Friday, August 19, 2005

Night Falls on Narnia

They all stood beside Aslan, on his right side, and looked through the open doorway.

The bonfire had gone out. On the earth all was blackness: in fact you could not have told that you were looking into a wood if you had not seen where the dark shapes of the trees ended and the stars began. But when Aslan had roared yet again, out on their left they saw another black shape. That is, they saw another patch where there were no stars: and the patch rose up higher and higher and became the shape of a man, the hugest of all giants. They all knew Narnia well enough to work out where he must be standing. He must be on the high moorlands that stretch away to the North beyond the River Shribble. Then Jill and Eustace remembered how once long ago, in the deep caves beneath those moors, they had seen a great giant asleep and been told that his name was Father Time, and that he would wake on the day the world ended.

"Yes," said Aslan, though they had not spoken. "While he lay dreaming his name was Time. Now that he is awake he will have a new one."

Then the great giant raised a horn to his mouth. They could see this by the change of the black shape he made against the stars. After that - quite a bit later, because sound travels so slowly - they heard the sound of the horn: high and terrible, yet of a strange, deadly beauty.

Immediately the sky became full of shooting stars. Even one shooting star is a fine thing to see; but these were dozens, and then scores, and then hundreds, till it was like silver rain: and it went on and on. And when it had gone on for some while, one or two of them began to think that there was another dark shape against the sky as well as the giant's. It was in a different place, right overhead, up in the very roof of the sky as you might call it. "Perhaps it is a cloud," thought Edmund. At any rate, there were no stars there: just blackness. But all around, the downpour of stars went on. And then the starless patch began to grow, spreading further and further out from the centre of the sky. And presently a quarter of the whole sky was black, and then a half, and at last the rain of shooting stars was going on only low down near the horizon.

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.

The last few seconds before the rain of stars had quite ended were very exciting. Stars began falling all round them. But stars in that world are not the great flaming globes they are in ours. They are people (Edmund and Lucy had once met one). So now they found showers of glittering people, all with long hair like burning silver and spears like white-hot metal, rushing down to them out of the black air, swifter than falling stones. They made a hissing noise as they landed and burnt the grass.
~C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle, "Night Falls on Narnia" (1956)

4 Comment(s):

At Sat Aug 20, 11:53:00 PM EST, Blogger MrKimi said...

Hmm, I must reread the Narnian stories again. I forget how much I like them sometimes.

Also this passage makes me think about the question of what happens to time after the end of the world? How (if at all) does God experience time? How will we experience time after we die?

Apart from supposing it is different to what we get now I have no answers.

At Sun Aug 21, 06:10:00 PM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

I remember thinking when I read about Father Time sleeping in that chamber underground (in The Silver Chair) "How did he get there? Did they build a cavern around him? Did he start out little and grow bigger the longer he slept? And when it was time for him to wake up, did he just stand up and break through the earth?

Then the other thing I thought about was that if stars were people in Narnia, what did they do all that time they were hanging in the sky? Just hang there and sing and look down on Narnia?

These are things my 12 year old mind wondered about. I guess my 42 year old mind still wonders!

I already have a post for tomorrow, but I'll find a couple of quotations on how Lewis thought about time and eternity for Tuesday.

At Sun Aug 21, 08:40:00 PM EST, Blogger MrKimi said...

I think I always assumed the giant was created fully grown (if I gave it any thought at all). But I did wonder how he got out of the cave and assumed he broke through the earth somehow. It would have made a mess, but that wouldn't matter.

It also seems a bit of a waste. All he ever got to do was blow that trumpet. Nice picture, though.

At Sun Aug 21, 08:41:00 PM EST, Anonymous Nan said...

He is outside[beyond] Time; timeless, Eternal, Infinite. so there is no ‘future’ or ‘past’ but only the Eternal Now for the ‘I AM’. [the plain and evident teaching of all Scripture].
So, we, who are in Time, say with the Psalmist --
"Hour by hour, I place my days in Your hand." (Psalm 31 – 'The Message')


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