As I discussed Friday, more often than not, in fairy tales as well as their close kindred, fantasy novels, family affairs are troubled–or family members absent altogether. Yet some fantasy novels beautifully depict family relationships, and the positive functions of family.
In the Chronicles of Narnia, the relationship between the four siblings is overall one of intimacy and support. Though Edmund has his issues in the beginning, and they don’t always get along, when the trials come, they will do anything to help one another.
The Wingfeather Saga also reveals intense family devotion on a multi-generational level. Not only does the series include parent/child relationships, it explores the connections between grandparents/grandchildren, siblings, and other extended family members, and it shows them making sacrifices for one another, even when it’s painful.
ND Wilson’s Dandelion Fire reveals the parental love that always hopes for restoration, even after all hope seems lost, as well as the more complex relationships with extended family.
These are just a handful of the many books that depict the more positive functions of family, yet none of them depict falsely sweet relationships. They show the reality of family life, and the disagreements and resentments–and even betrayals–that can sometimes occur, but they happen against a backdrop of love.
Fairy tales also are not altogether lacking in positive family relations (though such stories are more rare). In Snow White, Rose Red, the sisters and their mother share a close bond that lasts even after the marriage of the two girls, and in The Wild Swan, a true, sacrificial devotion occurs between the siblings.
So, while it may be more common to find fractured or failing families in fairy tale and fantasy stories, strong families do have a representation…and they make for touching stories of familial care and devotion even through intense adversary.
Are there any other stories you have enjoyed that depict positive family dynamics?