In the fourth book of The Chronicles of Narnia, The Silver Chair, Jill and Eustace encounter the largest of all giants, asleep underground.

When they had walked for several miles, they came to a wall of rock, and in it a low archway leading into another cavern. It was not, however, so bad as the last entrance and Jill could go through it without bending her head. It brought them into a smaller cave, long and narrow, about the shape and size of a cathedral. And here, filling almost the whole length of it, lay an enormous man fast asleep. He was far bigger than any of the giants, and his face was not like a giant's, but noble and beautiful. His breast rose and fell gently under the snowy beard which covered him to the waist. A pure, silver light (no-one saw where it came from) rested upon him.

"Who's that?" asked Puddleglum. And it was so long since anyone had spoken, that Jill wondered how he had the nerve.

"That is old Father Time, who once was a King in Overland," said the Warden. "And now he has sunk down into the Deep Realm and lies dreaming of all the things that are done in the upper world. Many sink down, and few return to the sunlit lands. They say he will wake at the end of the world."
The Silver Chair - Chapter 10: Farewell to Shadow-Lands

They see him again, from afar, in the The Last Battle, as he announces the end of the world and summons the stars down from the heavens.

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.


[There follows a plague of monsters and the Last Judgement.]


And out there it began to grow light. A streak of dreary and disastrous dawn spread along the horizon, and widened and grew brighter, till in the end they hardly noticed the light of the stars who stood behind them. At last the sun came up. When it did, the Lord Digory and the Lady Polly looked at one another and gave a little nod: those two, in a different world, had once seen a dying sun, and so they knew at once that this sun also was dying. It was three times—twenty times—as big as it ought to be, and very dark red. As its rays fell upon the great Time-giant, he turned red too: and in the reflection of that sun the whole waste of shoreless waters looked like blood.

Then the Moon came up, quite in her wrong position, very close to the sun, and she also looked red. And at the sight of her the sun began shooting out great flames, like whiskers or snakes of crimson fire, towards her. It is as if he were an octopus trying to draw her to himself in his tentacles. And perhaps he did draw her. At any rate she came to him, slowly at first, but then more and more quickly, till at last his long flames licked round her and the two ran together and became one huge ball like a burning coal. Great lumps of fire came dropping out of it into the sea and clouds of steam rose up.

Then Aslan said, "Now make an end."

The giant threw his horn into the sea. Then he stretched out one arm—very black it looked, and thousands of miles long—across the sky till his hand reached the Sun. He took the Sun and squeezed it in his hand as you would squeeze an orange. And instantly there was total darkness. The Last Battle - Chapter 14: Night Falls on Narnia

This is all there ever is about this giant. However, it always felt to me as a clever reader was supposed to be able to figure out the giant's new name, perhaps by figuring who he corresponds to in Christianity. (That would be how we know that Aslan is Jesus, but that identity is obviously much better documented.)

Blowing the horn that signals the End Times is certainly similar to what the seven angels do in the Book of Revelation, blowing trumpets, one of which calls down the (evil) star Wormwood. However, those angels' names are not, so far as I know, known. The way the giant formerly known as "Time" signals the official beginning of the Apocalypse and destroys the sun is also reminiscent of the role played by Fenrir in Ragnarok, although in that case, the official beginning of Ragnarok is when the Fenris Wolf swallows the sun. It is obviously not a very Christian story, either, although Lewis did incorporate plenty of material from pagan mythology into The Chronicles of Narnia.

So, is it possible to work out the giant's name? And if so, what is it? Or was this merely Aslan (in universe) and Lewis (out of universe) being intentionally mysterious?

  • 4
    I think Aslan's point was, there isn't going to be time any more. So he can't go by that name. Perhaps it's Eternity.
    – nebogipfel
    Aug 12, 2018 at 15:29
  • 3
    @nebogipfel In that case, if the giant really is Time while he is asleep, what was he before he fell asleep, when he was a king?
    – Buzz
    Aug 13, 2018 at 2:10
  • 7
    I'd like to point out that not every scene is supposed to be an allegory of christianity but an imagination about how the existence of the Christ would impact a fantasy world: "In reality however he is an invention giving and imaginary answer to the question What might Christ become like if there really were a world like Narnia and He chose to be incarnate and die and rise again in that world as He actually has done in ours? This is not an allegory at all" Lewis
    – Ram
    Aug 13, 2018 at 2:16
  • 2
    @Buzz My point is that the author established that he is using his imagination and the only true equivalence is Jesus=Aslan, and Aslan/Jesus brings a plan of salvation. That plan certainly (and neccesary from the authors POV) includes tenets of christian faith, like the need for him to die to make redemption an the need for a final judgement. Behind that point I think it's safe to say the author doesn't use clear equivalences by his own admition.
    – Ram
    Aug 13, 2018 at 2:27
  • 6
    This doesn't give any name, but it's clearly the inspiration: And the Angel which I saw stand upon the sea, and upon the earth, lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for evermore, which created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things that therein are, that time should be no more. But in the days of the voice of the seventh Angel, when he shall begin to blow the trumpet, even the mystery of God shall be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the Prophets.
    – Adamant
    Aug 13, 2018 at 13:45

1 Answer 1


We are never told

C.S. Lewis left it vague. Probably deliberately. The Last Battle is a book of changes, and not all of them are clarified for the reader. In fact, the very last paragraph reads:

And as [Aslan] spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
The Last Battle - Chapter 16: Farewell to Shadow-Lands

Earlier in the story, when the division of the animals takes place, Lewis says he doesn't know what happened to the ones who left. Even though, as author, their fate is his prerogative.

And all the creatures who looked at Aslan in that way swerved to their right, his left, and disappeared into his huge black shadow, which (as you have heard) streamed away to the left of the doorway. The children never saw them again. I don't know what became of them.
The Last Battle - Chapter 14: Night Falls on Narnia

So clearly Lewis meant for a lot of this book, especially the ending, to be left vauge and open.

In a paper titled "The Hugest of All Giants: Time Personified in C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia", author Anna Bugajska walks through all the information Lewis gave us on Old Father Time (and the giants in general) and showed a comparison to Kronos of Greek Mythology. At one point in the paper she references the event you are asking about and says,

There can be no doubt that “the hugest of all giants” is homologous with "an enormous man” from The Silver Chair. However, when he makes his appearance in The Last Battle, he is entirely altered. He is no longer a man, but a giant, evoking all their negative traits, and inheriting their all-devouring aspect. Geographically, it is the River Shribble that is mentioned, rather than the City Ruinous, which is telling about the change the benign Time underwent. We see him at the end of Narnia as a dehumanized monster: he has only a “shape of a man”, but in reality he is a destructive giant.

Aslan immediately points out to the characters – and to the reader – this alteration in the nature of Time. “While he lay dreaming,” he says, “his name was Time. Now that he is awake he will have a new one.” (LB: 185) The new name is not revealed, though. This mysterious renaming is similar to the equally mysterious transformation of Aslan himself at the end of the book. Aslan, appearing up till then as a lion, changes his form, but we are left to speculation as to what the form may be.
Bugajska. The Hugest of All Giants: Time Personified in C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia

It is also worth noting that Old Father Time (as he was previously known) did not enter Aslan's Country, but instead stayed in Shadow-Narnia. Bugajska says,

The end of immortal dream consequently punctures the bubble of Narnian existence. Like Khronos from the Orphic version of the myth (Chronus and Aeon: Greek protogenos god of time), Time is a self-created creator, but brings his own destruction and the destruction of the world.
Bugajska. The Hugest of All Giants: Time Personified in C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia

Time awoke and became the end of the world. Perhaps he is now Death, or End, or some similar name. Lewis never tells us.

(all emphasise mine)

  • Behold: I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds! Oct 13, 2023 at 0:00

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