It struck me as severely odd that we’ve had so many fairy tales retold lately: three versions of Snow White in the past year (Once Upon a Time, Mirror, Mirror, and Snow White and the Huntsman), a few versions of Peter Pan in the past decade (Peter Pan and Neverland), a new release of Alice In Wonderland and Rapunzel (Tangled), and then of course there are the modern novels. A few of them are Cinder, Wicked, and Ice. Question is: when did we stop producing fairy tales and start retelling them?
As we’re all familiar, fairy tales have two-dimensional characters with stories that are fantastical and unique but short. There’s no deep-rooted inner turmoil the characters must overcome, they are simply either good or evil and do certain things, well, just because they’re good or evil. As of late, someone decided that wasn’t enough and that it’d be interesting to delve into the reasons for why these characters might make these choices. And in some novels the difference is that the characters make a different choice which may or may not alter their fate.
The fact is, we have so many fairy tales, myths and legends developed that the time has finally come to shuffle through all those plot bunnies and find a few that are worth exploring. To generate a unique story might just mean to base it off something already great and go from there. Often, I believe we try to make something so new that we forget to turn to our roots and explore what is already provided.
What are the best parts of a fairy tale retold?
- We are already familiar with the characters.
- The setting is established or at least hinted.
- Once you have a basic idea, thousands of new ideas can spring from it.
One story that I would love to see retold is The Little Mermaid (Brothers Grimm). I’ve seen a few mermaid novels out there (the Syrenka series, for instance), but that’s one I’d love to see made into a movie where we follow a character that lives under the ocean. Just to experience that perspective would be magnificent, even if there’s little to no dialogue.
But although there might be a few fairy tales we might like to explore or read about, the story doesn’t always grip us. If you are lucky enough to experience such a gripping experience, however, do not let it go by convincing yourself it has already been done. There are stories begging to be retold, begging for depth and explanation, and begging for your pen, no many how many times they have already been told.
Would you retell a fairy tale?
-The Story Addict