An ’80s youngsters’s basic, likelihood is you’ve seen the film model of The Neverending Story, or no less than heard of it. And should you’re a baby of the 80s like me, it might very properly have a treasured place in the nook of your coronary heart reserved in your favourite childhood nostalgia. While I cherished the film as a child, it was solely years later as an grownup, after I chanced to select up a duplicate of the e-book at my native library, that I discovered there’s way more to the story than what I noticed on the display screen.
Sometimes all it takes for a e-book to hook us is a sentence. A phrase, a passage, or just an concept that latches onto our minds and gained’t let go. For me, that second got here a 3rd of the best way into the e-book, when Gmork tells Atreyu the key of what occurs to Fantasticans who’re sucked by way of the Nothing into the human world.
“That’s right—and when you get to the human world, the Nothing will cling to you. You’ll be like a contagious disease that makes humans blind, so they can no longer distinguish between reality and illusion. Do you know what you and your kind are called there?”
“No,” Atreyu whispered.
“Lies!” Gmork barked.
It was this second after I first realized that The Neverending Story isn’t merely an imaginative story; it’s a story in regards to the nature of creativeness itself. What it means for us as people to dream, to hope, and particularly to want.
Wish success turns into an enormous theme in the second half of the e-book. The major character, a human boy named Bastian, is given an ideal present: a gem known as AURYN with the flexibility to grant any and all of his needs. On the again of AURYN is inscribed a single line: Do What You Wish. Armed with the gem, Bastian units off to do exactly that. But what he ultimately finds is that doing what you want isn’t practically as easy or simple because it appears.
Don’t be fooled into pondering that is merely a youngsters’s enjoyable journey story. Through Bastian, Michael Ende explores grownup themes similar to energy—its utilization, penalties, and skill to deprave; freedom, and what true freedom actually requires; the ability of names, together with points of identification and reminiscence; and the journey all of us take to find our coronary heart’s true wishes. As the good lion Grograman says:
“Only a genuine wish can lead you through the maze of the thousand doors. Without a genuine wish, you just have to wander around until you know what you really want. And that can take a long time.”
Is this not true of all of us sooner or later?
I typically look again fondly on books I learn in the previous, recalling how a lot I loved this one or that, however with out actually remembering a lot about them. Not so with this e-book. When I feel again on The Neverending Story, I recall the haunting dialog between Atreyu and Gmork in regards to the nature of human fantasy; the darkish facet of AURYN because it slowly steals Bastian’s recollections away even because it fulfills his each want; and the hopeful second Bastian pulls a picture of the daddy he forgot from the Picture Mine. For these scenes are embedded with concepts in regards to the human expertise, and that is what finally makes this story not simply value studying, however value remembering.
Originally printed May 2015 as half of our Writers on Writing sequence
Margaret Fortune wrote her first story on the age of six and has been writing ever since. She lives in Wisconsin. Iolanthe, the third novel in her Spectre War sequence, is forthcoming from DAW in February 2022.
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