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Why Fairy Tales?

04 Jun Posted by in Articles | 1 comment
Why Fairy Tales?

by Serena Chase, author of The Seahorse Legacy

 

seahorse-cover“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.”

Author and philosopher G.K. Chesterton penned that famous phrase a long time ago, but if current trends in entertainment are any indication, it is safe to assume that I am not the only one with an undying love for the kind of reassurance to be found through fairy tales. From TV series like Once Upon a Time and Grimm, to movies like Disney’s Frozen and Jack the Giant Killer, fairy tales are an ever-evolving organism within pop culture that shows no hint of dying out.

But what keeps calling us back to stories most often associated with children’s literature and Disney animations? What keeps tales of princesses and palaces, fairies and forest creatures, contests and champions, and porridges and pirates ever-blooming in our minds?

As someone whose lifelong love of fairy tales has only increased with age, I believe fairy tales give voice to our deepest insecurities and our secret dreams of heroism, at once. As Chesterton so elegantly stated, we want to know that dragons can be slayed, contests can be won, and villains can be destroyed by a greater truth within the story. In the best fairy tales it is love—paired with cleverness—that not only accomplishes the goal, but is the reward.

To put it simply, we want to live the life of a hero and achieve our happy ever after. We can do that, vicariously, through fairy tales, but a short story sometimes isn’t enough to sate those desires. That is why people like me reimagine the old stories in new ways: to allow you, the reader, to enjoy your fairy tales with greater depth than those short children’s stories allow.

It might seem rather odd to stretch a tale that is ten pages at most in its original form— including illustrations!—over two rather lengthy books, but that’s what I’ve done with the Eyes of E’veria series. In this series each two-book set retells one classic fairy tale, but on a rather epic scale.

It’s a fairly involved process, expanding and re-imagining an old and well-known tale into something new. There have been moments when I have cradled my head in my hands and wondered what in the world I was thinking when I decided to plop a young pirate and a feisty female knight into a story that was originally about an old soldier and twelve princesses who wear out their dancing slippers too often. But I hope in The Seahorse Legacy and its sequel The Sunken Realm (coming in 2015) I am not only honoring the old Grimm version of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, but creating a fresh world and a deeper, truer, bigger “win” for my two complex heroes than the Brothers Grimm did by rewarding a poor-but-clever soldier with a wife and a lush, royal retirement.

It is my belief that if we, through fairy tales, can become heroes in our imaginations, we will be better equipped to do heroic things in real life. In our imperfect reality, it is an all-too-often occurrence that dragons-in-disguise assault those for whom justice seems just another vain dream, but as Mr. Chesterton said, ‘fairy tales are more than true.’ And because we live in a world full of dragons that need to be beaten, I will continue to put ‘sword’ to paper, and hopefully inspire a real-life hero or two to take up whatever sword life hands them and to wield it well.

 

serenaABOUT THE AUTHOR: Serena Chase lives in Iowa with her husband, two teen daughters, and one very spoiled (but really adorable) dog, Albus. A frequent contributor to USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog, she also writes for Edgy Inspirational Romance. Serena has served as a youth leader for high school students at her church, coaches her local high school’s Color Guard, and drinks entirely too much coffee between these and her daughters’ activities. You can find Serena on Facebook, Twitter @Serena_Chase, and Pinterest. Visit her website www.serenachase.com

 

One comment

  • Confession time…I never read The Twelve Dancing Princesses so didn’t see the comparison when I read The Seahorse Legacy. Ooops, but I do love a good fairy tale, and I most definitely loved Cazien!

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