I'm doing some more catching up on the Fairy Tale Challenge
over at Tif Talks Books. I've reviewed two movies and one original tale, just 9 more selections to go! The challenge runs through the end of the year, so there is still plenty of time for you to sign up (the lowest level is three selections, totally do-able!).
As I mentioned before, I've don't a lot of re-reading of original tales in preparation for writing the stories in Views from the Tower
, all of which are adaptations of fairy tales. One of my favorite stories in Views is in Her Service, which is my adaptation of The Frog Prince. I love this story and many of its retellings. I think that Disney hit it out of the park with their version, The Princess and the Frog, in 2009. This was actually my daughter's first big theater movie and we all enjoyed it!
In the original version of The Frog Prince
(or Frog King) the biggest problem with the story is the princess. She's more than just a little bit of a brat. She's willing to use the frog for her own ends (to get her little golden ball she's dropped into the well...side note: who plays with a GOLDEN BALL?) and when he asks her to make good on her promise to him, she splits! Luckily for the frog, he was able to make it all the way up to the palace, and the princess's dad is a stickler about keeping promises. Honestly, this princess doesn't really deserve the frog to turn into a handsome King and marry her.
William Robert Symonds, The Princess and the Frog, 1894
Also in the original version is "faithful Henry" or "Iron Henry" who was a servant of the King pre-frogging. He was so saddened by by master's amphibious state that he had three iron bands put around his heart.... because, why? I don't know, but it sounds horribly uncomfortable. And for his trouble, poor Henry gets left out of Every. Single. Adaptation. Including mine. Sorry, Henry.
I also didn't make my heroine bratty, but I did make her a bit of a trouble maker. She doesn't try to be, but she's kind of a smarty pants, and being a regency debutante is just not her cup of tea. Lucinda meets her match in her brother's childhood friend, Marcus...if only he wasn't currently a frog...
“Marcus?” she whispered in horror.
“Yes, it’s me.” The frog sounded relieved that she’d recognized him.
‘But...you’re a frog!”
“That fact has recently come to my attention.”
“Marcus—oh, I suppose I should call you Lord Sutton now—how are you a frog?”
“You’ve called me Marcus your whole life; no need to stand on formality just because my uncle saw fit to shuffle off this mortal coil and all that.”
Lucinda should have been shocked at the casual way that Marcus dismissed the old earl’s death but she couldn’t seem to muster up any actual shock. The fact that she was speaking to a frog that happened to be her brother’s best friend made everything else pale in comparison.
“I suppose it would be odd to stand on ceremony, seeing as I’ve known you since I was in the cradle. And you’re a frog. Which reminds me, you still haven’t explained that.” Lucinda arched an eyebrow at him.
I had way too much fun writing Lucinda and Marcus. Turning hot guys into frogs is more entertaining than I'd thought! I also liked writing a really smart seventeen year old girl, someone smart enough to solve mysteries and be the hero.
What's your favorite part of The Frog Prince? Do you think it's time that poor old Iron Henry got his own story?