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Tyler, we sort of hijacked your thread, didn’t we? Thanks for your graciousness, and for the reminder of our need for a hope beyond this world. If our hope is only for this life, we are of all people most to be pitied, as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15.
I love that you found hope in the way the series ended. I did too. 🙂 I think of speculation as a way to train ourselves to think beyond our own lives (and a way of honoring the author by picking up the ideas he’s dropped for us). But you’re right that it can only take us so far. If Janner returns to life and marries Sara, that will still only be a signpost that death is not the end. We need a much bigger hope than that.
Can I ask how you read the epilogue? It’s easy to see the hope that Kalmar and Artham have and just stop there, but you’re seeing something beyond that and I would love to hear about it. How does their hope that Janner will be healed talk to you about eternity?
To me, the idea of names having meaning speaks not only of one’s own self-identity, but of belonging. Think of the overlap between naming and community. When a person’s name is revealed, they are free to be accepted into community in a deeper way. And this works multiple ways. Peet is an outcast and can only belong when his name is made known. Podo is loved, but can be fully accepted only when his old nickname is exposed. When the Florid Sword’s secret identity is revealed, family results. Even the Fangs have a community of sorts—a false one, based on false names, but one cannot be considered part of that community until that false name is given. And Tink’s story swerves all over the place depending on what name he will accept.
I have experienced this many times in my own life, mostly in the form of nicknames. Naming is powerful, so it can be dangerous—we all know that cruel nicknames mean rejection. But it only works that way because names are, I think, intended to give people a place in community. Like the old joke, “why name a cat if it won’t come when you call,” names are meant for relationship. There’s no need for them in isolation. But if you give me a name, that means that you accept me, and we belong to each other. Belonging is scary, but it is also healing. No wonder we sometimes saw such violent reactions when true names were used.
There was a great post last summer at the Rabbit Room about this, too. But I’d love to hear more thoughts from this community! Thanks for bringing this up, Miss Linda.February 10, 2015 at 8:50 am in reply to: Just Finished the Saga…any recommendations for what to read next? #1807
Oh dear! None of us have mentioned The Green Ember yet. Rabbits with swords! Great for a young boy. And it made me jump up and down in a train station.February 8, 2015 at 12:08 am in reply to: SPOILERS: Sing the song of the ancient stones… (spoiler for books 2 and 3) #1797
“Basically, there is not a thing evil has that will not be taken from it in the end.” Yes, yes.February 6, 2015 at 4:11 pm in reply to: SPOILERS: Sing the song of the ancient stones… (spoiler for books 2 and 3) #1785
This conversation makes me so excited. It’s one of my favorite things in the books. YES to the idea that the stones were created good—evil cannot create; it can only twist. But the Maker (Aerwiar’s and this world’s as well) is not content to leave things twisted. As Artham says, “Gnag bends things for breaking, and the Maker makes a flourish! Evil digs a pit, and the Maker makes a well! That is his way.”
And I get that love can restore what was broken. But what blows my mind to smithereens is that Artham’s partial transformation into a birdman is not undone by singing for love. Instead, he becomes more beast even as he becomes more himself. And I don’t understand what that means—but it means.
The Maker doesn’t fill in the hole that’s been dug. He makes a well out of it. He’s not satisfied to unbend things. He beautifies them. He’s glorified by this, and it delights Him. And evil has no idea what to do with this confounding tendency He has to redeem. And someday, the signpost/partial restoration He works in the very face of evil will give way to complete redemption. And I can’t wait, but in the meanwhile, I love to watch Him work.
I have approximately seventy-two thousand other thoughts on this topic, but I’ll save them for later.February 6, 2015 at 3:31 pm in reply to: Just Finished the Saga…any recommendations for what to read next? #1782
One more—I suppose you have already readThe Hobbit? If not, by all means read that next. Tolkien’s Roverandom is also otherworldly and adventurous, a marvelous romp. (I guess that’s two more.)February 6, 2015 at 3:01 pm in reply to: Just Finished the Saga…any recommendations for what to read next? #1780
Can I help you?
I second the George MacDonald recommendation. I was coming here for the very purpose of saying so, and then saw Andrew had beaten me to it. Both of the books Andrew mentioned are wonderful. And The Princess and the Goblin has a sequel, The Princess and Curdie, which is one of the best books I’ve ever read, although it’s written at a slightly higher maturity level than the first book.
Other good books: Oz, Harry Potter, Louis Sachar’s Holes (not otherworldly, but really wonderful), The Wilderking Trilogy by Jonathan Rogers, and Madeleine L’Engle’s Kairos series (I haven’t read Chronos), which is not perfectly orthodox but is very good reading. And I really can’t say enough good things about The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic by Jennifer Trafton.
I also recommend I Scrame, I Scraw, I Scronquered, by Phineas Phoom (Torborro, Scree: Blapp River Press, 4/649).
Sounds like the library needs to start a pie club. 😉
i love the distinction between bullying and protecting, Tenethia.
Arya, that is a really interesting point you’ve made: People act in ways that will get them closer to their goal. I think that in real life, people don’t always have a clear sense of what their goal is. Book characters don’t always know their own hearts perfectly either, although it might be clearer to the reader. Sometimes we want two things at once, and sometimes those two things are opposed to each other. That makes it hard to figure out how to act in the moment.
You said that Janner might betray his family if he thought that would help him protect them. That is really interesting. I’m curious to hear more of your thoughts about that.
First, let me just say that I am loving this conversation. I’m glad and grateful to see you all engaging Andrew’s story on this deep, heart level. To make it easier to dig into such a serious and complex topic, I’ve changed the thread title to indicate that there are definitely spoilers here. Go ahead and be as clear as you like.
I can’t speak for Andrew (and I can’t wait to hear his thoughts), but here’s what I’m thinking.
In the beginning, Dwayne was given custody of the First Well and the responsibility to administer the waters to whomever needed them. So Kal’s decision to use the waters of the First Well for healing isn’t something new. He’s not appropriating a right that isn’t his. It is his right as king, but more than that, it’s his responsibility. You’re right, Amy; they should now seek out those who need healing (or at least broadcast an offer). But given what happened with Podo and Nugget–restored to life, only to die again later–I don’t think that the water makes people immortal. Would Podo and Nugget have eventually died natural deaths? Maybe. That’s an interesting question to ponder. But they could still be killed.
The way Artham describes Anniera, it sure sounds like a parallel to the Kingdom of God. In this way, Anniera is like the church–an outpost of the Kingdom in a fallen world. And we, as the church, are heralds of the Kingdom. We live the Kingdom in front of people and invite them into it. We take the Kingdom with us wherever we go. But no matter how well we proclaim the Kingdom, this world is still broken and will still need to be renewed. We’ll never run out of people to share the Gospel with. Even our own hearts aren’t completely healed and made perfect yet. And likewise, Kal will never run out of people to give the water to. Even if it heals everyone it touches, Aerwiar is still fallen and people will still be hurt. He’ll have to give and give and give that water, and eventually the Maker will have to remake Aerwiar. The First Well, and Anniera, are a promise that He intends to do just that. Just like Jesus’ miraculous signs, as Miss Linda mentioned. The gospel of John sees those miracles not just as amazing things, or as important in themselves, but as signposts to declare Jesus’ messiahship and the coming of His Kingdom. I think the water from the First Well is like that: A signpost.
Of course, this is a fictional story: a story, not the story, as Miss Linda said. But stories are meant to make us stronger. At best, they are thin places in the world where what is True can be seen, and loved, a little bit better. It’s right for us to dig in like this and take such things to heart, even if no earthly story can tell us the whole Truth.
That’s my take–and it’s longer than I intended. I’d love to hear more thoughts from all of you. This is such an exciting thing to think and talk about.
Can I help you?
Gnag, and Gnorm, are both pronounced with a silent G.
Emily, i cried just reading your comment. Sometimes the truth and beauty of the gospel just hollow me out.
Can I help you? … by suggesting that Shadowblade and the Florid Sword would make an awesome graphic novel series?
Can I help you?
I have done a little research on this subject, and according to the records I have on hand it seems that the last time Slarb was seen was in the Igibys’ kitchen. Something about a gift from Buzzard Willie?