In which I completely ruin the end to The Chronicles of Narnia (thus saving your eyes from crippling stab wounds)

Ok I read the 7th book in the Chronicles of Narnia series (The Last Battle) a while ago but just realized recently that I amazingly never got around to blogging about it.

Spoiler: Worst. Book. Ever. It was so epically bad that I would really have a hard time choosing between it and Twilight as my most hated of all the books. Seriously. I’d have to think about it for several minutes and even then wouldn’t be sure. I’m not sure now even after writing that and thinking about it.

Oh yeah, and here be SPOILERS for reals below — but they are for your own good.

The Last Battle, as the title implies, ended the Narnia series. Not content with simply ending the series, the author (CS Lewis) decided it would be awesome to also shit a Jebus sandwich all over the reader’s face.

So the book starts with evolution an ape and an ass faking being prophets of Jebus Aslan and enslaving the Narnians to the Calormenes. The Calormenes have a god too, named Satan Tash. Ape and ass say — gasp! — Aslan and Tash are the same god. The king of Narnia is all “oh no you di-n’t” and ape/ass lock him up because what he was stirring was up trouble. He asks for help and is treated to a vision of the Narnettes (the human characters who have all been to Narnia). “Um, I was thinking about something a little more specific. Like rescue from my illegal confinement. No? Sigh. Alright can you at least do something about the smell in here? It is a barn. … … You asshole.”

There are the poor persecuted Christians Narnians and supporters vs. the false prophet ape/ass and the Muslims Calormenes. Then there are the agnostics dwarfs who take no sides because they don’t want to get involved but eventually join in in random fashion (taking both and neither side).

Meanwhile, the Narnettes are having a great ol’ reunion sans the atheist Susan because she stopped believing in Narnia (and necessarily became a vapid attention whore who was only into boys and stickers). Some board a train to meet the other Narnettes, and suddenly there are some freaky deaky noises and lurches and they are all in Narnia just in time for the epic show down. Aslan shows up and is all “Ok bitches. Those of you who put up with my bullshit get to come with me. Those of you who didn’t get sentenced to a life of mediocrity.” and he proceeds to change the talking animals who lost their faith into regular animals, keeps the faithy animals as is, floods and epic destroys the entire land, and starts a new life with the Narnettes and select folk (read: the faithy ones) in heaven Aslan’s country.

And all is happily ever after.

Except foooooooooorrrrrrr….

The freeky deaky train noises. Remember those? That was every single last one of the characters being killed in a horrible train wreck. That’s right. CS Lewis decided that a “happy ending” was to kill all of the characters except for one (Susan), who now has to live her life having lost her parents, all of her siblings, Narnia, and her friends because she committed the most aggregious sin of becoming interested in makeup. More specifically, she is left alone and miserable (not addressed in the book at all, by the way — she’s never mentioned again after the first scoffing remarks) because she no longer “believes”. Ooooh, subtle. /sarcasm Atheists can’t go to heaven and are “doomed” to live, while everyone else gets killed in a train wreck because they believe…which apparently is supposed to be better or something? Wait, that can’t be right. [checks] Sigh. Nope, that’s what happened. There is even five-shadowing of this when Eustace is all “hey, at least we didn’t die in a train wreck” when talking about the battle.

Oh and Muslims worship Satan.

[slow clap of fail]

Wow.

Despite the fact that the other books were thinly veiled bible stories, I enjoyed them because they were far more interesting than actual bible stories. And I like a good fantastical story. The bible is rife with epic material, it’s just all so boring and badly written that I’d rather eat glass-covered needles than read it for entertainment. So I might as well read a better written allegory. My favorite of the Narnia books was The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It had a plot, was adventurous, had many elements of imagination, and did not end by trying to make me happy about the fact that 7 or so (I lost count) people just frigging died. The Last Stand also suffered from a burning case of boring — way too little happened and took too long to happen. Too much time was spent at the beginning of the book letting the reader go “wtf is going on?” then all of a sudden — “Death = teh awesome, because look — Jebus!” Buh?! It was almost like CS Lewis really just wanted to say “Fuck you, atheists!” but then realized he had to write a story around it to get it published. And out came The Last Battle — the “Flanders sucks” of literature.

This book decided to shit on the preceding 6 by:

  1. Making it glaringly apparent that this was no longer an allegory, but the actual bible with names changed
  2. Deciding that any faith (even worship of a “false” god — because any god will do) is better than losing faith entirely
  3. Allowing that humans liking human things, rejecting fantasy, and growing up will get them kicked out of paradise — because if you’re too good to believe infantile adventures are real, you’re “too good” for heaven
  4. Making agnostics out to be purposely blinded idiots (as the dwarfs are eventually blind — literally — because they refuse to see the glory and are trapped in their own ignorance)
  5. MURDERING ALL OF THE MAIN FUCKING CHARACTERS
  6. Not having a single young character be at all slightly pissed that they were killed in a train crash before getting old enough to touch another person’s genitals

So atheists, agnostics, muslims, women, and children all get the piss taken out of them in this little romp. What Twilight is to women and relationships, this book is to life in general. Life sucks, so live in a fantasy land. Don’t at all try to contribute to making life better. Just fantasize and become Jebus’ favorite so that you get a personal invitation to his hizzle. If you stop being a fantasy-addicted crackhead, you’re banned. Dying is fun! Because if we have faith we’ll go to heaven. If we live a good life and have faith in the wrong thing we’ll even go to heaven. But if we live a good life and don’t believe, we’re out.

So the “good life” thing is really just a smokescreen for the real point — believe or else. I’m onto you, CS Lewis. And your book sucks.

Advertisements

3 responses to “In which I completely ruin the end to The Chronicles of Narnia (thus saving your eyes from crippling stab wounds)

  1. To be fair, the only thing that can save my eyes from crippling stab-wounds, is an armed monkey with a taste for Stephen-enemy eye-blood.

  2. This was hilarious! And so very true!

  3. I just finished reading this book for the first time two days ago. I was aware of the ending and its controversy long before, but it was still shocking to read. I think it is a flawed and polarizing ending and probably should have been less blatantly religious, to avoid polarizing people.

    But I thought that the book as a whole was very good, though, and your review is very flawed.

    You mocked that Tirian was merely sent a vision rather than help to free him, but he was sent help to free him. Really, the vision was sent to the others so they could see him and come to his aid. Which they did in not very long at all in Tirian’s time. This was a very random complaint.

    Also, I’d say the dwarfs symbolize atheists rather than agnostics. Agnostics believe that the existence of God is unknowable, but the dwarfs out-right mock believers in Aslan for being so stupid. Even when they’re refusing to take sides, it’s between people who at least claim to be religious. It would seem more like a commentary on atheists rejecting all gods.

    Also, Aslan did let the dwarfs into his country, but they were unable to see it.

    You clearly wrote this from an atheist perspective, and I do think C.S. Lewis shouldn’t have made a book with such a limited fanbase for the ending, but these were Christian books. I can’t really think of a better ending to that series than this, except that it could have been more ambiguous.

    You can mock me for this, but what would your ending be?

    Here are my responses to your numbered problems:
    1. You made a good point here. It shouldn’t have been so blatant.
    2. The Dwarfs refused to believe in Aslan even when he was standing in front of him. He let them into his country, but they couldn’t see it. And Lewis was not saying any god will do, he believed other gods to be inferior, but did not blame them for worshiping a false God, because they believed him to be the true one and because they were good people. Many say that he was being too prejudiced by villainizing all other Gods, but he was a Christian man. These books were solely Christian. You can certainly criticize that, but that should have been your main criticism.
    3. But Susan wasn’t kicked out of paradise. The reason she did not go to Aslan’s Country with the others was not because she was interested in boys. It was because she – wasn’t – there. What’s more, Lewis even strongly suggested she would get to Aslan’s Country in the end in a letter to a reader.
    4. Again, clearly a commentary on atheists, not agnostics, but otherwise a legitimate criticism. One could argue in favor of it, though, because atheists will make excuses for all evidence of Christ, but if he were standing right in front of them, they might be unable to. I don’t really know, to be honest. It could go either way, and you could call Lewis arrogant for making his guess.
    Agnostics almost certainly would accept what they are seeing. Otherwise they would be atheists.
    5. This is an extremely atheist perspective, which a lot of people had. You can fault Lewis for not being able to get over his prejudices, which is valid but neither are the people who react with appallment to this. He was a Christian so he believed that for the good Christ-worshipers, death will be nothing bad.
    He was certainly giving a different view of death than most people think of it, even the religious.
    I don’t see why atheists would be so offended by death being portrayed as good, though. We all have to die, so why not make it out to be something pleasant?
    6. Actually, they were all old enough to have done that at some point. And the pleasure of that would be nothing compared to the pleasure of Aslan’s country, if such a place existed, in the interpretation Lewis created.

    I think you did have reasons to criticize, but the main target should have been the prejudice in Lewis’s writing and the blatantness of his allegory, rather than criticisms which can easily be made invalid by philosophical thinkers.