We’re still on hiatus until tomorrow. Happy New Year, everyone, and we’ll be back soon!
Magical Mondays: Sleeping Beauty, Fairy Tales, and Inserting Magic Into Magic-less Narratives. Here, Luce explores the hows and whys of magic becoming part of fairy tales.
[Fairy] tales used to be dark, moralistic stories to teach people lessons, yet as time went on, people decided that fairy tales ought to entertain children as well as educate them—they weren’t meant to please ancestors of Hannibal fans. Throughout these versions, themes of rape, adultery, and cannibalism were gradually erased from the overall plot, leaving a sanitized version behind. To fill in the blanks with respect to the characters, numerous writers used magic instead. Evil fairy solves all your problems, right? Then the king doesn’t commit adultery and the queen isn’t a heinously one-dimension villain and the princess isn’t raped, but just kissed without her consent, which is… better.
Magical Mondays: The Mundane and the Magical in Welcome to Night Vale. Earlier this year, Lady Geek Girl talked about magical realism in Welcome to Night Vale.
Welcome to Night Vale makes the magical mundane and the mundane magical by drawing our attention to something weird and magical, but then focusing on the mundane aspect of the event so that we cannot escape or ignore it. The magical element essentially acts as a big blinking sign pointing to the mundane and inescapable element.
Magical Mondays: Does Frozen’s Magic Run in the Family? In this post, Ace discusses the possibility that Elsa’s powers are inherited.
It would make sense that way back when, there were other people like Elsa with powers who also couldn’t control their magic. For obvious reasons, those people would make some pretty poor monarchs—Elsa herself froze the entire kingdom when she got upset—and so the people or other family members would have needed a means to test that the magically gifted had control over themselves before they received the kingdom.
Princess Bubblegum and Unclear Morality. Dom talks about Princess Bubblegum, a morally ambiguous and “jerk-y” female character.
Bubblegum is cold just as often as she is affectionate. As much as she appears to care about her subjects, she is willing to sacrifice people and things to achieve goals. She is stuck in a land of strange morality. However, when her actions may hurt someone, they are typically done for the greater good. This is exemplified most clearly with her involvement with the Flame Princess.
Race Against Time: The Question of Race in Period Pieces. Pisces talks about how period pieces don’t do justice for characters of color. Didn’t you know only white people existed historically?
Taking a closer look at history shows us another important fact: by the Victorian era, Europe (the U.K. in particular for the scope of this article) were not as white as one may imagine. Penny Dreadful takes place in the very last years of the 1890s, not in, say, the 1200s. This quick overview shows that a sizeable population of African descent had been calling London home for quite some time before the 1890s; British abolitionism, for instance, was in full swing more than a century before the times depicted in Penny Dreadful.
The Morality and Commonplace of Mind Rape. And lastly, Ace discusses how often heroes and protagonists victimize people without repercussion.
[Mind rape] is a way of talking about actual rape. That’s why it’s so awful when villains do it, because the story is telling us that a character was just raped. In fiction, authors can talk about real-life issues through their characters and story. Maybe mind rape being an allegory for actual rape wasn’t intended, but that’s what it has progressed into. It is the fantasy/sci-fi way of discussing this issue.
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