A fantastic vehicle for Magic-seekers

19 Aug

As children who morph into adulthood (become teens), we go from having our identities based on how our family sees us to how society (school, peers) sees us. The accursed self-awareness gene strikes overnight, and suddenly we begin to realize how different we are from everyone else…while being the same as everyone else at the same time. We have no clue what’s happened to us or why we’re feeling the way we are. Movies about magic are not really about practicing witchcraft. They are about us, about people born with gifts that make them both special and a freak. They help teens, tweens, and grown-ups, consider who they are, where they fit, and why they are.

Take Harry Potter, for example. Hogwarts’ purpose may be magical education, but the magic is something the characters are born with, not something they choose to defy God with. The magic is a story element that points to the truth. Harry Potter isn’t really about witches and wizards — it’s about us here today — humans born special but don’t know it yet because we feel like freaks. Narnia, Middle Earth, Hogwarts, Forks, WA, are all places where magic happens. They’re fictional stories used to help us understand the Magic that God has put inside each of us. The piece of Him, His life, His divine nature that so defies any human explanation that the very best way we can possibly define it is to call it “magic.”

We were all young once. We know what it’s like to feel lost and like an outsider and like we’ll never matter. But maybe some of us have forgotten…or just don’t understand kids today. So what better platform for bridging the gap than stories? I mean, movies?

The fantasy genre is one of the easiest vehicles to help connect our grey matter to our souls. Made-up worlds have made-up rules where all everyday laws and belief can be suspended. Here on Planet Earth, pigs can’t build houses — of any kind. Children don’t vomit slugs. Girls can’t grow hair the length of a tower. Happy thoughts can’t make you fly. Tomatoes don’t host tv shows. Perhaps the “cool” kids or “practical” adults will say it’s all nonsense, but it’s easier for a story to translate an important principle when none of the rules apply and our defenses don’t get in the way.

So many magical shows on the market these days could either be a phase Hollywood is going through — or evidence of how hungry the world is for the true Magic. And if the world is hungry for the true Magic, does that mean there is a lack of those who possess it telling His Story through the vehicle of movies? A wise friend of mine posted this message on his Facebook wall the other day: “For a hero to be of any value as a role model they need to be both virtuous and famous. A virtuous man or woman whose story goes untold can’t be emulated.” Are we telling the Story?

My challenge to you: Take a look at a fantasy film you don’t understand. You are not foolish because you don’t. (And conversely, other people are not dorks because they do.) Look at the characters closely. What are they struggling with (external)? What are they really struggling with (internal)? What is their goal? Why can’t they get there? When all hope seems lost, what happens? Then take a look at your own life, past or present. Can you relate to any of their struggles? How did you do things differently? How did that work out for you? Have you ever found the way out when all hope was lost? My friend, you now have a vehicle for discussion with a young ‘un. Or anyone else for that matter. Or, if you are tempted to just blow it off altogether, maybe the one question that should be asked is — Why?

Grown-ups, perhaps it’s time now to return to Narnia. But you won’t get in by the wardrobe again. May I politely suggest that the only way back in is through the movie theatre? Take someone new with you this time. Any young Magic-seeker will do.

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4 Responses to “A fantastic vehicle for Magic-seekers”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Lumos maxima! HP 7.1 opens « In Which I Blog - November 20, 2010

    […] * But my favorite part of the night was the event itself, hanging out with friends and a community of people who believe that the experience of sharing this event together was worth the effort of pre-ordering tickets and waiting in line for hours to get a good seat.  Observing the older teens everywhere in their Gryffindor and Slytherin costumes, I also realized that this generation has grown up on Harry Potter.  As my friend Jason said, “Harry Potter is their Star Wars.”  Finishing this series together will be a rite of passage for these young Magic-seekers. […]

  2. Farewell, Harry Potter « In Which I Blog - July 15, 2011

    […] us appreciate the every day we’ve got.  Thanks for inspiring us and reminding us how important seeking the Magic is.  You will be missed.  Until you come out on […]

  3. Welcome, visitors from other planets « In Which I Blog - July 18, 2012

    […] armoire (really? wait–they must mean Narnia) […]

  4. Oy with the ‘Beautiful Creatures’ (books) | In Which I Blog - March 4, 2013

    […] love monsters.  I love fantasy stories that stretch me beyond myself.  But the ‘Caster Chronicles’ book series lost […]

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