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Of dragons and quests

Well, I guess it’s about time I bring up Eragon, an upcoming fantasy movie with the potential to generate God-talk. What’s it about? As IMDB puts it, the film (developed from a 2003 best-selling novel of the same name) follows a farm boy in his homeland of Alagaësia who “happens upon a dragon's egg—a discovery that leads him on a predestined journey where he realized he's the one person who can defend his home against an evil king.”

The novel created quite the stir when it was released. Why? Because this vastly popular book was written by 19-year-old Christopher Paolini, who began writing the novel when he was an even younger 15. The novel met positive yet mixed reviews, most with respect and recognition of the talent of such a young author while also noting the novel didn’t hit the depth or richness of the work of J.R.R. Tolkien and other fantasy greats. Another common observation was that the novel shares many elements with a plethora of fantasy novels that came before it, including the work of George Lucas and Anne McCaffrey. (See Wikipedia for a great roundup of review material on the novel.)

However, the novel spent 98 weeks on the NY Times Bestseller List, garnering a rather large following—myself included. What can I say. I have a weakness for novels like this (similiar to my weakness for B movie fare, I guess): they are fun and easy to read, have a great number of characters which feel like old friends (probably because you’ve met so many versions of them in the books you’ve read before) and a good plot that keeps the pages turning even as the clock screams that you should already be sleeping. It’s no great classic, but it sure is a good yarn (and much, much better than Eldest, the sequel which I just finished and, must admit, can't find much to say about). Plus, it comes with a couple of good nuggets, like this one from Brom (the wise sage that mentors Eragon): “Keep in mind that many people have died for their beliefs; it’s actually quite common. The real courage is in living and suffering for what you believe.”

It's a phrase like this—and the themes that go with it—that puts a film about dragons and quests on a blog that follows films with the potential to generate God-talk. The Lord of Rings films introduced a lot of people to the presence of biblical themes in high fantasy: good versus evil, a quest for truth, a fight for right-ness, hope, sacrifice, nature of love, redemption, faith, community, etc. All of these are dominant themes in Scripture, and most of them also run through Eragon in one form or another.

There’s no film trailer yet (though one’s been promised several times), but that hasn’t stopped fans from making their own. Check out this one (it’s actually quite good), developed from footage captured from a behind the scenes feature. If you want more information on about the film or novel, visit the film’s website or Wikipedia’s site on the novel.

Eragon’s cast includes such well-known actors as Jeremy Irons and John Malkovich and stars newcomer Edward Speleers in the lead role. The film is in post-production and due to release December 15.

(Image: Fox)