I’ve been reading a new series that was recently recommended to me: So You Want To Be A Wizard. It’s a fun series, well written. The first book is kid appropriate, I think. I would recommend it more widely as a great book for kids, but the infrequent references to sex and teenage puberty issues through the sequels will probably reduce its readership. That aside…
The major antagonist is The Lone One, the Starsnuffer, a definite parallel to Satan with the difference that this dark figure is not so static. After the first book it becomes increasingly clear that, while the author draws on Christian imagery and references, some pulled straight from the bible texts, the Wizard series does not take place in a Christian universe, and in the fourth book, Christianity is lumped in as one of many odd interpretations of reality.
While reading the climax of the third book, I realized that my perspective has shifted: growing up, I would have identified with one or more of the protagonists, the heroes who put themselves on the line to save everyone. But reading this book, I was surprised to find that this was not the case. The Lone One is a character capable of being ultimately defeated by the protagonist, and more over is capable of change, and of redemption. Something less than an angel then, and more like a human person. I found myself identifying more with the Lone One; full of anger, bearing old hurts that blind him, needing the sacrifice and love of others to lean on so that he can finally be freed from his pain. Interestingly, when he is freed from his destructive desires, he does not change from a shadowy figure into a light figure, like the other Power in the story. Instead, his shadowy form is redeemed into something beautiful and complimentary to nature, rather than destructive of it.
I think that’s what moved me. This antagonist, while rather flat, can be and is redeemed, but his character isn’t overwritten or changed. He’s still himself, just healed.
I’ve reached a point in my life where it is easier to see myself in this kind of villain without it necessarily being an indication of poor self esteem or destructive tendencies. If anything, it is a relief to be able to see that I can be on the side of needing that kind of help without it being accompanied by fear and self loathing.