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Grimm Suvivial

Thursday’s Bite

a paranormal blog

We’re on a second season of Grimm, and I’m thrilled. I wasn’t too sure when the show first started (Check out my post on Will Grimm Survive? HERE), but I’m a fan now.

My main complaint last season was that the hero, Nick Burkhardt played by David Guintoli, had no depth. He just wasn’t dark enough for the show. Too nice, too good looking, too naive. It was tough to believe him as a homicide detective, let alone as the alpha male to take on all the supernatural beasties. But they’ve developed him nicely. He’s accumulating secrets, and has developed some street smarts. He’s still not a tough guy, he just misses the mark. But he is now a more believable character and I love tuning in.

The show has fantastic make-up artists, and I love the German themes that flow through the show. They’ve made a real effort to not only include the Grimm Brothers fairytales, but they have a dark forest feel to the entire set. Everyone lives in a lovely jewel of a craftsman home, with exposed beams and stained glass. While that may not be realistic, it helps set the cottage in the woods feel of the show. And they’ve developed some nice secondary sub-plots with my favorite character, Monroe; the clock-maker vegetarian reformed Blutbad (read werewolf). Even Hank, Nick’s detective partner, is growing in depth. And of course the main mystery of the show, the prince disguised as the police captain, is tantalizingly being developed.

Will Grimm survive? This season for sure. If it were up to me, it would get a third season. I’m thoroughly enjoying this season’s character arcs and story development. But I loved the Dresden Files and the mainstream network cut those. Who can guess what motivates the execs?

Do you watch Grimm? What about Once Upon a Time? I love the twisted fairy tales and I’m thrilled they are in the mainstream. Just curious about how long they’ll stay. What do you think?

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Why Snow White?

Thursdays Bite

a paranormal blog

When I first started to write twisted fairy tales, no one else was doing it. Okay, that’s not exactly true. There were a few die hard people like me messing around with Grimm’s and Charles Perrault’s works, but not many. Now they are everywhere. Authors who typically write in other areas are twisting tales with a vengeance.

And the movies, wow! How many versions of Snow White does Hollywood think we need. And the crazy thing is that the original Snow White barely has a romance. The prince swoops in at the end, kisses her, and off they go to get married. It’s really about Snow’s relationship to her stepmother. Maybe that’s the reason why out of all of the fairy tales it’s the one the scriptwriters prefer. My Evil Step-mother, a reality movie for a new generation.

We love the idea of the evil step-mother. And even evil mothers. For some reason fairy tales are full of evil mom’s and the dad’s are just side notes. Remember Hansel and Gretel. Dad is a wimp who does whatever the stepmother says. She must have been a hottie for him to abandon his children, not once, but twice.

And on TV, it’s Snow White, again. While Once Upon a Time has all the fairy tales appearing, the central story has been built around Snow White and the evil step-mother. Something about this tale must resonate.

I’ve done it too. My latest book, Snow and the Seventh Wolf release January 2013, is based on Snow White. Why?

I think Snow White has it all. It’s long and has many plot twists. The Queen is a great villain. We understand her need to get rid of the lovey princess due to her vanity. Who likes getting old? And Snow ends up cleaning house for seven little men. Of course in the Russian version its seven handsome woodsmen, but still, that’s a lot of men for one girl to clean up after. And her reputation isn’t sullied in the least. After being in the woods, unaccompanied with all those men, she still gets to marry the prince.

Personally, I think the prince being absent lends itself to all kinds of creativity. We can’t fathom that he just rides in at the end. We want him to be there the whole time; helping Snow sweep mine tailings out from under the beds, or making sure she doesn’t bite the apple. We’re romantics. How could he sweep in and save the day without being there, somehow disguised the whole time as a dwarf?

Snow White has got it all. Mystery. An opportunity to fill in the gaps in the romance. And, of course, the evil step-mother. Who could resist twisting it one more time?

How many versions of Snow Lego Maleficent White are you familiar with? Which is your favorite? Did you go see any of the movies? Mirror, Mirror?  Snow White and the Huntsman? And don’t forget that Angelina Jolie is about to re-create Maleficent for Disney, are you going to go see my favorite villain?

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Taking the Grim out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Thursdays Bite

a paranormal blog

A few weeks ago I went to the library for a copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I went to the trusty computer and typed in the name, and about a hundred titles came up. Most of them picture books for children that didn’t have all the stories in them, but were also lacking something else. They’d taken the grim out of Grimm.

I was particularly looking for Snow White, the fairy tale that I’ve twisted before and am twisting again as a sequel to Little Red Riding Wolf. You likely won’t be surprised to find that out of all those books, most of them had been sanitized.

I think it started with Disney. Snow White was the first full length major film for Disney. (Wikipedia’s info on Snow White HERE) A lot was riding on it’s success. Would people go see a long cartoon? Were they interested in a story that had been told many times? Maybe they were looking for a more exciting ending, but I think it’s more likely that they were horrified at the ending where the Queen is locked in red hot iron shoes and dances till she dies.

Yep, fairy tales are not for children, that’s for sure. In the translations from the German that I read it’s only one line. I as a reader, would have liked more explanation. Why red hot slippers? Was this a common punishment for attempted murder or treason? From my modern perspective the ending lacks an explanation that would make me understand why the Queen would go to the wedding at all, knowing what her fate is to be. But she goes, and naturally has to step into the pre-prepared slippers and be tortured.

I say naturally, because when you read through the entire collection of tales you realize that we have taken the horror out of the fairy tales. Our children live in a different age. We no longer go to hangings as entertainment, or throw food at people locked into xxx on the square. And we definitely don’t expose children to the idea that bad deeds, or even minorly careless ones, are punished by torture and death.

But that is exactly what the Grimm’s did. So when looking for inspiration I go looking for the original fairy tales. What pieces of the story are germane to the tale. What will readers be looking for? Do you have to have seven dwarfs? In the Russian version it’s seven brawny woodsmen. Do you have to have a glass coffin? What about the apple? In the original version there are three chances for the Queen to kill the princess. A tight corset, a poisoned comb and the apple. But the only one we really remember is the apple. Do we thank Disney for that?

What about the Queen’s comeuppance? Should I have my queen dancing at the end of the book? Disney didn’t, but do you remember what did happen? In true 1930’s style she is struck by lightning while trying to lever a giant rock onto the seven dwarfs. She falls off a cliff and the rock follows her.  Death by the hand of God. No torture involved.

I have to say I had to find it and watch it to remember how the Queen died. It isn’t memorable. But those red hot iron shoes? I remembered them years later. What impression do you want to leave with your endings? How dark is your fairy tale? Would it compete with the Grimm’s stories?

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