Friday, April 25, 2014

V is for Violence

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


  1. I've always loved the darker versions of fairytales, even as a kid! Guess the horror fan in me can be blamed for that, haha...

  2. I love Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, my husband and I watched it again the other night - brilliant. I like the darker versions, but also, I am glad for the more sanitised versions for the kiddies. Gives you something to find out as you get older :).
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  3. Well, I still remember my parents taking me to the drive-in theatre to see 'Pinocchio' (not when it came out in 1940, but sometime in the early 1950's). Scared the dickens out of me. Thank goodness all they ever read to me were light and happy Golden Books. I read Beatrix Potter and Winnie the Pooh to my boys. So, I guess we are all soft and squishy.

  4. Think how hard life was back then. Next to reality, those tales weren't nearly as gruesome.

  5. I love Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters - I agree - I like the Ladybird and Disney versions I grew up with but the older ones are much tougher - even H&GWH had to give their parents a reason for abandoning them that wasn't just about survival.
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  6. Yeah, I'm glad I got the lighter versions when I was a kid, too. I definitely prefer the darker versions now, though - they're more real.

  7. I remember being read from a book of fairy tales as a kid and often being freaked out by all the death and mayhem. Yet attracted to it all the same.

  8. Those fairy tales are pretty gory in their original versions. Not sure they'd suit animated movies of today. Would be interesting though.

    Moody Writing

  9. Ok love the original tales and I have a book titled Grimm's Grimmest. It is black with red lettering that drips blood-hahahaha. I read the tales when i was a kid and some were censored and others not so much and I think we need to give credit to kids-they see things in black and white-witch bad-needs to be punished-good. No repercussions about that or thinking about the times when so many were burtn at the stake for being different or anything like that. So the gal of many coats had to hide from her dad cos he found her so beautiful he wanted her as his wife(ick) she came out alot better in the end-happy ending:) (except for Hn's tales where so many died)