The whole "they live in an abbey, why don't they practice some sort of religion" question always irked me. I understand not only wanting to delve deeper into the background of information of fictional characters (look at the furor Rowling created when she outed Dumbledore) as well as wanting an outcome that adheres to the definition of the word (namely "abbey" or "church"), but what really annoys me is how people have the automatic assumption that anthropomorphic mice, squirrels, voles and moles MUST have some sort of system of religion that they practice. Call me biased (I'm agnostic), but that smacks of ignorance, in my eyes.
The only truly important thing is that Jacques has said, repeatedly, "There is no religion practiced by the mice of Redwall. None. Please stop asking or I will be forced to tickle your eyeball with this here cutlass". In Redwall
, to some degree) the book was much more "human" and contained several parallels. After that Jacques made sure the spirit of the series conveyed that it was a fantasy world and separate from our own.
Admission: I haven't read the Redwall books, in fact had never heard of them until this comic. If they plagiarise plots as the comic says, and in addition attach ideas of morality/immorality to the idea of physical difference, then it would be a series I'd never seek out or buy for my children.
And as far as racism goes, of course it's understandable and laid out in simple terms: mice, squirrels, otters, hares, shrews and badgers are good, while stoats, weasels, ferrets, rats, foxes and wildcats are bad. Yes, in a literary sense, it's formulaic, if you're into that whole "I DEMAND CHANGE!" sort of thing, and Jacques does definitely personify the latter group as being inherently evil, but only because of the latter group's actions. The important thing is that for the most part, the average woodlander is naturally trustworthy; most of the characters, unless battlehardened, would rather act friendly, or run away, if they knew what to do, than declare all rats, ferrets, and stoats as scum that needed to be eradicated. Any "good" character that is shown to be naturally hostile towards the "vermin" is not shown in a positive light. Take the badger lords for example: some defenders of Salamandastron declare any vermin they see to be instantly killed...this is not seen as a necessary virtue. Jacques clearly characterizes such figures to be of ambivalent morals that sometimes, the reader may not find appropriate. This is even more easily conveyed in the Badger Lords that become consumed with Bloodlust; when they fall into their unstoppable rage-fuelled anger, there is no stopping them, but this is seen as a tragedy, not a glorious action that ensures that all rats and foxes are killed easier.
If Redwall was a series where the inherently "good" characters always assumed that the inherently "bad" characters were actually bad, and out to do them harm, then I could see the "racist undertones". That's discrimination. But Redwall does no more than create a system of easily identifiable protagonists and antagonists, and falls back onto that formula. Formulaic? I guess, if you don't like that sort of thing. Racist? No, it isn't. And sometimes Jacques even throws us for a loop, occasionally...just take a look at Blaggut from The Bellmaker
Point is, angel_jean, it is not my business how you raise your children; I'm simply in a discussion mood today. But I felt I had to defend Redwall, despite my bias, because if I were a father of children and worried about some books they might be reading, I would take a look at them myself, good moral judge that I am, and decide if it was right for them, rather than assume, from some web-comic on teh intarwebs, that it's some horrid immoral series, one that is unfit for the "dibbuns"!