When most people hear about epic fantasy, they think about long-forgotten worlds that existed in the distant past, ruled by magic and dark traditions.
This concept is reinforced by many modern television series and movies, such as The Game of Thrones. In my opinion, it is quite sad that this genre of fiction has gone down such a dark and cruel path. However, as a Christian and a fan of epic fantasy, I dug a little deeper into this genre. The pioneers of this fascinating genre of fiction, J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, were practicing Christians. And the salvation story of Christ is deeply buried in the fantastical worlds envisioned by both of these authors. Please allow me to point out a few comparisons.
1. The struggle of good and evil
The book of Genesis does not state exactly when Satan fell from his glorious state and became the devil who prowls on the earth. Still, it’s clear that ever since Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they were set at enmity with the serpent (Satan). Thus the struggle between good and evil took center stage in humanity. This same struggle has continued for thousands of years, and it is still as real in our time as it has ever been. And this is the central theme of both The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia series.
2. Heroes who fight to save the world.
We always find warriors and fighters in fantasy stories. They rise up for the sake of goodness, and ultimately become heroes who save the world from the dominion of darkness.
In The Chronicles of Narnia, the four Pevensie children fight alongside Aslan and saved the world of Narnia from the rule of the White Witch. In the heavenly realms, the army of God’s angels led by Michael is diligently fending off the demonic forces of Satan (Revelation 12: 7–10). In the book of Ephesians, Paul urges the people to put on the full armor of God, so that they may be able to withstand the attacks of Satan in the present evil age with the power of God (Ephesians 6: 10-18). Of course, Jesus Christ is the ultimate hero of the Christian faith.
3. Creatures from unseen realms.
Dragons, elves, hobgoblins, mermaids, sirens, demons, and many other mythical creatures all make regular appearances in epic fantasy stories.
Many of these creatures come from folklore and ancient myths, and have been recorded in every known culture. Although modern science views all “unseen” creatures as non-existent, science fails to explain many supernatural phenomena. It is no coincidence that the Bible speaks explicitly about angels and demons throughout both the Old and New testaments. Jesus clearly drove out demons, which plagued people with various forms of sickness.
4. Dark evil forces who oppose the light.
In The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, there are evil antagonists who are strong enough to overthrow the peace of the world for a short time. Until the true king returns and reclaims his kingdom. Isn’t that the case with our world right now? We’re currently under the rule of Satan, awaiting the return of our savior, Jesus, to reclaim his kingdom.
5. A king who ultimately reigns in peace.
The climax of the story is often the last battle fought between the true king and the evil forces who have overtaken his kingdom. Of course, he overthrows the forces of evil and reigns once again in righteousness and peace. This is not only the hope of the Christian faith, but also a recurring theme in many epic fantasy stories.
In the last book of the Chronicles of Narnia, Aslan banishes all evil and returns to rule Narnia in peace. Even some Disney movies have adapted this type of ending, such as The Lion King. As Christians, we have the great promise from God himself that he will make all things right again one day and send Jesus to rule over His kingdom on earth. What a great day of rejoicing it shall be!
What better way is there for children and adults to learn morals through exciting adventures in fantastical worlds! After all, the Preacher arranged many Proverbs to teach the people, and Jesus told many stories in parables. Perhaps, even in dark stories like the Game of Thrones, there is a moral to be learned. Which could very well be this: when men try to live apart from God’s law, there is only chaos and disorder and every form of evil under the sun. Mankind is in desperate need of a savior!