The Chronicles of Narnia come to a conclusion with The Last Battle, a title which raises strong feelings in readers, not all of them good. And theoretically we come to an end with our #Narniathon21 – though as I’ve already indicated there is a chance to extend it, for those for whom the sudden dissipation of magic is too painful!
As with the previous titles in the septad I shall pose three questions for you to consider, though as usual you are free to ignore them in any comments you may wish to add below; either way, your reactions and opinions will be of huge interest – especially for this, often regarded as the most problematic of the Narniad.
There is no rush for you to join the discussion, particularly if you have yet to finish (or indeed to start) The Last Battle; but do, if you want, add links to your own reviews or discussions, or add pointers to related literature you’ve come across that may add to our appreciation and enjoyment!
- We’ve come a long way since the Pevensies entered the wardrobe that first led them into Narnia. What are the principal emotions that well up in you as you look back on all that’s happened since then?
- Many fans of Narnia, knowing the many adverse reactions to this final title, have avoided or otherwise refused to read it. Were you one of these and, even if not, what is your reaction now?
- At the end of the final chapter Lewis uses the metaphor of a book, whether the Book or another special storybook of which the Narnia tales are merely “the cover and the title page.” Does this metaphor work for you as it is intended to?
My questions have of necessity been broad but I hope they’ve given you space to expand on what you like or don’t like about this book, whether the specifics or in general.
With The Last Battle we’ve notionally reached the end of The Chronicles of Narnia – but if you want to extend our discussion of the Narniad then there’s an opportunity to do just that on Friday 29th July.
This is when when we consider Katherine Langrish’s From Spare Oom to War Drobe, that author’s overview of the Chronicles as a whole. My review (here) gives a flavour of that work if you’d like to join in that conversation – or if you want to extol the virtues of another published overview!
Still, it’s been an enjoyable but also exhausting journey, and you may just want to stop: no one will blame you. For those who now just want to hang up their walking boots I’d like to thank you for the company, for the cheers and tears, for the opinions and the insights; it’s been a blast.
And thank you to those who cajoled me into organising this readalong (you know who you are!), suggested a format and enthusiastically joined in; those too who shared reviews and posts on social media, and everyone who – regardless of where they were coming from – were polite and respectful as well as supporting their own viewpoint with wit and clarity. I couldn’t have asked for better or more!
To think that it was at midsummer this time last year that I asked Are you up for a Narniathon?! We’ve come a long way since…