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Topic: "Bad Ending" Fairy Tales?

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Subject: "Bad Ending" Fairy Tales?
Date Posted: 8/19/2009 9:47 AM ET
Member Since: 1/5/2008
Posts: 3,352
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a friend asked me for some book suggestions with fairy tales with not so sappy endings.  the example she used was from the musical into the woods, where the stepsisters cut off parts of their feet to fit them in the glass slipper.

any suggestions, besides the original grimm fairy tales?

Date Posted: 8/19/2009 10:34 AM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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You might enjoy some of the French literary fairy tales - look for the names Charles Perrault, Marie-Catherine d'Aulnoy and Charlotte-Rose de la Force.  Most fairy tales end happily, but they tend to be a lot more tough-minded in their pre-Disneyfied forms, and a lot stranger, and much more interesting.  Angela Carter has edited a few great anthologies that might be what you are looking for:  Strange Things Sometiimes Still Happen and The Old Wives Fairy Tale Book are twoShe also has a mind bogglingly good book of fairy tale retellings - The Bloody Chamber. 

And Hans Christian Anderson's original "The Little Mermaid" is one of the saddest stories I've ever read.  Many of his stories end really badly for his protagonists.

Date Posted: 8/19/2009 2:44 PM ET
Member Since: 2/20/2007
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One possibility is Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Macguire (the basis for the musical "Wicked") and other he's written. It has a pretty mixed ending. And also quite a lot of novels in the fantasy genre; a couple of writers I like a lot personally and who have actually written fairy tale retellings as well as regular fantasy novels are Patricia McKillip (a couple of her recent, very fairy-tale-like books are Winter Rose and The Book of Atrix Wolfe; her fantasies include The Forgotten Beasts of Eld and the "Riddlemaster of Hed" trilogy: ) and Robin McKinley (who has written two separate versions of the Beauty and the Beast story at different times - Rose Daughter: A Re-telling of Beauty and the Beast and Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast - as well as one Cinderella book, Spindle's End; and also The Hero and Crown and The Blue Sword.



Last Edited on: 8/19/09 2:45 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/19/2009 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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Ooh, I love Robin McKinley - her Deerskin is wonderful, too.  It's based on Charles Perrault's Donkeyskin - the one story in his famous collection that will never be made into a Disney movie.

Date Posted: 8/19/2009 5:37 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
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Robin McKinley is great, but I don't think any of those books mentioned have "bad" endings. 



Last Edited on: 8/19/09 5:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/19/2009 5:56 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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Well, the OP mentioned one of the earlier versions of Cinderella which ended happily for the protagonist - if somewhat gruesomely for the antagonists, so I took it to mean "fairy tales without anodyne, Disney-fied endings".

Date Posted: 8/19/2009 10:43 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
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Well, I believe that McKinley's Beauty may have been an inspiration for Disney's Beauty and the Beast so I don't know how close you are there. :)  The Blue Sword is my favorite book ever but I wouldn't say that it's not happy. Deerskin is probably the least happy, Disney-fied of Robin McKinley's fairy-tale retellings, and it's also the only one that was written for an adult audience.

For a book with fairy-tale elements (but not the pleasant type) you could try The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly.

Date Posted: 8/22/2009 12:25 AM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2008
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I have a book that I got a few weeks ago called Terribly Twisted Tales. It's sort of gruesome/dark retellings of classic fairy tales.
Date Posted: 8/24/2009 3:36 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2006
Posts: 28
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Actually, I think the Grimm Brother's fairy tales were originally written with more violent elements. I recall the Cinderella version that i read to include the cutting off of appendages to fit feet into the glass slippers; and in Rumplestiltskins the little guy rips himself in half in the end. Plus a whole bunch of stories involved the wicked people in general getting punished to things like floggings or being dragged naked across sharp rocks and the like.

Anyway, to answer the question, there's a book called "the Book of Lost Things" that sort of reads like a fairy tale (little boy, jealous of the attention paid to his baby sisters, runs away and falls into a fantasy world where he's called to save the day) but the book can be read by adults. It has some "spins" on fairy tales as well that are quite hilarious. The ending is "sad but happy" but not "sappy" if that makes sense!



Last Edited on: 8/24/09 3:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Ronda (RONDA) - ,
Date Posted: 9/9/2009 2:37 PM ET
Member Since: 3/3/2009
Posts: 415
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this is an interesting website about fairytales.  Might tell you something you want to know.

http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/

This book is based on the story of the seven swans and is pretty dark.  The next 2 books in the trilogy are not based on the fairy tale, but what happens in the next generations. 

Daughter of the Forest (The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Bk 1) :: Juliet Marillier