watched December 18, 2011
But that's over now. Back to the Disnerdy fun!
The story of Sword in the Stone is quite bare (a couple of my friends even fell asleep), but I was quite intrigued by the relationship between the wise, quirky wizard and the awkward cracking-voiced adolescent.
And no, I'm not talking about Dumbledore and Harry.
At present, Wart is clumsy, hesitant, and naive. Others see him as nothing but a dumb kid who will never amount to anything. Even his given nickname indicates how he is perceived: annoying, useless, and unwanted. It seems as if Wart believes this about himself too. Again we see the "Underdog Effect" as is common in Disney movies, but he is so pathetic that even the audience isn't sure if rooting for him is worth it.
Merlin, however, looks into the future (and well, as a powerful wizard I guess it's easier for him to do that than it is for us normal folk) and gets a glimpse of Wart's potential. Despite what he is now, Merlin sees and treats the young boy as the future great king of England, investing all of his time preparing Wart for his royal role. While the film lacks any significant feeling of threat or conflict (sorry, but "villain" Madam Mim was kind of a joke), each scenario that Merlin and Wart find themselves in presents opportunities for Wart to learn important values and overcome difficulties. It is in these moments of teaching and growing where the heart of the story lies.
I have had the privilege to know a couple of "Merlins" in my own life. They were people who saw me not as a quiet, aimless girl, but as someone who had leadership qualities and gifts. They instilled in me the value of training, Bible study, prayer and discernment. They gave me opportunities to lead and grow. I was encouraged to hone my natural strengths and challenged to do things I never realized I could do. I am quite sure I would not be where I am now without their guidance, encouragement and friendship.
In the film, we never see Wart embody the great King Arthur that is described in folklore and legend. In fact even as he is crowned king (sorry for the spoiler, hah), he appears extremely uncomfortable with his new responsibility and power. That's not so dissimilar to us. Maybe we are thrust into situations that seem more challenging than we are prepared to handle. Perhaps somewhere along the way you have felt that you disappointed your mentors or yourself.
But it is not about successes or failures, it's about identity. We are each created with gifts and abilities that were meant to be used for the good of others. And the "Merlins" in our lives are the ones who not only see that but bring it out of us when we don't even know how. They come alongside us to remind us of who we are in Jesus: royal priests, chosen and set apart for something wonderful. I am thankful for the women and men who live as Merlins (many of whom I get to work with), seeing people not as they are but who they are destined to become.