Fortunatus is one of my favorite characters. He’s an evil villain who experiences an undeserved rescue and is saved. He’s my first saved villain. He is a redeemed unlit and I love him.
This is a quote from one of my oldest stories, by one of my oldest characters, Benj. He’s a saved unlit, and it’s his son that finds the Preacher and stops many evil guardians. Someday I’ll share Benj’s story. Someday.
In all my stories, you will find someone who doesn’t deserve forgiveness, but gains it anyway. Undeserved Rescues.
A new blog should probably explain who and what I am, what I write, what I love. This is why you’re here, right? You’ve either followed me for a while, read my stuff, or just found me. So, who is Abby Jones? Why do I call my stories Faerie Stories?
When Faerie is spelled in the old world way instead of the more modern ‘Fairy’, older myths are invoked. A sense of great mystery is called upon. It’s the unseen world just beyond the corner of your eye. It ties into the idea of getting trapped in the Faerie Realm where you stay forever. Or, you dance away the night, but when you come home a 100 years have passed. It pulls the reader back into a Realm that is draped in shadows. Magical gifts are given to those in need, but at a cost. It is the idea of an older, deeper, more mysterious magic. It invokes elves. Tolkien’s elves. With ‘Faerie’ otherness is summoned. The Fair Isle is called up. The past rises to meet the future, and things we have forgot awaken in our minds.
Most importantly, it calls on the magic of the idea of Eucatastrophe.
Eucatastrophe is a word Tolkien invented to capture the turning point of grace in a story. It is the moment the light comes on. It is the sunrise after a dark night. It is Aragon on at Helm’s Deep. It is Christmas Day. (God became man!) Most strongly, most powerfully, the true moment of Eucatastrophe is the Resurrection. Something we had nothing to do with changes the course of our history forever. It is the undeserved rescue. This isn’t deus ex machina, though it might look like that to an outside observer. No. This is the moment when everything has gone horribly wrong for every one and suddenly, unexpectedly, undeservedly, salvation comes. All that was bad is turned right. All that was broken is fixed. God steps into the picture.
This is the deeper, older magic that the White Witch didn’t know about. The turning point when Aslan dies and then comes back to save the world. This is every believer in our salvation. We didn’t deserve to be saved, but God sent his Son to become us, live, and die for us. He paid our cost even though he didn’t owe it. And then! He adopted us all into his family! How mighty a salvation.
This is Belle loving the Beast. He didn’t deserve that.
This is the Huntsman deciding not to kill Snow White even though it cost him his life.
This is the elves helping the shoemaker.
All of these, these Faerie Stories, have moments of Eucatastrophe. They mirror, and exaggerate real life.
We have forgotten in our day and age of self-fulfillment, independence, and the self-made-man/woman how dependent we are on moments of grace. We are finite, failing creatures, and we need something ‘other’ to help us. We need to be reminded that when we face moments of darkness the light isn’t dependent on us.
In real life, we find this in theologically sound, orthodox Christianity. Christianity is filled with epic and ordinary Eucatastrophes. In literature, it is best reflected in true Faerie Stories. This is why I write dark, haunting, “and at the last moment raise the sun” Faerie Stories for children, young and old. I want them to see the wonder of the undeserved rescue. The turning point of grace. The true Eucatastrophe.
The other side of Faerie Stories for me is actual Fairy Tales. These are stories by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. Some of them are super moralistic, and I never want my stories to be “if you’ll just be good, God will save you” stories. We can never be good enough to earn salvation, and to try is to damn our souls. But, there are plenty of good and helpful truths packed into Fairy Tales.
My background of Brothers Grimm might explain to some of you why my stories are so dark, and why I often have villains that not only don’t get rescued, they don’t want to be rescued. I like some undeserved rescues, and I like some damnation. I like mercy mixed with justice. The Brothers Grimm were adept at meeting out punishment to their Evil Queens, Step-Mothers, Witches, and more. I don’t have a problem ending a story with the ending of the villain.
I also don’t often have my readers sympathize with the villain. Sometimes, I will. But most often they will be someone who turns your stomach.
Because we are the villains. We should turn our stomachs. If you’re a Christian, you should know that Christ didn’t save the heroes. Christ befriended the villains. He rescued the monsters. This is a true Myth. A true Fairy Tale. A True Faerie Story. This is what I write.
What is your favorite Faerie Story/Fairy Tale or Retelling? Comment below and I’ll tell you mine.