Category Archives: real life

Please Stop Calling the Royal Wedding a “Fairy Tale”

Like the wedding of Charles and Diana, William and Catherine’s wedding has been referred to, over and over again, as a “fairy tale.”  Most of us are guilty of using commonly repeated words or phrases, such as “fairy tale,” without really thinking about what they mean.  But just a short mental reconnaissance through our beloved childhood “fairy tales” reminds us that every story from this genre features a scary villain:  the sharp-toothed wolf dressed as the trusted grandmother; the evil stepmother with the blood-red nails; the bitter old crone whose poison needle puts the beautiful princess to sleep for 100 years.  Consider myths like Beowulf.  Beowulf is nothing without Grendel.  Actually, Beowulf is nothing without Grendel’s mother.  Because killing Grendel doesn’t solve Beowulf’s problem.  Killing Grendel teaches Beowulf the very painful lesson that what you thought you had to conquer was only the first step, and your real quest is to confront the way scarier thing waiting for you just around the corner (or at the bottom of  the lake, in this case).  This quest is what fairy tales are really about.   

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