The Light Defeats the Dark
It’s been decades since I first read A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin, and I’ve been meaning to reread the whole series for some time now. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was in need of a particular kind of reading…I wanted to read something that would comfort me, but I didn’t want to read something too familiar. I love Lord of the Rings, but I know it too well, and sometimes that means I don’t read quite as closely.
So I picked up A Wizard of Earthsea and started reading, and I didn’t stop reading until I’d finished it. Something struck me while reading it. An exchange between two characters, one the main character, Ged, and the other an enchantress who wants to use Ged’s power. She tells him, “Only shadow can fight shadow. Only darkness can defeat the dark.” She’s trying to convince him to use a power that is ancient and uncontrollable and malevolent. Ged is tempted because he’s so afraid of the shadow he has to fight. She uses sweet words to persuade him, and Ged almost gives in. But then… “Ged’s eyes cleared, and his mind. He looked down at Serret. ‘It is light that defeats the dark,’ he said stammering,―’light.'”
Maybe it was because this was so fresh in my mind that Rhonda’s Giftmas theme of Shining a Light resonated so strongly with me. I’m an unabashed fan of Noblebright fantasy, books that follow in the tradition of Lord of the Rings, the way stories like the Prydain Chronicles and The Deed of Paksenarrion do. Stories that focus not on perfect characters, but on people who choose good. People who are tempted by darkness, but who are ultimately committed to serving the light.
Shining a Light
I’ve gathered some of my favorite quotes about darkness and light to share with you.
“Then, as now, there was a growing darkness and great deeds were done that were not wholly in vain.”
― Marcus Tullius Cicero
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
― Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches
“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
“I had forgotten how much light there is in the world, till you gave it back to me.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea
“Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark.”
― Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux
“You have to find what sparks a light in you so that you in your own way can illuminate the world.”
― Oprah Winfrey
“[W]e can’t live in the light all of the time. You have to take whatever light you can hold into the dark with you.”
― Libba Bray, A Great and Terrible Beauty
“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
― John 8:12
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
― John 1:5
“I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness.”
― John 12:46
How You Can Shine a Light
So what is Giftmas and why are we all blogging about it? We’re trying to raise $522 (CAD) for the Edmonton Food Bank. We raised $521 last year, which is why the goal is an odd number. We’re doing a very short fundraiser–you only have until December 12 to donate, so donate now!
If you can’t donate, please at least help us spread the word about Giftmas and our fundraiser. A lot of authors and bloggers are coming together to do some great giveaways, which you can read about at Rhonda Parrish’s blog (she’s the one who organizes all this).