Book Reads: The Last Battle (C.S. Lewis) [☝]

January 08, 2014

I love the Chronicles of Narnia. I can hardly believe that this series was written for children. The plot is covered by lots of implied meanings and I think it can be best understood by adults. The Last Battle is the final book of the seven-book installment series, which concludes the story of the adventures of the Pevensie children in the magical land of Narnia.

The magic filled in reading the Narnian books never faded with this one. It was a short read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I really like how the story is written and how some characters and references come in parallel with that of the Bible. With the concept of a promise land echoing throughout the book, anyone who knows the Bible will associate it with the story of the Chronicles.

It's been a while since I last read the books. I think I was still in college when I read my last Narnian book. The Last Battle is the only book I still have left unread in the series. Actually, reading it was always at the back of my mind. What prompted me to actually find the book and start reading it is Neil Gaiman's short story entitled The Problem of Susan in his book Fragile Things. I was intrigued by the fate of the Pevensie kids in the story.

*plot spoilers ahead*

In the "human world", everyone that was able to go to Narnia (the Pevensie kids, their parents and some of the cousins) died in a train crash, all except Susan who was not considered a "friend of Aslan" anymore. In the previous books, a fact has already been established to the readers that as the children grew older, they cannot return to Narnia anymore (which actually kind of makes me sad). Apparently not just because of age, Susan was excluded because she does not believe in Narnia anymore and remembers it to be just a childhood game that they once played when they were still young. Gaiman's short story interestingly touches the point of view of Susan that was never mentioned in Lewis' book - being left behind, learning about the train crash, and grieving for her family (as she was the only one left in their world). The ending part is just masterfully done, making a fresh revelation to the loyal readers of the series and drawing their imagination on learning more about this fantasy world beyond what is contained in the book.

I was planning to reread the series again, just like what I'm doing to the Harry Potter story (I am on the fourth book already as of this writing) but after reading this last book, I cannot bring myself to read again their other adventures again without thinking of the eventual fate of the children. I don't know but I got really affected by Susan's side, even if it was from Gaiman's point of view. But admit it, Gaiman's side of the story was a realistic implication in the story - morbid and sad at the same time. I imagine Susan seeing the bodies of her family after the train crash, on how she needed to attend to all their funeral after the accident. I just wished Susan did not have to suffer from that kind of fate. Lewis never mentioned if Susan indeed returned to Narnia eventually.

The book is a masterpiece, just like the series itself. Maybe I was expecting much on how the "final battle" would occur. I missed the White Witch's character actually. All in all, I just have to acknowledge CS Lewis for this majestic craft. The series truly deserves its place in my book collection. :D

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