• Culture and Entertainment

    Fairy Tale Tag

    I found this tag on Hayden’s blog Leatherbound, and the tag originated here on Fairy Tale Central. I’m realizing there are so many more fairytales I need to read and find retellings of. I used to be more interested in those, these questions are bringing back my interest.

    – What’s an obscure fairy tale you love?

    “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” I don’t think this is super obscure, but I’ve never heard of a movie version but only book versions, and quite frankly, I think I prefer it not to be tainted with film.

    – If you got to choose Disney’s next animated princess movie, what fairy tale would you choose to be adapted?

    I feel like I wouldn’t want anything too special, it might ruin it, make it less mystical and romantic. I think “The Princess and the Pea” would work nicely. Maybe “Rumpelstiltskin.”

    – What is the first fairy tale you remember hearing when you were a child?

    I grew up with Disney so those, but I feel like “Hansel and Gretel,” “The Three Little Pigs,” and The Gingerbread Man (those are fairy-tales, right? Or what would they be called) were early too (and scarring, at least the first two).

    – If you were to embark on a fairy tale quest, what necessities would you pack in your bag?

    In my magically (like Hermione’s) expanding bag: a wand, a special potion like Father Christmas gives Lucy, a horn like Susan’s, an invisibility cloak, a magic lantern, a shield, and a magic map (something of a mix between the Marauder’s Map and the book from Ella Enchanted plus a magical geographical map). And I suppose I’d need a sword or something. Just to cover my bases. This fairy tale would be called “The Quest of the Paranoid Princess.”

    – What’s your favorite fairy tale trope?

    The obscure to beloved Cinderella trope. Just all the warm fuzzies.

    – If you could be any fairy tale character archetype (the princess, the soldier, fairy godmother, talking animal, mischievous imp, wise old woman, evil stepmother/sister, etc.), who would you want to be and why?

    The princess. I love romance and princely heroes.

    – What animal/mythical creature would be your sidekick for fairy tale adventures?

    A unicorn. Jet black with a silver horn.

    – What is your favorite historical era, and what fairy tale would you love to see in that setting?

    One of my favorites that I think would fit a fairy tale setting would be ancient/Celtic Britain. But I also love R.J. Anderson’s Faerie Rebels which are traditional Celtic fairies (as opposed to Disney-esque ones) in modern Britain (as are the 13 Treasures series).

    – If you could change a fairy tale’s villain into a hero, who would you choose and why?

    I can’t think of any right off the bat.

    – Do you prefer fairy tales with happy endings or sad/tragic endings? why or why not?

    Happy! I’m not super positive, and I need super positive endings.

  • Culture and Entertainment

    Beauty and the Beast 2017 Review

    FYI, I watched this film almost two months ago although I wrote my notes well before this. 

    I had low expectations when we watched this, so I like it better than I expected or at least I liked it okay instead of hated it? My expectations for Cinderella barely existed. A friend pointed out that Cinderella was rather a surprise, that it wasn’t emphasized very much. When movies get tons of attention, I often don’t like them because I forget that I don’t have the same taste as other people and raise my standards unintentionally. I prefer to know little going into books and movies. 

    So, I had stacked my expectations (known and unknown) against Beauty and the Beast
    ~Not Cinderella 2015
    ~Not my favorite plot
    ~Star-studded (often means stars overshadow movie or character or change movie or aren’t really a good fit)
    ~A musical (I don’t dislike musicals; my favorite music is from musicals, but in terms of overall movie choice, I prefer a more developed story)
    ~Director of Twilight vs. Kenneth Branagh (no wonder Cinderella is so brilliant)
    ~My dissatisfaction with the casting and the suspicion that Emma Watson couldn’t sing, partially proven by movie clips
    ~The moral scandal (and yes, they did everything quite deliberately with the media focus)

    What I liked
    ~Dan Steven’s voice.

    ~Evermore (I’ve listened to this so many times).

    ~Luke Evan’s voice (“Kill the Beast” is where his vocals really got me).

    ~Seeing Dan Steven’s facial expressions in the beast (that is so fascinating).

    What I disliked aesthetically
    ~I preferred the bright, clear, sparkling, sunny visuals of Cinderella, and I prefer the greater depth in Cinderella that a non-musical allows.

    ~My favorite musical themes were cut short.

    ~I prefer the original version of “Beauty and the Beast.”

    What I disliked in the plot
    ~In addition to the fact that a musical format doesn’t allow for much depth, this film had waaay too many plot lines and so none of them felt completed or deep. I always prefer simpler and deep to intricate and shallow (i.e. unfinished).

    ~The original movie had enough plot lines, this one added more and increased the old ones, so much so I felt that Belle and the Beast’s romance and the Beast’s transformation is eclipsed; both feel comparatively short or rushed, and I feel like they hardly get any attention at the end.

    ~Enough has been said on the moral issues that I won’t address it here except to state that besides the subplot being distraction, the immorality is also a distraction.

    What I disliked about the casting and acting
    ~Star-studded casts often means stars overshadow movie or character or change movie or aren’t really a good fit and all three apply for Emma Watson in this; she overacts and cannot sing (you would think an excellent voice is essential for a role in a musical, but after seeing the movie versions of Les Misérables and The Phantom of the Opera, I wasn’t surprised).

    ~I love Dan Stevens as Edward Ferrars, he is adorable, but he is not the Greco-Roman looking blond god-figure the animated version promised. He is sweet and candid looking, not the kind of handsome that can really pull off regal dignity and arrogance.

    ~I wasn’t happy with Luke Evans either, he is too old and not the fleshy, bold Gaston kind of handsome (I don’t think he handsome in this film at all), but I think he performed his role the best.

  • Reading

    Princess of Glass Review

    I am reviewing this novel as a part of the Cinderella Week. Today is the last day.

    Princess of Glass follows Princess of the Midnight Ball, a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Poppy, one of the middle princesses of Westfalin, is the protagonist in this twist on Cinderella, although of course, as a princess, she is not Cinderella herself. I will offer a warning, if magic bothers you, stay away from this trilogy. All the books deal with dark enchantments more in the style of the original fairytales. Despite the darker themes, the tone and style of these novels are light and fun, and the Princess of Glass tells a unique version of the Cinderella story.

    Princess Poppy, while on a simultaneously diplomatic and family visit in another country, discovers her cousin’s bratty maid, Ellen, once the noble Lady Eleanora, is enchanted. Ellen, selfishly bent on her own schemes, refuses aid until her enchantment begins harming herself. Even after asking for help, she still clings to the wish to marry Poppy’s Prince Christian, despite the faithfulness of her own true love, Roger.

    Several aspects of the plot mirror the Cinderella story exactly while others give a distorted reflection. Poppy and her cousin Marianne can be seen as two nice stepsisters while Ellen-Ella-Eleanora is an ungrateful, rude, selfish Cinderella. Ella has a relationship with a prince, Prince Christian. But that relationship is the result of enchantment, and Christian’s true love is Poppy while Eleanora’s is Roger. The story includes a fairy godmother and magic, but both are cruel. The glass slippers, part of the enchantment, are torturous and turn Ella’s feet into glass themselves.

    The mirror similarities include Ellen-Ella-Eleanora’s transformation from servant back to a fine lady again. She meets her future love, a childhood friend named Roger, from whom she has been separated during her poverty, and who is a wealthy man. After finding, or rather being found by him, she causes another separation by opportunistically chasing Prince Christian. True love triumphs after Christian claims Poppy, and Eleanora then turns to the long-suffering Roger. The iconic glass slipper moment occurs when Poppy is playing Lady Ella in an attempt to stop the enchantment, and Prince Christian finds her shoe.

    Although much of the story seems dark, the light writing style, fast-paced plot, and fun characters cause the story to flow pleasantly. There is light in the story itself too. Poppy always does what is right in the face of Ella’s unpleasantness because she sees something sinister is occurring. And of course, everything turns out happily in the end.

    Here Are Heidi’s Cinderella Guidelines As Stated Here:

    1. The relationship between the Prince and Cinderella has to be central to the story
    2. They have to come from different “worlds,” so to speak
    3. Over the course of the story they meet each other, lose each other, and are reunited
    4. There needs to be a ball scene involving some sort of iconic moment (i.e. her coming down a staircase and/or her lost slipper, etc.)

    And on another note, I love the author’s descriptions of clothes both in this book and in her Dragon’s Slippers trilogy. I always love when books describe elegant and unique clothing.
  • Reading

    Girly Stories: Fairy tales Retold

    The genre or sub-genre of retold fairy tales is one of my favorite. When Miss Charity of Austinitis wrote about reading  Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, I knew I needed to list the fairy tales that I have read.

    Arabian Nights: 

    (the original plot not the stories the heroine told)
    The Storyteller’s Daughter by Cameron Dokey. It was okay-not good enough to reread; I am looking forward to reading Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher which I heard about on the Austinitis blog.
    Beauty and the Beast:

    Beauty by Robin McKinley-this is one of the best re-telling of any fairy tale that I have come across.

    Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George (this is also based on East of the Sun, West of the Moon which is a Nordic tale)-I did not care for the later half too much, but the author is one of my favorites so I definitely would recommend it unless you are younger as some parts were…uncomfortable.

    Beastly by Alex Flinn-I am being generous by putting this under fairy tales retold-it doesn’t have quite the romance and allure that the others do. I do not at recommend it for young readers as it is at the least very sensual in some parts. I liked it well enough though.


    Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine-this is light and oh, so sweet.
    Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Nothing special but still pretty cute except the ending felt rather flat.

    Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George-this is the second in a trilogy (the third book may not yet be out).

    Little Mermaid: 

    Midnight Pearls by Debbie Viguie. I started this but did not finish I don’t think. I really did not like how it turned out. The writing wasn’t very good, common to its type.

    Rapunzel-I don’t think I have read any, but I welcome suggestions!


    A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce. I liked it-it is not of the higher order, but its better than many (most?) of the fantasy/fairy tale genre.

    Sleeping Beauty-I welcome suggestions!

    Snow White-I welcome suggestions!

    Swan Princess-I welcome suggestions!

    The Twelve Dancing Princesses:

    Entwined by Heather Dixon. This was lovely.

    Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George. I think that this fairy tale is one of my favorites if not my favorite-there is something so mysterious and alluring and terrifying about it.

    Wildwood Dancing (loosely based and with elements of other stories such as the Princess and the Frog)-I love the mystique of this novel. It does have some scary and dark elements, so it is not for young girls.

                                                                Stunning fantasy cover

    Spoofs: Gail Carson Levine’s Princess tales. These are light, short stories that are perfectly hilarious.