Spelling Friendship: A Witch Named Kendra

MAY / JUNE 2012: BY RISSI C.

kendra

THERE IS A fine line between those who are good witches and practice magic that seeks only good reactions, and those who are evil and give everyone else a bad name.

Or so Kendra tells us. Her story, Bewitching, is one of danger and romance but more than all the many complications that come with those implications, it’s an account of her beliefs, and choice to help those forced to live in the shadow of others. Her passion is that everyone should be able to shine in their own way.

Dark magic was never considered something “good” in my childhood. Even children’s fairytales were approached with caution in our house. It wasn’t until Disney re-imagined one Grimm folk tale that I became lost in a world vastly different than the one I knew. Years later I am still entertained, amused, and enchanted by the genre. Witches were not a fictional character I took to for a number of reasons. Their popularity was made more so by the book series that ushered in a craze of controversy, books I was too young to really care about. Now I’ve found one I actually like. Her name is Kendra.

New York Times best-selling author Alex Flinn first introduced her to us in the novel Beastly. In it, Kendra, quite the social outcast, placed a curse on a popular guy who needed to be taught a lesson on treating people as equals, showing kindness and how better to interact with his fellow peers and show respect to his elders. We met a live version of Kendra in the film adaptation of Beastly in which Mary-Kate Olson portrayed her, an interpretation I am now convinced does her no justice. In the film, she is a “weirdo” who is ridiculed but cares little, and lurks in shadows while in the books she is much more than a figure to be mocked. Now, Kendra is back, and memorably so, in her own story. It is a bewitching one at that. The fact that this fairy-tale is merely an invention, a place in which Kendra was inserted into a fantasy world that has given her the powers of a witch, makes no difference to the realization that the story has a gift for its reader if we choose to see it through the lens of reality, which at times can be difficult due to the magic. It is a story that a modern girl can relate to.

Kendra doesn’t have an easy life even before she discovers her powers, but each of the blows she is dealt makes her stronger. These experiences shape her into the person she will become hundreds of years later. What her sorrows did for her was build her character and teach her to be a friend in the true sense of the word (contrary to what we might imagine of Kendra) to the friendless.

In this crazy thing we call life we are going to face decisions that will challenge us, dilemmas that may decide one way or the other if our actions will pull us down to where Satan wants us to be, or support the kind of attitude we need to be successful human beings and set us on a course that will fortify a relationship with Christ. In a minor fashion, this is what Kendra’s story reminded me of. Up until her teen years, she knows nothing of her supernatural abilities. She is simply an English girl who grows up loved and cared for in her humble surroundings. It takes death and the threat of being alone in the world for Kendra to summon her powers. Not only does this change her world completely, it also gives her a new lease on life.

We might all face a choice where we have to decide which would be the right thing—do we do something that will result in serious consequences? Yes, if it is the right thing to do. It may effectively ruin what was a wonderful friendship or change our life but the burden of our conscience in not doing it is going to haunt us a lot longer than the loss of a friendship that wasn’t as important as it seemed.

In Kendra’s story, there is a defining moment when she reaches a crossroads, a place where she fully recognizes the damage, pain and evil she could inflict. Instead, she vows to do only good. In a split second, just before she makes the promise to herself, we are unsure of her motivations and her judgment. It strikes a chord within us of the temptations we will encounter in life, our own opportunities to choose the “right” way of life over the “wrong.” Satan is lurking out there. He wants nothing more than to bring us down to a level in which even we would not recognize ourselves. What we need to do is toss the dare away, not sit around waiting on him to strike. Like an intricate, clever game of chess in which our intellect is employed, we should make the first move.

How we chose to live is a reflection on us not only as a person but proving whether or not we are, or will be, a successful person —successful defined not by society but in our spiritual relationship.

Kendra may not be a character we can look up to as a spiritual role model but I loved how she stood by the people she helped in her own special way, on her own time. The themes of her narrative may be worldly and fictional but they are ones we could all learn from should we accept it in the prism of reality. Her story may not be “normal” but it will leave you with not only a sense that honorable actions do triumph but also give you something to think about as to her character. Ultimately, the story is about friendship and seeing Kendra and anyone who might be an outsider as more than a stereotype.

There is always another side to a story, another side to a person. It is up to us to find out what. ♥

mayjune2012

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