The Last Battle begins with Shift, an Ape, and Puzzle, a Donkey. When they discover a lion’s skin in the pool near where they live, Shift decides to sew it into a costume for Puzzle and pass him off as Aslan. Of course, anyone could see that Puzzle is really a donkey in lion’s clothing. But with clever Shift speaking for “Aslan” and keeping Puzzle mostly out of sight, they begin to effect changes in Narnia that the real Aslan would never make—such as cutting down Talking Trees and making Talking Horses pull carts for the Calormenes.
King Tirian and his dearest friend, Jewel the Unicorn, know they must do something. But when they stand up to the Calormenes, they are almost immediately overpowered, separated, and tied up. While King Tirian is tied to a tree, he calls upon the children of legend—those who have often come to save Narnia from evil—and Eustace and Jill appear before him almost immediately. Together, they will have to fight for Narnia if they want it to remain as they have always known it.
This was a fantastic end to the Narnia series. It seemed a little out of order, though. After the New Testament-ness of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, this seemed rather Old Testament-y, what with the analogies to the golden calf and the Great Flood. The difference, to me, was that it was an Old Testament story with a more New Testament God. It got a little Old Testament there for a minute, but I can’t really imagine Aslan being the rage-fueled God of the Old Testament who wipes out the whole human race for sinking into sin (and clearly C. S. Lewis didn’t want to write him like that either). There was a kind of “Judgment Day” scene, but Aslan was very much New Testament in that he seemed sad rather than angry.
It was interesting to see that C. S. Lewis actually wrote in Tash, the Calormenes’ god—from what I’d read in other books, it seemed to me that Tash would be more of a “false idol” type of god, but it turns out he’s actually more analogous to the Devil, as Aslan explains:
“For he and I are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted.”
There was also quite the twist at the end—I had sort of predicted it, but it was still a bit shocking to see it was actually true, since it seemed a little dark for a kid’s series. But it was still fantastic!! You’ve gotta read this series if you haven’t yet.by