|Eustace, Puddleglum and Jill as they walk past the giants of Ettinsmoor on their way to find the lost prince.|
This is one of the great illustrations from Pauline Bayne in the original version of The Silver Chair.
She brought both Narnia and Tolkien's Middle Earth to life with her work.
But while I am engrossed in all things Narnia and C.S. Lewis, some of the rest of you have actual lives or at least other hobbies that occupy your time. With that being the case, you may not know about The Silver Chair and what to expect from the next Narnia movie.
Here is a brief synopsis of the plot and why I believe this story should make for a better movie than either Prince Caspian or The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
In Dawn Treader, we are introduced to a cousin of the Pevensies (Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy from the first two books). This is how Lewis establishes the character of Eustace:
There once was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.He comes across as arrogant, selfish and annoying, much like Edmund did in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. But again like Edmund, he had a dramatic turn around due to his interaction with Aslan.
Summary of The Silver Chair
The Silver Chair follows the much improved Eustace and a classmate, Jill Pole. Scrubb and Pole, as they often refer to themselves as, seek a way to escape bullies at their horrible boarding school. During their scrambling away, they stumble into Narnia. There they meet Aslan who gives them an important task and signs to help guide them in their journey.
While it has only been a year in our time since Eustace was last in Narnia, it has been many Narnia years. They discover King Caspian is now an old man on the verge of death. He is heartbroken over the death of his wife and disappearance of his son, Prince Rilian.
This is the adventure Aslan has given to them. They are to find the prince. As their Narnian guide, they are given Puddleglum, a Marshwiggle, which resemble a cross between a human and a frog. Puddleglum is a true and loyal guide, but he is forever a pessimist.
Their journey takes them far beyond the lands of Narnia into the wild North where giants and other intimidating creatures roam. But the most interesting, and perhaps dangerous, person they encounter is the Lady of the Green Kirtle, accompanied by a silent knight in black armor.
Despite continually missing the signs that Aslan gave them and losing their focus, the trio stumble (literally) into the very place the prince has been kept this whole time. But things are not as they seem. And only after Puddleglum's stalwart, but gloomy determination wakes them all from a magic induced stupor, do they see the truth for what it is.
The box office returns for Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader were at the very least disappointing, which is why it has been three years before anyone has even tried to tackle making another Narnia movie.
Part, if not a significant amount, of that was due to the poor treatment Disney gave Caspian, which weighed down Dawn Treader, despite it being distributed by Fox. However, both of those stories required significant work to become a screenplay.
Caspian had chronological issues that could not be translated into film and Dawn Treader lacked a cinematic structure. Those issues were corrected to make the stories be more movie like, but it could be argued that the changes detracted from the essence of the story.
Those issues should not be present with The Silver Chair. It has a linear chronology, with only one small flashback that could remain a flashback or serve as an opening scene. The story is also a classic adventure tale with a clear purpose to start and a known objective to finish.
For better or worse, most of the viewing public has forgotten about the previous Narnia movies. They will have to be reintroduced to the world in some ways, but The Hobbit films have shown that audiences can re-immerse themselves into a known fantasy realm.
The Silver Chair is a great story with compelling characters and extraordinary visuals. It can be a tremendous movie. That's exactly what I'm hoping for - as soon as possible.