Religion and fantasy

Philip.Belben at Philip.Belben at
Wed Jul 25 13:23:18 EDT 2001

>>I was wondering about how this influences the way you read DWJ (and other
>>fantasy). I haven't read anything DWJ has said about whether she is a
>>Christian, but on the evidence of the books I assume she's not: I can't
>>think of any of her books where the worlds she describes have any kind of
>>benevolent, omniscient and immortal supernatural figure wch might be
>>comparable to the Judeo-Christian God.
> Respectfully disagreeing, that was the way I saqw the One.  It doesn't help
> that "Adon" in Hebrew is related to the word "Adonai", meaning the Jewish
> god, Oreth is vaguely related to a word meaning the same in (I think) a
> different language, although I don't know which.  (It was a look-up the
> meaning of the name, but we won't tell you how we got it book.)  and, I
> can't remember the One's other name, but iirc it also means G-d in Hebrew
> (An Israeli, or Hebrew speaker with a better memory than mine can correct
> me...)

Well, I have a half-finished post on DWJ's Deities in my "drafts" folder, but
for now I merely want to register another respectful disagreement with Rebecca.

To me, the One does not bear very much resemblance to the Judeo-Christian God,
apart from the name (well spotted - I hadn't noticed that at all!).

Probably easiest if I just list some differences:

The One is not all-powerful, but is rather kept from acting simply because of
bonds placed on him by Kankredin and Cenblith.

The One is not infinitely wise, but can be tricked by Cenblith - thus showing
that he has human fallibility of emotion.

The One, while accepting veneration from his people, is surprised and touched
when Tanaqui forms a personal attachment to him as her grandfather.  Christians
(not sure about the Jewish view) believe that such a personal relationship is
the natural one for believers.

While Ammet and some of the other Undying look to the One as their Grand Father,
it is clear (not least from Anoreth's comments) that Tanamil at least does not.

My view on DWJ's deities can be summed up as follows:

As a Christian, I believe in a God who is both omnipotent and personally
interested in each of His creatures.  DWJ's deities seem to be one or the other,
but not both.  (Examples: The Goddess in SWM for omnipotence; Aglaia-Ualaia for
taking a personal interest.)

Sometime soon I shall have a go at completing my longer survey on this


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