Some readers have asked me why The Savage War doesn’t have much to do with magic.
My first serious answer is that High Fantasy was not the story I was given to write.
My second is that it is very important to me that people realize their worth.
I’ve spoken to several people who sigh and tell me they wish they were superheroes or wizards going to Hogwarts. I ask them what’s wrong with being human. Their response is that humans are nothing. This is an idea that has been pushed by pop culture.
In Harry Potter, the non-magical population, muggles, not only are forbidden from Hogwarts, but the wizards think it is fine to confuse them, wipe their memory, etc. etc. etc. Wizards have no more respect for humans’ inalienable right to choose right and wrong for themselves then if ‘muggles’ were animals and not humans at all.
On the flip side of that message, there’s a subtle story of what that attitude creates in Petunia. Because she was rejected, told she was nothing by Snape in particular, she threw a wall between her and that world of wizards, refusing to acknowledge its existence. When forced to do otherwise, she acted with bitterness and hate. Not that I like Petunia’s character, but I understand what caused some of her choices.
Very few notice that story however. It was inserted by accident as a reason to create a horrible living circumstance for the main character, a reason for him to dream of escape and for people to sympathize with him.
Superhero stories, of course, abound with people being physically changed forever before they go out and ‘rescue the world’. I always wanted Captain America to stay the sick kid and find some way to make a huge difference in the world, earning the title Captain America for great deeds that no one thought him capable of doing. Instead, they make him a ‘giant’ first.
I do appreciate the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) more than DC however, for the existence of Hawkeye and Black Widow. They didn’t heavily alter themselves to go save the world. They just go out anyway with all the natural talents and some gismos given to them. Once again, they aren’t the big poster Avengers as they’re shunted aside for those with super powers.
When books are changed into film adaption, the message of human worthlessness is typically added. The producers made a point to have Elrond spurn the worth of humans in the film adaptation of the Lord of the Rings. Some have argued that Aragorn proves him wrong, but I have heard others say he has Elven blood in him, so he’s still not fully human.
There are films and books that fight this idea, but I have heard about enough people struggling with their worth to know a story about our responsibility as humans, without going too far the other way, is something priceless.
Therefore, a side theme in The Savage War is how all our choices can sink or raise a kingdom. A tiny action ripples outward until it fills an entire ocean, and we don’t need to turn to science or other powers to make a difference. God placed humans on the Earth to tend it (Genesis 1:28-30) and Jesus said with the faith of a mustard seed, we can move a mountain (Matthew 17:20). Our power is released through both our love and our faults. Who will we touch or harm by love or anger next and where will that go? Only God knows the answer, but we can at least remember the extent of our power and worth, our responsibility given by our Creator.