Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Last Battle by CS Lewis

I've been contemplating what to write about finishing The Last Battle, the last of The Chronicles of Narnia for a couple of days, because to be honest, it kind of left a distasteful after taste. After reading all of the other six books in the series I could not believe that the final scenes in the book are of a vengeful Aslan, liberally handing out judgements.

In the last book, we meet an ape called Shift and a donkey called Puzzle. After finding a lion's skin, Shift convinces Puzzle to put the lion skin on and pretend to be Aslan, so that they could get whatever they want. In due course they have a whole group of followers who believe that Aslan really has returned to Narnia, and who are following blindly despite the fact that the requests that "Aslan" is making are not very God like, and that no one is allowed to actually stand close enough to see him. The ape has also fallen into league with the Calormene.

King Rilian and his faithful unicorn Jewel are among the very few disbelievers and he tries to convince his fellow Narnians that they are being duped. soon many including the treacherous dwarves are professing to follow neither Aslan nor Rilian. They are going to live for themselves from now on.

Into this come Jill and Eustace and they soon are fighting to convince the people that the real Aslan would not ask such things as these. After rescuing Puzzle, things take a more vengeful turn.

In due course we are reintroduced to all of the major characters from the previous books - Peter, Edmund and Lucy, Digby and Polly, but not Susan, for she is now no longer a friend of Narnia. The explanation of why they are all now come to the new Narnia is lightly passed over, however for me was a very harsh way of bringing things all together.

Funnily enough, the books I liked least in this series were the stories of the beginning (The Magician's Nephew) and the end of Narnia, and they were for me the most biblical. Maybe that is why...not sure on that though!

I loved most of the other books in the series, but for me this ended on a sour note. I wanted a happily ever after I guess, just not the type of happy ever after I got!

Rating: 3.5/5

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