Brothers Lionheart

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Brothers Lionheart
Brothers Lionheart
Video: Brothers Lionheart
Video: Brothers Lionheart 1 English Subtitles 2023, February

Brothers Lionheart

This is perhaps the most unusual piece by a Swedish storyteller. Despite the worldwide fame (her works have already been translated into 100 languages) and unconditional childish love (she received packs of grateful children's letters), not all of her work was unambiguously perceived by adults. She had the courage to go beyond the conventional. The greatest debate to this day is caused by the story "The Lionheart Brothers" …

Classical literature is designed to educate feelings, including children. Man perceives life sensually and consciously. We experience joy or sorrow, happiness or unhappiness precisely at the level of feelings and, if we want to see children happy, we must develop in them a sensual form of perception of life.

Whatever set of vectors nature has endowed the child with, he needs it. This is especially true for the most emotional visual children.

Sensory education is compassionate reading of fairy tales and classical literature. Astrid Lindgren's novel "The Lionheart Brothers" also belongs to such tales.

This is perhaps the most unusual piece by a Swedish storyteller. Despite the worldwide fame (her works have already been translated into 100 languages) and unconditional childish love (she received packs of grateful children's letters), not all of her work was unambiguously perceived by adults. She had the courage to go beyond the conventional. The greatest debate to this day is caused by the story "The Lionheart Brothers".

The very form of material presentation is unusual. As the plot develops, literary forms change - from everyday realism to fantasy and parable. In the words of the writer herself, “A children's book should just be good. I don’t know any other recipes”.

The work touches upon many "difficult" topics for a fairy tale: illness and death, tyranny, betrayal, bloody struggle. Against this background, the bright thread of the story stands out: the love of the brothers, courage, a sense of duty, loyalty and hope.

The greatest controversy is, of course, the topic of death. Should children be taught about death? This is a rhetorical question. By the time they are faced with the death of loved ones, it is best that they are psychologically prepared. Lindgren was one of the first to dare to talk to children about this topic.

The story is told from the perspective of a terminally ill ten-year-old Karl. The brothers live with their mother in a tiny apartment in a wooden house. They have no father, he went to sea and disappeared. Karl thinks he left them. Sitting at the sewing machine in the evenings, my mother, remembering her husband, sings her favorite song about a sailor who is far out at sea. She works hard, she has neither time nor energy for children.

Any child needs the feeling of security and safety that he gets from his mother. Or she doesn't, if the mother herself does not feel secure, being left alone with the difficulties of life. The elder brother, as he can, helps the younger, compensating for the lack of mom. Therefore, the younger brother endows the elder with all possible positive qualities. This is emphasized by the contrast: Junathan is fabulously handsome and Karl is ugly; the elder is smart, and the younger considers himself stupid; the elder is daring, and the younger is a coward …

Brothers Lionheart photo
Brothers Lionheart photo

But the older brother loves the younger dearly and takes care of him.

Yunathan called me Cracker. Ever since I was little, and when I once asked him why he called me that, he replied that he just loved crackers, and especially small croutons like me. Yunathan really loved me, although for what - I could not understand. After all, as long as I can remember, I have always been a very ugly, cowardly and just a stupid boy. I even have crooked legs. I asked Yunathan how he could love an ugly, stupid boy with crooked legs, and he explained to me: - If you hadn't been a small, nice and ugly crooked-leg, you wouldn't have been my Cracker - like those that I love very much.

And the emotional connection, so necessary for the visual Karl, he develops with Yunathan, who, returning home in the evenings, tells about everything to his younger brother. Therefore, when Karl accidentally learns about his imminent death, he cries and shares his feelings with his brother. Yunathan, wanting to calm Karl, tells him that he will not die, only his shell will die, and he himself will end up in the magical land of Nangiyal.

- Why is everything so terrible and unfairly arranged? I asked. - Why is it possible for someone to live, and someone not? Why should someone die when they are less than ten years old?

- You know what, Suharik, in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with that, - said Yunathan. - On the contrary, for you it's just fine!

- Perfectly? - I shouted, - Why is it beautiful - to lie dead in the ground?

“Nonsense,” said Yunathan. - You yourself will not lie in the ground. Only the skin of you will remain there. Well, like potatoes. You will find yourself in a different place.

- And where do you think? I asked. I, of course, did not believe a single word of him.

- In Nangiyal.

Then a tragedy occurs: a wooden house catches fire, on the third floor of which Karl lies bedridden. Returning from school, Yunathan rushes to him, at the last moment sits his brother on his shoulders and jumps down. He dies from the blow, but saves his brother. This is how Karl describes the thoughts of his neighbors about what happened: “There was probably no person in the whole city who would not mourn for Yunathan and think to himself that it would be better if I died instead,” although, most likely, this was how the boys' mother felt.

And the school teacher wrote the following: “Dear Yunathan Leo, was it not more correct to call you Yunathan the Lionheart? If you were alive, you would probably remember how we read in a history textbook about the brave English king Richard the Lionheart … Dear Yunathan, even if they don't write about you in history books, at the decisive moment you turned out to be a real brave man, you are hero…"

Children always want to be like heroes, and in any mentality, a hero is one who gives his life for another. It is not by chance that at the end of the book, the earlier cowardly younger brother sacrifices himself for the sake of his elder - an absolute evidence that moral education has ended successfully. It is symbolic that Astrid Lindgren received the Janusz Korczak International Prize for the story.

What would do good if evil did not exist?

We all perceive on differences, and the separation of good and evil is the basis of culture. So the central place is rightfully occupied by the theme of the struggle between good and evil, shown through the eyes of a child.

Here Karl finds himself in the magical land of Nangiyal, in which, as his brother told him, all dreams come true. And Karl's main dream was to be with Yunathan. Both brothers are immensely happy to meet. But they do not enjoy a peaceful, happy life for long. And how can you rejoice if a tyrant has seized power in a neighboring valley and tortures all the inhabitants. That and look, will get to their valley. And the locals decide to help their neighbors in the fight against tyranny.

In Nangiyala, Karl is healthy, although, of course, not as handsome as the "spitting image of a fairy-tale prince" older brother. And most importantly, unlike the brave Yunathan, he is a coward and suffers greatly from this. The fearless Yunathan finds himself at the epicenter of the struggle for freedom, because he simply cannot. And the youngest tries to follow him, because without his brother he is scared and sad.

I asked Yunathan why he should get down to business, knowing in advance that it is dangerous … But my brother said that there are things that need to be done, even if they threaten us with danger.

- But why? - I did not lag behind.

And he received in response:

- To be a man, and not a piece of dirt.

This expression occurs repeatedly in the story when Karl tries to overcome his fear.

The rebels fight not only with the tyrant and his army, but also with the fabulous monster, which cannot be defeated at all. Even the smallest tongue of the dragon's flame is enough to kill or paralyze a person. In the midst of the battle, a tyrant appears with a dragon, who obeys only the sounds of his war horn. From the inevitable death of the rebels, Yunathan rescues, who snatches the horn from the tyrant's hands. The tyrant and his army perish from the fire, flying out of the mouth of the monster now obedient to Yunathan. Yunathan is about to chain the monster to a rock, but when crossing the bridge over the waterfall, he drops the horn, and the dragon attacks the brothers. Defending her brother, Yunathan pushes her into a waterfall.

Brothers Lionheart artwork photo
Brothers Lionheart artwork photo

The elder brother, hurt by the flames of the monster, is paralyzed. He will be able to move again only in Nangilim - the fabulous country where the victims in Nangiyal end up. Then the younger brother lifts the older one onto his back and takes a step into the cliff. The visual Karl manages to defeat fear with love, because the root of the visual vector is fear, which can only be eliminated by bringing it out into compassion and love. The story ends with Karl shouting: "I see the light!"

You cannot take the plot of a fairy tale literally and interpret the ending as a suicide (as some critics do). The writer denied there was a double suicide at the end. Lindgren said she wanted to comfort dying and bereaved children. “I believe children need comfort. When I was little, we believed that after death people go to heaven … But modern children do not have such consolation. They no longer have this tale. And I thought: maybe I should give them another fairy tale that will warm them in anticipation of the inevitable end? " Judging by the enthusiastic response of the children, she succeeded. Lindgren wrote: "Never before have I received such a strong response from another book." And the expression "see you in Nangiyal!" entered the Swedish language, becoming one of the most frequently used phrases in obituaries and on tombstones.

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