Jake Berenson is the kind of person that isn’t supposed to worry. He just shouldn’t feel this out of his wits especially since the war is over. The yeerks have given up and various controllers, humans, hork bajir and taxxons alike, are being set free as he sat on his parents’ couch with his hands…
Jake fans should click through and read. The end of it got to me really bad. The last line. Salt in the wound, Steve. Salt in the wound.
The title is really fancy but this is just a feelings dump about Animorphs. My Animorphs tag is #Animorphs was my childhood which isn’t an exaggeration. I’ve been wanting to buy them for a year now but thankfully that post went up so I was able to acquire them. But anyway, I wasn’t kidding. I finished The Andalite Chronicles (The first in the reading list that the op posted) and I actually have the paperback so I didn’t have to read the pdf! I just have so many feelings about these books.
From what I remember (which isn’t much, but I remember a few important snippets) the books were always a surprisingly realistic look at the effects of war on children and how their experiences went on to affect them. I was surprised that the prequel was first on the list because at first glance it seems like it sums up the entire point of the books in a few sentences:
<You’re a child, so I forgive your impertinence. This time. But you are here to learn, not to question orders. And one of the things you’ll learn, my idealistic aristh, is that war is not about striking brave poses and playing the hero. War is about killing.>
The emphasis is mine but this is said by Prince Alloran to Elfangor, both characters who are hugely important to the series as a whole. Alloran is a disgraced Warrior-Prince (Prince is what the Andalites call anyone who has a high rank in the military afaik) who suffers from PTSD (it’s implied very heavily). Elfangor remarks that he’s never heard of an Andalite coming back with any sort of mental illness from war, but Loren states that her father came back “whacked out” as well from the Vietnam War on Earth.
I chose this passage because not only does it speak to me on a personal level (I live for War stories and revenge myths) but it’s an issue that I’ve had with a lot of books that I’ve read: In order to make the protagonists seem more likeable or more “good”, they’ll be seen refraining from doing anything evil or even morally questionable. This echoes to Harry Potter, and him choosing not to use any dangerous curses on anyone because he ~didn’t want to hurt anyone~. This was always frustrating to me because the books were about war, and the main character didn’t want to fight “properly”. I feel like this might be some weird bloodthirst that I might have, but it never made sense to me that the characters in HP didn’t want to kill their enemies. They always said “they’d kill you if they got the chance” but they never went out of their way to hurt the people who were actively trying to murder them.
With that said, I lived when Harry used the Unforgivable Curses in Deathly Hallows and I always defended him. They might be illegal, but in a war you do what you have to do to win. (This sounds so crass and right wing but it’s the truth and they’re fictional wars.)
The nature of the war being fought against the Yeerks is again brought up at the end of the book when Elfangor AGAIN refuses to flush the 10,000 defenseless slugs into space. Alloran says:
<The most important thing in war is to destroy your enemies, Aristh Elfangor. Nothing is more important than destroying your enemies. Do you understand?>
That’s it. It’s stated right there. I love the parallel between this prequel and the later books where (MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR SPOILER) a character has to make this same decision and chooses what seems to be “correctly” and ends up suffering from severe nightmares and regrets. I think this is where I understood the point of the books (before even finishing them): You have to do what it takes to win, but there’s no real winning. While they may or may not win, they’re going to end up severely affected by their actions, “right” or “wrong”.
*It seems I’m taking kind of a strange viewpoint: that they should do whatever it takes to win while realizing that at the end it doesn’t matter, but that’s what I think the books are saying. The characters do perform actions that are morally questionable, which is why I love them, but they’re not fine with it. They suffer from nightmares and have symptoms of PTSD, and it’s fascinating that we’re led down one path while the books were really about what war does to people instead of winning.
“Escaflowne is a show where everyone has lots of hair and they always say everyone’s full names. There are dragon robots and other robots and they all go and do stuff and so far everyone is on fire a lot of the time.”—travale
<My brother Elfangor once told me, “It’s a leader’s job to be lucky.” Sometimes, success is just luck.> I nodded. It didn’t make me feel any better. “Elfangor’s luck ran out.” <Yes. We must hope yours does not, Prince Jake.>
“What a pathetic little crew we were, trooping inside the Blade ship. Weak and pathetic and stupid to imagine that we ever could have resisted the Yeerks.
Visser Three was right. We were fools.
This wasn’t even my fight, I thought. Not really. This wasn’t my time to die.”—i never had a carefree childhood (via supey)