Monday, April 28, 2014

X is for X Tales: Not-Quite-Fairy Tales

I had a hard time coming up with a topic for "X" in this year's Blogging from A to Z Challenge. [Sadly, there's not a lot of good fairy tales that start with the letter "X".] So rather than talking about fairy tales or fairy tale characters that start with an "X", instead I'm going to talk about some not-quite-fairy tales. Modern stories that share common themes with the tales of Grimm, Anderson and Perrault, but haven't yet been introduced into the fairy tale cannon. 

So the following are some of my favorite X Tales: Not-Quite-Fairy Tales . . .  

Penelope --
Generations ago, a witch placed a curse on the Wilhelm family that would result in the next girl being born into the clan having a porcine snout -- and now young Penelope has fallen victim to this unsightly grudge. When tabloid reporter Lemon runs a misleading photograph of the kind-hearted Penelope, her parents lock her away from the world in a sprawling mansion. Though it is said that the curse can be lifted if she is accepted by “one of her own”, every man who lays eyes on the girl takes flight at first sight, never to return. That is until she meets Max, an unrepentant gambler with a heavy heart and an ulterior motives. Max is unexpectedly caught off guard by the pig-nosed girl's disarming charm, and suddenly flees before carrying out his nefarious plan. Now determined to throw caution to the wind and explore the world on her own terms, Penelope makes the acquaintance of independent-minded delivery girl Annie, who fast agrees to join her newfound friend on the ultimate journey of self-discovery.

The Princess Bride --

A tongue-in-cheek fairy tale depicting stable boy-turned-Dread-Pirate-Roberts Westley's journey to rescue Buttercup, his true love, from the evil Prince Humperdinck, whom she does not love but agreed to marry five years after learning of Westley's supposed death. With help from Prince Humperdinck's disgruntled former employee Miracle Max and wife Valerie, swordsman Inigo Montoya, and a giant of a man named Fezzik, the star-crossed lovers face everything from Fire Swamps, ROUS’s, torture and even death in order to reunite with one another. 

Pan's Labyrinth -- 

When her mother, Carmen, marries sadistic army captain Vidal, shy young Ofelia is forced to entertain herself in their new home in the Spanish countryside. As Ofelia's bed-ridden mother lies immobilized in anticipation of her forthcoming child and her high-ranking stepfather remains determined to fulfill the orders to crush a nearby guerilla uprising, the young girl soon ventures into an elaborate stone labyrinth presided over by the mythical faun Pan. Convinced by Pan that she is the lost princess of legend and that in order to return to her underground home she must complete a trio of life-threatening tasks, Ofelia sets out to reclaim her kingdom and return to her grieving father as Vidal's housekeeper Mercedes and doctor plot secretly on the surface to keep the revolution alive.

The Labyrinth -- 

The film centers upon teenage Sarah, who lives in a fantasy world of myth and magic, evil spells, and wondrous enchantment. She is baby-sitting her little brother when she cavalierly wishes that goblins would take him away. She gets her wish, and a coterie of goblins abduct him. She then encounters Jareth, the ruler of a mystical world one step removed from reality. He tells Sarah that the only way to get her brother back is to find her way through a labyrinth to the castle at the center. As she makes her way through the maze, she faces a number of horrific challenges (like the Bog of Eternal Stench) before she finds her way to the gravity-defying castle, where her brother is being held by the evil goblins. 
August Rush -- 

In the aftermath of a passionate night together above New York's Washington Square, a charismatic Irish guitarist named Louis and a reserved cellist named Lyla are forced apart by fate, but not before Lyla finds herself pregnant. Unfortunately, just after the child's birth, the she is misinformed that the infant has died. Eleven years later the child, Evan, is living in a Gotham-area boys' home and has developed an acute ability to listen to the sounds of the outside world and hopes that his biological mother and father will turn up to claim him. He runs away in the city, but falls into the clutches of a manipulative, untrustworthy street person named Wizard, who renames Evan "August Rush" and opens the boy up to the depth and breadth of his own musical talent even as he smells the opportunity to grow rich off of the foundling. Meanwhile, August's hope persists that he will be reunited with his parents, and Louis and Lyla, unable to forget their initial night of love, feel themselves being drawn back together by fate.
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. Love The Labyrinth! Haven't seen any of the others, but I have been wanting to check a couple of them out for quite some time...

  2. I adored Penelope - so sweet, funny, and full of justice at the end. I enjoyed Princess Bride very much too, but haven't seen the others.

  3. I love all of those except for August Rush, which I haven't seen so I can't say if I love it or not :) - shall have to add it to the list :) I completely admit I only saw Penelope because of James McAvoy, but it has become a favourite.
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  4. The Princess Bride is a classic.
    Pan's Labyrinth was an amazing film but horribly depressing.

  5. I loved Princess Bride and The Labyrinth! Great picks!

  6. I've never seen The Princess Bride, although I really should because everyone's always saying how good it is. I loved Pan's Labyrinth, even if it is really sad (and scary, I'll never forget those hand-eyes!)

  7. The Princess Bride is one of those iconic movies that I never get sick of watching! It's probably one of the most quotable movies as well. You can quote a line and just about everybody knows what you are referring to.

  8. Princess Bride and Labyrinth are two movies I love watching. I've only see Pan's Labyrinth once and it shocked me with how powerful it is.
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  9. Have not seen Penelope or August Rush but they sound interesting. Love the others. Princess Bride is funny especially Peter Cook. Labyrinth is so well done and under appreciated. Pan's labyrinth is a true classic and eerie and sad. I also love Legend and Willow:)

  10. All pretty brilliant. I didn't think I would because I don't like Christina Ricci, but I loved Penelope.