Grimmworld museum: layered image depicting Jacob Grimm
Earlier this year I made a trip to Kassel in central Germany to see the Documenta, an art exhibition that happens there every five years. I was also, however, keen to go to GRIMMWORLD (GRIMMWELT), a museum dedicated to the work of the philologists and scholars Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, who spent large parts of their life in Kassel. The Brothers Grimm are famous for collecting and publishing fairy tales, but they also studied culture, language and the history of language.
To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I am fascinated by fairy tales, but I wondered how interesting a museum about two language-focused scholars could be. I envisioned endless cabinets full of old books, notes and letters (which would have been fine, I love old books). The museum, however, turned out to be much more dynamic. Continue reading
Wee Folk and Wise: A Faerie Anthology
This guest post is brought to you by Deby Fredericks, whose blog Wyrmflight has taught me many an interesting dragon-related fact and myth. She recently edited an anthology of fairy and folk tale-inspired stories called Wee Folk and Wise, and has shared some reflections from Matthew Timmins, one of the collection’s contributors, on the age-old appeal of fairy tales: Continue reading
Most of us know a few fairy and folk tales, and have grown up seeing multiple renditions and retellings of these stories. But less of us are familiar with the collections that popularised them, or the writers that penned the versions we know today. So I thought I’d have a look at 6 fairy tale collectors and writers that have given us some of our most beloved fairy tales: Continue reading
Germany has long been considered a land of fairy tales. The Brothers Grimm collection of Märchen popularised the tales they collected here, and plenty of German villages, houses and forests look like they might have sprung straight out of a story book.
But having moved to Germany a little over a year ago, I’ve become more aware of the smaller ways in which the famous fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm reflect their cultural origins. For the first time, I can see evidence of the roots they sprung from in the world around me – roots I wouldn’t have noticed while in my Australian homeland. Continue reading
While we don’t hesitate to label a film “science fiction”, it’s a much rarer occasion that we’ll call a film a “fantasy”. Sure, things like Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and Harry Potter immediately scream fantasy, but beyond these key examples, things can get a little fuzzy. Just the other day, I was trying to think of my favourite fantasy films and found myself floundering. Continue reading
In high school I remember having to sit through a Disney cartoon rendition of Goldilocks and the Three Bears (1994) for a unit we were doing on fairy tales. It told the usual story – Goldilocks comes to the bears’ house, tries the porridges, the chairs and the beds, falls asleep, and then runs away when the bears come home. Unfortunately, in this version they extended the story. Goldilocks and the three bears become friends. Then an evil circus man captures the bears and Goldilocks must save and free them. Oh, and since it’s Disney, they also add an obligatory annoying sidekick animal to provide some comic relief. I think it was a rabbit.
We all know fairy tales can be a little violent and frightening, despite the fact they seem aimed at children: wolves eating people, children getting poisoned or abandoned by evil stepmothers. However, a year or two ago I was made aware of a German children’s story – a kind of nursery rhyme – that I found more disturbing and amusing than any of the fairy tales I’d heard. Continue reading
Okay, admittedly that seems like an odd question. But if you’ve ever stopped to think about the attitudes to royalty presented in fantasy stories, particularly epic high fantasies, it’s not so absurd. There is a very obvious bias toward royalty, and the idea that a person born into a role is the most rightful and qualified person to perform that role. Continue reading
I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but every time the hero spares the life of the dastardly, evil villain, I roll my eyes. Even when I was a kid this annoyed me.
Don’t get me wrong, in the real world I’m no fan of vigilantly justice, or the death penalty. I don’t think random good Samaritans should be offing people because they decided it was the right thing to do.
But in the fictional world, when the ass-kicking, world-saving, all-round nice guy or gal battles the evil villain, and finally gets the chance to end their reign of terror once and for all… and they let them live?? Continue reading