What Fairy Tale Do You Want Retold?

With Hollywood going through a bit of a fairy tale phase, a lot of classic fairy tales are getting retold.  Despite this, many still remain untouched.  When was the last time you read or saw a retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears?  The only one I can think of off the top of my head is the character in Bill Willingham’s “Fables,”  and even then, it’s more of a reference than a full retelling.

In the "Fables" comic series, Goldilocks is a murderous, mentally unstable revolutionary.

With this in mind, I have a question for all of you; what fairy tale would you most like to see retold?  This can be a well-known fairy tale like “Jack and the Beanstalk” or a more obscure story, such as the Romanian tale of “Little Wildrose.”  Feel free to include a story concept!

A Transgender Fairy Tale

Many of the stories we were told as children are built on a foundation of traditional gender roles.  Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White (among others) all need to be rescued by strong, sword-toting young men.  Although they are less well-known, however, there are transgender fairy tales out there.  A perfect example of this is “The Girl Who Pretended to be a Boy,” which can be most easily found in Andrew Lang’s “Violet Fairy Book.”

Since this text is out of print, I’ll summarize. The story starts off a little like “Mulan.” A great emperor takes over a lesser kingdom and offers the king peace on the condition that he send one of his sons in for ten years of service.  The king, however, has three daughters and no sons, so he tests the girls to decide who to send.  Although all three of the daughters try, only the youngest is enough of a “manly” warrior to pass the king’s test.  She goes into the emperor’s service.  After proving her worth to the emperor in many ways, he selects her to go on a difficult quest to bring him the woman of his dreams, the beautiful Iliane.

After being rescued by the disguised princess, however, Iliane falls in love with her.  The princess, who reciprocates these feelings, wishes she was a man.  To make a long story a bit shorter, they eventually run away together.  A hermit who tries to stop them curses the princess, changing her gender.  The princess, however, is glad to finally be the man she wanted to be all along.  The text reads “when the princess suddenly felt she was really the man she had pretended to be, she was delighted.”  Obviously, they get married and live happily ever after.

Although the story is pretty lengthy, I actually find it more engaging than many of the fairy tales I heard as a child.  It certainly beats hearing about helpless heroines.  Maybe, with more publicity and encouragement of tolerance, this tale can find its way back into bedtime stories.

Blog Preview: Upcoming Post Ideas

I’ve been brainstorming about my upcoming posts and decided to post a list of them, as a sort of preview.
1. Fairy Tales in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel”

Joss Whedon loves making pop-culture references, and fairy tales are no exception to this rule.  I’ve compiled a list of “Buffy“/”Angel” fairy tale references and will post them along with some analysis.

2.  Fairy Tales in “Harry Potter”

J. K. Rowling shows us, in her Harry Potter books, that fairy tales often hold more truth than we imagine.  In fact, she found them so important that she created a whole book of wizarding fairy tales (“The Tales of Beadle the Bard“).  After all, each culture has its own, unique legends and fairy tales.  I will take a look at what these mean in the world of Harry Potter.

3. The Path: A Contemplative Fairy Tale Video Game

I will review “The Path,” a contemplative video game based on the popular fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood.”

4. No More Disney Princesses:  Is This Good or Bad?

Disney has decided to stop producing its famously retold versions of classic fairy tales.  I will analyze the situation, discussing its positive and negative effects on the fairy tale medium.

5. Andrew Lang’s Colored Fairy Books

Although these books are out of print, I am lucky enough to have a bunch of them.  I will describe these books and their origins, comparing them to some of their original sources, and updating their sparse Wikipedia story synopses.

6. What are Fairy Tales, Anyway?

In this post, I will explain why “Alice in Wonderland,” “Peter Pan,” and “The Wizard of Oz” are not fairy tales.  I will also explain why the works of Hans Christian Andersen and Madame D’Aulnoy are “half fairy tales.”

7. Fairy Tales in Popular Music

Fairy tales, as part of our shared cultural knowledge, are more ingrained in pop-culture than we often realize.  Using song lyrics and clips, I will show how fairy tales have made their way onto all of our mp3 players.

8. Pan’s Labyrinth

Many of us are familiar with director Guillermo del Toro‘s haunting 2006 film “Pan’s Labyrinth.”  This beautiful film was deeply inspired by fairy tales.  This post will take a closer look at del Toro’s inspiration.

9. King Arthur and Robin Hood as Fairy Tales

In this post, I will show how stories based on actual historical figures can and have evolved into fairy tales.

10. Sondheim: Fairy Tales and Urban Legends

Stephen Sondheim has based several of his hit Broadway musicals on fairy tales and their close cousins, urban legends.  In this post, I will detail the ways in which Sondheim was clearly inspired by these stories, as well as what he did to further and expand them.

My plan is to create all of these posts on my blog, but I can not promise that they will all appear.  If there’s anything on this list that you’re particularly excited to see, feel free to let me know.

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