If you don t like this book, you just don t understand anything If you still haven t read it, please do Simply one of the best children s books ever written It deals with some very serious issues in a truly admirable way and gives hope at the same time Pure, honest, brave and magical. remember that book you read in your childhood it was in hardcover, it was a bit dusty and used, and you had that feeling that you would like this book and so you read it and it had adventures and it was interesting and you couldn t stop reading that book you read other books before, but that was the first book you were glued to remember that book in your childhood that, in a way, is the main reason for your deep love to books that book that holds magic to you that is cherished by you that when thinking of your childhood, you also thinking of it the book you loved best as a child that book that couldn t be replaced that one, special book that has a warm place in your heart till this day well, that s what The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren is to me. There are times when reality is hard to bear There are times when you wish you would not have to face what is actually happening For all those times, Astrid Lindgren wrote The Brothers Lionheart I must have read it about ten times by now, several times as a child, and several times with my own children, and students I have watched the film, listened to the magical audiobook in which Astrid Lindgren herself reads the story, in that slow, humoristic voice of hers, indicating her Sm land dialect ever so little And I have read quite a few reflections on the book, as well mostly discussions about whether or not she was right to break the taboo of death in a children s adventure book.What remains with me are two things the power of storytelling to make life bearable, and the recurring pattern of human society, regardless of plot, setting, characters and purpose of the story.The first chapter is of the kind that makes you cry helplessly a poor boy with a deadly illness, probably tuberculosis, overhears his mother talking about his expected death Devastated, he confides in his older brother Jonathan, who reassures him that there is a wonderful adventurous life after death, in Nangijala, and that he will just be waiting there until Jonathan joins him Things develop differently, however, and Jonathan dies himself, trying to save his brother from a fire And shortly afterwards, the boys reunite in the wonderful fairytale world of Nangijala So far, so kitsch.But of course Nangijala is a dark place as well, with a village behind a wall, reigned by the evil Tengil and his soldiers, supported by a superpower weapon, a dragon called Katla Nobody will be surprised to hear that the novel was published at the height of the Cold War.I still feel a shiver down my spine when I think of the boys sneaking in behind enemy lines, using the password All makt t Tengil, v r befriare All power to Tengil, our liberator Is it not a universal habit of tyrants that they proclaim themselves liberators From what, I would like to ask from freedom of movement Freedom of choice Peace In the black and white world of Astrid Lindgren s fairytale, the brothers set out to save their world out of the glorious conviction that there are things you have to do, regardless of the danger you encounter Men d sa Jonatan att det fanns saker som man m ste g ra, ven om det var farligt Varf r d , undrade jag Annars r man ingen m nniska utan bara en liten lort , sa Jonatan I don t know if it was such a good thing to do, said Jonathan But there are things you have to do, otherwise you re not a human being, just a piece of dirt They win in the end, and the evil powers of Nangijala are defeated, but at a cost Jonathan was hurt by Katla And this is where the story loses its magical power and credibility for me, and where I feel Astrid Lindgren does not face up to reality, even if it is just the reality you find in a story universe The boys decide to commit suicide to move on to the next world, Nangilima, where the stories are better and life is easier In a chain of eternal worlds, there can be multiple happy or sad endings But I don t particularly like that message, and have always found it hard to convey to my children Not because of the theme of death, but because of the careless attitude towards the reality we currently live in and can t stomach.If we just move on whenever life does not turn out the way we expect it, and move from adventure to adventure, ignoring the fallout of the reality we dodge by seeking an easy way out, there is no real incentive to change the premises of the world we live in for the better, or to try to figure out the reasons for the problems we have, in order to prevent them from getting worse Close your eyes and jump I always thought that was contradictory to the message that you are a piece of dirt if you do not do what you think is right But then again, Astrid Lindgren might have seen clearly what humanity does all the time building walls, fighting over ideology, ignoring bad signs, denying reality and jumping blindly into the future, hoping for the best without ever turning around to learn from history, believing in an afterlife that will be different and better, despite being populated by the same set of characters that populate earth.There is one beautiful idea expressed in the story, that I love reading over and over again Men jag kan inte d da n gon , sa Jonatan, det vet du, Orvar Om alla vore som du , sa Orvar, d skulle ju ondskan f regera i all evinnerlighet Men d sa jag att om alla vore som Jonatan, s skulle det inte finnas n gon ondska But I can t kill anyone, said Jonathan, you know that Orvar If everyone were like you, said Orvar, then evil would rule for all eternity But then I said that if everyone were like Jonathan, then there would be no evil. Br derna Lejonhj rta The Brothers Lionheart, Astrid Lindgren The Brothers Lionheart is a children s fantasy novel written by Astrid Lindgren It was published in the autumn of 1973 and has been translated into 46 languages Many of its themes are unusually dark and heavy for the children s book genre Disease, death, tyranny, betrayal and rebellion are some of the dark themes that permeate the story The lighter themes of the book involve platonic love, loyalty, hope, courage and pacifism In an unnamed Swedish city, ten year old Karl Lejon has found out that he is going to die from an unspecified pulmonary disease His adored big brother, 13 year old Jonatan, calms him down and tells him that in the afterlife, all men will go to a land known as Nangijala One day, a fire breaks out in the Lejon home Jonatan takes Karl on his back and jumps out of the house s window to save him, but dies himself in the fall Karl is crestfallen over his brother s death, until, just before his own demise, he receives a sign which allays his fears of death, and when he wakes again, he finds himself in the Cherry Valley of Nangijala, where he is happily reunited with Jonatan Karl is introduced to the denizens of the valley, particularly Sofia the dove keeper, Hubert the hunter, and Jossi, a landlord, and assumes the surname Lionheart along with his brother 1990 1368 289 1368 289 1370 1375 20 1370 240 1375 1393 9786001751493 1375 234 9645548683 1390 303 9789647501262 1397 1397 273 9786004132237 I Nangijala, D R R Det Nnu L Gereldarnas Och Sagornas Tid, Och Det R Dit Man Kommer N R Man D R Det Ber Ttar Jonatan Lejon F R Sin Bror Skorpan Som Ligger Sjuk Och Har R Kat F Veta Att Han Snart Ska D Hur Kan Det Vara S Hemskt Att En Del M Ste D N R Dom Inte Har Fyllt Tio R Ens, Undrar Skorpan Vet Du Skorpan, Jag Tror Att Du F R Det H Rligt, F Rs Krar Jonatan I Nangijala F R Man Vara Med Om Ventyr Fr N Morgon Till Kv Ll Och Om N Tterna Ocks F R Det R I Nangijala Som Alla Sagor H NderSkorpan Lskar Sin Bror Jonatan Ver Allt Annat Jonatan Som R S Modig Och Stark, Med Honom V Gar Man Vara Med Om Vilka Ventyr Som Helst Men Inte Ensam Ensam R Han Bara En Liten R Dd Krake S Bra D Att Han Inte Beh Ver Vara I Nangijala Utan Jonatan S Bra Att De Tillsammans F R Bli Br Derna Lejonhj RtaNangijalas Sagor R Sk Na Men Farliga Och Grymma Men Heter Man Lejonhj Rta S V Gar Man Det YtterstaPinterestTwitter . . This is the most important, most magical and most precious book from my childhood It is the book that made me believe in something greater than myself when I was about ten years old It is, to me, one of the most wonderful stories for children and young teenagers By the time I was 18, I had read it three or four times, later I read it to my oldest daughter and now to my youngest And I still struggled to hold back the tears.It is about the love between two brothers, about life after death, about believing in goodness and fighting evil though that is what I see as an adult now When I was a child and to my own children , it was is simply a magnificent and magical story which had me reading into the small hours of the night, but above all it is about hope With this book alone Astrid Lindgren made an indelible imprint on my childhood Years ago, I taught a course on fantasy fiction during which I had long discussions with my students about the genre My students were educating themselves to become future English teachers, and the fantasy genre is a must in that connection, at least here in Denmark where it has been popular for a long time A school teacher I knew at the time had read this story aloud to her pupils in school and had made sure to tell the children not to throw themselves from tall buildings because there was no such thing as Nangijala the magical place that Karl and Jonatan go to after they die early on in the book, so no spoiler I made it my mission to tell my students never to do any such thing children aren t stupid They know how to distinguish between what s real and what isn t Butimportantly how did she know there is no Nangijala To take away the hope and the magic that such a story offers is to misunderstand what the genre offers, not least this book.Shortly afterwards, my mother died quite unexpectedly Among the many cards I received was one from those same students, in which they sent me their heartfelt condolences and which ended by their assuring me that we believe in Nangijala So even as an adult, this book is among those I will defend with my life and recommend to anyone who ll listen I know I m not the only person to feel this way about The Brothers Lionheart, indeed I believe it s part of the landscape of childhood for many Scandinavians, which just underlines how wondrous and magical Astrid Lindgren was. Beautiful, heartbreaking, uplifting and timeless Astrid Lindgren Forever Why did you save Park s life, was that so good I don t know if it was such a good thing to do, said Jonathan But there are things you have to do, otherwise you re not a human being, just a piece of dirt I ve said this to you before But what if he d realized who you were I said And they had caught you Well, then they would ve caught Lionheart and not a piece of dirt, said Jonathan Astrid Lindgren, The Brothers Lionheart The book that made me who I am today.The one that taught me to stand up for my friends The book that showed me that Somethings you just HAVE to do, or else you are not a real human being, just a little speck of dirt Of course, I read it in the original Swedish, but anyone who has half a mind of reading something truly healing should give this a go in English It is well translated, and she IS, after all, the mother of Pippi Longstockings I rest my case.Jonatan, jag ser ljuset.