Monday, February 24, 2014
Okay, I've recently discovered that there is already a blog out there entitled "Geekily Ever After". I blame myself for not doing a more extensive search when I was brainstorming names for this blog. You see, I was afraid that if I wasted too much time before actually launching the blog, that I'd never get it done at all. What this means though, is that I've got little in the way of search engine visibility because the other blog is older and more popular. I still think my unique perspective of folk and fairy tales is worth writing about. It takes into account the connection between folklore and other fantastical fiction and I have a feeling that my view might also be a little younger and a little more masculine than a lot of the other fairy tale blogs out there (no offense, ladies. I love all of you and your work). So, even with a name change, it would still be business as usual around here. Also, the URL would pretty much stay the same. Possible titles I'm considering are "Fairy Tale Geek", "Geek Kingdom", "Fairy Tale Fandom" and "Once Upon a Fandom". I will continue to think up new possibilities and try them in Google and other search engines. If anyone has any suggestions for new titles, post below and I may try them out.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
You know, technology can be an amazing thing. Think about this blog, for instance. Once upon a time, people couldn’t just post their thoughts and ideas for the whole world to see, as quick as we can now. The best you could hope for was to write a widely distributed book or article and that would take a lot longer to produce than a single blog post. I mean, I know I’m not exactly building an Iron Man suit her but it’s still pretty impressive. It also seems that once you get into a technology, that you suddenly discover all the other similarly-minded people who have done the same. So, that’s what I’m posting this week. Here are some of the other fairy tale blogs I’ve discovered in my time before and after starting this blog. Now, keep in mind, my descriptions are based on my first impressions and not years of reading them. Also, I expect any of my readers to be respectful of the other bloggers should they visit them online. Got it? Good!
SurLaLune Blog- Sur La Lune Fairy Tales is one of the most well-known sources for fairy tales on the web. Not only is it a great source for annotated tales, but the site also keeps a blog going. I find myself visiting the blog frequently. Sometimes, it can be a bit on the academic side, with articles about scholarly works on fairy tales (not a bad thing, necessarily. However, it’s a road I’ve personally chosen not to go down for Geekily Ever After). One of the SurLaLune blog’s greatest strengths for the fairy tale geeks out there is as a source for modern fairy tale fiction. Recommendations, reviews and excerpts from fairy tale inspired books appear on the blog regularly. So, if you’re ever looking for a new take on an old tale, the SurLaLune blog will likely point you in the right direction.
Enchanted Conversation- Enchanted Conversation is something between a blog and a full-fledged online magazine. It’s actually bee referred to as a “blogazine” before. The site hosts numerous intelligent, engaging articles on fairy tales in scholarship and popular culture as well as some original tales. There are numerous contributors (note the rather large link to “submission guidelines”). However, the head of the whole show, the publisher and editor-in-chief, is a woman named Kate Wolford. She’s also the writer/editor of a great book entitled Beyond the Glass Slipper: Ten Neglected Fairy Tales to Fall in Love With. The book is exactly as the subtitle describes it. So, she’s kind of doing what I do with “Folk Tale Secret Stash” only without the pop culture references I drop in. Also, she provides the whole tale while I just tease you with it.
Once Upon a Blog- Once Upon a Blog is run by Ink Gypsy, a blogger who is a self-proclaimed Fairy Tale News Hound. She lives up to that title. When there are events in the world that have some connection to fairy tales, she’ll usually be blogging about it. Just recently, she’s done pieces about the connection between Russian fairy tales and the opening ceremonies of the Sochi Winter Olympics and a piece about an upcoming Beauty and the Beast feature film being made in
Tales of Faerie- This is the personal blog of a blogger known simply as Kristin. Though she posts on a number of fairy tale related subjects including fairy tale related books, TV shows, commercials and products, she seems to have a real yen for digging into fairy tale history. A recent post specifically went into depth on the origins of the red cap or hood from “Little Red Riding Hood”.
The Grimm Report- It’s basically The Onion (the satirical fake news site, not the vegetable), only with fairy tale stuff. No, really! Well, while the Onion seems a bit heavier on satire, the Grimm Report seems to tend more toward whimsy. But still, check it out!
So many of these blogs are so much more streamlined and better designed than this one that I feel like a novice compared to them. I don't even know how they get the cool page designs they have. I'm learning though, and improving bit by bit. If there are any other fairy tale related blogs out there that folks know about, please let me know so I can check them out.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Ah! Valentine’s Day is almost upon us and love is in the air.
It’s a day when every man wishes for his true love and every girl wants a kiss from her Prince Charming. Wait . . . what am I saying?
Prince Charming? That cipher? Who needs him?! Well, okay, so maybe character development is never particularly deep in fairy tales. But still, the Prince Charming archetype kind of bothers me. This character exists largely as a plot device. A background character meant to facilitate a happy ending. So, no thanks! No Prince Charmings here!
For Valentine’s Day, why don’t we instead look to a fairy tale couple who are together at the beginning of the story as well. I’m talking about another of my favorite Grimm fairy tales “Jorinda and Joringel”. Now this story, unlike a lot of fairy tales, rarely travelled far from its German roots. Though, a variant has been found in
Flower of Dew”. Kentucky
Our story starts, not with the young couple though. It starts with a little backstory about the antagonist, a witch who lives in an old castle in the middle of a forest. This witch could lure animals to her. Also, anyone who came within a hundred paces of the castle was forced to freeze in place. However, any innocent maiden who came within a hundred paces would be changed into a songbird and closed up in a cage. Now, we turn to our titular couple. You see, our girl Jorinda and her beau Joringel are engaged to be married and they’re still in the early days of it, so they like nothing better than being together. They were a solid duo, like Mickey and Minnie, Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm or Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Now, one day they decide to take a walk so they can talk in peace. Now, as they’re walking, they accidentally walk too close to the old castle. Joringel found himself unable to move, like a statue (unlike those angel statues in Doctor Who. They move when no one’s looking. Creeeepy!) And Jorinda found herself changed into a little Nightingale.
There, the old witch appeared before them as an owl and after transforming into her usual self, gathered up Jorinda to be one of her pets and unfroze Joringel so he could run off to fight another day. This, of course, is not the end of the story. A reunion is coming. Nothing can keep these two lovebirds (um, might be a poor choice of words there) apart forever. Joringel has a rescue to stage. Want to know how he does it?
Well, then get yourself a copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and find out. Oh, you want a hint, huh? Well, I will tell you this, it involves one of these:
But that’s all you’re getting out of me!
Now I open the floor to discussion. Fairy tale geeks one and all, speak up. I want to know: Which fairy tales have YOU feeling the love?
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Ooh wee ooh . . . Ooh wee ooh!
If you’re wondering why I’m making those strange sounds, it’s because I’m singing the theme music to my favorite sci-fi television show. That’s right, I’m absolutely crazy about the 50 year old British television phenomenon Doctor Who!
Now, you may be asking yourself, “What does that have to do with fairy tales? This blog can’t possibly be going off-mission already?” Of course not! Just as this blog approaches fairy tales like they’re something out of sci-fi fandom, it can also go the other way. It can also approach sci-fi as if it’s a fairy tale. You can’t be surprised that a modern form of fantastical fiction might take some of its cues from one of the oldest forms of fantasy fiction? To tell the truth, Doctor Who is far from being “hard science fiction”. In fact, the science is kind of . . . wibbley wobbley (major geek points to whoever gets the reference).
So, where do we start with the parallels between fantasy and science fantasy? Well, there are some obvious connections. First of all, there’s a connection between programs. Like this man:
John Hurt, who was both the War Doctor on Doctor Who and the Storyteller from the awesome fairy tale show Jim Henson’s The Storyteller (I WILL be talking about that show again in the future. There’s also this:
I’m not explaining this one. Have a link.
Now, there are also deeper connections, like this object:
It looks like a normal police phone box from the outside, but on the inside it is anything but. This little box is a portal to fantastic adventure! It's a ship that's bigger on the inside than the outside and can transport people anywhere in time or space! The TARDIS is hardly alone in that respect. Fairy tales and children’s fantasy are full of objects that seem normal on the outside and hold the fantastic within. For example, from the Grimm story “Mother Holle” there’s the well that the protagonist goes down in order to find herself in a new world.
The well idea actually coincides with an old mythological archetype where people have to either ascend or descend in order to find themselves in a new world. It’s why the ancient Norse thought of the universe as being held up by a giant ash tree. Or, in more familiar parlance, why else would modern religions think of Heaven as being “up” and Hell as being “down”? Speaking of ascending and descending, there’s also these.
They’re the beans from “Jack and the Beanstalk”. The beanstalk may have been fantastic, but the beans looked normal. That’s why Jack’s mother threw them out the window. Unlike the girl in “Mother Holle”, Jack must go up instead of down. Moving away from folk tales and into children’s literature, who can forget about the rabbit hole from
’s Adventures in Wonderland? Alice
Or the wardrobe from C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe?
This one is practically acknowledged by the creative staff on Doctor Who in the Christmas special entitled “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe”.
But what else? Well, there’s the Doctor himself!
Though the viewers and his travelling companions know who he is, to every about one else he’s a mystery. He’s a magical, mystery man who seems to know more about everything than anyone around him and disappears without a trace. These also pop up in fairy tales a lot of the time. In many cases, they’re old women or crones like the ones in “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” and “Diamonds and Toads”.
Sometimes, they’re given titles like Fairy Godmother. On some rare occasions, the role is played by men. Like the man who sells the magic beans to Jack in “Jack and the Beanstalk” (in this picture played by the one and only Bud Abbott).
This is also acknowledged by the show a little bit. The character River Song probably said it best: “I hate good wizards in fairy tales. They always turn out to be him.”
And lastly, he carries a magic wand!
He just calls it a sonic screwdriver and it looks like this:
Okay, okay! Yeah, I’m pushing the parallels a little bit with that last one. However, it doesn’t negate my point that science fiction and fairy tale aren’t always as distant from each other as some might think. There are other examples. The popular fairy tale site Sur La Lune has a number of products that make use of science fiction fairy tale images. I’ll link to the Red Riding Hood page. There are also Rapunzel and Snow White pages. There’s also the new young adult book series The Lunar Chronicles (sadly, I haven’t had the chance to read any of these yet. My reading schedule is quite full). The website EnchantedConversation also reports that a new science fiction movie entitled Jupiter Ascending is in the works, based loosely on “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. Of course, I can’t forget the leviathan of all science fantasy fairy tales . . .
But, ahem, I’ll probably talk about that more at a later date. I’m interested to hear from readers. What your thoughts on science fiction fairy tales?
Until next time, all I have to say is “allons-y!”