153. The Silver Chair, Part 1

New Warhorn Media post by Nathan Alberson:


Although I share in the general horror of caves, and being stuck in one, I have always kind of liked stories about caves. I remember as a boy reading a couple Louis La’Mour short stories about miners trapped in cave ins, and oddly always enjoyed it. However, I don’t know that I ever really thought too much about Lewis’s cave beyond it just being the setting of the story.

The Silver Chair has always been my favorite of the Narnia stories, both as a boy and as an adult. This is in large part due to Puddleglum. He’s great. In fact, when I was newly married, I found a list of Puddleglum quotes somewhere, and would quote them to my wife when it seemed appropriate. I usually got an eye roll in response.

Also, I loved Johnny Tremaine as a boy. :slightly_smiling_face:


Should we actually do Johnny Tremain?


When I was young - in Cub Scouts, when the BSA had not yet been emasculated and eviscerated - a few of the den dads took us to a “mountain” (or what has to pass for one in Central Texas). We hiked up the main trail and came across a cave entrance. The leaders asked us if we wanted to explore and we all, like boys, agreed. There was a point at which we had to cross a gap and, once crossed, we would not be able to return the way we came - not for narrowness, but for the sheer face of the rock within the cave that would have all but prevented a bunch of 7- and 8-year-old boys from getting back. We crossed one by one with the help of the leaders and followed the cave around until it let out on the side of the cliff. So without ropes or assistance, a half-dozen or so little boys and a couple of dads climbed what I then perceived as a sheer cliff face to get back to the cave entrance and the rail. I often reflect on this with incredulity - that we did it at all, and that it would never be done today; if not for fear of liability and safety than because the cave entrance has likely been closed or the passage been safety-ized. I thought a lot about this while listening to this episode.

I remember, as a kid, when my mom purchased me the box set of the Chronicles of Narnia, hating this book. I remember being angry at how offensively boring the book title was. I would not even let my mom read through it with me because I had no interest in such an awful-sounding book. I didn’t make my way through it until my wife and I purchased the boxed CD set of the Chronicles of Narnia (an excellent audio drama production from Focus on the Family) and I listened to it for the first time - and was surprised that it wound up being near the top of my favorites in the series (after A Horse and His Boy and Voyage of the Dawn Treader). As an adult, I appreciated the cave allegory analog - not for its aptness, but because I am not certain how many children’s books would even bother with this sort of philosophical engagement, even if it lists hard into Lewisian syncretism.

I appreciate both this show and this particular series, so thanks, gentlemen.

As an aside, I’m ashamed to admit it given your collective distaste for it, but I loved A Wrinkle in Time (and A Wind in the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet) when I read them when I was younger. I haven’t listened to your episode(s) on it yet, but I will do so sometime this week. I was not required to read this for school, neither was I required to read Johnny Tremain, but I would think doing a few “back-to-school” specials along these lines would be a lot of fun for some August and September episodes.


Only if it gets the reverential treatment it clearly deserves. He was a Son of Liberty after all.:hear_no_evil:

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Here is a fun fact: Lewis drew inspiration from the English Civil War for his two greatest Narnia characters: Reepicheep and Puddleglum. Reepicheep embodied all that was good among the Royalists (or Cavaliers): chivalry, adventure, love of honor, etc. and Puddleglum all that was best among the Puritans (or Roundheads): duty, sober judgment, toughness, etc.

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Never heard this but it makes so much sense!