Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Not-So-Deathless One.

Babylon Fallen - Gustave Dore

So I read the Epic of Gilgamesh today. It was not exactly the most optimistic of books. The books subject is the life of an incredible Sumerian hero. He has 'succeeded' in every modern definition of the word. He's rich, he's powerful, he's handsome and respected by both gods and man. He is the essence of a worldly victory. He's the greatest of the great. He only has one problem.

He dies.

He doesn't really want to die. He's afraid of death. He even goes as far to journey to the land of the gods to find he flower or immortality. But through a cruel twist of fate, even that evades him. And so Gilgamesh dies. All his great actions and worldly success are turned to dust. Not exactly the pick me up of the day.

But it brought up a good point, and one that really applies to our writing. We really have to be careful about how much confidence we place in worldly success for our characters. I mean, for all we love torturing our long suffering our long suffering characters, but we care about them.  Most of us like to make sure to give them a happy ending. At the end of the book want them to have defeated the villain, married to the love of their life and in a reasonably stable economic situation. Because we like happy endings.

Now don't worry I'm not going to rant against happy endings. I'm a big sucker for a happy endings. Nothing touches my heart more. But I think we have to be careful as we wrap up the plot, marry off the hero and heroine and write the final happily ever after that we don't make our ending too materialistic. Gilgamesh had everything that could be considered worldly success. But he lost it, because in the end, he died. Because he had nothing beyond this temporal life.

See 'happily ever after' is a wonderful thing, but you won't find it in defeating the villain, in marriage and those sort of things in life. Those are only pictures. Symbols of the day when we will defeat the ultimate villain, when Christ will marry His bride and peace will finally reign. Gilgamesh had the symbols, he defeated villains, had many wives, but none of that brought him happiness because true happiness does not come from those things, but the things that they symbolized.

The practical application of this is that the Christian writer must point towards the ultimate happy ending. Every well written happy ending has a shard of heaven embedded inside. The whispers of greater glory. Heaven, is the end. The happy end. It gives the story meaning and conclusion. Material success will gain us nothing without it.

1 comment:

  1. Good thoughts! I completely agree. :)