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By Colleen Helme

Magical moments happen rarely, but when they do, we are reborn with wonder, and experience a thrill that only happens at those special times. I remember a particular morning in September. We had been outside early to pour cement for a retaining wall and our children were late for school because they’d been helping. Just before driving them to school the sun rose and the whole sky lit up with a molten gold hue. It stayed that way for several minutes, showering gold upon our heads. I’ve never seen anything like it before or since. To me, it was magical.

In the world of fantasy, magic is an important ingredient. Most of the fairytales we grew up with had an element of magic. Can you imagine Cinderella without a fairy godmother? Without the use of magic, nothing would have worked out right. With magic, the evil stepmother could not triumph. In fantasy books, magic gives us a sense of control. It seems to balance out the evil. Evil exists, but with magic, there is hope that it will not stand.

The main ingredient for magic is an imagination. It’s the ability to accept things we can’t understand or explain. Why do we accept a fairy godmother? Deep down, we would all like something or someone to wave a magic wand and make everything all right. When a terrible crime is committed, at the least we want it solved, but even better, we would like to see justice served and the evil stopped.

Fantasy books bring us all this and more. They take us to another level in the struggles we all face. Our challenges are difficult, and often fraught with choices that have no right answers. The great thing about fantasy is that everything is spelled out. We know who the bad guy is and we can always be assured that justice will prevail. Our heroes struggle, not only against evil, but against their own weaknesses. We see them overcome insurmountable odds and triumph over their enemies.

Bits of wisdom are found along the way that strengthen and satisfy. In Lord of the Rings, the wise Gandalf tells Frodo, “it is not the strength of the body that matters, but the strength of the spirit.” In fantasy, the classical struggle between good and evil is shown in extraordinary ways. From horrible demons to fantastic creatures, magic is the glue that holds it all together.

There are magical moments in real life and we can find them if we are looking. Strength of character from witnessing a noble act of selflessness is an affirmation that life is good, and in a way, magical. Other moments come when we least expect them, and like the sunrise, take us by surprise.