Work is kicking my butt this week so just a quick painting for today. Tried to see what I could do with only one large brush… I know, I know, another b/w, but I do have some bright colors coming your way for next week, I promise!
Hope you’re all having a wonderful summer so far! We’re a week closer to September!
Three Wishes for Cinderella, and some thoughts on fairy-tale tropes
Since it’s quiet right now, I wanted to use the opportunity to bring to the attention of my shipping pals an absolutely lovely fairy-tale film called Three Wishes for Cinderella. It’s a Czech film from 1973 and I watched it for the first time today - it was utterly charming and delightful, and I think it might well be my favourite of all the Cinderella adaptions (sorry Ever After!). Best of all, the characters really are characters here - the Prince has a personality for a change, and Cinderella is a total badass. She’s an expert hunter who can teach the boys a thing or two, and she’s openly defiant towards her stepmother and stepsister - she’s active and stubborn where the Disney Cinderella (live action and animated) is passive and patient, and it’s extremely refreshing.
And, naturally, because I have Reylo tunnel vision, I saw Reylo everywhere.
So you have the first meeting in the forest:
And then there’s a look of stunned awe and fascination, as the girl impresses the Prince with her skill:
There’s more to it than that (including lots of chasing each other through snowy forests and the girl presenting the Prince with a riddle over her identity), but it was an interesting reminder of exactly how trope-y The Force Awakens is in terms of its adoption of the visual language of fairy-tales. It’s not like this is a big surprise, given the words of Saint J.J. Abrams in the audio commentary:
You’re probably going to have a castle, and a prince and a princess, if you’re looking at a fairy tale. We wanted to give these sort of, fundamental, not cosmetic, but, sort of, prerequisite elements. These locations in which we can set our new story and our new characters.
What’s perhaps more interesting, however, is how The Force Awakens subverts the stock elements of fairy-tales - whereas the chase is depicted as charming flirtation in TWFC, in TFA it’s presented as an extremely perilous and frightening ordeal. The setting (a snowy forest) and characters (a handsome prince with raven hair and a beautiful young peasant girl) are entirely familiar - what is different is how they are combined with other tropes and traditions and put in an entirely distinct context. So the prince isn’t just a prince - he’s also a father killer and, until recently, a ‘monster in a mask’. And Rey isn’t just a beautiful peasant girl - she’s a prodigy in the Force who perceives the prince as an enemy to be defeated rather than a marriage prospect.
What I love about this is how open it makes things for the future story. Because of how rooted TFA is in fairy-tale concepts and imagery, it’s entirely plausible that they become further emphasised in subsequent films - with the edge of threat in the interactions between Rey and Kylo easing as understanding develops. Equally, it’s possible that the subversion is continued, with the filmmakers continuing to reference fairy-tale tropes in inventive and interesting ways that keep us all guessing and unsure of exactly how the story will resolve itself. While fairy-tales are powerful, they have the limitation of being extremely predictable since they almost always adhere to strict types that follow a rigid formula - so while it makes perfect sense that Star Wars is drawing from such an ancient and beloved mode of storytelling, it also makes sense that it is not being entirely beholden to its conventions.
In any event, I wouldn’t complain if this trope makes an appearance by the end of Episode IX. My personal feeling is that every romantic fairy-tale should end something like this:
(I feel like I need a legal disclaimer here to stress that I am not promising that Episode IX will end with a Reylo lift+spin. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’d really like it to.)
maggie went against all her morals and risked her job to save alex in 2x19 because she couldn’t bear the thought of losing the one person in her life who cared for her despite everything that’s happened in her past