How John Eldredge would have men live.

14 Jul

I was emailing back and forth with a friend, and she mentioned that she finally watched Legends of the Fall for the first time.  Back in the mid-’90s, this movie helped solidify Brad Pitt’s heartthrob status, as he basically spent the movie looking like Fabio’s younger, blonder, Calvin Klein model-ier brother while alternately brooding or wooing as necessary.

However, what I did not know is that John Eldredge, in his revered Christian book Wild at Heart, used Pitt’s character Tristan to represent the “Wild at Heart” man.


Eldredge writes,

Then there is Tristan, the middle son.  He is wild at heart.  It is Tristan who embodies the West–he catches and rides the wild stallion, fights the grizzly with a knife, and wins the beautiful woman.  I have yet to meet a man who wants to be Alfred [Aidan Quinn, the practical beta brother] or Samuel [Henry Thomas, the wussy, other beta brother].  I’ve yet to meet a woman who wants to marry one.

Did Eldridge watch a different movie than the one that was actually made?  As my friend described it (de-capped for readability),

The guy who tries to kiss his younger brother Henry Thomas’s fiancee Julia Ormond, and then scalps a bunch of Germans because they kill Henry Thomas in WWI, and then comes back and steals Julia from his other brother Aiden Quinn, and then runs away for five years bc he is too ~WRACKED WITH GUILT~ to be happy with Julia, and then comes back and messes with her head after she marries Aiden Quinn after all, and then smolders until she throws herself at him again but he says “No Go Back To Aiden,” and then kills some people because they killed his Indian wife, and then has to go live in the mountains the rest of his life.

That is apparently how John Eldredge would have men live.

It kind of reads like beta longing.  Eldredge obviously can’t be Pitt, but darn it, he really would like to be, if he could just un-imagine all of the bad stuff………

My friend, arbiter of fairness, added,

 To be fair though, Aiden is kind of whiny in it. I mean, hello, obviously she should have just married him first before Brad even came back from the war, but he kinda pulled a Bolin when she and Brad started gettin’ it on.
But when Aiden and Julia got married….they were really cute. Until she killed herself bc she couldn’t be with Brad. Yes this is real.
Don’t even get me started on the women in this movie.

I asked,

Did he see a Mormon edit of the movie or something???

My friend replied,



Henry Thomas, despite being a beta virgin, comes off smelling the best of all three. Of course he dies first.

So men, be Wild At Heart.  ‘Tis better to scalp a bunch of Germans, swipe your brother’s wife and play mind games with her, inspire her suicide from your rejection, and go retire in the mountains as a murderer than to die cuckolded or a beta virgin.  First.

I mean, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.  Especially Christian ones.


12 Responses to “How John Eldredge would have men live.”

  1. Shea Fite July 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Wow, I mean wow. You couldn’t have missed the point more. Eldredge commonly uses movies and their dramatic story lines to make points. In fact his education is in Drama and the arts. He finds practical realities in what these stories mean and why we live them as humans. I think you maybe getting a little hung up on the negative aspects of a story that he didn’t right but observed a practical reality in.

  2. Shea Fite July 14, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    Excuse me, correction “write”, not “right” ;)

  3. Samson J. July 14, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    I think you maybe getting a little hung up on the negative aspects of a story that he didn’t right but observed a practical reality in.

    No kidding… Dalrock, call your office, Haley’s aping your style.

  4. Ceer July 15, 2012 at 3:50 am #

    “So men, be Wild At Heart. ’Tis better to scalp a bunch of Germans, swipe your brother’s wife and play mind games with her, inspire her suicide from your rejection, and go retire in the mountains as a murderer than to die cuckolded or a beta virgin. First.”

    This is the sort of takeaway I get from women in general. It makes me have little sympathy for them.

  5. Random Angeleno July 15, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    I enjoyed that movie. In some ways, I rather liked Pitt in it. Maybe that’s because I really liked Julia Ormond. On the other hand, that’s not definitely not a Christian example he’s setting and it’s unfortunate that so many can’t see that for what it is. Another symptom…

    Agree with Ceer, if that’s the takeaway I get from a woman, she can do without me. I’m not a scoundrel in my personal conduct. But there’s precious little value to that today.

  6. ballista74 July 15, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    Wild at Heart was my last read. Actually that’s a pretty strange book overall. There were interesting points, if albeit dubious ones. Perhaps the most telling is how he describes woman as the pinnacle of God’s creation. Overall, though, it’s pretty error-ridden and really not worth reading if you’re looking for good instruction. It is however, a pretty well crafted back door “man up and marry the sluts and treat them with respect” kind of book. Driscoll without all the insults and posturing.

  7. Professor Ashur July 16, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    Sounds a little like King David, no?

  8. Kaehu July 16, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    Check this story if you haven’t already seen it:

    “Eldredge Denounces Drug Cartel: “Wild At Heart” author renounces the Michoacán-based group’s use of his book as a motivational tool.”

  9. vitabenedicta July 18, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    I haven’t read the book, or seen the movie, but it sounds like he’s just telling men they need an alpha streak in order to attract women. It’s too bad he couldn’t have picked a more positive example to make his point, but the advice is nonetheless true, don’t you think?

    It’s certainly an improvement over *most* Christian marriage advice. Take the book Love and Respect, for example, which is meant to draw practical lessons from Ephesians 5. The part of the book that’s addressed to women tells them to unconditionally respect their husbands–which is good. But then you turn to the advice for husbands, and it tells them to bring their wives flowers, hold their hands, cuddle, etc. Turning up the beta while totally neglecting the alpha characteristics (confidence, dominance, etc.) is going to be counterproductive for most men.

  10. asinusspinasmasticans July 19, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    I think Eldredge missed Henry’s appeal in both the movie and the novella: Henry was supposed to be the golden son – the one who combined the passion of Tristan without being cynical and the uprightness of Alfred without being stuffy. Both brothers loved him dearly.

    The Sir Galahad archtype seems to be missing from Androsphere analyses of either literature or relationships, probably because getting the combination of virile energy and moral rectitude just right is too rare for it to play much of a factor.

  11. JMW July 21, 2012 at 4:30 am #

    Haha on Mormon edit. Sometimes movies are only a half an hour long

  12. ballista74 July 22, 2012 at 12:31 am #


    I haven’t read the book, or seen the movie …

    The rest of your comment definitely proves out that you haven’t read the book. As for the movie, I haven’t seen Legends of the Fall in quite some time so I can’t agree or disagree with Eldredge’s analysis of the characters.

    Further up on page 12 (quote above is page 12-13):

    Alfred, the eldest, is practical, pragmatic, cautious. He heads off to the Big City to become a businessman, and eventually a politician. Yet something inside of him dies. He becomes a hollow man. Samuel, the youngest, is still a boy in many ways, a tender child — literate, sensitive, timid. He is killed early in the film and we know he was not ready for battle.

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