Of course I've always known how dark the original fairy tales were, but over the course of my research for this challenge I came to realize how absolutely violent they really are. Not the Disney versions of course; no, they took their grisly origins and made them much more kid-friendly (for which my younger self gives a hardy thank you). My adult self prefers the original tales, but I can only imagine some of the nightmares I would have suffered if my mother had read them to me when I was a child . . .
Now I've already mentioned some of the more violent fairy tale elements in my previous A to Z posts, but let's review:
- At the end of Snow White, they make the evil queen wear red-hot iron shoes and dance until she dies. Which I guess makes sense since she wanted to dip her toes into the cannibalism pool and eat Snow White's lungs and liver.
- Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty both feature elements of rape.
- Cinderella's stepsisters cut off their toes in order to fit their feet into the glass slipper, and then later have their eyes gouged out by birds.
- When the Little Mermaid's prince chooses another woman over her, she throws herself into the ocean and dies.
- Hansel and Gretel are lead to their death by both their biological parents.
I think there is little doubt when looking back at some of our favorite fairy tales that these bad boys are decidedly NOT rated G. It's hard to imagine someone telling these stories to little children, haunting their dreams with such darkness. But times were different in the days of Andersen and the Grimms. They didn't "coddle" their children the way we do these days. Coddling makes kids soft. They raised them like the Greeks and Romans! Or, you know, traumatized them for life. One or the other. Though as I mentioned in my "H is for Hansel and Gretel" post, even the Grimm Brothers thought the original tales needed modification, making them a little more kid-friendly.
All in all I have to admit, I'm glad I got the happier versions as a kid. Wicked stepmothers instead of biological monster-mommies and Sleeping Beauty waking up from her slumber with a simple kiss. A much happier version, wouldn't you say?
But still, these traditionally violent versions do make for some awesome, adult adaptations. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters . . . appropriately rated "R" and highly entertaining. Let's leave Disney for the kiddos and bring on some "Grimm" versions for the grown-ups!
This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme (in case you didn't already guess) is Fairy Tales. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you'd like to check out the other participants, simply click here.