In the end, there is a beginning…

S-BOMB warning. That’s SPOILER-ALERT, for those less crude than I.

And here we are, everyone. The final chapter in the long history of the land of Narnia: The Last Battle. Ironically, the lesson this book has is perfectly timed: At every end, there’s a new beginning, and it’s bigger and brighter and better than the previous journey ever could be. Whatever allegories aside, the ending to this tale is much-needed after the dark hopelessness that is the majority of this particular book.

The last king of Narnia has his kingdom ripped out from under him by a non-believing ape named Shift, and nervous donkey named Puzzle. Puzzle is a poor beast, in that he is a Talking Beast, and, while uncertain of Aslan’s presence, does feel that the Lion probably exists and probably doesn’t like Shift’s strange plan to dress Puzzle up in a lion’s skin and pretend to be Aslan’s spokespersons. A false Aslan.

Many dark things happen. The king is captured and alone. The Calormens have stealthily invaded and are cutting down the Talking Trees and employing the Talking Beasts into slavery and selling both out of the country. The last days are just plain bleak as hell. The king manages to call forth Eustace and Jill, who attempt to help him reveal the false Aslan for what it is (they even free poor Puzzle from his part in things), but it all is too far gone. The Calormens have called upon their own god, Tash, and he has come.

In the end, there is a sorting. Those who do things in the name of good, are taken by Aslan. Those who do things in the name of bad, are delivered unto Tash. And then, when all has gone dark and defeat has happened… they awaken in a bright place. Aslan’s Country. Every friend of Narnia is here, in their prime, and joyfully reunited. The book sort of glosses over a few character deaths in order to have brought everyone together like this, but they’re happy, so it can’t be a terrible thing, yes? Haha. At any rate, this land is new, ready to be explored, and all our best friends are back. Forever.

Onward and upward!

Interested in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle? It can be purchased here.

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Beware of darker magics…

S-BOMB warning. That’s SPOILER-ALERT, for those less crude than I.

We’re back again to beautiful Narnia loves, with one more jaunt after this! Only, this journey, like the last, takes place beyond the borders of the fair country. This time, we’re heading north, beyond the Ettinsmoor. We’ve heard mention of these lands from time to time. Mostly, the north is referred to as the land of giants. This novel in particular is The Silver Chair.

This is a return to the basics for a Narnian tale, in all but one aspect–it lacks the Pevensies. But it features their cousin, Eustace, in much better form than the previous book’s start, and his friend, Jill Pole, on a long journey to find the lost prince of Narnia, King Caspian’s son (yes, that Caspian), Rilian.

Unlike other Narnian adventures, this one almost immediately involves Aslan after a rather scary moment for Eustace. Jill is tasked with remembering several key details for the success of their journey, and along the way (depending on her mood), she recites them dutifully or completely forgets them. Still, the Lion’s plans never fail, and Eustace and Jill, with the help of reluctant Puddleglum, brave the subterranean world to find the enchanted prince and free him from the green witch’s spell.

Very Narnian, yes? Despite not taking place in Narnia, or featuring the golden children, and an usually early appearance from the good Lion… Very Narnian, indeed. It is probably my least favorite of the series, not for any major failing in its storytelling–just because I always did adore the Pevensies and any book without them is a little bit dimmer! It is still a very good tale about overcoming personal faults and the light at the end of a long dark journey and so many more little things.

Only one more to go… As sad as that may be folks, we’re nearing the end.

Interested in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair? It can be purchased here.

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A voyage to the end, and the beginning…

S-BOMB warning. That’s SPOILER-ALERT, for those less crude than I.

Welcome to Narnia’s first real seafaring adventure! The third book written in the series (after The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and Prince Caspian), this is the fifth book I’m reviewing. Why? Because so many printings have placed the books in chronological order, and that is how I’ve always read them. Pretty sure the publishers made that decision long before I was born!

This lovely venture includes Lucy and Edmund Pevensie (so, naturally, I’m always excited by this inclusion), being the first adventure after their elder siblings Peter and Susan were barred from journeying to Narnia. But, shockingly, they’re not the only ones to get into Narnia this time, swept up through a magical painting. Their ornery cousin, Eustace Scrubb, gets dragged along and is quite sour about the situation.

Eustace is a very different sort from the Pevensie children, and most people assume he is representative of how C. S. Lewis felt about the modern children of the time. This is a safe bet, but let’s discuss the particular differences. His attitude is particularly spoiled and snotty, and he’s a bit of a bully. Like Edmund, he is considered a product of his schooling. (If you don’t recall or haven’t read, Edmund is mentioned to have started taking a turn for the worse at a new school before their first adventure.)

Edmund and Lucy do not require major growth in this story. That role is given to Eustace. There’s a few minor eruptions at each island they sail to on their journey to Aslan’s country, but, outside of Eustace, there is no one doubting the authenticity of Aslan this time. And, of course, Eustace soon learns his lesson. The hard way. For me, it was a particularly fond moment when Edmund commented to him that he wasn’t the worst there was, only to imply that he himself was indeed the worst.

Edmund will always be my favorite.

In short, there’s the usual talking animals, a wonderful sea journey with slave traders, invisible beings, mer-people, dragons, and, at the close, Aslan. For what would Narnia be without Aslan? (Not a very fun place, it turns out, but more on that later.) We see the transformation of Eustace from a spoiled, bratty, indignant youth into a heroic, brave (if a little inexperienced) adventuresome lad that we, as the reader, can be quite proud of.

Sadly, as before, Aslan tells the Pevensies the sad truth: they can not return to Narnia. The pair take it surprisingly well; from what we know as the reader, they have the most history with the magical country.

Something I’ve left out but do not intend to continue to do so is the always-entertaining Reepicheep. He is the epitome of honor, if a bit fanatical in his ways. His growing friendship with Eustace is the stuff Narnia is truly made of, a different sort of strong bond than Lucy and Mr. Tumnus had, but just as good. Wholesome, loves. This stuff is wholesome.

Interested in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader? It can be purchased here.

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