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Changing Our Fairy Tales

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  • jt_heyman
    Lo. Something for the list to chew on, perhaps. On a computer bulletin board that I frequent, the conversation drifted to animated movies and one person
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 28, 2004
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      'Lo.

      Something for the list to chew on, perhaps.

      On a computer bulletin board that I frequent, the conversation
      drifted to animated movies and one person bemoaned a certain
      company's crass commercialism because they are putting out
      substandard sequels to fairy tale movies. One line this person wrote
      struck me:

      Since when does "happily ever after" mean "until tomorrow when we
      encounter the exact same problems but with a new narrator" ?

      As fairy tales interact at some level with mythopoeia, what does this
      say about American society? Is it a good thing or a bad thing or
      neither or both? Or can we even evaluate this shift from "the fairy
      tale has a beginning, middle and end" to "the fairy tale never ends,
      and you'll face the same problems over and over"?

      To perhaps phrase this in a way more suited to discussion:
      *Does* a fairy tale need to have an ending ("happily ever after" or
      not)? And if it doesn't, how does that change what the story means?

      ~ JTHeyman
    • David Bratman
      ... In Third Age 3019, Sam Gamgee said: Beren now, he never thought he was going to get that Silmaril from the Iron Crown in Thangorodrim, and yet he did, and
      Message 2 of 4 , Sep 28, 2004
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        At 04:16 PM 9/28/2004 +0000, JTHeyman wrote:
        >On a computer bulletin board that I frequent, the conversation
        >drifted to animated movies and one person bemoaned a certain
        >company's crass commercialism because they are putting out
        >substandard sequels to fairy tale movies. One line this person wrote
        >struck me:
        >
        >Since when does "happily ever after" mean "until tomorrow when we
        >encounter the exact same problems but with a new narrator" ?
        >
        >As fairy tales interact at some level with mythopoeia, what does this
        >say about American society? Is it a good thing or a bad thing or
        >neither or both? Or can we even evaluate this shift from "the fairy
        >tale has a beginning, middle and end" to "the fairy tale never ends,
        >and you'll face the same problems over and over"?
        >
        >To perhaps phrase this in a way more suited to discussion:
        >*Does* a fairy tale need to have an ending ("happily ever after" or
        >not)? And if it doesn't, how does that change what the story means?

        In Third Age 3019, Sam Gamgee said:

        Beren now, he never thought he was going to get that Silmaril from the Iron
        Crown in Thangorodrim, and yet he did, and that was a worse place and a blacker
        danger than ours. But that�s a long tale, of course, and goes on past the
        happiness and into grief and beyond it--and the Silmaril went on and came to
        Earendil. And why, sir, I never thought of that before! We�ve got--you�ve got
        some of the light of it in that star-glass that the Lady gave you! Why, to
        think of it, we�re in the same tale still! It�s going on. Don�t the great tales
        never end?
      • Beth Russell
        Lo. ... This never-ending tale is an important part of the relationship between The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings . At the edge of Mordor Sam
        Message 3 of 4 , Sep 28, 2004
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          'Lo.
          >
          > Something for the list to chew on, perhaps.
          >
          > On a computer bulletin board that I frequent, the conversation
          > drifted to animated movies and one person bemoaned a certain
          > company's crass commercialism because they are putting out
          > substandard sequels to fairy tale movies. One line this person wrote
          > struck me:
          >
          > Since when does "happily ever after" mean "until tomorrow when we
          > encounter the exact same problems but with a new narrator" ?
          >
          > As fairy tales interact at some level with mythopoeia, what does this
          > say about American society? Is it a good thing or a bad thing or
          > neither or both? Or can we even evaluate this shift from "the fairy
          > tale has a beginning, middle and end" to "the fairy tale never ends,
          > and you'll face the same problems over and over"?
          >
          > To perhaps phrase this in a way more suited to discussion:
          > *Does* a fairy tale need to have an ending ("happily ever after" or
          > not)? And if it doesn't, how does that change what the story means?
          >
          > ~ JTHeyman

          This never-ending tale is an important part of the relationship between
          "The Silmarillion and "The Lord of the Rings". At the edge of Mordor
          Sam asked Frodo, "'Don't the great tales never end?'" And Frodo
          replied, "'No, they never end as tales'" . . . 'But the people in them
          come and go when their part's ended.'" Sam has just figured out that he
          and Frodo are involved in the history of the Silmarils.

          And throughout LR, Tolkien makes it clear that evil may be defeated for
          a time but it will re-form and must be defeated again.

          Bilbo's happy ending, "There and back again" was an illusion for the
          Ringbearers. Only Sam appeared to go back to the Shire -- but in the
          end he went over the Sea also.

          Cheers,

          Beth



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Alan Kellogg
          ... To put it another way, all stories get retold. The Epic of Gilgamesh contains a retelling. The story of The Flood might come from the Neolithic and the
          Message 4 of 4 , Sep 28, 2004
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            >'Lo.
            >>
            >> Something for the list to chew on, perhaps.
            >>
            >> On a computer bulletin board that I frequent, the conversation
            >> drifted to animated movies and one person bemoaned a certain
            >> company's crass commercialism because they are putting out
            >> substandard sequels to fairy tale movies. One line this person wrote
            >> struck me:
            >>
            >> Since when does "happily ever after" mean "until tomorrow when we
            >> encounter the exact same problems but with a new narrator" ?
            >>
            >> As fairy tales interact at some level with mythopoeia, what does this
            >> say about American society? Is it a good thing or a bad thing or
            >> neither or both? Or can we even evaluate this shift from "the fairy
            >> tale has a beginning, middle and end" to "the fairy tale never ends,
            >> and you'll face the same problems over and over"?
            >>
            >> To perhaps phrase this in a way more suited to discussion:
            >> *Does* a fairy tale need to have an ending ("happily ever after" or
            >> not)? And if it doesn't, how does that change what the story means?
            >>
            >> ~ JTHeyman
            >
            >This never-ending tale is an important part of the relationship between
            >"The Silmarillion and "The Lord of the Rings". At the edge of Mordor
            >Sam asked Frodo, "'Don't the great tales never end?'" And Frodo
            >replied, "'No, they never end as tales'" . . . 'But the people in them
            >come and go when their part's ended.'" Sam has just figured out that he
            >and Frodo are involved in the history of the Silmarils.
            >
            >And throughout LR, Tolkien makes it clear that evil may be defeated for
            >a time but it will re-form and must be defeated again.
            >
            >Bilbo's happy ending, "There and back again" was an illusion for the
            >Ringbearers. Only Sam appeared to go back to the Shire -- but in the
            >end he went over the Sea also.
            >
            >Cheers,
            >
            >Beth

            To put it another way, all stories get retold. The Epic of Gilgamesh
            contains a retelling. The story of The Flood might come from the
            Neolithic and the flooding of the Black Sea.

            We like the familiar. Familiar tales told in familiar ways. Recast
            using elements from our lives, this reinvention making the old
            stories even more familiar to us.

            Stories also remind us of the persistence of the human condition. The
            same matters that concern us concerned our distant ancestors, and
            will concern our distant descendents. Our stories will get retold
            because they will speak to our inheritors much as they speak to us.
            --
            Alan Kellogg

            http://www.mythusmage.com

            mailto:mythusmage@...

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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