Saturday, December 3, 2016

Things worth believing in

I'm not sure how many people saw the movie Second Hand Lions. It wasn't a blockbuster by any means but it's a favorite around the Sullivan household.  Today, I was speaking to someone in email about my books and why I write optimistic classic fantasy rather than the grimdark reads that are so popular right now.  The person writing the email said,

"Most people I see reviewing on the internet are always bashing books which deal with the dichotomy of good and evil.They keep saying that prefer morally gray/grey characters and would prefer if good didn't always win. That way of thinking tells you how messed up our society as a whole has become. We have enough moral ambiguity in the real world as it is and I'd rather read a story about good people overcoming bad things and have a happy ending."

Reading that reminded me of my favorite lines from Hub's what-every-boy-needs-to-become-a-man speech. It goes like this:

"Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things that a man needs to believe in the most: that people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love, true love, never dies... No matter if they're true or not, a man should believe in those things because those are the things worth believing in."

Not sure what drove me to post about this...oh yeah, I just got done reading the news then reading/responding to email ;-)


  1. Oh, wow, there's other people who actually know Secondhand Lions? Best unknown film ever!
    Anyway, me personally I like my fantasy with a bit of grey and / or plots that challenge the shininess of the shiny hero.
    Will go rewatch Secondhand Lions now.

  2. Nothing wrong with grey and heroes that aren't all shinny. But what I don't want is to have to pop a few anti-depressentants before I start reading. Some of the fantasy world right now are so dark. There's no one to root for, and I certainly wouldn't want to live in place where all hope is gone.

    Glad you are a fan of SHL. What a great movie.

  3. I'll have to check that movie out. I like fantasy with heroes who are imperfect or who have a dark past or demons they're running from, but I also like it when they overcome those things and make a difference in a good way.

  4. Such a great perspective. As a fellow writer I understand the "fun" that playing with the grey brings to a plot, but in the end, you're right. That's why Star Wars, The Princess Bride, and The Lord of the Rings will always be classics. There is too much disappointment already in the world.

  5. My preference is for all types. Authors to write what they want, whether always to a strict philosophy, or just whatever mood they're in for that particular tale. And readers to have enough of a selection available to choose that which fits their needs.

    I don't ever want one-dimensional characters, rather the reverse. But in real life there are people of all sorts, whether in temperament, experience, or both. The trend among many in recent years has to been to speak to just a couple/few groups, but there are lots of people dealing with, and sometimes struggling with, all sorts of challenges. Different physical or mental issues and illnesses. Pasts that you might not wish on your worst enemy. So many that never get discussed, and so there's little-to-no positive media representation.

    I've not read that quote before, and I do think it appeals. But for me it's only a part of a larger whole. I think that we should look to the hope, the possibility, but at the same time never lose sight of the world we are in, and how far we as a society, if not individually*, are from that goal.

    * With the caveat that people often seem the most blind to their own flaws and faults.

  6. I LOVE that movie. "Just bury us in the garden with the stupid lion!"

    Right up there on my feel good movie list with The Intouchables, Chef, Secretariat, A Good Year.

  7. I admit after seeing that movie I purchased it as soon as I could knowing I would save money because I would be seeing it multiple times, and I still do occasionally. I have to admit though there is one small thing that bothers me about the movie and that was that believing in those things (true or not as he says) seemed to just be an arbitrary decision, like believing in Santa Clause maybe, that is just necessary to make. That, along with the ending (no spoilers I promise) gave it a Hemingway Existential-Nihilist touch (Yes, I had to look that up :)) that doesn't sit well with me; a sort of hopelessness/uselessness of life. A very small touch but it was there for me anyway. I'm quite glad I don't get that at all from your books!


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