Of the seven chronicles of Narnia, my favorite has long been The Silver Chair. Therein, the children Jill and Eustace, called into Narnia from our world, and the marshwiggle Puddleglum, are given four signs by Aslan to follow in order to find the lost Prince Rilian, son of King Caspian. They have trouble following any of the signs correctly yet eventually find themselves in the castle of the Queen of Underland. She has a consort called the Black Night, a bland sort of fellow who nevertheless every night must be bound to the Silver Chair lest the madness that comes over him make him destroy everything in sight! During the hour of madness, the Knight does go into a fury. He struggles to free himself and pleads with the children and Puddleglum to release him. They are terrified. At one point the Knight even begs them in the name of Aslan himself to unbind him! Of the four signs, the last was that the lost Prince would be the first person they meet in their travels to ask them to do something in the name of Aslan. Scared and full of doubt, it is Puddleglum who points out that Aslan only told them what to do, not what would happen. "That fellow will be the death of us once he's up, I shouldn't wonder. But that doesn't let us off following the Sign." This is why I love The Silver Chair. In this one scene in one chapter C. S. Lewis concisely, dramatically, and brilliantly sums up the duty of every Christian -- to do the will of God no matter what. They free the Knight, he is the Prince, the wicked Queen is defeated, and Rilian is returned to Narnia. Along the way Lewis vividly shows us Mere Christianity in action. Nothing else Lewis has written speaks to my heart the way The Silver Chair does. Perhaps it will do the same for you.
Author: Jeffery D. Kooistra - In my dreams I live in a world of 2 a.m. train whistles wailing in the distance, and tractor-trailers ruling the roads, abandoned tree-houses deep in the woods, the scent of burning oak leaves in the air, and squeaky windmills beside weathered barns. I am the author of over 100 stories and nonfiction pieces dealing with science, science fiction, philosophy, religion, and current events. Until retiring from it recently I wrote Alternate View columns for Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine. My background also includes teaching math and physics from middle school into college. I am also a member of SIGMA -- the Science Fiction Think Tank, an assortment of SF authors who do Pro Bono consulting work, usually for agencies of the government.