The other realm

I just finished rereading Linnets and Valarians by Elizabeth Goudge. We only discovered her because she was on Rowling’s list of books that influenced Harry Potter. It’s lovely fantasy set in 1912 England, and the kids have to help undo a terrible curse on a prominant family in the village.

But what freaked me out was her author’s note in the back, talking about the real village, the white and black witches, the friendly elves, and a strange disappearing wood. These were all things the villagers had told her and she hasn’t room for them in the book.

I know she was a Christian–her books are full of glorious grace and salvation–but how does a modern Christian tackle Magick, and voodoo, and elves, and the in-between realm? I find that it doesn’t fit in my nice Christian boxes.

4 thoughts on “The other realm

  1. And there lies the beauty of Elisabeth Goudge. She was such an incredible thinker. I think after every thing settles down I know that at the Beale Library they have all of her books so I might go there and do a summer of Elisabeth Goudge.
    Well then, maybe go to Robins. 🙂 I am so glad that you wrote about her. I don’t remember the note in the back. Now you have me interested.


  2. That in-between realm is certainly tricky when writing fantasy. I think it’s certainly something to take case-by-case and pray over. The way you incorporate “magic” in your stories is pretty effective and doesn’t really mess with any of my Biblical sensibilities. Yours veers more on the side divinely delegated power to do good in the world, not unlike the Kingdom of God.

    No judgement on anyone who likes HP or course! but what steered me away from HP was the presence of real divination practices like crystal and tea leaf reading. It just seemed so interwoven into the tool set of the characters. It’s something I’ve become sensitive to and the sight of it makes my skin crawl in a really dark way. But aside from that, it’s not a BAD series in terms of literature, it’s just one of those things I never got into.

    I remember a while back we discussed magic vs. magik. Fantasy magic is more obscure and sparkly like Final Fantasy magic, whereas magik is real practices and rituals like the use of magic images, gods, divinations, sacrifices, etc.

    I find I don’t have a problem with antagonists and villains using magik or protagonists using it but at a price. But not when it is portrayed as the end all be all, nice and clean, no strings attached free power with the user as the final authority.

    I would even ask, what is the difference between magic and prayer? Both of them utilize supernatural power, so what is the difference?

    Interesting things to go ponder on now…


  3. Baz: In Harry Potter, though, the tea leaves and crystal ball stuff were all presented as stupid, unbelievable stuff that wasn’t real magic and didn’t work. And really, the only thing the crystal balls were ever good for were killing bad guys in book 7. 🙂 But I know what you mean. You might enjoy Rebecca Minor’s books, where the heroes have to pray for “miracles”, whereas the bad guys wield magic, yet are curse-bearers, meaning their evil magic will eventually devour them.


  4. Ooooh I see.

    “the only thing the crystal balls were ever good for were killing bad guys in book 7”

    Lol, what did they do? Throw it at their heads?

    Ms. Minor’s work sounds just about right for me, thnx!


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