Tuesday, January 20, 2009

CSFF Blog Tour: The Book of Names Day Two

While I enjoyed The Book of Names once I got into it, there was one thing that kept me a bit uncomfortably almost to the very end. Simply put, Briggs's foundation for his story seems to be a sort of blend between Christianity and Norse mythology. I can't be sure since I've never really studied Norse mythology, but what little I know seems to suggest a connection. For example, Cruedwyn Creed's sword was apparently enchanted by Loki. And many of the mythic names that crop up in the story seem to have a Norse flavor to them.

This disturbed me a little at first. Should we really be blending our faith with pagan beliefs?

But then I realized that I was being a little hypocritical. One of my favorite C.S. Lewis books is Til We Have Faces. For those of you unfamiliar with that tale, Lewis retells the story of Psyche and Cupid with a decidedly Christian twist. Once I realized that, I set my trepidation aside and my enjoyment for the book went up.

I remember a few years ago, fellow Blog tourist Mirtika once challenged us to take one of Aesop's fables (about foxes, if I remember correctly) and then locate Bible verses dealing with foxes to come up with the seeds of a story's plot. I'm afraid I didn't participate that time, but I did purchase a few books on mythology at the time, intending to mine them for ideas. I didn't follow through on that either, but reading The Book of Names made my eyes wander to the shelves and think, "That might not be a bad idea after all."

There is one caveat in all of this. It's my belief that we have to be careful when using mythology as a foundation for our stories that we don't allow the myths to overshadow or twist our Christian beliefs. I say this because there was one thing in The Book of Names that made me a bit confused. In this book, the Christ-analogue seems to be named Aion. There were a few times where Briggs mentions that Aion has come and will come to Karac Tor a total of nine times. Needless to say, that made me a bit confused. But I suppose it may work differently in alternate realities.

Whatever. I'm thinking I might need to start pulling down those mythology books soon. Who's with me?

Before you do, though, make sure that you go and visit the other blogs on the tour and see what the other tourists have to say:

Sally Apokedak
Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Rachel Briard
Valerie Comer
Frank Creed
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Shane Deal
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Andrea Graham
Todd Michael Greene
Timothy Hicks
Joleen Howell
Jason Isbell
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
Steve Rice
Crista Richey
Alice M. Roelke
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Phyllis Wheeler
Timothy Wise

1 comment:

Jeff Draper said...

I think mythological trappings can be used as a sort of short cut to get a collective group to understand a concept faster and deeper than you otherwise could if you spelled it all out. I intentionally use a lot of devices out of mythological settings to evoke emotions for that purpose. Now, when you start supplanting myth for Christian truth, then I think you've got a mixture that is defeating that purpose. Haven't read enough of The Book of Names to see if that's happening here.