That title says it all.With a thrill of wonder (and there was some terror in it too) they all suddenly realized what was happening. The spreading blackness was not a cloud at all: it was simply emptiness. The black part of the sky was the part in which there were no stars left. All the stars were falling: Aslan had called them home.
I simply can’t imagine any other way for this series to end: Begin with the creation of Narnia, end with its destruction. But it’s not nearly as sad as you’d think it would be.
The creatures came rushing on, their eyes brighter and brighter as they drew nearer to the sanding Stars. But as they came right up to Aslan one or other of two things happened to each of them. They all looked straight in his face, I don’t think they had any choice about. And when some looked, the expression of their faces changed terribly – it was fear and hatred: except that, on the faces of Talking Beasts, the fear and hatred lasted only a fraction of a second. You could see that they suddenly ceased to be Talking Beasts. They were just ordinary animals. And all the creatures who looked at Aslan in that way swerved to their right, his left, and disappeared into his huge black shadow […].
A brief comment (as this is an enormous quote): The detail of the creatures turning to their rights reminds me of something Lewis said (I think), that Hell is God turning to a man and saying “Thy will be done!”
But the others looked in the face of Aslan and loved him, though some were very frightened at the same time. And all these came in at the Door, in on Aslan’s right. There were some queer specimens among them. Eustace even recognized one of the very Dwarfs who had helped to shoot the Horses. […] Among the happy creatures who now came crowding round Tirian and his friends were all those whom they had thought dead. There was Roonwit the Centaur and Jewel the Unicorn and the good Boar and the good Bear, and Farsight the Eagle, and the dear Dogs and the Horses, and Poggin the Dwarf.
“Further in and higher up!” cried Roonwit and thundered away in a gallop to the West. […] The Bear was just going to mutter that he still didn’t understand, when he caught sight of the fruit trees behind them. He waddled to those trees as fast as he could and there, no doubt, found something he understood very well.
The Bear found happiness in a fruit tree. All is right in the world.
Once our heroes start following Aslan “further up and further in”, they run into our old friend Emeth.
“Sir,” he said to Peter, “I know not whether you are my friend or my foe, but I should count it my honor 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?”
“Sir,” said Peter, “I do not know that there need be any war between you and us.”
It’s nice that we get to see the nobler side of Calormene culture, as we really didn’t see much of that even in The Horse and His Boy. Honestly, it’s great to just be happy after the sadness that pervaded so much of the book.
Next time: Further up and further in!