In Search of Better Stories

George MacCrazy! What did I just read?

George MacDonald; the inspiration behind such literary giants as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien! Reading him is going to be amazing!  I read him, and I am no longer amazed. Was this fever dream delirium, or maybe magic mushrooms? I have no idea. I would say I understood about 30-40% of what he was talking about, which is particularly troubling since most of the book is a narrative — I think? 

Clearly not my kind of genre, but at least I tried

Anodos, the main character, gets sucked into Fairyland from his bedroom. Fairyland is a strange place with an assortment of otherworldly creatures and beautiful women. I’m not sure about the reason why Anodos goes there. 

At one point, Anodos is attacked by strange creatures that jump off cliffs and land on their heads. Fortunately for the creatures, their heads are made of bouncy ball material. He only escapes their evil clutches by talking about being noble with a woman he is infatuated with. 

Another episode has him trying to rescue a girl, but animated pieces of wood keep stepping on the poor little one causing her much pain and bruising. Anodos tries using an axe to dissuade the wooden creatures from their discourteous stepping, but splintering them only makes more of them. Finally, he solves the problem by standing the offending bits of timber on their heads. This maneuver incapacitates them, thus averting the crisis.  

He sees a beautiful woman with a globe; she tells him not to touch it, but he does anyway. Then against her wishes, he holds it. When Anodos holds the globe, it breaks. The woman cries and is very angry. But at the end of the book, the woman returns. She is grateful to Anodos for his globe-breaking impropriety because by breaking the globe, the woman had learned to sing with the help of the Fairy Queen, and singing is much better than globe holding. 

He enters a house, and another beautiful woman sits at a table reading. “Don’t go in that closet,” she says. Anodos has a tough time obeying rules throughout this book, so predictably he goes into the closet. A dark shadow escapes and follows him around. The dark shadow ruins everything it falls upon and causes Anodos many problems. Eventually, the shadow disappears, but I’m unsure how it was finally vanquished. 

Anodos hooks up with two men and trains for a while to slay three giants who have taken over the land. The battle happens. Anodos is the lone survivor. He is labelled a hero. Anodos feels good about how he dared to stand up to evil. Still, he is sad that his friends are dead. He also feels a little bit like a loser because he has been kind of a turd for most of the book. He throws out his weapons and armour to become the squire for a knight he feels is the real hero. 

At one point, he stumbles into a library and reads a book. It’s a book about a man who gets a magic mirror; he can see a beautiful woman in the mirror each night. The woman can see his room which is a mess. To impress her, he cleans his room. She likes his attempts at a bachelor pad make-over. Eventually, the man is smitten with the woman and decides he must have her. He conjures up a bunch of magic, and presto — she walks in the door of his room. He pledges his undying love to her, but she says, “I am brought here under the power of magic spells; if you love me, you will set me free” The character in the book hesitates for just a second if he sets her free she might walk away or disappear, the hesitation causes the woman to doubt his love. She screams, thunder roars overhead, the mirror disappears, and the man passes out for several days. When he awakes, he realizes that his hesitation has ruined his chance for love. He sets off to find the mirror, through which he will find the woman. Eventually, he finds the mirror, and the woman sees his pure love for her, she comes to him, but sadly he gets shot or stabbed (no explanation given). He bleeds out in her arms, and the story ends. 

The book ends with Anodos dying and becoming one with nature. He sees and understands and thinks like a tree, the sky and the ground. (At least as far as I can understand) 

Some good quotes:

  • Romantic Talk from the 1700s — Thy red lips like worms travel over my cheeks.
  • On longing/emotion — The simple unthought feelings of the soul must be true.
  • The tragedy of life — Alas, how easily things go wrong! A sigh too much, a kiss too long and there follows a mist and a weeping rain, And life is never the same again.
  • Maximizing your trauma — Past tears are present strength.
  • The mystery of reality — Our life is no dream, but it ought to become one, and perhaps it will. 
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One Response

  1. Thanks Dennis, Like you I go back time to time to read CS Lewis Chronicles of Narnia and JR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and find their writings too cerebral for me…being visual I did enjoy the movies more. I will revisit again at some point in the future. Looking forward to church camp and what God will be saying through you! ;0) Pam

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