Classics Just Ain’t What They Used to Be

The Lord of the Rings. The Chronicles of Narnia. The Sea-Wolf. The War of the Worlds. Besides being books, these also have something else in common: they are timeless classics. These books (and many others) have stood the test of time and are still favorites today. These books will always be classics. But modern books don’t quite have the “classic” feel to them; I could not see books like, say, Harry Potter or Eragon to become classics. The sad thing is, these books will. Already many people prefer Harry Potter to the Lord of the Rings. These books don’t give the kind of message and thought that is needed to be classics. Eragon was simply a whirlwind of mixed up stories, all twisted into a somewhat old plotline. Now, of course, Eragon (and its sequel, Eldest) are fun to read, but they should never be granted the status that something like, say, Lord of the Rings has.


6 Responses to “Classics Just Ain’t What They Used to Be”

  1. April 15, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    I have got to agree with you to some extent. The Harry Potter books are, to me, just a mish mash of rehashed ideas with nothing original to say, yet they are incredably popular. I was, actually, just writing on my blog about Phillip Pullman’s trilogy His Dark Materials which, I have to say, impressed me. I think this will be (or deserves to be) seen as a classic. It does add to the canon of mythological novels and has originality.

  2. 2 squigs
    April 15, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    never having read His Dark Materials (but planning to) i must ask a question: do you see any attacks on religion? i know he’s gone all out against it, but do you personally see any?

  3. April 15, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    I have just been searching wordpress for blogs on Pullman and was taken aback by the fact that a lot of people are upset by his writing, having just read your blog homepage I was actually writing to apologise if I had caused you any offence, as this was not my intention.

    I have studied all religions quite extensively and my feeling is that there is one truth and each religion has trod its own path towards that one truth, different sides of a mountain, different challenges, but the summit is the summit, the one truth. Unfortunately, there are always those in all religions that twist this to suit a less than God-like agenda.

    It would be naive and dishonest if I were to say I saw no attacks on religion, it is a hot potato but I think it attacks how certain people/groups have used the word of God for political control over the centuries, which has happened and is happening in a lot of religions in the world. If the Word of God is manipulated by man, that is not God’s Work.

    What has, personally, put me off a lot of the major religions in the world is that sometimes they want to prevent you from looking at certain things, certain writings, other religions, etc. One who is strong in their faith has no fear of discussing ideas that may lay outside of their particular faith.

    I am sure many Christians would find Pullman’s work upsetting which is regretful and it is easy to lay an interpretation on it that states it attacks dogmatism rather than religion. The fact would still remain that it has upset people but a person strong in their faith can read that which questions their faith without fear because their faith is strong enough to do so.

  4. April 15, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    very true. no, you’ve caused me no offense–this is actually a nice conversation compared to past ones i’ve been holding. i agree with you very much about how someone strong in their faith should have no problem with discussing ideas outside of their comfort zone–i have no problem with it at all.
    also, you very accurately state that man has taken God’s Word for his own purposes: Hitler is one example. Christians are often wrongly blamed for this (and other instances, such as the Salem witch trials.)
    just wondering, do you have a religion? there are “Christians” and there are Christians. i can certainly see how you could be put off of a lot of religions, for the very reasons you’ve stated. although most true Christians don’t do that. really, when one thinks about it, it’s the radical atheists and the Muslims that do it the worst…

  5. April 15, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    I am glad I did not cause any ill feeling.

    Blaming Christianity for the Nazi regime is warped to say the least. He also used what was in essence a Buddhist symbol, the swastika which originally was a symbol for peace, the Nazi’s used it with the arms reversed in the other direction (consciously or subconsciously) a version that did not exist until then. As an aside, we just had the Olympic torch come through London, with the protests. Amazing how hugely important getting that flame through unharmed became, the custom only goes back as far as 1936, the Berlin Olympics. What that sort of symbolised to me is how mankind can become obseesed with the outer dressing and lose sight of the true meaning beneath.

    Do I have a religion? I have strong beliefs and hold ethical values, do not harm, be honest, be kind. I believe in a power beyond our mortal lives, I believe it to exist in all things. I have and have had friends who were Christian, both Catholic and Born-Again, I have also known good people who were Buddhist and many from other religious backgrounds. I guess I avoid labelling my spirituality because sometimes it attaches baggage to it. That energy that exists in everything, my Christian friends would call that God, Taoists would call it The Tao.

    I think you could say that there are two, maybe three types of people. There are the religious/spiritual and there are those who are not, the third group would be those who deliberately live a non-spiritual life. I find it hard to dismiss everyone who follows a particular religion as good or bad, good and bad exist in all religions, all walks of life. I have known many who go to a Church on Sunday but live a lying, cheating, unethical life for the other six days, for me any spiritual commitment is, well, 24:7. It is not someting we do, it is something we are, that we choose to be.

    I come from an art background rather than a scientific one but I am interested in quantum Theory. I think we lost our way a bit during the Enlightenment period were mind and body got seperated and I wonder whether quantum theory is where science and religion begin to come together again. Some of the things that quantum mechanics throws up starts to sound like things that have been interpreted in various way in various spiritual texts but that is another discussion and I have to shut the PC down and go do other things!

    Many thanks for replying to my initial comment and I am glad to have talked to you. I noticed you are a Conan Doyle fan, Sherlock Holmes was one of my favourite reads when I was a kid, absolutley nutty about him back then.

    Wishing you peace and happiness.

  6. 6 kt
    April 28, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    nice new blog, squigs! =) i hate to interrupt the conversation above but i just found out about this new blog…
    i agree. there are so many new books that are “ok”. i was disappointed with the eragon books and the harry potter movies (from the tiny part i saw), seemed almost like a mush of things. i LOVE the lord of the rings, Chronicles of Narnia, and all those other ones. Classics are amazing! but if the books that ppl love now are ever labled Classic…then i’ll be a little ticked off. lol

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