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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dragonquest, DragonKnight and Dragonfire by Donita K. Paul

I previously posted about Dragonspell, a sword and sorcery book of faith fiction, by Donita K. Paul.

I'll start this post on the remaining books in the series, which are DragonQuest, DragonKnight and DragonFire, by adding evidence that the books, although they do not mention Christ or Yahweh by those names, are definitely Christian. (They are Paladin and Wulder, in these books. Paladin is a living, embodied person. Wulder is a supreme being, who is prayed to.) On page 33 of DragonFire, Paladin is stated to be 2,000 years old. On pages 240-241 of DragonQuest, a communal act of worship is described, and called worship. Also, on page 241, Dar, one of the main characters in the books, says, ". . . We come in the name of Paladin. . ."

I'll next say that I have difficulty, as a reader, in understanding some of Paul's sub-creation. I indicated some of that difficulty in my first post. In this one, I'll say that two of the characters are something called "meech dragons," as distinguished from minor dragons, major dragons, and fire dragons. I can visualize those last three types of dragons. But I can't decide whether meech dragons even look like dragons. They wear clothing, at least some times, they speak, and, in other ways, they seem to be pretty much human. I also have trouble distinguishing, in my mind, between some of the seven high species, or, as Paul calls them, races. I can't even remember whether Kale and Bardon, the two main characters, are o'rant or marione. (Actually, Bardon is supposed to be a hybrid, perhaps of these two species, or maybe from one of them with an emerlindian, or perhaps something else. But he keeps his hybrid status secret.)

Paul, like other writers of sword and sorcery fantasy, owes a debt to Tolkien. One significant difference with Tolkien is that Tolkien's orcs, and other evil creatures, were thoroughly evil, without any apparent inclination to even choose to do good. Paul has one bisonbeck who chooses the side of good, and the ropmas seem to be more simple-minded than they are evil. (See my previous post for my reaction to Paul's naming skills.) However, Paul is like Tolkien, in that her seven "high races" can choose to do evil, or at least to stop doing good.

Another interesting aspect of the books is that Paladin becomes sick, because of the apathy of the high races. They have largely stopped acknowledging Wulder, and being friendly to each other. He recovers, at least partly, as the faith of the people of Amara is revived.

Bardon, a male, becomes a second protagonist in these three books, along with Kale, who was the protagonist in the first one. One interesting aspect of Bardon's thought life is his adherence to Wulder's Principles, which, apparently, are taught as a sort of catechism.

Here's some evidence that the books were written with a Christian world-view, if any is needed:
"The odd thing, my dear," said her father, "is that once one has ceased trying to protect self, one finds self in a very comfortable position."
"Where?" asked Kale.
"In Wulder's care." (p. 219 of DragonFire.)

The main attraction of the books was the plot and the characters, not the theology. Besides, if you go to a novel for definitive guidance on theology, you will get what you deserve. They are stories!

DragonQuest was published in 2005 by WaterBrook Press, a Division of Random House, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. DragonKnight was published in 2006, and DragonFire in 2007, by the same publisher.


Pilgrim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pilgrim said...

I wonder if you've read the Hunger Games, and if so, what you think of them.
I resisted, till someone chose the first volume for our book club last week. It did keep me reading, but I found it disturbing. I went and saw the movie, and was more disturbed. I find the rate at which people are readinig and viewing this material unsettling.

Martin LaBar said...

I have not yet read any of The Hunger Games. I probably will, when the rush for the local library's copies dies down somewhat. I haven't seen the movie, either.

At least one contributor to the Christianity Today movie site has some good things to say about the series, and the movie, here.

Thanks for your comment. Sorry I can't say anything about these books, or the movie, from experience.

Pilgrim said...

Thanks, Martin. Our library has a long waiting list, too. I got the first for $5.69 at Sam's Club, but haven't read the rest.
There are many ways to look at the book.

Martin LaBar said...

True. $5.69 is a good price.