Of Zombies and Heroes

Hey all, I hope you’re having a wonderful time. I would like to start this post with two disclaimers: 1) this post will be rather theological, so if you don’t like that stuff, don’t get offended; and 2) I will be talking about the movie Warm Bodies a bit, so if you don’t want to know the ending, stop reading now. 

I can see that I’ve thoroughly confused you. What does theology have to do with Warm Bodies? It will all make sense, dear readers. I promise. 

So, you have probably heard of the term, living dead. It’s used to describe things like zombies and vampires and sometimes Ringwraiths (for the purposes of this blog post, I will mostly be focusing on zombies). But you may not have heard the term used to describe people. Now I’ve really confused you. Let me elaborate.

We are broken creatures. Nobody is perfect; we are all given lives that will take us through failure and pain. It’s just a fact of life. And from a theological angle, we may be physically alive, but most of us are spiritually dead. We are the living dead. And you can take that in a lot of different directions, but I’m going to shoot for zombies.

Why do we have such a fascination with zombies? Because we see our spiritual selves reflected in their physical bodies. Of course, zombies lend themselves to many different venues, so they also make for excellent creators of suspense or points of conflict in movies and books and even haunted houses. But what gets us the most is that “living dead” characteristic. It’s a paradox. We love paradoxes. We love anything that messes with our minds. And when it’s a paradox buried inside of our souls, it becomes almost irresistible. 

“Cool,” you say, “but what about all the other things we like? What about superheroes, and hobbits, and all of our childhood heroes? They don’t have that paradox.”

You see, we’re fascinated with zombies because we see ourselves in them. But we love heroes because we long to see ourselves in them. We want redemption. We want to be good and true and loving. We want to be soon for the good creatures that we are, not the broken ones. 

That’s what makes Warm Bodies such good literature for this blog post. Because Warm Bodies isn’t just a zombie movie. It’s a beautiful picture of redemption of those that look as if they have no hope. Most of us probably focus on the adorable love story in Warm Bodies (did you notice all those Romeo and Juliet allusions?), but it’s really about the liberation of those in bondage to a condition that they did not choose. 

So, we may be fascinated with zombies, but we really want to be modeled after the heroes. We want to know that good triumphs over evil, that justice reigns, and that all will live in peace. After all the blood and gore and suspense, we want to rest, knowing that all is well.

Epylle Spydre

p.s. here’s a really cool song to go with the post. Jonathan Thulin is way underrated, so you should check out more of his stuff (the “Bombs Away” and “Babylon” music videos are particularly fabulous). 

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Heart, not Nerves

Hey guys! It’s been forever; I know. I’ve been really busy, but I’m finally on vacation! Yay! That doesn’t mean I’ll be posting a lot though; I don’t have access to a computer as much as I normally would. But I shall try. And vacation is good for more than just giving me free time; it inspired me, too. Or rather, my cousin’s poster inspired me. So, from there, I shall start the meat of my post.

You all know The Hunger Games, right? Of course you do. (If you don’t or haven’t finished it, I would recommend not reading this; there are a few spoilers.) Now, I know a lot of people have differing opinions on the value of the series as a whole, but I feel it does have thematic significance. However, I’m not talking about the whole this is what our society values thing, though that is partially true (on a much smaller scale than the Hunger Games). No, I am speaking of something that I feel gets lost amid the lights and colors of the Capitol, the trials of the Games, and the excitement of the series as a whole. I am speaking of the four words that make the whole story possible: I volunteer as tribute.

I was watching the first movie one night with my family, but my younger sister was at a friend’s house. And when it came time for the Reaping, I couldn’t help but think, what if that was me and Tara? What if she was called to do this tremendous ordeal that, odds are, would lead to her death? And it was an awful thought; I almost started crying right then and there. And the obvious question then is, would I have the courage do what Katniss did? And while I cannot fully simulate the circumstances under which Katniss made her decision, I think I can say that I would. I hope I would.

You see, it has long been my opinion that bravery is not based on nerves or daring at all. Maybe a little, but it is not the main factor. No, bravery, true courage, is based on love. Why else would Harry go in the Forbidden Forest to meet his doom? Why else would Merry and Pippin and all the others fight a battle they would surely lose if Frodo and Sam failed? Why else would anybody do anything that involves risking their own neck for someone else’s? Love. They do it because they have something driving them, something to keep them going even when their brain tells them that what they are doing is stupid beyond anything they could ever do. It’s love. Not the cheesy, half-hearted love that displays itself on cheap Valentine’s Day cards. That love would have run home squealing for its mommy a long time ago. This is true, steadfast love that considers others more important than itself. And it’s a rare thing to see these days.

Prim and Katniss

picture taken from Google. I don’t own any of the rights, so don’t eat me for plagiarizing.

Let me take us back to Katniss. What makes her truly unique among the tributes is that time and time again, she displays this self-sacrificing love, both in and out of the Games. The other tributes team up merely to protect their backs for a while, knowing the whole time that it is a temporary alliance. Katniss, on the other hand, truly cares about her partners and doesn’t view them as pawns. When Rue dies, Katniss gives her a beautiful memorial. Don’t waste your time, Katniss, we cry, echoing the voice of reason. It’s too dangerous. But she doesn’t care. She loved Rue as she loved Prim, and she wanted to honor the girl’s memory. And again, when Katniss teams up with Peeta, it’s not a shallow alliance to serve herself. Katniss nurses him back to health, an act detrimental to her own survival. And while swallowing the berries was largely a symbolic act to the Capitol, it was also an act displaying her incredible love for Peeta. No other tribute did that.

Courage comes from love. Courage may not always come from love for a person; sometimes, it’s a love for an ideal, a belief in goodness. But one thing is for sure, courage is a thing of the heart, not the nerves.

Hope you enjoyed that,

Epylle Spydre