Lilith, MacDonald’s final novel written forty years after Phantastes, continues its themes of nature throbbing with vitality, shrouded in beauty, and birthing joy. One key insight from Phantastes, that love is only complete when it is fully self-sacrificing, is central to the message of Lilith. The sacrifice in Lilith goes beyond mere selflessness to become the full surrender of one’s will to God in full repentance, a dying into life as MacDonald puts it. We examine how this insight drives the story of Lilith, a fantasy retelling of the mythical first wife of Adam who selfishly forsook marriage and family for personal fulfilment. To illustrate the power of MacDonald’s insights, based ultimately on the Christian story, we trace the power of sacrificial love in the newly released Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, a coming of age story of the troubled life of an orphan who is also a brilliant chess player. The sacrifices made by Beth Harmon’s mentors and friends, in addition to those she comes to make herself, illustrate the wisdom and power of the insights MacDonald reveals in Lilith in particular, complimenting those of his earlier Phantastes as well. We begin with a full review of Lilith followed by a review and analysis of The Queen’s Gambit.

Lilith: Unbarren Joy, Purifying Repentance and Dying to Live

“The darkness knows neither the light nor itself; only the light knows itself and darkness and the darkness also. None but God hates evil and understands it”[1] George MacDonald, Lilith

“Verily, thou shalt die, but not as thou thinkest. Thou shalt die out of death into life. Now is the Life for, that never was against thee.”[2]George MacDonald, Lilith

Lilith, the final fantasy novel of George MacDonald’s career, is a tale of the process of repentance and passage through death into life. The title name of Lilith comes from a Jewish legend in which Lilith is provided to Adam as his first wife, though she forsakes the commitment to marriage and family and leaves Adam (in some versions she is a demon and later couples with a fallen angel). MacDonald uses the character of Lilith to illustrate rebellion and repentance, sacrificial love, nurturing and family, and life as a process of purification completed only at its conclusion.

Lilith begins in the estate, and particularly the library, of Mr. Vane, recently graduated from Oxford and about to begin his management of the family estate, his parents having both died when he was a child. Vane follows the family butler, Mr. Raven, through rooms and passages and ultimately to and through a mirror to find a “wild country” with mountain ranges and moors. He discovers enchanting features like prayer flowers, each unique and endowed with “gracious, trusting form” and a fragrance “as of a new world that was yet the old.”[3] Vane and Raven encounter Raven’s wife, whose dress and appearance are “white as new-fallen snow” yet exude warmth, and whose face and eyes are filled with life and light; MacDonald likens her to Dante’s description of Beatrice, who reflected the glory of heaven in The Divine Comedy’s finale, Paradise.[4] She tends a cottage near the cemetery, filled with an endless array of couches where the dead sleep, embalmed rather than corrupted (as in our world) by rays of moonlight, and who awake to new life upon her signal. Vane learns that the moral laws are the same in this world as in his, though most of its physical and mental laws differ. A battle rages in this new world. Vane learns (and hears) as he travels through an evil wood beyond the cottage of the conflicts between the Little Ones (children who have never grown up) and the Giants (children who have, but have become lazy, greedy and bad, for instance, by stealing food from the Little Ones). The Little Ones are led by Lona, the eldest though scarcely fifteen years old, who protects them from the Princess of Bulika, Lilith. Lilith is evil, having turned the content, agrarian folk of Bulika into miners of gems and traders to aid her building of a city. She has also, by magic, drained the country of half of its water supply and left it a desolate waste land, while ruling with terror and discouraging births, from her palace in Bulika.

The realm of Lilith’s fairy world suffers from the infertility (and resulting desolation) wrought by Lilith herself in discouraging births and inhibiting the process of life in general. MacDonald did not invent the theme of infertile and desolate lands, but he uses them to great effect.[5] The joyless infertility of Lilith’s world is echoed in the giants, who “have lost themselves, and that is why they never smile,” Lona explains, continuing, “I wonder whether they are not glad because they are bad, or bad because they are not glad. But they can’t be glad when they have no babies!”[6] That such infertility can steal joy is echoed in the 1992 novel by P. D. James, Children of Men, (made into a 2006 film of the same title) in which a futuristic world is rendered infertile; James’s Christian faith (one might say “imagination”) imbues the story with an implied critique of the typically low to negative European population growth rates and a narcissistic as well as abortion-fueled “culture of death.” The image also brings to mind Lewis’s White Witch of Narnia, ruling in a frozen land where “she’d made it always winter and never Christmas.”[7]

MacDonald extends the journey from selfishness to infertility to desolation to a point of ultimate judgment: hell. MacDonald alludes to such when Vane states, after journeying further into the desolate desert:

What a hell of horror, I thought, to wander alone, a bare existence never going out of itself, never widening its life in another life . . . lying an eternal prisoner in the dungeon of its own being. I began to learn that it was impossible to live for oneself, save in the presence of others . . . evil was only through good! Selfishness but a parasite on the tree of life! . . . If I only had a dog to love![8]

In comparing MacDonald and Lewis, David Neuhouser notes their similar conceptions of hell:

In contrast to Sartre’s idea in “No Exit” that hell is other people, Lewis and MacDonald both thought that hell was to be totally alone. MacDonald said “the one principle of hell is – ‘I am on my own!’”[9]

Neuhouser further relates how in the fantasy novel Wise Woman MacDonald places a self-centered girl in a cage where she is left alone with herself. In The Great Divorce, Lewis has MacDonald state of hell, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says ‘Thy will be done.’” In The Great Divorce’s grey city (hell), people can not get along, so they move farther and farther apart.[10] [11] Just as poignantly, Lewis has his MacDonald character remind us of Milton’s take on hell:

“Milton was right,” said my Teacher. “The choice of every lost soul can be expressed in the words ‘Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.’ There is always something they insist on keeping even at the price of misery.”[12]

MacDonald reinforces the terrible cost of such selfishness when Vane finds a hall of gaunt, fleshless, and faceless ghosts, once revered yet selfish societal icons, at a dance, their true, withered, inhumane natures thus revealed. Yet even here there is hope, as acts of kindness and love among them allow the sparks of humanity to be inflamed and even the slow re-composition of their flesh. Vane himself finds a withered ghost and revives her with weeks of care and feeding, finding that such service blesses himself as much as her, concluding that “nowhere but in other lives can he ripen his specialty, develop the idea of himself, the individuality that distinguishes him from every other.”[13]

Vane’s project, the woman he revives, turns out to be Lilith, and the discourse on self and sacrifice in love continues. Upon revival, Lilith turns out to be ungrateful and flees. She finds a child, whom she then protects from a roaming, spotted leopard owned by the Princess of Bulika (herself), commissioned to kill children or suck their blood so they grow up as idiots. The Princess, she tells Vane, fears a prophecy that she will be led to her doom by a child. Vane loses track of the woman, though when he finally reaches Bulika and meets the Princess, finds her to be the very woman he had revived. Lilith then reveals that she has lived for thousands of years, resisting the attentions of many lovers who ultimately sought, as she relates, “to enslave me;” she did lay asleep and dying when Vane found her, she explains, due to a curse she stumbled upon when wandering outside her own lands.[14] She reveals that she had put Vane to a test, a test of his sense of pity as much as of his love, but Vane had proved his true love when he chose to continue following her once she was healthy and in need of nothing; hence, Lilith offers her love to Vane. Raven later exposes Lilith to Vane as the angel originally given to Raven (who turns out to be Adam, and his wife at the cottage, Eve), an angel whose “first thought was power,” considering marital equality slavery and demanding obedience and worship herself.[15] Lilith’s rebellion thus leaves her as the slave of the evil Shadow and fearing her own daughter, Lona, who will ultimately provide her redemption.

Lilith and her selfishness are brought to account as a final battle looms. Vane gathers Lona and the Little People (riding atop a fleet of elephants and horses) to mount their assault on Bulika. Vane comes to admire and become devoted to Lona as they fall in love, while otherwise tending to the children. They teach the children that their origins lay beyond the forest with their own mothers, for whom they must now fight to recover from Bulika: “mothers are worth fighting for!” they heartily declare.[16] After gaining control of the city, Lona finally confronts her mother, Lilith, only to be flung lifeless onto the marble floor of the palace. Lilith is captured and carried away to meet Adam and Eve, stopping first at the House of Bitterness to meet Mara, Mother of Sorrow. An unrepentant Lilith resists Mara’s pleas to turn from her independence – “I will do as my Self pleases – as my Self desires” she declares, continuing ultimately in her slavery to the Shadow.[17] She is implored to return to her “real self,” her good nature, and is advised that she is not a creature of her own choosing and making, but is authored by another.[18] When she defiantly declares that “you shall not compel me to do anything against my will,” she is met with:

“But there is a light that goes deeper than the will . . . that light can change your will , can make it truly yours and not another’s – not the Shadow’s. Into the created can pour itself the creating will, and so redeem it!”[19]

Lilith does come to final repentance, illustrating the humility and denial of self which MacDonald has emphasized throughout both Phantastes and Lilith; they are, of course, easily summarized by Jesus’s command that “only he who loses his life will gain it.”[20] Lilith’s hopes for redemption, her escape from “the hell of her self-consciousness” can come only from within the flames of a fire Mara kindles, the heart of which is “the Light of Life.”[21]  From those flames emerges an incandescent crawling “worm thing” which embeds itself in her and wields a “torture of pure interpenetrating inward light,” revealing the image of beauty for which Lilith was originally created.[22] Lilith is brought to final repentance as she encounters the terror of “Life in Death” as the source of life leaves her and she “die[s] out of death into life.”[23] The Lilith that remains is required to perform one final act of repentance: to unclench her hand and release back into the land of Bulika the waters she had stolen. The party carries her back to the cottage of Adam and Eve, where she walks to her assigned couch to lie down, open her hand, and “die into life.”[24] As she is unable to open her own hand, Lilith has Adam cut it off for her so that she can finally fall into the rest of the life-giving death; Vane ends up with the hand, and Adam instructs him as to where in the desert he is to take and bury the hand, upon which act the waters and very life of Bulika are replenished and flourish.

Vane’s tale is not yet complete, however, and MacDonald continues on to illustrate various truths regarding death and life to which it can lead. After performing the task of burying Lilith’s clenching fist, Vane returns to the cottage and requests to enter into the peaceful rest of death himself. Vane is refused, as he is told “no one can die who does not long to live” then told to return to the House of Death and ask for wisdom from Mara, the Lady of Sorrow.[25] Instead of Mara, Vane there encounters a pale and cold Lona, whom he helps to her appointed couch, where she quickly falls asleep. Adam then appears, informing Vane that his own time to sleep has not yet come. Adam yet gives Vane hope as he relates to Vane how Vane’s mother, asleep on the couch next to his, will be nearly unrecognizable when she first awakes, as “she will go on steadily growing younger until she reaches the perfection of her womanhood – a splendour beyond foresight.”[26]

MacDonald weaves into Vane’s final encounters hope from despair and purpose from hope. Vane receives a series of dreams of his life as a journey into the heart of God, then explores to find the desert land in which he buried Lilith’s clenched hand abounding with streams and life of all sorts. He encounters Adam again who informs him that he is indeed back on his couch and dreaming next to Lona. Nevertheless, Vane’s journey is not complete, he has “not yet looked Truth in the face” but has only “seen him through a cloud,” and many trials yet await him.[27] Vane then finds himself back in his study, in despair as “between me and my Lona lay an abyss impassable.”[28] Several nights later, Vane finds himself not in the dark but waking next to Lona, who had awoken earlier and waited for him. Adam informs him that “you have died into life, and will die no more;” by contrast, “those who will not die, die many times, die constantly, keep dying deeper, never have done dying.”[29]  Vane senses a great battle about to commence, between the great Shadow (a “wretched creature”) and the “golden cock” who, when at last flaps his wings, will cause “men [to] hear him until the dawn of the day eternal,” and who with his “golden throat . . . hurled defiance at death and the dark, sang infinite hope, and coming calm… the cry of a chaos that would become a kingdom.”[30] Vane and Lona find a city far more beautiful than Bulika, and once in the city climb a pile of rocks, from which they can begin to spy, in the clouds, the throne of the Ancient of Days, before Vane finds himself gently nudged through a door and back into his library, once again alone.

It is in Vane’s final thoughts that he fully appreciates the meaning and import of his encounters. He admits that he has not yet found Lona, though “Mara is much with me,” continually teaching him of sorrow, repentance and of death that leads to life.[31] He ponders the source of such a beautiful dream,

In moments of doubt I cry, “Could God Himself create such lovely things as I dreamed?”[32]

Hope replies to him that his first answer is inadequate, that instead of saying:

My brain was its mother and the fever in my blood its father. Say rather, thy brain was the violin whence it issued, and the fever in thy blood the bow that drew it forth – But who made the violin? And who guided the bow across its strings? … whence came the fantasia? And whence the life that danced thereto? Didst thou say, in the dark of thy own unconscious self, ‘Let beauty be; let truth seem?’ and straightaway beauty was, and truth but seemed?[33]

Vane no longer seeks Lona nor the mirror and door by which he gained passage to the fairy lands and instead awaits the appointed time for his own changing, knowing that someday he will awake in that land. Until then, he consoles himself with the advice of a Pietist and Romantic, Novalis, that:

Our life is no dream, but it should and will perhaps become one.[34]

The Queen’s Gambit : Queens, Knights and Pawns Who Sacrifice

The Queen’s Gambit wraps a young woman’s coming of age story, built on the challenges of orphan life, around the sacrificial love found in Phantastes and the journey from self to community and life found in Lilith, and plays the story out on and around the chess board.[35] The Netflix series, released October 23, 2020 with seven episodes, is based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Walter Tevis. In it a young Beth Harmon, raised by her brilliant but troubled mathematician mother (both abandoned by the father, the relationship with whom Beth’s mother describes in mathematical terms as “a mistake, a rounding error”), lands in a 1950s orphanage upon her mother’s suicide. The orphanage’s janitor teaches Beth the game of chess in a dingy basement, an interest which she pursues through her years in the orphanage and later in the Kentucky high school she attends once adopted. She enters chess tournaments and soon wins the state chess title, then competes further in national and international chess tournaments, creating a media sensation as a female wunderkind. The Queen’s Gambit combines a chess world coming of age tale of Searching for Bobby Fischer (Paramount 1993, the real life story of chess phenom and Grandmaster Josh Waitzkin who values companions over competition) with the female empowerment of Hidden Figures (Fox Pictures 2016, the true story of African American, female mathematicians at NASA in the 1960s), yet it illustrates the themes of love and sacrifice found in MacDonald’s fantasies.

Just as Phantastes is at times subtitled A Faerie Romance for Men and Women, The Queen’s Gambit highlights the special roles of both men and women in Beth’s struggle to come of age; The Queen’s Gambit might be properly subtitled It Takes A Village to Raise a Girl. Male mentors of both chess and life abound throughout, from the chess mentoring of the janitor Mr. Shaibel to Townes who caringly mentors her through the chess world to Kentucky chess champion Harry Beltik and United States champion Benny Watts. Beltik, after being dethroned by Harmon, offers his greater chess knowledge to train her while genuinely caring for her as she begins to lose her way. US National champion Benny Watts similarly aids Harmon in her rise as an international star, though he is best described by their mutual friend as being in love only with himself. Generous and gracious acts are also shown her by the various older, male Grandmasters at the tournament in Russia at the end of the series. These offset the selfish male relationships with which she grew up: her father abandons Beth and her mother, and her adoptive father likewise abandons Beth and her adoptive mother, Mrs. Wheatley. Mrs. Wheatley’s own loneliness (she otherwise appears as a stereotypical 1950s housewife, spending her days alone in a cookie cutter home) abates as she supports Beth’s career and accompanies her to various tournaments, as well as by her own romance. Romantic love for Beth is hardly a factor in the story, though her various male relationships advance her coming of age story while set against the backdrop of her relationships to other women whose own traditional if not stereotypical coming of age narratives provide a backdrop to Beth’s own tale of professional accomplishment.

The Queen’s Gambit is set in the 1960s culture of sexual freedom (with alcoholism, typically as an antidote to loneliness, thrown in), but even this illustrates MacDonald’s observations on sacrificial love and community. Beth’s “dalliances” include a few sexual encounters (graphically minimized, no nudity is displayed) as if for her curiosity’s sake and her partners’ pleasure. Partners become objects rather than subjects, just as the narcissistic Lilith treated her subjects, the Bulikans, as servants rather than citizens, tearing children from parents and stifling the birth of further children rather than offering her leadership in public service. The most genuine of Beth’s trysting mates turn out to be Benny, otherwise cast as selfish. Since he expects a relationship to ensue, he is not willing to be relegated to the status of Pawn rather than the Queen’s King. Otherwise, such unreflective and emotionally detached lovers come to embody the very charges of objectification prevalent in today’s discourse on gender. Beth seems to only take seriously a possible romantic relationship with someone with whom she does not have sex, though that player turns out to be “taken” by his own same-sex relationship, another legacy of the sexual revolution of the 1960s.[36] Such fallenness and temptations serve to buttress the moral of MacDonald’s world even further: enchantment is waiting, but one must have eyes to see, and often a battle is required to do so.

The crucial struggle depicted in the series – her resounding chess triumphs can hardly be cast as “struggles” though her devotion to study and training are shown throughout – comes once Beth becomes independent due to her career and loss of her adoptive mother. Loneliness, alcoholism (both of which plagued Mrs. Wheatley), and drug abuse begin to overwhelm Beth, though the village comes to her rescue. Harry Beltik and roommate Jolene from the orphanage each re-find Beth and provide her personal and emotional support she needs to work through her issues, and when she is tempted to fall back on the familiar haze of drugs and alcohol to aid her at a crucial part of the chess competition, a friend reminds her that she no longer needs those crutches. Throughout the series, she is touted as a talented, highly intuitive player typically dismantling the feeble moves of her often more experienced opponents; yet much of the story’s moral consists in the mentoring of her talent by more experienced players, who are typically men. She becomes not just “one of the boys” but “you da man” to her network of (largely male) chess friends when she gains entry to the tournament in Russia against the world’s elite, which includes the opponent she most fears, Vasily Borgov, the reigning world champion (who himself is said to be contemplating defection from his personal demon, the repressive Soviet regime). While learning to compete in the world of men, it is through her many male relationships that Beth learns to do so, though as we will see, she never loses touch with her femininity.

Mimicking the struggle of MacDonald’s Lilith between self-realization (putting it kindly) and family or community,  Beth’s relationships with women highlight her own wrestling with the balance of personal aspirations and traditional expectations. While this ostensibly casts Beth as a Lilith character (as Adam’s mythical first wife who abandoned marriage and family), Beth learns the same lessons that would lead to redemption for MacDonald’s Lilith.  Beth’s adoptive mother Mrs. Wheatley overcomes her own bored housewife persona partly through alcohol but primarily through the excitement of accompanying Beth in her career. Jolene, Beth’s friend from the orphanage, herself battles her own disadvantaged youth, race (she is African American) and gender to aspire to a career as a lawyer, and is thus able to provide Beth moral support to face her challenges. Beth is befriended and admired by another (albeit less talented) girl in local chess tournaments, though it is by contrast to the girls from her high school that Beth’s departure from stereotypes is best portrayed. Instead of talking about boys and dancing to 1960s boy bands, Beth’s boy friends are those who play in her world, that of chess, and when she does dance eventually, it is alone and part of her journey to self-realization rather than as part of a flirtatious love ritual. Beth carves out her own path, though only made possible by various gifts of sacrificial love as taught by MacDonald in Lilith.

The Queen’s Gambit is rich on many levels, but it also deftly illustrates George MacDonald’s insights on love, sacrifice and purpose in life, as illustrated in his fantasy novels Phantastes and Lilith. The Queen’s Gambit is rightfully honored as arguably the most insightful film about chess yet produced, employing consultants such as fifteen year world chess champion (1985 – 2000) Garry Kasparov, noted chess instructor and author Bruce Pandolfini (who makes an appearance as a tournament director), and including within its games some puzzles for the ardent chess fan, but it excels as the story of a hardship-beset but talented young girl coming of age.[37] [38] Her various mentors and friends give of themselves to develop Beth’s talent as if to illustrate the moral found in a story from MacDonald’s Phantastes, that of the student Cosmo and a Princess, both of whom realize not just the ability to fully love but freedom itself is gained by giving fully of oneself to another.[39] [40] It is also the moral of Lilith, that one learns to “Die into Life” by yielding one’s will to its author.[41]  By means of such efforts from generous and loyal friends, Beth not only develops her talent but also learns that she is valued as a person: thus, not only do her mentors gain new life in Beth’s, but she overcomes her own demons and learns to enjoy life as a form of giving rather than merely as a competition. Her transformation is shown as she becomes a role model for women, youth, and goes out of her way to engage a park full of aging, appreciative Russian chess fans and requires the media to report the name of her original tutor, the lonely and forgotten William Shaibel. Finally, while The Queen’s Gambit is hardly about romance (in contrast to MacDonald’s Phantastes and Lilith both of which he described as romances and contain romances), the message of giving life to another through acts of sacrificial love is the basis for romance. By contrast, MacDonald shows in Lilith the selfishness so destructive of romance or any form of real love:

What a hell of horror, I thought, to wander alone, a bare existence never going out of itself, never widening its life in another life . . . lying an eternal prisoner in the dungeon of its own being.[42]

Instead, Beth Harmon and her companions learn by giving of themselves to play their own roles in a greater game, whether they be Pawns, Knights or Queens. Only by such love do they become the most powerful, and helpful, of pieces, as MacDonald declares:

It is by loving, and not by being loved, that one can come nearest the soul of another . . . love gives to him that loveth, power over any soul beloved.[43]

The key insight of Lilith, that by only sacrifice can one die into life, is unwittingly illustrated in Beth Harmon’s final chess match, against the Russian world champion Borgov. She opens the game with the Queen’s Gambit system (upon which the series is titled), characterized by the sham offer of an easily recoverable pawn. Harmon more fully embodies the series’s title in the game’s final sequence, as she gambits away her actual Queen. This sacrifice allows her to promote a pawn (upon reaching the final row) into a new Queen. This is symbolically rich on more than one level: it shows not just how Harmon has come of age — has become a new, more powerful Queen — after the sacrifices of so many others, but it also illustrates the words of Jesus upon which MacDonald’s fundamental insight is based:

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.[44]

Citation Information

Seth Myers, “Lilith and The Queen’s Gambit: Two Ingenue Who Learn Love Through Sacrificce,” An Unexpected Journal: George MacDonald 3, no. 4. (Advent 2020), 175-200.

Direct Link:


[1] George MacDonald, Lilith (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 206.

[2] MacDonald, Lilith, 207.

[3] MacDonald, Lilith, 11,26.

[4] MacDonald, Lilith, 28.

[5] T.S. Eliot’s famous poem The Waste Land (1922) borrows its title from Arthur legend centuries earlier with a character named the Queen of the Waste Lands for the infertile lands which have born the penalty of her extravagance and sin (Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte d’Arthur, Book XIV, Ch.I); Eliot also made use of a Fisher King figure in The Waste Land, which also comes from Arthur legend, as his land suffers along with the king’s wounds while awaiting miraculous healing, when the land will once again thrive (Malory, Le Morte d’ Arthur, Book II, Ch. XV, XVI).

[6] MacDonald, Lilith, 66.

[7] C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (New York: MacMillan Publishing, 1973), Ch. 10 “The Spell Begins to Break,” 102.

[8] Ibid., 83.

[9] C.S. Lewis’s List: The Ten Books That Influenced Him Most, ed. David Werther, Susan Werther (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), 22.

[10] C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce (New York: Harper Collins, 2001), 75.

[11] David L.Neuhouser, “George MacDonald, Phantastes” in C.S. Lewis’s List: The Ten Books That Influenced Him Most, 22.

[12] Lewis, The Great Divorce, 71.

[13] MacDonald, Lilith, 102.

[14] MacDonald, Lilith, 130.

[15] Ibid., 147.

[16] MacDonald, Lilith, 176.

[17] Ibid., 199.

[18] Ibid., 199.

[19] MacDonald, Lilith, 200.

[20] Matthew 16:25.

[21] MacDonald, Lilith, 201, 202.

[22] Ibid.,  201, 203.

[23] MacDonald, Lilith,  207.

[24] Ibid.

[25] MacDonald, Lilith, 225.

[26] Ibid., 229.

[27] Ibid., 235.

[28] MacDonald, Lilith, 236.

[29] Ibid., 239.

[30] Ibid., 241.

[31] MacDonald, Lilith, 251.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Ibid.

[34] MacDonald, Lilith, 252.

[35] The Queen’s Gambit, Netflix (Flitcraft Ltd., William Horberg, October 23, 2020).

[36] A more complete discussion of alternative sexuality might include Matthew Vines’s God and the Gay Christian? The Biblical Case in Support of Gay Relationships (New York: COnvergent Books, 2011) and its by theologians and counselors in the Albert Mohler Jr. edited God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines (LOuisville: SBTS Press, 2014). Mohler offer that temptations to what they claim scripture calls fallenness in sexuality is to be expected in a broken and fallen world.

[37] Bruce Pandolfini, “Worth the Wait” in Chess Life, November 2020; certainly Pawn Sacrifice (Bleeker Street, 2014) with Tobey Maguire as the American World Champion (1972) Bobby Fischer informatively presented the world of competitive chess, and Wargames (United Artists, 1983) with Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy which ended with a defense department computer asking “How about a nice game of chess?” is revered among chess film enthusiasts. More recently, The Queen of Katwe tells the story nine year old girl discovered as a chess talent in the slum suburbs of Kampala, Uganda, in both book form (Tim Crothers, Queen of Katwe (New York: Scribner, 2012) and film (The Queen of Katwe. Directed by Mira Nair. Walt Disney Film Motion Pictures, 2016) ).

[38] Not only is famous analysis from world champion Kasparov included in the games played, but some puzzles for the viewer result from the final match with Borgov, which are discussed at

[39] George MacDonald, Phantastes (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000) 84.

[40] Seth Myers, Phantastes: Enchanting Beauty and Sacrificial Love in  An Unexpected Journal, Vol. 3, No. 4, Advent 2020, 85.

[41] MacDonald, Lilith, 207.

[42] MacDonald, Lilith, 83.

[43] MacDonald, Phantastes, 181.

[44] Matthew 16:25.