Monday, March 1, 2004

Huh. This looks…oddly…familiar.

In other news….

[Bad The Brothers Lionheart artwork]

There are certain books that either you read at a certain point in your childhood and becomes a sparkling treasure you hide in your heart which shapes the rest of your life, or you read it later in life and completely forget it within six months.

It seems to me that The Broothers Lionheart falls squarely into this category. And, since my childhood is over, you can probably tell I’m not amazingly enthused by it.

Which is not to say it’s a bad book. It’s the story of two boys who die in this world and find themselves in the fantasy world of Nangiyala, which begins as an idyllic land but is soon thrown into chaos by an evil king whom the boys must help to vanquish.

The book is by Astrid Lindgren, the author of Pipi Longstocking, among other stories. She weaves a delicate tale, which certainly has heart to spare; it’s an emotional ride as the protagonist (the younger of the brothers) observes the world around him. It’s a good object lesson in the true nature of heroism; the protagonist has an understandably immature view of heroism, and the author does an admirable job of making the reader almost want to scream corrections at him.

But underpinning all of this is a disturbing philosophical system. Besides sending the reader through the depression of two boys’ deaths, the end of the book seems to encourage suicide as an escape from loneliness to a better world. It seems strange that a book which prizes self-sacrificing heroism suggests that, when you’re not fighting for ideals but are personally hurting, you should just give up and die.

Ah well. That aside, The Brothers Lionheart was a good book, with good adventure and a good heart. Overall, I would recommend it, with certain philosophical reservations.

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