Friday, 25 October 2013

#CoffinHop Day 2: Into the Woods

Into the Woods


Once Upon a Time…

If that phrase conjures up image of Disney Princesses and happy endings then you’re missing out on the delightfully dark aspects of fairy tales. The ones that come with the original versions of the stories, where sinister woodlands held wicked witches, vengeful spirits, cannibalistic queens, murderous ogres and all manner of things out to kill you. Even the princes had a sinister edge, with not-so-charming intentions.

Now I love the Disney animated films, but my childhood involved reading more nasty versions, namely Grimm’s Fairy Tales. These are the stories that bite, where menacing things prowl in the darkness, behind the trees and even invade your home. In these stories bad things happened, and even the happy endings could seem rather imperfect.

These stories had a spooky ambience and a lurid nature, dark and dripping in blood and terror, but being a main character in one of these fairy tales wasn't easy. A walk in the woods could get you eaten by wolves, captured by witches (who wanted to cook and eat you) or turned into some kind of animal. Even family wasn't safe. Step-mothers, mothers-in-law, fathers and siblings could all conspire to kill you. They could be hungry for your flesh, jealous of your beauty, or just greedy for your gold.

And those Not-So-Charming Princes I mentioned? Well, they tended to scoop up their Princesses without so much as a by-your-leave (I mean who whisks off girls they've just met in a forest?) and marched them to the altar as quick as they could (or do even worse, as in the original Sleeping Beauty tale). Happily ever after for these heroines often meant being forcibly snatched from the life you knew and wedded to a stranger (and sometimes being persecuted by his crazy witch mother).

So the next time you think of fairy tales, don't imagine pretty princesses, shiver in horror.  And remember:  death (and a witch) lurks around every corner, family can't be trusted, and stay away from princes.


I hope you'll visit some of the other hoppers  (scroll down, way down, to find the list) and don't forget to enter my Rafflecopter Contest.

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17 comments:

Anne Michaud said...

I never liked princes and always considered myself a witch, so yeah, fairy tales are NOT always glitter and rainbows ;)

Happy Hopping!!

A. F. Stewart said...

Nope, it's downright dangerous in those woods. Thanks for stopping by, Anne.

michael said...

The Grimm tales are so much better!

Popple said...

I, too, preferred the Grimm Tales.

A. F. Stewart said...

Oh yes, Grimm's are far better.

Sheila Deeth said...

But I still have a fondness for the Little Match Girl.

DarcNina said...

I have always been a Grimm girl myself! (Blogger hates me)

A. F. Stewart said...

Sheila, one of the book prizes in the contest has a redone steampunk version of a Little Match Girl.

A. F. Stewart said...

I'm a Grimm girl too, Andersen's tales were too scary for me.

Lori Parker BookwormPOV said...

Thanks for adding your blog to the Coffin Hop. So many generous authors and only so many hours in a day!

James Garcia Jr. said...

Hey, A.F. I can't believe I had yet to follow you on Twitter! *slaps hand*
I'm so bad! If it were me, I would love to bump into the Disney kind of girl out in the deep dark woods; however, none of my characters get to be so lucky. :)
Have a great weekend, and Happy Coffin Hopping!

-Jimmy
http://jamesgarciajr.blogspot.com/2013/10/a-multitude-of-halloween-giveaways.html

A. F. Stewart said...

Thanks for stopping by Lori.

A. F. Stewart said...

Good thing those Disney girls don't meet my characters, they probably wouldn't survive. Thanks for popping in, James.

Aspen deLainey said...

I love how you portray the fairy tale. It is not a pretty scene.
I'm a Grimms and Andersen fan from way back.

A. F. Stewart said...

Thanks Aspen. Those original fairy tales are delightfully dark.

Paul Stansfield said...

It is surprising how dark, and adult the original Grimm Tales are. Like the wicked stepsisters cutting their feet to fit in the slipper in "Cinderella" or, as you mentioned, how The Prince in "Sleeping Beauty" is essentially a date rapist. Not for young kids, but compelling, edgy, horrorish tales!

A. F. Stewart said...

Yes, fairy tales are originally folklore and mythology, so they should have an edge of horror.

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