For Narnia: The Last Battle

“The dream is ended - this is the morning.”
“The dream is ended – this is the morning.”

Why does Lewis include all the CN characters in this volume (except Susan, of course)?

I think it is kind of like a serenade—a goodbye—to Narnia as the readers have come to know it. I think Susan was largely absent from this for a few reasons. Although she appears in some of the books, I feel like her role was more supporting than those of the others. With that said, I do not think Lewis left her out of this goodbye serenade completely. Others mentioned her, and it was clear to me that she had moved on from Narnia, so it makes sense that she was not there for the end of it. It had already finished for her! Some may argue that Peter was in a similar position, but I think it is clear from the books that he had more of an attachment. Besides, Susan was also the last to believe in Narnia in the beginning, so I think she always had a shaky grasp on it.

Is the new Narnia attractive or not? Why or why not?

I have mixed feelings about the concept of the new Narnia. I think it has merit, but this introduction seems like it is a little bit of an afterthought, both in the series and a bit in this final book alone. I feel like if there had been more hints interwoven throughout the series, the new Narnia would look much more attractive to me than it does at the moment. It came as a surprise to me at the end. I think in some cases this type of ending could work, but I am not sure that it does for me here.

I was thinking about the ending to the Lord of the Rings and the ending to this. Both stories have an ending of an age/era/world but they are very different. Do you get the same feeling about the elves ending their sojourn and leaving Middle Earth as you do about, basically all the good guys dying off in this world, as well as the loss of the old Narnia?

I forget where I found this question, but I love the connection here. If you were not already aware, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were actually friends! However, what is my answer here?

No, I do not get the same feeling. I think maybe a part of this is because of the language the two authors use as well as the fact that The Lord of the Rings is not targeted to children in the same way as The Chronicles of Narnia. I know why it is not, yet I read it when I was quite young…funny, right? I felt quite a bit more emotion when I read the end of The Lord of the Rings. Maybe it is because I read it when I was younger?

In any case, I definitely see the similarity. You have many people in both stories leaving one world and heading to another, and some are left behind. I think that the end of The Lord of the Rings where you have them leaving is supposed to echo death in a way, but not quite (more moving on). I definitely think the end of The Last Battle is more literal. I think the major thing I would have explored would be how Susan is feeling about everything.

Overall Thoughts

I think reading this series was nice because I never got the chance to finish. I also feel like I am more critical of it now, given that I am an adult. I highly suspect that if I had gotten to read these and really gotten into them as a child, I would have much more of an attachment to them. I cannot imagine they would reach my attachment to Harry Potter, but they would be closer than they are now. When all is said and done though, I think these books do have merit.

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Title: The Last Battle

Author: C.S. Lewis

Publisher: Geoffrey Bles

Narnian Beginnings: The Magician’s Nephew

“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”
“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”

With which character in the story do you identify? Why do you think you are similar to this character?

You know, I did not really identify with anyone all that much in this book. I would still probably stick with Lucy Pevensie throughout this series. However, if I were to pick I would probably settle on either Polly or Digory. Typical, I know, but let me explain. I think that I share my innate curiosity with them. Of course, that was more prominent when I was a child, but of course they are children here! I think the thing that separates the two of them for me is Digory’s situation with the fruit. I love that he did not eat the first fruit, even though there was his mother to consider. I think I would have found myself acting quite similar to him if I knew there was something out there that would help someone I loved.

Is Digory a better person at the end of The Magician’s Nephew than he was at the start? How has he changed for the better or for the worse?

Oh of course Digory is a better person at the end! I think that this is the case for most characters. It is not limited to this series. Many stories, like this one, have a focus on character development. The situations the protagonists find themselves in shape who they become. The hero at the beginning of any story is not prepared to defeat the villain on page one. They need to go through certain things in order to get to that point!

In Digory’s case, I think he becomes more agreeable by the end of the novel and quite a bit more trustworthy. I think he would have definitely taken an apple for himself right away at the beginning of the novel. Yes, it would be for his mother and to a certain extent, it would be a good action, but it would still be selfish at the same time. At the very least, he knew enough at the end to question what he was thinking about doing before actually going through with the whole thing. Even if he had gone through with it at the end, the time he took to think would still show development!

Why does Digory not eat the fruit he picks in the walled garden? Why is it important that he brings the fruit uneaten to Aslan?

I think what it comes down to that he knew enough to think before he took action. You can make it a little more flowery than that, but I believe that is what it boils down to. I think there are two things you can take as important from the fact he leaves it uneaten. First, it demonstrates the character development he has gone through. Second, if you agree that there is Christian imagery in the book, you can argue that this story bears a striking resemblance to the classic Adam and Eve story with the Garden and the apple tree. Here, I would imagine, people would think the Witch is the snake.

Overall Thoughts

I think I still enjoy the books focusing on the Pevensie children more…in fact, I feel like that is growing as I spend more time away from them. With that said, I liked reading this one…because after all, isn’t Digory the old professor in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? I think many might say I should have read this one first, but there are many benefits to starting with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It is the most popular, but beyond that I think the introduction to Narnia is much better in that.

You get more of a florish with Aslan’s entrance, and everything is “established” at that point. I like that this one functions similar to a sequel despite it being a prequel. Again, to make a Star Wars parallel here, it is better that you read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe first before returning to see how everything began in the same way that you would want to watch Episodes 4 through 6 before the prequel trilogy (or mixing it up, if you go with the Machete Order).

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Title: The Magician’s Nephew

Author: C.S. Lewis

Publisher: Geoffrey Bles

Onward and Upward: The Horse and His Boy

“Child,' said the Lion, 'I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own.”
“Child,’ said the Lion, ‘I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own.”

Bree enjoys rolling around in the grass, but he is worried that other talking horses of Narnia will think he looks silly. Do you ever stop doing something you like because of what other people think of you?

I would honestly love to say that I have never stopped doing something because I was worried about what others would think…but I cannot really do that. Overall, I do not care what the general public (meaning, people I do not know) think about me. I will generally do what I want. However, my issue comes with people I know, like, want to impress, et cetera. I have altered parts of myself in the past when around certain people. I have not done that lately, and as a result am much happier. I would like to say that I would not do it again, but it is just something I am working on rather than a definite thing. People make mistakes!

All in all, I definitely understand Bree’s mindset. Also, side note: is anyone else reminded of Lord of the Rings here with Bree?

When Bree runs away from the lion in Archenland, Shasta wants to go back and help Hwin and Aravis. How is caring for others more noble than caring only for yourself?

How is it not more noble? Caring for yourself is a good thing, but it does become a little problematic if you hurt other people in the process. I think caring about the welfare of others is an admirable thing, and I love that Shasta wants to help others.

Do you think it is important to have read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe before reading this book? Why or why not?

You know, I think it could go either way. I personally would recommend that you read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe first given its chronology in Narnian history. There are also some mentions of the Pevensie children, and if you want a proper introduction, you should read this one before the others.

Despite the fact that there are some characters and other elements that overlap between the two books, I do not know if it is strictly necessary that you read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe first. I say that because, despite how they appear in the chronology of Narnia, they focus (mainly) on different characters and as such you could read either one of them first.

I personally would still make sure that I read The Horse and His Body afterwards, because in all three of the reading orders commonly cited, it always appears after The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. On a side note, that site is how I decided on my final reading order for these posts. It kind of reminds me of the Machete Order for Star Wars!

Overall Thoughts

Even though this book takes place just after The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I feel like it is disconnected from all of the others. I think I feel like this because, even though The Silver Chair did not feature any of the Pevensie children, it still seemed to fit. This one, however, did not seem to fit. I think maybe it might be the order I am reading these books in? With that said, I think the order really has been working, up until this point. I think I would have to reserve my final thoughts for the end of this reading series and evaluate as a whole.

What did you guys think of the book? Would you respond to these questions in the same way I have, or in a different fashion?

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Title: The Horse and His Boy

Author: C.S. Lewis

Publisher: Geoffrey Bles

Search for a Prince: The Silver Chair

“You do not see as quite as well as you think.”
“You do not see as quite as well as you think.”

Discuss faith. What does it mean to do something on faith? Why do you think Jill so quickly trusts Aslan and agrees to his task? Why does Jill lose faith when she gets cold and hungry?

Faith is believing in something when there is absolutely no proof that it is actually true. It means you cannot count on the outcome, but you do it anyways! I think that Jill has faith in Aslan being good, which is why she trusts him and quickly agrees to his task. I think kids in particular are more apt to act on faith (just like my previous discussions on belief) which is why it happens quickly for Jill.

As for her loss of faith during the book…how else are you going to have a story? It makes things more interesting when you have struggles like that, just as how I question (jokingly) why Gandalf never called in the Eagles to take Frodo to Mount Doom. That would have made the whole journey shorter and simpler, no? However, had that happened and if Jill never lost faith…well, part of the story would go missing! I think the loss of faith is a classic struggle most protagonists will face at least once over the course of a novel. Why not include that here? It often draws sympathy from the reader and provides quite a bit of character development as well.

Well, that is my writer or literary answer to that. If I were to think as Jill…I think it is easy to give up when you are not at your strongest. When you are warm and well fed, you do not tend to question what you are doing. However, I know that I would start to question things or at least not want to do anything if someone took those away and it got bad enough. What about you? Would that happen to you?

Why does Aslan wait so long, according to Narnian time, to send an official rescue party to reclaim the lost prince?

In my opinion, Aslan appears as a “hands off” type of character. I think it sometimes appears as if he is quite involved with the events in Narnia, but I think everyone needs to remember that we are only getting snapshots into Narnian history. After all, hundreds of years past between the Pevensie children’s first and second visits! My theory regarding the rescue party is that Aslan wanted people to handle the situation on their own. I really think it is something simple like that! I know, it would be much simpler if he had gotten involved earlier, but would there have been as much of a story then?

Overall Thoughts

Before this point, I would say that I was growing fonder of the series as a whole. However right now I am unsure about what to think. I know I have to move on with the rest of the books, but I already know that I loved the focus on the Pevensie children and I am definitely going to miss that. I would actually love to know about their lives outside of Narnia. What are they doing now? Do they miss Narnia? I really wish they could go back once as adults… It would be interesting to see how they react to everything then.

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Title: The Silver Chair

Author: C.S. Lewis

Publisher: Geoffrey Bles

Breathe the Sea Salt: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

“Courage, dear heart.”
“Courage, dear heart.”

Is it irresponsible of Caspian, as King of Narnia, to leave his kingdom and go off on a long sea voyage?

I would say yes if he did not make plans for his people for that time. He made sure that things were covered during his absence, including leaving behind Susan’s horn so they could call for aid if it was necessary. I think his journey was important, particularly as he had promised to do it. So if he went back on his word, I think he would have been more irresponsible.

Why does The Voyage of the Dawn Treader have so many different protagonists? How would this novel be different if every adventure focused on one main character – say, Caspian or Eustace? What does the book gain from having different characters take center stage during different adventures?

I think it is all just authorial choice about the different protagonists and perspectives in this book. Frankly, this is always the case! I think this book does gain a lot with the different perspectives. For instance, we get the picture into what happens with Eustace when he becomes a dragon. I think for this book, the different perspectives ensure we are getting the entire story. How are we to know what Eustace is thinking during his time as a dragon? How are we to know what Lucy’s experience is? This is not a big issue for some books because the overall perspective encompasses a lot, but ones written like The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, where they focus in on one character, a lot is left out unless you switch the perspectives. Thus, I think here C.S. Lewis needed the switches to make sure he included the full story.

What does Aslan mean when he says he has “another name” in Edmund, Lucy, and Eustace’s world?

I think he means exactly what he says: he exists in the other world, but they would know him by another name. Given what I know about C.S. Lewis, I would theorize that Aslan is placing himself as God or maybe Jesus. With that said, I do not like assuming what an author means by a particular thing. Unless you ask them specifically, I do not think you can ever really know. I have told people before that because of my feelings surrounding “what does this mean” in a book I would put in a blue curtain in every book I write (theoretically, it does not need to be a blue curtain). However, what does that curtain mean? Is it my inherent sadness? Is it foreshadowing? Do I just like blue? Am I trying to screw with you? You never know!

Why can’t Peter and Susan come with Edmund and Lucy on this adventure to Narnia? At the end of the previous book, Aslan tells them they are too old to go to Narnia again, but what does that mean?

I think the first part of this question is answered in the second part. Simply put, Peter and Susan are growing up and because of their age, they cannot return anymore. I think the “too old” hinges on the belief that I mentioned in previous posts regarding these books. It is not to say that adults cannot or do not believe, but I definitely feel as if it changes. I think Narnia resembles many iterations of Neverland from Peter Pan. It is somewhere you can only visit, not live. And once you grow up…you have to leave it in your memories. With that said, I think that Peter and Susan still have influence over Narnia and we will see that before the series comes to an end. They just cannot physically go back.

At one point near the end of the book, Caspian wonders why his friends Edmund and Lucy can travel to his world, but he can’t travel to theirs. What do you think is the reason?

This is actually a fascinating question and I think there are many ways of answering it. I am going to try to stick to one of these, since it will take a long time to explain all of them.

I think we all realize that Aslan is the “ultimate” king of Narnia. However, he also runs on belief, which is I think a major reason why we need figures like the Pevensie children to rule in his stead and protect the lands. So if Aslan’s power is diminished if people do not believe in him as much…how will he protect Narnia? I think that has a lot to do with why he needs Caspian to stay and not leave. Caspian needs to stay so he can act as king and protect Narnia. Who else is going to do it? You may argue that Lucy or Edmund should, but Aslan notes that this is their last journey in Narnia. Even though people may bring up the point that Caspian is growing up, he has also lived in Narnia his entire life. I think his background is what makes him “immune,” so to speak, over the growing up and not being allowed to return to Narnia.

Overall Thoughts

I feel like I appreciate this book a lot more when I connect it with the previous two and take in the Pevensie children’s entire journey within Narnia. I think I like this one the most out of the three, but that is also taking in the influence of the previous two (also, aside from Eustace…boy, is he annoying). I feel like these books are amazing for kids. However, reading them as an adult I cannot help but wish for larger books with more history and detail, among other things. It does not make them bad books by any means, they are good the way they are, but they do have more potential. I could see them focused like Lord of the Rings in a way (doubt they would overtake those books in my heart though). That thought is actually funny to me, given the C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were great friends!

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Title: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Author: C.S. Lewis

Publisher: Geoffrey Bles