Monday, October 31, 2005,11:00 AM
What is evil?
So I just finished reading The Sundering series by Jacqueline Carey . There are just two books in it so far (although she is being begged to write more!) Banewreaker and Godslayer . It was a fasinating read that really delved into the nature of good and evil. The series is obviously similar to Lord of the Rings - similar mythology, characters, and quest to destroy the bad guy. But in Carey's series the tale is told from all points of view. One gets the back story of the "bad guy", one hears about the orc-like characters' families and why they chose the side they did. For although the book starts with a very black and white / good vs. evil mythology one soon realizies that reality exists more in the shades of gray. The characters themselves realize such as well. For when people are exposed to the other side of the story they can sympathize - or at least put a human face on the enemy and realize that he is not so very different from themselves. Also played up are how minor choices and true coincedences can have major effects in the outcome of things.
But beyond exploring the vague ambiguities between good and evil the reader is also confronted with the subjective nature of defining what is evil. As the book's cover asks - "if all that is good says you are evil - are you?" We are so preconditioned to assume that certain things are good and others evil that if things come with those labels we don't question the rightness of those labels. So in approaching a book with characters like Gandalf, Aragorn, and Frodo - we assume that their side is right and good and the guy they are fighting and calling evil is just that. But Carey turns everything upside down in the end when the "bad guy" become the Christ figure who lays down his life to help others. He is the one who cares for the world - not just for the rich and the powerful - but for the poor, the oppressed, the disfigured, the unwanted. He loved and helped them. It really drove home to me the question of what we as Christians in America support and call good. Perhaps the issues are bigger than we think.
Anyway - this is a great series that is really a well written fantasy story with these deeper elements woven in. I highly recommend it for a fun and thought-provoking read.

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posted by Julie at 11:00 AM ¤ Permalink ¤


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