On CAPC: Sir Christopher Lee Explored Evil For Goodness’ Sake

The late actor’s villains are neither wholly helpless victims nor solely evil oppressors, but willingly chose to be both.
E. Stephen Burnett | Jun 19, 2015 | No comments |

Saruman the White (Sir Christopher Lee) from "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"

At Christ and Pop Culture today, Blake Collier and I explore Christopher’s Lee’s film legacy, past (Blake) and present (myself).

From Blake:

Wherever Lee stood in relationship with his Creator, he understood the grace and compassion required to take on the cinematic flesh of those abhorrent horror icons and to keep them and their stories alive for future generations. He showed us that even “villains” could be loved and shown mercy and grace, even if that sacrifice may sometimes take a little bit of blood.

From myself:

… Those who accept the common narrative that The Lord of the Rings is okay but The Hobbit films—which are set before The Lord of the Rings—are garbage, may miss the hints of beauty and profundity that pierce like hot iron even through the latter series. …

Clearly Lee believed the same about Saruman’s fall as he did about his other onscreen villains—not that they are wholly helpless victims, not that they are solely evil  oppressors, but that they make themselves both. “We cannot stop ourselves doing what we are doing,” Lee said, in one of the clearest (if possibly incidental) reflections of the biblical concept of “total depravity” or “total inability” to do good.

Read the rest at Sir Christopher Lee: Exploring Evil for the Sake of Greater Goodness, exclusively at Christ and Pop Culture.


E. Stephen Burnett is coauthor of a nonfiction book about parenting and popular culture (title TBA), to release spring 2020 from New Growth Press. He also explores biblical truth and fantastic stories as editor in chief of Lorehaven Magazine and writer at Speculative Faith. He has also written for Christianity Today and Christ and Pop Culture. He and his wife, Lacy, live in the Austin area and serve as members of Southern Hills Baptist Church.

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