Oh, My Pop Culture Jesus: Manny (Man in Moon)

0So Manny, sometimes referred to as Man in Moon or even just MiM, is the God figure in the Rise of the Guardians universe. Just to be clear, I have only read the first half of North’s book in the Guardians of Childhood series, so while some of what I say will come from that, most of this is based on the movie, since that is what I know.

Manny became the very first Guardian many years ago, around the time the Earth got a moon. It is Manny who chooses who to make into spirits for children to believe in and it is Manny who chooses which of those spirits will become Guardians. He watches over the children of the world through both the Guardians and his moonbeams, which act to him as angels might to God.

The movie starts with Jack waking up in the ice and looking up toward the moon, which is slowly raising him up from the lake. During this time, Jack says that he remembers being cold and scared, but that when he saw the moon it was comforting and then he didn’t feel afraid anymore. Near the beginning of the movie, Manny speaks to the Guardians through his moonbeams—his angels—and doesn’t use words. Additionally, Jack has a habit of praying to him. Jack becomes very distraught that nothing he does makes children believe in him and can at one point be seen looking up at the moon and asking for advice.

This can indicate God in many ways. God is often referred to as someone who brings comfort. When Jack wakes up from the ice, he immediately finds comfort in the moon, and later on he is still looking for comfort in Manny. Jack is someone who mourns, and eventually Manny answers his prayers. He makes Jack into a Guardian, a small child named Jamie and his friends come to believe in Jack, and Jack finds companionship that he lacked for the past three-hundred years.

Mathew 5: 3–12 tells us of the Beatitudes that were given during the Sermon on the Mount. 5:4 is about mourners.

Blessed are those who mourn: for they will be comforted.

Additionally, Manny using moonbeams does resemble God sending angels to proclaim His word. Often times, in the Bible, angels will come down from Heaven to preach what God has to say. Probably the most notable instance of this is when the angel Gabriel talks to Mary. While there is no instance in which Manny professes to having a son on Earth, he does send a moonbeam down to tell the other Guardians that he’s choosing someone else to join their ranks.

Manny also seems infallible. Jack spends a lot of time searching and asking Manny what he should be doing, but when Manny finally answers him, Jack questions it and denies what Manny wants. Even though Jack fights him on the Guardian issue, Manny’s plan still works out the way Manny wants it to, and barring all the plot holes, it ends with Jack being right where Manny always intended him to be.

Furthermore, Manny raises the dead. Jack dies, and the opening scene is Manny bringing him back to life. The Christian belief is that Jesus died and rose from the dead so that death may die. Christians don’t believe in death. They believe in life eternal. Jack’s mortal life ended, and due to Manny’s grace, so to speak, he is given an eternal life as a winter spirit.

Manny doesn’t make a physical appearance in Rise of the Guardians, but he is a constant, guiding presence, who chooses to not interfere directly, and instead works his miracles through the Guardians. He gives them the strength to overcome their obstacles, and as such, he helps them to grow stronger.