The magic/fantasy debate is prevalent in the Christian culture. Should Christians read these genres or not? Are we leading children astray by allowing them to consume these? Should we read them ourselves? Is magic in media and books bad?
Depends on what you mean by magic.
There are two types of magic: incantation and invocation. Invocation is used to conjure up an evil spirit. Think Saul and the witch of Endor when she called up Samuel’s spirit. You could also call it black magic and God has made it clear Christians should stay away from it (Leviticus 19:31, Deuteronomy 18: 10).
Incantation is more generic. In the fantasy world, it can be used for good or evil. It’s more like a neutral power, like the Force in Star Wars. While the supernatural is involved, goodness wins in the end and evil is portrayed as evil.
Fantasy can reveal God and goodness in a unique way. It also portrays the battle of good and evil amazingly. Some of the greatest literary heroes are in the genre. Not all fantasy is good, but there are some amazing stories out there with magic and dragons and swords. Still exercise caution, but don’t be afraid of fantasy. Below are some books to get you started.
The Chronicles of Narnia series – C.S. Lewis
In the first book, The Magician’s Nephew, starts with the meeting of two children, Digory and Polly. They begin to play together and one day they accidentally stumble into Digory’s Uncle Andrew’s study. He tricks them into going to another world and they’re catapulted into one adventure after another, ending with them in Narnia, a new world created by the great Lion, Aslan. But an evil queen is in the land and it’s up to the children and a flying horse to bring protection to Narnia. The books in the series are:
~ The Magician’s Nephew
~ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
~ The Horse and His Boy
~ Prince Caspian
~ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
~ The Silver Chair
~ The Last Battle
The Chronicles of Prydain series – Lloyd Alexander
Taran is an Assistant Pig-Keeper who longs to do more than watch over one pig. But then his charge escapes and while he goes searching for her, he meets a gaggle of characters who soon become his friends, including Princess Eilonwy, Fflewddur Fflam, part king, part bard, Gurgi, and the disappearing dwarf, Doli. Together they struggle to fight against Arawn-Death-Lord and his deathless warriors, the Cauldron Born, and set the land of Prydain free. The five books in the series are:
~ The Book of Three
~ The Black Cauldron
~ The Castle of Llyr
~ Taran Wanderer
~ The High King
The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
In the prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Bilbo Baggins is content to stay at home, but Gandalf the Gray Wizard has other ideas. He volunteers Bilbo for an expedition who’s in need of a burglar. A company of thirteen dwarves are on their way to slay a dragon and claim back their kingdom and a thief isn’t a bad resource, especially if you want to steal part of the dragon’s treasure. Reluctantly Bilbo goes along and encounters goblins, trolls, and a gold ring with more power than he realizes before reaching the mountain where Smaug the dragon sleeps.
Lord of the Rings trilogy – J.R.R. Tolkien
Bilbo is one hundred eleven years old and he’s leaving the Shire. He gives Frodo, his nephew, his ring that he acquired on his travels. But there’s more to that ring than was before known. Gandalf the Grey comes back and tells him that Sauron, who seeks to hold Middle-Earth in his power, knows the ring has been found. If he has the ring, then he can complete his goal. Frodo must take a journey and destroy the ring. But orcs and black riders search for the hobbit and others are greedy for the gold band. Frodo himself fights to want the ring. His band of friends is broken up, Aragorn, whom everyone believes is a simple Ranger, fights to reunite the kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor, and Saruman the White is working his plans as well. The books in the trilogy are:
~ The Fellowship of the Ring
~ The Two Towers
~ The Return of the King
Redwall series – Brian Jacques
Vermin lurk everywhere – in the woods, on the sea, in the mountains. They kill, enslave, and try to horde wealth and power. But just when it seems hopeless, or the beloved abbey of Redwall is in danger, a hero or heroine rises up to fight the villain. Of course, they can’t do it alone. Shrew and otter tribes, badger lords, practical hedgehogs, fierce but hilarious hares, lovable moles, and battling squirrels are ever ready to lend their aid. Sometimes they have to solve riddles to fight the evil, other times perilous journeys are required. But there are always friends at hand, and the spirit of Martin the Warrior, a brave mouse who swung a sword, is behind the hero who has been chosen to use his sword and fight. There are twenty-two books in the series. Below they are chronologically listed, since each story refers to a character in a previous book.
~ Lord Brocktree
~ Martin the Warrior
~ The Legend of Luke
~ Outcast of Redwall
~ Mariel of Redwall
~ The Bellmaker
~ Pearls of Lutra
~ The Long Patrol
~ The Taggerung
~ Rakkety Tam
~ High Rhulain
~ The Sable Quean
~ The Rogue Crew