From the Archives of My Mind!

One of my Novel Journey mates was mentioned on PW last summer for his piece on Christian Vampires. Idly, I followed the link and arrived at that October 2007 post where, lo and behold! I had commented several times.

Have you ever stumbled upon yourself, upon words you didn't remember writing, displayed for all the world to read? Kind of weird.

But I was proud of myself. In fact, as I skimmed the comments, I thought, wow! I wrote that? Nice!

I didn't have a blog at the time, or I would have posted here. So now you get thoughts from the archives of my mind, courteously preserved by the world wide web.

At 6:51 PM, Anonymous said...
My biggest nit with reclaiming vampires is that traditionally, they have stood with witches, black dwarves, orcs, dragons, etc. Vampires as sympathetic figures are a 21st century twist. Its presence in children's lit (and it's BIG) means setting common morality on its head--screws knight vs. dragon for knight and dragon BFF. This leaves huge marks on kids' ever-evolving moral education. Subtly and by implication only, they're taught that "bad" and "good" have permanent quotation marks.

Just some thoughts. :)

At 9:03 PM, Mike said...
Question though: Aren't there good dragons? I seem to recall several films / books that incorporate kind, scaly critters. So what if it's a 21st century thing. We are living there. And if it's fiction, it ain't etched in stone. Perhaps the strength of the concept, from a literary perspective, is not in its historical interpretation, but its fluidity. Henceforth, The Good Orc will be my next Novel Journey entry.

By the way, are you blogging yet, Noel? Or is that too 21st century. :}

At 10:28 AM, Anonymous said...
Sure there are good dragons. There are good witches, too. And they're already working on good orcs.

My concern is for the children growing up under these metaphor-morphing 21st century paradigms ... Schiller said, "Deeper meaning resides in the fairy tales told to me in my childhood than in the truth that is taught by life." Fiction may be fiction, but it's not impotent-- especially for kids.

Nope, not blogging. I leave that to the techie geezers.


At 9:41 PM, Mike said...
Noel, Are you suggesting that fairy tale archetypes should never change? Once a dragon, always a dragon -- or should I say BAD DRAGON? I'd suggest that we teach children morality by giving them the tools to discern BEHAVIOR -- this includes discerning the behavior of fairy tale characters. A BAD dragon is one who incinerates virgins; a GOOD dragon rescues them. Teaching our children to discern behavior is more important than maintaining the status quo among Hansel and Gretel.

Signed, Techie Geezer

At 1:02 PM, Anonymous said...
Oh Mike, you know I love you. Like a grandpa. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

You're totally right that teaching children to discern behavior is more important than making sure all dragons are bad. But, for hundreds of years, stories--fairy tales--have heavily influenced millions of children, not didactically, but through symbols and metaphors and archetypes. These types have not altered from one generation to the next (until now)--rather, they have preserved a moral standard. Where did that moral standard originate? Who was the first storyteller who decided witches should be evil and princesses good? Secularists shrug.

The idea that dragons are bad is as old as Saint George. *climbs onto a limb* To go totally fundy, it's as old as Satan the Serpent. Writers like Tolkien and Lewis demonstrate their belief that traditional paradigms exist for a reason, and should be preserved. (Balder kills Smog in the Hobbit, Eustace is converted from dragon to human by Aslan.)

There's a really good book on the subject, called A Landscape with Dragons, about the influence stories have on children. O'Brien is the author, I think.


At 1:05 PM, Anonymous said...
By the way, thanks for being such a nice guy in your comments. It's refreshing to be able to disagree agreeably with someone.



Erin said...

Gonna have to say I'm with Mike on this, but I enjoyed reading your thoughts and can see where you're coming from. :)

Maggie DeVries said...

You are such a techie geezer, Noel. Got trapped in the thrill of posting, did we?