on Fairy Tales and History

I have continued reading through the plantagenet series by Philippa Gregory: the white queen, the red queen, the white princess, a lady of the rivers…

Partway into the third book, I realised that not only were these ones all about women, so were the tudor series I read last year… I don’t know why that surprised me- I think it was more that I was surprised at how slow I was to realise it! 😛

Sometimes reading these books I need a bit of a break, so I have read quite a few other books before I will get onto the last two my friend lent me in this series. In reading through them fairly close together, you see the way that history repeats itself- how everyone sacrifices so much for their own power, killing those who oppose them, only to have a new set of people come along who sacrifice and kill. How the loftiest plans never end up that great. how there is always discontent, treason, uprising, killing, daughters who have to marry people they don’t like for status/money.

What really gets to me too, is how these are the stories of the royalty. These are the people that fairy tales are made off. Well maybe the fairy tales started a few hundred years before- but I doubt reality was any less harsh then. When I look at the life the royalty lead- needing to watch for murderers, go to war, and quite likely be usurped and have your children killed- I think ‘who would want that’. The fairy tales where a poor girl becomes a princess is seen in a whole new light. If I was that girl, as long as I had enough to eat and keep warm- I would rather not become a princess, and stay (relatively) safe in my little country cottage.

As a kid, I never liked Roahl Dahl’s fairy tales- they were all rather harsh versions. But looking back- they were probably more realistic.



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