I’d imagine Easter means a lot of things to a lot of people, myself included. But for me and my particular faith tradition, one Easter idea I love is that of redemption. People, events, and circumstances can be turned around and into something different than they once were. I love those kind of stories just as much in culture as I do in real life or in faith. So, to celebrate Easter weekend, let’s recall some of the best fictional redemptions ever.
First, Mr Darcy. That’s right, I’m not even going “pop” culture on this one, but instead to the one of the best “love/hate” stories of all time. Mr Darcy, of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, starts out as a real jerk. He more than implies the hero of our story, Elizabeth, is ugly. He constantly acts likes he is too good to be anywhere that he is, and walks around the small town most of the novel is set in like even the dirt is to backwater for him. We eventually find out he’s not quite as bad as we thought and through various deeds of chivalry and kindness, totally redeems himself. It’s a classic for a reason.
Next, Star Wars’ Darth Vader. This is one that was better before we knew too much (aka before the prequels and Hayden Christensen), but is iconic enough to be on the list all the same. Darth Vader was a promising Jedi, then a murder, then a guy who saves his son and in the end restores balance to the Force after all. His redemption is in his final breaths, but it's redemption nonetheless.
For my last pick, Marvel’s The Guardians of the Galaxy. This is cheating a bit because its a group, but that makes it all the better. This is a team of criminals, thieves, and a semi-coerced accomplice to genocide. And yet, they save a planet, stop a powerful, god-like alien from reeking havoc on the universe, become a family, genuinely love each other, and raise a tree into a not altogether terrible adolescent. Comic book stories are weird, sure, but man if that’s not also one heck of a redemption. Yes, Star Lord really mucks things up in Infinity War, but who's no hoping Endgame will get him back on the right track again?
Believe me, I know there are tons more great redemption arcs out there, so I’m sorry if I skipped over your favorite. But this just points to the way we all long for these kind of stories. So this Easter I hope you celebrate with some kind of family, eat great food, and find yourself believing in the possibility of a little redemption.