On Friday we took a look at the original fairy tales I based The Wild Swans on, so today I want to talk about the major ways I departed from the traditional stories. Here is the list:
- Brida: Brida’s presence wasn’t encroaching, but the mere fact she was there made a big difference. She provided companionship, a voice, and protection for Elise. It is unlikely that Elise, mute and untrained for combat, would have been able to thrive without Brida. I wanted to bring a touch of reality to the fairy tale, so I knew I either had to get Elise some help, or allow her to get attacked. Being that Elise had to face Clotilde, the Verglas King, and break the curse, I decided she had been put through enough and brought Brida into the story.
- Kicking Clotilde Out: The original fairy tales leave the heroine and her brothers happily in the kingdom of her husband. That didn’t sit right with me. Why would such a kick-butt heroine free her brothers, but abandon her country to a witch’s clutches? (Furthermore, why would her brothers do that?) Since the day I started plotting out The Wild Swans I knew I wanted to have a big confrontation between Elise and Clotilde. I gave Elise her magic-canceling-abilities because I decided it was important that she be the one to confront Clotilde.
- No Romance For the Foreign Prince: The original fairy tales have the heroine fall in love with the prince/king who drags her from the pond to his Kingdom. This didn’t appeal to me. First off, how well could he know her? She was never able to talk or voice her opinion–and it is unlikely that he would have listened to her even if he did. The fairy tales specifically state that the man takes her back without giving her an option. Plus it is made unfailingly obvious that the prince/king loves her for her great beauty. I was nice to Toril and wrote him as a character that admired Elise’s sacrifice and wished for someone who would do such a thing for him, instead of making him merely shallow.
- Falk and Rune: in a continuation of number 3, I made Elise’s love interests her foster-brothers. Why? Because they actually did things for her (both in the original fairy tales and in my version) and strove to keep her safe. As far as I’m concerned, they deserved her more than the guy who ignores her wishes and admires only her beauty.
- Gerhart Keeps his Arms: The final departure from the original fairy tale is that Gerhart, the youngest brother, turns completely human instead of having one arm remain a swan wing. I debated about this for a long time before I decided against it. My adaptation is about love conquering hate, and it seemed unfair that for all of Elise’s love Gerhart would still have a bit of the curse on him.
As a final bit of side info, in the original story it is a fairy queen appears before the heroine and explains to her how she can break her brothers’ curse. I replaced her with Angelique because, well, Angelique has a way of popping up everywhere…for a reason.
Thanks for reading, Champions. I will write to you again on Wednesday!