Re Deep Secret -- Fairytales

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at
Tue Feb 26 17:07:05 EST 2002


>My last rereading of DS, after seeing what everyone had to say was
>enlightening. I was concentrating on two things, the fairy tale
>resonances and the way the various magical manipulations played out.

Enlightening indeed, Ven - this is great!

>On fairy tales: Dorian and Hallie were talking about Beauty and the
>Beast from the perspective of the characters. I think there is also a
>similarity of theme. B & TB is one of a whole series of similar tales,
>from Cupid and Psyche to the Black Bull Of Norroway (a particular
>favourite of mine). In all of them disaster ensues when the heroine is
>persuaded to pry into her husband's true nature -- to spy on him.

And East of the Sun, West of the Moon - the one which Polly despises, 
right?  :)  You put B&tB in with this lot though?  I'd have thought 
it was an important element of the story that Beauty doesn't do the 

>Secrets, of course, are what the book is all about. It's Rupert trying
>to find the next Emperor and a new Magid, both of which require him to
>look into people's real identities and true nature. And   Maree and
>Nick who are following Rupert around and finding out what he's up to.

Yes, that's the bit I'd noticed, and it's why I included Bluebeard in 
the list of fairy-tales that resonate with DS.  And that female 
"transgressive curiosity" from Bluebeard was an important element of 
all the Gothic novels.  (Tangentially, I'd never thought of Sophie's 
cleaning as that same thing before - and it's yet another of the 
wonderful spins put on fairy-tales in Howl.)

>In several of these tales, following the discovery and the sundering of
>the couple, there follows a sequence in which the nosy heroine has to
>go through much journeying and sundry ordeals (usually involving
>housework) to arrive back at her husband/lovers side just in time to
>stop him marrying someone else.
>Thsi seems to corespond to the Babylon
>experience for both of them. Lots of hard work for Rupert, and lots of
>yomping around the hotel through all the perils of convention parties
>and Gram White's machinations, a more straightforwardly fairytale
>journey for Maree. 
>I do think the most overt parallels are with The Sleeping Beauty. Again
>I'm not the only/first one to say so but I've lost track of who did say
>this originally -- I think this discussion started soemwhere in the Hot
>Babe thread (Deborah, did you say something a while ago about the
>archives getting a search facility would be nice). A quick
>recap: the SB role does to a certain extent fit both their
>personalities. It also resonates with the idea of the imprisoned heirs,
>only let out when it's time for them to rule, this is sort of the dark
>side of SB. There are a plethora of barriers and mazes in DS. Trying to
>take them in order:
>Maree's sharp fingernails and bushlike hair, seemingly part of a
>strategy of retreat from, if not outright avoidance, of human contact.
>Bristol's one way system, augmented by magic, which delays their first
>meeting, then Wantchester's road network, which prevents Maree and Nick
>finding the Hotel.
>The receptionist's intransigence and the hotel computer combining to
>deny Maree a room at first.
>Gram White's workings at the Hotel, which turn the whole place into a
>Aglaia Uglaia, the spiky bush goddess of the empire, personifies both
>physical barriers and the barriers people put up within. The sequence
>in Maree's hotel room where Rupert sees the thorns growing through
>Maree's computer, her bed and even her teddybear is one of the most
>disturbing in Dwj. We can see the teddy bear as reperesenting Maree and
>what the Bush Goddess wants to do to her. And the thorn that pierces
>the bear parallels the shuttle that puts Sleeping Beauty into her
>Maree's trip to Babylon, saving both her father and herself transcends
>the barrier between life and death.

I really like that barrier and maze theme you've worked out, Ven. 
Especially with the vine-growing magic Rupert worked at the 
bus-station which you pointed out in a previous post.

>Finally, in reference to Cinderella, it's striking that, if we take the
>sfcon to be the ball, it's Rupert trying to stop her going there (using
>the same working as to lure the other magid candidates) and Janine the
>wicked "stepmother" who wants to get her there. (I've got more to say
>aboput this later in a post to be titled DS --Intentions and The Witchy

Oh good.


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