Growing up, I never really related to the princesses in stories or movies. I didn’t lead a charmed life wherein I spoke to woodland creatures and was dressed by pastel colored birds. A fairy godmother never appeared in the middle of the night to present me with a dress and a carriage. Life was so unfair. I liked the stories, but truth be told I didn’t walk away from them hoping that one day “my prince would come”. The princesses were, well, a bit shallow and uninteresting. As an adult, I’ve finally found stories that tell the other side of the story.
Some of my favorite reinterpretations of fairy tales are from the author Gregory Maguire. You may be familiar with Wicked (the Broadway show), even if you never picked up “The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.” He also reimagined Snow White (“Mirror, Mirror”), Cinderella (“Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister”), and more. This was one of the first times I read a book from the antagonists point of view, giving a backstory and even more depth to some of the more interesting characters from Grimm.
If those books are a bit lengthy or you prefer more pictures, then I’d recommend the comic book series Fables. I just recently discovered this gem after playing a video game based on the story. This reimagines all the fairy tale characters of yore as residents of NYC just trying to get by. Yes, it’s similar to the show Once Upon a Time and was actually being developed as a show itself at one point. I’m still finishing the game, entitled The Wolf Among Us, but so far it’s fun and fast-paced. It’s a darker, crime-noir type of story based game where you play as The Big Bad Wolf who is now the community Sheriff. Hijinks ensue!
Finally, I can’t close without mentioning one of my favorite evil characters, Maleficent. The only character I ever dressed as for Halloween, thanks to my Dad’s law school graduation robe (which saw a lot of Halloween costume action) and some homemade black horns. I was worried that I’d be disappointed by the movie after looking forward to seeing it but it was still amazing. It was still more of a Sleeping Beauty story, but with the background and point of view from Maleficent. It really showed that there is more to an evil queen than curses and a fantastic outfit.