Magicians of Gor by John Norman

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Magicians of Gor Themes

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The main theme of Magicians of Gor is a complex speculation about reality, about what really exists and what does not. At the end of the novel this theme is explained in relation to the Home Stones, over which wars are fought and for which people will give their lives. Cabot explains that the Home Stone "exists, which goes beyond, which surpasses, meaning. In this primitive sense the Home Stone is simply that, and irreducibly, the Home Stone. It is too important, too precious, to mean. And in not meaning, it becomes, of course, the most meaningful of all." This idea that what is not may be more important than that which is, is not only complex, it seems contradictory to the idea that being exactly what one is and nothing else is what is most important to people. Women are inherently slaves, the reasoning goes, thus they must be slaves to be really themselves. Yet, the novel's principal theme suggests that in not being what one is, in denying the fact that one exists, one can become more than what one was before. On the one hand, people find fulfillment in reducing their relationships to their own fundamental natures, those of slave and master, and on the other hand the philosophical underpinning of the novel is that in denying what one is, one can become greater than oneself.

This philosophy actually takes its roots from the concept of the universe as a Great Chain of Being, a pervasive influence in Western thought during the Renaissance and early modern period. One tenant of this philosophy is that everything in the universe, from the deities to the lowliest rock has its designated place, and that it is the moral duty, if not the religious obligation, of every creature to seek happiness within its...

(The entire section is 462 words.)