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Showing posts from April, 2012

Z is for...Zzzz!

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No matter how hard I tried, I could not come up with a word for Z that had anything to do with fairy tales, so I chose "Zzzz" because now that the challenge has come to an end, I can relax! So in this post, I'm going to do a little summary of my A to Z posts, and what I've learnt throughout the challenge.
I've also learnt that fairy tales can be for adults as well as children, especially the earlier versions which are not suitable for children at all! I've learnt that I much prefer the earlier versions, which are much more violent and don't always include happy endings. There are also a lot of different versions of the same fairy tale - Brothers Grimm, Disney, Roald Dahl, and lots of others. It's interesting seeing the same events unfold in such different ways in each tale.
I've learnt that I would absolutely love to live in a Castle with my very own pet dragon, with a fairy godmother and prince charming for company!
I've learnt that fairy tal…

Y is for...Youth Vs. Age!

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Today my post is about Youth vs. Age in fairy tales. There aren't a whole lot of fairy tales that have this concept in them, but one of the main ones does! A lot of fairy tales do involve mainly young characters, though.
The whole plot of Snow White revolves around the stepmother and her vanity. The magic mirror says that Snow White is the fairest of them all, so the stepmother tries to have her killed, all because she is jealous of Snow White's youth and beauty. This is a terrible reason to try and have someone killed, especially because the mirror actually says that the stepmother is the second fairest of them all. That would certainly be good enough for me! Youth wins out in this fairy tale (as it does in most) when Snow White is revived by her Prince Charming, and Age is beaten by a pair of red hot iron shoes.

There's also a Youth vs. Age concept in Hansel and Gretel. The two children first come up against their stepmother, who abandons them because she'd rather th…

X is for...Kiss!

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Yes I know, I'm cheating a little with this one, but I couldn't think of anything beginning with X that has anything to do with fairy tales! In fact, I'm pretty impressed with myself for coming up with 'Kiss'!
Kisses are a lot more common in more recent versions of fairy tales. Here are a few important fairy tale kisses:
Sleeping Beauty is originally put under a curse that involves her dying at a certain age. A benevolent fairy godmother changes the curse as a gift to Sleeping Beauty, meaning that instead of dying, she will fall into a deep sleep,  only being woken by true love's first kiss. One day, a handsome prince stumbles across the castle that Sleeping Beauty is in, and finds her lying on the bed. He finds her so beautiful that he kisses her, which wakes her up. The two then fall madly in love and get married and live happily ever after.
Another important kissing scene is the one in Snow White. As you all probably know, Snow White eats a poisoned apple, g…

W is for...Wicked Stepmothers and Witches!

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Both wicked stepfamily and Witches are often used as villains in fairy tales. Both were depicted as very evil, and fairy godmothers were often shown as their opposites. In a lot of fairy tales, wicked stepmothers were initially wicked mothers, but were changed to stepmothers to make the stories seem less shocking and violent. The aim of the main hero character in fairy tales is to overcome the problems that the wicked stepmother or witch causes.
Cinderella has a wicked stepmother AND two wicked stepsisters, who all generally just treat her like a servant and live luxurious lives while she cleans up after them. Of course, we all know that Cinderella overcomes this with the help of her Fairy Godmother and the love of her Prince Charming!
Snow White's stepmother actually attempts to have her killed, because a magic mirror told her that Snow White was "the fairest of them all", and she was jealous! Again, Snow White overcomes this problem with the help of her Prince Charming…

V is for...Villains!

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You can't have a decent fairy tale without a villain. Villains are often easy to spot in fairy tales, as they are usually causing problems for the 'hero' character. The aim of most fairy tale protagonists is to overcome the villain, sometimes by merely getting past them and sometimes by defeating them. Villains are often perceived as being the 'opposite' of the hero character in fairy tales. There are a few different groups of villains that commonly appear in fairy tales.
The first one that comes to my mind when thinking of villains in fairy tales are stepfamily. For some reason, stepmothers and sisters are always really horrible in fairy tales. In Cinderella, she has her stepmother and stepsisters who have her working as a servant for them, and don't let her have any fun at all, and then you have the stepmother in Snow White, who actually tries to kill her stepdaughter because she is "the fairest of them all". Definitely villainous.
The next is Witch…

U is for...Ugly ducklings!

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Ok, so it was really hard to find a 'U' letter for today's post. It was a choice between Unicorns and The Ugly Duckling, so I went with the latter because it's an actual fairy tale, and I don't actually know of any fairy tales that involve Unicorns!
The Ugly Duckling is a story about a baby swan whose egg rolled into the nest of a duck. When he hatched from his egg with the ducklings, they perceived him as 'ugly' and he was therefore teased and bullied by all of the ducklings, and the other animals on the farm. He wanders away and lives with some wild ducks and geese until they are killed by hunters. He then lives with an old woman, but her cat and hen also tease him, so he runs away from there too.

He sees a flock of migrating swans and is excited about the possibility of joining them, but he is too young and can't fly yet. Winter then arrives, and a farmer finds the baby swan and takes it home with him, but he is scared by the farmers children and so f…

T is for...Talking Animals!

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A lot of fairy tales have talking animals in them, which is one of the reasons why I like them so much - it just seems so much more magical than having humans in them! The actual term is Anthropomorphism, which means attributing human characteristics to animals.
In The Three Billy Goats Gruff, the three goats can not only talk, they are also shown to be very clever animals. Each goat knows how to get across the bridge without being eaten by the troll, to get to the lovely fields on the other side. The first goat tells the troll that there is a larger goat coming behind him, that the troll will find more satisfying to eat. The second goat says the same thing, so the troll waits for the biggest goat to cross the bridge. When he does, he is so big that he easily tosses the troll off the bridge, and follows the other goats to the fields, where they live happily ever after.
In The Three Little Pigs, three pigs are sent out into the world by their mother to seek their fortune. The first pig…

S is for...Shrek!

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So my post today is about one of my favourite modern fairy tales, Shrek! By my notes it looks like it might be quite a long one too, but I'll make sure I break it up with plenty of pictures! I'm going to look through all of the posts I've done so far, and see what fairy tale features Shrek has.
Shrek, like a lot of other fairy tales, begins with 'Once upon a time...' and of course ends with a happy ending. I love Shrek, because it is a fairy tale that makes fun of fairy tales - in a good way! I like how it incorporates a lot of different fairy tales all in one. It's interesting to see different fairy tale characters interacting with each other!
There are two castles in the Shrek movies, that I can remember seeing! There is Lord Farquaad's castle in the first movie, which is hilarious because it's so huge! When Shrek sees it, he asks Donkey if he thinks Lord Farquaad is compensating for something, and we later find that it's his height!
The next castl…

R is for...Royalty!

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Fairy tales often include royalty, like princes, princesses, kings or queens. In most fairy tales, either the main character is already a part of the royal family, or they join one by the end of the story.
In The Little Mermaid, the mermaid is originally part of a royal family under the sea, with her father being the Sea-King. She gives up her royal life to marry her true love. In the original version, she leaves a royal family to die, but in the Disney version, she leaves one royal family to join another. Sleeping Beauty and Snow White were also originally princesses who went on to marry princes from a different family.
In Cinderella, she is an ordinary girl who meets a prince and marries into a royal family, becoming a princess. The same thing happens to Belle in Beauty and the Beast. In Rapunzel, she is also an ordinary girl at the beginning of the tale, but when a prince hears her singing they fall in love and she goes with him to his kingdom to be a princess and live happily ever…

Q is for...Quest!

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There is a quest in most fairy tales, whether it's to find your way back home or find your true love.
In Hansel and Gretel, their main quest is to find their way home through the forest by following a trail of breadcrumbs. However, those pesky birds ate them all, so instead they found their way to a seemingly lovely house made of gingerbread, and thus started their side quest: to kill the evil witch! After doing this, they do eventually fulfil their first quest, and find their way home.
In Cinderella, her quest is to find a way to go to the ball that her stepmother and stepsisters don't want her to go to. This involves finding clothes for the ball and finding a way to get there. Cinderella manages this with a little help from her godmother, and therefore fulfils her quest, even finding herself a Prince, an added bonus!
In The Three Billy Goats Gruff, their quest is to cross the bridge without being eaten by the troll living underneath it. The first two goats manage to get acro…

P is for...Poison!

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Just a short post today, because I can't actually find any fairy tales other than Snow White where there is poison! I'll just put in lots of pictures of apples, and maybe you won't notice the shortness of the post!
In Snow White, it is only the red part of the apple that is poisoned. The queen eats the white part as proof to Snow White that there is nothing wrong with the apple, and gives the red part to Snow White. She eats it, of course (although I'd find it a little suspicious that an old lady would want me to eat half an apple so much) and promptly falls unconscious because of the poison.
It is only when Prince Charming comes along and jostles Snow White's glass coffin that she awakes, because the piece of poisoned apple became dislodged. Of course in the Disney version, it is his kiss which wakes her up.
People often connect the poisoned apple in Snow White to the fruit taken from the tree of knowledge by Adam and Eve. Apparently, Snow White should have known …