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The Careful Balance of a Christian Writing Fantasy and Magic
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The Careful Balance of a Christian Writing Fantasy and Magic

23 Jun Posted by in Misc | 3 comments
The Careful Balance of a Christian Writing Fantasy and Magic

The Careful Balance of a Christian Writing Fantasy and Magic

Recently, I received a question from a young Christian author who was struggling with the moral boundaries on using magic in fiction. She asked me for my opinion on the subject, and I thought it might spark an interesting discussion.

Magic in fiction is a personal decision each author must make. I have always used some type of magic in my fantasy novels. That magic is a part of the storywold I have designed. Therefore whether or not magic is morally right or wrong depends on the laws that exist in each storyworld I’ve created.

My understanding of the magic that God forbids in the bible (witchcraft, divination, sorcery, etc) is related to calling on spirits to accomplish whatever task a person might be setting out to do, whether that is fortune telling, placing curses on others, or what have you. In order to do such magic, humans— whom God created—are putting their trust elsewhere. They are calling on spirits, demons, false gods… you name it. They are aligning themselves with God’s enemy. No surprise God would find that detestable. It’s idolatry. It’s the first commandment.

That’s how I’ve always shown dark magic in my stories. The “bad guys” use magic in such ways. For example, in my Blood of Kings trilogy, in order to do magic, black knights bond with gowzals, a type of bird that is inhabited by demon-like creatures. Also, in my novel King’s Folly, mantics (a type of magician) swear fealty to demon-like creatures, who in turn do the magic for them. In both examples I show through the course of the story, that these things are evil and corrupt and sometimes against the law.

If I do have a “good guy” character who gets involved in such magic, I treat it as I would any other sin (murder, lying, adultery, sexual immorality, stealing, etc). All people make mistakes and sin—some worse than others. That gives me the opportunity as an author to show my readers the consequences of such choices through what happens to these characters. Sometimes they will repent and change their ways. Sometimes they won’t.

Now, I also have light magic in my books—or “good magic.” In the storyworlds of the books I’ve written so far, this good magic was given to certain people by my God character to fight off the evil magic. However, because of the sinful human nature sometimes even good things can become twisted and corrupted. I always try to show at least one character struggling to do the right thing. For some characters it’s a no-brainer, but for others it’s a struggle. Very much like the way different people on earth struggle with different things.

Think about the way that Nathan convicted David of his sin with Bathsheba by using a story. Fantasy can also inspire, encourage, or rebuke readers. In today’s fast-paced world, the fantasy genre captures the weary mind and soul and whisks it away to a world of wonder where your imagination comes to life, things are not always so complicated, and magic is possible. That’s not so unlike how I imagine heaven will be, and if that’s the case, it’s no surprise so many readers are drawn to it.

What are your thoughts on magic in fiction? Share in the comments.

 

 

KingsFolly-set

The Kinsman Chronicles follows the Hadar family, long before the Blood of Kings trilogy took place, in a story of survival, sacrifice, and courage as one world crumbles and another rises up in its place.

The Kinsman Chronicles is a nine-part epic fantasy saga that will release in both nine ebooks parts and three paperback volumes from Bethany House Publishers. This will allow fans to keep up with the story on a more timely basis, rather than having to wait a full year between books. You can try part one,Darkness Reigns, for free in any ebook format. Recommended for readers ages 16 and up.

King’s Folly contains the parts: Darkness ReignsThe Heir War, and The End of All Things.

The gods are angry. Volcanic eruptions, sinkholes, ground shakers–everything points to their unhappiness. At least that is what the king of Armania believes. His son, Prince Wilek, thinks his father’s superstitions are nonsense, though he remains the ever dutiful heir apparent to the throne. When a messenger arrives and claims that the town of Farway has been swallowed by the earth, the king sends Wilek to investigate. But what Wilek discovers is more cataclysmic than one lost city. Even as the ground shifts beneath his feet, Wilek sets out on a desperate journey to save his people and his world. But can he do it before the entire land crumbles?

 

jillwilliamson

Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms and the award-winning author of several speculative fiction novels includingKing’s FollyBy Darkness Hid, and Captives. She got into writing one day when someone was complaining about teen books and she thought, “I could do that! How hard could it be?” Very, she soon learned. But she worked hard, and four years later, her first book, By Darkness Hid, was published and won several awards. Jill is a Whovian, a Photoshop addict, and a recovering fashion design assistant, who was raised in Alaska. She loves teaching about writing, which she does weekly at www.GoTeenWriters.com. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two children, and a whole lot of deer.

 

 

 

3 comments

  • jwilliamsonwrites says:

    Thanks, Jo’Anne! Kids have such great imaginations. I love the stuff they come up with. 🙂

  • Hi Jill, The third sentence should read “… and good magic is a very good thing …”

  • Thank you for this interesting post Jill.
    I like fantasy to escape from everyday life.
    I get what you’re saying about magic in general, and I do agree that fantasy and good magic is a very god thing. It fires up our brains with imagination and inspiration, and I believe that these qualities are what we need to see more of in our children.

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