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.
on 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 explores fantastical stories for God’s glory as publisher of Lorehaven.com and its weekly Fantastical Truth podcast. He coauthored The Pop Culture Parent and creates other resources for fans and families, serving with his wife, Lacy, in their central Texas church. Stephen's first novel, a science-fiction adventure, launches in 2025 from Enclave Publishing.

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