What should the theme of the Silver Chair be in the movie?

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Re: What should the theme of the Silver Chair be in the movie?

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Sep 05, 2016 2:00 pm

Anfinwen wrote:I agree. I feel a major theme is the journey. They spend a lot of the movie traveling, and that reflects an inward journey. The children are growing up and attaining maturity, wisdom and experience. At the end it is mentioned that Eustace looks, not like a child or boy crying, but like a grown-up crying. We see it in every child that goes to Narnia. When Eustace and Jill return in LB they quickly again gain the same capabilities and strength that they had gained at the end of SC.


A hearty ditto to this, and I had another thought along this line of thinking... not only does Jill gain confidence in others through the events of Silver Chair, she also gains more confidence in herself. While I certainly don't want to this story to devolve into some sort of typical Hollywood "believe in yourself" drivel, Jill does save a man from unspeakable suffering with the help of Aslan and her friends, and suddenly the girl who was cowering from bullies behind the gym now has the courage to face up to them. She is a very changed person by the end of the book; one might even say the biggest transformation of all is found in her character.

Wilhelm Spark wrote:Lewis sort of uses SC to pull back the curtain on our lives.


I think you're on to something here! And very interesting point about why Lewis would begin the story in Aslan's Country, too... I had never really paused and wondered why he chose to do that.

In a sense, we are all Shadowlanders in this life, confused by the thick air surrounding us, and it seems that part of Lewis's intent with SC may have been to show us what reality looks like when looking at it up on the mountain where the air is clear.

Wilhelm Spark wrote:And a layering of worlds: Bism, Underland, Narnia, England and Aslan's Country. Visible and invisible worlds are a recurrent thread in SC. Of course it' also in MN, but SC seems different to me, though I can't explain why.


I think it's because MN is largely about seeking and discovering (and the consequences of it), whereas often in SC our characters find themselves in places that they never dreamed existed at all. And I think it also goes back to what you said about seeing with the eyes of faith: only then is the true nature of reality revealed.
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Re: What should the theme of the Silver Chair be in the movie?

Postby Wilhelm Spark » Sep 05, 2016 6:42 pm

I didn't see your reply waggawerewolf. I hadn't noticed that even they way Jill perceives Eustace changes, until you pointed it out. Also, you are right, the idea of duty comes up a lot.

And Rose-Tree Dryad and Anfinwen, I like what you say about Jill and Eustace's transformation. They definitely come back changed people.

But waggawerewolf I disagree with your opinion that the Queen should've been with her husband, helping with the work. That sounds like legalism to me. Also it makes it seem like the Queen got what she deserved, which is wrong and not the sort of attitude we should have towards tragedy (even fictional ones!). IMO the beauty of the woods and nature was made by God to be enjoyed, and the Queen deserves to enjoy herself, as does anyone. There is a time for work and a time for play; IMO there's no use ruining the latter by feeling guilty for not doing the former, and vice versa. But this is going way off-topic, so I'll stop there!

As for whether SC is mainly about the theme of "Doing Your Duty" or "The Deceptive Nature of Appearances", I think it is probably about both. ;) In SC the former is the correct response when faced with the latter.

Oh, and the only reason I have such weird ideas about the book is because I used to fantasize about how I would make a movie of SC. So I've been thinking about it a lot more than is healthy. :-s
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Re: What should the theme of the Silver Chair be in the movie?

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Sep 06, 2016 11:00 pm

Wilhelm Spark wrote:But waggawerewolf I disagree with your opinion that the Queen should've been with her husband, helping with the work. That sounds like legalism to me. Also it makes it seem like the Queen got what she deserved, which is wrong and not the sort of attitude we should have towards tragedy (even fictional ones!). IMO the beauty of the woods and nature was made by God to be enjoyed, and the Queen deserves to enjoy herself, as does anyone. There is a time for work and a time for play;


Now that is a fair point. Didn't the Parliament of Owls point out to Jill and Eustace in the book, that the Queen was wise, gracious and sorely missed? Or was that one of the two audio versions? Surely that would not be the case if she had really made a habit of going on a picnic every sunny day in the calendar, and not just the one day when King Caspian happened to be bogged down with work.

It would be just as unfair to blame her for idleness for not being with her husband, on that one particular day, just as it would be unfair for Caspian's subjects to blame her for influencing policy unduly if she had passed up the picnic to stay in Cair Paravel to help him. And, after all, tragedies on picnics happen quite innocently, even in beautiful earthly national parks, not just in Narnia. Snake bite is a likely picnic accident in this part of the woods/world, as are falling off cliffs, getting lost, spider bites, even getting flattened by falling trees if picnickers are not careful.

However, as we learn from SC, the snake in question isn't your usual snake, which seems to have made a deliberate beeline to bite Caspian's Queen in repose. Whereas in real life, even quite poisonous snakes - and around here we have quite a few of them - don't usually attack first unless disturbed in some way. What should have been nothing but a tragedy due to misadventure, has suddenly become more like a murder mystery where the snake's motive is unknown.

After all, we didn't blame Jill's showing off at the cliffside so that Eustace fell over, nor does anyone see any reproach to either Jill or Eustace for wanting to truant from a bullying school onto the moors. Yes the beauty of the woods is there to be enjoyed, just as Narnia was created to be a lovely peaceful place for its inhabitants to enjoy both work and play as part of life's routine. Nor do we blame Caspian for diligently sticking to the administrative work, despite the temptation to go maying, himself. But we do learn in SC how Caspian The Seafarer's subjects felt about his previous journey to the utter East, no matter what coronation promise he made, and how much they dreaded his abandoning them to go on another voyage.

I guess, that SC, in particular, a lot depends on how one sees work and duty, whether or not it is an onerous burden imposed by a megalomaniac White Witch, or a consequence of Gumpas' lax administration in the Lone Islands. Or the misgovernment by Caspian's usurping predecessor. Or Caspian's own sadness at losing both his wife and son.
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Re: What should the theme of the Silver Chair be in the movie?

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Sep 08, 2016 11:52 am

Wilhelm Spark wrote:Oh, and the only reason I have such weird ideas about the book is because I used to fantasize about how I would make a movie of SC. So I've been thinking about it a lot more than is healthy. :-s


Well, you've come to the right place! I hitched a ride on the runaway speculation train a long time ago. 8-} ;))

waggawerewolf27 wrote:Didn't the Parliament of Owls point out to Jill and Eustace in the book, that the Queen was wise, gracious and sorely missed? Or was that one of the two audio versions?


No, you're right about the Parliament of Owls—they said that she was a wise, gracious and happy lady, and that she was bitterly mourned by all of Narnia. So it seems to me that Caspian and the rest of Narnians would not have at all minded her taking a day's pleasure in the woods with her son and the courtiers, only that it came to such a tragic end.

I've been thinking a bit more about the topic of themes and I think I've boiled it down to these themes as the main ones that I would like to see presented in the film:

Trust. The whole story begins with an act of trust—Eustace's choice to trust Jill with his secret. The pivotal moment of the story rests on whether or not the questers will finally follow Aslan's signs. Connected with this theme is also the theme of duty, because when you trust someone, you believe them and do what they say.

Appearances. Nothing is as it seems in The Silver Chair and expectations and beliefs are constantly challenged. The theme of transformation, both internal and external, also circulates in this eddy of thought, though it is also connected to the primal theme of trust as well.

Liberation. Freeing Rilian, freeing the gnomes, escaping the hopeless prison of Underland, freeing Caspian from the slumber of death, ending the bullies' reign of terror, and casting off the shackles of their own fears and doubts to see the truth. This is where much of the joy in the story lies.

I really hope that the filmmakers are aware of all of this! :ympray:
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Re: What should the theme of the Silver Chair be in the movie?

Postby fantasia_kitty » Sep 08, 2016 2:41 pm

So I'm gonna lob this question out to all of you who feel SC's is about Jill and Trust. The problem I have with it, is that issue is not resolved in the book... Jill never really learns to trust (imho). Maybe later in LB she does as she's clearly willing to die for a cause, but not so much in SC. Jill never does anything imho to show she's learned her lesson in trusting Aslan.
So do you all feel something should be tweaked in order to round out this theme? Would you have Jill give the word to set Rilian free from the chair? Would you have her confront the LotGK more than she does in the book (ie. Puddleglum's speech)? Or perhaps something else later on in the story when they're on their way out of the tunnel?
OR, do you think I'm totally missing something (which is entirely possible ;) ) and you do feel that Jill learns to trust?
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Re: What should the theme of the Silver Chair be in the movie?

Postby narnia fan 7 » Sep 08, 2016 3:52 pm

I don't think that the theme of trust is exclusive to Jill's growth and development as a character. And it's definitely not the only important theme as other's have pointed out. I think that appearances being deceiving and overcoming hopelessness are also central to the story. I do think trust is a theme the run throughout the entire book from Eustace trusting Jill at the beginning by telling her about Narnia and Aslan putting Jill it a position where she must trust him at the stream and her inability to remember the signs which to me at least stems from a lack of trust in Aslan when he no longer around too Puddleglum unwavering trust in both Aslan and the signs.
fantasia_kitty wrote:The problem I have with it, is that issue is not resolved in the book... Jill never really learns to trust (imho). Maybe later in LB she does as she's clearly willing to die for a cause, but not so much in SC. Jill never does anything imho to show she's learned her lesson in trusting Aslan.

That's true that there isn't a defining moment when we see her putting her complete and absolute trust in Aslan, but personally I've always viewed her journey as her beginning to learn how to trust much like how in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Eustace's un-dragoning was just the start of him beginning to be a different boy, perhaps it may be necessary for the filmmakers to give her arc more of an immediate pay off in the film I can't think of a way I would like them to do that off the top of my head I'll have to think about it.
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Re: What should the theme of the Silver Chair be in the movie?

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Sep 09, 2016 12:09 am

Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:No, you're right about the Parliament of Owls—they said that she was a wise, gracious and happy lady, and that she was bitterly mourned by all of Narnia. So it seems to me that Caspian and the rest of Narnians would not have at all minded her taking a day's pleasure in the woods with her son and the courtiers, only that it came to such a tragic end.


Thank you, Rose-Tree Dryad. I was forgetting what I saw where, and needed reminding. It sounds like that tragic death in Narnia of Caspian's Queen in some ways presaged events, quite devastating in their impact, that happened a good deal later, in real-life UK and elsewhere. Sort of real-life mirroring what is now classic fiction. SC was first published in 1953, when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned. C.S.Lewis, of course, died in 1963, ten years afterwards, long before the end of the 20th Century.

fantasia_kitty wrote:So I'm gonna lob this question out to all of you who feel SC's is about Jill and Trust. The problem I have with it, is that issue is not resolved in the book... Jill never really learns to trust (imho).....OR, do you think I'm totally missing something (which is entirely possible ;) ) and you do feel that Jill learns to trust?


Yes, I do think you are missing something, mainly that Jill only sees Aslan twice in SC, apart from her dream at Harfang. When Jill first sees Aslan, it was when he blew Eustace to Narnia, something that must have seemed odd to Jill, who had only a hazy explanation from Eustace, before he fell over the cliff. Later, she tries to get Aslan to move out of her way so that she could have a drink in a stream, the same stream where at the end of the story, Aslan revives the deceased Caspian. At that meeting Jill is terrified the Lion would eat her, but he doesn't seem at all inclined to set her fears to rest. Also, he demands she account for her behaviour on the cliff. His attitude mirrors that of Ramandu's daughter that people could only believe, or not. And he also gives her a job to do in Narnia that she must seek to fulfil until she leaves Narnia or dies in the undertaking. That is, to find a missing prince, following four clues, which Aslan patiently teaches her.

At that point, it is a tall order to ask Jill to trust Aslan fully, any more than it is reasonable to ask a new recruit to a place of employment, to trust fully that a new boss will treat the new recruit fairly or whether the new boss will "eat the recruit for breakfast" if the recruit's performance isn't up to expectations. So much has to be taken on trust, but will that trust be broken either way? It is only along the way, listening to Eustace and Puddleglum that she starts to get an idea of whom to trust and whom not to, which is where the misleading appearances come in. And both Eustace, and, especially, Puddleglum, do trust Aslan. Which is why it is important to leave Puddleglum's role alone. Especially because Puddleglum, unlike Jill, doesn't get taken in by gorgeous-looking, green-clad, fashion-plate riders giving directions to the nearest overnight comfort-station, Harfang, or by heavily disguised/armoured riders who have nothing to say for themselves at all, even by way of introduction.

At the end of the story, when Rilian is found, it is Puddleglum, again, who neutralises the Green Witch's magic, defying her interpretation of reality, and who ensures that Rilian isn't distracted into going to Bism. Puddleglum, in fact, becomes the "good help" Jill and Eustace so sorely need when they first arrive in Narnia, missing Caspian by a whisker, and yes they both have good reason to trust him. I can't see Jill entirely trusting Aslan until Eustace and she see Caspian revived, and finally, the Experiment House bullies taught a lesson. And only after Aslan says to her "I shan't be always scolding you", having said that they had done what they came to Narnia to do, despite their stuff-ups.

Someone has said the Green Witch's magic worked a lot like depression. This is an actual disorder which impacts on people's ability to work effectively if they are not helped to recover from it. A depressed person might lose all joy in whatever they do, leisure and work alike. People do become naturally depressed when mourning a tragic loss such as both Caspian and Rilian endured. Also, as a result of bullying by those who criticize and demean others, even hurting them, no matter how hard one tries to "fit-in" with those around them, such as at Experiment House. Coerced and meaningless work isn't likely to inspire enthusiasm or efficiency among badly managed workers, or among slaves, whilst PTSD is a well-known consequence of the traumas of military service. And drug and alcohol abuse can also be related to bullying and depression.

We get the idea when crossing the underland sea, that even the food Puddleglum, Jill and Eustace was tasteless and bland. The gnomes of Bism seemed noticeably sad and silent, not taking any enjoyment out of whatever work they did, and it isn't too much of a stretch to realise that a bullying Rilian, invading and oppressing an unknown country, would have been a dreadful king for Narnia to have, had he not been rescued from a marriage to LOTGK. Instead, he dutifully took his lawful place as king, with his father's blessing, and without the insecurity of usurpation, injustice and coercion because of his wife's plans for him. The world LOTGK wanted everyone to believe in, as Puddleglum said, was a pale, puny imitation of reality. The real Narnia was so much better. When freed from his enchantment, Hamlet-like Rilian even whistled and sang for joy. Until finally meeting his father, he broke down and sobbed as he may have needed to do for years.
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Re: What should the theme of the Silver Chair be in the movie?

Postby fantasia_kitty » Sep 09, 2016 7:26 am

So, if I am interpreting your post correctly Wagga, you feel Jill's journey of trust begins with her confrontation with Aslan where he won't leave, nor promise not to eat her when she wants a drink (which I totally agree this is a trust thing by the way), and then culminates when she witnesses Aslan restore Caspian. Right?
I went back and reread the end of the book again briefly this morning, and I'm sorry, I do not see it at all. ;)) Jill is a bystander and witness in this moment, but it's Eustace who acts and reacts to Caspian's returning to life. This passage is for him.
Now, having said that, I will admit that I went and reread the bits of the trio rescuing Prince Rilian, and it is JILL, not Puddleglum, who finally agrees out loud to set him free from the chair. So I feel like that at least is some kind of resolution to the theme of trusting Aslan and the signs, even in the face of almost certain death.

But... I find it rather ironic you mentioned these two bits here...
Wagga wrote:And [Aslan] also gives her a job to do in Narnia that she must seek to fulfil until she leaves Narnia or dies in the undertaking. That is, to find a missing prince, following four clues, which Aslan patiently teaches her.

Wagga wrote:And only after Aslan says to her "I shan't be always scolding you", having said that they had done what they came to Narnia to do, despite their stuff-ups.

Going to flesh out the last quote here with what's in the book.
Lewis wrote:"I have come," said a deep voice behind them. They turned and saw the Lion himself, so bright and real and strong that everything else began at once to look pale and shadowy compared with him. And in less time that it takes to breathe, Jill forgot about the dead King of Narnia and remembered only how she had made Eustace fall over the cliff, and how she had helped to muff nearly all the signs, and about all the snappings and quarrelings. And she wanted to say "I'm sorry" but she could not speak. Then the Lion drew them toward him with his eyes, and bent down and touched their pale faces with his tongue, and said:
"Think of that no more. I will not always be scolding. You have done the work for which I sent you into Narnia."


These two sections, from Aslan giving Jill the signs, to Aslan telling her that she has done the work she was brought to Narnia for, begin and end the theme of the book for me; it's about Following the Signs. It's repeated over and over throughout the book and when they follow them, things go right, when they don't, everything gets messed up. I interpret that as obedience, like I said at the start of this thread, but maybe using just the word 'obedience' oversimplifies it too much. But you cannot get away from the theme of following the signs in this book. I suppose I can see the argument that you have to trust the signs will work out well in order to follow them, but I don't interpret that at all as Jill having trust issues.

So I'm still going to argue against Jill learning to trust as being the primary theme in the book, and if it turns out that's the direction they take in the movie (because that is a very Hollywood thing to do), her character arc will need to be fleshed out a lot at the end. She would need to take on some of Puddleglum's role where he and Eustace free Rilian from the Silver Chair, or she needs something more to say to the LotGK, "Look, I messed up following all of Aslan's signs all the way here, but in end the end when I trusted them, we found Prince Rilian like we set out to do, so I believe in Aslan."
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Re: What should the theme of the Silver Chair be in the movie?

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Sep 09, 2016 1:50 pm

fantasia_kitty wrote:These two sections, from Aslan giving Jill the signs, to Aslan telling her that she has done the work she was brought to Narnia for, begin and end the theme of the book for me; it's about Following the Signs. It's repeated over and over throughout the book and when they follow them, things go right, when they don't, everything gets messed up. I interpret that as obedience, like I said at the start of this thread, but maybe using just the word 'obedience' oversimplifies it too much. But you cannot get away from the theme of following the signs in this book.


I'm in complete agreement with you, except I don't think that obedience and trust are two separate themes in this context. (You mentioned this possibility, but I'll elaborate.)

A lot of "trust stories" in Hollywood tend to be analagous to a frightened, abused pet being taken in by a kind, loving family and slowly realizing that humans are nice and can be relied upon. While Jill does learn that Aslan can be relied upon, even when you muff nearly all of his signs, this is not that kind of story. There's the type of trust that is merely confidence in something and then there's also the trust that implies subjecting oneself to an authority figure. If I'm in the Amazon, I "trust" in my guide to lead me safely on my journey, and a critical component of that relationship is my obedience to what they say. I'm also reminded of a dog that trusts so completely in his master, he will obey whatever command the master gives, no matter how little sense it might make to the dog. So in my view, in The Silver Char, the concepts of trust and obedience are inextricably linked, and when I talk about trust as being the main theme of the film, I'm also talking about obedience.

("Always define your terms!", as my mother would say. ;)))

fantasia wrote:I suppose I can see the argument that you have to trust the signs will work out well in order to follow them, but I don't interpret that at all as Jill having trust issues.


One of the ways that I perceive Jill has having trust issues, aside from the lonely, miserable condition we find her in at the beginning of SC, is the way that she reacts to meeting Aslan. Think of the response that the Pevensies had when first encountering Aslan, or any of the other characters, really. But Jill... Jill is so afraid. All she can see is a Lion that wants to eat her. When I read that scene, I'm strongly reminded of the slow gentling of a frightened, wild creature. (The irony is that the animal is Jill and the Lion is the trainer.) And this isn't the pudding cup scene from Air Bud where the kid coaxes the dog out of the bushes... this is a good, stern Shepherd who will wait for you for eons, unmoving, never coaxing; a true master of drawing people out of their wild conditions.

I know when I talk about the movie being about trust and Jill's trouble with learning to trust, it's more about what I don't want Hollywood to do: I don't want them to turn it into some big epic film about saving the world. I feel like the theme of trust/obedience/follow the signs is strong enough in the book for it to show up fine as the main theme in the film, as long as the filmmakers let it. (And I wouldn't want them to hit me over the head with themes anyway.)
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Re: What should the theme of the Silver Chair be in the movie?

Postby Glumpuddle » Sep 09, 2016 2:11 pm

What a fantastic thread. Kind of overwhelmed... Great stuff, everyone!

FK, I don't see much of a conflict with our viewpoints. Could you please clarify? It takes trust to follow the signs. Trust that Aslan knows what he's talking about. If he doesn't, there is no reason to follow the signs. All the characters, not just Jill, have to trust the signs, but I tend to single out Jill because she seems like the clear main character.

I appreciate you challenging the idea of Jill having trust issues. I have been giving this some thought and re-reading the book a bit. I admit it's subtle, but I'm trying really hard to get the idea out of my head... I just can't do it. I put myself in her shoes, and I think that's how I personally would feel. The first few pages are all about how the people in authority at school are the source of Jill's problems. And I may be over-analyzing, but I still find it interesting that her parents are never mentioned at all. She has nowhere to turn. It doesn't surprise me at all that even taking a drink of water to save her life is difficult... because it means having to trust that Aslan won't eat her. And it's not at all surprising to me that she has a hard time trusting the signs, and remembering to repeat them day and night. And I'm so glad she gets to see the results: The king is reunited with his son. And I'm overjoyed she gets to see even more: Because of Aslan, death is not the end for Caspian. And I'm moved to tears (of laughter and joy) when Aslan fixes the terrible situation at Experiment House.

Obviously this is just my personal experience with the book. I can't say for sure this is exactly what Lewis intended.

Now.... this thread is supposed to be all about the film though. Can this work as well in the film? I will give this some thought and return. :)

This is one of those threads where I just want everyone to meet on Google Hangout or something. I feel crippled on the forum because my fingers don't work as fast as my brain. One of the reasons I started a YouTube channel.
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Re: What should the theme of the Silver Chair be in the movie?

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Sep 09, 2016 6:06 pm

@FK: yes I do agree that you are right about Jill being the one who decided to free Prince Rilian. But it was Puddleglum's opinion which finally convinced her, even though it was her decision to make.

fantasia kitty wrote:These two sections, from Aslan giving Jill the signs, to Aslan telling her that she has done the work she was brought to Narnia for, begin and end the theme of the book for me; it's about Following the Signs. It's repeated over and over throughout the book and when they follow them, things go right, when they don't, everything gets messed up. I interpret that as obedience, like I said at the start of this thread, but maybe using just the word 'obedience' oversimplifies it too much. But you cannot get away from the theme of following the signs in this book. I suppose I can see the argument that you have to trust the signs will work out well in order to follow them, but I don't interpret that at all as Jill having trust issues
.

Following the signs would have to be the main theme of SC, I agree. But yes, using just the word "obedience" does oversimplify things too much. Trust and obedience are not at all the same thing however often one sings about trusting and obeying. Why do we obey anything? And why, however we trust God, do we follow the devices of our own hearts in our day to day lives? And what are the stages of moral development we go through as we reach adulthood? At first all a child is concerned with is comfort and discomfort, and the presence or absence of its mother and father. When it gets to the toddler stage a smack is traditionally as good a way as any to deter a child from dangerous or wrong behaviour, though a firm Uh! Uh Ooohh! Australian raven style, might be a rather better deterrent.

Later on, to encourage a child in good behaviour a system of rewards might be a better way to get their compliance. That is why Eustace in VDT went around comparing his marks since he was undeniably good at schoolwork. By the time a child is in primary school, he or she learns that obeying the rules brings its own rewards and disobedience might bring punishment. Whilst as a teenager, rules might be more negotiable, and are only good laws if everyone agrees about their usefulness. Maturity is when one is so convinced that some behaviours are so wrong and abhorrent they won't be indulged in regardless of what everyone else says. However, it was a long while ago when I learned that in a teacher-training exercise.

And, even with children, is obedience synonymous with trust? I think not, and never will. There is obedience to the law, blind obedience, wilful obedience to a corrupt regime and obedience to one's conscience, you see. And though Jill, fearful of a huge Lion who might eat her, and marooned in the unknown, has little option but to be obedient to the Lion's wishes, she doesn't necessarily trust him - yet. Even after Aslan confirms that he is the Someone Eustace mentioned to her when he found her crying behind the gym.

Jill starts off well, meticulously reciting the four signs on her way to Narnia, but when she arrives Eustace is not going to co-operate with her, a consequence of her tomfoolery on the cliff though she hasn't thought about it in that light. And it means that though Glimfeather comes to the rescue, they don't really get the help they would need right at the outset. Things go downhill all the way afterwards. Jill gets more and more tired, and more and more she skips reciting the signs as Aslan instructed her to do, especially after meeting LOTGK on the road. The price of her disobedience is that by the time she gets to Harfang she has almost forgotten why she is where she is. And so she needs the dream to sharply remind her of the second sign she reached the day before, let alone the instruction she was to obey next, which was mentioned in the third sign.

However, having blundered into Harfang, the travellers do manage to extricate themselves, and get on track. When she finally meets Aslan at the end, Jill is contrite about her failures to obey, but Aslan forgives her. And I think it is then she finally and irrevocably trusts Aslan for who he is.
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Re: What should the theme of the Silver Chair be in the movie?

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Sep 09, 2016 6:49 pm

Glumpuddle wrote:I appreciate you challenging the idea of Jill having trust issues. I have been giving this some thought and re-reading the book a bit. I admit it's subtle, but I'm trying really hard to get the idea out of my head... I just can't do it.


I appreciate the challenge as well! It's one thing to internally know that a character has trust issues and quite another to be able to defend that perspective with clarity. A good challenge is so helpful for codifying what you think about a topic. (Or helping you discover that you need to discard your viewpoint altogether! :P)

I do think that Jill's evolution in SC is a good deal more subtle than Eustace's in VDT, but I think it's still quite visible, especially if you pull back and take a broad look. If a counselor had met with Jill before and after she went to Narnia, I'm sure they'd say that the post-Narnia girl had strong leadership figures in her life and was much more emotionally healthy.

Glumpuddle wrote:This is one of those threads where I just want everyone to meet on Google Hangout or something. I feel crippled on the forum because my fingers don't work as fast as my brain. One of the reasons I started a YouTube channel.


Ah, that would be so fun! Although knowing me, I'm sure I would bring a small stack of notes with me; I tend to think that I express myself better through writing than I do verbally. ;))

waggawerewolf27 wrote:And, even with children, is obedience synonymous with trust? I think not, and never will. There is obedience to the law, blind obedience, wilful obedience to a corrupt regime and obedience to one's conscience, you see. And though Jill, fearful of a huge Lion who might eat her, and marooned in the unknown, has little option but to be obedient to the Lion's wishes, she doesn't necessarily trust him - yet. Even after Aslan confirms that he is the Someone Eustace mentioned to her when he found her crying behind the gym.


That's a very good point. Jill choosing to drink at the stream was merely the smallest step towards beginning to trust... her long internal journey, one of small steps forward and big steps back, and the example of the people around her, eventually takes her to the place where she is able to give the go-ahead to unbind Rilian.
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Re: What should the theme of the Silver Chair be in the movie?

Postby fantasia_kitty » Sep 13, 2016 11:00 am

Glumpuddle wrote:I appreciate you challenging the idea of Jill having trust issues.

The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:I appreciate the challenge as well!

I'm glad to hear that. I certainly don't want to come across as annoying challenging everybody on what they get out of the books. :ymblushing: And thanks to everybody who has commented on this thread because even if I don't agree 100% on everything, it's fascinating to hear other people's well thought out interpretations! :D Rose, I particularly enjoyed your trust definition post up above. :)

Glumpuddle wrote:FK, I don't see much of a conflict with our viewpoints. Could you please clarify? It takes trust to follow the signs.
Sure, I'll try to explain from a different perspective. :)
So, to me, the opposite of trust is doubt. Did Jill mess up the signs on her journey because of her doubt?
The first sign is missed due to Eustace being (understandably) angry with her, so they argue and he ignores her.
The second sign starts off well heading to the ruined city of giants, but Jill and Eustace are completely distracted by the Green Lady with the promises of comfort at Harfang.
The third sign they sort of follow, but I'll call it by the will of Aslan instead of their own, ;)) as they're running for their lives from the giants.
The fourth sign is the only one they obey, even though I think they forget exactly what the sign said. This is the sign I fully admit that they have to show trust in Aslan because they DO doubt here for a moment. Following the sign could cost them their lives.
So Jill definitely has problems following Aslan's signs, even remembering to repeat them to herself so she forgets them. Coupled with the constant bickering and fighting with Eustace and Puddleglum, distractions, desires for comfort, and yes, doubt as well ;) are all parts of Jill's issues on this quest.
So there's another reason I lean towards obedience being the bigger issue as opposed to trust. :)
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Re: What should the theme of the Silver Chair be in the movie?

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Sep 14, 2016 5:44 pm

The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:I appreciate the challenge as well! It's one thing to internally know that a character has trust issues and quite another to be able to defend that perspective with clarity.....I do think that Jill's evolution in SC is a good deal more subtle than Eustace's in VDT, but I think it's still quite visible, especially if you pull back and take a broad look.


Much as I agree with you, about the trust issues, to define those trust issues and how they work out, might take quite some thought and even something like teacher training to work out. But common sense also helps out. Jill, as a bullied child, at a boarding school, might well have "trust issues". One method bullies can use to hurt others, and make themselves look big, is to find out as much as possible about, say, a newcomer, and then, having extracted such information by seeming friendship, use that sort of information to spread gossip to isolate and humiliate them. There is nothing to stop Eustace from being such a bully when Jill first meets him, and Jill actually says so in the book. Except for the changes he has experienced in the holiday, he might well have remained the hanger-on she remembered from the previous term. When he starts telling her about his adventures, she agrees he's changed, but still only half believes he is not leading her up the garden path, until the bullies chase them both out of the garden gate.

The trouble is, at Experiment House, a counsellor might be more part of the problem than the solution. C.S.Lewis described Experiment House as a place where several of the pupils liked nothing more than bullying other children, and that when they were reported to the teachers they were not disciplined as one would expect. Instead, they were treated as if they were interesting cases. If counsellors don't take bullying seriously - and in a war situation they may very well not - someone like Jill, on the receiving end, might not get any help at all.

When that sort of thing happens, someone like Jill is likely to get to the point where she doesn't know whom to trust. And when Aslan first appears to her, she sees him as just the fearsome lion, a proper cultural authority figure, that he is. Especially as he talks, and also calls her to account over her behaviour at the cliff edge.

.....Although knowing me, I'm sure I would bring a small stack of notes with me; I tend to think that I express myself better through writing than I do verbally. ;))


So do I. There is also a problem with time and space to consider, which is why I avoid chat-rooms and you-tube. Personally, I like being able to go back and edit and re-edit, especially when stopped mid post. :D

Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:Jill choosing to drink at the stream was merely the smallest step towards beginning to trust... her long internal journey, one of small steps forward and big steps back, and the example of the people around her, eventually takes her to the place where she is able to give the go-ahead to unbind Rilian.


Yes, you are right. But that first step is truly a baby step in learning whom to trust. She doesn't really put herself in other people's shoes yet, or understand other people's point of view. And she is still thinking more of her own comfort and how to avoid discomfort, such as her thirst. Without the problem of enduring more discomfort by getting eaten by a fearsome, even if thoughtful and reasoning, lion. Her thirst sated, she does know that Aslan is Someone, just as the Queen of England or the President of the USA is Someone. And that Aslan has given her a job she must do. Although she obediently learns and recites the signs, whilst in transit to Narnia, she doesn't think how she is going to tell Eustace he has to recognise an old friend, or how he is likely to greet her, let alone how much he would trust her. Does she even consider that an apology might have been a really good way to start with? Especially as she didn't mean to hurt him?

fantasia kitty wrote:So, to me, the opposite of trust is doubt. Did Jill mess up the signs on her journey because of her doubt?.....
The second sign starts off well heading to the ruined city of giants, but Jill and Eustace are completely distracted by the Green Lady with the promises of comfort at Harfang.
The third sign they sort of follow, but I'll call it by the will of Aslan instead of their own, as they're running for their lives from the giants.


The problem is not exactly doubt I think. It is more that comfort and discomfort thing I mentioned earlier, and in a previous post where I mentioned the stages of moral development. Jill is still a child, and thinks like a child. When she sees Aslan she sees Authority. But when she meets LOTGK she doesn't think 'Stranger danger', unlike the more astute Puddleglum. She hasn't even remembered her considered, impartial judgement of LOTGK being a murderer when she heard Rilian's story at the Owl's parliament, let alone her view of Aslan.

Jill, on meeting LOTGK, is just like a kid watching TV who sees a lovely lady, dressed to the nines, wearing the latest fashions, spruiking the wonderful meals and hot baths etc at the wonderful Harfang Hilton, forgetting that one might have to pay - literally - with considerably more than the proverbial arm and a leg. And who would anyone trust more in Jill's place? An Authority figure who has given you what, at that point, seems increasingly like arduous and unfulfillable instructions? Or a film star sort, spruiking a slickly-delivered advertisement for hospitality at the nearest Holiday Inn?

However, she is growing, but not enough yet. She questions Puddleglum why he is so dour, only being prepared to discuss the weather with LOTGK. She points out that she has to say something about her self to get information from these strangers. Puddleglum, quite rightly, doesn't trust LOTGK. Or the Silent Knight (a 50's brand of refrigerator I wouldn't trust either). She hasn't got his level of insight yet on how much information it is safe to give away, despite her experiences of being bullied.

And so, longing for that Comfort Inn break, Jill stops reciting her signs, and so fails to recognise the travellers have arrived at the Ruined City, being more intent on getting relief from her discomfort with their journey. And it is a huge step backwards for both her and Eustace, both of whom are the end of their tether. If it wasn't for that dream she had, Jill wouldn't have even realised that she had muffed the second sign, and she needed a wake-up call to continue. And what did our travellers do once they realised where they were and the danger they were in? Doubt the third sign, now they see it laid out in front of them? Even sneakily hoping that Aslan put the sign "under me" under Jill's window overnight? Or was that, once again, Jill's claustrophobia ruling her?

Getting back to the theme of SC, of course the four signs are the most important theme of SC. But the Four signs that Jill was required to learn to help her with her quest, how she obeyed them or disobeyed them and how she learned to trust Aslan and the right people, maybe, are also all a part of another theme. Would you say that theme could be part of growing up, and preparing oneself for life? And by the way, :ymdevil: since evaluation forms are de rigueur at hotels, how would you rate the accommodation at Harfang? ;)) Did anyone notice how the difference in how Puddleglum, Eustace and Jill reacted to learning they had been eating Talking Stag, also reflects their level of moral reasoning?
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Re: What should the theme of the Silver Chair be in the movie?

Postby PhelanVelvel » Sep 16, 2016 8:15 pm

waggawerewolf27 wrote:Did anyone notice how the difference in how Puddleglum, Eustace and Jill reacted to learning they had been eating Talking Stag, also reflects their level of moral reasoning?


Yeah, definitely. I remember thinking when I read it for the first time that I would be just as appalled as Puddleglum about the Talking Stag. (True or not, I will never know!) We as readers come to know and love Narnia by the time of that reveal, and certainly we are all more affected by it than Jill, who doesn't know enough of Narnian culture to appreciate the horror. She met Aslan, and she met the Owls, but she probably thought that hunting and food chains are the same as in our world, just with all the animals being on the same intellectual footing. She probably thought, too, that hunting talking beasts would be considered normal for humans, giants, and even other talking beasts.

At the same time, I remember thinking that Jill's and Eustace's reactions were too mild compared to Puddleglum's. It wasn't just that an innocent person was killed, it was that they ate him on top of it. It was worse than a murder in that respect. I feel like Eustace, having known Reepicheep as well as he did, should have been on the same page as Puddleglum with his reaction.
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Re: What should the theme of the Silver Chair be in the movie?

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Sep 27, 2016 2:10 pm

fantasia_kitty wrote:So Jill definitely has problems following Aslan's signs, even remembering to repeat them to herself so she forgets them. Coupled with the constant bickering and fighting with Eustace and Puddleglum, distractions, desires for comfort, and yes, doubt as well ;) are all parts of Jill's issues on this quest.
So there's another reason I lean towards obedience being the bigger issue as opposed to trust. :)


I saw a C.S. Lewis quote on Twitter the other day that made me think of this discussion: "Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted in spite of your changing moods."

I feel like this idea is at the center of The Silver Chair. If I'm in the Amazon with my Amazonian guide, I'm not really in danger of doubting them because I know that they are competent... I would only doubt if it seemed like they didn't know what they were doing or if my fears were clouding my judgment. What could conceivably get me in trouble is those times when I abandon my reason and think that I know better than my guide, or ignore what they say because I'd really just like to taste an unknown tropical fruit or pet a leopard. Reason has accepted that this guide will lead my safely on my way, but my changing moods may get in the way of listening to reason.

So what is this, exactly? Is it trust? Obedience? Or is it just faith? I'm not quite sure. :-?

(wagga, thanks for teaching me a new word... I'd never heard of spruiking before!)
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