The Dark

Watched The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising Friday night on DVD. (WARNING: movie spoilers follow.)

I expected to be disappointed. Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising series was one of my favorite set of books as a young teen. All the reviews I’ve read panned the movie. And the previews I’ve seen didn’t really float my boat.

But I actually enjoyed it. It’s nothing like the book, no. But I haven’t read the book in several years and didn’t read it again before I watched the movie, so I was able to enjoy the movie on its own. The mall guards turning into crows scene (with the nice homage to The Matrix) was genuinely frightening. I love Christopher Eccleston in all of his roles and thought he was terrific as The Rider. The scene where he rides across the bridge trailing darkness had all the small hairs on the back of my neck standing up. Those moments made up for the rank cheesiness of other moments like the Dark enveloping the Statue of Liberty (hasn’t Harry Potter convinced Hollywood that a movie can be about British kids, in England, saving British people, and still be successful?). And the departures from what I remember of the book and common sense (er, why is The Rider of the Dark riding a white horse?).

I then joined The Child in watching Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire last night. Enjoyed that, too, although I have to say that I think I’d watch The Dark is Rising again before I’d pick up another Harry Potter movie (maybe I’m just finally getting Harry Potter fatigue). But something that stayed with me from both movies was the repetition of “the dark.” The Dark is Rising. The Dark Lord. The Dark Mark. And the quintessential, the Dark Side. Dark, dark, dark, dark. Didn’t anyone have a thesaurus?

Now, I’m not ignoring the power of certain words. “Dark” is a powerful word. It carries a lot of weight in ontological and metaphysical terms. Man has always feared the Dark. And many writers have played on that fear, and the words that symbolize it, to good effect. But in thinking about it this morning while contemplating my own use of “the Dark” (particularly “the Dark Path” in Neon Blue), I keep wondering if it’s not becoming overused.

Surely with a little thinking and a good thesaurus, I should be able to come up with something else?

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