I've kept this analysis spoiler free to the best of my ability. If you want a little more context for this character analysis, you may want to check out my review of the source book, The Sword in the Stars.
Name: King Ealden
Book: The Sword in the Stars, by Wayne Thomas Batson
Genre: Christian fantasy; teen
Role: Minor/Supporting Character
Personality: Brash, forthright, pious
What he brings to the table: King Ealden is one of the rulers of Myriad. He is one of the few faithful people left who follow the First One’s ways, making him come across as stuck up or self-righteous at times.
Spiritual role: While King Ealden is not a formal priest, he serves as the spiritual conscience of Myriad’s rulers, often reminding them of when they’ve gone astray from the First One’s teachings. He also serves as an antagonist to Alastair, telling him that he’s unable to be the Caller of the promised redeemer due to his past sins. He is always the first to point out other faults and shortcomings, using the harshest letter of the law.
Pastorly/Worship notes: King Ealden is always quick to lead people in prayer or thanks to the First One. Most of the time, this is simply a prayer or reading to start a meeting. He is very keen on the idea of righteousness before the law and tends to emphasize this.
Ninja Status: Black Belt. King Ealden is one of Myriad’s fiercest warriors and is shown singlehandedly taking down waves of invaders at the end of the story.
Further Discussion: Christian fiction is often obsessed with portraying pastors/ priests in the best light possible or, conversely, showing how wrong the priesthood can go and examining a “fallen” pastor. King Ealden follows neither of these two paths. In spite of his obsession over making sure that the law is followed, he is also portrayed as a man—er, Wayfolk—who is genuinely devoted to the First One.
In The Sword in the Stars, we only get a brief glimpse into why he might act the way he does. But, after a particularly harsh interaction with Alastair, he prays for forgiveness and mercy—a fresh look at his otherwise abrasive character. I look forward to learning more about his motives in upcoming books.
Have you ever read about a hypercritical pastor? What book?
Please note that I may be slow to respond to comments this week.