Thursday, 22 September 2016

Little Riding Hood: Grimm vs Once Upon A Time

This week I had to do things somewhat differently. Simply because there is no Disney film dedicated to the story of Red Riding Hood (that I know of). Sure she is a character in the Disney live-action Into The Woods, but she hasn't had her own animated film like Cinderella or Rapunzel. So instead I'm going to compare it to the story-line they use in the TV show Once Upon A Time (which I recently started watching and now I'm completely obsessed with it! So many characters. I looove it). The first thing I noticed when I opened my Grimm book is the fact that it's not called Red Riding Hood at all. It's just Little Riding Hood. So over time, Red must have snuck in there. Funnily enough, in Once Upon A Time they just call her Red.

Like most of us probably know, in the original story Riding Hood, goes to her grandmother to bring her cake and wine, because her grandmother is ill and weak (I don't know why her mother puts wine in the basket. Does not seem like something an ill old woman would need). While she's walking a wolf convinces her to stray from the path to take some flowers for her grandmother, too. Even though her mother told her not to get distracted. She's a naive little girl and the wolf is just distracting her so he can sneak into her grandmothers house before Riding Hood gets there, and eat her grandmother. When she arrives with the wine, cake and flowers. She wonders why her grandmother looks so different: 

"Oh! grandmother, what big ears you have!" - "The better to hear you with, my child,"
"But, grandmother, what big eyes you have!" - "The better to see you with, my dear"
"But, grandmother, what large hands you have!" - "The better to hug you with."
"Oh! But, grandmother, what a terrible bit mouth you have!" - "The better to eat you with!"

After eating Hood, a huntsmen saves them all. And the next time a wolf comes onto her path, Little Riding Hood is not distracted by him and she hides in the cabin with her grandmother until he leaves, instead. Which makes a lot of sense. I feel like that's a good happy ending. It's weird though because it says that, after devouring the grandmother, the wolf puts on her clothes. So did he undress her before he ate her?

Once Upon A Time changed this plot majorly. The TV series is all about powerful women. Of course some of them still need to be saved by men, but the men get saved by the women quite often too (if not more). In the story Red lives with her grandmother due to the fact that her parents died when she was just a baby. Every full moon there is a wolf looming around the town and her grandmother always tells her to keep on the red hood she gave her, after which she closes and locks the cabin. The people of the town are sick of it and decide to start looking of the wolf. However, they don't realise how dangerous it is. Thus Red starts looking for the wolf too, to save everyone from an awful lot of pain. Soon after Red thinks her boyfriend is the wolf, so she tries to convince him of this too and chains him to a tree while watching him, thinking everybody will be safe now. However, we soon realise that her boyfriend is not the wolf at all. Red is. She literally eats her boyfriend. Her grandmother finds her and throws the red cloak over her after which she changes back into a woman, because the cloak contains magical powers to keep her from changing into the terrible beast. 

I just thought this idea was awfully clever. Not only did they modernise the tale. It is no longer a children's fairy tale, it's a twenty-first century story. Later we realise that Red doesn't even need her cloak as long as she learns to accept the wolf part of herself. She will be able to control it that way. I really like this idea even if it changes the plot majorly. They are not two different characters, they are two parts of the same coin. 

However, the moral behind the story is completely lost after these changes, because in the original Riding Hood, she learns what we are always told as kids too: do not talk to strangers on the street. But in this version this message is left out or at least there's nothing left of it. On the other hand there is no need for such messages in the TV Series, so why try to keep it? Maybe the new moral of the story is that accepting who you are will make life easier? Trying to capture how important it is to love yourself. What do you guys think? I'm only on season 3 of Once Upon A Time so far, so I don't know what will happen further down into the story (because new things happen everyday in this TV series). I hope you liked it!


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