In lieu of the recent International Women’s Day and ACMI’s special conference on Fairy Tales, which I couldn’t attend (sob). I’m currently working on presenting here what I think Fairy Tales are and what they’re for, inspired by tertiary study at La Trobe University (a long while ago), a metric tonne of reading (creative and theoretical) and much thought. Where I can give references, I will. Thanks to Jordi Kerr (@WritingJordi) for tweeting from the conference and maddening/inspiring with quotes from Sarah Gibson, among others.
You may think Fairy Tales are trivial, or just for kids, or not relevant in the world anymore. That’s fine, but there are they’ve lasted for centuries, reasons they were memorised and passed on by adults (mainly women) and reasons for their continued existence, in a myriad of forms, now including why writers are so drawn to them. Just take case in point the new film version of Red Riding Hood I haven’t seen it so can’t judge it, but it exists. So Fairy Tales or their elements, remain everywhere, from advertising to motion pictures.
So this is a kind of a teaser and more will come later. Suffice it to say for now Fairy Tales are ancient, important and rarely mention Fairies. My focus will be on demonstrating why they are important. If you want to know how old Fairy Tales are, there are oodles of resources out there to investigate including the Tale of Two Brothers, from Egypt circa 1200 BCE. As for the exclusion of (most) Fairies in such stories, best have a look at what JRR Tolkien had to say about them in On Fairy Stories.
So until next time, at least. I hope you have your own Happily Ever After.