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The seventh and final installment in The Chronicles of Narnia. Seven years (on Earth) after the events of The Silver Chair, Jill and Eustace are summoned back for one last adventure, to aid the current King of Narnia against the treachery of the ape, Shift, and his quasi-Arabian Calormene allies. This time, they fail to prevent disaster, and the world ends, but the "real-world" characters, apart from Susan (who has stopped believing in Narnia and thus didn't join the gathering of friends before they are summoned away), as well as many Narnian heroes of the previous novels, are taken bodily to "the real Narnia," where Aslan tells the assembled characters that Digory, Polly, Peter, Edmund, and Lucy have died in a railway crash and that they have all arrived in "Aslan's country", i.e., Heaven.

Critics still wonder what Lewis intended for Susan's ultimate fate to be. Lewis issued no definitive statements on her fate, saying only in published correspondence that "perhaps she will get to Aslan's country in the end." She isn't dead yet, after all -- she's just an apostate for the time being. It is worth noting that this is one of the few cases in literature where the reader gets to feel bad for the lone survivor.

Tropes used in The Last Battle include:

  Shift had one friend and neighbour who was a donkey called Puzzle. At least they both said they were friends, but from the way things went on you might have thought Puzzle was more like Shift's servant than his friend.

  • Cats Are Mean: Ginger.
  • Darker and Edgier: By far the darkest of the seven books. It was almost inevitable, because The Last Battle heavily draws upon the Apocalypse.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Tash is real and everybody dies and goes to heaven.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Eventually, the Tisroc ends up in complete control of Shift, although he keeps up the illusion that Shift is still in charge to manipulate others.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Tirian, Eustace, and Jill.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Susan survives, but is written out of the story. The Pevensie children claim that she stopped believing in Narnia and started dismissing her adventures as childhood games. The effect is Anticlimax.
  • Dying Dream
  • Dying Like Animals: Most of the characters are Sheep who are duped into surrendering to the Calormenes without a fight; Shift the Ape and Ginger the Cat are Snakes; Puzzle the Donkey is gullible enough that Shift convinces him to go along with his plans; and the dwarves go off on their own totally unjustified Civil War, before their ultimate fate of Flat Earth Atheist blindness to anything beautiful in their environment.
  • End of an Age
  • The End of the World as We Know It
  • Fate Worse Than Death: After Ginger goes into the stable to speak to "Tashlan", when he comes out, he turns into a regular non-talking cat
  • Fighting for Survival
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In a conversation with talking Dogs, it is said that male pups that don't behave are often called Boys. One mentions that female dogs are called Girls instead, and another dog tells him not to use that word because it's rude.
  • God Guise: Puzzle the donkey agrees to wear the skin of a lion while his so-called friend Shift tells everyone that Puzzle is Aslan. Shift's intentions are evil collaborating with the evil empire of Calormen, but Puzzle himself is mostly just impressionable and bad at saying no. It was quite an idiotic move, agreeing to impersonate Aslan and enable the betrayal of the country of Narnia, but the only character who really calls Puzzle out on this is Eustace.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid
  • Gone Horribly Right: Summoning Tash.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Shift brings the Calormenes into Narnia to help him rule it, they promptly reduce him to a figurehead. Ginger and the Tisroc perpetuate the idea of "Tashlan", and are respectively made-unintelligent and taken to Hell by Tash.
  • Hollywood Atheist: The Dwarfs. And boy do they pay for it.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Averted, most notably when Jill and Farsight -- the only ranged combatants -- are sent to flank the attacking Calormenes.
  • Honor Before Reason: Tirian and Jewel are so ashamed of killing the Calormene slavemasters in unfair combat that they voluntarily surrender their weapons and allow themselves to be captured. Er. Yes.
  • Hope Spot: The Talking Horses charging to the rescue, only to be shot down by the dwarves.
  • Kill'Em All: Played with. Since the final book deals with the afterlife, the character who gets effectively written out is the one who didn't die.
  • King in the Mountain: Father Time was once a great king, but sleeps underground (some of the characters saw him in The Silver Chair), to wake at the end of the world.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Ginger the cat, who takes over from Shift, loses his voice and his reason after seeing Tash in the flesh.
  • Last Stand
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Tirian and Jewel after they kill two of the Calormene soldiers they saw murdering the dryads and overworking and whipping a Talking Horse.
  • Nostalgia Heaven: The end of the book. They find themselves in "The England within England, the real England", where "no good thing is destroyed".
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Puzzle's disguise as Aslan is woefully bad. The only reason anybody falls for is because it's dark when they see him, because he never says anything, and because it's been years since anybody saw a living lion.
  • Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: "This is my password. The light is dawning, the lie broken. Now guard thee, miscreant, for I am Tirian of Narnia."
  • Rail Enthusiast: Edmund is described as “the sort of person who knows about trains.”
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The train crash is based on a real accident that happened in Britain in 1955. Both real and fictional accidents were caused by a train bound for Bristol taking a sharp curve through a station at excessive speed and derailing.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: The dryad who comes to warn the king that the Talking Trees of Lantern Waste are being cut down (killing the dryads who inhabit them) dies right in front of Tirian and co. to emphasize the brutality and horror of the situation to the reader.
  • Scam Religion: Shift forms one.
  • Scout Out: Averted; Jill Pole is flat-out called a member of the Girl Guides and has various skills enhanced by her membership, namely tracking and archery.
  • Self-Inflicted Hell: The "Last Judgment" of Narnia is precisely this -- Aslan says not a word; the creatures all come up to him, look him in the face, and either love him or reject him, essentially judging themselves and determining their own fate.
    • The dwarves in the stable are a more concrete example. They believe themselves to be damned, so they are.
  • Shapeshifter Mashup: Tash, who has four arms, a bird's head, and projects an aura of utter terror and horror.
  • Shut UP, Hannibal: Tirian tries, early in the book, but he is cut short and silenced by Shift's followers.
  • Smug Snake: Ginger
  • Signs of the End Times: Very much like the Biblical signs, in fact. Given that it's a Christian allegory, this should not come as a surprise.
  • Spanner in the Works: Shift and his Calormene allies are taken quite off-guard by the fact that the Calormene god Tash actually exists, and will come when you summon him properly.
  • Stupid Neutral: The Dwarves refuse to ally themselves with the Calormenes or with the heroes. Then they start shooting at either side to prevent either side from gaining the upper hand. The worst example is their passing the Moral Event Horizon by killing a whole herd of horses who were rushing to Tirian's aid, then jeering at him before invoking the Stupid Neutral idea behind their behaviour.
  • Take Our Word for It: Lewis ends the story by claiming that the previous adventures were book covers to the main stories that will follow. We'll never read about them, though.
    • At least not in this world...
  • Took a Level In Badass: Jill has honed her survival skills since her last trip to Narnia.
  • Unicorn: Jewel, but Good Is Not Nice.
  • Villainous Valor: The Dwarves, and to a certain extent the Calormenes, when it's pointed out that although they are the enemy, they're still brave and capable soldiers.
  • Walking Wasteland: Tash shows this ability.
  • War Is Hell
  • The War to End All Wars: It's in the title.
  • Worthy Opponent: Emeth, a noble Calormene soldier, is revealed to have been transported to Aslan's country after he volunteered to investigate the stable and see his god Tash for himself. The reason for this that the man honestly and truly believed in his god with a pure love and spirit, i.e. what Aslan would look for in a follower, and thus he counted him among his "flock" (this is definitely inspired by the "virtuous pagan" doctrine). By contrast, if the soldier had been a Narnian and had done cruel/evil things in Aslan's name, this would have given him over to Tash.
    • This was Emeth's own reaction on meeting High King Peter - "I know not whether you are a friend or an enemy, but I would be proud to have you for either. Has not one of the poets said that a noble friend is the best gift and a noble enemy the next best?"
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Puzzle is captured and Tirian plans to reveal him to the Narnians as the false Aslan they've been following. By the time they return, however. Shift has already spread the word about a false Aslan and is using that to frame Tirian and his allies wih the blame of deceiving everyone.
    • Shift's noted early on to be very good at this. When a Bolt of Divine Retribution strikes nearby after Shift and Puzzle think up the plan to pass himself off as Aslan, a quick-thinking Shift says he was about to say Aslan would send such a bolt of lightning to tell them he approves, only the bolt happened before he could get the words out. Later when a lamb protests allying with the Calormens because they worship the evil Tash, Shift just rebukes him and tells him Aslan and Tash are the same being.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: A reversal of the usual pattern of Narnian time running faster when Eustace and Jill arrive moments after Tirian's vision in Narnia, but days later in earth time.
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