Monday, May 30, 2016

Grimm Reviews – “Fitcher’s Bird”

“Fitcher’s Bird”

There once was a wizard who disguised himself as a beggar to kidnap pretty girls. One day he came to a house where three girls lived. The eldest went to give him some food, but at a touch she jumped into his basket and he carried her to his home in the woods.

He gave her everything she could have wanted. But after a few days he said he needed to leave. So he gave her the keys to all the rooms of the house, but told her not to go into one room on pain of death. He also gave her an egg to keep safe.

After he left, she set out to explore the house, and eventually came to the forbidden room. She went in anyway, and saw a bloody basin with body parts and an ax. She was so frightened that she dropped the egg into the basin. She fished it out, but no matter how often she cleaned it, the blood came back.

When the wizard returned, he saw by the egg that she had disobeyed him, so he dragged her into the room, cut off her head and chopped her body up.

The wizard returned to the girl’s home and captured the second sister. She suffered the same fate.

But the youngest sister was clever. When the wizard left her with the egg and keys, she set the egg down and went to the forbidden room. When she saw her older sisters there, she gathered together the parts and they rejoined and came back to life.

When the wizard returned and could find no blood on the egg, he said that she had passed his test and would be his bride. She commanded that he carry a basket of gold to her parents. She hid her sisters in a basket and covered them with gold. She told the wizard to go, and she would watch from a window to make sure he didn’t stop. Whenever he tried to rest, one of the older sisters would call out why he was resting, so he hurried on.

The younger sister sent out invitations to all the wizard’s friends. She also took a skull and set it looking out a window. She then rolled herself in honey and covered herself in feathers from the bed so she looked like a great bird.

She then walked home, and whenever she met someone going to the wedding, she told them the bride was watching from a window. Even the wizard was fooled by her.

Once the wizard and all his friends were in the house, the girl’s brothers and kin (sent by the older sisters) locked all the doors and set fire to the house with everyone inside.


Why do I have the feeling this is another fairy tale that won’t be made into a kids’ movie anytime soon? I wonder, did the youngest sister try putting together any of the other victims? Or did she just let them burn up with the wizard and his friends? 

How quickly did the invitations go out and the guests arrive?  That all happened while the wizard was carrying the older sisters home.

And why did she disguise herself as a bird and not just a beggar?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The problem with trying to be clever

This is something that came from the recent season three finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  If you don’t watch the show – or if you haven’t seen the episode yet – I’ll be as vague and generic as I can. 

About halfway through the season, one of the main characters met a character who when you touched them you saw a vision of the future where somebody died.  One of the visions she saw was a very vague (almost as if the vision was shot by a TV show trying to be mysterious) where she saw a golden crucifix necklace.  Such a necklace belonged to a minor character.

For the last month or so of the season, the commercials for the show talked about how one character would die.  Was it to be this minor character with the necklace?  Well, the episode before the final two episodes that were aired back to back, this Character A gave the necklace to Character B.  So for a week everyone wondered if B was going to die.  Then, Character B – after trying to give the necklace back – put it in his pocket, where it slipped out to be picked up by Character C, who put it in his pocket.  But then he saw that Character D was cold, so he gave her his coat, and she found the necklace in the pocket.  And then Character E – who knew of the vision – stole it so that he could save everyone and really drive the Jesus imagery home.

When Character C came into the mix, I realized, Oh, it’s going to be that way.  They wanted to give the necklace to as many of the characters as possible to hold the suspense for as long as possible.  They were trying to be clever.  And it didn’t work.  Of course, it may not be the writer’s fault.  One thing I skipped, is that the character who saw the vision had an earlier vision that came … true, but only when looked at from a specific way.  And if one only saw the episodes, one would assume that this second vision could be “solved” the same way.  And then you would have been shocked when this one character did actually die. 

Instead, for the month or so leading up to the finale, we saw promotions for the show proclaiming that ONE CHARACTER WILL DIE!  WHO WILL IT BE?  So instead of being carried along in this story and then being shocked by the turn of events, the viewers became detectives searching for clues, and then the necklace may as well have had a flashing neon sign on it reading, “Watch this!”

If they had passed this necklace – or some other memento – around for most of the season, or if instead of a necklace it had been a medal or something, and then at one point three or four characters receive such a medal, that would have been cleverer.  Being clever really only works when you’re subtle.  And having promos asking, “WHO WILL DIE?” is not subtle.  It’s almost as if the people managing and promoting the show don’t know – or care – to keep things suspenseful.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Grimm Reviews – “King Thrushbeard”

“King Thrushbeard”

There once was a beautiful princess who was so full of herself that she always rejected her suitors and made fun of them. The King held a big feast where all the marriageable men were lined up, but the princess made fun of each and every one of them. One king had a peaked chin and she stated that he had “a chin like a thrush’s beak.” So everyone began calling him King Thrushbeard.

But her father was so upset with her that he said he would give her to the first beggar who came to his door. A few days later, a ragged ballad-singer came by. When he was finished singing for the King, he asked for a small reward and the King gave him the princess.

So the princess was married to the ballad-singer and the King sent them away. They went through a wood, a meadow and a town, and the princess asked each time who they belong to, and the ballad-singer replied that they belonged to King Thrushbeard, and they could have been hers.

They arrived at the ballad-singer’s small house. He had no servants, so the princess had to do the cooking and cleaning, things she had never done before. When their food ran out, the ballad-singer said she should make baskets. But the twigs were too hard, so the ballad-singer said she should try spinning. But the thread cut her fingers, so the ballad-singer said she should sell some earthenware pots he had in town.

The first day, people bought her pots because she was so beautiful, and they lived on that money for some time. When that ran out, the ballad-singer got more pots for her to sell. But a drunken soldier rode by and smashed all of her pots.

So the ballad-singer took her back to her father’s castle to be a kitchen maid. She kept little pots in her pockets for the leftover food which she took home to her husband.

One night there was a banquet and she stood to the side watching all the finely dressed people. There King Thrushbeard saw her and took her hand and took her to the dance floor, where all her little pots fell and food was scattered on the floor and everyone laughed at her.

The princess ran off, but King Thrushbeard caught her and explained that he had disguised himself as a ballad-singer, and as a soldier to knock her down a peg. And then everything was happy.


So, the two of them lived as man and wife for, a several weeks at least, but she never noticed he wore a disguise? Or was she too distraught to look at her husband? And what sort of kingdom did Thrushbeard have that he could play beggar for weeks without anything happening?