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A Moral Dilemma
October 5th, 2002

This editorial aims to pose a question that it does not aim to answer definitively; it simply wishes to stimulate thought. Everybody has some beliefs, though for many this is just agnosticism. I am pretty sure that at one time or another in your life you have chosen not to participate in something because you believe it to be morally wrong. This applies to literature and television quite easily. You may not choose to watch a certain programme you have objections to, not only for gut feeling, but, also so as to not contribute to its ratings. This may sound petty to some, but boycotts do actually work.

The 'Harry Potter' series is, despite its popularity, seen by some to have a negative impact on people by encouraging occult practises and has, therefore, been deliberately avoided by them. Whatever your viewpoint on this, it is obvious that people are unlikely to be completely persuaded either way. If you are interested in my views on the subject, it is this: both sides have strong cases and neither can be fully dismissed. But, I have decided that, as a policy, I will simply not read them; it is no trouble; I have not even read all the books I own yet, and that is not that many; I simply do not wish to be persuaded either way as I believe that I do not have sufficient conviction to call one side right and the other wrong.

What does this have to do with Redwall? Quite a great deal. The question is simple: is Redwall moral? This may sound a foolish question to many and the arguments either way apply diferently to different people, so no definitive answer can be given.

There are several possible arguments of condemnation, not all of which may apply to you personally:
a.. Many of the heroes and heroines are vengeful and, in some cases, violent; is this a good model of behaviour?
b.. Though Redwall has been stated to have no religion, they still pray to 'the fates' and to 'the seasons' and beleive in 'the dark forest' and 'hellsgates'. Some may see this as negative, as they may believe it encourages such things as druidism.
c.. Seers predict the future in many books; does this again encourage mysticism, which many world religions condemn?

However, there are counter arguments to these:
a.. Characters are not meant to be perfect; their actions and morals, though generally positive, are bound to be flawed.
b.. These beliefs appear to have more to do with superstition than anything else; though the characters believe in these things, they are never proven or indicated to be true.
c.. The seers are, in some cases, suggested to be fraud, such as in the case of 'The Long Patrol', whereas others are cast more as soothsayers and strong right hands to their leaders. However, more importantly than this, they are cast on the side of evil, living as a parasite off those who will beleive them.

It is for you to make up your mind. In my personal opinion, as it is quite obvious from the fact that I have written editorials, I believe Redwall to be morally wholesome enough. To some, this editorial may seem pointless, but I hope it will be helpful to someone.


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