The Princess and the Goblin.
MacDonald is well-known for being an idol of C.S. Lewis and, to a lesser degree, of J.R.R. Tolkien. This is the second story of his I have read and it is quite wonderful.
As before, I came away a little confused by the imagery of this “Christian” (as he is packaged today) author. The main image in this book is that of the Princess Irene’s great-grandmother who can only be seen by those who believe in her, or whose light can be seen by those she wishes to save. These are concepts clearly familiar to Christianity, and yet this magical person is a woman: unusual. Compare this to Lewis’ Aslan, who — although a lion — is both male and masculine.
Another note of interest is MacDonald’s acceptance of and use of evolution. Although approached from a fantasic storyteller’s point of view rather than a scientific one, MacDonald makes liberal use of the theory which is now fought against by so many Christians. These two extended metaphors (among others) make me belive that MacDonald’s faith is more personal than the over-politicized faith of some today. It would be interesting to read his original romance novels and compare them to the modern ‘reprints’ edited for a specifically Christian audience. I wonder what exactly needed to be “edited” out of or into these novels? Surely MacDonald is a superior writer to his editor!
In an interesting twist on the Genesis account of the Flood, the goblins in this story wanted to mate with the “higher species” (princess) and were punished for that desire. In Genesis, fallen man had become even worse by the nephilim who had taken the women as mates.
Fun story, well told. Highlight of ridiculous writing: foot-stomping fights.