The Moldering of Morals in Fantasy Fiction
The Roots of Morals in Fantasy Fiction
Most people would credit C.S. Lewis as being the progenitor of morals in fantasy. However, Lewis acknowledged George MacDonald as the father of fantasy fiction. He wrote the fantasy novels Phantastes, The Princess and the Goblin, and Lilith. He also wrote several fairy tales: The Light Princess, The Golden Key, and The Wise Woman. These inspired Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. The works of both writers are moral tales, and the morals woven through the stories are rooted in a Judeo-Christian worldview.
The Decline of Morals in Fantasy Fiction
Judeo-Christion worldview? What is that? Today’s fantasy fiction writer may have heard the term, but they have either never embraced it or ditched it long ago. The postmodern worldview accepts no absolutes, especially in the realm of morals and religious tenets. The basic premise that guides our morals or lack thereof today is personal pleasure without restraints other than mutual consent. That postmodern philosophy informs most of today’s morals in fantasy fiction as well as other fiction. Postmodern morals are relative.
The Greek philosopher, Socrates, though not a Christian, offers some wise words: “A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true.” It seems to me that is where we are today—morals that are not morals at all, just illusion.