The Blog Tour for DragonLight wraps up today. I thought I'd end with a cautionary lesson I've learned from the DragonKeeper series. As speculative fiction authors, we have to be very careful with the symbols we use, especially when it comes to Christ.
When I first started reading the DragonKeeper stories, I thought I had the Paladin character figured out. In my mind, he was clearly the Christ figure for the story. He ruled Amara. He had miraculous powers. He had been alive for centuries. It certainly seemed like he filled that role in the story.
But as I read the next books, I became more and more confused. Paladin didn't seem all that Christ-like anymore. Not that he was doing evil stuff, but there were hints that he wasn't the Christ figure after all. After what I thought was such a strong connection in DragonQuest, it was a bit disconcerting.
During the blog tour for DragonFire, I mentioned my discomfort about this apparent Christological confusion, and I was told that Donita K. Paul never intended Paladin to be a Christ-figure for her stories. That made me feel a little better. But as I re-read the entire series in preparation for this tour, even knowing that Paladin wasn't a Christ analogue, I still got the same impression in the early books. While I spotted more hints that it wasn't the case, it still made me uncomfortable.
The same thing happened when I read Auralia's Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet. I was sure the Keeper was some sort of Christ figure, only to be told that I had messed up again.
Perhaps the problem is mine. Maybe other readers didn't see the possible connection or be concerned by it. As a Lutheran, I tend to be a bit Christocentric in my theology and thinking. At any rate, the whole quandry made me realize a lesson. We have to be careful in how we approach anyone (or anything) that might be construed as a Christ figure.
Different authors approach this in different ways. For example, Kathy Tyers and Sharon Hinck solved the issue the same way: they set their stories (the Firebird trilogy and the Restorer trilogy respectively) in a time before Christ. Karen Hancock took an opposite approach in the Legends of the Guardian King books by setting her story a thousand years after the Christ event.
It behooves us as Christian authors to be clear about our characters and the concepts in our stories. Granted, there might be those who get tripped up (like me), but it shouldn't be because we weren't careful enough.
While I may have been sort of negative this tour, it shouldn't discourage anyone from reading these books. They are great books. Go and see what the others have to say:
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
* Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
* Shannon McNear
* Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
* Cheryl Russel
* Steve Trower