You’ve heard the phrase before: “It’s all good.” People toss it out there all the time. I’ve caught myself saying it to try to smooth over situations where something bad has happened. Andrew and Randall tore down the notion that everything is “all good” with their realistic but hopeful writings. Bob Dylan satirized the phrase “it’s all good” recently in song:
The widow’s cry, the orphan’s plea Everywhere you look, more misery Come along with me, babe, I wish you would You know what I’m sayin’, it’s all good All good
Not to harp on the subject, since we’ve already had two posts on it, but it’s an important one. This is why Tolkien wrote,
“Anyway, all this stuff (his reflection about his stories) is mainly concerned with Fall, Morality, and the Machine … There cannot be any ‘story’ without a fall – all stories are ultimately about the fall – at least not human minds as we know them and have them.”
There was, as Andrew and Randall both said, a time when death wasn’t inevitable and evil wasn’t a part of the stained fabric of our world. But that time cannot be, and as such, there can be no story without conflict, without a fall. All stories that have a fall are reflecting on the simple, inescapable reality (not matter how hard we try to escape it!) that the world is not as it should be.
The Lord of the Rings is so real a story to us both because the evil of Sauron is very real and potent, and the evil inside Frodo the same. The Chronicles of Narnia are so powerful because each character has to deal not only with evil witches and deceitful enemies, but with deceit and evil within. Thankfully, Aslan is gentle and merciful, for all his terror and holiness.
I have a suspicion that the real reason the anti-hero has become so popular is not because we’ve become more depraved in our thinking and in what we want from our heroes, but because we know we’re every bit as bad, as fallen, as those anti-heroes. The anti-hero, or the Gothic hero-villain, represents our hope that despite the gigantic mess we’ve made of our lives, it can all be redeemed.
It’s not all good. But it will be.
Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven. ~ Jesus