Fantasy: A Human Right

urlSo last night I reread one of my favorite essays, J. R. R. Tolkien’s On Fairy Stories.

It’s a great essay, because it reveals that the mind behind the greatest fantasy of the twentieth century was also a mind saturated with the Gospel.

You’ll hear a lot of people say that fantasy is a waste of time; that as Christians we have “more important things to be getting on with.” Tolkien convincingly argues that nothing is more important than the cultivation of the human imagination. We are made by a Creator; we were made to create. Steal a person’s dreams and you steal their humanity.

What’s more, he shows that this supposedly Christian disavowal of fantasy is actually rooted in malign twentieth-century constructs of utilitarianism and hyper-rationalism. We live in a poisoned culture: a culture that trains us to value only what’s useful. A world of metal and wheels. Tolkien points us back the way to enchantment. Back to the truth of the Scriptures.

It’s worth reading the whole essay. But today I just wanted to share two of my favorite passages.

“Fantasy remains a human right. We make because we are made: and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker.”

*           *           *

“Faerie

contains many things besides elves and fays,

and besides dwarfs,

witches,

trolls,

giants, or dragons:

it holds the seas, the sun,

the moon, the sky;

and the earth, and all things that are in it:

tree and bird,

water and stone,

wine and bread,

and ourselves, mortal men, when we are enchanted.”

What do you dream about?

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2 thoughts on “Fantasy: A Human Right

  1. Pingback: My 51 Favorite Books (1995 – 2013) | thetalkingllama

  2. Pingback: Archives | thetalkingllama

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