Fairies, ogres, elves and demons; the little bird loves them all. The more she reads them, the more she wonders if they are just silly imaginary things, or is there something more to their tales?
Well, the little bird may be right, for beneath the magical make believe world lies the truth of the real world that we live in. Many of these stories have deep hidden meanings and the fantasy characters may be a symbolic representation of the things and people in the world we see around us.
J R R Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ may seem like another story about kingdoms, war, wizards and a dark lord, but it deals with several complex issues, and also reflects the time when it was written. Yes, you read it right. It does reflect the time it was written. Though the plot is set in the Middle Earth, eons ago, it mirrors the 19th century. It condemns the World Wars and the industrial revolution. Of course, the story takes you on the journey with Frodo to destroy the ring and shows you how he matures as a person.
The comparatively simple and light ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ was also written around the same time. The author C S Lewis and Tolkien were colleagues at Oxford too. While Tolkien was influenced by Norse mythology, Lewis’ characters seem to be derived from Christianity. Some believe that the lion Aslan represents Jesus Christ. This becomes quite evident when the white witch sacrifices Aslan, and he resurrects after three days, just like Christ did.
On the other hand, the more recent Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig starrer ‘The Golden Compass’ is based on the first book in the series called ‘Northern Lights’. The book talks about a daemon which every child is gifted with and which stays with the child all the time. But the authorities kill the daemons and then educate the children. Many feel that the daemon stands for the inner voice or the individual mind that makes us question things.
The impartation of life-lessons through fantasy stories is nothing new. Our religious beliefs are also based on mythologies that we have grown hearing to. Despite the underlying theories, each of us hold a fairy tale or a fantasy book close to our hearts. The little bird’s personal favorite is ‘The Little Prince‘. She will be pleased, if you comment and let her know the name of the story that means a lot to you.