Lewis makes Narnia feel more real than ever, and also reminds us of his awful power to create nightmares.
In the shadow of the trees on the far side of the clearing something was moving. It was gliding very slowly Northward. At first glance you might have mistaken it for smoke, for it was gray and you could see things through it. But the deathly smell was not the smell of smoke. Also, this thing kept its shape instead of billowing and curling as smoke would have done. It was roughly the shape of a man but it had the head of a bird; some bird of prey with a cruel, curved beak. It had four arms which it held high above its head, stretching them out Northward as if it wanted to snatch all Narnia in its grip; and its fingers – all twenty of them – were curved like its beak and had long, pointed, bird-like claws instead of nails. It floated on the grass instead of walking, and the grass seemed to wither beneath it.
This is Tash. It gave me nightmares as a child, and honestly, it gave me nightmares last night. You’re welcome.
“And this fool of an Ape, who didn’t believe in Tash, will get more than he bargained for! He called for Tash: Tash has come.”
“Where has it – he – the Thing – gone to?” said Jill.
“North into the heart of Narnia,” said Tirian. “It has come to dwell among us. They have called it and it has come.”
After that horror’s passed, they debate what to do next, ultimately deciding to meet up with Roonwit the Centaur and the army he’s bringing from Cair Paravel. Then there are a couple pages of all of them walking and chatting – Eustace is discussing Narnian botany with Poggin (because of course he is) and Jill starts asking Jewel about Narnian history. Somehow, it makes Narnia seem more like a real country – even random asides (like how best to cook Wild Fresney or a little marching song from Tirian) give it a bit more texture.
“Oh Jewel – wouldn’t it be lovely if Narnia just went on and on – like what you said it has been?”
“Nay, sister,” answered Jewel, “all worlds draw to an end, except Aslan’s own country.”
Then they receive the titular news from Farsight the Eagle.
“Two sights have I seen,” said Farsight. One was Cair Paravel filled with dead Narnians and living Calormenes: The Tisroc’s banner advanced upon your royal battlements: and your subjects flying from the city – this way and that, into the woods. […]”
No one could speak.
“And the other sight, five leagues nearer than Cair Paravel, was Roonwit the centaur lying dead with a Calormene arrow in his side. I was with him in his last hour and he gave me this message to your Majesty: to remember that all worlds draw to an end and that noble death is a treasure which no one is too poor to buy.”
“So,” said the King, after a long silence, ”Narnia is no more.”
Until next time…