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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Paganism and Christianity in Juliet Marillier's fiction, pt. 2

The first part of this is here. In that post, I commented on Wolfskin, by Juliet Marillier, and referred to an interview with Marillier, in which she said that she is a pagan.

Foxmask is a sequel to Wolfskin, and, as in the previous book, Christianity is presented in a positive manner. In fact, a character comes to belief in God in the book.

"What changed your mind?" Thorvald whispered.
And Niall said simply, "Love."
After a little, Thorvald took his father's hand in his, swallowing, and asked him, "You said that was half the reason. What was the other half?"
"I discovered that God has a sense of humor. All those years I played the part of a priest: I stood by my brethren and mouthed the words they spoke in true faith; I copied the scriptures not because I believed a single word of them, but simply so I would not lose the skills I had at reading, scribing and translation. I argued philosophy with Breccan: there was genuine pleasure in that. I tried not to let my cynicism confuse the boy. I found a certain calm in the pattern of their days; the order and discipline of their life suited me. But I was no Christian. My mind was full of doubt and disbelief. I have seen enough of the dark acts men can perform. I have felt such shadows in my own being that I could hardly be swayed to believe in a god of goodness and light, however eloquently Breccan pleaded his case. Until now."
"What do you mean?"
"God's joke: he saved it until the last, testing my resistance to him all those years. It was simple, Thorvald, simple and shattering. You came, and Creidhe told me I had a son, and I saw you, the one fine thing I had made. I had known nothing of your existence before then. Something changed within me; something opened, a tiny crack, a little chink. It is all God needs. I ceased to resist him, and I hear his voice. He laughs now, I imagine. He has won this battle, and I am truly his." pp. 507-8

As I indicated in the previous post, Marillier is a good writer. She portrays memorable characters, and puts them in emotionally gripping situations.

I expect to re-read her trilogy, published earlier, and look for her treatment of Christianity, with a view to posting, eventually.

Thanks for reading.

* * * * *

On April 2, 2009, E Stephen Burnett wrote an essay, asking questions about how far a Christian author could go in writing fiction which has a God who is significantly different from the Christian God, and whether a Christian could legitimately create a fictional character who is in defiance of God. I posted tentative answers to these questions, which are related to the subject of the post above, on April 13, 2009.

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