Posted by: Lizzie Ross | May 19, 2010

George MacDonald 2

The Golden Key, George MacDonald (1867), Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 78 pp.

A boy finds a golden key, studded with jewels, at the end of a rainbow, and searches for the lock into which it will fit. A girl climbs out of her bedroom window and follows a flying owl-fish through some woods to a mysterious cottage.

Thus begins this hauntingly beautiful story of Mossy (the boy) and Tangle (the girl), the main characters in MacDonald’s famous tale. It’s a strange tale, with little action but deep meaning. Mossy and Tangle age, become separated, rejoin; they journey together through a land of shadows, and separately through water and fire.

What does it mean? It’s all tied up with MacDonald’s theology (he was a great influence on C. S. Lewis), and with yearnings for what’s beyond this world. A fuller explanation is outside the scope of this brief post, but there are hints at the George MacDonald website.


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