On Being a Hot Babe (was Re: Hexwood -- Catchup)

Dorian E. Gray israfel at eircom.net
Mon Feb 4 18:10:59 EST 2002

Paul said...

> On Fri, 1 Feb 2002, Dorian E. Gray wrote:
> [fairy tale resonances in _Deep Secret_]
> > I'm wondering if I could make a case for "Beauty and the Beast",
> > it's late and I have a horrible cold, so I'm not going to try just
> > now. :-)
> Which is Beauty, and which is the beast?  :)

Well, that's rather the question, isn't it? :-)  I rather think that
the cold had got into my brain (like the flu in Polly's head) when I
said that, but never mind.  I'll have a stab at it, but bear in mind
that I'm thinking aloud from now on...

Okay.  Beauty and the Beast.  Beauty goes to the Beast in order to
save her father from death.  What she doesn't know is that the Beast
needs her to save him from Beast-dom.  And in the end, by coming to
love him, she does.  (Severe synopsis!)

So...Maree as Beauty and Rupert as Beast.  As goes physical
appearance, neither fits the mould.  Never mind.  Maree, under her
prickly exterior, has the kind-heartedness of Beauty, and Rupert, if
not quite having the soul of a Beast, could fit the mould of
self-centred prince who might get turned into a Beast - and Maree,
initially, perceives him as having no decent qualities.

Rupert/Beast actually forces himself on Maree/Beauty, but subsequent
to that, she turns to him willingly (if somewhat bewilderedly).  Their
"courtship" initially involves books (dealers room at the con), which
matches up with more than one version of the tale that I've seen.
Maree/Beauty does save her "fat little Dad" from death through her
association with Rupert/Beast - though he is not endangered *because*
of her association with him.  Maree/Beauty does, against her will,
fall in love with Rupert/Beast, and one could argue that she thereby
redeems him from eternal prattishness...which may, perhaps, be a worse
fate than eternal Beast-dom!

Hm.  Try it the other way: Rupert as Beauty and Maree as Beast.  In
this scenario, both fit the physical appearances better; I've always
had the impression that Rupert is quite good-looking in a smooth,
clean-cut, yuppie-ish way.  And Maree is initially presented as less
than attractive - short, fat, badly dressed, frizzy hair and talon-ish

So...Beauty/Rupert goes to Maree/Beast.  To save his father from
death?  Well, to fulfill his mentor's last order, anyway.  And I do
get a faint feeling that if Rupert fails to find a new Magid, Stan
will be in an uncomfortable position with the Upper Room, especially
since he insisted on coming back to help out.  This may be stretching
things, though. :-)

Anyway, Beauty/Rupert is initially repulsed by Maree/Beast, but comes
to find that they have things in common (again with the books/dealers
room).  He finds himself turning to her more and more in the weirdness
of the con (which could equate to the weirdness of the enchanted
castle), where she seems more easily able to cope than he, at least at
first.  It is due to Beauty/Rupert that Maree/Beast begins to
(superficially, anyway) transform - he provides the money that buys
her new clothes and glasses that she can actually see through.  (Hm.
Flip back to first scenario - Beast/Rupert supplies Beauty/Maree with
the wherewithal to see truly...)

Anyway, in the end Beauty/Rupert does come to love Beast/Maree, and
thereby wakens her to the knowledge of her true power, as well as
saving her from a life of bitterness and regret (which I can see her
slipping into, given Robbie, and her fat little Dad dying, not to
mention Janine - who might serve for the evil wizard who made the
Beast a Beast, here).

So...yeah.  It's all pretty tenuous.  If anything, I think both Rupert
and Maree are, each of them, both Beauty and the Beast, and save
themselves and each other from Beast-ness.


Until the sky falls on our heads...

Dorian E. Gray
israfel at eircom.net

"Where-e'er you find 'the cooling western breeze,'
In the next line, it 'whispers through the trees':
If crystal streams 'with pleasing murmurs creep,'
The reader's threaten'd (not in vain) with 'sleep'"
-Alexander Pope, "Essay on Criticism"

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