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Stories are a huge part of our culture and our shared life experiences. Though we live in a modern world, demons are a common theme in fiction. What is it about these creatures of darkness that fascinates us? Do we love to be scared as we read? Do we look to the supernatural to explain the unexplainable? Either way, most of us love a few shivers down our spines.
There are thousands of famous demons in literature. Wikipedia even has a listing of various demons appearing in literature.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Sauron, from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Whether Tolkien’s Sauron was a demon or not could be hotly debated. Instead, let’s explore his demon-like qualities. For starters, he was entirely evil. He had no redeeming features, except maybe the ability to halt the orc’s civil wars. Wherever his power spread, life turned to death, the land was tainted, and nothing remained but a miserable wasteland. His influence was more terrifying than his presence. As readers, we make it through the entire story without ever meeting him. He made a chilling addition to the story.
The TV series Supernatural introduced several memorable demons, such as Crowley and Lilith. The show made the Crossroads Demon a favorite. Of course, the demon appears to be different people at different times. But every time someone goes out intending to meet it, I’m always thinking, “Whatever deal it offers, DON’T take it!”
A consistent theme is that demons are heartless, merciless and soulless. In my upcoming novel “The Ring Keeper”, a jealous prince uses dark magic to summon demons. With their dark power on his side, he quickly expands his control over the surrounding lands. The story begins with our young protagonist fleeing for her life as the demons pursue her.
I have a theory explaining the popularity of demons in our stories and legends. I believe most people share a desire, on some level, to believe that there is a Higher Presence involved in our existence. It seems apparent that we also share the belief that a lower power might also be plausible. I think these desires are deeply imbedded in all of us.
What do you think?
© A. J. Park
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