10/29

This is a general announcement to all old, new, and returning readers: I’m not gone! Real life got to be a bit too overbearing for me for a while, but I’ve long been planning a return to blogging and I hope to realize those plans very soon. Things will be changing a bit around here; you may notice that I’ve already gone through and removed a lot of my older posts that I didn’t feel were worth keeping around. I may re-purpose those thoughts at a later time, but that’s another story. I still have a bit of redesigning and reorganizing to do, but I think it’s safe to say you can expect an official introduction to the new blog within the next week. Thank you very much if you’ve stuck around all this time, and I truly hope you’ll like what’s coming.

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Little Red Riding Hood

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“Little Red Riding Hood” by Angeline (lockjaw.deviantart.com). Click picture for original image on DeviantART, opens in new window.

“Little Red Riding Hood” has proven to be a very interesting story to analyze. On the one hand, we don’t tend to think of it in relation to the other prominent fairytales. Red Riding Hood as a character does not have a definitive interpretation the way the other heroines do; she doesn’t have a Disney movie, or an attempt-to-be-Disney movie, and she’s very rarely brought to the forefront in works that reinterpret fairytales as a whole. But, despite this, her story has permeated our culture; there are any number of shorter, smaller, less-significant works based on the story that we’ve all seen at least a handful of. While she’s rarely the main character, she is never not included in fairytale mash-ups, and her story is almost solely responsible for much of the characterization of wolves as antagonists and predators.

Where many of the other fairytale heroines are identifiable by their respective symbols, Red Riding Hood herself is a symbol. Her story isn’t consistent, the details and meaning of it have changed more drastically over the years than most. She doesn’t have a persona, she can’t really be classified as a passive or active character, and her actions depend on the version of the story and what other characters are present. But we know the hood, the grandmother, the wolf, and the woods. We all know the basic elements of the story, and it doesn’t often seem that the details make a difference. Continue reading

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Being Commander Shepard

Too long ago, I wrote about my experience with the The Jade Empire, and I expressed the intent to write more posts focusing on video games. Though I’ve had many topic ideas since then, I never really got the bug to need to write them. My fairytales and my movies got in the way, because when it comes right down to it, my passion is in stories. Bioware, through The Jade Empire, caught my attention and inspired me to write that post nearly a year ago. And it’s Bioware that brings me back to discussing the medium today.

Sometime between then and now, my boyfriend found himself unable to bring his Mass Effect 1 & 2 save files into Mass Effect 3, and decided to replay the series from the start. This happened after I had intentions of eventually trying the Mass Effect series myself. So while he spent his days catching up to his lost save, I watched, and I put a lot of thought into what my character might do differently.

Now that I have the first two games, this is to the best of my memory the first time I’ve played a game that had both a fully voice acted protagonist and the choice of dialogue responses for them. I’ve had experiences with the personality-driven dialogue wheel, but sans voice acting, and I would definitely say now that the voice acting is the biggest part of what makes my Mass Effect character feel genuine to me. Continue reading

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Cinderella

Cinderella, both the story and the character, is right up there with Snow White in terms of recognition. Not only is she perhaps the most popular Disney princess, but her fairytale is one of the most frequently adapted to other media. From the questionably historic Ever After, to the more whimsical and idealized Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical, its adaptations are certainly the most well-known. But where “Snow White” maintained lasting impact through visceral themes of fear, envy, and temptation–“Cinderella” has a much more glittering image in our culture. Hers is the classic rags to riches story, and the one that started Disney’s emphasis on wishing to make all your dreams come true.

Her popularity and the way most modern adaptations handle the story has earned Cinderella a lot of criticism. She’s the one people point to when they complain about the bad messages Disney and princess-oriented media are sending to young girls. She’s the one who they say just sits back and waits to be saved, and just wishes and dreams for everything to work out without doing anything about it herself. She’s the one who most glorifies the pretty, sparkly dresses and the tiaras and of course the shoes. If a teen idol is going to write a song or star in a movie even loosely based on a fairytale, it’s going to be Cinderella’s. Continue reading

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Sleeping Beauty

"Sleeping Beauty" by Kitty-Grimm
“Sleeping Beauty” by Kate O’Keefe (kitty-grimm.deviantart.com). Click picture for original image on DeviantART, opens in new window.

Like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty is an iconic fairytale heroine. While her appearance is not as defined, we still inherently know the image of the girl pricking her finger on a spinning needle, to fall asleep for 100 years. Everyone in the castle falls asleep where they stand, even the flies on the wall, and a great thicket of thorny vines grows up around them…

It’s a haunting tale. It was originally “Sun, Moon, and Talia,” by Giambattista Basile, and then a story in two parts by Charles Perrault, which were made into separate stories by the Grimm Brothers. The ascended epilogue involves an evil ogress and her attempt to eat the heroine and her children, recalling the violence typical of early fairytales. But, the half of the story that we know as the original is much subtler. There’s a gothic aesthetic to it, like in “Snow White”… but the imagery is not as dark, nor the story as outright horrific. Rather, “Sleeping Beauty” is a solemn fairytale, wherein not a lot happens, but the atmosphere lingers. There’s a touch of magic, but nothing so concrete as a talking mirror or the usual transformations and wishes.

Continue reading