Fairytales You Love To Hate
Do you know a fairytale that is too outlandish for your imagination? One that never sat just right with you? Or one that is so fantastical that you just don’t like it? You might be surprised to know that I, a fantasy writer, have a few of those. You might also be surprised to know that fairytales were not always told to impart morality or social justice upon its listeners. They were merely meant to pass the time or invigorate one’s own curiosity or imagination. Which is what makes them a starting point for so many authors who use well-known fairytales as their inspiration.
The real, nitty-gritty truth of most fairytales is that they were dark, twisted, and often gruesome tales with horrid morals and outcomes. In the original version of Sleeping Beauty, a king actually has sex with the sleeping body of the princess and ends up impregnating her while he’s off in a distant land…with his wife. Oops. I did some crazy fairytale research a while ago between the library and online resources, and I ran across Jon Solo’s Messed Up Origins website. Messed Up Origins™ If you want a great video source for the origins of fairytales with undeniable humor, check it out. Jon Solo is hilarious.
I digress. For me, I have always struggled with Sleeping Beauty. If she was cursed to fall asleep but everyone knew that true love’s kiss could break the spell, why did the king and queen hide her away as a pauper living in a cottage deep in a lesser-known forest with three fairies? I mean, if that was my daughter, I would have flaunted her to every eligible bachelor on the planet in search of her true love. Heck, I might have even held a ball nightly just so she could flaunt her frilly self in front of so many people, she was bound to find him…her true love. And when the curse finally happened, she’d have Prince Charming already lined up and ready to go with his smoocher. Am I alone in this?
My irritation with Sleeping Beauty drove me to write a newer version. One that wasn’t quite so annoying in my own estimation. However, I quickly realized that a sleeping beauty raised to search for her true love would have been one very confused individual. I mean, if your life’s purpose is to find true love before you’re officially mature enough to understand what love is, it’d just be a horrendous disaster. Which is exactly what happened in Audora’s case in my retelling, The Sleeping Princess Twisted Tales: Crown of Roses Book 1. She was one of the most annoying characters in that book, if not the most annoying. Considering the reality of her situation, she didn’t have an opportunity to be anything but. Thankfully, she had a lot of personal growth in book two, Broken Curse, because she became someone I liked a little more, and by book three, Warrior of Renown, I was happy with her.
Honestly, Snow White has always been one of my faves which is why Snow got so much attention in my series. Yet, I was always annoyed with her naivety in the original fairytale and her ridiculous ability to trust people she shouldn’t. I mean, how many times can the evil witch (aka mom) trick a girl before she just stops trusting people? Did it really take three tries before she realized she shouldn’t let anyone in the house while the dwarves were away? And, really, couldn’t Sleepy or Dopey have stayed behind to keep the little nitwit out of trouble? What real benefit were they to the mining operations of their pals? Thankfully, in my series, Snow gets a bit better at that but not entirely. She still trusts the wrong peeps.
I have other fairytales that bother me. Such as the man who slept for twenty years. Poor Rip Van Winkle. His life, not just his beard or wardrobe, was in tatters when he awoke. But who were the little men who drugged him in the first place? Where did they go? So, they drugged him up on their magical liquor then left him there to sleep? They didn’t laugh or heckle him when he awoke? Why didn’t they even stick around to enjoy his misery they so thoughtlessly inflicted? I felt those little guys should have been more malicious than they were, I guess. What satisfaction did they get? They were gone too soon from the story.
Little Red Riding Hood always annoyed me; though, the song by Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs is fantastic and really makes the fairytale all the more enjoyable. Seriously, if you’ve never heard the song, you should give it a listen.
Back to my problems with the fairytale. Wolves can’t wear clothes. I mean, seriously. And what imbecile would not recognize her own grandmother’s face was covered in fur? What the heck did Grandma look like before she got sick? I don’t care how bad the lighting was, a wolf’s face is too far from the realm of acceptable ugly ladies to be mistaken for granny. Let’s not forget to discuss how ridiculous the grandmother must have been to allow the wolf into the house in the first place. And if he broke in, didn’t sweet little Red notice the disturbance when she arrived? Whether the version of the story puts Grandma in the closet or the wolf’s belly before Red’s arrival, did he really have time to lock her up or devour her before Red arrived…and still jump into the bed with her clothes and glasses on? How fast did the wolf really run? Because he was just in the forest with the sweet, naive girl. Grrrr…too many things trouble me about that story. Just too many. Yet, I love it. LOL And there have been some interesting retellings of this story.
I love that these fairytales made me think, made me question, yet entertained my curiosity and imagination. They make me wonder about what truths they may have been derived from or the social norms which created them in the first place. Not to mention the twisty minds which created them to begin with.
What fairytales do you love to hate? What fairytale retellings restored your love for them? Comment below and let us know.
Some of my favorite fairytale retelling authors are: Elle Madison and Robin D. Mahle, Camille Peters, Kenley Davidson, and Jesikah Sundin. Do you know any others?
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