Friday, March 8, 2013

On Redemption Stories

Today, I'm going to take a look at some of my favorite games, movies and books to find those characters that had a rough start, but ended up redeeming themselves.  Sometimes, I find that it's these characters that I have the deepest attachment to because I know what it's like to be in a pit of my own making and be pulled out by the Redeemer.  Of course, not all of these characters are from Christian media, but even secular entertainment can have good themes.  Some spoilers will undoubtedly follow.

Darth Vader

This is an obvious one.  Anakin Skywalker was supposed to bring balance to the Force, but instead fell to the Dark Side and became obsessed with power.  Because of this, he ended up killing a lot of people (even the soldiers under his command), and stopped at nothing to get what he wanted.  Still, when he saw his son nearly killed, he realized that there were some things more important than power.  
It's a bit harder to see in the movies, but in the book, there's a few fantastic paragraphs of Vader's thoughts after Luke removes his mask that details how much he regretted his mistakes.  It may have only been in his final moments, but in my eyes, Vader redeemed himself.    



The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is probably one of the most popular children's classics of all time.  And though the talking animals and battles and stuff are cool, the best thing about this book to me is Edmund's redemption.  He starts off as the bratty brother, teasing Lucy that Narnia isn't real.  When he finds out that he's wrong, he ends up talking to Jadis, the witch who has caused Narnia to be forever in winter.  She tempts him with sweets and the chance to be a prince, and he readily accepts.  It takes a while for Edmund to realize that he was in the wrong, but once he does, he makes a 180.  Not only does he help defeat the witch, he also turns into a really great character through the rest of the books.  

Alastair Coldhollow

This character comes from The Dark Sea Annals books by Wayne Thomas Batson and he's one of my favorite characters  because of his redemption story.  We're told that in his early life, Alastair was a member of the Wolfguard, the evil king Morlan's secret army.  It's when he's nearly killed and shown mercy by a woman whose husband he murdered that he decides to turn his life around.  



Loghain Mac Tir is a good commander, so the characters of Dragon Age Origins will tell you.  It's not too far into the game that you find out that he's not exactly the nicest person, though.  In the battle at Ostagar, the first large scale battle of the game, Loghain is supposed to lead a flanking charge so that King Cailan's army doesn't get overwhelmed.  Instead, he orders his people to retreat, causing the death of Ferelden's king (whose name is pronounced the same as mine, so I took it a bit personally) as well as many others.  Much of the game is spent looking forward to bringing this character to justice, but in true RPG form, you actually have a few choices as to what to do with him when you defeat him.    
You can, of course, just kill him for what he's done.   If, however, you take the route of letting him help you in the final battle of the game, he sacrifices his own life to redeem himself in the eyes of the country.

These are just a few of the many redemption stories out there.  What are some of your favorites?

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