Manny's Reviews > The Last Battle

The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis
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Oct 11, 2014

did not like it
bookshelves: children, science-fiction
Read in January, 1974 , read count: 2

A dismayingly poor conclusion to the series... I honestly don't understand why a fair number of people apparently like it. (I believe it even won some kind of award). The writing is flat and uninspired compared to the earlier volumes, and the preaching has completely taken over the narrative. Oddly enough, a lot of it also comes across as extremely immoral. Let's not even get into the question of whether the treatment of the Calormenes and their god Tash is racist or bigoted. The thing that really annoys me is the way that foolish, deluded Puzzle, who acts as front man in a religious coup by agreeing to don the lion skin and impersonate Aslan, is somehow given a free pass. Why, exactly? He was only obeying orders? It seems to me that this is reductio ad absurdum, taking the notion of Christian forgiveness to its logical and extremely nasty conclusion, and I still have no idea what C.S. Lewis thought he was doing. If George W. Bush could read, he would probably find this book rather comforting.

The following passage from Knausgård's Min kamp 6, which I read yesterday, expresses the point I wished to make rather better than I did (my translation):
Grace removes all distinctions, in grace we are all equal. The radicality of this idea is so great that we can hardly grasp it. But it is this, and nothing else, that Christianity is about. There are no differences between people. The worst person is worth just as much as the best. Jesus said: if someone strikes you, turn the other cheek. He is a person like you, he is you. It is an inhuman thought, because it is thought outside our social structures. It is indeed a godlike thought. Adolf Hitler has just as much worth as the Jews he gassed to death. It dissolves our identities, they have been created by difference, and that is what makes Christianity unrealisable, we cannot think ourselves away, it is too much to lose, it is all we have.

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message 1: by Whitaker (new)

Whitaker But the notion of Christian forgiveness is exactly like that. Once you repent, it's Heaven for you. See, for example, Waugh's econmium to the Catholic faith in Brideshead. But aside from that, while it's been a few years since I've read The Last Battle, I believe Aslan says that it's because Puzzle didn't understand what was going on. The focus is on the intention to do evil and not the act. I also believe that Puzzle does repent once he does understand.

Valerie If you don't personally know Jesus then I think it would be difficult to really appreciate this book in the fullness of the original intent. Aslan is symbolic of Jesus (by Lewis' own account) and not a generic god. It is eerily where we are now in our world...every way to God is good and every god is the same...or else you are intolerant or politically incorrect. Say the name Jesus in a non-Christian conversation and watch how uncomfortable everyone gets ( like now perhaps.)

Lewis has presented an account that can only have been inspired by the greatest creator of all. It isn't man-made religion. It is the relationship with Jesus. That is true Christianity. C.S. Lewis has written the story in a manner that breaks it down to the childlike faith that Jesus says we must have in Him alone to enter the Kingdom of God.

What is preachy or flat about the way he has written it?

The thing about this last book that made it so difficult for me to read was experiencing the similarity of our own world's present state to that of end times Narnia.
It was disturbing for me to see how the prophesies that are foretold about our world's end unfold in this book for Narnia.

It has already begun here... Everyone is looking out for number one (the dwarfs) or they are muddled up in what they actually believe and thus without realizing it have aligned themselves with Satan (Tash) who is in fact the enemy who the Bible tells us roams the earth looking for those he can destroy.
In our world I see people and factions who want to be accepted... but most draw a line when it comes to Christians...they don't see their own agendas but accuse the Christians of theirs. As I mentioned above, many cannot tolerate the name Jesus is offensive. Even as you read this post you may find yourself burning with anger. Christians...always referring to Jesus...and why?

Why do you suppose when people swear they don't invoke the name Buddha or any of the other god names? Because Jesus really is the true King...Satan knows it, but the world is like the characters of Narnia...they didn't know Aslan personally and they refused to believe the accounts of the witnesses, so they did not realize when they were being so blatantly duped.
Likewise, if you don't know Jesus personally, then you won't realize that you are one of the misguided, or one of the one's that won't recover from the hurt resulting from the acts of those who do things in the name of Jesus that don't align with who He really is.

C.S. Lewis writes about Christianity. It is what it is. You can't rewrite history either though this world would have us try.

No apologies...the Chronicles of Narnia is about Christ and Christian relationships. There is nothing more noble than using your talent for the purpose the King has gifted you for.

Well done Lewis!!!!

Manny Hm... well, Valerie, to answer some of your points:

Say the name Jesus in a non-Christian conversation and watch how uncomfortable everyone gets (like now perhaps.)

Talking about Jesus does not in itself make me feel uncomfortable, though I am very disturbed by some of the things done in His name. You might want to look at my review of the New Testament for further comments.

C.S. Lewis has written the story in a manner that breaks it down to the childlike faith that Jesus says we must have in Him alone to enter the Kingdom of God.

That's a reasonable description of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a book I still rather like. But I don't like this one.

As I mentioned above, many cannot tolerate the name Jesus is offensive. Even as you read this post you may find yourself burning with anger. Christians...always referring to Jesus...and why?

The American Right are not entirely blameless here. In the terminology of this book, someone like Ann Coulter calls herself a follower of Aslan, but clearly worships at the altar of Tash. Which does indeed make many people burn with anger.

the world is like the characters of Narnia...they didn't know Aslan personally and they refused to believe the accounts of the witnesses, so they did not realize when they were being so blatantly duped.

You know, it's not like we're really disagreeing on everything...

Valerie Hi Manny,
Please forgive me as I am extremely new to this site. When I was commenting on your thread, the comments that you have pulled out of my post were truly meant for the gentleman who had posted directly above me. I felt it my duty to share my opinion as I felt that he had entirely missed the point of the book/series.

I too am disturbed by things done in the name of Jesus. That is in fact why I so love all of the Chronicles of Narnia...because in my opinion they ring true to what it is really all about.

I respect that you didn't like this book. Indeed, it was quite a difficult read for me at first due to the parallel nature of the times in which we live and the end times of Narnia. I don't like to think about an end of things as they are even if they are not what I want them to be. I actually had to put the book down at times and force myself to come back to it. But this story strengthened me in so many ways. It was an eye opening account that caused me to realize the treachery of my own bent toward fence straddling for the sake of harmony with those who don't believe.

From a literary standpoint, I of course enjoyed several others of the series much more. You mentioned that you liked The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and I think all would probably agree on that one.
I also enjoyed the Magician's Nephew. My favorite of the lot is however The Silver Chair.

It's silly really, but my life is so stressful, I enjoy reading things like these books that many would consider children's books.

I am not sure what you mean by "The American Right." (Again forgive me...I am no scholar and not the least bit politically inclined.) As far as America goes, as it is the basis for my entire life experience, I think it quite parallels the end-time Narnia. I do not think it "right" about much at the present time and it causes me distress even though I do realize it is not for me to worry about as I have no control over it. I do think that on a worldly level, our way of life is as good as it gets, but from a spiritual standpoint, we have long ago lost our sense of direction.

I will say though that people all have free choice. I don't like it when someone professes faith and is false, as you have credited Ann Coulter of being/doing. Still though, I don't think it is a valid reason for anyone to deny themselves the great love of Jesus... sort of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face, lol. Of course I won't deny my heart break over Satan's greatest allies being, it would seem lately often those who profess Christ. Still, Christians don't save...that is for Jesus alone. So again nothing, can stand in the way of that...even a hypocritical liar. I tell my children, in the end those you credit for influencing your decisions will not stand with you before God Almighty. You will have only yourself to answer for, and they will answer for themselves, so make sure your choices are really your "own" through and through.

My curiosity is peeked regarding your review of the New Testament. I will check it out despite the fact that usually I avoid discussion of the Bible within this type of context.
I say "this type of context" but really I mean what I would suspect the context would be. Of course without knowing what you have written I cannot say yours will be something I would avoid as well. This I do know...I make every attempt not to tamper with the Word of God as it is alive. I believe when a true Christian reads the Word, the Spirit provides exegeses as needed for him/her, and so I have never thought of, nor would I ever think of looking at the manuscript from an academic view.

His thoughts are not our thoughts...his are far superior, you know?

But I'll have a look.

Warm regards!

Valerie Oh Manny, do I feel silly! I told you I was no scholar!!! I had no idea that was actually a book. Oh my...well back to the review! Tallyho!

Valerie Wait yet again. So, do you know Jesus or don't you? He is not a belief system. He is a real person who true Christians have a relationship with.

I don't understand your review of the New Testament. I don't know this book but I think it is a translation of the Bible New Testament...yes?

Man there is so much more much more...

message 7: by Manny (last edited Jun 10, 2012 01:36PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Manny Hi Valerie,

Well, it sounds like we don't really disagree very much here, except that I must regretfully say that I am not a Christian. I do not know Jesus, though, from everything I have heard about Him, it is my loss. My review of the New Testament, which is indeed the Bible New Testament, is meant to suggest that, though maybe I chose an unnecessarily obscure way to say it.

When I say "The American Right", I am referring to the disgraceful and cynical political grouping based on the Republican Party, who have over the last 30 or so years discovered that they can increase their political power by hypocritically pretending, generally in the most transparent way, that they follow the teachings of Jesus. These people, by calling themselves Christians, have done a great deal of harm to Christianity. People like Richard Dawkins are directly reacting to them, and of the two I vastly prefer Dawkins. The tragedy is that many people currently feel that is the choice they are being offered. I would have loved to know what Lewis might had thought here.



Valerie Hi Manny,
Ah yes...I have never understood how most of my friends in the church run to Republican politics under the guise of concern over issues such as right to life etc. (which I am for) but appear to be blinded to the oppression that results from their political stances.

As a true Christian however, I don't consider George Bush a fellow believer. Many call His name, but few are really His. When you meet Jesus, His living Spirit comes to dwell within you, and if you learn to listen to it, then you gradually become more discerning. I do not know George Bush personally but when I look at a tree and see apples...I automatically assume that the tree is an apple tree. If I see nuts, then a nut tree. If I see no fruit, then I may not be able to tell by the leaves or tree scaffolding at first...but after a while, the time of fruiting will come...and then becomes more clear.

I would pose that Lewis had many things to say about people who profess Christianity and are false. But then again, he was mature enough in the faith to know that this life is only a whisper and not what really matters. It is a fallen will never be is for us to fulfill our missions here and then go on to what has been prepared for us. If you were a Christian, I would say, look around and see the is like Narnia...the end has may take hundreds or thousands more years, or it may be this very year...we don't know...but it is in motion.You won't stop it...there has never been a prophecy in the Bible that doesn't eventually come true.
And regarding fake Christians, it is a given because since the beginning, whatever is authentic, satan makes a counterfeit for. Do you know the story of how Lucifer was the most beautiful of all God's creations but he wanted to be in charge and so lead the failed coup to take over heaven? You know, where the Bible tells us a third of the angels fell with him (these are now demons?)
One of the enemy's tactics is to use these counterfeits. I don't know how your translation of the New Testament put it when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, but if you read a direct translation from the original manuscripts you will see that while it appeared that satan used scripture to tempt Christ, what he really did was use scripture with a slight twist. There was always something left out to make the scripture work for his scheme.

In your review of the New Testament you said that you googled to see if Jesus was an actual historic character, yes...did I understand you correctly? And that you found no historic record of His being on earth? If that is what you meant, you need to look again...there is not really much of a dispute among most scholars, atheists and all regarding whether or not Jesus actually lived. Some think he was a good man, a prophet, a lunatic, etc. Of course only Christians believe Him to be the incarnation of God.

I know it may sound crazy to you, but what if you theorized for a moment that He did rise from the dead?

I know He did because I know Him. To you, I say I think He knocks at your door. I would encourage you not to fall for apes who say they know Him. Why would you allow fools to rob you of the truth? Ask Him Himself... Jesus...ask Him.

The Bible says "draw near to the Lord and He will draw near to you."

The most direct translation available currently is the NIV ( New International Version.) You should read it and ask for revelation. The gospel of John was written by Jesus' best friend on earth from most accounts. Maybe start there...not for truth...ask Him to show you.

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me." Revelation 3:20 ...a book also written by Jesus' best friend John, by most accounts.

If I didn't know Him, then this would all be a crazy thread...a mindless exchange of opinions. But, I do know Him, and so I encourage you to look away from the distractions of the fakes and seek the authentic King who had nothing good to say about most of the "religious" people of the time when He was on earth.

I am not a perfect person. I fail all the time to live up to my calling...but thanks be to Jesus alone, it is not about what I can do or how good I become. Its about know...unmerited favor? The Bible tells us none of us are good enough to get into heaven. If it were possible, then Jesus would not have had to diminish Himself into the form of a man and to suffer rejection and abandonment from even His closest suffer the most painful and humiliating death ever known to mankind (incidentally...a death that was foretold historically in the scriptures of Isaiah hundreds of years before crucifixion was even invented.)
There was no way...but He made a way...willingly and gladly...and so when others try and make the results of our fall His wise...He came to is the enemy and father of lies who perpetrates that bonk.

I am praying for you Manny because I believe the Lord is calling you. I am praying that He will send water and any seeds of the gospel in your heart will begin to root and grow.

Peace brother.


Manny But is it really a paradox? I think he has a good point when he says that it is the very essence of Christianity.

message 10: by Manny (new) - rated it 1 star

Manny Well, I presume that Knausgård would say those people haven't really thought through the implications of what they claim to believe.

I am reminded of a nice quote from Peebles concerning time dilation in special relativity: "This is sometimes called the Twins Paradox, although the effect is observed and it is not paradoxical."

message 11: by Manny (new) - rated it 1 star

Manny Another nice quote, which I just stumbled over in Pigliucci and Boudry's Philosophy of Pseudoscience:
Popular religion pays little heed to theology, as revealed by research into theological incorrectness. Theists may be able to reproduce theologically correct dogma when explicitly required to, but they seem to operate with much simpler and less counterintuitive supernatural beliefs than those condoned by theology.
Here, the theologically correct belief is that everyone is equal and all sins can be forgiven, but the popular belief is clearly that not everyone is equal and some sins are unforgivable.

Personally, I think the popular belief is right and the theologically correct one is extremely dangerous. When the nuclear weapons technician in Level 7 pushes the button which starts World War III and obliterates life on Earth, he is by that action damned for all eternity. It doesn't matter if he repents later. And I would prefer Puzzle, who has a similar role in this story, to be damned for all eternity.

message 12: by Manny (new) - rated it 1 star

Manny Elham, I'm glad you liked it. The article is interesting: the authors argue that theology is a refinement formed by reflection on what they call popular religion, but pseudoscience, in contrast, is a debasement of science. Though personally I'm not sure it's this simple. The analogy is certainly an interesting one....

Qadoos Zafar well that's what i thought, disappointed

María Paz Greene Crazy fanatics, playing to be God, and judging everybody... except, a writer totally plays God. The problem, then, isn't that, but the naughtyness of the God!!! And I don't mean it in a sexy way.

message 15: by Manny (new) - rated it 1 star

Manny I don't think the New Testament God is as bad as the Old Testament version, but they're both pretty naughty.

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