It’s time to go over the similarities between the original fairy tale, Donkeyskin, and my loose retelling in the Hall of Blood and Mercy Trilogy. Unfortunately the series is a trilogy, and I put parts of the original story in each book and I don’t want to blab spoilers, so we’re going to split the similarities up into three separate blog posts!
Before we get started, if you haven’t read my extremely sarcastic paraphrase of the original (creepy) story, you might want to click this link to check it out, or there’s a good chance you won’t know what I’m referencing. Now, let’s get started!
Straight off the bat, the first similarity you can see between Hazel’s story and the unnamed princess from Donkeyskin is that their mothers die, and both sets of parents aren’t exactly acting honorable.
Hazel experienced and continues to go through a lot of pain because of her parents’ inexplicable decision to seal her magic when she was a baby, which was a nod to everything the princess goes through because of her parents–Queenie-the-selfish and Gross-King–and their inexplicable and inexcusable actions.
Obviously, just as the princess lost her mother, I knew I needed Hazel to lose her mom…but I wasn’t touching that weirdo dad-daughter-marriage thing with a ten foot pole. So I decided the best way to make the story play out in a not-icky way, but keep the pain caused by parents was to have both of them die in a car crash and betray her together in a certain sense.
However, I still wanted a forced marriage to be a key factor in the book. When I started working on Mason and building him up as the villain character, I decided I wanted him to try and force Hazel into marriage. I couldn’t go through with making the marriage offer only because he was a total creep–that didn’t seem like a deep enough motivation for him if I really wanted him to play a worthy villain–so I made it part of his plan to take over House Medeis.
The next part was the entire driving force behind the series, and it was the reason why I was even willing to tackle this creepy story: I wanted to make the heroine flee an admittingly bad guy, and seek safety with a character who–in the original story–was prince charming, and instead I wanted to make him worse than the bad guy.
As you Champions know, I love to make little twists to fairy tales that are a bit like me sticking my tongue out at the original story. You can see it in the way Elle breaks her leg instead of getting kidnapped, witness it in Cinderella’s step-mother who isn’t cruel and unfeeling, spy it out in my Little Mermaid retelling where Dylan uses a slate to communicate instead of wandering around like an idiot, and possibly most strongly view it in Quinn, the soldier-hero of the Twelve Dancing Princesses while some of the actual princesses are closer to villains than the heroines they were in the original.
This act, making Hazel flee to a character who was more dangerous and lethal than Mason, was my gleeful twist on Donkeyskin in which the princess flees to a prince who appears to be noble but is secretly a pervert. (Well, this and the fact that I don’t kill a donkey for the story, but I would hope you guys know I’m never ever capable of hurting any animals in my books anyway.)
Once Hazel is granted safety by Killian she–like the original princess–is made into a kitchen servant. (Admittedly, her kitchen career is pretty short lived.) After that, the similarities/borrowed threads slow down for a bit, and you mostly just get glancing references (Until Magic Redeemed… 😉 😉 )
One of the biggest pieces I added in that acted as a nod to the original and was still somewhat plot motivated was Hazel’s dress, which she wears when she goes out to eat with Killian. It is sky blue–much like the first dress Gross King orders for the princess when she requests it at the behest of her fairy godmother. Which brings me to to a second similarity: Great Aunt Marraine!
Marraine is the French word for godmother–which was my cheeky way of pointing out the fairy-godmother-eque character of the story, and also a tip of the hat to the original author. Donkeyskin was first recorded by Charles Perrault, who was basically the French version of the Brothers Grimm, so I used a French word in his honor. You don’t get to see too much of Marraine in Magic Forged, but you see enough to sense the kind of spit fire she is–which is exactly the kind of person you’d want as your fairy godmother!
There are a few smaller references–instead of having Killian spy on Hazel while she’s changing clothes, as the perverted prince does to the Donkeyskin princess, Killian barges into her room when she’s sleeping. Aphrodite the hairless cat is my ever so faint nod to Allerleirauh, a variation of the Donekyskin fairy tale. In Allerleirauh, the heroine asks for a mantle made of the fur from every animal in the kingdom. I was never going to do that–as we have established I don’t have the heart to hurt animals in my stories–but I decided to put a hairless cat in the book as a sort of wink to the mantle.
And that’s just about everything in Magic Forged! I hope you enjoyed this compare-and-contrast post, Champions, and thanks for reading!
Yay! So excited for the second book. I assume the signet ring is going to be your take on the ring which the princess puts in the dough during baking??
Loved the other details that I didn’t notice. So, thank you Kitty. Stay safe everyone!
I thought so too
About the signet ring I mean
Arletta Miller says
My sisters and I had noticed a few of your similarities, so thank you for confirming them for us. Of course, Donkeyskin is not our favorite fairy tale, so we were going mostly off your post about the original story. We didn’t identify Aunt Marrianne as a connection so thanks for that. We are so looking forward to reading the next books. Can’t wait for Friday! Especially, since today has been rather rough. Thanks for the happy distraction this post provided. I live in the Salt Lake area so, in addition to dealing with the social distancing for COVID-19 and trying to work from home, we’ve been getting aftershocks all day. It’s soooo nerve racking! Of course, you start to expect the aftershocks; at least they aren’t as surprising as the first quake. The first quake was most disconcerting since it was completely unexpected and the strongest shake. Still, you hope and want them to get weaker and further apart, and then you get hit with another big one. It gets the heart pumping all over again. So this book is doubly looked-forward to, if only as a pleasant distraction. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again; your timing on releasing these books is positively providential. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Holy smokes, I can’t imagine how bad your stress levels are right now! I hope you and your family are all safe, and that things start to get a lot steadier and calm!
I really hope the book makes you laugh…like…A LOT. Sounds like you need it! <3
As terrible as everything is that’s going on right now, there is some comfort in camaraderie. I was so sad to hear about the aftershocks there, but it’s been flooding where I live on top of my family being jobless and mandatory curfews being enforced, so there is something special in knowing that we’re all in this together and that these books really did come at the perfect time. We need some laughter and hope and, honestly, distraction from life’s craziness so it’s neat to come together around something that brings us joy. Praying for all the Champions out there!
We’re near SLC too, and yesterday brought us the earthquakes, forced homeschooling (I’m not adept at it!), and the news that my husband’s work is essentially closing up shop due to the macro-economic environment. I’m about ready for some laughs; tomorrow can’t come soon enough.
Meagan C. says
Thanks for a wonderfully enjoyable distraction this afternoon, Kitty. It’s so interesting to get an inside look at how you write your stories! I love the history behind Great Aunt Marraine. I’m not sure Roland would agree that you could never hurt an animal in a story, though. . . 😉 I really enjoyed Magic Forged and I can’t wait to read the rest of Hazel and Killian’s story. I’m very glad they are going to be longer!
Hahah, that’s true about Roland! I’m sure he’d take me to task for every fleck of dirt that ever dirtied his coat, and once he finds out what’s coming…..Hoooooooooooooo!
Ooh, Kitty- are you hinting at something? Perhaps a short story about a certain enchantress? Looooooove your work!
Meagan C. says
Haha! So true. Roland is one of my favorite characters in the Timeless Fairytale/Fairytale Enchantress series. I can’t wait to see what other messes he gets himself into!
I’m pretty sure he’d also blame you for forcing him to associate with Prince Bumpkin-Head.
(Haha, reading the story to my little sister who dislikes Steffan because he’s too good looking, and she ships Gabi and Hartwin from Weid. 😀 )