This is the end. The Last Battle wraps up our review of the literary genres that inspired C.S. Lewis, who died 50 years ago this month.
It would make sense to write about the final Narnia book—the one where the world ends—in terms of eschatology, the study of “last things”. Most religions have ideas, teachings, or mythologies concerning the end of humanity, the world and the universe. Some believe everything will end in cataclysm, while others view history as a series of recurring cycles: birth-death-renewal. Lewis’ conception of the end times in Narnia was certainly influenced by several eschatologies, as David C. Downing notes in Into the Wardrobe—
“The closing chapters of The Last Battle offer a seamless blend of Greek philosophy, Christian eschatology, and Norse mythology, […] great beasts devour the landscape, and the world ends in a rising sea and a blast of cold, as in the Norse Ragnarok. But this is only the end of the time-bound Narnia. As Digory explains, quoting Plato, that created world was only a copy or image of the eternal Narnia, as our earth is an image of the new heaven and new earth mentioned in the book of Revelation. Night may have fallen on the created Narnia, but there will be no twilight, only eternal morning” (55).
Yes, it would make perfect sense to examine The Last Battle as an example of eschatology.
But I’m not going to.