After a short break from YA fantasy novels, I have had a little time to think. I read recently that on the NYT children’s bestseller list, which includes books for teens, there were only two non-fantasy offerings. Ally Carter’s girl spy book, and the 6th grade geeks rule the world book, or is it 5th grade…anyway all the rest were fantasy. And I was wondering, why fantasy? What is it about a fantastical story that pulls at the heart so thoroughly that it has captured the finicky love of today’s youth and many other older grumpier sorts as well?
I think it is the hero. Fantasy almost always has a classic hero. Often orphaned and young, who has a burning purpose, a quest to save the world, who leaves all that he knows and risks all that he has and is for a higher purpose. And this fans up some vital coal within us for we two seek a hero. When girls see a hero we long to be his everything, to be that shining beauty that he will leap into the pit of destruction to rescue. When boys see a hero, fighting dragons, defying evil, snatching the princess out of the claws of doom, they long to be him. To be the one rushing to save the world.
Why? Because something deep within the soul of humanity recognizes the shadows of their Savior. Down from His kingdom, into the drudgery of hunger and hate and monstrous evil. Healing the shackled, the blind, the broken. Touching the unloved, facing the slavering forces of Hell, all for us. All for me. He is the lover of every crying Cinderella, the model for every boy who grips a blade in shaking hands and stands to face the dragon, the one who came to die and rose to rule. And His echoes are all about us, touching something deep and hidden that longs for God.
The Hunky Hubby ran across this advertisement that pretty much has all those hero elements. We don’t recommend the game. Lots off monster slaying mayhem, but with how good modern graphics are getting, any game that takes you through Dante’s seven layers of Hell (including the level of lust) is not a welcome addition. So don’t get me wrong about this, the game is not for me and I must strongly urge you away, but the advertisement is an excellent showcase of the hero and everything about him that tugs at our deepest self. For someone truly did go through the depths of Hell to retrieve His love, you and me, and on some deep instinctual level we all realize that. Even the secular techies who spend their days busily creating the newest video game blood bath.
Enjoy. Dante’s Inferno