If you want to see the power that authors have to make readers sympathize and despise literary characters, read the first few pages of The Last Battle. Lewis needs only two or three pages to help you formulate your views of Shift and Puzzle, the two “friends” in Narnia whose actions lead to the end of Narnia. This is powerful, interesting writing that will make you hate the ape and pity the donkey.
Aside from the exciting battle scenes and feeling that all will be lost with the Narnians, The Last Battle is one of the best expositions of heaven. Aslan’s Country and his call for us to go “further up and further in” highlights how heaven contains hints of our world, only so much better. The Narnians and humans all run through the new Narnia—a Narnia how it should be—without hunger, without getting tired, and without sorrow.
“There was a real railway accident,” said Aslan softly. “Your father and mother and all of you are—as you used to call it in the Shadowlands—dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.
“And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at least they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
It is simply stunning how a fictional book, one supposedly written for children, can make me long for my true home. When was the last time you read through this series? I think it is time to start it again.