The ideas behind the books

The Battle of Good Against Evil

Just because your book is fantasy fiction it doesn't follow that what you're reading isn't about real life. And just because that ring of power wasn't found in your backyard doesn't mean that you don't have to arise from your quiet fields ' to shake the towers and counsels of the Great'.

Think about Dolly the Sheep Clone. Here is a magnificent opportunity for mankind to improve the breeding stock of domestic sheep. Genetic research could eliminate disease and distress in humans and feed the world's hungry with genetically modified crops. But knowledge is power and genetic research could also lead to 'designer babies' and perhaps a terrifying kind of selection for a master race. Now, the decisions that our scientists and leaders take will show whether our special knowledge is to be used for good or for evil. he battle is on. As Great-Uncle Merry muses in 'Over Sea, Under Stone':

That struggle goes on all round us all the time, like two armies fighting. And sometimes one of them seems to be winning and sometimes the other, but neither has ever triumphed altogether. Nor ever will...for there is something of each in every man.

And if knowledge is a kind of power, Ogion the Mage has some advice for us in 'A Wizard of Earthsea':

Have you never thought how danger must surround power as shadow does light?
This sorcery is not a game we play for pleasure or for praise. Think of this: that every word, every act of our Art is said and is done either for good, or for evil. Before you speak or do you must know the price that is to pay!

Our wizard, Sparrowhawk, in 'A Wizard of Earthsea' becomes so concerned that his power may upset the natural balance of things that he is reluctant to practise his arts at all. And in 'The Lord of the Rings' neither Elrond nor Gandalf are persuaded to take the ring of power to hide it or to wield it because they fear the ring's enormous power will corrupt them.

One common strand in these satisfying sagas of the battle of good against evil is the importance of the role of the small character who finds himself besieged by dark forces and simply acts in the way which he knows to be right whatever personal sacrifice is required of him. Surely this is a role model we should carry away with us into real life?