CSFF Blog Tour – North! Or Be Eaten, Day 2

Great tour going for Andrew Peterson‘s young adult Christian fantasy North! Or Be Eaten.

As a result of the “Attack on God” threads here, I decided to take a closer look at this novel in that light. Please know that I’ll be giving spoilers, so this serves as your ***SPOILER ALERT***

One of the Igiby children, Tink, is actually the High King of Anniera. As he and his family flee north to escape pursuit from Gnag the Nameless and the Fangs of Dang terrorizing the land of Skree, he begins to change.

First he admits to his brother that he doesn’t want to be High King. Next, when they encounter the Stranders, clans of murderers and thieves living in Glipwood Forest, he shows fascination, even admiration for the head of one clan.

Later a girl who befriends Tink tells him he would make a good Strander. He saves his family by doing a little pickpocketing, only to learn that he’s earned the place as head of the clan.

His reaction is horror at the possibility that he’ll have new responsibilities, but he learns instead that a clan leader “ain’t in charge of anything. He does what he pleases, and the rest of the clan has to do what he pleases too.”

When Tink and his brother are later separated from their family, instead of going to the meeting place as they’d said, he sets off to find the Stranders and take his place as clan leader.

The old lady who tells his brother what happened explained his decision like this: “He made a choice … Because whatever it is inside a man that calls him to the edge of things, calls him to the shadows and away from the light, must have been loud in his ears” (p. 225).

I think this story gives a snapshot of temptation. Ironically Tink’s brother unfairly accused him of selfishness, but in the end he was right. Tink didn’t want responsibility. He wanted a life in which he could do what he wanted, not what was expected of him.

I can’t help but think the same holds true today. How many people reject Christ because they don’t want to do what is expected of them but what they want to do? In the end, it’s a spirit of disobedience, whether it comes from Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens or one of the nice people commenting in the previous threads about how God could never exercise eternal judgment or he would be a tyrant.

It’s a resistance to “ought” in favor of “I.” (Actually it’s a resistance to God and to the perception of “ought” but that doesn’t come out in the story). For Tink, his decision took him to a terrible place.

Ah, but the story didn’t end with him there. North! Or Be Eaten is, after all, a story of redemption.

Don’t forget to check out the blog posts by the other CSFF participants. You’ll find the list, with links to the posts I know are already up, at the end of yesterday’s article.

Published in: on January 28, 2010 at 4:41 pm  Comments (7)  
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7 Comments

  1. Very insightful! Now I REALLY gotta get a copy of that book!

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  2. Thank you, Rebecca, for the way you’ve brought this thread out and explored the meaning of what was going on with Tink. That particular set of actions somewhat confounded me!

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  3. Some of the development of Tink’s temptation had escaped me, what with all the action going on. Thanks for bringing it out. I appreciate your insight!

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  4. […] of On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness helped me grapple with the idea of Theme in my writing, has some interesting things to say about Tink’s avoidance of […]

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  5. This is an excellent theme to bring out. I wonder what the long term effects will be on Tink for his disobedience … considering what happened to him at the end?

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  6. Nissa, yes, by all means get a copy. Check local libraries—the book has been out for 6 months so it is already on some shelves. And thanks for your encouraging words.

    Robert, great question. Every time I read that last line I tear up, but there’s still a lot to be answered.

    Phyllis and Krysti, I saw warning signs—foreshadowing, if you will—so I wasn’t surprised when Tink did what he did, but I had to go back and really study it like one piece before I saw elements that seem to line up with the way people are today. Thanks for your response to these ideas.

    Becky

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  7. Becky … thanks for visiting my blog … I just put up a review by my son, as well as a humorous interview with Podo Helmer. I’m actually in process of interviewing Andrew Peterson, but he’s so busy, I probably won’t get it finished until next week.

    Thanks for all your work on the tour!

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