Narnia, Middle-Earth and the Kingdom of God tells the story of fantasy literature within the context of its complex relationship with the Christian tradition.
In this book, Worthing looks at early influences on the genre, including European fairy tales and folklore, Northern and classical mythology, and Christian allegory. He also explores the contours of a variety of fantasy worlds from MacDonald’s Faerie, Lewis’ Narnia and Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, to LeGuin’s Earthsea, Pratchett’s Discworld and Rowling’s world of Hogwarts.In these worlds, and many more, we discover themes such as the battle between good and evil, the question of the existence of God, and the problem of suffering.
Fantasy fans of all religious persuasions will find in this book a delightful and informative exploration of the rich history and profound themes of the fantasy genre.
Faith and Fantasy at the Crossroads
Section I: Formative Era
Chapter One: Literary Sources of Victorian Fantasy Writing
Chapter Two: Hans Christian Andersen: Grace for All
Chapter Three: George MacDonald: The Baptised Imagination
Chapter Four: Other Early Fantasy Literature: Wonderland, Water Babies and ‘It’
Section II: The Golden Era of Fantasy
Chapter Five: The Life and Faith of J.R.R. Tolkien
Chapter Six: The Fantasy Writings of J.R.R. Tolkien
Chapter Seven: The Problem of Evil in the Fantasy World of Tolkien
Chapter Eight: C.S. Lewis: His Life, Conversion and Theology
Chapter Nine: C.S. Lewis: Narnia and Apologetics
Chapter Ten: Other Christian Fantasy Writers of the Era (Williams, Chesterton and L’Engle)
Section III: The Contemporary Era
Chapter Eleven: Pullman and Pratchett: The Atheist Response
Chapter Twelve: Earth Spirituality and Fantasy (LeGuin, Bradley and Forsyth)
Chapter Thirteen: The Harry Potter Debate
Chapter Fourteen: Hans Bemmann: The German Tolkien
Chapter Fifteen: Religion in the Fantasy Worlds of Gene Wolfe
Chapter Sixteen: Recent Trends and New Directions in Fantasy
Conclusion: A Christian Defence of Fantasy