[It's December Days time! There's no overarching theme this year, so if you have ideas of things to write about, I'm more than happy to hear them.]
Fairy tales are an important part of the cultural lexicon, wherever your cultural place may be. Myths, legends, and fairy stories create a triumvirate of tales meant for learning about a culture - myths for origin stories, legends for what is valued in that culture, and fairy stories for what is to be avoided. Think about it - how many of those stories have a part in them where advice is ignored, where main characters behave in naughty ways and get into trouble, or the situation could have been avoided if only the characters had done x, y, or zed?
(Zed holds a good place in my heart - one of my best professors, and possibly a thesis reviewer, used to excuse any eccentricities of his by proclaiming he was Canadian, and therefore in Canada things were done such a way. He was spelling one if the longer names in the Bible - Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz
, and came to the terminal letter, spelling it "Zed", and then corrected to "Zee" as several people in the lecture hall erupted into laughter at such a strange letter pronunciation. The Canada excuse came out there, too, but I was mostly horrified at the reaction of the students, and resolved to use a zed wherever possible.
Zed was also the name of a later-night television show on the CBC and the reason why I know that nine naked men will cause a heap of trouble for all concerned
Fracturing fairy tales and recombining them into different stories is a time-honored tradition, whether you subscribe to the monomyth or the idea that there are only a certain number of basic story types to be put together. I, personally, would like Emma Watson or Stephen Fry to read stories to me where possible, as both of their voices are well-suited to audio reading.bethany_lauren
asked me to recast my favorite fairy tale. Which is a bit interesting, as I generally think of fairy tales as requiring new characters to appear or others to vanish to change their narrative arc. Many of the stories I see that are "the [ethnicity] fairy tale" make cosmetic changes to the story, perhaps by changing the names and the objects, but leaving the narrative intact, because changing the narrative makes the story not the fairy tale that's expected. Changing the cast on a significant way requires someone to rework the narrative.
Which, weirdly, makes me think that the fractured fairy tales or the shared universes stories are the ones that are doing their diligence about thinking through the consequences of their changes. Once Upon A Time, for example, is a clear vehicle for Disney to engage in a Massively Multiplayer Crossover between their versions of characters and other public domain entities, but they take some care in weaving the connections between the stories so that we can see the work. (I still think they should have kept the "everyone is a character but unaware of it" storyline for a few more seasons, with Emma not arriving until the middle of the arc and the viewpoint character being Henry before Emma's arrival.)
Which makes Into The Woods possibly the best recast that I've seen to this point, since it integrates a lot of different tales together, doesn't particularly mind making a few changes here and there, and then glues it all together with an original character or two. With snappy music and lyrics, and a second act that viciously deconstructs the first.
Things that are closer to in the realm of what I can do, though, is more like the fanfiction writing I've been doing. It reimagines a world where the characters remain familiar, the setting looks like it belongs, but things have otherwise been changed quite a bit.
And since I have the most trouble with how it unfolded, the longer I look at it, and especially since seeing how someone else looked at it, the fairy tale that needs re-casting the most is the story about the Boy Who Lived, Harry Potter. First change is that it becomes a story of Hermione Granger, a studious witch born to nonmagical parents who has the issue of the Cassandra Truth about the return of the Dark One. Because nobody wants to believe a woman, and not one from a prestigious family, except perhaps her Head of House.
Second, yes, Ron and Harry stay sidekicks with connections to both pranks and the microphone - whenever Hermione needs to be believed, she tells Harry something and he says it.
Third, Neville is not just the comedic relief who turns out to be useful at the last moment, but instead is a critical part of the narrative, since his marginalized status helps give her voice needed amplification, plus he's awesome at the magic parts that she's not the best at.
Draco doesn't have to change much. Hagrid can be a little more competent, and Dumbledore can be a little more transparent. But it would probably require a lot more than that to change it into a working table with even the small change of naming Hermione as the main character...
...which is why I won't be doing it any time soon.