Fairy tales are both timeless and personal. We see their themes and motifs repeated in stories spanning centuries.
But while the characters and scenarios might be familiar, the morals change over time. The story’s message may differ depending on who is telling that story, and who is listening. In particular, women’s roles and sexuality have been modified to what the authors – or fairy tale collectors – think is suitable for the intended audience.
We’re lucky to have so many talented authors reinventing fairy tales for the modern world, throwing away outdated morals and giving us characters that reflect what society is today – or, possibly, what we hope it will be tomorrow.
One of those writers is Heather Walter, who has penned a retelling of Sleeping Beauty in her duology, Malice and Misrule. We spoke to her about the enduring appeal of fairytales, the role of patriarchy in women’s stories, and the neglected concept of consent within fairytale narratives.
Mentioned in this episode:
- Sleeping Beauty
- Snow White
- The Princess & the Frog
- The Shadow in the Glass by JJA Harwood
Heather Walter has been telling stories for as long as she can remember. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with both English and Information Science degrees, books are–and always will be–a definitive part of her life.
As an author, Heather loves writing about what-ifs, flawed protagonists, and re-imagined history. Her favorite characters are usually villains.
When not writing, you can find her reading (duh), knitting, binging TV, and planning her next travel adventure.