Sunday, 30 December 2012

Marina Warner's Grimm Thoughts

Here is a link to BBC4's series 'Grimm Thoughts', where Marina Warner discusses various aspects of Grimm, including origins of specific tales, links to real people, what happened during the Nazi period, censorship, modern influence, and much more.

Some of the programmes are still available in full, others only have short clips up to listen to. I hope you can listen to these outside the UK!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Grimm Wallpapers

This is a quick feature on Corey Godby, a talented artist who has released a series of beautiful digital paintings based on Grimm and other folk tales, and has put them up for free download (or offer a donation!) on his website. You can download the wallpapers here, visit his website here, or take a look at his blog here.

LRRH by Corey Godby

Monday, 10 December 2012

There's something wrong with Gwen...

Angel Coulby as Guinevere in BBC's 'Merlin'
Readers, as you'll have noticed by now, I love my legends of King Arthur. I moaned about 'Camelot' as I re-discovered and enjoyed 'Merlin', and I couldn't believe it when I found out Caerleon was IS Camelot. Apologies to the readers who follow for fairy tale or writing related ramblings, but this is a 'Merlin'-related rant (that may contain spoilers, so be warned!) about feminism and the depiction of women on TV.

So...anyone noticed that something is wrong with Gwen? I don't mean the way she was brainwashed by Morgana, I mean before that. And after that. The girl who was so active, so passionate, and so kind to everyone in the previous series has become passive and distant now that she has married. I used to think it was very cool to show a woman who deserved to become queen, who lived her life like a queen even though she was a servant. But now...Gwen has become Arthur's accessory.

She sits meekly at Arthur's side and does nothing. She doesn't talk kindly (at all, really) to Merlin, even though they were friends. And she has lost her passion and compassion (I'm thinking about how she obediently 'performed her duty' of sentencing a young girl to be executed. She tried to alleviate her conscience by taking a chance on the fact that the girl's father would show up and try to rescue her, which is a far cry from actually standing up for what she believed in, which is that the girl was innocent.)

Katie McGrath as Morgana
Strangely enough, when Morgana brainwashed her in that dark tower, Gwen became more like the person she used to be. She began to sneak around, actively trying to accomplish what she believed in. She acknowledged her roots, the fact that she came from a 'normal' background. She took the time to relate to Morgana and feel her pain, wanting to bring her justice, unlike the girl she sentenced to be executed, whose pain she wanted to ignore and whose fate she wanted to leave to chance.

Of course, Merlin and Arthur saved the day and 'cured' Gwen. She went back to being the docile, passive woman they had grown accustomed to. Unsurprisingly, that was the end of Gwen as a prominent part of the storyline. And did anything come of it? Well...she did say 'thank you' to Merlin, I suppose.

I feel this brings up the familiar discussions about women giving up their lives when they become married, and of the women in stories who are dangerous purely because they have agency. But what really makes me cross this time is that the BBC has shamelessly and clearly shown Gwen change from strong to weak, active to passive, admirable to deplorable. This is a children's show, it has a 19:30 time slot, and the ONLY female character who represents the force for good is sitting around looking pretty. So much for the role model.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Mirror Dance is up!

The Winter 2012 issue of Mirror Dance has gone up, and I'm thrilled that my short story, Goodnight, Sweet Lady, has been included in this issue! It's also fantastic to be published alongside L.C. Ricardo of Spinning Straw Into Gold, whose writing on and dedication to fairy tales I greatly admire. Make sure to have a look at all the wonderful work published, and if you like what you read then please leave a comment, however brief, as I know it will be appreciated by the authors.

Have a lovely weekend everyone, and enjoy the snow if you're lucky enough to be in the right part of the country for it!