Robin Hood: Fact or Fiction

By MariaTeresa Carzon Word Count: 1098 Rating: G Summary: An analysis of the historicity of Robin Hood. Robin Hood is one of the most famous heroes of classic literature. Originally written in medieval times, the story has been loved by people, old and young, throughout the world for many years. It is a great account […]

Down a Dark Path

DOWN A DARK PATH

By Kai McWhirter (alias The King’s Man)

Word count: 2122

Rating: PG

Summary: An explanation of who Sauron is and where he came from.

Previously published on: May 29, 2016

Image credit: New Line Cinema

Think of a novel, any novel. Now think of that book’s central conflict; every story will have one because without conflict there would be no plot. The conflict may take many forms, from an internal struggle by the protagonist against the darker parts of themselves to a literal battle of good and evil for the fate of the world (or even the universe), but for there to be conflict, there must be an antagonistic force, opposing the protagonist. In many, perhaps most, stories this antagonistic force will be a person who for some reason  is opposed by the protagonist–an antagonist (not necessarily, of course, a villain; though usually the protagonist is the more moral of the two or more opposing forces involved in the story, stories about villain protagonists and heroic antagonists can and do exist). Now think of the antagonist or antagonistic force in the novel that I asked you to think of earlier. If that force was absent from the story, how would it alter the plot? How would the other characters develop without that influence? Would the storyline still hold your interest?      

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Birth of a Legend

When I began the writing process for my webcomic Legend of the Sword Bearer I didn’t expect it to take over my life the way it did. I didn’t even expect it to be the first thing I published online. I think it must’ve started when I was in my mid-teens. I had been mesmerized by tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Science Fiction: Foothold to the Imagination

SCIENCE FICTION: FOOTHOLD TO THE IMAGINTION

By Bradley J. Birzer

Word count: 1180

Rating: PG

Summary: Professor Birzer explains the usefulness of science fiction.

Image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/science-fiction-alien-fantasy-2971848/

Do you want to rule a world? Blow apart a sun? Test a theory of community? Explore the very depths of depravity? End slavery and misery? Destroy all empires?

It is possible. . . At least in the imagination.

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Magic, Brotherhood and Destiny

By Hannah Vincent Word Count: 884 Rating: G Summary: A review of BBC’s “Merlin” TV series starring Colin Morgan. How many times have we read a legend and hoped it was a forgotten piece of history and not simply an idea or analogy? There’s a small corner in our souls that hopes beyond hope these […]

Magic Must Have A Meaning: Chesterton, Lewis & Tolkien in Elf-Land

By Joseph Pearce

Word Count: 1535

Rating: G

Summary: A discourse on how Chesterton greatly influenced Tolkien and Lewis.

Originally published January 25, 2016

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    It is difficult to overstate the influence of G.K. Chesterton. Apart from the numerous converts who have come to Christianity, at least in part, because of an encounter with his writings, two of the bestselling books of all time were written, at least in part, under Chesterton’s benign patronage. The Lord of the Rings and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, both of which are in the top ten bestselling books of all time, were written by authors who cited Chesterton as a major influence. 

     J.R.R. Tolkien grew up, as a young and devout Catholic in Edwardian England, in the shadow of the wings of Chesterton’s flights of fancy. In his celebrated essay “On Fairy Stories,” Tolkien cites “Chestertonian Fantasy” as a powerful “means of recovery,” which he defined as a “return and renewal of health” and as a “regaining of a clear view” of reality, of “seeing things as we are…meant to see them.” 

     C.S. Lewis had first read Chesterton in a field hospital in France during World War One and was surprised by the joy that Chesterton exuded in his essays. In spite of the fact that Lewis was an atheist at the time, he couldn’t help liking Chesterton’s jollity, his sense of humour, and his rumbustious joie de vivre. Chesterton had more common sense than all the moderns put together, the young atheist believed, except of course for his Christianity. A few years later, after reading Chesterton’s classic work, The Everlasting Man, Lewis perceived the whole Christian outline of history laid out before him for the first time in a way that made sense. This revelation proved to be a significant pointer on Lewis’s own path to conversion. Read more about Magic Must Have A Meaning: Chesterton, Lewis & Tolkien in Elf-Land

Pity for a Creature Dark as Darkness

PITY FOR A CREATURE AS DARK AS DARKNESS

By Anne Marie Gazzolo

Word Count: 3535

Rating: G

Summary: An analysis of Gollum and Bilbo’s encounter in The Hobbit.

Previously published on: March 5, 2017

The meeting of Bilbo, the dreadfully and fearfully lost hobbit, and Gollum, a creature “as dark as darkness” (Hobbit 88), their riddle-game and what happens after Gollum loses are among the most iconic scenes of children’s literature. But how many readers know how drastically different the aftermath of the game is from the original version? Bonniejean Christensen notes:

    J. R. R. Tolkien’s fallen hobbit, Gollum, is an interesting character in his own right, but the changes in his character that Tolkien made between the first edition of The Hobbit in the 1930s and second edition in the 1950s make him one of his most fascinating creations. … In The Hobbit he is one of a series of fallen creatures on a rising scale of terror. In The Lord of the Rings he is an example of the damned individual who loses his own soul because of devotion to evil (symbolized by the ring) but who, through grace, saves others” (“Gollum’s Transformation” 9, 10). 

     The transformation of Bilbo is also tremendous, and his actions in the second edition directly and profoundly affect the history of all Middle-earth.

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East to Chicago

By Lawrence S. Howe, with M. C. Pehrson

1920s Sante Fe train
Image Credit: sbdepotmuseum.com/depot-history/2011/10/22/santa-fe-depot-history.html

In the fall of 1924, Dad and Mother decided to take a trip back east to Chicago so Dad could visit his siblings, nephews, and nieces. This was heralded by us kids almost as much as Summer Vacation. Of course, much had to be done. First, our clothes had to be selected, and I’ll never forget standing in Silverwoods in Los Angeles on a very warm day in November while I was introduced to such novelties as heavy wool overcoats, heavy wool sweaters, heavy wool caps, gloves, mittens, galoshes, and all the other accoutrements of the cold, wet Eastern climate. This completed, reservations were made, then came packing and all the final arrangements. One of Mom’s friends received the key to the house, and away we went. We arrived at the Union Station about mid-morning, where we saw seven or eight trains all ready to leave, pulled by huge engines. We were going on the Santa Fe, aboard the Chief. There was nothing finer west of Chicago. Read more about East to Chicago

Myth and the ‘Now’: The Tale of Arthur

By Grant P. Hudson

Word Count: 1030

Rating: G

Summary: An explanation of how the Arthurian Legends fit into the mythic archetypes.

helmet & sword
Image Credit: pixabay.com

Some assertions:
Myth brings something out of nothing via a set of two poles, between which is a spectrum of points:

Pole # 1
Close to Pole # 1
Equidistant from either Pole
Close to Pole # 2
Pole # 2

This abstract scale is then personified as the great archetypes:

The Wise Old Man
The Comic Companion
The Warrior Companion
The Protagonist
The Female Companion
The Shadow Protagonist
The Antagonist Read more about Myth and the ‘Now’: The Tale of Arthur

“Stand, Men of the West!”

“STAND, MEN OF THE WEST!”

By Matthew Scarince (alias The Hapsburg Restorationist)

Word Count: 710

Summary: An analysis of Lord of the Rings as it reflects Medieval chivalry.

Previously published on: June 11, 2016

Image credit: Jay Johnstone

“I bow not yet before the Iron Crown,
nor cast my own small golden sceptre down”

     The Lord of the Rings, and indeed the whole Lengendarium of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is among the greatest influences on my overall worldview. This “story… cast in terms of a good side, and a bad side, beauty against ruthless ugliness, tyranny against kingship, moderated freedom with consent against compulsion that has long lost any object save mere power…” seems to have an almost universal appeal, it touches something deep in the soul of mankind, that there is Good, and yet there is Evil,  dark, powerful, and yet beyond all hope Good triumphs. However, for myself the enchantment of these myths and fictional histories is their deep connection with the increasingly forgotten histories and legends of my own Western Civilization.

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