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Demons Haunt our Legends
Picture credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/78782850@N04/10618634025, license
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
10/21/2021 05:03:11 am
I think "Without darkness there is no light" applies to the human soul as well. There is some darkness in all of us, but compassion, empathy and love keeps the darkness in the corner of our very soul. In some people, the darkness overwhelms the light, and because our imagination is limitless, maybe writers in literature simply externalize the darkness in the form of demons. Or, perhaps, demons do exist in another realm and break through to torment us?
10/21/2021 06:02:45 pm
I agree that literature is a way to give form and shape to ideas that have been lurking-- shapeless.
Lorraine A Carey
10/21/2021 01:51:46 pm
Great Post! I think believing in demons helps us to understand that there is a balance in all creatures. As children believing in demons made us feel as though we had to be strong and set up a defense mechanism to overpower this. I had my invisible sword that I would envision was always at the ready.
10/21/2021 06:01:42 pm
Yes, I love this!!
R. A. “Doc” Correa
10/21/2021 09:00:02 pm
I think often we use the existence of demons to justify our own evil. Like Flip Wilson used to say, “The devil made me do it.”
Cindy J. Smith
10/23/2021 07:33:09 am
Again I find myself agreeing with Richard. I think we use demons as an excuse for our baser emotions, Society has always known there are two sides to everyone and by starting on us young with the idea of keeping "demons" at bay, they prepare us for the struggle as we get older to keep our evil tendencies under wrap. For some, like Richard says, the existence of demons just gives them the belief they are not responsible for their behavior. Nothing is better when things go wrong than to have someone else to blame it on,
10/24/2021 11:51:17 am
Great post. I believe it's ingrained in the human nature to find an explanation to everything and particularly to those questions nobody can give an answer, as for example what happens after death. Demons are the mirror of our dark sides, as much as angels or good spirits are the mirror for our bright side. Like the Yin and Yang the two sides are necessary when they create a balance.
10/25/2021 10:48:27 am
I love paranormal and I agree with the statements in this post. I absolutely loved Supernatural, vampire diaries etc. Demons are always common in fiction. Wonderful post
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