Okay, okay, I know. Barbie movies? Seriously? But okay, I grew up on those movies, and even now I listen to Tchaikovsky when I’m studying, and my little sister does ballet because of it.
It kind of plays off all the ballet AUs running around here, but I think this one in particular is different.
In the movie, Odette’s father is a baker. Duh. So here’s the Marinette. She’s kind, brave, strong, gentle, and is the protagonist.
Then she meets Lila, the unicorn. Who, in this case, is Alya.
Lila leads Odette to a magical kingdom that is cursed. She meets the Lady of the Woods (represented by Tikki) and the few cured children (some various classmates) who turn into animals during the day.
Then, Odette has a nasty run in with Rothbart (hey there, Hawk Moth) and his daughter Odile (I see you there, Volpina). Rothbart turns Odette into a swan (for obvious reasons, Marinette’d be turned into a ladybug).
The Lady of the Woods saves Odette by giving her a crown with special powers to give Odette back her human form during the night. For here, it’d be the earrings.
Now, to meet our Adrien. This is Prince Daniel, a curious soul who is being pressured by his family into marriage.
In order to break the spell, Odette and Lila go to find the Book of Forest Lore, which is in the library owned by the troll, Erasmus, represented by Plagg. Erasmus is a pretty grumpy guy but is also warm at heart. They spend all day and night and can’t find it.
Meanwhile, Rothbart lures Prince Daniel to the magical kingdom and tries to get him to kill/capture a transformed Odette (for AU sake, say it’s a super rare ladybug…?). Unfortunately for Rothbart, Daniel is captivated by the swan and lets her live, leaving Odette enough time to transform back into her human form.
Daniel asks Odette to the ball but she can’t leave the magical land.
Erasmus finds the Book of Forest Lore, which says that only true love (shocker…) can break the curse. But if Daniel professes his love to another, the gem will lose it’s power.
The creatures of the forest teach Odette how to dance so she can go to the ball and break the curse with Prince Daniel.
Suddenly, Rothbart kidnaps Erasmus! They manage to save him but Rothbart figures out the gem’s weakness. So he disguises Odile with a charmed necklace and creates an illusion to make her look like Odette (no, actually, he does).
At the ball, Daniel dances with Odile, and pledges his love for her, thinking she is Odette.
Odette (in swan form) is outside and hears the confession, and collapses outside. The Lady of the Woods and the forest creatures carry Odette back to the safety of the magical land, Rothbard and Daniel in tow.
Rothbart and Daniel battle it out, but Daniel is knocked unconscious, and Odette and Daniel fall together.
Rothbart takes Odette’s gem, and tries to use its power. But the power of the gem overcomes him, and Rothbart dissolves into ash. The curse is broken, and the forest creatures (and Odette) are returned to their normal selves.
With a happy ending, Daniel and Odette confess their love for each other, and get married happily ever after.
On this day in 1877, by the old-style calendar, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake had its debut at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Tchaikovsky, already a noted composer, was commissioned to compose the ballet by Vladimir Petrovich Begichev, the intendant of the Russian Imperial Theatres. Borrowing from Russian folk tales, Tchaikovsky wrote the ballet in 1875-6, telling the story of princess Odette as she is transformed into a swan by an evil sorceror. The original show - then called The Lake of the Swans - was performed by the famous Bolshoi Ballet, and was choreographed by Julius Reisinger. This first performance was not well received, with its score and choreography criticised as too complex, and Tchaikovsky never saw his ballet achieve the iconic status it now enjoys. Only after the composer’s death in 1893 was Swan Lake eventually revived, with a new version of the music produced by Tchaikovsky‘s brother and others, along with new choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. The 1895 version of Swan Lake was a success, and subsequent productions owe more stylistically to this version than the initial 1877 performance. Swan Lake is one of Tchaikovsky’s most famous compositions - alongside other iconic pieces like The Nutcracker and the 1812 Overture - and remains one of the world’s favourite ballets.
That Redbeard meta you all have been waiting a week for
(FYI I have been busy learning about wines for my new job! Whee! Now, on to the meta):
Many of us vividly recall the very beginning of ‘The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes’, which follows our intrepid detective and his chronicler watching a performance of ‘Swan Lake’ at the London Ballet:
Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe this film takes place sometime in 1895….the same year a very famous revival of ‘Swan Lake’ was performed:
“Today, it is Riccardo Drigo’s revision of Tchaikovsky’s score as done for Petipa and Ivanov’s 1895 revival, and not Tchaikovsky’s original score of 1877, that many—though by no means all—ballet companies use when performing Swan Lake.”
If you are between the ages of 22 - 30, you probably remember THIS film:
For everyone else, this was a non-Disney, animated film based on Tchaikovsky’s ‘Swan Lake’, but with the more 90′s-esque fairy-tale ending. To summarize:
Odette, the princess, gets turned into a swan:
by THIS guy. His name is Rothbart, and in the ballet, ‘Von Rothbart’
Please note the lovely ginger beard on this one…
Anyway, Prince Derek falls in love with Odette, and he must make a Vow of Everlasting Love in order to break the spell. But wait! Rothbart sends in a Fake!Odette (named ‘Odile’ in the ballet, otherwise known as ‘The Black Swan’):
Alas, the prince makes the Vow to the Wrong Person, and Odette nearly dies! Rothbart transforms himself into a Great Animal:
And, of course, subsequently slain by Prince Derek. Which then leads us straight into this scene:
What’s all this got to do with Redbeard? Well, remember the villain, [Von] Rothbart? Ahem…
“By 1895 Benno von Sommerstern had become just “Benno,” and Odette “Queen of the Swans.” Also Baron von Stein, his wife, and Freiherr von Schwarzfels and his wife were no longer identified on the program. The sovereign or ruling Princess is often rendered “Queen Mother.” Rothbart (“Redbeard”) may also be spelled Rotbart.”
Edit: Note that there have been several metas about references to swans and ‘Ugly Ducklings’ on Tumblr, one most notably by Chief of the Fandom, finalproblem!
The symbolism though, seriously it took me too long to realize the raven blood was a metaphor for the ways abuse fucks you up and gives you fleas (and mytho and rue will carry it in them forever but they will heal and grow strong and love despite it) and the way that the show treats things like fear and sadness as being just as valid emotions as affection or curiosity, and I still think about Mr cat's 'is odile's love impure' line and how ahiru didn't shame raetsel for loving two people and!!
Princess Tutu is a gift on several levels and I don’t really have much to add to this particular conversation other than my very limited expertise in ballet costumes because: yes, that too, also Rue’s costume references Odile (is Odile’s love impure?) while Evil!Mytho’s big-winged raven costume is remarkably like Von Rothbart’s costume on Swan Lake’s prologue* when he transforms Odette (although I can only speak for the performance I saw).
* Apparently this prologue wasn’t part of the original libretto and is a western addition? Anyway, very cool
In which I argue that the writers both know what they are doing and are world-class trolls.
Back when the season first started, there was a lot of speculation about Swan Lake. We had a Black Swan stalking around the place, and the ballet is based on a fairy tale. A few episodes in, I stopped seeing this discussion as we all got engrossed in the Camelot details. I’m kinda hungover today, but I thought it might be interesting to go back and see if there was anything to the idea after all, and the answer is either yes or hell yes.