Today the fabulous author, Kenechi Udogu (who sometimes goes by Kenny), has come by Known to Read to visit. She's brought us a guest post on the bad boys (and girls) of the fairy tale realm and has offered up her unique twist on a popular fairy tale, The Other Slipper, for giveaway. Woo hoo!
Let's start by getting to know our new friend, Kenny, first......
Kenechi lives in London and enjoys writing fantasy fiction and short stories (some of which she posts on her blog). She also hates the cold and hopes to one day figure out how to hibernate in winter.
Kenny's books include The Other Slipper, The Summer of Brian, The Altercation of Vira and new out later this month Aversion.
Get to know Kenechi better via her Blog, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
And now, here's Kenny's post......
When They Were Bad –
Why Fairytale Villains Do What They Do
In The Other Slipper, my fairytale retelling of the Cinderella story, the reader is introduced to a host of characters who may or may not be described as “bad”, if their motives are viewed from a different perspective. In fact, some of their actions might actually be described as honourable but slightly misguided in their execution. I have always been interested in exploring the blurred lines between good and bad in stories and have sought out tales which try to retell well know fables with an altered mind-set. Thankfully, a lot of authors have had great success with delving into this idea of lateral viewpoints (e.g., Gail Carson Levine, Gregory Maguire) and recent increased interest in the back stories of villains in TV shows such as Once Upon A Time and Grimm has brought a welcomed string of additions to challenge what we have long accepted as the truth in fairytales. I am not saying that we can explain away every evil character’s motives (they are all still responsible for their actions) but I now tend to pause for a little bit longer before condemning the characters I was once taught to dislike.
So what are the unrevealed motives behind the actions of baddies in fairytales? If we were in their shoes, would our anger, vanity or selfishness make us behave in a similar way, if not the same? Here are a few of the possible reasons I’ve come up with for some very well-known characters.
The Big Bad Wolf – Whether in Little Red Riding Hood or in The Three Little Pigs, let’s consider the plight of a hungry carnivore. The poor thing was probably starving after going hungry for days and like any other animal, it was trying to survive. Perhaps he went a bit far by trying to eat three different pigs in such a short period of time, but he could have been trying to fatten up for the winter. We’ll never know.
Evil stepmothers – These are usually portrayed as power drunk, cruel and selfish. In actuality, most stepmothers in these stories are either trying to protect or fend for their own daughters (Cinderella) or make a better life for themselves in times of poverty (Hansel and Gretel). True, some are simply portrayed as vain and insecure (e.g., in Snow White) but some might argue that the toll the ageing process takes on the human body can sometimes make good people do bad things for the preservation of youth.
Witches/Wizards/Fairies/Sorcerers – Their goal mostly seems to be seeking power and security, but not always. In Hansel and Gretel, the witch’s unusual diet of little children is what makes her imprison the siblings. Perhaps the diet was recommended by her physician to strengthen her brittle bones or clear her sinuses. Again, we’ll never know as she didn’t get a chance to plead her case. Other villains were simply trying to repay the “heroes” for the wrong that was done to them. For instance, the fairy in Sleeping Beauty was scorned when she was left off the banquet invite list and the fairy in Beauty and the Beast was repaying the Prince with hideousness for his cruelty to her.
Rumpelstiltskin –Let’s spare a thought for the little lonely trader who only wanted some company in his old age and was promised a reward by a girl he helped in her time of need. If we’re being honest, he made a fair trade and the girl should have been wise enough not to make a deal which involved trading human life.
I could go on but I think I will stop here and hope that the next time you read a fairytale, you keep an eye out for the other side to the villain’s story. Because if you really think about it, everybody is somebody’s villain.
Now, let's get to known Kenechi's book, The Other Slipper ...........
The Other Slipper
by Kenechi Udogu
When Jo finds a lone glass slipper on the night of the royal ball, she realises that there is more to the seemingly ordinary object than meets the eye. Searching for its owner, she is led to the palace where the princess sets her on a journey that thrusts her into an unexpected world of magic and illusions. It soon becomes clear that there is a lot more to her mission as she discovers startling secrets about her past and struggles to embrace her destiny.
Intrigued? Me, too!!!
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