Today we continue our discussion of Seeker by Helena Sorensen. If you’re new here, we are discussing the middle third.
Before we dive into today’s section, if you haven’t had a chance to read through the discussion from last week in the comments, do so. Whether you have read the book or not, the discussion will give you plenty to chew on.
As I reflect on this section, life is getting better and worse. Sort of the messy middle.
Fayrewood—has its own light as “The Shadow doesn’t come in here” (1271). Last week Sarah expressed it well in the comments when she said, “The Fayrewood seems so true to life. How life-giving it is. How it brings out something more noble and peaceful in us. How it pushes back the Shadow. And, how rarely we venture to see it when it’s right there.”
Holt—by the end of this section, Holt had been attacked by the dragon (and now wolves closing in). No one escaped without being impacted. The scope of loss struck me. It is both physical (buildings damaged), relational, and brings doubt.
Friendship—Valour and Mina became friends! I loved Valour’s gesture toward Mina by inviting her to see Valour at work and share the secret of her apprenticeship. Yet, with them both loving Evander, you knew they would experience hurt too.
Love—I was hopeful when Valour and Evander started to fall in love. But the conversation between Valour and Mina over whether Evander will really hunt for new land was a bit crushing. Love can be confusing, can’t it? I think Valour really does love Evander, but she doesn’t believe he will hunt for new land. Mina also loves Evander and we know he does not feel the same, in terms of romantic love. But she believes in him. She supports Valour and Evander’s love in the sense that she does not let her own hurt feelings sabotage their relationship. Now that Valour and Evander are married, I wonder what will happen between the three of them. If Evander learns that Valour doesn’t really support him, it could be crushing. Or Valour could begin to believe him. Trusting that all will be resolved in the next section!
Death—So much death in this section, reminding me that the goal of life isn’t to appease the dragons. They will never be appeased. But to keep seeking for Light and Life.
Stories—”Could he (Evander) muster the courage to speak of light when all around was darkness?” (1345) This section highlighted the power of stories and the need to retell and retell and retell them.
Bright things—We’ve read the phrase several times, “Dragons come for bright things.” The dragons seem to want to steal or destroy anything that might remind people of who they really are.
Attention—The fear that they might have drawn the attention of The Shadow, and not being clear exactly how they draw it. If they just talk or tell stories, but don’t do anything . . . does that draw the attention? If they seek for new land . . . does that draw it? As Christians, we understand that the Enemy of our soul is real, but it is not always clear what we do (or think or even believe) that might bring attack from him. Fear and fear of attention are powerful deterrents. What is the path towards being wise and not operating out of fear?
These are the three themes I noticed in this section:
Longing—Mina, Valour, and Evander longing for the feeling they have in the Fayrewood. During the Dance of the Lantern light Evander thought, “And this is the best we have to offer. He couldn’t stand to watch anymore.” (1345) Valour wondered “How can I long for something I never had?” in reference to her twin who died. Chase disagreeing with Jameson that they have the best land in Shiloh, wanting something more.
Recalling—Touched on above, the importance of recalling the stories. It started with Evander recalling the stories Maeve told him. Then he asked the hunters to recall stories they had heard as children or from others. When Chase got home he shared the stories with Mina. And later Evander shared the stories with the town.
Risking—While much can be said of risk from this section, this one quote from Knox summarizes the tension: “It’s madness, and ya must know it. It’s one thing to risk yer own mind, yer own heart, yer own life, but ta lead others ta their deaths, men who might’ve eked out a few more decent years with their families. It’s you who risks too much.” (2236)
These three theme—longing, recalling, and risking—overlap with our realities, don’t they? We long for local friends around us (and so much more!). The stories we recall form us — as individuals, families, organizations, even the body of Christ. And risk is a part of our lives.
Well, I could go on! Helena has woven such rich themes in such an engaging package. I’m eager to find out what happens with Mina. Will Valour begin to believe in Evander’s plan? What will it cost the people to leave Holt? What will they gain?
All this and more as we finish the book next week. I look forward to our discussion in the comments!
P.S. Here is the reading plan for the next few weeks: