Why I Love Fantasy

I started re-reading one of the Harry Potter books this week. I often get the urge to read fantasy when it gets close to Christmas. I have yet to figure out why. My theory is that I enjoy fantasy so much because it fits in with all the other enjoyments—snuggling under a warm blanket (it would be in front of a roaring fire if I had a fireplace), with Christmas music playing and a hot mug of cider in reach.

But why fantasy?

I have several ideas.

One is that fantasy transports me to a magical other place, sort of like a snow-covered world does. Not that we have snow in Southern California, except in the mountains, but that’s the point, isn’t it. I grew up connecting snow with Christmas and my snow experiences are very other worldly.

Once, when I was about ten and we lived in Colorado, we had snow in September, before the trees had lost their leaves. Branches laden with wet snow broke, transforming our yard into secret tunnels and hideaways … until my poor dad cleaned up the mess. But for a few hours, I was in a private world, an imaginary place. The same kind good fantasies create.

Narnia, a secret place away from the adult world. The world beyond the Shire—more mysterious than secret. The magical realm accessed through platform 9 3/4. These are not your everyday places. These are tangibly other.

A second reason I love fantasy, especially this time of year, is because of the overarching story in each. Sally Apokedak said it best in her response to an earlier post. She was referencing Harry Potter originally but expanded her thoughts:

You take a poor, abused kid and give him more power than anyone else on earth has. And you see how his mentors help him develop his power and you see what he does with the power in the end. It’s a wonderful story.

It has shades of Christ, born in a manger, a powerless babe. Then he grows in wisdom and stature and he grows in favor with God and man. But he’s in a constant battle with an evil foe. In the end he has to make a great sacrifice to save his friends. This story–His story–is the one that all great stories imitate, I think.

His Story, indeed. Fantasy, with its good versus evil motif is the perfect fit for the story of Christmas—and Easter. Yet the best writers, retell it in a way that shines light on it anew.

Above all, after a glimpse of Narnia, further up and further in, or of Gondor under Aragon’s rule, these fantasies give me a hunger for heaven. They stir a longing for the return of the King, for the presence of the Lion of Judah. Great fantasies go far beyond good stories, which is why I love them.

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Note: The previous post under this title took a turn away from this topic, so I decided to create a separate article, complete with the two pertinent comments.

God – A God Of Judgment?

Since most of the comments to this post are dealing with God and His character, I decided to do away with the confusion. Hence I’ve retitled the article. However, the real content is in the comments section.

Published in: on December 3, 2010 at 7:42 pm  Comments (49)  
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