George MacDonald (1824-1905) was a Victorian Era Scottish writer who's chiefly known for his fantasy works, which were read by such authors as G. K. Chesterton, J. R. R. Tolkien, and C. S. Lewis. They include At The Back Of The North Wind, Lilith, Phantastes, The Princess and the Goblin, The Princess and Curdie, and The Light Princess. He also wrote a fair number of non-fantasy works, primarily concerned with romance, suffering and adventure in the Highlands, which are generally passed over for some reason.Other writers who cited MacDonald as an influence include W. H. Auden, Roger Lancelyn Green, Madeleine L'Engle, E. Nesbit, and Elizabeth Yates. Essentially, he's the grandfather of nearly the entire modern genre of fantasy. Appropriately enough, he sported a pretty impressive Wizard Beard.He is not George MacDonald Fraser.
Works by George MacDonald with their own trope pages include:
His other works provide examples of:
- An Aesop: Often to the level of Writer on Board (see below).
- Bittersweet Ending:
- Children Are Innocent
- Cool Old Lady: Fairy grandmothers often appear, and are always awesome.
- Dead Guy Junior
- Determinator: Many of his child characters, especially the virtuous ones. Occasionally crosses over into Badass Adorable.
- Died Happily Ever After
- Died in Your Arms Tonight:
- In one of the stories in Phantastes, Cosmo von Wehrstahl dies in the arms of the Princess von Honenweiess he has released from the mirror she has been enchanted in, but she finds him too late and cradles him as he dies in her arms.
- In Lilith, Lona dies in her true love's Vane's arms after she's killed by her mother, Lilith.
- Direct Line to the Author: MacDonald includes himself as a character in the last few chapters of At the Back of the North Wind, meeting and befriending the protagonist, who subsequently tells him of the events recounted in the earlier part of the novel.
- Don't Fear the Reaper: The North Wind, in At the Back of the North Wind, is implied to be an angel of Death, and always treats Diamond with the greatest gentleness.
- Dreaming the Truth: In "Port In A Storm" how he finds the port.
- Everything's Better with Princesses
- Everything's Better with Rainbows: In The Golden Key
- Fairytale Motifs
- First-Name Basis
- Funetik Aksent: Just in case you ever forgot you were in Scotland.
- Great Big Library of Everything: Mentioned in Phantastes, Lilith, Alec Forbes... This is a recurring image throughout MacDonald's fiction, probably inspired by a year MacDonald spent as a youth cataloging books in a large house in Scotland.
- Such places tend to be more of a Magical Library at heart.
- Held Gaze: The supernatural variant of the trope, in which case it fills the two gazers with such longing that they are so consumed with love that they depart from each other and die, being reborn as children.
- The Hero Dies
- I Gave My Word
- James Bondage
- Littlest Cancer Patient: They appear with some regularity in his non-fantasy works, dying of Victorian Novel Disease rather than cancer. (Three of MacDonald's thirteen children died of tuberculosis.)
- Living Shadow: Pops up frequently, notably in Phantastes, and have a story to themselves in "The Shadows."
- Love Redeems: Central to arguably all of MacDonald's work.
- Mythopoeia: C. S. Lewis cited him as a Trope Maker.
- Orphan's Ordeal: A Rough Shaking.
- Our Goblins Are Different
- The Power of Love
- The Promise
- Public-Domain Character: All of his characters, as he's been dead for over 100 years.
- Scotland: The setting of many of MacDonald's non-fantasy novels, as well as the homeland of the author himself.
- The Speechless: Wee Sir Gibbie in... Sir Gibbie.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth
- Trope Codifier: Being one of the major creators of modern fantasy literature, MacDonald had a huge hand in establishing the tropes now prominent throughout that genre.
- The Vamp: Lilith in her eponymous novel, and the Maiden of the Alder-Tree in Phantastes.
- We Named the Monkey "Jack": Diamond, the protagonist of At the Back of the North Wind, was named after his father's horse.
- Writer on Board: An example that even this trope is not bad. C. S. Lewis observed of MacDonald's non-fantasy novels, "Sometimes they diverge into direct and prolonged preachments which would be intolerable if a man were reading for the story, but which are in fact welcome because the author... is a supreme preacher."
George MacDonald in fiction:
- C. S. Lewis was particularly moved after reading Phantastes, and much of Lewis' writing reflect the themes that MacDonald used. Accordingly, in The Great Divorce, Lewis used MacDonald as a guiding character in the same way that Dante had used Virgil in The Divine Comedy.