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

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at
Wed Feb 6 17:08:55 EST 2002


[Beauty and the Beast resonance in Deep Secret]

>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...

I like it, fwiw.  Especially the Maree as Beast scenario.  If you 
think of how loosely DWJ adheres to the Tam Lin story when it suits, 
this works well.

>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!)

Or *much* more loosely - Beast is enchanted into an unattractive 
form.  Beauty is initally repulsed by that, but, as they're together, 
learns to recognize Beast's true worth.  Both Beauty and Beast learn 
from each other, Beast is restored to attractiveness, each is more 
than he/she was before loving the other?

>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.

Do you really think that badly of Rupert?  I see him more as someone 
coping too young with far too much, and with a certain burden of 
expected harsh judgments.  If that makes sense - I'm thinking of 
Will's initial treatment of him as 
younger-brother-who-is-bound-to-screw-up, and also his sensitivity to 
the perception that magids want to rule the world.

>Rupert/Beast actually forces himself on Maree/Beauty,

Oh no he doesn't! :)

>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!

That brought up an interesting question - which is *when* Maree does 
actually fall in love with Rupert.  I would have thought she was 
shown to be doing little more than accepting him, until she goes to 
Babylon, but I'm not sure.  I like the second version a lot better, 

>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. :-)

Does it have to be quite that specific?  I mean, you could think of 
the fairy tale's boundries as something like Beauty's involvement 
with Beast being in response to another's need, maybe.  So if Rupert 
adds the romantic expectations to his search for the next magid, he 
still starts it as a duty.

>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).

Yes, that's what struck me - a lot of Maree's initial 
unattractiveness seems tied up with all the things done to her - her 
position as poor relation in the family (that's Cinderella again but 
still), the dreariness of her outlook, and Janine makes a wonderful 
evil wizard!  And the way Maree comes back from Babylon transformed 
is such an interesting play on the usual fairy-tale transformation.

Lovely basis for much mental gymnastics, Dorian.  Thanks!


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