The Last Battle

Book Notes

This is Book 7 of The Chronicles of Narnia.

I think this book should have been titled Further Up and Further In to be honest, what with the sixty page denouement after the Last Battle.

I have to say, this book was a lot more obvious in the allegorical sledgehammer department. Hey, look, there's a false god. Hey, look, there's a greedy, manipulating, ape of a man who twists and turns the word of God^H^H^HAslan for his own purposes. Hey, look, there are a bunch of people cowed by the words of said ape of a man! Hey, look, there are people who think for themselves! Hey, look, there's the kingdom of heaven. Hey, look, there's a literal Gate.

The Sledgehammer of Allegorical Christ didn't lessen at all during this book. There are the Dwarves who turned away from God, refusing to believe. There is also the lesson that, welllllllll, if you didn't really know the Christian God, but were good and steadfast and trustworthy, then, hey, whatever god you prayed to was a valid substitute, and you can still come into Heaven.

The ending of this book, though, wow, they all died in the end. Though, really, that's kinda the point, no?

The book was a fast read. I'm happy to have read the series. I'm not likely read it again.

“Kiss me, Jewel,” he said. “For certainly this is our last night on earth. And if ever I offended against you in any matter great or small, forgive me now.”
Page 123

The Silver Chair

Book Notes

This is Book 6 of The Chronicles of Narnia.

I did not like this book. This would have been the first book of two books triggering my rule "stop reading a series after two consecutive bad books," except it is the second to last book of the series, and, well, I intend to read the whole series. Suffice it to say, I'm glad I have this book from the library.

Part of my dislike of this book is the shallow treatment given to the long trek the main characters, and the seriously little sh-ts said main characters are. Though, really, Pole and Scrubb likely are little sh-ts, as they are kids, and how could one expect a kid to be honest and thoughtful and strong and good and steadfast, without the experience needed to understand how important these characteristics are.

Of course, many adults also lack these characteristics, so I'm unsure why I was so frustrated with these kids, except maybe that Christ-Analogy told them what to do and they ignored him. How many times does someone get to see Asland? How many lives never saw him? Pole sees him, talks with him, receives instructions from him, and still ignores his words. Frustrating.

I will, of course, finish the series, since I'm reading all these classic children's books. I'm glad to be done with this one. Blah.

Jill suddenly flew into a temper (which is quite a likely thing to happen if you have been interrupted in a cry).
Page 3


The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Book Notes

This is Book 5 of The Chronicles of Narnia.

In terms of Christian allegory and stories with morals, this book pretty much hits one upside the head with the Sledgehammer of God. There's no light hand in this story, to be sure.

Continuing the Narnia tale, Lucy and Edmund go back to Narnia, along with their cousin Eustace, who's the 1950's model for Dudley Dursley. He's a little shit, know-it-all, arrogant, lazy kid. We could call him a Well Actually and be accurate. He goes off by himself, turns himself into a dragon, learns his lesson through loneliness and loss of connection with all his human friends - why they didn't immediately kill the dragon flying over the camp? - and needs to be restored only through the grace of Aslan washing away his sins in special water.

And then he drops from the story.

There are a number of other smaller lessons learned, don't eavesdrop on others, turn towards God for strength, getting everything you want is a Bad Thing™, regaining your throne is as easy as walking into the top government house and declaring you are the king works every time even when you're a slave, and, for all the flat-earthers, Narnia is flat with the oceans having an edge.

One of my frustrations with the book is Lord Rhoop, who was found on Dark Island, where your dreams (literal dreams, including nightmares, not daydreams) come true. He escaped, yay he was rescued, and HE LEFT OR LOST ALL HIS MEN ON THAT ISLAND. They celebrate this guy's rescue, but he was a horrible leader, all of his men were dead or left for dead. This is a horrible result. None of the men who went out with the seven lords of Narnia were ever found. So, in Narnia, the only people who matter are named royalty?

Prince Caspian

Book Notes

This is Book 4 of The Chronicles of Narnia.

I will likely be done with all of these by the end of the month, at the rate I'm going and ease of reading. I will be okay with being done hunting for Christian allegorical elements in the books I'm reading by Christmas.

This book puzzled me a lot in a couple places. I'm okay with time passing, and the kids being pulled back to Narnia - it's magic, and if you accept magic, you need to suspend disbelief and let the newly defined laws of nature reveal themselves. That's fine.

What I'm struggling with is that that talking animals, the Talking Animals, eat their own kind. They serve bacon and eggs and bear to the kids. In another book, the kids ate roast. Okay, so, maybe the animals who can't talk are a different species, distinctly farm animals? Nope, turns out that Talking Animals can devolve into non-talking animals. This means, there is a spectrum of Talking in Narnia with the animals. If we take Talking as a measurement of intelligence, then the Talking Animals eat their stupid, their dumb, their deaf, their mute, their mentally incapacitated, their learning-disabled. While this could be okay in some societies to cull the herd, I'm not sure this is what C. S. had in mind when he had his Talking Animals.

This book was published in 1951. The Two Towers was published in 1954. Why is this significant? Because C.S. Lewis had the protagonists saved by a giant forest of trees in this book. That's three years before the Ents were released on the world. Another struggle.

The Horse and His Boy

Book Notes

This is Book 3 of The Chronicles of Narnia.

Okay, here's the first book of the Chronicles of Narnia series I don't have any recollection having read before. I have to say, when I was reading it, I kept wondering when the R.R. Martin moment was going to happen. When is the bad guy going to win.

This book gave me the epiphany (yes, I'm slow sometimes) that we read books as a way to believe that the good guys can win in the end, when life teaches us the bad guys nearly always win. Nearly always. The powerful are seldom toppled before they do horrific damage.

Anyway, the book. The Horse. He's a talking horse. He befriends a boy. They escape the horse's master, who was a powerful, violent, hateful warrior. They are guided by circumstance, which turns out not to be so arbitrary, into fulfilling a prophesy. Go, good guys, go!

Again, I tried to read it not for the story, but for the Christian allegory that it is supposed to be. There are elements of God helps those who help themselves, elements of Stoicism's do what you need to do without complaining, and elements of pure whimsy in the book.

I'm on a roll, so will continue reading the series. The books are contininuing to be quick, two hour or so reads, which makes them a good end-of-year series to finish.

“Why, it’s only a girl!” he exclaimed.
Page 31

I really think the "only a girl" and "just like a girl" and the subtle and not so subtle remarks of Lewis that women and those of the female gender are somehow less of a person because of their gender is REALLY going to turn me off these archaic books.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Book Notes

This is Book 2 of The Chronicles of Narnia.

Okay, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. This is the book that, if you know only one book in the Narnia series, this is the one you know. It is an allegory for the story of Christ, though, really, can be enjoyed as a children's tale, if you'd like.

If you have insomnia, this is TOTALLY the book to read between 2am and 5am. Zoom zoom.

I enjoyed the quick read, all of two hours or so. I had read this book before. I don't recall if I found the fight and war scenes as absurd the first time through, though. Peter, with no fighting experience, managed to kill the top wolf in Narnia with a sword the first time he holds the sword? Really? What level of divine intervention is this?

Again, I would have liked to have read this in a book club with a couple 10 year olds, to learn their perspective. I have this wish to read a lot of books in a book club with a bunch of 10 year olds, maybe younger. Their perspectives are so different, and, well, to be honest, so long ago for me that I believe they'd be fascinating again.

On to the next book, also known as the first of the books of the series that I know I haven't read!

Lucy grew very red in the face and tried to say something, though she hardly knew what she was trying to say, and burst into tears.
Page 26

I TOTALLY understand this reaction to feeling powerless. When you are small and less strong than those around you, frustration expresses itself this way.

“Just like a girl,” said Edmund to himself, “sulking somewhere, and won’t accept an apology.”
Page 30

The Magician's Nephew

Book Notes

This is Book 1 of The Chronicles of Narnia.

Continuing my fixing-my-lack-of-classics-reading-as-a-teen non-prolbem, I started the Chronicles of Narnia. Except, I thought The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe was the first book, checked it out of the library, then was stunned when I read it was book two of the series.

Turns out, The Magician's Nephew was published after the Lion-Witch-Wardrobe book, but is, indeed, a prequel. Digory, the title character in The Magician's Nephew, is the batty uncle in the Lion-Witch-Wardrobe saga. Which explains why he seems to ... no, wait, wrong review.

I'm unsure if I have read this book before. I didn't think I had, but multiple parts of it were familiar, leading me to believe I had. I spent much of the book pondering the allegorical elements, teasing out the parallels between the story and the Bible. I found, however, that what enjoyed the most was pausing to reflect on the characters' motivations, including both character flaws and human traits. The aversion to loss is universal, especially of a loved one. People are motivated to do awful things, but can also be incentivized towards doing the right thing, both of which are present in the book.

The book is quick two hour read. I suspect most of these books in the series will be. In line with my policy of reading a series if I enjoy the first one, and don't stop until two bad ones in a row, no, wait, I'm reading the whole series, so on to the next one!

I enjoyed the book. I would have liked to have a 10 year old kid with me in a book club reading this book to hear her perspective.