Magic Redeemed has been out for a while now, but I still need to warn you all this is a huge, massive, spoil-filled post! So if you haven’t read Magic Redeemed, yet, don’t read this! Now, with that warning out of the way, let’s begin!
There were a couple of smaller pieces of Donkeyskin that I threaded into Magic Redeemed–several of you have already called out the sparkly, silver dress, which, yes, I designed after the second dress Gross King orders for his daughter–but the two biggest things I focused in on were Hazel’s signet ring/Princess Donkeyskin’s ring, and the parents, version 2.0.
Let’s start with the ring!
In the original story, the princess brings her dresses, and some of her royal jewelry with her when she’s on the run. Because she’s pretty conniving, when the Prince declares himself heartbroken and says he’ll only eat if it’s a cake made by her, donkeyskin drops her ring in the batter and cooks it into the cake. The pervy prince almost swallows it, but for him it’s the confirmation he needed. Donkeyskin is indeed the beautiful girl he peeped on.
Frankly, to me that sounded dead boring, and a waste of a good twist.
I like magic battles and fights in my books, so I decided to take ring in a different direction, and make it something Hazel needed to find, and instead of plunking it a cake, she goes through a lot of pain–and even breaks into a magical vault/bank–to get it. However, l kept it as the end all ‘proof of being who she says she is’ in order to pay homage to the original fairy tale. If Hazel has the ring, she has proof she’s the Adept–just as Donkeyskin slipping the prince the ring was the signal of who she was.
But instead of making the whole ring thing super obvious where everyone knows about it, I hid the ring in plain sight in Book 1 because–unlike the original story–I wanted it to be a real surprise to Hazel and you Champions when she found the real ring!
If you squint you can also see the similarities in the ring’s role–Prince Pervert says he’ll only marry the girl who can wear the ring, and in the end the House will only accept the Adept who has the ring. Killian doesn’t really play a role in the part of the story, except in that Rupert is right and he kicks Hazel out because he knows she can get her House back.
Next, Magic Redeemed gave Hazel’s parents their opportunity for a redemption arc.
OOOOHHHH, pulled that one over on you, didn’t I?? (Right?? Please say right!)
Actually, I’m aware this is possibly the twist you guys saw coming. I’m not overly fond of fairytales that constantly turn the parents into the bad guys. I’ve done some that way, but whenever possible I like to avoid it–and Donkeyskin is, weirdly enough, the perfect book to have the parents’ restored in, because Gross King in the original story actually gets a redemption moment when, at the end of the story, he attends Donkeyskin’s wedding and apologizes for everything he did.
Since both of Hazel’s parents were dead, Hazel couldn’t get a moment of physical closure, but I still wanted to give her that emotional closure that would assure her that her parents really were the kind, good people she thought they were. I also wanted this to be a defining moment for Hazel, because her parents essentially back up her decisions, which has a big impact on her actions in the future.
The thread of their redemption arc actually begins before Hazel even gets a hint of what they’d done to her. I designed this trilogy knowing that when Hazel’s parents called her in the very first scene of Book 1, they were asking her to meet them at the Curia Cloisters so they could tell her everything, and reveal to her the truth of her stunted magic. But I wanted to use Book 1 & Book 2 to draw out growth in Hazel–she learns a lot about making her own decisions–and to fulfill the icky parents’ end of the bargain, so I needed to hide the truth of their actions from you readers as well.
So, what do you think, Champions? 😉 Did you see any of the other small hints of Donkeyskin I glossed over in book 2?