Maleficent by Jackie Kimmel
What is your favorite fairy tale? Is it one of the Disney animated films like Snow White or Beauty and the Beast or are you like me and prefer the tales from the Grimm Brothers where possible death and destruction were the “the happy ending.”
Fairy tales have always intrigued me. Fairy tales have been an evolution over time. In the beginning they were meant to be life lessons to small children living in famine and dismal circumstances. Then Walt Disney and his animators got a hold of the stories and made them more entertaining and light-hearted.
With the fairy tale spirit in mind I am VERY curious to see how the new Angelina Jolie movie Maleficent turns out when it is released later this month on May 30th. For those who are unaware, Maleficent is the modern-day villain from Sleeping Beauty.
As a tribute to one of the “bad fairies,” here is the history of Maleficent from the literature in which she was created.
The tale of what we know as Sleeping Beauty has been called many names. The first poem about the sleeping princess was written by Charles Perrault in the 1690s. This French poem was entitled “La Belle au bois dormant” which translates roughly into “The Sleeping Beauty.” The original poem outlines the same storyline: the kingdom welcomes an infant princess. The entire kingdom and seven fairies are present for the christening. An eighth fairy, who in the poem remains nameless, crashes the party and places a death curse on the child. That eighth fairy would over time evolve into our present day Maleficent.
The Grimm Brothers also took a stab at the story of Sleeping Beauty in 1812 with their “Little Briar Rose.” In true Grimm fashion, this version of the story introduces a wicked mother-in-law character and the princess’ name is Rosemond. Additionally, the Grimm’s made the evil fairy number thirteen, and not number eight, as Perrault did.
Walt Disney was the next to get his hands on the Sleeping Beauty plot and it’s probably the most well-known of all the versions. In the 1959 Disney animated film, Princess Aurora is welcomed by the kingdom and has only three fairy Godmothers. Aurora, at her christening, is betrothed to Prince Philip who would many years later save her life.
The Disney version of the story is where the masses meet Maleficent. She is the fourth, and only evil, fairy. Upon her dissatisfaction with being left out of the christening festivities, she places a death curse on the child which is lessened by one of the other fairies to a sleeping spell. The spell in all three literary versions revolves around the princess pricking her finger on a spindle and either dying or falling asleep by her 16th birthday.
Now, 2014 will give us a different version of the same truth. The new Angelina Jolie movie will give us Maleficent’s side of the story. Perhaps Maleficent was bullied by the other fairies (however many there truly were); perhaps she and King Stefan had a fling that Queen Leah was not fond of; or perhaps Maleficent’s actions were noble in some way. Who knows? All I can say is I am very excited to see how this tale, which is over 300 years old, will unfold once more.
Jackie Kimmel is a writer who lives in Broomfield, Colorado. She is the former editor of several publications including: RV Trade Digest Magazine, The Morning Bridge, The Sky Report, Tusk Magazine and The Daily Titan Newspaper. She has loved reading since she was very young and prefers biographical, historical and chick-lit books. Follow Jackie on Twitter @Jkimmel2986.
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