Conversations with a reader: Happy Endings
February 15, 2012 9 Comments
I’m striking out the reader’s name, but I have a feeling many people have similar questions and thoughts, so I wanted to share my thoughts with others on these topics. If you have a question for me (even if it’s insulting or filled with disappointment), feel free to contact me at rexjameson at gmail.com, where at is an @ symbol. I love hearing from you guys and gals, and I appreciate your opinions and viewpoints–even if they’re quite contrary to mine.
> I thought that Michael and Gabriel are good guys.
They are good guys, if you’re on their side. However, the Old Testament is not exactly a children’s story, and the side we’re on is pretty brutal. As the oldest child of my family, I’m hoping I’m not a descendant of a Philistine. Things never go well for the first born Philistines and Egyptians :). In fact, the more innocent you are in the Old Testament, the more likely you’re going to be murdered.
Take the story of Samson, for instance. Samson seeks to marry a Philistine because “it is of the Lord”. He kills a lion, and bees make honey inside of the carcass. So, approaching his wedding day, he goes into the wedding feast and proposes a riddle to his Philistine groomsmen. Being a humble man, he chooses a riddle about himself–concerning the lion he killed and the bee tenants–and promises them 30 pieces of fine garments that he doesn’t have if they get it right. They don’t guess it and badger Samson’s fiancee to give them the answer. She does, and Samson decides that the best part of the riddle is yet to come.
He goes into the streets of Ashkelon and kills 30 innocent people, collects their garments and delivers the fabrics to his groomsmen. Joke’s on them, right? Samson refuses to marry the woman and leaves. The woman’s father gives her to the best man who is still interested. Samson changes his mind because maybe he has another riddle to give to the groomsmen or something, and comes back, but the father informs him that his daughter is now engaged because Samson refused her. He actually offers his younger daughter, but Samson’s having none of that.
Samson does the only logical thing available. He attaches torches to the tails of 300 foxes and sends them into the Philistine fields and cities, burning down innocent people’s farms and homes. The people get so infuriated that instead of killing Samson, they trap the woman and her father in their house and burn it down. In revenge for someone else killing the father and the wife he should have had, Samson goes about killing a whole bunch more Philistines.
The Philistines finally go “OK, we’re sending an army to bring this guy to justice for killing so many innocent people,” but unfortunately for them, God puts a magic, non-brittle ass’s jawbone on the ground, and Samson uses it to beat 1,000 Philistines to death with it.
I won’t go into the story of Delilah, but the good news is that Delilah doesn’t appear to get punished for betraying her husband. Samson just gets a chance to kill more Philistines at a temple.
Not exactly a happy ending for the Philistines. I’d argue that none of the Old Testament is a happy ending unless you’re one of God’s chosen people. Michael and Gabriel (and angels in general) are more often than not involved in slaughter and retribution against the people outside of God’s chosen. The perspective of much of the Primal Patterns series is from outside of God’s chosen, and so, it’s not much of a happy ending for some of the protagonists, and that’s perfectly OK if you’re in God’s chosen. God gets even more smitey as the series progresses.
> Have fun writing and write a book soon about light, love, good folks and
> happy endings. I need happy endings.
If you’re a fan of the New Testament, there’s a happier ending that comes by the end of Book 3: Shadows of our Fathers. (redacted) That’s a spoiler obviously, but this is a retelling of much of the Old Testament that takes into account the breadth of God’s creation–namely the billions of trillions of stars and 350 billion known galaxies and 7 trillion dwarf galaxies. God’s chosen is expanded drastically in this series.
> Can’t wait to read the happy book.
I have two other books that are only available on Kindle:
Elves and Goblins: Perspectives of a Father’s Rebellion
Angels and Demons: Perspectives of a Violent Afterlife
Both of these have good guys ultimately thwarting evil, but the path is not as black and white as you’ll like. In Angels and Demons, God wants to show the Devil how good mankind is so he agrees to a wager with the Devil that humans who are murdered go to Hell and those who die of natural causes go to Heaven. If mankind follows the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) and the teachings of the New Testament (forgiveness of an enemy, etc.), then Heaven wins by default. War and murder will obviously cause the Devil to gain the only power he has available–that of numbers of souls, and mankind’s tendency to kill causes Michael and Gabriel (those good guys) to have to try to convince humanity to stop killing.
In Elves and Goblins, a marginalized people (the elves) have been placed in concentration camps by goblins and are being starved to death. They can’t go to universities or receive health care, and over 300 years, they nearly die out. A father faces the imminent death of his son and decides that the only recourse is to go into town and find a cure for his son’s illness, a disease that is decimating the remaining elves. He has to kill for the first time in hundreds of years, but he’s doing so to save his innocent son.
To me, these are happy endings, but happy endings don’t come free. People have to work for happiness, and the path to redemption is often paved in tragedy and loss for the greater good.
So, to wrap up, I do believe in happy endings, but my happy endings are not the neat and tidy ones that many readers are desperately searching for. That’s OK. No book can please everyone. If you’re looking for recommendations of books that are much happier and generally death free, authors like Debora Geary may be more down your alley. Of course, she’s writing about happy witches and not angels and demons. The good news is that after the third book in the Primal Patterns series, I plan on tackling a different subject. Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely to be about happy witches.