How Disney Ruined Fairytales

Before we get started on this fairly predictably Disney-hate rant let me distract you with this Youtube video of me singing and playing guitar. It’s a song I wrote called “Let me be your sidekick” and I’m rather proud of it, so go and leave a comment telling me that you think I show great promise as a songwriter.

Thank you. That helped my self-esteem immensely.

So, as you know, there are original versions of fairy tales, and then there are adaptions. I should certainly hope you know that our modern day adaptions are much more child-friendly then the originals.

Example 1: Red Riding Hood is not saved in the nick of time. She is swallowed by the wolf, and then cut out of his stomach.

If you didn’t know that then you need to stop watching TV and start reading actual, physical books. Or even browsing the internet. It’s all out there.

But there’s a more subtle subversion going on; something many of your don’t realize because these are the versions of common fairytales you grew up on. I’m afraid I’m going to burst some long-held beliefs, and it may cause some pain. Don’t worry, you’ll be a better person afterwards.

1. There are no talking kitchen utensils in Beauty and the Beast.

The concept of anthropomorphic objects surrounding the beast in his lair has so permeated our culture that people do it without realizing that they’re copying Disney. Nearly every version of this classic fairytale that doesn’t pre-date the classic animated film involves some kind of talking thing–both the innovative and original stories, and the blatant Disney ripoffs.

2. The Little Mermaid Dies

There is no happy ending, there is no song and dance, there are no cute fish to jump around and sing, there are no second chances, there is no evil plot by the witch–The Little Mermaid takes her chance, and loses on it, and dies. There is no Little Mermaid II; there is no return to the sea.

(This goes for the Hunchback of Notre Dame as well, even though it’s not a fairytale. They stuck really close to the book, only diverging at the end so everyone could be happy. But it’s Victor Hugo, people. No happiness allowed. Didn’t you watch Les Miserable?)

3. Sleeping Beauty’s Name is Not Aurora.

I don’t get this. It’s fine for one adaptation of Sleeping Beauty to name the heroine after a popular appellation for dawn, but everyone does it. Everyone. Her name is actually Briar Rose. Yes, including the briar part. How did we get from that to dawn, and why does everybody copy it?

Also, she sleeps for a hundred years and never meets the prince before he awakens, but whatever.

4. There is No Magic Carpet in Aladdin’s Lamp

And he spies on the princess while she’s bathing, and her father gives her to him in marriage because he’s rich, and her name is Badroulbadour (which I had to look up to spell but used to have memorized–don’t ask) and there’s none of this three wish business, and it’s not even a fairy tale! It’s from a collection of stories called A Thousand and One Nights assembled by a Frenchman and it’s full of violence and infidelity and innuendo and Islam. But mostly there is no flying carpet. Anywhere. Well, okay, there’s one in one of the 1,001 and stories but that’s still 1,000 cases of no carpet. And there’s one in “The Thief of Baghdad.” Which is probably a closer source material for the Disney movie then the story it supposedly portrays. But it’s still not a fairytale.


How Disney Ruined Fairytales — 1 Comment

  1. I couldn’t get the video to play! 🙁 It keeps telling me it is “unavailable.” Nonetheless, I am sure you show great talent as a songwriter–based on the opening pic of the video, on which your face is visible along with a guitar. 😀

    I was shocked when I first read the real Arabian Nights–some of the stories are quite unsavory and/or disturbing. I couldn’t imagine why such terrible stories were so popular in Europe at one time. The Islam angle is unattractive, although perhaps at that time the Islamic world was quite unreal to Europeans.

    Aurora’s actual name is Briar Rose? Funny . . . I recently read a “retelling” in which the Sleeping Beauty’s nemesis, an evil fairy, was named Briar Rose! How odd.

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