Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What is the Fairy Tale?

You know how everyone is always saying they want a fairy tale romance?  I understand that what they mean is that they want the prince charming who will fight any dragon to save the fair maiden and for everything to work out like magic, but if you really look at fairy tales, they are some of the most unromantic romances out there.  Beauty and the Beast could be a textbook example of Stockholm Syndrome.  In both Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, the vaunted Prince Charming makes out with his heroine while she is unconscious, which, you’ve gotta admit, is a little skeezy. 

And Rumpelstiltskin?  Don’t even get me started.  The heroine is a miller’s daughter who is locked in a tower and forced to spin straw into gold or she will be killed.  Then the prince (who in some versions is even the guy who threatened to throw her in the dungeons to be tortured if she didn’t pony up the gold) decides he is in love with the gold-producing chick and asks her to marry him. 

Fairy tale romance?  I’ll stick with something a bit less hostage-y and mercenary. 

When I set out to write a reimagined version of Rumpelstiltskin, one of my first goals was to actually make it romantic.  Which, considering the prince is more or less a total douche, meant taking a new look at who got to be the hero and who the villain in the classic story.  The person putting Our Heroine into danger and forcing her into a corner, forcing her to make a deal with the imp Rumpelstiltskin, is actually the prince.  Not exactly charming.  The person who bails her out, keeps her alive to fight another day, is actually Rumpelstiltskin.  It wasn’t a big stretch from there to amp up his Hero Juice – a little writerly magic and Rumpelstiltskin becomes Rue – a buff gold-skinned fairy trapped inside an enchanted medallion.  Suddenly he looks a lot more like hero material and “spinning gold” is an interesting euphemism for some nighttime activities.

So what is the appeal of the fairy tale?  You know, it’s not about the prince or the castle or the godmother makeover.  The fairy tale is that you will meet The One and through all the obstacles - magic and otherwise - you will end up together, live happily ever after, and never have to worry about the mortgage on the castle.  The fairy tale isn’t any of the silly trappings.  It’s love.  As simple as that.  I wish I could say that I was living the fairy tale, but I haven’t been that lucky yet.  But I still believe in it.  I never dressed up princess gowns as a little girl or wanted to marry a prince, but I bought into the fairy tale big time and I’m still waiting for my prince charming.  What about you?  Do you have the fairy tale?  Do you believe in it?  Or do you think it’s something we should grow out of?  Is prince charming something we should believe in or a fantasy we need to outgrow to be happy in reality?  Which fairy tale do you think is the most or least romantic of them all?

Today I'm giving away ebook copies of Spinning Gold to two lucky commenters.  You can check out more of the book details, including an excerpt HERE.


Rebe said...

At some point I think we do grow out of the Disney fairy tale, but I'd like to think that we keep a bit of the magic - maybe a more mature version? Love is the best part of the fairy tale, really!

Melody May said...

I have actually read some some of those fairy tales and they are disturbing. Disney has actually made them child friendly. When I lived in California we saw a play on Hans Christian Anderson and a lot of those fairy tales are about his sad life. Ok in the Disney version of fairy tales I love the happily everafters.


Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal said...

Red Riding Hood is considered a fairy tale, right? Even though it doesn't have a Prince Charming? That one's my favorite. As an adult I like when fairy tales get twisted up. I like when they're tweaked just so and they make me think. It doesn't hurt when they're hot either.

Mrs. Missive said...

I love retold fairy tales. There is something really fun about manipulating an old story.

I think my hubby is better than prince charming, because he laughs at dirty jokes with me.

I haven't seen this one retold. Can't wait to see what you do with it!


Stephanie Collins said...

Congrats in expanding your horizons!! Good luck in this new adventure!! This looks great!

Ursula said...

I totally love rewritten fairy tales. In fairty takes, of course the best part is the bad guy always gets whats coming, albeit in vague terms *g*


Vivi Andrews said...

And the randomly selected winners are... REBE & URSULA!

Congrats, ladies! I'll be in touch shortly to arrange delivery of your prize. Happy reading!