This is probably the most Greek finale I’ve ever seen outside of Bulfinch’s Greek & Roman Mythology. But it’s also an awful lot like the finale of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (except you kind of see the battle this time).
Seriously, this is just like a perspective-flipped version of the end of LWW: The boys are in a battle, but Susan and Lucy and Aslan arrive with reinforcements and save the day. It would be a lot more interesting had it been told more from Peter’s perspective (or at least from some perspective where you can actually tell what’s happening in the fight). Granted, it is a lot more tense seeing it from Edmund’s perspective (more or less) and feeling how helpless he is, but Lewis does a horrible job making the action interesting, and the end of the battle is just anticlimactic. The only time you really feel for Peter is when Edmund comes up and talks to him during a break:
While they were doing this, Edmund asked anxiously, “What do you think of him, Peter?”
“Tough,” said Peter. “Very tough. I have a chance if I can keep him on the hop till his weight and short wind come against him – in this hot sun, too. To tell the truth, I haven’t much chance else. Give my love to – to everyone at home, Ed, if he gets me. Here he comes into the lists again. So long, old chap. Good-bye, Doctor. And I say, Ed, say something specially nice to Trumpkin. He’s been a brick.”
I mean, when you feel for Peter, you really feel for him, but I’d still prefer an actual description of the fight to the running commentary. Of course, in the end the usurper is assassinated by his own marshals and everything devolves into a free-for-all.
Many a Telmarine warrior that day felt his foot suddenly pierced as if by a dozen skewers, hopped on one leg cursing the pain, and fell as often as not. If he fell, the mice finished him off; if he did not, someone else did.
There’s also that Wood coming to their aid (a reference to Macbeth, of course – Lewis and Tolkien both thought that Shakespeare had copped out on the prophecies in that play), and then we find out How Aslan and His Party (But Mainly Aslan) Were Very Busy. Somehow the girls have even less to do than they did in the other book, essentially just commenting on (and occasionally explaining) what’s going on. It’s a series of vignettes where Aslan sets Bacchus loose on the awful Telmarine schools/towns/whatever to bring them some revelry (and occasionally do some metamorphoses). I’ll just quote the one that actually connects with the plot (because the woman is actually Caspian’s old nurse).
She said, “Oh, Aslan! I knew it was true. I’ve been waiting for this all my life. Have you come to take me away?”
“Yes, Dearest,” said Aslan. “But not the long journey yet.”
Next week we’ll be wrapping up Prince Caspian and then starting on Voyage of the Dawn Treader (yay!).