The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

“Tirian stood holding his breath and wondering who would come out. And what came was the last thing he had expected: a little sleek, bright-eyed Talking Mouse with a red feather stuck in a circlet on its head and its left paw resting on a long sword It bowed, a most beautiful bow, and said in its shrill voice: ‘Welcome, in the Lion’s name. Come further up and further in.” (The Last Battle, p. 203)
Illustrations site for C.S. Lewis

I now understand why, with the exception of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and The Magician’s Nephew I did not work on completing the Narnia Chronicles until now.

They’re really not children’s books.

Rather, they are a treatise, albeit a gentle one resembling fairy tales, on Christianity. Perhaps this was the best venue to take when addressing such a complicated topic. Childlike faith, and all that…but, the books didn’t capture me when I was a child as much as now that I am an adult.

C.S. Lewis describes the plight of the unbeliever in the following way: “You see,” said Aslan. “They will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.” (p. 169)

This comes after the most hilarious description of the Dwarfs being served a sumptious feast which they can’t taste, in the most beautiful setting which they mistake for a stable.

My favorite part of this book is when the characters arrive in the New Narnia, and all the people and animals from all the books in the series are reunited. But, even better, is when Lewis describes the reunion that takes place with ones who have gone before us: “…before he had much time to think of this he felt two strong arms thrown about him and felt a bearded kiss on his cheeks and heard a well remembered voice saying: “What, lad? Art thinner and taller since I last touched thee!”

It was his own father, the good King Erlian: but not as Tirian had seen him last when they brought him home pale and wounded from his fight with the giant, nor even as Tirian remembered him in his later years when he was a gray-headed warrior. This was his father, young and merry, as he could just remember him from very early days when he himself had been a little boy playing games with his father in the castle garden at Cair Paravel, just before bedtime on summer evenings. The very smell of the bread-and-milk he used to have for supper came back to him.” (p. 204)

I love imagining such reunions with lost loved ones. And Lewis himself must have feasted on such imaginings, having lost his beloved mother, and his beloved wife of only three years, much earlier than he was ready to do.

What a marvelous book.

9 thoughts on “The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

  1. One of these days I'll get around to reading the last few Narnia books. I am unsure why I ever stopped…most likely got distracted by other shiny books."I love imagining such reunions with lost love ones." Me too!

    Like

  2. It's been a lot of years since I read all of the Narnia books but it may just be time to revisit them. I loved them back then but your review makes me think I should see how they fit now.cjh

    Like

  3. It's official I need to read this one. I think that what amkes children's books so interesting to adults is the fact that we understand the content way better than when we were kids.

    Like

  4. 3M, I think it's one of my favorites from the six…the imagery is just too beautiful; the theology just too comforting. Lewis depicts Heaven in a way that makes me want to go all the sooner.Carl, "distraced by other shiny books": what a great line! That could be a blog title or something!CJ, I know I appreciate them much more as an adult than I could as a child. When I read them at a younger age I could only absorb the story, not the meaning. Of course, on a plot level they're good as well.Daydream, I completely agree. It's very fun to read children's books as an adult and see what might have been missed.

    Like

  5. I just finished "The Magician's Nephew" last month so you can see how far I have to go. I thought it was wonderful. I'm glad I have six more to look forward to.

    Like

  6. I just read that Disney's release of Prince Caspian blew Ironman (and other films) out of the water this weekend. I'm so happy that Lewis' works are successful because his message is so powerful. The Narnia Chronicles are worth reading again and again, and as you say, you have "six more to look forward to." Lucky you! It's taken me 47 years to complete them all. 🙂

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s