Let's Talk Narnia: The Last Battle

By Wednesday, March 23, 2016 , , ,

Well, here we are at the end of our Narnia discussions! It’s been fun, friends. And as seems only fitting, we conclude on The Last Battle, the seventh and final book of the series. It falls last chronologically and was also the last one C.S. Lewis wrote. If you’d like to catch up on previous Narnia talk here, check them out at the links below: :)

The Magician's Nephew
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
The Horse and His Boy
Prince Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Silver Chair 

In The Last Battle, the fate of Narnia soon hangs in the balance like never before. Even the White Witch’s evil can’t compare to the present circumstances. A wicked ape named Shift now seeks to deceive faithful Narnians about the true nature and identity of Aslan, confusing him in their minds with the Calormen god, Tash. Shift turns Narnians against one another, destroys the country’s natural beauty and tree spirits, and subjects the faithful to servitude and doubt. King Tirian receives the help of Jill Pole and Eustace Scrubb, but it soon becomes clear that the rescue they need must be of much greater magnitude than they can achieve and that it must come from a far higher power. 

Fans and critics are divided in opinion on The Last Battle – the violence is more palpable and the spirituality is more complex, but overall, I think it’s a strong and deeply moving conclusion to the Narnia series. It shows the severity of evil and deception, but also emphasizes the promises of a perfect, conquering King and a redeemed world. 

That’s what really stands out to me about this book. The characters are gripping, especially King Tirian and his valiant unicorn, Jewel, and Eustace and Jill are fully forgiven for all their bratty-ness in The Silver Chair. And there are plenty of memorable scenes, but the themes of restoration and a new paradise are what make The Last Battle special. The gorgeous, emotional, wonderful climax of the story begins when Tirian stumbles into Shift’s dreaded stable, only to be greeted by the ancient kings and queens of Narnia and to realize that this is no stable: 

He looked round again and could hardly believe his eyes. There was the blue sky overhead, and grassy country spreading as far as he could see in every direction, and his new friends all round him laughing. 
“It seems, then,” said Tirian, smiling himself, “that the stable seen from within and the stable seen from without are two different places.”
“Yes,” said the Lord Digory. “Its inside is bigger than its outside.”
“Yes,” said Queen Lucy. “In our world too, a stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.”

How can you not love that?! And how great is it to have Lucy and Peter and Edmund and Digory and Polly back? One of my favorite aspects about the restoration of Narnia in this book is the reunion of all the characters from the whole series. Seeing them all together at once is such a treat, especially when the kings and queens first realize they’re in the new and perfected Narnia, as well as the joyous reunion at the garden. Digory’s explanation of the new and real Narnia points so much to the new heaven and new earth that it gives me shivers: 

“When Aslan said you could never go back to Narnia, he meant the Narnia you were thinking of. But that was not the real Narnia. That had a beginning and an end. It was only a shadow or a copy of the real Narnia which has always been here and always will be here: just as our own world, England and all, is only a shadow or copy of something in Aslan’s real world. You need not mourn over Narnia, Lucy. All of the old Narnia that mattered, all the dear creatures, have been drawn into the real Narnia through the Door. And of course it is different; as different as a real thing is from a shadow or as waking life is from a dream.” 

So begins the heavenly themes and obvious nods to a restored earth. I once heard a sermon about heaven that gave me such encouragement and strength. There is hope in suffering now because a new heaven and earth are coming. In heaven, sin’s taint will be lifted, so joy will be continuous, fellowship will be perfect, our bodies and minds will be renewed, our desires will be only pure, and eternal bliss will forever stretch ahead. Oh, Lord, haste the day! And there are so many places in the last few pages of The Last Battle that make me want that day to come quickly:

“I’ve a feeling we’ve got to the country where everything is allowed.” 

“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this.” 

“Everyone else began to run, and they found, to their astonishment, that they could keep up with [Jewel]…The country flew past as if they were seeing it from the windows of an express train. Faster and faster they raced, but no one got hot or tired or out of breath.” 

“And there was greeting and kissing and hand-shaking and old jokes revived, (you’ve no idea how good an old joke sounds when you take it out again after a rest of five or six hundred years)…” 

“The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.” 

“And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and 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: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

Talk about shivers! Every time. It is such a hopeful, awe-inspiring picture of the perfect joy to come. That last quote I listed is also the very last paragraph of the book, and it reminds me of something very fitting that J.I. Packer once wrote: 

“The hearts of those in heaven say, ‘I want this to go on forever.’ And it will. There is no greater news than this.” 

Amen and amen!

How do you view The Last Battle? What are your favorite moments and quotes and characters in it? How does it compare to the other Narnia books for you? I’d love to hear!

You Might Also Like


  1. I just have to say yes to that final quote. It makes my heart so so happy every single time I read it :)

    1. So happy is right! It's so wonderful that every time I read it I feel like I'm seeing it for the first time :)