Tag: mythology

Why don’t Immortals have Immortality?

By rights, immortals should possess immortality. Instead, those ”immortals” portrayed in literature and film appear to have conditional immortality.

Immortality means living forever, not able to die and not possessing mortality. By definition, an immortal is not liable or subject to death.

But in books and movies, immortals are killed. Regularly and with gory, indiscriminate relish. This confuses my sensibilities. It’s a contradiction. An impossibility, if the meaning of immortality is to be unscathed.

My husband’s answer to this conundrum: They’re immortal until someone kills them.

Highlander

This is the first example that comes to mind even though I have not seen this movie for many years.

A Highlander was immortal and would live perpetually throughout time. Unless someone cut off his head.

If another Highlander did this, he would inherit the power. What power? A larger target on his back for other “immortals” who wanted it for themselves?

If you will live forever, what else could you want?

You will accumulate wealth and possessions. You might be worshiped as a deity (since the dictionary defines an immortal as one of the gods of mythology).

To what end? If you can be killed, do you sleep with one eye open? Or do you get sick of the endlessness of life and seek out someone to curse with the “gift” of outliving anyone you might love or befriend? Unless they are also immortal.

This is false immortality. If you have unending life, no one and nothing can end it. Duh, it wouldn’t be unending if anything could end it.

Christianity

One reason this contradiction bothers me (other than the word doesn’t seem to actually mean what we say/think it does) is that it muddies the waters of theology. Most religions offer up a version of immortality to its followers.

I ascribe to the doctrines of Christianity (as presented in the King James Version of the Bible, not those taught by organized religions who claim the name of Christianity).

According to the Holy Bible, God sent His Son, Jesus, to die a substitutionary death for all mortals born on Earth. If these mortals, accepted this blood price through confessing and repenting of their natural unrighteous tendencies and believed this death could pay their blood debt,debts will be granted eternal life.

Immortality would be a gift from the pre-existing, all-sufficient Creator of their universe. Namely the Source of life would extend life to them

It’s understood that this immortality isn’t for the mortal flesh but for the eternal soul and consciousness of the believer. This flesh is cursed (as is the Earth), but once the timeline for the body is completed, the believer’s spiritual half steps through the curtain of death and inhabits a new, immortal (undying and unkillable) body that isn’t affected by the original curse.

With all the conflicting reports of immortals dying and immortality being conditional, the clear waters of God’s promised “everlasting life” is tainted, misunderstood and cheapened.

And that’s sad. Because this promise is the foundational hope of faith.

My Perplexity

In this era when new words are invented and accepted into the English language annually, why doesn’t someone construct a work that more accurately reflects the conditional mortality presented as immortality in the genre of fantasy?

Semimortal would work. This means they are half prone to death and half undying. Isn’t this the case for the “immortal” Highlanders, elves, Roman-Greco deities and the like? If allowed to live out their normal lifespan, they will live forever. The only way they can die is through murder or purposeful wounding.

Quasi-immortal is another possibility. It seems like they will live forever. They have the potential to never die. But they’re perfectly killable—whether by specific mystical means or only with certain weapons or on certain days.

In a fantasy series I wrote four years ago, I had immortal elves and dragons. In the second book, I killed an elf. So he wasn’t truly immortal, right?

Wrong. His mortal body was killed. Once his essence was transported back to Astrya (the first realm and homeland of the Creator and Sustainer deities), his body would be regenerated. He would live again, carrying memories of his physical death but not of his time as pure life essence.

It seems to me this may be the same sort of death those afflicted by the Infinity Gauntlet in the recent AVENGERS film may have experienced. If someone else wields the gauntlet, it could be used to reverse the destruction of one-third of all living things in the universe.

What is your thought on the misinterpretation or misrepresentation of the purest definition of immortality?

Meet the Brothers Grimm in Daughter of the Red Dawn

Yes, another free book found its way into my iPad’s memory. This time, it was an iBook.

Honestly, I picked up this book Daughter of the Red Dawn by Alicia Michaels because I connected with her biography. Her books are published by a small press that I follow, so their promotions came to my email box.

They were promoting a new release in her series The Bionics. It sounds intriguing, but science fiction doesn’t make the cut very often. Remember my two requirements? Young adult and fantasy. Since they listed all of the titles by the author, I found this book which lay safely within my reading parameters.

The Story

An evil fairy queen abducted seven princesses from the magical kingdom of Fallada, hoping to avoid the prophecy of her doom promised through them.

The book begins in a small town in Texas with a 17-year-old girl who doesn’t fit in. She’s plotting her escape to the big city and enjoying the freedom of running as super human speed in a field where no one can see her.

Except, someone is watching. A young handsome guy with crazy blue eyes and sculpted muscles. Of course, he’s a stranger and Selena knows better than to let him get too close.

Everything in her life changes when a werewolf attacks her and bites her “grandmother.” Luckily, the Grimm brothers come through the roof at just the right moment and tranquilize the werewolf. Her grandmother can be saved in Fallada, which is where they want to take her.

They reveal her identity as one of the lost princesses; she doesn’t believe them. Her character arc takes her from ” girl nobody” to the Daughter of the Red Dawn who will save an army.

My Impressions

Even though Michaels did everything right with structuring this book, it took me awhile to become engaged. I was well beyond the halfway point when I finally decided I wanted to meet Selena’s birth parents.

Selena came off as much younger in many ways and that made the steamy romance side of the story unbelievable. He’s her first kiss. Now they’re in love. In the midst of all this upheaval over her true identity, this seemed like an immature move on her part.

Her motivations rang true. The plot problem with the evil queen is hardly new, but it added torrents of conflict. Overall, the story succeeded.

I enjoyed the bantering between Selena and her friend, Zoe, that ended around the halfway mark. Most of the dialogue from these two sounded authentic. The male lead? Not so much.

Don’t get me wrong, he is handsome and hunky and misunderstood. His intensity for Selena is immediate and explained, but felt cliché. Haven’t we done the werewolf bonding thing before? How about something original?

The climax of the story felt forced and rushed. Everything points to this battle of Red Dawn but we got mere vignettes. The stakes could have been higher. I never believed Selena was in mortal danger during this battle, and her amazing fighting skills (acquired in a week of intense training) seemed far-fetched.

Many of the problems were solved too easily. Build up the conflict and emotion and then throw in an easy answer. This is the biggest hindrance to me truly loving the characters and story.

My Recommendation

The bottom line: this book was hardly perfect but it contains an engaging story and the promise of more books to come in the series. Pick this up if you want easy entertainment, even for teenagers it will be light reading.

Overall, I think this is an engaging book for young adults. I give it four stars and would recommend it to girls who love stories about Fae and romances.

What do you think? Have you read this book? Do you agree or disagree with my views? Let’s talk about it.