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Writing a fantasy story criticizing Christian themes

Queshire

Auror
The rough deal for the Dwarves I talked about in the last Narnia book. They wind up in the heaven equivalent with the others, but instead of being able to see it they're stuck in a shack with the illusion that it's the afterlife of their choice with all the others just tut-tutting that it's such a shame.
 
You can have characters question the idea of a higher being or a god/s, but giving your own bias within the text as a criticism of Christianity would be an entirely different concept. I think you would need to do some more extensive research into the whole subject to be honest if you’re going to write something that will have the tone you’re after.

There’s nothing wrong with mixing up culture inspiration, Thai, Egyptian, whatever, make it your own.

One example of a female monarch in a patriarchal society would be the the late Queen Elizabeth the II, the longest reigning female monarch, and that is very recent, so I would say that you’d need to consider that side of things too. Matriarchal doesn’t mean female ruler, it means that there would be a consistent and predominant culture of females being in charge throughout all social classes, and it’s very rare thing, so otherwise it would either be egalitarian or patriarchal generally speaking.
 
Ya know...I think this thread got off to a bad start.

It presupposes stuff that just isn't true. CS Lewis, or Christians don't have an issue with questioning stuff (in fact, that's what CS Lewis did all his life). And old testament notions of punishments from God (or the gods) for disobedience is not the lesson of the New Testament. The story of the Bible, and Christianity is one of love and forgiveness. While I think it is fair to write anything you want, and certainly in favor or questioning, independence and disobedience, if you are trying to use this as a 'take that' to Mr. Lewis, or to Christians in general, I think you will more likely misrepresent them.

Mr. Lewis is considered once of the great philosophical and theological thinkers of recent times. To think you read a summary and now know how to deconstruct him seems very unlikely to me. I heard Neitzsche said 'God is dead', what else is there to know, I bet I can rip that apart.

I would invite you to study the works of Mr. Lewis, and others, and see if it does not challenge some of your questions.

I would also assert that having a queen does not make something Ipso-facto a Matriarchy. There would have to a be whole set of extra organizational principles and attitudes that went along with it.

This strikes me as a lazy approach to the subject matter. I am open to being wrong, but I think you need more grounding than 'I read a summary'.

I also would take issue with the comment that because there seem to be less Christians around, they are fair game, as another seemed to comment. God is a big thing, it is always fair to question and challenge, but if I picked a different group and made a similar comment, I bet that would not fly.

Anyway...While I do see some merrit in this story concept, since this rings to me of having "take that' behind it, I am going to let others have it.
To explain: initially my idea started out as a take that! Against CS Lewis work, but eventually grew into its own thing. My story doesn't just take inspiration from Narnia but also the Wizard of Oz and other fantasy works.

I don't think the world is a matriarchy.
 

Mad Swede

Auror
Nah, you just get to spend eternity in a shack with the illusion that it's the afterlife of your choice because you didn't believe in the magic talking cat. Sure open to questions there.
Except that what Lewis was critising was those people who are so locked into their own ways of thought that they won't accept or listen to anyone who suggests there might be an alternative. He was very critical of Christians who behaved like that, as is apparent in some of his other writings.
 

RagnartheBread

New Member
For some time now, I've had an idea in my head of a story that's basically a deconstruction of the "Chosen One" trope and specifically a criticism of the religious themes in CS Lewis' fictional works. It also takes great inspiration from The Wizard of Oz.
While I've never read any books by CS Lewis, I did read the tv tropes page for The Space Trilogy and found the theme that "questioning and disobeying god is a bad thing" very oppressive and antithetical to my personal views.

I want to write a story where questioning authority, independence and disobedience are held up as a good thing, and that there is nothing that shouldn't be questioned.

A rough outline of my story ideas:
A group of children end up in a fantasy world. They meet a beautiful elf queen who tells them that they have been chosen to save the kingdom from a threat who could destroy the entire world. The children initially see her as a benevolent figure and trusts her, but over time it becomes apparent that the she isn't telling them the entire truth and more and more secrets are discovered. They begin to realize that to survive, they need to be disobedient to the queen and find the truths on their own.

It's a deliberate inversion of the themes in Perelandra, where disobeying god which leads to the Fall is depicted as the source of all evil and obedience to divine authority leads to living in a perfect Utopian paradise. Here disobedience and disrespecting "divine authority" is what helps the kids survive.

One of the antagonists is blatantly based on Jadis, she is also an elf warrior queen and ruler of an icy realm who opposes the "good" elf queen. She has been demonized by the "good" elf queen as a "devil" figure and the rest of the Fantasy world fear and hate her but in reality she is an anti-villain whose villainy stem from circumstance.

The names I've currently chosen for the "good" queen is Amara and the "evil" queen is Aylin. My idea is that they are in fact sisters and some mix between fair folk and demi-goddesses. Amara is themed around fire, summer and the sun whereas Aylin is Winter, cold and the moon. I want to draw inspiration from Yakutian, Mongolian and imperial Russian fashion when designing Aylin and Ancient Egyptian, Indian and Thai fashion for Amara. Amara is dark-skinned while Aylin is very pale.


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The in-story explanation for their different appearance and cultural inspiration might be that their father was an emperor who ruled over a territory encompassing fantasy-equivalents of those real world cultures. Being non-human their genetics don't work like that of humans resulting in the difference in skin color. The sisters were each sent to govern one part of the empire which eventually fell and decentralized (being fey or demi-gods the sisters live for centuries, if not millennia).

I'm aware that Philip Pullman already wrote the His Dark Materials series to criticize the christian themes in CS Lewis' writings and I want to know if my story can stand out on its own, if subverting Christian themes is inherently offensive and/or tedious and how I can be culturally sensitive when drawing inspirations from those cultures when creating my designs. I also want to hear some opinions on my planned themes.
Im Honestly interested to see where this will go. i think some Terry Pratchett elements could be an interesting addition to the story while staying respectful. I think the way that the children appear in the fantasy world should be a wrong destination type deal where they were supposed to be sent somewhere totally different but the name was misspelled or the coordinates were botched etc. not sure if this makes sense but I hope this can help. Keep on writing!
 

Demesnedenoir

Myth Weaver
What a story means, in large part, is up to the reader. Patton was intended as an antiwar flick, and it ended up shown to new army recruits. The other option is to try and hammer the reader with meaning to make sure they don't get it wrong, and then! you get too preachy or the writer becomes a scold for most people and it backfires in the other direction.
 

Mad Swede

Auror
What a story means, in large part, is up to the reader. Patton was intended as an antiwar flick, and it ended up shown to new army recruits. The other option is to try and hammer the reader with meaning to make sure they don't get it wrong, and then! you get too preachy or the writer becomes a scold for most people and it backfires in the other direction.
Yes, hammering home your message is one way of doing that - and unfortunately I think that Philip Pullman was so focused on attacking what he saw as the Christian themes in the Narnia books that his own books (His Dark Materials) suffer. It's a shame, because he has some valid criticisms of organised religion and dogmatism, but they get lost in his heavy handed message.
 

Queshire

Auror
Little baby Que also completely missed that in His Dark Materials. Between the two I'd say that it seemed like His Dark Materials feels like it respected its protagonists more...?
 

Mad Swede

Auror
Little baby Que also completely missed that in His Dark Materials. Between the two I'd say that it seemed like His Dark Materials feels like it respected its protagonists more...?
Given that there is a gap of nearly 50 years between the Narnia books and His Dark Materials, a period during which attitudes and mores in western society have changed significantly, I would be very surprised if there wasn't a difference in the way the books are written and in the way the stories treat their protagonists.

The irony is that Philip Pullman has rather more in common with C S Lewis when it comes to criticism of organised religion and thought than is at first apparent. But that isn't something Pullman would ever admit to.
 

Demesnedenoir

Myth Weaver
Never read any Pullman. Movies looked stupid. I read Lewis as a kid and loved them, but only later knew a thing about Catholicism in them. Any ideology is open for critique or mocking in my book, but I tend to like exploring different angles, and even if a character declares some truth, said truth is bound to get challenged later. If I look at my own work, I could spin it to piss off most any political persuasion, heh heh. I trend Devil's Advocate. That's the books I prefer to read. No book will ever change my mind on anything philosophical, so I'll take entertainment.
 
Im Honestly interested to see where this will go. i think some Terry Pratchett elements could be an interesting addition to the story while staying respectful. I think the way that the children appear in the fantasy world should be a wrong destination type deal where they were supposed to be sent somewhere totally different but the name was misspelled or the coordinates were botched etc. not sure if this makes sense but I hope this can help. Keep on writing!
Can you elaborate on what you mean by "were supposed to be sent somewhere else"? Why do you think it would make sense for the story?
Personally, I dont think that works for the story I have in mind. The children were personally handpicked by the queen herself in the hopes that they can vanquish the threat.
 

LieutenantWolf34

Troubadour
In general, I think you should read the books you are criticizing. Believe me when I say the tv tropes page is not enough. I do applaud your desire to write this and I think it would be a fun read.
 
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