I feel disappointed.
I never finished the series as a child and after reading The Last Battle for the first time now I honestly feel cheated. I’ve been well aware of the blatant Christian allegory of the series and The Magician’s Nephew is by far my favorite – so it is not as if I am opposed to Lewis’ use of religion. My mom is in fact a minister so I do have a pretty good understanding of Protestant Christianity. This is perhaps part of why I feel disappointed.
The Last Battle seems to contradict every other lesson these stories taught. Narnia was a fairytale yet the children always knew that reality was waiting for them – a beautiful lesson of letting yourself dream but not to get lost in those dreams. I commended The Magicians Nephew (after just rereading it) for it’s approach to female agency – Polly wasn’t about to let anybody push her around simply for being a girl! And forgiveness was a key theme through out.But honestly, The Last Battle goes to great effort to shit all over that!
From rather obvious racist tendencies to essentially referring to Susan as a slut who is, quote, “no longer a friend of Narnia”. The ending feels like it is trying to teach us all that growing up isn’t worth a damn, it’s much better to die and go to an all white heaven. Because those lessons of forgiveness – Yeah those don’t seem to apply to the Carlomene.
I still gave it three stars a I felt everything up until the last two chapters were as exciting an adventure as any of the others, filled with magic and anticipation of victory. Despite figuring the title might refer to the fact that our hero(es) wouldn’t make it – that Narnia would somehow end, but still, killing everyone in a train crash just wasn’t a fitting way to wrap up this series.