The fairytales that we tell our children were written over two hundred years ago by authors like Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault, and these authors in their turn took their inspiration from tales that are centuries older. Some traces of the first fairytales can be found back to ancient Greece and some fairytales share a lot of similarities with tales that can be found in the Anglo-Saxons Religion. So how can it be that we still share these stories to this day? Why haven’t they lost their magic over the course of time?
It’s because these fairytales carry important life lessons within their pages, lessons that are still relevant to this day, lessons that teach us to be good, to be kind, and to not take apples from old scary ladies. It’s this, that makes fairytales magical and timeless.
But although there are important life lessons that are still relevant within these tales, there is also a growing concern about the stereotypes within these pages. A princess is always beautiful and perfect, a prince is always valiant and brave, and a witch is always ugly and scary. Sounds familiar? Look at the real world around you. Women are obsessed with their appearance (just take a look on Instagram) and men need to be the strongest and toughest of them all (take a look in your local gym). And this is all fine if you are happy with yourself, but here in lies the problem with fairytales. A princess is never just beautiful, she is the fairest of them all, and a prince is never just brave, he is the bravest of them all. It’s a competition. A competition that you can never win because beauty lies in the eye of the beholder and bravery can come in many forms. It makes a large group of people insecure about what they are, striving towards something they can never reach; perfection.
This is why I wrote Scary, an anti-fairytale set in a perfect stereotypical fairytale world. A world where the princes are all brave, except for Prince Antos, where the witches are always scary, except Cassandra, and where the princesses are always perfect, too perfect… It’s a story that shows characters that struggle to live up to their stereotype expectations and how they deal with this problem. Some try to adjust to the perfect fairytale world while others think the fairytale world needs to adjust to them. It’s a fairytale full of awkward situations, miscommunication and witty humour, with at its core a message of accepting people for what they are, no matter if they wear a crown or a witch hat on their heads. It’s a classic fairytale with a modern life lesson that needs to be told today.