Saturday, December 7, 2013

Reign 1x02 - Dangerous dresses

Okay, so the dresses in this show are apparently not only horribly out of place, but also possibly lethal. Even if she was just faking it. (SPOILERS!)
Poisoned clothing is a proud and ancient tradition in mythology and folklore for disposing of thine enemy, usually practiced by jealous women. That alone speaks volumes.
Most famous examples include:

This is how Hercules died
This is how Medea got rid of Jason's new wife (and her father)
Oh look it even has its own Wikipedia page

Reign 1x01 - Every king should have a trade

So, Prince Francis is not only, like, ten years older than he should be, but he is also quite capable. He makes swords. And he has a good philosophy to go with it: Even kings should have a trade. In case their kingdom falls and they have to fend for themselves.
(Because this is France in the 16th century, hence they don't know yet what happens to kings when their kingdom falls)

With that said, storytellers know exactly where he is getting his idea from.

The tale is called Queen Anait, and it is from Armenia. A very capable queen teaching her king how to not die. Read it, you'll like it. The story has quite a few other versions in world folklore as well.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Frozen - Youngest of 13 seeks suitable thron... erm, wife

So there is Prince Hans of the Southern Isles, right?
What a douche.

Spoilers aside, however, I couldn't help but catch a reference here to a folktale that has a special place in my heart (and repertoire). It is probably an unintentional reference, but I spotted it, so it counts, because I said so.

Said story is known as The King of the Frozen Lands (I usually call it Kingdoms of Ice and Fire), and it is a Hungarian folktale, with versions recorded from South Hungary's German speaking (!) Swabian communities. The tale starts out with the youngest of twelve princes realizing that there is no place or job for him in his home, so he sets out specifically seeking a kingdom that has no prince, hoping to marry his way onto a throne (!). Crossing several kingdoms, he finally ends up in the Kingdom of Fire, where the king promises him the hand of his only daughter - provided he defeats the hostile King of Ice before the wedding. Oops.
The story is long, intriguing, and one of my favorites to tell, especially in the winter. Without giving all of it away here (would take a lot of typing) I'll just throw in the fact that the prince, who in the folktale is NOT a douche, is told by the usual magical helpers that he is on his own until he proves his worth with an act of bravely and sacrifice. Guess what, he finally wins their help when he is turned into a statue of solid ice, trying to defeat the evil King of Ice.

Ta-da!