Monday, July 4, 2011

The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

The Last Battle (The Chronicles of Narnia, #7)The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I didn't like this one, though having read the reviews, I seem to have a unique reason for not having liked it.

First, let me briefly address the other concerns people mentioned. Yes, there's some distaste for other religions, but the treatment of the honest prince of another religion clarifies that it's the good values not the right God that's the issue for Lewis. This is generous of Lewis, but it's not Christianity, which does indeed require belief in precisely the right God.

Second, I don't think it's so horrible that the "happy ending" is that everyone is dead in heaven, nor do I think in such a situation Susan's "punishment" is very terrible as it's only of a temporary nature. It's going to be a rough life for Susan, but it will be a longer one with it's own rewards, and eventually she'll probably also get to Narnia-Heaven. It's going to be a rough sad life, yeah, but possibly also good with a husband, kids, and maybe she'll become a train-safety reformer or something.

The main reason I don't like this book is how totally off-base and contradictory it is. Tirian says that it would have been better to die than to live and learn that Aslan was so different than he thought he'd be. In other words, he didn't want to learn that Aslan was evil on earth... though it turns out he's not! This concept is repeated over and over again in the book so I'm really not nitpicking here. Did Lewis live a charmed life? Do children not starve on earth? Do people not die of horrible diseases and train accidents? If Aslan didn't order people to be sold into slavery didn't he allow it? We can barely tell if allowed a train accident to happen at the end of he actually caused it mostly because it doesn't make a difference. We're supposed to believe either that "God works in mysterious ways" or that the afterlife is the life that matters so our own suffering on earth doesn't make a difference. Tirian would make a very poor Christian, and is not even a very good Aslan-follower.

Also, the entire first half the book was depressing and boring. It would have been one star but I do enjoy their run through heaven. It's a lovely wish.

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