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In Michael Ende's brilliant novel The Neverending Story, the world of Fantastica is ruled by the Childlike Empress, a mysterious ruler who is given a different name each time a new human comes to her world. When Bastian

seeks to take her place as Emperor after she disappears, he is first thwarted by Atreyu and then discovers that by seizing power he would have doomed himself to oblivion and insanity.

What message does The Neverending Story promote in terms of power? Does it want its readers to come away with the idea that power corrupts and seeking it is a bad thing? Or that power should remain in the hands of those who have always held it? Or something else entirely?

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  • It's a long time since I read "The Neverending Story" and I also haven't any information on what the author said about it, if anything, so I won't make this an answer, but I seem to remember something about the danger being specifically because Bastian was human (in the sense of him being from the real world rather than being a fictional character like the Fantasticans). So maybe the point is not about power at all but something about not trying to live in a story?
    – A. B.
    May 13 at 4:55

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