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Thread: Religion in Redwall?

  1. #1
    Patroller Nora the Rover's Avatar
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    Religion in Redwall?

    I've been wondering lately about the fact that there is existentialism, superstitions, and even a bit of the occult in the Redwall books, but no real form of religion.
    My initial thoughts are that there are some forms of spirituality in the books, although the proof may be more subtle and not as stressed in the stories.
    What are your thoughts on this issue?
    If you must mount the gallows, give a jest to the crowd, a coin to the hangman, and make the drop with a smile on your lips.
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  2. #2
    Patroller Glenner's Avatar
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    Religion? No. Spirituality? Theres evidence to support that. Although not a deity, Martin is called upon numerous time to hep the abbey in times of trouble. The abbey dwellers always put thier faith in him that he will reveal things to them in time.

  3. #3
    Registered User Slagar the Cruel's Avatar
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    I think that while most of the characters in the books have some sort of spiritual outlook, Jacques goes out of his way to avoid bringing it up. It's probably a good idea, because the appeal of Redwall is made significantly wider-reaching because the good guys don't have definitely stated religious values.
    Although not a deity, Martin is called upon numerous time to hep the abbey in times of trouble. The abbey dwellers always put thier faith in him that he will reveal things to them in time.
    Yes, without a doubt Martin is the most profound spiritual element of the books, and I agree that he's not a deity to the Redwallers. I've always thought of him more along the lines of the Abbey's "patron saint" (as in the Catholic tradition). They ask for his help and guidance, but they recognize him as nothing more than a mortal, though wise and brave, mouse who died long ago.

  4. #4
    Patroller Senav's Avatar
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    If you wanted to say that they did have a religion, so be it. Fans are allowed to pretty much run rampant with little details that Brian leaves out (sometimes I think that's intentional..)
    Martin is prolly what everyone else said, a kind of saint. But you realize that every major religion has the same basic values: love others, don't harm others unless you want to be punished, value life...maybe not in those exact words. Jews, Christians, Muslem, Wicca...all the same values when you get to the basics.
    So they could have any religion that you want 'em to. Make up your own. I don't bother thinking about it, obviously.

    And just so you know, I always found the seers that the vermin have to be rather interesting. Most of them have honest to goodness visions, and I can't recall any of them being flat-out wrong. *runs off to draw Grissoul*
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  5. #5
    Patroller Glenner's Avatar
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    Also, another thing that supports spirituality is the bleif they have in an afterlife. The Dark Forest is described as the resting place of everyone who dies.

  6. #6
    Patroller: General LordTBT's Avatar
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    i bring this issue up in my editorial entitled "Why an Abbey?" under editorials on the main site. check it out and tell me what you think!
    -Lord Trawnbull Thickstripe(TBT)

    The Redwall Wiki - Redwall information & news

  7. #7
    Patroller Delhome's Avatar
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    hm,

    On the back of my Redwall book, it says a "Peaceful order of religious mice.
    "An Army of Squirrels is still an Army."

  8. #8
    Patroller
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    It is a very loose mix of western monotheism and pagan beliefs. As has been pointed out, there are places the take the place of heaven and hell but no real refernence to any divine being other than the loosely labeled "fates" and, if I am remembering correctly, a barely mentioned vermin godlike figure somewhere near the end of "(The) Taggerung".
    Martin is a kind of patron saint of the abbey but there is really very little other religious connection. I believe that when Brian first wrote "Redwall" he wasn't really seeing it being a series, so such details as we are discussing were not necessarily planned at the beginning.
    The abbey itself is not intended to be a religious symbol. It was chosen, I believe, because it embodies everything that is being fought for: peace over agression; care over cruelty; community over isolation; co-operation over division. If anything it is as humanist as any particular religion.
    I would not say that all the values in the books are very "Christian": for example, revenge is often condemed and in "Outcast of Redwall" Veil is stated by Bryony and Bella as having been evil and a lost cause.
    I don't know what light Lonna in "Loamhedge" shines on all this, but I guess that is a discussion for that forum, which I must restain myself from until I have read the book.

  9. #9
    Patroller Senav's Avatar
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    I would not say that all the values in the books are very "Christian": for example, revenge is often condemed...
    I'm sorry, but the way you worded that makes it seem as though Christians embrace revenge...Just thought I'd point that out.
    I think it would be better off not to try and label the Redwallers with a specific religion. At least, the fans shouldn't label...that's a flame war waiting to happen.
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  10. #10
    Patroller Delhome's Avatar
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    Aye

    I think that we should read and enjoy the books, not worry about what religon they have.
    "An Army of Squirrels is still an Army."

  11. #11
    Patroller Nora the Rover's Avatar
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    I'm not trying to label it as one specific religion, or as several specific religions either.
    Basically, I'm just trying to point out the fact that there are several forms of spirituality. (I suppose I should have posted this topic as 'Spirituality In the Redwall Books', as that's sort of what I meant...)
    There are lots of similarities between the beliefs and faiths of the Middle Ages and the Redwall books. I'm sort of trying to find more of the similarities, although, because it's a bit of a sticky subject, I don't want to label things too much.
    Taggerung did explain a bit about the ideas of spirituality more than the other books. At the beginning, Rillflag talked of otter rituals, (ie: wetting a kit's back in running water). At another point in the book, the pygmy shrews actually practiced a form of sacrifice; one of the shrews was 'chosen' to be taken by Yo Karr in order to provide them with food in the season to come.
    As Keyla stated earlier, there is also mention of 'The Great Vulpuz, ruler of Hellgates' near the end of Taggerung.
    Scattered throughout some of the other books there are proofs of spirituality as well.
    TBT's editiorial, "Why Did BJ Choose an Abbey?", was well thought-out; the abbey has little to do with history and Christian beliefs in the books. From what I've figured, Brian Jacques chose an abbey because of the symbolism of peace and an equal society.
    I suppose, because there is so much religious turmoil in the world today, BJ has tried to avoid the idea of a religion in his books so as not to offend his readers, (Although Castaways of the Flying Dutchman, and The Angel's Command are based on religious issues.)
    Mostly, I think it would be rather hard to include a main religion in the Redwall books, as it's a fantasy book, and the characters aren't human.
    Still, it's fun to delve deeper and muse over unusual issues, to try to find similarities among things, and influences the world today might have on people's writings and whatnot.
    If you must mount the gallows, give a jest to the crowd, a coin to the hangman, and make the drop with a smile on your lips.
    -Birgitte



  12. #12
    Patroller
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    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I would not say that all the values in the books are very "Christian": for example, revenge is often condemed...
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    I'm sorry, but the way you worded that makes it seem as though Christians embrace revenge...Just thought I'd point that out.
    I meant to say that revenge is often condoned, which would be contrary to general Christian belief.
    I always thought of the vermin as being rather superstitious and sometimes occult orientated, particularly with seers and such. However, the goodbeasts are often just as reliant on charms and such. Plus I hear news of a badger seer...

    I think Brian is deliberately ambiguous about spiritual truth in the books, firstly so as not to offend people but also to allow us to judge characters by their deeds and not by whatever prejudices the reader might have. He does not contradict any religious belief, even if none of the characters believe it. However, it sometimes becomes a rather confusing picture.

  13. #13
    Dibbun
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    Ever since I started the Redwall series I have wondered what the purpose of the brothers and sisters were in the story. l just want to clarify the signifigance of them. Usually brothers and sisters(cathocally speaking) are meant to dedicate their lives to their religion. In the books though they are healers and caretakers which is kind of mistating their use. Also they break the mojor rule of the restriction of not being able to wed in MossFlower when Gonff and Sister Columbine married. I also think as the sereis went along Martin got a more positive role in the story. In the beggening he was a long remembered hero who was a role-model to all. Soon though, he appeared in dreams and thoughts and even actions at dire times. Though the one thing that makes it clear that he is not a deity, is that he isn't commonly worshipped.

  14. #14
    Patroller Senav's Avatar
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    Usually brothers and sisters(cathocally speaking) are meant to dedicate their lives to their religion. In the books though they are healers and caretakers which is kind of mistating their use. Also they break the mojor rule of the restriction of not being able to wed in MossFlower when Gonff and Sister Columbine married.
    Then obviously they're not Catholic .
    I kinda figured the whole "Sister"/"Brother" thing brought up the image of a very close-knit community devoted to healing. Which is what they are. I guess you could just replace "religion" with "healing".

    On a somewhat related note: there's a story on Fanfiction.net that took a lot of digging to unearth. It deals with the idea that Redwallers are a bunch of heathens who party just about every day and revell in the good life while everyone else suffers. Eh, you have to read it...
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  15. #15
    Registered User Slagar the Cruel's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Senav
    On a somewhat related note: there's a story on Fanfiction.net that took a lot of digging to unearth. It deals with the idea that Redwallers are a bunch of heathens who party just about every day and revell in the good life while everyone else suffers. Eh, you have to read it...
    That does sound interesting, even if it is completely off-mark. Come to think of it, Redwallers do party a whole lot, but they always give whatever aid they can to those in need (yes, even vermin; there have been several instances of this).

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