Continuing with the theme of the last post, I’ve been considering the popularity of the TV shows Grimm and Once Upon A Time. Both were renewed for a second season and Once Upon A Time is one of ABC’s top shows.
Recently, author Mercedes Lackey retold the popular fairy tales of our youth in a series of very popular novels (Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series). If you do a search on “fairy tale” on Amazon, you’ll find more than 76,000 results. “Modern fairy tale” brings nearly four thousand results. There’s something interesting going on in this genre.
What is the new attraction to these old stories by Hans Christian Andersen and The Brothers Grimm? When you re-read them, you’ll find the promise of True Love, the Innocent win over the Evil, and they all live Happily Ever After. Oh, we never see those Ever Afters. But maybe that’s what makes them so appealing. We don’t get a glimpse of the charming knight in his sweaty underwear after the shiny armor comes off. We don’t hear the lovely princess nagging her new husband about the way he forgets their anniversary, and honestly, how hard is it to remember it’s on the same day he saved the kingdom from a giant green scaly monster. You’d think something like that would stick in one’s mind, wouldn’t you?
And we don’t see the lovely princess gain weight after each darling child; don’t hear her screaming at them in the local marketplace when the merchant catches them squeezing the tomatoes.
Maybe that’s what makes these reprisals of our favorite characters so appealing once again. The writers know how to take us out of our everyday life, away from the laundry that needs folding, the sink piled with dirty dishes into an enchanted world where the good are rewarded and the bad get their comeuppance and magic gets the housework done.
The world needs some of that once in a while. Both the comeuppances and the magic.
Who is your favorite fairy tale character and why? If you were going to re-imagine that character in the present day, in which genre would you write their story? Leave a comment below and tell us where you would start living your own fairy tale.