Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Chatting With the Media

Well, that was interesting. This morning, I wound up having a long talk with a fellow named Chris Bergeron, from one of the papers in Worcester. He's doing a story on Lord of the Rings, and decided to play with the spiritual side of the story, and how fantasy and spirituality interact.

He contacted me as someone from the SCA. I wound up discouraging that particular line of inquiry a bit -- I prefer to emphasize the SCA's historical side, and made clear that it's not really about fantasy, at least not any more. I encouraged him instead to look into the LARP side of the world, as being more tied into fantasy. We'll see whether he got the point or not.

Regardless, it was an interesting talk. He was exploring the notion of Big Fantasy as a modern substitute for religion; I disagreed, instead arguing that it's more a substitute for myth. We chatted about the mythological value of a story like Lord of the Rings, especially the notion of myth as a teacher of basic morals and lessons. He's very interested in whether things have changed since 9/11, so we talked a bit about whether people are hungrier for good mythology than they might have been before.

He was interested in comparing and contrasting it with the Matrix trilogy, which I thought was an intriguing line of thought -- I think of the Matrix as a bit less compelling as mythology, in part precisely because its moral lessons are a good deal more ambiguous (if they are really there at all). That actually drove home a point that hadn't consciously occurred to me before: the latter two Matrix movies are less satisfying than the first precisely because they are poor mythology -- they're a good yarn, but they don't have much by way of lessons or (closely related) character arc. I also think it's a little too early to say whether the Matrix has the legs to really be considered mythology; you tend to find out what's really an effective myth by observing whether people do take it to heart over time.

He also asked about Harry Potter in that regard; my view there is that the jury is still out. When the story is complete, it'll be interesting to see if it's got the makings of good mythology.

Overall, an entertaining discussion. I look forward to seeing what the article looks like when it comes out...

(And I got him intrigued enough by the SCA that he's thinking about doing a later story specifically on us. He seems level-headed and intelligent, so that sounds like a good thing...)

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