What are the themes in The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Getting lost in the fantasy of a novel such as The Lost Gate can sometimes make it difficult to recognize the themes that run throughout. However, in this novel, Danny must spend his life fighting against his circumstances and ensuring that he comes out at the end as a well-developed individual. It's not easy when you are ostracised within your own family  and even your grandfather finds you contemptible: "Why do we have these miserable drekkas like Danny in every generation?"

Danny is different from the other "cousins" and everybody knows and so "in this idyllic world of fairies and ghosts, gods and talking animals, Danny was a profoundly solitary child." Danny feels "unworthy" even despite his place as the son of the ruler or chief. This also places great expectations on him, none of which he can live up to. He does feel an affinity with the "drowthers"- "I am by nature one of them."- but contact with the world of mere humans is frowned upon and forbidden for most. "It was a matter of some shame that gods should now be forced to buy supplies and sell crops just like common people." 

Everything is relative and in Danny's world where he feels he doesn't belong and the outside world where he can never mix for fear of being caught, he consoles himself because "his life at home was normal. Normalish, anyway." When he soon realises that he is in fact a gatemage, he is both excited and terrified as he realizes his almost certain fate. Mistrust will almost certainly result in his death a the hands of his own people - even his parents. Danny makes a life-changing decision as he assesses all the hurt that has been inflicted on him. he decides not to end his own life, as "a good boy" would do and schemes to save himself.  

This story then is about family, courage, how mistrust and poor choices can define you and that power corrupts but, amongst all this, love definitely conquers all! There are the obvious supernatural elements that must accompany a story that exists on two different planes and there is Danny, the unlikely hero. 

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