marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

enter the mother-in-law

The evil mother-in-law gets less press than the wicked stepmother, and indeed, she did appear less in the folk source.

But she was pretty frequent.

Was tying mine to the villain in the middle rather than just introducing her at the end.  (One of those plot device plot holes again!) And I had her and her mother trap the hero's father in the woods and not let him go until he agrees to marry her. Simple enough. Usually ends up with her as the wicked stepmother, but I just noted she took care to ensure she wasn't. (Prudent, of course.)

And then I was pondering Cinderella variants for unrelated versions and thought of the one where she shows up at church three times.

And the evil mother-in-law said, That. That was how I did it. I thought distracting people at church was a GREAT idea, and I wasn't moved by the way the prince was particularly rude to me in between the church visits was a problem. I was, after all, after the crown, not in love like some fool.

poke, poke, poke with ten-foot pole

She told her husband that she was the disfavored child at home. May even be true, as I have characters observe. She doesn't LOOK like an ogress. (Though it gives our heroine an unsettling moment when she realizes that her story of being the disfavored child can not be proven.)

Hmmm. Perhaps she choose it exactly because it's more reliable about not finding a man with children already.

The fun part for all this pother is that it doesn't even affect the plot. A few thematic flourishes do not affect things.
Tags: backstory, fairy tales (retelling), families: matrimony, families: parent/child
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