marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

the logic of Faerie

Pondering it after reading an otherwise good fairy-tale-based novel.  Because at one point, a minor character, a mute girl, had gotten a working name by the cook's taking her out into the garden and telling her to pick a plant -- they would use that.

She picked rampion, of course, this being a fairy tale novel, and I go grumble, grumble, grumble because she's not Rapunzel, she's nothing like Rapunzel, putting in one commonality only underscored the fact.  There's a certain logic, even grammar, to the fantastic.  If you throw together motifs with merry abandon, you end up with a solecism.

Or comedy, I suppose. That may help explain why fairy tale mashup is often comic -- assuming it's competent.  But dramatic needs for the motifs to be arranged suitably.  Which is of course tricky in itself.  You can do a lot of tricks with the motifs if only you can manage to convince the reader that instead of the mother, wishing her son farewell, offering him the choice of a full loaf of bread with her curse or half of it with her blessing, the wizard he worked for offered him a bushel of gold with his curse or a few coins with his blessing.

Fairy tales are the simplest to see it in, but I still remember a retelling of Robin Hood where he was not only the worst archer in the band, but the stories concentrated not on the derring-do but on the discomfort of effectively endlessly camping.

And many an attempt to subvert cliches only reveals that nothing becomes a cliche without being used a lot -- which means, by definition, it must have something going for it.  Respect your cliches.  There is a reason for their existence.
Tags: cliches, fairy tales (retelling), genre: fractured fairy tale, myths and legends, unity of theme
Subscribe

  • thieves

    They agree with the current customs. They consent with an impure age. Their principles have a semblance of right-heartedness and truth. Their conduct…

  • putting the story together

    Retelling a fairy tale type.... Ripping off from a French tale that the villain is a devil, and even his daughter's name. But refreshing my memory…

  • a foe in every port?

    How should her search go? I know she's going to pick up pursuit from the very people she was sent to foil.(Thus showing the folly of those who sent…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 0 comments