Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Gotthammer's Apologetic Part 5: I Desire Dragons

I like fantasy. No, scratch that. I love fantasy. Have ever since I was a kid. When I try to remember where my fascination with fantasy began, it's always the moment when my best childhood friend Danny Ardiel loaning me Tolkien's The Hobbit when I was in grade 4. I would tackle Lord of the Rings later that year. In grade five I began eyeing the Dungeons and Dragons paraphenalia at the toy store in the Medicine Hat Mall. I traded away four months of allowance to purchase Milton Bradley's Dark Tower game (which you can still pick up on Ebay as a collector's item for anyone whose looking to give me the coolest Christmas present ever). I coerced my dad into sneaking me into drive-in showings of The Sword and the Sorcerer and Conan the Barbarian. I couldn't get enough of swords and (heaven forfend!) sorcery. If I wasn't reading fantasy I was playing it via some board game. When there was no one around to game with, I was reading Conan comics or rendering my own fantasy images, or just as often, writing my own adventures in secondary worlds.

My mother alerted me to the dark dangers I was involved in. She read a "why Dungeons and Dragons" is Satanic article in some Christian women's magazine. While it scared me enough to get rid of all my Dungeons and Dragons materials, my love of fantasy remained. This is uber-taboo for Christians, since the Bible expressly forbids magic in the book of Deuteronomy. I would vascilate over the years - I never gave up my Tolkien, and as I grew older and more mature, began to wonder what the difference was between the Christian fantasy's magic and other fantasy's magic. As an adult, I draw no distinctions between Christian and other fantasy. Like anything else, fantasy is fantasy. Some of it done by Christians. And I still love it.

I have discussed and defended my dalliances with Dragons, as well as the Dungeons they inhabit in a number of online articles. In the last year of my Bachelor of Religion, I did a study of Roleplaying games as a tool for Christian Education, which culminated in a series of articles over at the original Gotthammer site, one of which deals directly with the issue of the magic taboo in the Old Testament. They formed the precursor to the article I wrote for Youthworker magazine called "Roleplaying Revisited". I chronicled my visit to a place "Where Faeries Live" for the Ooze.com while researching Wicca for a World Religions course at Taylor University College, which remains the most controversial piece of writing I've done to date. The article "Secondary Worlds and Primary Beliefs" was my second paid writing job, and deals with why I like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, and how I don't see the magic of either as diabolical.

1 comment:

  1. I love fantasy. This is one area (well probably among several) that we utterly agree, Gotthammer. I've always respected your unwillingness to villify things that are magical and fantastic just because "the Bible says no". I've never been able to adjust my love of fantasy with the strict boundaries set down by the Church as a a whole but I didn't bother to research it all like you did. I just indulged and shrugged off the Church's strangle-hold of "that's bad" by forging my own way in the world. I respect your research on the topic because it is well thought out, it is in-depth, and it's not afraid of what conclusion may be drawn.... though ultimately you discover that fantasy is not inherently wicked which is what I love best about it.

    My love affair with fantasy started early. Very early. Disney cartoon early. The Wizard of Oz cemented it. I devoured all those books by L. Frank Baum. Then I delved into all manner of fantastic and non-fantastic with an equal appetite. What Katy Did. White Fang. Oliver Twist. The Hobbit. I read anything Dad gave me and to his credit, he gave me any classics he could get his hands on, fantasy or not. To this day I believe in Faerie Circles, I believe in magic in varied forms (not just wand and spell magic, but the magic inherent in imagination and nature), I love fantasy stories best, and I'm still on the hunt for Elves.

    *applause* Thank you for your work on the topic.