Archive for the ‘Christian Fantasy’ Category

Where Fantasy Meets Faith

By Brent King On April 21, 2014 No Comments

narnia_optThe bond of passion we forge with the world of fantasy doesn’t exist for the purpose of story and enjoyment alone. There is a higher purpose to our tales of invention and our flights of imagination. Our stories ultimately exist for one reason: to reflect the primal story. This story is of a God who loves us and desires a relationship with us. It is about His journey to reach us and the journey we must take in response.

The joy in the worlds, creatures, and struggles that we create within our books is in retelling this story. Ours are sacred pages where type meets antitype. CS Lewis beautifully described this reality in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader:

“It isn’t Narnia, you know,” sobbed Lucy. “It’s you. We shan’t meet you there.

The Witch-king

By Brent King On April 16, 2014 2 Comments
witch king

The Witch-king’s Fate

I have often thought on the fate of the Lord of the Nazgûl, the Witch-king of Angmar in Tolkien’s epic tale of Middle-earth. Tolkien describes it in a short paragraph:

“So passed the sword of the Barrow-downs, work of the Westernesse. But glad would he have been to know its fate who wrought it slowly long ago in the North-kingdom when the Dúnedain were young, and chief among their foes was the dread realm of Angmar and its sorcerer king. No other blade, though mightier hands had wielded it, would have dealt that foe a wound so bitter, cleaving the undead flesh, breaking the spell that knit his undead sinews to his will.”

Something That Should Have Died

I think it’s interesting that he says the blade clave the undead

Fantasy Storytelling: Following God’s Example

By Brent King On March 29, 2014 2 Comments

69685.471931When God sought to teach men the great truths of salvation, He didn’t convey it to them literally, spelling out in so many words the process by which we must overcome our self-centeredness and once again embrace love. I have often wondered why.

God’s Clearest Presentation

Why didn’t God just tell us the facts about salvation, about what Jesus would do when He came, and about what we must do to be saved? Instead, through the ages he has spoken in types and symbols. The clearest presentation of salvation before Christ came involved a fantasy world of lavers, altars of sacrifice, candlesticks, showbread, and a magical angel-topped box. Is this the very best that God could do in communicating these critical principles to us?

God’s Cloaked Gospel

It didn’t get any better when

The Mediation of Story and Imagination

By Brent King On March 13, 2014 No Comments

A Mediator of Truth 

Story 1

Jesus came to this world to show us the truth about His Father, a truth that had been lost through generations of lies. Like the Pharisees of old, men studied the Bible, but didn’t see what was there. They used biblical texts to hammer out theologies that taught lies instead of truth. When Jesus was here, He spoke the truth in figurative language, using metaphor or simile to get at our understanding and paint a new picture—a correct picture—of the Father in our minds.

Why Did He Do This?     

He did it because we need a mediator to help us move from our place of ignorance into the full light of the glory of the character of God. If God were to show up in all of His

The Difference Between Fantasy and Fiction

By Brent King On March 7, 2014 4 Comments


Why So Different?

We live in a story. That’s the reason why stories affect us so dramatically and why there is so much power in them, regardless of the genre. So I’ve wondered: why fantasy? What draws me so strongly to it? What about it is different from other genres I’ve written or read?

A Transposition

It has taken me years to settle into an answer to this question, but gradually it has become easier for me to articulate. What makes fantasy fiction powerfully unique is that it transposes our struggle between good and evil into an imagined world that is magical, mythical or supernatural. The struggle, in this imagined world, often unfolds between those who possess, or at least live in the midst of those who possess, powers not experienced in our world.

Symbols of Our

The Difference Between a “True Story” and a Fictional Story

By Brent King On February 27, 2014 No Comments

4_mask-man_optI have read many good stories in my life, some fiction and some non-fiction. We talk about stories being “true stories”, yet what is “true”? There are fictional elements even in non-fiction, and as much of the author’s truth (maybe more) goes into fiction as goes into non-fiction. In an 2010 interview, Peter Selgin addresses this:

“First of all, any genre that claims a monopoly on “the truth” isn’t being exactly—well, truthful.  Poetry may come the closest, since it deals in feelings and so its subjectivity is not only a given but forms the substance of its truth.  Memoirists all lie—unintentionally, of course, for they simply can’t help not lying no matter how hard they try.  In fact, the more they insist on being truthful the more they flagrantly lie, passing into the far more egregious sin of dishonesty.

What’s different about

The Power of Good Fantasy

By Brent King On February 20, 2014 No Comments

Spawn_optWe Wrestle Against Powerful Forces for Evil

The world is teaching our children lust and lies, ideas like “Spawn till you die”, “I am the master of my own destiny”, and “He who dies with the most toys wins”.  These concepts are subtly pressed into the mind again and again in every day life until the subconscious accepts them as the truth.  As parents, we must administer powerful antidotes to counteract this undertow.

More Than Dogma

Our children need more than someone to “preach it straight” to them. Imaginative stories can fulfill this need. Gene Edward Veith says that in good stories “children are taught the attractiveness of virtue and the repulsiveness of evil not so much by abstract precept—and certainly not by school’s ‘values clarification exercises’—but by rooting for virtuous heroes

Should Christians Authors Portray Magic

By Brent King On February 13, 2014 3 Comments

Magic:  Miraculous, Demonic and the Supernatural

harry wandPerhaps one of the biggest objections I get about fantasy is its description of magic and magicians. The concern, a legitimate concern, is that demonic forces use this medium to forward their agenda. Yet there is a difference between a story such as Lord of the Rings and one like Harry Potter. The difference is their worldview and the consequent way they portray their magical characters because of it.

Steven Greydanus talks about seven hedges that both of them put in place to put their works completely beyond moral question.  These show how incredibly responsible Lewis and Tolkein were in writing their stories.  You will not find these implemented in much of the fantasy that floods the market today.

1. Tolkien and Lewis confine the

Myth – An Essential Ingredient

By Brent King On February 4, 2014 No Comments

Mythical_Creatures_BackgroundA Perspective from the Masters

In their fantasy tales, Lewis and Tolkien made use of cultural myth to create their worlds. Although some objected, these men believed that mythology didn’t wear the label of evil and that mythical creatures were not inherently demonic. In their minds myth was much more than a devil trying to deceive people. It was first a crucial and indispensable way in which we understand our lives. To them myth was something we humans would despair without, essential to the survival of each individual and culture.

Archetypes That Run Deep

Every culture in history (including ours) has its mythologies.  Every individual has them too.  These mythical archetypes come from an instinctual, preconscious, collective genetic pool that has come down to us through history and enables us to be human.  We

Is Fantasy Bad?

By Brent King On January 26, 2014 No Comments

AnneFantasy, the Good and the Bad of It

In Anne of Green Gables it is through Anne’s imagination that she learns valuable lessons and changes her family, friends and world for good.  The biblical book of Revelation is another great example of the positive use of the imagination and fantasy.  It is through imaginative wrestling with evil that Lewis and Tolkien teach the reader about virtue and character and God.  The danger isn’t ever in using the imagination—it is when a story puts the imagination in the position of rooting for points of view or characters inconsistent with the Christian worldview.

Consequently, not all fantasy is the same. There is good and bad fantasy just as there is good and bad literature.  Fantasy imagery can impact the imagination in good or bad ways.