By Karen on Saturday 5 December 2009, 00:50 - Permalink
Right after I posted that I had no problem with the Christian symbolism in Narnia, THIS had to go and happen. Don't read the rest of this entry if you haven't read Narnia and/or don't want it spoiled for you.
lalalalalalalalala handy spoiler avoidance space lalalalalalalalalala
Everybody dies. Everybody dies in a ridiculously contrived rail accident. I can accept the fact that it happened, but I take issue with the fact that absolutely every major human character was killed, even those who weren't on the train. Everybody dies, and we're supposed to think this is a good thing, because Narnia has now become heaven.
I would like to amend my statement from the last entry: I have no problem with the Christian symbolism in Narnia, . Up until the end, you don't have to share Lewis' beliefs in order to enjoy the story; most of the Christian symbolism is used as a convenient framework, and the rest of it is all about trying to be a good person, something I have no trouble relating to. He crossed an extremely important line with the final plot twist, because if you don't share Lewis' belief in a happy, wonderful afterlife, what you have is an ending where all the characters that you care about die, some of whom are barely more than children.
It's not that I don't believe that the gang goes to Narnia: it's Lewis' world. What he says happens, happens. It's just that enjoying the ending is contingent on your belief that the characters aren't missing much by virtue of being dead, and I believe they are missing something; I believe it's a terrible waste.
While I'm not Christian, I don't take issue with most Christian beliefs- wow, so you should try to be a nice, forgiving person? You don't say! Probably the one aspect of the religion that I can't relate to is the belief that the afterlife is just so peachy-keen that we should all hurry up and die so we can get there. I'm sure many Christians don't interpret it that way, and see the concept of a pleasant afterlife as a kind of consolation prize, but in Lewis' interpretation, the attitude seems to be "Oh, so we're all dead? AWESOME!" I just cannot reconcile myself to that.
It would be completely different if Peter had died fighting in World War II or something and ended up in Narnia (hey, you could do a lot worse), but this is just disturbing. What's strange is that there is so much keen insight into religion and how people manipulate it in The Last Battle that this is the last thing I expected.
Okay, I have the answer: I do recommend Narnia. We're all just going to say "Yeah it was great, the ending was stupid but whatever," and leave it at that. I have such disdain for the concept of being keen on dying that I don't even want to give it any more attention than I already have.