Hobgoblins and Heroes

Image Credit:  All images are from Pixabay

One of my favourite books from my late mum’s collection is The Illustrated Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan and published by Odhams in hardback.  It is a beautiful book and is written as what we would know now as a graphic novel/comic book. 

The images of the hobgoblins and foul fiends are brilliantly done (in black and white, which is more menacing than colour) and gave me more than one nightmare when I was a kid.  The illustrator did their work well!  Hobgoblins and foul fiends should be scary…

My love of fantasy and allegory I think must come from this.  My bigger love of the hero/heroine who overcomes the monsters also dates from this.

Just one type of weapon the average hero might use in tackling the latest monster.
That’s one of the biggest things I like about classic fantasy.  Evil is always defeated, wrongs are put right, monsters are sorted out, the hero will overcome (and they can be the unexpected hero.  Frodo Baggins, the hobbit, is the obvious example in The Lord of the Rings.  I can’t think of any other small hero with hairy feet!  There’s hope for us all…). 

I also like Tolkien because he shows the effect of the strenuous quest on Frodo and that he is not unchanged by his experiences.  Tolkien also shows the invaluable comfort of the loyal friend in Sam.

The one thing you can guarantee with Rings of Power is they are nothing but trouble
We can all think of things in life which have hit us hard and to come across this in fiction I’ve found helpful. It can be a reminder you’re not alone in this.  It’s also good to know we have the Ultimate Loyal Friend in Jesus.

But, as any fan of Doctor Who will tell you, the biggest monsters in the universe are not the hobgoblins, the Daleks or the Cybermen.  That accolade belongs to us.  All 12 versions of the Doctor have made valid condemning comments about mankind’s warlike tendencies.

The Tardis - Doctor Who's time and space machine
Yet the Time Lord is keen to help us.  Why?  Because he sees the good in mankind too - our creativity, our ability to come up with helpful rather than warlike inventions and so on.  Does that remind you of someone?

With thankfully rare exceptions, the biggest monster we will face is the dark side of ourselves.  We need that monster defeated by a hero who knows all about our dark side yet can see the good in us too and the potential for greater good.  We need to be set free from that dark side.  That, of course, is Jesus’s role. 

Unlike the Time Lord, who is limited to helping one set of characters at a time (and who once his full cycle of regenerations is used up will die and that’s it), the marvellous thing about our Lord is He does rescue any and all of us simultaneously. Nor can He die again.

None of us are the “next episode” while He is busy sorting another poor soul out.  For that, we should be truly thankful.  We can call on Him at any time.


  1. Thank you, Allison, and I agree. I also grew up with Tolkien and Dr Who, which I'm sure helped to shape my fantasy writing. But perhaps they also prepared me to encounter the True Hero who would rescue me from the Dark Side once and for all. :-)

  2. Many thanks, Philip. And there is, after all, only one True Hero who can and does do everything we need (and recognises what we need long before we do!). All other heroes are a pale echo, much as I enjoy their stories.


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