What Defines Us

Matthias and Martin the Warrior on the Redwall tapestry.

Matthias and Martin the Warrior on the Redwall tapestry.

With tomorrow being the one year anniversary of the founding of my blog, I decided to do a looking-back post of a different sort. I decided to look all the way back to my childhood and talk about something that changed my life and influenced how I live it.

For the first few years of my childhood, I was a pretty average girl, liking to play princess and things like that. I wasn’t very tough and was easily scared (but I was young, so grant me some leniency). Then one day I watched an episode of Redwall, an animated series on PBS that was inspired by Brian Jacques’ novel of the same name…and it was the most amazing show I had ever seen at that point. There was mystery; there was adventure; there were puzzles and riddles and treasure hunts–but what made the biggest impression on me was that the hero was a mouse. Mice are generally small and unintimidating, but Matthias didn’t let that stand in his way. He wanted to be a great warrior like the abbey’s founder Martin, and he wanted to defend Redwall from the maniacal tyranny of Cluny the Scourge, and he was prepared to do whatever it took to accomplish just that. And when I saw the hero that he became by the end of season 1, I decided that I wanted to be like that. There was very little waiting for princes after that show; I decided it was more fun to go out and slay the dragons myself!

Although I was very young when I first watched Redwall and hadn’t seen it for many years (until fortuitously re-discovering it on YouTube), it was my first introduction to the fact that I didn’t have to be a tall, strong knight to be brave, just, or heroic (I still wanted to be a knight, though), and the courage and fortitude I admired in Matthias and sought to emulate in my own life have proven useful as I have faced various difficulties over the years that would have been much tougher had I not been exposed to those values in Redwall. But not just in Redwall, either–my early exposure to that influenced my choice of reading material as I grew up reading stories by C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Stephen R. Lawhead. If ever I explored Narnia with the Pevensies, if ever I joined the Fellowship of the Ring on their trek through Middle-Earth, if ever I rode in the army of the Pendragon, it was all because I first defended Redwall Abbey alongside Matthias, Basil, Constance, and Cornflower.

Matthias is dressed in the armor of Martin the Warrior and holds out his sword, ready to battle Cluny.

If I would give anything for the chance to wield Anduril for a day, it’s because I first watched Matthias wield Ratdeath.

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