Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Killing Hope

After the past few decades, entertainment has seen a dramatic shift in worldviews.  While the stories of old told of noble heroes fighting against evil villains, we now turn more toward more cynical tales that involve questionable characters coming out on top.  A Game of Thrones is the latest example where noble heroes are quickly killed off by the wicked and evil.

This is described as more “real” and truer to life than the tales of old.  And yet, I feel a sense of loss at this new development.  While the tales of old are simplistic and the characters’ motivations are fairly plain, the modern day entertainment culture spurns these things as unrealistic.

Perhaps they have missed the point.  While it is true that most evil people do not openly acknowledge evil, like Skeletor of He-Man, evil people are relatively easy to spot.  When you consider evil to be people not only steeped in sin but openly embracing it, then the world becomes much simpler.

Indeed, many of the tales of old were about epic battles between good and evil because they are about giving us hope.  The actions of heroes are noble deeds to aspire to.  Tolkien demonstrates this well in The Lord of the Rings where even the most unlikely people can be heroes in their own way.

Tales of heroes and villains are about giving people hope.  In this dark and corrupt world, hope is something that is hard to come by.

Yes, political intrigue is certainly entertaining.  And I’ll grant that many modern science fiction and fantasy stories, in whatever median, are entertaining.  But I think we’ve lost something important in our drive to make things more “real”, especially when it comes to genres that are entirely fictional.