cinderella's rags

Astrology Characters for Stories

Your hero. Your fun loving wild child. The woman in a male dominated field. Your sportsman. Your adrenaline junkie. Your catalyst for chaos
Expresses as excitable, decisive, unpredictable, defender, destructor, antagonist, revolutionary  
The Aries character is youthful, brave, competitive, and will do anything to win. A character with a strong will and even stronger body to follow. A character who triggers chaos to ease their own boredom. 
Likes wearing red. Has an equally fun loving and energetic dog that is adored. A character that is capable of working under high pressure situations like paramedicine or emergencies. 
A character that is fighting for her cause. Mars is the ruler of Aries and corresponds with accidents, a character that displays remarkable inner strength to recover from a trauma. A character who won’t hesitate charging into danger to save somebody. Wonder Woman. 

Your figure of beauty. Your desired one. Your affluent one. The stylish artist. Your business owner. Your hippie. Your hopeless romantic. 
Expresses as socially graceful and considerate. May be very indulgent. A character who knows how to enjoy the good things in life. A socialite. A character who loves throwing dinner parties. A savvy business woman with elegance, beauty, and sass. A character longing for traditional, classical romance in a world that seems to have forgotten what that is. A character who suffers financial instabilities. 
Has a taste for the aesthetic. Loves to stylise. A character who can play instruments or write music. The beautiful girl next door. A character working at the art gallery longing for her portraits to be on the wall. A woman who runs the floors of Wall Street with her stunning heels and pink blazer.  

Your main voice. Your student. Your teacher. Your intellect. Your author. Your gossip. Your talkative barista. Your school starter 
Expresses as clever, charming, and a little cunning. A unpredictable character. Your character who shuts down debate instantly with wicked wit. She could be comedic. She may speak many languages. She may be a professional student. A character who is the ‘go to’ when people have questions. A character who is always using her phone. A character who seems to know everything about everyone. A character that you never quite figure out what the real intention was.
Likes to wear fresh, cute and youthful outfits. A character who takes off in a moment’s notice, and plays the devil’s advocate. A character who is underestimated due to her scattered and erratic behaviour but solves great codes or crimes or mysteries. Fyi. Sherlock Holmes was a Gemini 

Your mystical fantasy. The adored child of the family. Your first time mother. Your People’s Princess. Your Queen Mother. Your witch or sorceress. The family matriarch 
Expresses emotional and maternal qualities, often moody, easily provoked, imaginative, and nostalgic 
The Cancer character is protective. She could be a psychic or receive messages from crossed ancestors. 
Likes wearing darker hues. Maybe also a cross. A character who may be lost in time or attempting to run or heal from her past, one who makes admirable sacrifices. This character prefers to be home with loved ones and retains traditional values. She may live in a house the family has had for decades, probably haunted. Very caring and sensitive, could be a nurse, counsellor, or work with children. A character who has a vivid and intriguing inner life that is shut off to others. A character who is reuniting with her family or meeting her mother for the first time. 

Your starring role. Your Queen. Your dramatic teenager. Your aspiring actor or artist. Your Prince Charming.
Expresses the graces and faults of youth, playfulness and fun, leadership and dignity. The Leo character is noble, honest, strong willed, and creative. This is the one who lights up the room. Well liked, but sometimes misunderstood.She may live in a palace, a place of privilege, or more likely a chic and stylish decorated apartment with her prized animal.
Likes wearing gold. Will go into battle. But gets very wounded in battle.
A character who is trying to feel comfortable in her own skin, a character who expresses with pride and confidence but is secretly very unsure, a character who has overcome all the odds to reach their dreams and rule the world in some form

Your intellectual progeny. Your puzzle master. Your dedicated and deserving labourer. Your problem solver. Your domestic eccentric.
Expresses as competent but self doubtful, has perfectionist tendencies, is very helpful and knowledgable, can be socially awkward in conversation until she is completely comfortable. A character who has odd rituals or phobias. A character who is a nurse or a nursing student. A character who has gruelling self expectation and goes to extremes. A character suffering a health crisis or a character who solves medical mysteries. A character who is special and can decipher number riddles and patterns 
Appearance can be very primed to perfection. The home can have a unique, very personal set up that reflects deeply ingrained rituals, it may be 
A character who is under appreciated. A character who carries out secret acts of altruism. Bree on Desperate Housewives is a good but extreme example of a Virgo character 

The King’s daughter. Your object of desire. Your hopeless romantic. Your sweetheart. Your lawyer. Your court room darling. Your heartbreaker 
Expresses as sociable and friendly. Is easily well liked but has quite intense self doubt. Can routinely fall dangerously in love because of her vivid fantasy life. The friend everyone calls when they need a hand, an ear, or a heart. 
A character who crumbles when she is alone. A character who runs a law firm and throws the best parties like she has a day and night personality. 
A character who sacrifices everything for love. A character who has dreamed of her wedding since she was a child. A character who has a gleaning, blissful, classical image of romance in her mind. A character who is written off for her femininity or ideals but has a blade on her tongue during debate and slices just about anyone. 
Well styled, complementary dressed, nothing outlandish but nothing boring. Likes to accessorise. Home is cordially decorated and symmetrical. 
A character who is forced to choose between her head and her heart. A character who is fighting injustice against a big corporation or government. A dancer who is forced to choose between love and her art 

Your anointed one. Your gifted one. Your medium. Your seducer. Your revealer. Your hidden catalyst. Your troubled one. 
Expresses as secretive, knowledgable, calculative, sensitive, and intense. Can easily throw off weaker characters. Can be the intriguing object of desire. A character who is a detective. A character who can read people’s minds. A character who doesn’t trust other people. Scorpio is watery and medicinal, the character could be a grand healer or crone. A character who is a witch or gets involved in dark occult. A character who is forced to undergo psychoanalysis but systematically erodes the mind of the psychiatrist in the process. 
Lives in the house down the end of the street with the forbidding black fence and cemetery gates with a pet crow 
A character who uncovers conspiracies or government corruption. A character who follows the trail of serial killers and never fails. A character who assists dead people crossing over. A character that is instantly respected regardless of social skills. A character who can’t help but seduce unsuspecting victims 

Your free spirit. Your jet setter. Your foreigner. Your student. Your professor. Your life of the party. Your pilgrim. Your comic. Your philanthropist. Your genie in a bottle 
Expresses as fun loving, provocative, knowledgeable, open minded, pleasure seeking. A character who has a remarkable change of fortune. A character who celebrates culture, freedom, and life. A character who can provoke tension due to her sharp honesty.  A character that wanders endlessly but doesn’t want to be found. A character that lives out of her suitcase and wears flowers in her hair and follows the festivals around. Jupiter is the ruler of Sagittarius so this character has numerous lucky breaks. 
Earthy, festive, and bohemian styling, cool and casual 
A character that never gives her real name or address, aspiring to escape the memories and confines of her home town. A character that experiences an enlightenment and goes completely off the grid. A character who falls in love abroad or meets a guru with profound spiritual truths, a character on a journey

Your Cinderella story. Your rags to riches Princess. Your leader. Your corporate ruler. Your battler. Your old soul. Your matriarch or patriarch. 
Expresses as focused, resourceful, dedicated, loyal, overcomes the odds, graceful, elegant, powerful , formidable 
A character who proves herself against the odds. A character who inspires and leads the way while secretly doubting herself. A character who is a master or expertise of their trade. A character that missed out on childhood. A character with an absent father. A character who has generated remarkable wisdom during her short time on earth. A character who can stop or change time. A character that owns a clock with everyone’s date of mortality.
Appearance is sharp, classical, elegant, conservative, dapper 
May live in a noted part of town or in a well known building considering Capricorn’s social prestige. A character who relentlessly chases her dream. A character who expires through her story from heartache to success. A teacher. A business woman. An expert on intricate statistics. A character who feels like death is always chasing her 

Your genius. Your eccentric. Your mad professor. Your enigmatic air fairy. Your revolutionary. Your conspiracist. Your misfit. 
Expresses as highly intelligent, peculiar, outlandish, compassionate, unpredictable, free spirited, intriguing. A character who is relentless and frenetic about proving her unorthodox theories. A radical protestor. An environmental warrior. A character with secret alien friends. A character that experiments with everything with natural style and flair. Unusual or striking appearance, a teal haired character with purple contacts 
Aquarius is a character who has a lot of friends and appreciates unity. A character who inspires other people to join her plight against an injustice. A character from a small part of the world given nothing but a voice to change the world. A character who indulges in the Aquarian utopia that has been created in the near future 

Your inspiration. Your salient chameleon. Your lover. Your sacrifice. Your Fairy Godmother. Your mythical creature
Expresses as highly sensitive, emotional, withdrawing, creative, mysterious, tempting, and delirious. A character who is spiritual and has psychic gifts. A character that listens to fairies. A character who dreams herself into new worlds every night. The Pisces character is gifted, multifaceted, receptive, and intuitive. She can instantly tell if somebody is happy or sad before they say anything at all so she knows all the time that people lie.
Styled in darker or purple hues with thick coated mascara. Wears a cross or a symbol. Lives alone because she needs to escape from people. A character who is trying to support and heal people from their mental illness while suffering it herself. A character that receives frequent psychic prophecies. A character who can see what other people can’t. A character that deals with inhuman experiences in a human world. A healer, a witch doctor, a medicine woman, an evangelist 



Princess aesthetic 3/?


A dream is a wish your heart makes when you’re fast asleep. In dreams you will lose your heartaches. Whatever you wish for, you keep. Have faith in your dreams, and someday, your rainbow will come smiling through. No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.

Marilyn Miller, Photo by Baron Adolph de Meyer, 1918.

Marilyn Miller (1898-1936) was one of the most popular Broadway musical stars of the 1920s and early 1930s. She was an accomplished tap dancer, singer and actress, and it was the combination of these talents that endeared her to audiences. On stage she usually played rags-to-riches Cinderella characters who lived happily ever after. Her enormous popularity and famed image were in distinct contrast to her personal life, which was marred by disappointment, tragedy, frequent illness, and ultimately her sudden death due to complications of nasal surgery at age 37. (x)


- My basic rules to shopping! -

The color swatches are for the princesses, however if people like this Ill make more Disney Bounding color pallets that you guys can print them out or save to your phone for when you go shopping! Drop me a message and let me know what you think!

Cinderella Phenomenon – A review, kind of

I finished Cinderella Phenomenon and really need to get my thoughts about it out of my head. It’s gonna be a long post. But the short version of it is: I really enjoyed this game and I think it deserves all the love and recognition it can get!

I will keep the first part of this post spoiler-free. Short bits about the actual routes will be put under the cut.

1. General

The game is for PC, it’s available on Steam, and it’s free! It seems the whole development was covered by a kickstarter project. Once downloaded, the full game is yours. No internet connection is needed for playing. So … yeah, getting this game can’t possibly get any easier.

2. Gameplay and game mechanics

It’s a visual novel. Klick through the story, choose between two or sometimes more choices every now and then. There are some useful functions: Skip, forward, and go back. So no need for a log if you missed a line, which is awesome. The save/load function is also really user friendly – there are more than enough slots, and saving or loading is always possible.

The choices you pick change the story and determine the outcome. There is an indicator to show if a choice was the right one – “right” meaning the one that leads to the good ending. I strongly recommend either saving at each choice or using a guide/walkthrough, because these right choices are not always obvious.

3. Look and sound

This may not be the prettiest otome game ever, when compared to big titles. But it still has a nice interface, great backgrounds, and nice and carefully drawn characters. Sometimes there are even simple animations. Everything considered it looks honestly good, has a lot of great CG’s and shows attention to details.

The background music is thoroughly amazing, no ifs or buts. A lot of piano and strings. It’s never obtrusive, but always fitting. There are quite a lot different themes for different moods … 27 pieces all in all.

4. Plot

Premise: In a world where fairies and witches draw power from two magical crystals … and where this power has of course become unbalanced … there lives one edgy teenage princess who gets cursed for her haughty, cold-hearted ways. She is afflicted by a so called “Fairytale Curse”, and just like Cinderella went from rags to riches, she went from riches to rags overnight. With no one besides the witches, fairies and the cursed to remember her, her whole life gets turned around. Then she goes through a life changing journey full of danger, love and friendship and self discovery.

The story, plot twists and developments are not exactly unpredictable. But the plot is still multilayered, interesting, and everything comes together nicely. It provides humor, and tragedy, and heart-warming fluffiness, and this charming fairytale leitmotif. I enjoyed the story a lot.

5. Characters

The MC

As mentioned, the player character is not your regular otome game heroine. This princess is far from the sweet and pure damsel I got used to. She starts out angsty, bitter and conceited, but she has a genuine side to her that’s all the more endearing. She does fall back into some otome game tropes and did make me facepalm occasionally … but she makes up for it by also making me laugh with her blunt, snarky attitude and by her really great character development. I actually cried more than once because of her. The MC has a canon name, Lucette, which can be kept or changed.

Love interests

There are five of them. They are all actually good, kind hearted people, so they can help thaw the ice princess MC. No jerks, no extreme tsunderes, no yanderes, no sadists. The character flaws they have are usually obvious from the start and as their characters are explored they only become more likable. Each has their own special dynamic with the MC, and though I do have favourites, I think every route feels right and genuine.

I recommend the “official” route order when playing. New revelations and knowledge from prior playthroughs felt balanced this way. Also, the story becomes gradually more … dark and heavy this way: Rod, Karma, Rumpel, Fritz, Waltz. I want to add what to expect from each of their routes, but will put that under the cut. It may be a bit spoilery.


The supporting cast stays mostly the same and each character plays their own, distinct, and important role. They tend to be sweet and/or fun, and lovable, and their stories are gradually explored in the different routes. My favourite is the witch who cursed the MC, her snark is just delicious. The villains also have motivation and personality, but still clearly deserve what’s coming for them.

One fair warning, though: Supporting characters are not always safe in this game, not even on the way to good endings.

6. Now about the different routes …

I put this under the cut. I won’t give away all the spoilers, but I want to write a bit about what to expect from the guys and their routes.

Keep reading

Ignore if you’re not interested in the usual Tudor spiel but

I really do find it interesting how Anne is frequently treated as a commoner, someone who barely deserved to be at court, MERELY a knight’s daughter. Essentially a social climber and – by the worst of academic and classist judgments – akin to white trash.

Regardless of her mother being the eldest daughter of the grandest noble title in England, Thomas Boleyn was heir to the Earldom of Ormond, the most prestigious Irish-Anglo peerage.

Nowhere am I alluding to Anne being close to a princess – it’s understandable royalty and stock were shocked by her taking world stage within Christendom; although already quite a few less than prestigious peoples had married kings, it definitely fucked with the hierarchy – but she didn’t possess the quite-so-humble background often touted to this day. A myth upheld partly, I would estimate, because it appeals to our appetite for a Cinderella, rags-to-riches fairytale.

In any case, the Tudors had jumped from nothing to everything in two generations, so…

“Open your ears and listen, and you will get bread as white as the flowers. when your father goes out on one of his outings, ask your stepmother for the old dress that she has in a chest that is in a tower, in order to save the one you are wearing. Since she would rather see you in rags that a pretty dress, she will consent and as means to demean you, she will make you hold the lid. Whilst you are holding it and she is searching for the dress, let the lid fall upon her neck and break it.”

From Cenerentola from Pentamerone by Giambattista Basile

Art by me (fireburner543) (study for an etching)

Cinderella: A Different Rags to Riches Story

We’ve all heard of the term “rags to riches” when referring to a story in which a person literally goes from being destitute (or at least from being in the lower class) to wealthy. The same can be said for the Disney animated version of Cinderella; however, if you haven’t watched the film for a long time (like me before last year), you can easily overlook or forget the fact that Cinderella is not a typical rags-to-riches story. Rather, it is a riches-to-rags-to-riches story, and this is confirmed by several words spoken by the narrator during the prologue. They include the following quotations and rich-related terms in bold text:

  • Young Cinderella is first mentioned to live in a “stately chateau” with her father, who is “a widowed gentleman.”
  • Cinderella’s father is said to be kind and devoted man, since gives his beloved daughter “every luxury and comfort.”
  • After he dies, Lady Tremaine takes over the estate and squanders the “family fortunes” upon her own vain, selfish daughters.

In terms of explaining the bolded terms, Cinderella’s father being referred to a gentleman means that he is an aristocrat, or a person of high nobility, most likely a lord or a count. This is further proven by the mention of the chateau, as such a grand manor house would be owned by someone of great wealth, the fortunes, which refers to the fact that he is rolling in money, and that he provided Cinderella with luxury, which clearly refers to expensive, maybe even private, possessions he provided for her.

Anyway, while Cinderella’s father was implied to have spoiled her, she was not too spoiled (completely unlike her stepsisters), which appears to be evident due to the narrator saying that she remained “ever gentle and kind” as she grew up. The fact that he is mentioned to be “kind and devoted” tells me that he didn’t just give her everything she ever wanted so he wouldn’t have to deal with her. He wanted her to live a happy, comfortable life, most especially after her mother died, but he also taught her to be a kind, gentle person. He genuinely loved Cinderella and did all of that out of love, but he made sure she was grateful for what she had, too. 

After her father passes away, the Tremaines take control of Cinderella’s home, leaving her outnumbered and overpowered. They take away her own room and force her to live up in the tower. They take away all of her fancy clothes, making her wear simple, servant clothes, and just about every other material possession she has ever owned. Although she is allowed to keep her pets, unlike Lucifer sleeping in his mistress’s room, Bruno is not allowed to sleep with Cinderella in her room. After they let go of all of the staff the chateau likely ever had, the Tremaines force Cinderella to do any and every single task or chore for them, and anything else that requires work. They further treat her like dirt by refusing to let her attend parties or gatherings with them, and they probably flat-out refuse to let Cinderella even eat meals with them. In short, having all of her things literally taken from her, being forced to become her stepfamily’s sole servant, and not being allowed to do whatever she wants whenever she wants is how Cinderella goes from riches to rags.

Lady Tremaine further takes control of the estate by hoarding the remains of her late husband’s money. Although it is possible that he may have made a will in which everything would be left to Cinderella, it is also possible that Lady Tremaine may have gotten a hold of it and destroyed it to make sure everything would be handed over to her instead, and without question. If that was done, then no one could stop her from spending up all of the money on herself and her daughters. On the other hand, even if anything was supposed to go to the Tremaines, Cinderella would still have her own inheritance, but Lady Tremaine would undoubtedly do everything in her power to make sure Cinderella did not have access to it and had NOTHING materialistic! She wanted to do all she could to make it look like she and her daughters were still part of the upper class, but that Cinderella no longer was.

What further makes her situation interesting to me is that, Cinderella appears to have had little human contact with the outside world ever since her father’s death, with no human friends or additional blood relatives. She may have been a child of an aristocrat who legally owns the chateau and has her own inheritance, but her word is against those of the Tremaines. In other words, without a present will or other human family and friends to back up her claims, Cinderella cannot prove to outsiders that she is not truly a servant girl. The Tremaines appear to be the only ones who know the truth about her background, but because they do not want her to be happy or succeed before them, they would just deny any and all claims Cinderella would make, or attempt to make, to lawyers or other important people. It is a further example to show how Cinderella’s attempts to stand up for herself against her stepfamily would ultimately prove to be futile.

So again, Cinderella was not always a servant girl, but truly born and once belonged to a wealthy family, and I think this fact can easily be and is often overlooked. Of the three original Disney Princesses, Cinderella is the only one who is not born of royalty. But due to her original, wealthy background, she is also the only one (out of all of them) who is not a mere peasant or ordinary girl like some of the other Disney Princesses who are also not born of royalty (e.g., Belle, Tiana). If we keep this fact about Cinderella in mind, we can realize that the film is not just about a hardworking underdog, but a strong, diligent heroine who rightfully regains everything that was taken from her.


The Cinderella Exhibition exhibition in London hosting the beautiful designs of BAFTA and Academy Award winning costumer Sandy Powell:

Disney unveiled a spectacular free exhibition of costumes and props from their new Cinderella movie in London on 19 March.

Movie-goers in Leicester Square will be able to experience the costumes in person straight after seeing the film, including the famous slippers.

It is being staged by Walt Disney and Swarovski, who provided Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell with 1.7 million crystals to use for the magical costumes for the film. The collection has been housed within the recreated sets of BAFTA and Academy Award® winning production designer Dante Ferretti.

“Of course the project is a costume designer’s dream. You know it’s a fairy tale, it’s predominantly women in the main characters which is great and unusual surprisingly so yes it was a fantastic opportunity to let your imagination run wild,” Powell said.

Powell explained that to achieve the right effect on screen she decided to make the famous prop slippers from crystal instead of using glass.

“I spent time in the V and A in the glass department looking at different kinds of glass whether it’s like a vase or goblet or chandelier and then realised that what it had to do was to refract and reflect the light therefore crystal seemed to be the obvious way to go with that,” she said.

Although used as props, Cinderella never actually wears the slippers in the film – they would be too delicate – but the effect of her wearing them is achieved by computer graphics.

The live-action version of the classic tale features Downton Abbey’s Lily James and Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden as Cinderella and her prince.

The cast also includes a scene-stealing performance from Oscar winner Cate Blanchett as the wicked step-mother and the awesome Helena Bonham Carter as Cinderella’s fairy godmother.

On show were Lily’s Cinderella outfits, from the ragged dress she wore under the rule of evil step-mother to the beautiful blue gown magicked into existence by her fairy godmother.

The Walt Disney Company and Swarovski have partnered with MediCinema on the exhibit to bring the magic of Cinderella to all the charity’s patients.

The exhibition was designed and produced by MXW with the help of London Film Experience.

The exhibition is open to the public from 21 March to 10 April.


So my last drawing really wiped me out … So I used my creativity for something else tonight!! My buddy on Instagram made a gorgeous dress for Aurora by combing two dresses from past releases. So that instantly inspired me to get back into creating some of these “custom” gowns, and make my own Designer Ball gown Cinderella to go with “Rags” Cinderella. Since I never purchased that Cinderella and and Prince Charming DFDC set. 

I had this 50th Anniversary Cinderella for basically my whole life and I thought it was time to debox and have some fun.

I included a little caption in each photo describing what I did!! Plus I tried to make it like a little story as you can clearly see what going on in each picture haha! 

I must say, from doing this in just a couple hours, I’m not hating it? It was a spur of the moment thing and I think their cute displayed together <3 

Cinderella is not just a rags-to-riches story; it is a riches-to-rags-to-riches story. (All quotations are from the introductory song and narration)

Originally, Cinderella is the daughter of a good family: agentleman and a lady. She lives in a “stately chateau” in a “peaceful [and] prosperous” “tiny kingdom” which is “rich in romance and tradition”. Her father is “kind and devoted” and she is given “every luxury and comfort” that can be financed by the “family fortunes”.

Young Cinderella is living the fairy tale life and is spoiled but not spoiled rotten due to her ever gentle and kind personality. Had both her parents lived then Cinderella could have possibly met the prince earlier because of being invited to parties for nobility and royalty.

The idea that Cinderella could have married the prince earlier might be hinted by the title song lyrics: “wear an air of queenly grace” and “throne would be proper place”. Now the story isn’t just the hardworking underdog but also a heroine regaining what was taken away from her.



One thing about the Pretty Cure All Stars universe is that at some point Miyuki and Rikka are going to talk about fairy tales, and it is going to go very badly because Miyuki will automatically assume that their shared fairy tale nerdery makes them kindred spirits and not realize until way too late that actually fairy tale nerds whose favorite stories are by Oscar Wilde are an entirely different species from fairy tale nerds whose favorite story is Cinderella.

Miyuki is probably familiar with the Hans Christen Andersen version of The Little Mermaid, so The Happy Prince alone won’t be enough to freak her out.  In fact, she’ll probably mention The Little Mermaid, and Rikka will go, “Oh, Oscar Wilde did a version of that too!” and then recite The Little Mermaid:  Blatant Metaphor For Homosexuality With Typically Tragic Ending Version, and Miyuki’s face will slowly go from (: to |: — then to ): when immediately after that she launches into the one that ALMOST ends happily but then in the last two sentences it’s like “just kidding, his trials DID make him into a good king, but they also cut short his lifespan, and when he died the next king was awful!  JUST SAY NO TO ABSOLUTE MONARCHY, KIDS,” and finally DDDD: when she reaches The Nightingale and the Rose.

Finally she just bursts into tears because NONE OF THESE STORIES ARE HAPPY AT ALL, HOW CAN YOU LOVE THEM THAT MUCH? D:

And Rikka’s like, well first of all there’s this thing the Greeks called “catharsis”, right?  But also, what’s cool about them is that they’re worded and structured like traditional fairy tales, but unlike those they’re all blatantly anti-establishment.  And also queer.  And just lovely.

And Miyuki’s like WELL Cinderella is a rags to riches story, that’s what you mean by anti-establishment, right?  Stories don’t have to be miserable to get a message across!

And then Rikka gets into how Cinderella is kind of interesting in that really it’s a riches to rags to riches story.  The heroine is born into nobility but loses all her wealth to a villain who only married into it.  It’s a reflection of the anxieties of the old upper class in a time when the middle class was on the rise, and ultimately old blood wins out over new money.

Miyuki’s reaction to this is of course NOPE NOPE NOPE and finally she pulls out her trump card:  well, but did you know that in the original Cinderella the prince was a girl?  It’s true!  Every version with a boy prince is just a distortion!

Rikka of course thinks she must be nuts because there is absolutely no way that can be true.

But no, it totally is!  Ask Reika!  Reika, get over here and tell Cure Diamond how the original Cinderella goes!  (And then Miyuki shoves Reika at Rikka and makes her escape because oh my God, blue Cures)

And sure enough, according to Reika, who seems really well-educated, the original Cinderella had lesbians.  And werewolves.  And a heroine with unexplained powers that make her sound suspiciously like a magical girl.  This really has to be some elaborate joke, but Reika is possibly the single most earnest person Rikka has ever met and it’s hard to imagine her saying all this with a straight face unless she really believed it.  And the more Rikka listens, the more she begins to feel like the story being told is… familiar, somehow?  Like it’s the way Cinderella really should be, or how it fundamentally is.  Something about it just strikes her as strangely  archetypal.

A little bit later she does some research and learns that there really are way more versions of Cinderella with lesbians, werewolves, or magical girls — or all three — than she remembers.  Or maybe she does remember them?  Now that she’s looking at them, they do seem familiar.  She looks around online and finds a lot of people talking about noticing these things in the story that they never had before, and a few others swearing up and down that they hadn’t been there before, that they’d just suddenly appeared in their favorite picture book after hundreds of rereads without them.

So, though she’ll never know it, Miyuki actually won this round.  Because now Rikka is convinced that the very nature of reality is in flux, and that’s way more horrifying than even The Nightingale and the Rose.

Why I’m not Cinderella, and why I hate the word “posh.”

           I remember the first opinion piece I read when Chocolat came out. The journalist, a Londoner, rather condescendingly described me as a “brisk Yorkshire schoolteacher”, which was quite amusing, because in Yorkshire I’ve always been viewed as a bit of a Southern pansy. Much was made then of my humble background; the fact that my immigrant mother and I first lived in my grandparents’ shop in Barnsley, with no central heating and an outside loo. Later, as I got used to being the subject of articles describing me as “an ordinary Yorkshire lass” and even once as “the Barnsley housewife who got lucky” I realized that Cinderella stories - stories of rags to riches – regardless of their accuracy - just make for better copy, or at least they do until the author’s success is assured, after which they tend to be replaced by sneering comments on how impossible it is for someone so elevated to understand the problems of ordinary working folk.

           On Twitter the other day, someone accused me of having achieved my writing success through contacts made at Cambridge (where, incidentally, I studied French and German). It isn’t the first time someone has implied this. Forget talent, or hard work, or ability; it’s a commonly-held belief that the Old Boys’ Network is behind almost every success in the arts. In fact, it’s the equivalent of Cinderella’s fairy godmother – a kind of get-out-of-jail-free card for losers and loafers everywhere.

           Except that fairy godmothers only exist in fairy tales. In the real world of publishing, it doesn’t matter what degree you got, or whether you got a degree at all. All that matters is whether or not the publisher thinks they can sell your book to the general public. And yet, many writers still believe in the magical shortcut that will solve every one of their problems, and when they fail, they blame – not bad luck, or their lack of commercial appeal – but their lack of a fairy godmother.

            A few years ago, I resigned as patron of my local literary festival because one of the organizers –a self-published author - publicly insulted a guest author for being an Oxbridge graduate. Never mind the fact that this author had had a fairly ordinary background, worked hard, been talented and finally had achieved success: just the fact that he had once gone to a top university automatically made him a posh Southern bastard. Comments like that piss me off. There’s a lot more to Oxbridge than the Bullingdon Club, and that kind of silly prejudice simply makes it harder for working-class students to gain the confidence and support to apply.

           However, it seems to have become increasingly acceptable for people to sneer at Oxbridge graduates, regardless of social background, implying that they got their degrees, not through merit, but through aristocratic Old Boy channels. An an ex-teacher, I got my fair share of pupils into Oxbridge, and I can say right here that every one of them got there by dint of hard work and ability. Which is not to say that there isn’t a network, but most Oxbridge students don’t get to join. There’s a world of social difference between the last in a long line of old Etonians who goes to the Oxford college of which his grandfather was the Dean, and the child of an immigrant, born in a terraced house in Barnsley, who happened to get into Cambridge because she worked hard and was clever.

           I was bullied throughout my childhood. Bullied for being fat; for being odd; for being French - but most of all, for being clever. In Barnsley in the Sixties and Seventies, being clever was roughly equated with being “posh”, and to be posh was the worst thing you could possibly be, except perhaps for being foreign – of which I was also guilty. There weren’t as many foreigners in that part of Yorkshire in those days, and with my black hair and olive skin, many of the other kids assumed that I was Indian – and therefore the child of a doctor, or somebody equally well-off. It didn’t help that I spoke without a regional accent (I’d learnt English as a second language), which made me doubly posh in their eyes; that I generally did well at school, and that my family didn’t eat the kind of food that they did (I’ve still never had Yorkshire Pudding).

           It took me some time to understand that, for many of my peers, liking books better than sports was “posh” - with all the accompanying implications of wealth, privilege and snobbery - in spite of the fact that my parents had rather less money than the average family on our street, and that my clothes were nearly all second-hand. Those things didn’t matter; at the time, the concept of poshness was inextricably linked with the idea of difference, nonconformity and most of all, intellectualism, something which we, with our houseful of books, represented in spades.

           What was it about reading books that filled people with such suspicion? I never understood, although fifty years later, pupils in state schools are still often bullied by their peers – as I was – for working hard and being clever.

           Today, the word “clever” is still commonly used as a pejorative. It implies a sense of personal superiority, a smart-aleck, scornful attitude, a lack of respect for authority. To be clever is, implicitly, to reject one’s peer group – although in my experience, it’s more often the other way around.

           My grandfather was a coal miner. He left school at thirteen with a lifelong fear of being ridiculed for his interest in books. My father, the first in his family ever to go to grammar school, still feels the need to justify reading for pleasure as “work” by only choosing novels in German, French or Japanese. The last time I went into our local children’s bookshop, I overheard a man outside telling his young son, who was looking at the books, that reading would “turn him into a girl.” It seems that – in some places, at least - being an intellectual is as much of a stigma as ever.

           And now, some thirty years after leaving Cambridge, I continue to encounter the same kind of prejudice. The university lecturer who assumed that I must have used my “media contacts” to get published – in spite of the fact that, as an ex-pupil of Barnsley Sixth-form college, I didn’t have any media contacts - or in fact, contacts of any kind. I just got a job in teaching (my first post was in the same school that was later used in the TV documentary Educating Yorkshire, so no visible privilege there) and spent the next eighteen years writing books in my free time before getting lucky with my third.

           Needless to say, I’ve never had any encouragement from the Yorkshire literary world, either. After the success of CHOCOLAT, in spite of many events in schools, and support of local charities, I’m still that “posh” outsider, who chose to write a best-selling novel about France, rather than my hometown. When Yorkshire Life misrepresented me as having “snubbed” my hometown of Barnsley (I’d been speaking of racial prejudice in the Sixties), the local papers gleefully reprinted the story. No-one who knew me came out in support. An ex-neighbour even sent in a wholly fabricated account of how “snooty” I’d been to them. In fact, our families had always been friendly, our daughter had played with their granddaughter many times, and we’d helped them out one winter, bringing them hot food and candles when their electricity had been cut off. None of that seemed to matter, though. Once a posh outsider, always a posh outsider.

           Now I’m not suggesting Yorkshire is any more prejudiced than anywhere else. There are many, good, welcoming people here. But this is why I bite back at accusations of poshness, or suggestions that the Old Boys’ Club (last time I checked, I wasn’t a boy) played a part in my career. 

There was no fairy godmother. That’s because I’m not Cinderella. I didn’t sit around waiting for magic to happen. I made my own. I’ve achieved commercial success in spite of being an academic. I’ve achieved a grudging acceptance from the literary world in spite of being from the (unfashionable, “unliterary”) North.  Yes, I have been lucky, but most of all I worked bloody hard, both to achieve my objectives and to combat the many prejudices that seem to come with the territory.

           People still love Cinderella, as long as she is dressed in rags. But give her a happy ending, and sooner or later the knives will come out, and people will eventually start asking after that bloody fairy godmother.

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