One of my goals for 2013 was to make more time for re-reads of my beloved favourites, in which case I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to rediscover the wonderful ‘Land of Narnia’. I felt I was very successful in this goal making time for seven re-reads over the year six of which were from The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis. Leaving only the final instalment The Last Battle to read in 2014.
The Last Battle is the seventh instalment of The Chronicles of Narnia series. This post may contain spoilers for previous instalments.
The Last Battle follows the adventures and battles of King Tirian and his best friend Jewel the Unicorn during the last days of Narnia. Tirian and Jewel have heard terrible rumours that Aslan has returned to Narnia and has begun ordering Narnians to work like slaves for the cruel Calormenes. Fearing that this ‘Aslan’ is a fake Tirian sets off with Jewel into the Lantern Forest to find out what is happening. Tirian and Jewel are captured by a Calormene army who have slipped into Narnia disguised as merchants. With all hope lost for himself and his fellow Narnians Tirian calls out to the real Aslan and the Kings and Queens of old. Tirian’s prayers are answered when Eustace Scrubb and his school friend Jill Pole arrive to release him and aid him in an adventure which will take them all the way to Aslan’s country.
The main protagonists of The Last Battle Tirian, Jewel, Eustace and Jill are an interesting mixture. We already know Eustace and Jill from when they rescued Prince Rilian in The Silver Chair but many, many years of have passed in Narnia since then. Tirian is now king and while he is a good and fair king he has lost influence over the Narnians since the arrival of this supposed ‘Aslan’. I liked Tirian and Jewel the Unicorn. I liked having two protagonists in the mix who were both adults which then made another interesting dynamic with Eustace and Jill (who have only aged by about a year since their last adventure). Of course these are not the only old faces to be seen. Later in The Last Battle we get to see the return of Peter, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie along with many of their Narnian friends from their previous adventures.
I am no stranger to Lewis’s work. I think his writing style in The Chronicles of Narnia is simple and fun which works well for adults and children alike. Lewis has been criticised for his use of archaic language especially when it is used by his young characters, however I find the language rather charming and I feel it adds to the magically atmosphere of the book. When I first read The Chronicles of Narnia I read the books in publication order because I think for your first time nothing beats encountering ‘Narnia’ first through the most famous book The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. For my re-read I purposefully decided to read the series in chronological order so I could get a full idea of the detail and history Lewis put into ‘Narnia’ and the characters that inhabit it. It was really lovely to work my way up through all the other books to this final instalment. I felt like I had truly got to know Narnia and its inhabitants which made the end even more poignant.
The Last Battle is an utterly charming children’s tale of magic, friendship, family, death and adventure. A wonderfully comforting read. I’m just sad that there aren’t anymore to look forward to.
Have you read this? Have you read The Chronicles of Narnia?
Previous instalments of The Chronicles of Narnia series:
1. The Magician’s Nephew
2. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
3. A Horse and His Boy
4. Prince Caspian
5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
6. The Silver Chair