Monday, July 4, 2011

400 Hours to 400 Days Blog Party: Prophecies

Hello! This post is part of the 400 Hours to 400 Days Blog Party. Prophecies play an important part in the Lor Mandela series, so that is what I will be talking about today.

Prophecies are fascinating things. They show up in Greek mythology, modern literature and everything in-between. Storytellers, and their listeners, love them. In the past, prophecies were fairly straightforward. In the myth of the birth of the Greek god Zeus, his father Cronus is told that his son will be more powerful than him and will be his undoing. Now, when Cronus hears this, he has two options. One, he takes the prophecy seriously and strives to prevent it. Two, he ignores the prophecy and goes on with his life. Cronus chose option one and decided to swallow his children as soon as they were born. This was a mistake on many levels. Firstly, it lost him the loyalty of his wife an secondly it ticked off his son when he managed to be born and grow up anyway. If Cronus had chosen to be a good father and raised his son properly, chances are Zeus would have been loyal to him and the prophecy would never have been fulfilled. That is an example of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If it had never been spoken, it might never have happened.

Another kind of prophecy is the sort that is very helpful to the questing heroes who actually want to fulfill it. This is the kind that gives them clues along the way and helps them to make decisions that will lead to a desired outcome. In the world of Lor Mandela, there is a prophetic riddle that can only be solved by one person, the Child of Balance. If she cannot solve and fulfill it, their world will be destroyed. When first reading it, there are some things she understands immediately but others slowly reveal themselves as they go along. This kind of prophecy is an excellent plot device that L. Carroll put to good use. It added a sense of purpose and direction to the story, as well as something for the reader to speculate on. I call this kind of prophecy self-perpetuating. It grows and becomes easier or harder to understand throughout the story while leading the plot inexorably toward a conclusion, for better or worse.

I could go on and on about the many uses of prophecies. It can create a deadline, a sense of urgency, like in Lor Mandela: 400 Days. It can give hope, like in the Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter series', where it tells of a chance to escape a powerful evil or terrible disaster. Some prophecies are obvious, some are subtle, but they all give a sense of magic to the world, hinting at power and knowledge that man cannot control. A good prophecy weaves its way through a tale, revealing and concealing until the one moment when everything falls into place, and you understand. I love that moment and that is why I keep my eye out for stories of fate and prophecy.

                         Lieder Madchen

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