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This is the third serial in "The Chronicles of Narnia." It's based on the fourth book, and aired over a six-week period in 1990. The one thing I remember about it from back then is that Tom Baker, whom I knew from Doctor Who, was in it (playing a "marsh-wiggle" named Puddleglum). Beyond that, what little I remember would probably be from having read the book. In fact, I'm not absolutely certain I did see this serial before watching it on DVD in 2015. Though if I didn't see it, I'm at least certain I really wanted to, and must have at least seen a preview.

The Silver Chair
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Caution: spoilers!

Episode One
One of the very few things I remember about the story is that the main characters were Eustace Scrubb and Jill Pole. It begins at their school, where a group of bullies are taunting Jill. (I think they were calling her "Beanpole," but they might just have been saying "Pole." I vaguely recall in the book that she was picked on because of her height, but I'd have to reread it to be sure. In the serial, she doesn't seem particularly tall, though she's at least taller than Eustace. And I get the sense that in this serial, she's only picked on because of her surname, which seems odd to me, since it's not a particularly strange name... unless you factor her height into the equation, I guess.) Anyway, she runs away from the bullies, and encounters Eustace, who is apparently hiding from them. Prior to his trip to Narnia in "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," he had been one of the bullies, but not anymore. And because he's changed, he's now a potential target of the bullies, himself. While they hide, Eustace tells Jill about Narnia, and he wonders if they could go there now, by calling out to Aslan. After a bit of that, they start running from the bullies again, then try opening a door that's usually locked. It opens for them, and they go through it into a land which I assumed was Narnia, though later it turns out it's not. (I think it's a land between worlds. Or something.) Incidentally, I want to mention that I find it strange that Eustace often seems rather rude in the way he speaks to Jill in this episode, considering he had supposedly become a nicer person by the end of the previous serial. But hopefully that will change as the serial progresses. (And at least he's not as mean as the bullies.)

Anyway, Jill gets too close to the edge of a cliff, and Eustace tries to pull her back, but ends up falling, himself. Then Aslan shows up and blows him away. A bit later, Jill finds a stream from which she wants to drink, but Aslan is there, and of course she's afraid of him. But she ends up talking with him, and he tells her he had called her and Eustace to this world, to perform a task, which is to find Prince Rilian, the missing son of King Caspian. He spends some time telling her about four signs she must try hard to remember (which is a lot harder for her than it should be). The first is that Eustace will see an old friend, and must go talk to him. The second is that they must journey north, to a ruined city of ancient giants. Third is that she will find a stone with writing on it there, and she must do what it says. The fourth sign is that she'll know the prince she seeks because he'll be the first person who asks her to do something in Aslan's name. Once he thinks she's memorized the signs, Aslan blows her in the same direction Eustace had flown. (The visual effects, I must say, are very unconvincing.)

When she lands next to Eustace (in Narnia), she tells him some of what Aslan had said. He had been covertly watching people at the nearby royal court of Cair Paravel, but he didn't recognize anyone. Then they meet an owl named Glimfeather (Warwick Davis), who tells them that the king was Caspian. Eustace hadn't recognized him, because he's now an old man (because time works differently in Narnia than in their world). And he's left on a voyage or something, so they missed their chance to talk to him- which means they've failed with the first sign, and won't get any help on their task. But Glimfeather takes them to meet the Lord Regent, Trumpkin the dwarf (who is now also very old, and practically deaf). Eustace and Jill are given rooms in the castle, and new clothes. That night, Glimfeather returns, and flies Eustace somewhere, then returns to fly Jill to the same place. (It's strange that he returned almost immediately, and it took longer for him to get where he was going with Jill.) And the episode ends with Jill screaming, as she thinks they're going to crash into... I don't know what. Something in the sky, but it's dark. And... inside whatever it is, there are some silly looking cartoon eyes floating around in the darkness.

Episode Two
So, the eyes all belong to more owls, who are having a meeting. And one of them tells Eustace and Jill the story of how Prince Rilian and his mother and a few other people had gone off riding one day, and the queen was bitten by a snake (or serpent), and died. Every day after that, Rilian returned alone to the same place, hoping to find and kill the serpent, but he never did. One day, King Caspian's friend Lord Drinian talks to Rilian, who tells him he'd stopped looking for the serpent, but continued returning to the same place because he'd seen the most beautiful thing in the world. So Drinian goes with him, and it turns out to be a woman (played by Barbara Kellerman, who had previously played the White Witch in the first serial, and the hag in the second one). But she doesn't speak; when she sees Drinian, she vanishes, which upsets Rilian. The prince returns again another day, and is never seen again.

After the story, Glimfeather and the storyteller owl fly Eustace and Jill to meet a marsh-wiggle named Puddleglum. (He basically seems human, but I guess he's meant to have some vaguely froglike characteristics.) He'll be the children's guide to the city of the giants, but he's the most pessimistic person you've ever seen. (The funny thing is, he says other marsh-wiggles think he doesn't take life seriously enough.) Anyway, after awhile they encounter a dragon, which Eustace manages to deal with easily, because of his previous experience being a dragon. (I want to call him a dragon-whisperer, because he just whispered to it, and it flew away.) But soon after that, they encounter some giants (a different race than the ones from the ruined city they're seeking). The giants start throwing huge rocks at them, and when the episode ends, it looks as if Puddleglum has been crushed by one of the rocks.

Episode Three
Well, of course Puddlegum hadn't been hit by a rock. He's quite alright, and he tells Jill and Eustace that the giants weren't actually aiming at them. Anyway, they continue on their way, and cross a giant bridge. Then they meet the Lady of the Green Kirtle, who is accompanied by a knight in black armor. She's the same woman Prince Rilian had apparently fallen in love with (though they don't know that). Puddleglum says they shouldn't tell her anything, but the Lady advises them to seek refuge in the castle Harfang. She says the gentle giants who live there will give them food and shelter. So the three of them go in the direction the Green Lady indicated, and eventually find some stones that form trenches that lead nowhere. Perplexed by that, they give up on finding any meaning in it, and continue on toward Harfang. Once there, the giants take them in and treat them quite well. That night, Jill has a dream about Aslan wanting her to repeat the signs he'd told her about, but she can't remember them. The next day, she and Eustace and Puddleglum look out the window, and see the words "Under Me" made of stones (which must be the mysterious trenches they'd found yesterday).

Episode Four
Eustace, Jill, and Puddleglum want to go explore the ruins, but find they're too short to open the door of the room they're in. They begin to wonder if they're actually prisoners of the giants. But they're soon let out of their room, and begin exploring the castle. They plan to escape after lunch, when they expect the giants to be drowsy. Meanwhile, the giants are preparing for the Autumn Feast, which the Green Lady had mentioned when she told them to go to Harfang. It seemed pretty obvious to me that the giants were planning on eating the human children and marshwiggle at the feast, rather than having them as guests. Somehow, this failed to occur to any of them, even when they thought they might be prisoners. Anyway, they do eventually escape, and hide in a cavern in the ruins. Then they slide down into a place called the Deep Realm, where a Warden who leads a group of gnomes (or "Earthmen") capture them, and plan to take them to their queen. They're led to a boat, on which there's a pole with a face at the top. I got the impression the face was their queen, but... I guess it was just a sort of masthead or something. Anyway, the episode ends with our three heroes taken away on the boat. All in all, I found it a rather boring episode, just sort of a transitional period between the important bits of the story. But it had some good points, I suppose, including one thing that reminded me of an episode of The Twilight Zone.

Episode Five
The boat ride takes awhile, and Jill wants to play a game to pass the time. Puddleglum suggests repeating the signs Aslan had given her. They skip the first two, but are pretty sure they've done what the third sign said. And the fourth will be that when someone asks them to do something in Aslan's name, they must obey that person's request. This struck me as odd, because I didn't think the sign said anything about obeying the request, it was just that the one who made the request would be Prince Rilian. Anyway, finally they arrive at the land of the Earthmen, and are taken to where their queen lives. She's away right now, so they spend some time with a strange man in a mask, who they soon learn was the black knight that they'd met before with the Green Lady, and that she is the queen. And... the knight acts quite strangely, I'd say. He threatens them all numerous times, but also acts like they're his friends. He also tells them that he and the queen and the Earthmen are planning to conquer the overworld, which he seems to think is a good (and even funny) thing, though his guests disagree. On an unrelated note, he eventually shows them a silver chair. Then he tells them to hide, while the guards come and strap him into the chair. Supposedly he's under some enchantment, and every night he turns into a savage monster or something. When the guards have left and our heroes return, he tells them that when the madness overtakes him, he'll beg them to release him from his bonds, but that they must not do it. And they're quite happy to leave him bound to the chair. But it was pretty predictable that he'd ask them to release him in Aslan's name, and eventually he does (though I was a bit surprised by how much begging he did before he said that). Anyway, they finally do release him, and he takes off his mask and reveals that he's really Prince Rilian, and the enchantment was to forget his true identity during the day. (Which is hardly surprising, because he seemed quite mad since the first moment they met him; I was much more inclined to believe he was sane at night.) Once they free him, he destroys the silver chair, and the four of them plan to escape. Just then, the Green Lady returns, and she's furious to find the chair destroyed. Then after the closing credits, I rewatched the scene in episode 1 where Aslan gave Jill the signs, to make sure I hadn't forgotten the fourth one. And I hadn't. Jill got it wrong, but it's all very well, since it worked out anyway.

Episode Six
Well, the Green Lady uses her magic to make Rilian, Eustace, and Jill forget Narnia, and convince them that her world is the only world. But she fails to make Puddleglum forget, and he helps the others remember. So they defeat her, then have to make their way back to the overworld, while the underworld begins crumbling all around them, due to the earthmen's digging. They finally get back to Narnia, then Aslan takes the children back to their own world... but they stop briefly in Aslan's own country, first. I guess that's where they were at the beginning of the series, after they left their world and before they entered Narnia. And um... I guess that's all there is to say. Anyway, it was an okay episode, and an okay series, overall. Not exactly great, but nostalgic (whether or not I had actually seen it before), and it all has a sort of quaint charm to it. So I'm glad to have seen it. And I'm still sorry that the other three books never got adapted....

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