- "For a second they thought the room was full of people - hundreds of people, all seated, and all perfectly still."
- ― The Magician's Nephew (Chapter 4)
The Hall of Images was a section of the palace of Charn which contained life-size statues of the past monarchs of Charn. Before she spoke the Deplorable Word that destroyed all living things in that world, Empress Jadis had placed spells on the Hall so that it would be protected from damage, and that she would be able to hibernate there as a living statue until someone came and awoke her.
The Hall contained hundreds of statues, and all were seated in stone chairs along each side of the room. The floor in the middle of the room was left free, so that one could walk down and look at each figure in turn. Since the ruling house of Charn was descended from Jinns and Giants, its members were much taller than ordinary humans, and represented as life-size. All the statues were garbed in magnificent clothes: their robes were lavishly colored and decorated with embroidery. They were also crowned and heavily bedecked with jewelry.
There was also a short column with a bell placed in the middle of the room, which Jadis must have added after she rendered her world lifeless, so it is doubtful that it was part of the original construction of the room.
The room also had more windows than many other rooms in the palace, so let in a good deal more light from outside.
Before Jadis spoke the Deplorable Word that killed all living organisms in the entire world of Charn, she put an enchantment on the Hall, so that all the images that were seated there, as well as herself, would remain eternally, magically preserved.
Jadis seated herself at the very end of her family's line and from the opposite side the nobles appeared wise and kind, but as one moved down the rows of thrones, each generation became more intimidating and more frightening until one's eyes fell upon Jadis, the most beautiful yet cruelest-looking of all. This tells us that the rulers of Charn were originally a good and benign people, but over the ages they degenerated into pride, cruelty, wickedness, and later despair for all the dreadful things that they had both done and suffered from.
There were plenty of empty chairs beyond Jadis, indicating there were meant to be generations more after her, but she rendered the world lifeless before they came into existance.
One other thing that is noticed about these images, is that none of the monarchs wear the same crown. Each one, including Jadis, has a different one. No doubt this means that unlike the monarchs of other worlds, including the royal family of England who pass the same crown to every generation, Charn would commission a new crown that was unique for every new ruler.
By the time Digory Kirke and Polly Plummer, two young humans from Earth, discovered the Hall, Jadis had placed a short column in the centre of the Hall with writing inscribed on it: resting on top of the column's capital was a golden bell and small hammer, with which to strike it with. The writing read as follows: -
- Make your choice, adventurous Stranger;
- Strike the bell and bide the danger,
- Or wonder, till it drives you mad,
- What would have followed if you had.
Ringing the bell, as Digory did, sent out a single note that did not fade but only grew deafeningly louder and louder (until the roof of the building collapsed from the sonic vibrations). Ultimately, the ringing became so loud that it broke the spell, awakening Jadis from her preserved state.
After Jadis was awake, the spell she had placed to preserve the Hall was then broken and it fell apart, along with the rest of the palace.