Do What You Wish

neverendingstory.jpgMichael Ende’s The Neverending Story

I’ve been told not to re-watch The Neverending Story as an adult since they are dated so badly it strips the magic out of them; but I have to say the book made me want to give them another go.

As far as plots go, it’s not the most exciting — at no point was I gnawing my nails, worried about whether Bastian was going to survive, get home or stop hurting his friends — and the story maker in me did a mental eye-roll every time a new character knew who Bastian was, was familiar with his life story and knew what he needed to do in order to get him to the next stage of his adventure. When things finally did start to get good, the climax was grazed over and we went back to traveling with Bastian who was, let’s face it, not a strong and/or weak enough protagonist.

Despite its flaws, however, it was a nice little read. It was very imaginative, and had the feel of several fairy tales all strung together. The bountiful characters were all wonderfully vivid: Morla, the giant mountain turtle; the lion Grograman, the Colorful Walking Death, who turned to stone each night so that the glowing night forest of Perilin could be born out of his desert; clever Xayide, who animated her empty armored trolls to do her bidding; the Silver City of Armaganth, which floated on a lake of tears and was constructed of the most precious silver filigree; Yor, the blind and silent picture miner; Dame Eyola, who continually produced delicious fruit from her person from within the Change House; and of course the adventurer Atreyu and the luckdragon, Falkor.

In the end, I was happy for young Bastian Balthazar Bux and his transformation, especially since I’ve got a special place in my heart for the modern-child-goes-to-fantasy-realm tale anyway. It’s not a crazy emotional investment, but all in all, worth the read.

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