I wish I could take credit for noticing this recurring theme, but all credit goes to Paul F. Ford, author of Companion to Narnia. He noticed that a similar theme was used when Aslan was first introduced and when Aslan was last mentioned in the Chronicles of Narnia. (I also wish I could take credit for this lovely artwork of Aslan and Lucy, but all credit goes to Robert Bucknell.)
FIRST MENTION OF ASLAN
The first book written in “The Chronicles of Narnia” is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Here is a portion from Chapter 7 (A Day with the Beavers) regarding the first ever mention of Aslan’s name.
And now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different. Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something which you don’t understand but in the dream it feels as if it had some enormous meaning – either a terrifying one which turns the whole dream into a nightmare or else a lovely meaning too lovely to put into words, which makes the dream so beautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you could get into that dream again. It was like that now. At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.
At the mention of Aslan’s name, there were two things that Lucy felt – the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning, and the feeling you have when you realize that it is the beginning of the holidays.
LAST MENTION OF ASLAN
Now here is a portion from Chapter 15 (Further Up and Further In) of The Last Battle, the last book of “The Chronicles of Narnia,” which contains the last ever mention of Aslan’s name. Curiously, the last person who talks to him is Lucy.
Then Aslan turned to them and said: “You do not yet look so happy as I mean you to be.”
Lucy said, “We’re so afraid of being sent away, Aslan. And you have sent us back into our own world so often.”
“No fear of that,” said Aslan. “Have you not guessed?”
Their hearts leaped and a wild hope rose within them.
“There was a real railway accident,” said Aslan softly. “Your father and mother and all of you are – as you used to call it in the Shadowlands – dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”
The two themes mentioned with respect to Aslan is repeated – the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning, and the feeling you have when you realize that it is the beginning of the holidays. Now he says, “The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”
I don’t know if this was intentional in the part of C. S. Lewis or not, but this just shows what a genius he was. And his description of the New Narnia makes me yearn even more to see the real Aslan someday.