- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 437 KB
- Print Length: 176 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Gray Matter Books (18 Mar. 2012)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B007MEFXGI
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #868,169 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Legend of Zelda and Theology Kindle Edition
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First off, the intro sets the tone for the rest of the book. Jonathan Walls, the edior, makes it clear from the get-go that this is a book written from the perspective of die-hard Zelda fans and that in no way do any of the authors within wish to super-impose Christian ideals on a primarily Japanese developed video game series that may very well have been made with absolutely no intentions of deeper philosophical or theological meaning. The essays merely make the connections to theology and philosophy that a series as deep and universally appealing as The Legend of Zelda makes possible. Great start.
Another nice thing about this book as how it is organized. Each chapter/essay, all written by a different person (each of which boasts very different and fairly remarkable pedigrees), is broken down into three different levels of engagement and complexity: "Casual" (one triangle), "Normal" (Two triangles), and "Advanced" (The Tri-force). To help you know what to expect, here is a rundown of the essays in the book:
Linking the Landscapes of Twilight Princess and Christian Theology. Pg.17 (Casual)
Trouble in the Golden Realm: Ganandorf and Hyrule's Problem of Evil in Ocarina of Time, Pg. 31 (Normal)
The Birth of Gaming from the Spirit of Fantasy: Video Games as Secondary Worlds with Special Reference to The Legend of Zelda and J.R.R Tolkien, Pg. 47 (Normal)
Freedom Versus Destiny: A Hero's Call, Pg. 71 (Advanced, and a personal favorite of mine)
The Mediation of Transcendance within The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Pg. 83 (Normal)
Take Your Time, Hurry Up, The Choice is Yours: Death and the Afterlife in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Pg. 97 (Normal)
On Hylian Virtues: Aristotle, Aquinas and the Hylian Cosmogenesis, Pg. 109 (Advanced)
High Rule? Vintage Virtue in The Legend of Zelda, Pg. 125 (Normal)
Portals, Prophecy, and Cuccos: Considerations of Power in A Link To The Past, Pg. 143 (Casual)
The Necessiy of the Triforce in the Defeat of Ganon, Pg 155 (Normal)
Bios, Pg. 171
So there you have it. If you find any of these titles to be really intriguing, you'll probably love this book. Most essays are roughly a dozen pages or so, and some a lot more. Obviously some will be easier to grasp and others a bit more challenging. The subjects are quite varied and most games in the series are given some attention, which is nice (Skyward Sword is sadly left out as it came out before this book). Overall, I found the essays to be very engaging and well written. Every author has a distinctly different voice and style of writing, and they all have unique opinions and rather intelligent perspectives that makes each essay bring something very worthwhile to the table. Overall, this is a fantastic compilation of essays and quite enjoyable to read. No essay is boring either. You can tell each of these authors genuinely loves the Zelda series and love meditating on its deeper meaning just as much. That's just awesome.
It's worthy to note that when making reference to scriptural thoughts, philosophical concepts, or using other facts to back up their point, the book includes the sources as annotated footnotes on the bottom of the page they're referenced in. I found that to be a very nice feature. I personally prefer to look up scriptures in my own copy (or copies for multiple/differing translations) of the Bible when reading supplementary material like this as I progress through the work, so it was very nice they did that here. Including specific scriptures or other sources as footnotes as soon as they're referenced rather than at the back in a separate bibliography is quite intuitive and enjoyable.
In case you're wondering, yes, there are occasional hiccups and glaring annoyances. Not many, mind you, but a couple are really obnoxious, such as the author who wrote about The Wind Waker. It's an excellent essay on an excellent game and I totally related to and wholeheartedly agreed with his analysis (Wind Waker is one of my personal favorite Zelda titles). He spends the entire 14 pages praising it as one of his favorite games, going on about the transcendent quality and majesty of Wind Waker, only to reveal at the end that after playing it for a while he got bored with it and has never beaten the game. To rub salt in this wound, he puts an annotation referencing the worst essay of a Zelda Philosophy book I personally felt was very disappointing for the most part, to excuse/support his habit of not finishing games he starts. *Facepalm* It's a shame, because The Wind Waker's ending is ripe with theological/philosophical implications. Oh well. I apologize for the rant, but an issue like this is like an itch on the part of your back you can't scratch. This is just the biggest example I could find to illustrate that the book isn't perfect, but when so many different people contributed to it, that's a bit steep to expect. Don't let my rant here dissuade you.
I realize this is a long review, but honestly, I felt this book deserved an informative explanation. As I said earlier, it's hard to know whether a book of this type is worth the money. Personally, I'd say this one definitely is. The essay subjects within the book are wide and varied, it's full of intellectual annotations and sources for further study if you'd like, and, for the most part, the essays are excellently written and thoroughly engaging. For fans of the Zelda series who, like me, have spent as much time pondering on the value and meaning of the Zelda series as they have actually playing the games, this is an easy recommendation. Buy it, soak in its worthwhile content, and enjoy a fascinating perspective on the greatest series in Video Games.
Before too long, I wanted everything of Link's. I wanted to get a boomerang because, well, Link had one. I had a fascination with swords because that was the weapon Link used. I even went to a barber once with a Nintendo Power magazine saying I wanted my hair cut like that. Unfortunately, I didn't have side burns yet, so no deal.
When I found out about this book, I was pleased to have a gift certificate from my sister for my birthday and promptly ordered it. We've seen several books in the pop culture and philosophy series, but this is the first one that I'd seen with pop culture and theology and frankly, I want to see more!
I found this to be an excellent work looking at the games in a way that I never had before and asking good questions. This isn't just a passing glance at the games. The people who write these articles are both serious gamers and serious thinkers about theology. I happen to admire that. I try to be serious in whatever I do. When I write, I take my work seriously. When I play a game, I also take that seriously. I seek to give my best in every area.
They also make a defense of gaming in general, while of course pointing out that like many good things, it can be done to an extreme. I found it amusing to read about the creator of Zelda signing autographs and having a message telling children that on sunny days, they need to go outside.
Playing Zelda in many ways is like exploring in ways you don't get to in real life. That is why gaming is seen as an extension of one's own self. There does seem to be a bond between you and the character and you can feel the joy of adventure and the passion of good overcoming evil and doing something heroic. Hopefully, this would extend over into the real world and people will seek to make a difference there.
There will always be a gamer side to me and I'm happy to accept that. After a day of debating online and answering questions left and right, when it comes time to unwind, I'm glad that there are series like the Legend of Zelda there to give me that time. As I've said, I hope that there are others that come along in this series. I would especially be interested in seeing a work such as "Final Fantasy and Theology." My thanks to the people who put together a work that helps me see some of my favorite games in a whole new light!
Deeper Waters Christian Ministries