**spoiler alert** On a whole, this is my least favourite of the Chronicles because I felt it was the most "preach-y" of the lot. The beginning of the**spoiler alert** On a whole, this is my least favourite of the Chronicles because I felt it was the most "preach-y" of the lot. The beginning of the book is particularly distressing to me, but I found it picks up later and it always held my interest.
I really enjoyed King Tirian and his Unicorn, however, and wished we could have met under different, more adventurous circumstance, instead of such sad ones.
I also loved the character of Jill Pole far better in this story than in the Silver Chair and almost wished she could have been included in some kind of side story of her own, or perhaps with Lucy & Edmund, who are my most favourite characters of the series (and then directly after are Mr. Tumnus & Puddleglum).
The treatment of Susan does seem both unfair and a little odd. The idea of thinking a place you actually KNEW was real was just "a bunch of faries stories and games" just seems ridiculous to me; but I don't know what that means in terms of her "future fate" as it were. It didn't really feel as though it was 'set in stone' as it were and it could be that one day things will turn around for her. ...more
There is a depth to The Last Unicorn that I do not often find outside of classic literature.
It is an impressive feat for a writer at 20 to carry so mThere is a depth to The Last Unicorn that I do not often find outside of classic literature.
It is an impressive feat for a writer at 20 to carry so much depth of age and time and the weight of those things. How our decisions can shape us, sometimes even make us into something entirely different from when we started. Or leaving us the same, but with a little bit more than before. And sometimes leaving us with more questions (or quests) than answers or happy endings.
The idea of a Unicorn, a magical creature who carries the reputation for being Immortal, that has to come to terms with the fact that she may be the last of her kind and all that that would mean is just phenomenal to me. To know or believe that your death wipes out your species, especially a species that brings enchantment to the Universe, what a difficult burden that would be to bear. It is no wonder that the Unicorn leaves the comfort of her home and her solitude in order to find out the truth.
I was very young when I first read it and it shaped me completely. I remember reading the part with Ellie (who is understandably not in the animated version) and being incredibly moved by 'her'. My whole soul changed in that moment, if such a thing can happen. Perhaps it did not change, but just found itself closer to home. Anyway, it really shook me at the time and still does today. Only now I think about the heaviness that the Unicorn must feeling through the narrative. Knowing she is the last of her kind; leaving her desire for solitude in order to find out.
It sometimes feels like a study on the experience of those facing their own mortality or extinction and the limits of their existence (Schmendrick and his magic, Lir and his heroism and his love, Haggard and his joy, Molly Grue and her innocence, Capt. Cully and his mythos and adventures, Ellie and her age). The novel is fraught with examples of this theme again and again. Almost every character we meet comes to some kind of conclusion regarding their own dreams and limits and yet Mr. Beagle does so with such grace; undolorously propelling his characters through a journey of discovery and adventure without necessarily dooming them (obviously not in all cases). While the dream may not be what one originally desired or expected, it is still plausible to achieve it at least in part. I don't know whether I feel this is melancholy or uplifting (it probably depends on the day), but it is overall, I believe, realistic.
It feels such an epic undertaking and yet so very simple at the same time. Reading it was a honour in and of itself, but to have read it at such an impressionable and formative age (6), can only be described as a gift. It really is such a pleasure to know that magic exists in the world and we call it "Books"....more