Fairy Tales

I love fairy tales!
On this page I will blog about fairy tales. I thought long and hard about what should be my first blog? Should it be about their darker qualities, or about the years of misuse and sanitisation? Later maybe, but for now for my first ‘fairy tale’ blog, I want to celebrate the reason why I love them most of all and that is their unique characteristic to evolve.

I love the older darker crueller gruesome tales. I love the cheesy ones that end with happily ever after (but I loathe that I do, but as I was weaned on Grimm and Disney it’s ingrained).
What I love is that fairy tales are living and evolving.  They are survivors. They change to suit society’s needs. Originally they were cautionary tales warning both adults and children alike of the dangers in the world. Each tale would change with each reciting as the storyteller would embellish and adapt the tales to suit the audience and keep them enthralled.
These tales were collected, by the likes of The Brothers Grimm, just in time as many of them were about be extinguished along with their dying dialects. The collectors then edited and sanitised the tales to keep in accordance with their own beliefs and morals. This process diluted the fairy tales’ complex moral message, but thereby they escaped extinction, finding an audience within nurseries all over the globe.
My painting of 'The Collectors'

After the collectors came the film makers who gave fairy tales a showbiz makeover for the silver screen. The undisputable king of the fairy tale movie adaption was Walt Disney, whose animations literally made the characters jump of the page singing and dancing. The stories were sugar coated and promoted wholesome American values like compliance, sending the message out to all young girls across the world that beauty and subservience will win you a rich husband and trouble free life. 
As society moved on, so did fairy tales. The post-feminism years saw the now ‘Walt’ less Disney Corporation making films with stronger female protagonists like the rebellious ‘Ariel’ in the  ‘Little Mermaid’, and head strong bookworm ‘Belle’ in ‘Beauty and Beast’. These films went some way to changing our hardwired pre-conception that fairy tales are not all about waiting for a prince to save you, but they still hold on to the fluffy ‘Happily Ever After’.  I’m still rather disappointed that Ariel (the little Mermaid) didn’t meet the same fate as in the original Christen Anderson tale.

When Disney gave fairy tales a rest, the mantel was passed to DreamWorks and the naughties (2000-2009) was ruled by a Shrek, the post-modernist green ogre with an aversion to political correctness, and a desire to shake up all common conceptions and misconceptions of fairy tales. The Shrek franchise brought fairy tales back into a universal realm, making them acceptable viewing for adults. Its first sequel ‘Shrek 2, Far Far Away’ was the highest grossing sequel in history when it was realised in 2004.
So far in the Teenies, (2010-2011) we have seen huge amounts of fairytale metamorphosis,  Disneys ‘Tangled’,  is an expertly crafted piece of comedy warning of the perils of vanity, and over parenting. Then there is  ’Red Riding Hood’ by, Twilight Director, Catherine Hardwick, which has werewolves, and fair amount of gore, but a story that was a little on the light side. 2010 also saw the release of Beastly an adaptation of Beauty and beast.

What’s next?  Well Hollywood big names are queuing up to be in fairy tale adaptions.  Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolie and Kristen Stewart are all said to be starring in versions of Snow White.  Hollywood versions of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ and ‘Hansel and Gretel’ are also in production. The small screen is also in on the act with the new ABC TV series, Once Upon Time a Time, which is about a town with is inhabited by fairytale characters.
'Snow White'

So with this fairytale revival will we see a return to the darker tales, which prey on our fears while teaching essential life lessons? That remains to be seen but one thing is clear, fairy tales will never be out of fashion.  Fairy tales are by nature ever changing. Even the mighty strengths of the quill and print couldn’t tether them. They are survivors, evolving to suit society’s needs, settling into whichever niche they find. The niche that is currently opening itself wide and inviting them in is Young adults. All of these new fairy tale movies are teen movies. So in the not too distant future there will be a desire (and market) for good YA fairytale novels.

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