What Story Will You Read?

One of the most profound ideas to come from the 1984 film The Neverending Story is Mr. Koreander’s idea that some stories are not safe stories.  Yet, at the same time, overshadowed like Walt Disney’s Oswald the Rabbit, is another idea.  It’s the reason that the film (and book) are called The Neverending Story – no, not because of the potential for additional, less quality, sequels – because the story is different for every person who reads it.

As you watch the story play out on the screen and experience Bastion interacting with the tale, it’s no accident that the hero is a child, a warrior of the plains people who hunts the Purple Buffalo (ever catch the stickers on his briefcase?  What about the wolf’s head in the attic?).  It’s also no accident that the ailing Empress of Fantasia is a child either, because of who is reading the tale.  At the same time, the film deals with some darker themes like loss, death, testing, quest, journey, and maturing because these are all things that Bastion is facing in his own life.

When Bastion first sees the book in Koreander’s Books, he encounters it because it is Mr. Koreander who is reading it. Was the story that Koreander was reading the same as the one Bastion was drawn into?  No, it couldn’t have been; as an audience we don’t know what it was, but we can surmise that it HAD to be a different tale, tailored more to where the book enthusiast was in life and the things happening to him.  It may not have been about a land called Fantasia, but it could have been about a Wise King growing advanced in years who feared for the fate of his kingdom as the culture was changing around him, a king who longed for his kingdom to be secure and had the constitution within him for one final battle against an oncoming evil personified in a younger villain who wanted to sweep away the “old ways” (“The arcade is down the street; here we only sell small rectangular objects called books that don’t make and b-b-b-beeps“).  It could have been about a burnt-out detective called upon out of retirement to solve one final case, or a lonely gunslinger who rides into town to bring a brand of justice the townsfolk need but cannot muster.  (It makes me wonder if Mr. Koreander would have been one to see Blade Runner – it released about two years before The Neverending Story – and enjoy it.)

In the case of both Koreander and Bastion, the tale they are swept into reflects both who they are and what is happening to them in real-life.  If someone handed you a book like that, what would happen; what story would you read?  What story are you living?

Posted on by Aaron in Uncategorized
Aaron

About Aaron

Author, Speaker, and Super Nerd. Aaron Welty speaks and writes regularly connecting the dots of life, faith, and science fiction. Originally from Michigan, he now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

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