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Joy's Q&A: Day 2

Joy is hosting the second day of her blog event and you can check it out HERE.  Today's theme is "Faith and Fantasy."  Since I feel that I do not have much experience in the fantasy genre, I can't answer all her questions.  I'll be skipping over the ones I don't know how to answer.  You can go to her post to see what I was supposed to be doing and didn't.  ;)
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1. Taken from a Christian perspective, what are your thoughts and feelings on the fantasy genre in general? Do you hold to any convictions or guidelines on things like magic, sorcery, fantastical elements or allegory in fantasy books?
 
Her first question asked about my guidelines regarding magic, sorcery, fantasy, and allegory.
This is something that I am in the midst of evaluating. I was raised to know that things like magic and sorcery were wrong. Our God is so powerful, and magic was the devil's twisted copy of that power. That meant that it is not nearly as strong as God and also that it is coming from the wrong source. Some stories were written to make magic look good and innocent, but that did not mean that it was. If God didn't like it, neither did we. That was the stance we took. Magic does exist and I was not against a story that accurately portrayed magic on the wrong side (such as Moses against Pharaoh's magicians or a modern story about a missionary and a witchdoctor), but I didn't want one that made me want to pretend that I was using magic. If you are trying to decide for yourself what is okay and what is not, then I encourage you to look it up in the Bible. See what God says about it. For starters, you can check out Ezekiel 13, Acts 19, and Galatians 5.
I have recently been introduced to the Chronicles of Narnia (the first two movies and the third book). I loved them. I love the big epic feel to them. I love swords and battles. And I loved the allegory. When Aslan was slain, I cried -- not for the lion but for what Jesus did for us. It was so powerful. I absolutely loved the story.
But there is "magic" in the CoN story -- or, at least, that is what C.S. Lewis called it. So that creates a bit of a rub for me, and makes me evaluate it with a "what would Jesus think of this story?"

3. Have you read The Chronicles of Narnia books, or watched any of the movies? Which, if so, are your three favourite books?
 
I have watched the first two movies and I have read the third book.

4. How many books by J.R.R. Tolkien have you read and enjoyed so far? Can you choose a favourite book (The Lord of the Rings can be considered one book ;)?
 
None

5. Uhm. . . since, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were friends, I will not risk causing further estrangement to the history of their friendship by pitting them against each other! However, being the mastermind of mischief that I am, I will toss this question your way: which of the two are you most fond of in sense of storytelling, characters, themes and what personally touches/inspires you the most: The Lord of the Rings, or The Chronicles of Narnia?
 
I haven't read Tolkien.  The quotes on the sideline of Joy's blog look inspiring, though.

7. Have you read any Christian allegories, such as Pilgrim's Progress, Holy War or Hinds Feet on High Places?
 
Yes, I have read Pilgrim's Progress, Hinds Feet on High Places, and some others.

29. What would inspire you to pick up a work of fantasy literature or watch a fantasy film? What do you believe are both the benefits, negatives and overall effects of enjoying this genre?
I watched Chronicles of Narnia because I liked other works of C.S.Lewis and I heard good things about the film and somebody lent it to me.
Benefits of fantasy stories:
     It is so easy to make points with these stories because you are not bound by normal contraints.  Sometimes the different setting and rules make it easier for the reader to see the lessons within the story.
     They are also fun.  The use of imagination, the ability to make things idyllic or otherwise, and the "epic" feeling of these tales are some of the biggest attractions for me.
The negatives of this genre: 
     It can be easy to make lies seem true and wrong seem right when you leap into another world.
     The fun premise is a little bit like junk food -- easy but not healthy, especially not in large quantities.
    When it comes to magic, why wouldn't you want the "real thing".  Why would you spend all your time admiring the powers of an imaginary character when you could be admiring the true power of God?

So there is my meager input, and I am looking forward to the next set of questions by Joy.

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