Saturday, August 13, 2016

Discussion Questions for “The Silver Chair”

Here’s the latest set of discussion questions in our rapidly concluding Summer Reading Project. Previous postings here on The Book Den explain the program and include discussion questions for the first books in C.S. Lewis’ classic adventure series, The Chronicles of Narnia. Please check them out here, here, here, here, and here. In addition, you can check out how the first Narnia dinner party/discussion worked out at this post.

As we have said previously, you may not need any conversation starters other than the general questions that work the best for any book discussion. Those questions, of course, include the following. Did you like the book? What did you learn from it? Were there any characters, incidents, passages, or even single lines that made an impact on you? Were there things in the book you had questions about or disagreements? What were some of the most memorable things about the book?

Questions for Kids (and adults)

1) What was the name of the school that Eustace and Jill attended?
2) How did the kids get away from the bullies that were chasing them?
3) Jill was showing off a little when she stood so near the cliff edge and that had a bad result.  What happened?
4) How do Eustace and Jill actually get to Narnia?
5) What were the four signs that the Lion told Jill to remember?
6) Who is getting ready to sail away when the kids first get to Narnia?
7) What was the Owl’s name?
8) What device did Trumpkin the Dwarf use to hear better?
9) What was the gathering of owls called?
10) Why didn’t Trumpkin want anyone else to go look for the missing Prince Rilian?
11) Describe Puddleglum.
12) Who were the first creatures the kids discovered after crossing the Shribble?
13) Why did the children want so badly to go to Harfang?
14) The giants at Harfang were awfully nice to Puddleglum and the children but they had an evil purpose.  What was it?
15) We find out eventually that She of the Green Kirtle had another name.  What was it?
16) What did all the Underland creatures have in common?
17) Who was the Black Knight?
18) Why did Prince Rilian not see the Queen of the Deep Realm for the evil person she really was?
19) What is the first thing Prince Rilian does when he is freed?
20) What brave thing does Puddleglum do to break the enchantment that is overcoming him and his friends?
21) What were the names of the two horses used in the escape?
22) Where does Golg invite Rilian to come to? Would you have accepted his invitation?
23) Describe the Great Snow Dance.

Questions for Adults (and kids)

1) Lewis makes fun of “progressive” education in his description of Experiment House.  What were some of the things he satirized?
2) True humility involves an honest evaluation of oneself and the courage to do what’s right.  Eustace Scrubb is a great example and that’s very evident in the first pages of this novel. What do you think?
3) “Crying is all right…but you have to stop sooner or later and then you still have to decide what to do.”  This is excellent advice for several grown-ups as well as kids, right?
4) Do you see Aslan’s comment to Jill that “There is no other stream” an illustration of Christ’s exclusivity?
5) Aslan gives Jill a task but he also gives her directions, assistance, a drink…and he intervenes along the way with further help.  This seems such an apt illustration of our life with the Lord. It begins with grace; it involves our will and action; yet grace continues to surround the whole enterprise. Do you agree?
6) Do you see a parallel in the Christian life to Jill’s task of memorizing the signs given her by Aslan?
7) Why is Puddleglum’s name so appropriate?
8) Before knowing what the owls have in mind, Eustace bravely declares his allegiance to King Caspian. He is indeed, quite a different kid than the self-centered, spoiled, and cowardly boy we met at the beginning of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
9) What did you think about She of the Green Kirtle and her mystery companion? Did you smell a rat?
10) The anticipation of all the comforts awaiting them in Harfang changed the children’s attitudes towards many things.  Do you remember some of them?  And does this illustrate anything in our lives?
11) “Bother the signs.”  What was happening to Jill?
12) The delights of Harfang, as promised by the woman, had made them nearly forget their quest.  “I shouldn’t wonder,” said Puddleglum, “if that wasn’t exactly what she intended.”
13) “Aslan’s instructions always work: there are no exceptions.”
14) “Many come down, and few return to the sunlit lands.”  That was the repeated bywords in the Underland. But miracles occur when Aslan intervenes. Any thoughts on this?
15) Puddleglum’s response to the forced march in Underland was not despair but recognition that they were at least following Aslan’s signs again. There’s something quite moving about his steadfastness, courage, and trust in Aslan’s goodness.
16) The Black Knight has been entranced by the Queen’s evil and believes lies…about his history, his future, even his very identity. Kinda’ like the Bible’s teaching about moral blindness of sin, huh?
17) “Of course, the more enchanted you get, the more you feel that you are not enchanted at all.” This too is one of those lines that can spark a whole conversation.
18) Why do Puddleglum and the children dare to release the Black Knight from the silver chair?
19) When the wicked queen dies, freedom spreads all over the Underworld. There’s a similar day of liberation coming in our future too!
20) Golg explains that the mines that the Narnians and Earthlings know produce precious metals and gems that are only cold and dead. But the gold, silver, and jewels of Bism “alive and growing.” We too are right to expect treasures in the redeemed and reconciled New Earth that are far more precious than anything we
know here.
21) “Those Northern witches always mean the same thing, but in every age they have a different plan for getting it.” Vigilance is required of every generation.
22) Not surprisingly, Caspian’s resurrection comes via Aslan’s blood.

Discussion questions for the last book in the series (The Last Battle) will be posted tomorrow.