Tag Archives: fractured fairy tales

Lisa’s Tuesday Perspective: Fairy Tales Retold

We all know the story of Cinderella.  Girl’s mother dies, her father remarries to a horrid woman with horrid daughters, and the girl becomes a servant in her own home—until a fairy godmother and a discerning, shoe-toting prince change everything forever.  It’s a simply story—the Grimm’s brother’s version is only two or three pages long.

That said, if you look up “Cinderella” on Goodreads, no less than 54 pages of results pop up.  That’s over 1000 books somehow based on thbe story of Cinderella—and that’s only one little fairy tale (though granted, it’s a very well known one!) and that doesn’t count tv, movie and play adaptations.

So what is it about a fairy tale—any fairy tale—that makes us reach for them over and over again, even if we already know how it’s going to end?  Is that what we like?  Knowing that—minus a few intentionally twisted versions—the girl ends up with the boy, and everything ends up happily ever after.

Or is it more of a tug-of-war in our hearts, where we want something old and familiar, but we also can’t help but yearning for something new and exciting?  Could it even be… *gasp* a bit of a sell-out?  People re-telling something they already know will sell, because it has so many times before?

Maybe another question I should be asking, is, why do we feel the need to recreate something—why can’t people come up with brand new fairy tales all on their own?  Some certainly have—look at Neil Gaiman, for example.  Or Maggie Stiefvater, who I can’t stop raving about.

So what do you think?  What is it about a retold fairy tale that appeals to you?  What are the turn-offs?  What are the best ones you’ve read?  We’re always curious to know your thoughts!

Movie Magic Monday: Into the Woods


Okay, so this isn’t a “movie” in the traditional sense of the word, but it is available on DVD on Amazon, so I decided that was close enough!  And since I’m covering Monday’s post for Isabelle, I figured I’d have fun with it!

Into the Woods is, in fact, a musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, which mishmashes as many fairy tales as they could fit into two and a half hours—and you’d be surprised how many that is!  Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, the Baker and his Wife, Little Red Riding Hood and a couple others.  The stories are interwoven just masterfully, and the performances by Bernadette Peters, Jackie Gleason and the rest are simply phenomenal.  I saw this production first when PBS presented the recording on Great Performances, and I was just enchanted.  Of course I’m a musical buff anyhow, so that had something to do with it, but I think even people less-inclined to watch a musical would enjoy this, because firstly we’re already familiar with the stories—it’s just seeing how they interplay and what happens next that’s the fantastic thing, and besides, it really is laugh-out-loud funny.

My favorite part has always been the two filandering princes.  How great is it to think of all the fairy tales revolving around only two princes—who were never satisfied and thus were constantly chasing after new women.  I wish I could find a video on youtube of Chuck Wagner and Robert Westenberg singing “Agony” about being “ten steps behind and ten feet below” Cinderella and Rapunzel, and then debating whether thickets or dwarfs (dwarves?  dwarfs!) are more upsetting when trying to get to Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, but sadly I can’t seem to find any of those particular bits, though a look on youtube will show you a bunch of high school productions’ versions.

I will leave you with a clip of The Wolf seducing Little Red Riding Hood away from the path her mother taught her to stay on.  That’ll give you a taste at least of what you’re in for.

I’ve got a bit of hometown pride in Into the Woods, as the original, pre-Broadway production started in San Diego, with almost all of the broadway cast.  I just love this musical, inside out.  It’s funny, sweet, and breaks your heart a little bit.  If you ever have a chance to see it live, do it, because it’s a blast, but if you want to check out la crème de la crème… the original broadway cast is it.

I give it an affectionate A+

Happy Labor Day everybody!

Rapunzel, a Retelling by Lisa


Rapunzel, a Retelling

© Lisa Asanuma, 2009

My mother wasn’t quite the woman the stories have made her out to be.  Ugly, cruel, to lock a beautiful young girl up in a tower with no chance of escape and no one but herself for company.

The truth was, I went in willingly.  She didn’t force me, or put me into an enchanted sleep until the deed was done.  She told me she wanted to protect me, to keep me from the horrible things of the world.  And I was a vain and naïve child.  She told me I was beautiful and I believed her—it was very lucky for me that I truly was.  She might have had a twisted perspective of the world, and she might have taken advantage of my young and trusting mind, but I did trust her, and if I had the option of going back now—not to the tower, understand, but to her—I probably would.

She had been beautiful once, and loved and admired for her talents, one of the last of her kind, of the revered witches.  She was born too late, outlived her sisters, was chased and persecuted.  Can you blame her for wanting to hold fast to something, someone she loved?

I harbor no illusions, however.  I know she is not my true mother, that she stole me from a pair of peasants as a display of power.  I’ve seen them, since, the woman staring longingly after me, a woman who looks like me, who I used to dream of though I was hardly old enough to remember her when I was taken.

But that woman never brushed my long golden hair, or told me stories of the songs the moon would sing, long ago, as my mother did.  My rescuer would only have me remember that in my tower I had no door, but I had a window, and the sky, and every possibility open to the imagination that those things could bring me.

It was more difficult than I can tell to leave that cozy room, full of all the lovely things she could give me.  To give up my entire world, just for him.  She would most likely kill me now, the poor woman, as I’ve betrayed all her trust and broken her heart.  That he is a prince, that he is rich and handsome and benevolent, is easily enough understood.  That he is worth it… remains to be seen.

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