
“Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)
The witch is like a serpent in disguise and represents the spirit of rebellion. Her goal is basically to use the prince to take over Narnia, a world of which he is already the rightful ruler. That’s what Satan tries to do to believers. He makes Christian believers think they have to take by force what already belongs to them as heirs of God and coheirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).
Thankfully, the witch’s power is limited. The only way she can control the prince is to blind his mind to who he is. Every night, however, his mind begins to clear. But before he can regain his sanity, the witch’s servants bind him hand and foot to the silver chair. His own efforts to free himself are useless. He desperately needs deliverance, which brings us to…
- Aslan, who is a “type” or symbol of Jesus Christ. He is the one who sends Jill and Eustace, along with their guide Puddleglum, to free the prince from the silver chair. Their swords are like God’s word, which when properly wielded, has power to slash through the prince’s bonds. But deliverance comes only through Aslan’s name, whereas in our world it comes only through Jesus’ name. The allegory is pretty easy to understand. But then we come to…
- the chair itself, which is a stationary object. It’s what you sit on while watching TV, reading a book, or having a face-to-face conversation. To sit in a chair implies such actions as focusing, listening, and paying attention. Chairs are great to sit in if you’re hearing a rousing sermon, but all the prince heard while sitting in the silver chair was lies.
To quote Psalm 1:1 (KJV), “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, not stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.”
Romans 10:17 tells us that “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
The witch’s voice was not a voice of faith, but of doubt. Rather than acknowledge God (Aslan) as the one who made the worlds, she tries to make them all believe that hers is the only world, which brings us to:
- the silver in the chair, reminiscent of the thirty silver pieces paid to Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus. No one suspected him. He was slippery as a serpent. Like the other disciples, he healed the sick, cast out demons, and raised the dead (see Matthew chapter 10). But at the end, he sold himself to do evil.
He sat in his scorner’s seat too long and became too comfortable with it. His story ended tragically. As for the prince in The Silver Chair, his story ends on a happier note. It contains numerous lessons on obedience, deliverance, spiritual warfare, and getting free from fear.
Five stars all around!