Fairy Tales: A Life-Long Obsession

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This post was first featured on A Backwards Story on March 24, 2013 during the third Fairy Tale Fortnight. 

This year for the event's 5th Anniversary, older posts will be pulled out from the archives and given a brand-new coat of paint!

Here's the first, because it says everything about why I love fairy tales so much and I can't reinvent the wheel when it's already perfect! ^.~

I've always loved fairy tales.  I couldn't tell you how the obsession started.  I remember falling in love with a little mermaid named Ariel, a starry-eyed dreamer named Belle, an adventurous gal called Thumbelina, a cursed princess named Odette... We sang together, we danced together, we laughed and cried together.  Animated fairy tale movies were the staple of my childhood.  I didn't care if the studio was Disney, Fox, what-have-you.  Those girls were dreamers, and so was I.

Over time as I grew up, my interests evolved and changed.  I thought fondly of the princesses of my youth, but not much beyond that.  In middle school, I was introduced to the movie Ever After, which quickly became my favorite.  A Cinderella who knew her prince beforehand, who was kick-ass in her own right, who re-introduced the beauty of fairy tales to me in new and innovative ways?  I was in love!  Soon after, I discovered Gail Carson Levine's delightful ELLA ENCHANTED, which featured more of the same.  Next, I was introduced to stories through the eyes of dastardly villains, be they the witch from Rapunzel in Donna Jo Napoli's ZEL or the Wicked Witch of the West in Gregory Maguire's WICKED.

Change was afoot, and I was once again interested in fairy tales.  They didn't HAVE to be the carefree stories I grew up with.  They were more mature and resilient.  There was something magical that I fell in love with all over again.  When you're young, you think you outgrow things and you're ready to grow up.  When you "grow up," you realize that it's okay to like things that you should have outgrown.  Who cares if you want to watch animated Disney movies?  They're still magical and special and worth coming back to time and again like dear old friends.  Maybe we see the stories through jaded eyes now, but sometimes it's nice to let go and be swept away in this world.

I honestly can't tell you why I fell in love with fairy tales or what makes me return to them again and again.  This is one of my favorite sub-genres, and I can read new versions of the same tales over and over and always find something new.  To some that's weird since I'm no longer a child, but I no longer care.  Fairy tales will always hold a special place in my heart!

What led to your fairy tale obsession?