Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Last Battle

Image result for the last battle
Plugged In

C.S. Lewis
The Chronicles of Narnia
Geoffrey Bles, 1956

I finally finished all of The Chronicles of Narnia (for the second time)!

This story was the most bittersweet of all of the rest and the ending wanted to make me cry and smile at the same time.

But before we jump ahead, let's start at the beginning.  The story between Shift and Puzzle was really unexpected and a change from what the books normally open up with.

I must say that the allegory was strong with this one, but I must admit that even though I'm not a huge fan of allegory, I was intrigued because I wanted to figure out exactly what Shift and Puzzle represented which was fairly fun.

If you are unfamiliar with The Last Battle, I'll give a rundown of the major players.

Tirian is the king of Narnia who leads the troops against the Calormenes.

Polly is the friend of Digory from The Magician's Nephew and comes back to Narnia again where she is respected due to her role in the beginning of Narnia.

Jewel is a unicorn, also Tirian's best friend and counselor.

Image result for jewel the unicorn quotes

Digory Kirke is the friend of Polly, from the same book and is also revered in Narnia.

Eustace comes back to fight with the Narnians--we know him from the Dawn Treader and Silver Chair.

Edmund who first came into play in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe comes back.

Lucy, Edmund's sister is back.

Susan Pevensie returns to the series.

High King Peter, the eldest of the Pevensies also comes back for the ending.

Shift is a gorilla who manipulates Puzzle and acts like a false prophet for Aslan.

Image result for shift and puzzle

Puzzle is a donkey who is fooled by Shift.

Aslan is Aslan.  Obviously he's the same as he's been the entire series.

I would say this is probably my favorite of all the books.  I really loved the characters and I must say that I am actually a bit frightened of Shift.  It's spooky to have someone who seems so kind be on the opposite side.  The not knowing who you can trust is more unnerving in my opinion than having an ultimate enemy posed against you.

I was very sad to find that Susan did not return to Narnia with the rest of the siblings because she stopped believing in it, and thought it was childish.  It wasn't as satisfying that she wasn't around to seal up the series, but I understand why she didn't go.

Image result for susan the gentle

That said, I was really excited to have Digory, Polly, and the rest of the Pevensies make an appearance!  Ever since the end of Dawn Treader (and really since Prince Caspian) I've been missing all the Pevensies together.

The end of Narnia was super heartbreaking!  I will say that I did crack a smile when Digory mentioned Plato's allegory of the cave and how he was shocked the children didn't know about it ("what do they teach in schools these days?"  I'm with you, Digory!  I would love to learn more philosophy.

The end has a revelation that apparently all the people not present in Narnia but who were somehow associated with Narnia-adventurers are dead (except Susan)???  That was like a smack in the face!  Yikes!

Image result for train

But the book wrapped itself into a neat little bow and ended with one of the best concluding sentences ever:  "All their life in the world had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on Earth has read, which goes on forever, and in which each chapter is better than the one before."  (insert C.S. Lewis mic drop here)

I feel so accomplished knowing that I made it through and actually understood it this time (as opposed to other attempts which failed when I was younger).

What did you think about the concluding installment??

Image result for the chronicles of narnia books


  1. I love The Last Battle. It miiiight be my favorite. And half the reason I love it so much is for the last page. <3

    I've seen it quoted that C. S. Lewis thought Susan might someday return from rebellion, so that lightens the ending a little. I think her unbelief was supposed to represent a period in which a Christian may backslide but eventually return to his or her faith...

    Have you seen the movies?

    Oh, I see you're reading The Phantom of the Opera! I'm interested to know what you think since it disappointed me a little. :/

    1. Oh, that is a nice tidbit at the end.

      Well from the very first moment I opened the book I was a little disappointed-- I was expecting 1200 pages like Les Mis but was greeted with a little under 300 :(

      So far it's not quite what I was expecting, but I am looking forward to the ending because that has always been unclear to me through the musical.

      I'll let you know how it goes and write a review when I'm done :)

  2. The allegory in this book is really fantastic. I love the characters in this one- Tirian is one of the most enjoyable human Narnians we get to know, in my opinion. Shift is a good villain, but it was Tash that freaked me out the most as a kid. 0_0
    Though that didn't freak me out as much as the fact that all of the heroes I'd come to love except for Susan were killed at such young ages. v_v

    There is one point in this book where I find I don't agree with C.S. Lewis, and that is the implications of the Calormen who made it into Aslan's country. He made it there although he had served Tash all his life because of the way he had served Tash, doing things that honored Aslan instead of the cruel false god. But that implies works righteousness- that the Calormen had earned his way into heaven. I don't believe that to be true, I believe it's Jesus's (or Aslan's) sacrifice that redeems. I understand the point that Lewis was trying to put across, but I just don't necessarily agree with it. Still, he was right in so many other ways I value his writing very much.

    Fun fact- when I was young, there was a store in the local mall that sold pagan idols, among other things. There were all sorts of cool items there besides them, but that was a major part of the store. One time my dad took me in just to let me look and see the reality of other people's religions, and we saw an idol that looked exactly like Tash! It was a pretty large statue too, with is arms outstretched, it's beak open, and wide, crazed, glass eyes staring wildly out at everyone. It was simultaneously cool and creepy.

    1. Yeah it is kind of traumatic for everyone to die, isn't it?

      That one particular part you mention I didn't have a problem with, but C.S. Lewis and I obviously disagree on other points of theology since he was Anglican and I'm a Roman Catholic. But like you said, it's worth acknowledging and then moving on because he does have so many good points.

      Wow, I've never heard of a store that actually sold pagan idols, interesting. That's freaky that one looked like Tash D: