This week, I am going to switch Fantasy Friday and Writing Wednesday due to the heartbreaking news I received this morning. On February 5, Brian Jacques, author of the Redwall series, passed away from a heart attack.
His death touches me deeply, as it was Mr. Jacques who inspired my love for reading in elementary school. I have been reading for almost as long as I could talk, but it was the discovery of his books in third grade that really ignited my passion for literature and writing.
Now, I know that Mr. Jacques himself did not like Redwall to be labeled as “fantasy.” According to him, “It smacks of swords and sorcery and dungeons and dragons, and this is not at all the feeling of my books. I like to think of [them] as old-fashioned adventures that happened ‘once upon a time, long ago and far away’; in fact, good yarns is how I describe them.”
And rollicking good yarns they were, though my definition of fantasy is a bit broader than that. Although there was no magic in his plots, his stories touched me with the magic of falling in love with a new world and one of the most lovable casts of characters I’ve ever known.
And so, it is with a heavy heart that I bid farewell to one of my earliest inspirations. His passing is truly a loss to children’s literature, though his legacy is sure to inspire new generations of readers.
One of my favorite things about the Redwall series was that warm, homey glow I got when I would read the last few sentences of the epilogue. As Mr. Jacques would always say, “Remember that the gates of Redwall are always open to friendly strangers passing by.”
I hope you found your welcome there, sir.