I read it again, for the 4th or 5th time, mainly because someone remarked that it “has an ultimately sympathetic depiction of underworld but non-demonic creatures”. and I wanted to remind myself of that. The main connection between them and the creatures who live in sunlight is that they are oppressed by an evil witch who sometimes take the form of a green snake, who has also imprisoned a human prince and wants to use him and the underworld creatures to take over the world above ground.
The thing that always comes to my mind, when I read or think about The Silver Chair is when I was staying with some friends in Durban when the apartheid regime was flourishing and it looked as though it would never end. Scarcely a week went by without news of someone being banished, or banned, or imprisoned without trial.
One day we were sitting around talking about this, and my friends’ young daughter, aged 9, said “But why does God allow it? Why does God allow these things to happen to our friends?”
There was silence for a moment, and then her sister, aged 11, said, “It isn’t God, it’s the green snake.”
“But that isn’t true!” expostulated the younger girl. “It’s in a book, somebody wrote it.”
“Yes, but what it means is true,” replied her sister.