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Overstreet on The Danger and Delight of Imaginative Stories

“In short, I think there are powers and mysteries at work in the world that can only be expressed through fairy tales. Fairy tales allow us to cast nets into mystery and catch things that are otherwise inexpressible. Tolkien said that fairy tales can give us a glimpse of our eventual redemption in a way no other story can.

At its best, fantasy provides us with an escape from the narrow, restrictive perspectives of modernism. And with its emphasis on the primal, it returns us to engagement with the elements, with the stuff of rocks and trees and fire and rivers and mountains. Since those elements of creation “pour forth speech,” according to the Psalmist, we’re able to hear some things more clearly when we meditate there.
But fantasy can be destructive, too. I’ve seen people who are dissatisfied with their lives attracted to the violence, to sorcery, to the ideas of tremendous power that are celebrated in some fantasy stories. I’ve watched people become severely irresponsible, abandoning engagement with their own world in order to indulge in fantasy role-playing games or non-stop fantasy media. Fantasy is dangerous territory and it demands discernment.

At its best, fantasy provides us with an escape from the narrow, restrictive perspectives of modernism. And with its emphasis on the primal, it returns us to engagement with the elements, with the stuff of rocks and trees and fire and rivers and mountains. Since those elements of creation “pour forth speech,” according to the Psalmist, we’re able to hear some things more clearly when we meditate there.

But fantasy can be destructive, too. I’ve seen people who are dissatisfied with their lives attracted to the violence, to sorcery, to the ideas of tremendous power that are celebrated in some fantasy stories. I’ve watched people become severely irresponsible, abandoning engagement with their own world in order to indulge in fantasy role-playing games or non-stop fantasy media. Fantasy is dangerous territory and it demands discernment.”

Jeffrey Overstreet

From this excellent interview, by Jenni Simmons, with this outstanding author.

ravensladder-FULLY SWELL

Raven’s Ladder releases today! Go here to buy this book. I loved it, for what it’s worth.

Note: If you haven’t read the first two books, Auralia’s Colors, and Cyndere’s Midnight, get them first.

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