Narnia signs off with a bang. Or rather, an account of the end of days and an attempt at representing heaven.
The Last Battle remains the most overtly Christian of the Narnia series (which is probably saying a lot), and – unfortunately – one of the least interesting/exciting. The main characters spend most of their time as fairly passive observers of events, fantastical though those events may be.
The latter part of the book depicts the end of Narnia, as Aslan calls the inhabitants, winnowing the disloyal, and welcoming the loyal to the real Narnia. It’s an interesting presentation of “heaven”, that will be nigh-impossible to capture on film should they ever get around to making any more (though this looks increasingly unlikely – the production company has apparently lost the film rights).
I can readily imagine people with different religious beliefs being put off by the whole thing; even, occasionally, other Christians. One of the characters encountered in Paradise is a Calormene (read “horrible-swarthy-heathen-arabic-stereotype”), who has been told that his loyal and honest service to Tash is counted as if it were to Aslan. This is all very feel-good and so on, but a somewhat debatable interpretation of the Bible. That said, God will save whom He wants to save, and I certainly don’t know what His exact criteria are.
It also has one of the strangest finales I’ve ever read (paraphrasing):
“What’s wrong, child?”
“Oh, Aslan, we’re sad because we’ll have to leave!”
“Don’t worry, you’re all dead, so you can stay.”
For all that, though, it does express one idea rather nicely: The reason we love this world is that sometimes it looks a bit like heaven.