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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bringing Fictional Characters to Life

One of my daughters gave me her copy of Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke, to read. I was glad to read it, as I had enjoyed The Thief Lord, and others had, too.

I'm not going to dwell on the plot of Inkheart, except to say that it involves bringing fictional characters to life, or sending real people into a work of fiction. Here's a link to a post on the book by another blogger that does go into the plot.

When I finished the book, I thought about which, if any, fictional characters I'd like to bring to life, or which fictional universe I'd like to be sent into. I thought of Gandalf, from the Lord of the Rings, or Ogion or Ged, the quiet wizards from the Earthsea books by Ursula K. Le Guin. It would be nice to have a powerful wizard around, even a gruff and seldom-spoken one, I thought. But that wouldn't work. What would Ogion think of computers and cars? What would Gandalf do with air pollution and income taxes? These wizards wouldn't fit. I would have trouble following Gandalf or Ogion around, and would probably be pretty useless at traveling through Moria or taking care of goats.

I also thought about real people. What about bringing back Lewis and Clark, or Sacagawea? What about Will Rogers, or Henrietta Leavitt? What about George Washington Carver or Marie Curie? They wouldn't fit, either. And I wouldn't fit into their time or place, any more than they would into mine. I wouldn't know the language, or the customs, or how to make a living, or take care of an illness.

What about biblical characters? What about Paul, or Lydia, Dorcas or Peter? King David or Rahab? Clearly, they wouldn't fit, either. I expect that Paul or Peter, and maybe some of the others, might raise a ruckus over the way things are in the world in general, or in my church, or even in my own life. I guess I'd better leave them in the Bible, where they belong.

Finally, what about Jesus? Would He fit? Well, being God, He ought to, I guess. But I'm afraid He might throw out the moneychangers, or call some religious people white-painted tombstones, or do something equally outrageous, and make people unhappy.

Whoops--I forgot--I'm supposed to show the personality of Jesus in this world of the 21st Century. He's supposed to already be here, in my world, my neighborhood, my church, and my own life, and really so, not in my imagination (or yours). I hope sincerely that He is.


Joy said...

Great post!

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Joy!

Julana said...

If you turn over some tables, hope you mention it in your blog. :-)

Martin LaBar said...

I'm not generally the "throw out the money-changers" type. Usually wish someone else would. That's probably a failing.