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.
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]
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:
- Making it glaringly apparent that this was no longer an allegory, but the actual bible with names changed
- Deciding that any faith (even worship of a “false” god — because any god will do) is better than losing faith entirely
- 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
- 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)
- MURDERING ALL OF THE MAIN FUCKING CHARACTERS
- 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.