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!