The Changing Messages of Fairy Tails

The Changing Messages of Fairy Tails

For some reason this weekend I have found myself watching a plethora of the new versions of Fairy Tails like Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters, Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent and Tangled and surprisingly enough enjoying them.  However it did get me thinking about the changing message of Fairy Tails over time.

I’m of the generation that the Disney corporation tried hard to poisoned the minds of with sanitised versions of classic fairy tails that had the very set structure.  The structure of the animated Disney Fairy Tails used to be that the heroine (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, The Little Mermaid) where nice young ladies who for whatever reason had evil people (normally a step mother) who persecuted them and thus they needed rescuing by prince charming who would be their true love and then they would live happily every after in a world where critters talk, its pleasant weather all year round and unicorns fart rainbow that smell like picky dust.

Yeah ok I’ve never been a big fan of the Disney corporations sanitised versions of fairy tails even as a kid the whole “rescued by prince charming with true loves kiss” seemed unrealistic to me and I alway wondered why the heroine just didn’t rescue herself.  The other reason was when my grandmother read us fair tails we got the real ones like The Red Shoes which was a lesson to be careful what you wished for because at the end of the real story to stop dancing she had to get the woodsman to cut off her feet as the shoes were cursed and once put on could not be taken off.

Originally fair tails where told to children to teach them lessons and those lessons had nothing to do with true love.  An excellent blog peace on the true origins of Fairy Tails is The Disturbing Origins of 10 Famous Fairy Tails by Emily Temple.  Disney stole all its Fairy Tails from the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson who actually just copied down old folk tails or translated scripts from older times.  The Grimm boys and Anderson often sanitised the stories to not to badly offend the church but Disney took them to a whole new level and actually changed the meaning and the endings of every Fairy Tail they plagiarised.

For example these are examples of what the real Fairy Tails were:

  • Little Red Riding Hood – no axe wielding woodsman rescues her she’s raped and eaten by the wolf and the story was designed to warn little gils (and probably boys) about sexual predators
  • The Little Mermaid – she not only ends up with feet so painful it feels like she’s walking on razor blades she also dies in the end because the prince marries someone else whom he loves she was simply an amusing distraction
  • Rapunzel – the “prince” was a frequent nocturnal visitor and got her knocked up at which point the witch who raised her kicked her out and she became a beggar on the street with two kids to feed – warning for young ladies about what happens if you got pregnant out of wedlock.
  • Hansel & Gretle – it was originally the Devils wife who finds them and attempts to help them, her husband finds out and locks the children in the house and the horrid little buggers not only bump off the wife and then him they also stole all their money and possessions.
  • Snow White – total horror story.  It’s her mum that tells the hunts man to kill her and bring all the internal organs so she can eat them to stay young.  Then she eats the apple and dies and a prince finding her cold dead corps instructs his men to carry it back to his castle as a trophy in doing so they dislodge the apple and she revives so he decides to marry her but the evil mum only agrees to the match so long as at her engagement party she wears shoes of red hot iron, which kills her.
  • Cinderella – the evil step sisters cut their feet to the bone to fit the shoes and when the trickery is discovered they are blinded for lying to the kings men.
  • Sleeping Beauty – after she falls asleep everyone in her kingdom dies leaving her defenceless.  She’s then raped by “prince charming” and gives birth waking her from the coma.  Prince Charming now King has married another who tries to bump off Sleeping Beauty and the kids and is burnt alive at the stake for it.

I find it interesting that the new crop of Disney Fairy Tails who are written by and acted by people of my generation although still sanitised are closer to the original stores and the Heroine isn’t rescued by Prince Charming she’s perfectly capable of looking after herself and the whole concept of “true love forever” is being written out of them.  The best example of this is Maleficent (spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the movie stop reading now) where it’s not “Prince Charming” who gives true loves kiss to awaken Aurora but Maleficent herself.  The story also contains a very powerful warning about curses because when Maleficent attempts to remove the curse she placed on Aurora as a baby the words “and no power on earth can remove it” that she said to spite the king comes back to bite her in the ass because even she is unable to remove her own curse.

It does however make you wonder what messages the generations growing up with these new versions of Fairy Tails will get out of them.

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