“Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen. For my will is as strong as yours and my kingdom as great… You have no power over me.”
Believe it or not, but I wrote that quotation from memory. It comes, as you should know (and if not, why not?!) from Labyrinth – the story of Sarah, who wishes the Goblin King take her step-brother away and then has to navigate a strange realm in order to get him back. Labyrinth is a film I first saw as a young teen and have loved ever since. I have the Collector’s Edition on DVD. And the soundtrack.
For those that haven’t seen it *glares* Sarah is a young woman living in a dream world after the death of her mother. Though her father has moved on, remarried and now has a child, she’s trapped in the past, not willing to let go. She behaves like her stepmother is something from a fairytale and is convinced that she’s not being treated fairly. Left to babysit, she takes umbrage at baby brother Toby’s constant crying and, using a cue from a story, utters the fatal words: “I wish the Goblin King would take you away. Right now.”
Jareth, the infamous King and played by a glorious camp David Bowie, does as Sarah wishes, except she’s not all that grateful and quickly realises what she’s done. But to get her brother back, she has to solve the Labyrinth and that isn’t anywhere near as easy as she thinks it’ll be – it’s a world of hidden doors, shifting walls and oubliettes ready to trap the unwary.
The film itself is absolutely beautiful and the Labyrinth looks like a true fairy kingdom. Or should that be goblin kingdom? Either way, the twisting paths and the richly drawn characters make it a memory that sticks with you long after the credits have rolled. The songs are just as catchy, too.
Songs? Oh yes, there are songs. From title track Underground, through Magic Dance (where I borrowed the blog title) to the haunting As The World Falls Down played during the Ballroom Scene, the songs are as much a part of the story as the plot and characters.
Labyrinth is a coming-of-age story. But unlike a certain popular trilogy, it’s not about falling in love (though there is that as well), it’s about a young woman discovering her place in the world, and in the power she has to control her own destiny. It’s also about moving on after a loss. It’s about putting away childish things but not losing that wonder. And it’s about friendships.
If you’ve never seen it, go and grab yourself a copy. But be prepared to hum the tunes for at least a week!
The truth is, I have a ton of favorite fairy tales, the darker the better. Bluebeard or The Wild Swans, for example, appeal to that side of me. But there is no doubt that one of my all time favorites is The Light Princess by George MacDonald. Given that the story centers around a princess who has been cursed to lose her gravity, one might image it to be a light tale, full of humor and jokes. It isn’t that at all, however. There are few crueler things than someone who cannot empathize with pain or sadness and The Light Princess demonstrates that well.
In fact, I was so inspired by the many questions the story brings up about the ties between an ability to experience pain and the ability to experience love, that the first fairy tale Keira and I worked on for our Tempting Tales series was an erotic, m/m rewrite of the story. We chose it because the themes were so fascinating, but also because when the gender of the protagonists change from a m/f story to a m/m story, it highlights those issues even more by removing the sharp edge of misogyny inevitably present in the original work.
The outcome of our experiment is titled Earthly Desires, and we are quite proud of it.
An Excerpt from Earthly Desires
Dmitri didn’t understand it, but as he gazed at Efrosin’s lips, he felt a heretofore unfamiliar, and yet compelling surge of need pulse through him, and before he could stop himself, he leaned forward and kissed those lips. The answering gasp, followed by more laughter that seemed to fill his own mouth and tickle against his palate, did not discourage him at all.
Efrosin’s lips were soft and his tongue was slick and he didn’t pull away from Dmitri’s clumsy attempt, but rather deepened the kiss in a way that made Dmitri’s toes curl and blood rush to his cock. For a confused moment he thought he was kissing an angel before he remembered that he was only kissing a prince. A free-floating, beautiful, powerful, laughing prince. Perhaps “only” was not quite the proper word.
“Lovely,” Efrosin exclaimed, pulling away and licking his lips. “I hope you intend to ravish me, because I have always imagined it would be quite fun to be ravished. No one’s ever tried it with me, alas.” Efrosin frowned a little and licked his mouth. “You taste like dirt. It’s delicious, though I’ve never enjoyed the taste of dirt before. How odd.”
“You taste like clouds,” Dmitri said, hoping it was a compliment.
“I ate quite a few during my journey to this tree,” Efrosin said. “I…feel a bit strange. Quick. Kiss me again.”
Dmitri, reminded of Efrosin’s perilous flight, came to his senses, and while he was not willing to say that he would not kiss the prince again, he did think there were just a few things that should be accomplished first. “We must get you down.”
Efrosin frowned, seeming much less intent on getting back to the earth now that he had company in the tree. “But you will kiss me again?”
“Once we’re safe.” Dmitri looked down to choose which limbs they should try, and immediately wished he hadn’t. His head swirled with the distance between his body and the earth below. He’d never before climbed so high.
“Safe is such a thrilling state of being. I can’t remember the last time I felt safe. Grip my hands,” Efrosin said. “Don’t let go.”
Dmitri took Efrosin’s smooth hands into his own, and Efrosin began to shake with amusement again. “Your calluses tickle. Now, hold tight. It will be fun.”
“What will be?” Dmitri asked.
“We are tied hand and foot, and you have hold of my hands. All will be well. Trust me.”
It was surprisingly hard to trust laughing royalty. “We’ll die. It’s too far.”
“Too far? What a silly notion.”
Dmitri’s last thought when Efrosin kicked his feet out from under him with a strong swipe was, At least I got to kiss him. They tumbled into the air, crashing into branches below until Efrosin pushed off against the tree trunk, thrusting them both clear. It was only then Dmitri realized how slowly the ground rose up to meet them.
“Your weight to bring us down,” Efrosin sang in his ear. “My levity to keep us from being quite smashed.” There was more laughter, and then a curl of words in his ear, which, coupled with the rush of adrenaline coursing through his veins, made Dmitri’s cock stiffen against the hard bone of Efrosin’s hip. “And you will ravish me, won’t you? Once we’re on the ground. You promised. You’re so handsome, and your hands are so big. I’m aquiver at the thought of you on me, in me, touching me—”
“Oh my God,” Dmitri choked. “Do you speak to everyone who gets you down from trees this way?”
Keira Andrews and Leta Blake write fairy tale inspired m/m erotica and romantica with Ellora’s Cave. Check out Ascending Hearts, available through Ellora’s Cave, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, and others! And also remember to look at Earthly Desires, the first book in the Tempting Tales series, available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Ellora’s Cave.
Fairytales. Love em? Hate em?
I for one love them. There is just something so uplifting when it comes to a happily ever after.
But which is my favorite? This is a really hard question. I like so many. And I love reading them as much as I love watching the different renditions of them on film.
Of course I watched the Disney versions as a child. I loved Cinderella. But there are also some non-animated versions I liked better. The first one I ever remember seeing that wasn’t animated was Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.
But as time went on the movies involving fairytales became so much better.
Loved this version of Cinderella.
But my most favorite would have to be Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.
Now I really wanted to find something with the music from the sound track in it, but as I was looking at the trailers I noticed the music played in them was from Willow. Another awesome movie by the way LOL.
When I was in band we learned to play the music from that sound track and played it for our year end concert. Yeah, first confession, I was a band nerd. Trumpet. Go brass! But the music from this was awesome. I can not tell you how many times I have watched this movie. So this would have to be my favorite fairytale. 🙂
But I must give a nod to Once Upon a Time and Grimm. I love these two television series. 🙂
Check out Seductive Reunion and see why it received five stars. 🙂
I ADORE fairytales. We had a giant book of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm when I was a kid. (Actually, I still have it.) I loved the familiar ones, because I could see what really happened in the stories without the Disney candy coating. (Spoiler alert Denise, The Little Mermaid dies at the end. Sorry!)
But my real favorites were the ones that I only found in those books. The girl with 7 brothers who were turned into swans. The dogs with eyes as big as teacups and towers. And then, my favorite, The Nightingale.
The story is simple. A Chinese emperor heard from a kitchen maid that a tiny brown bird had the most beautiful song in all the kingdom. He ordered the bird into his court, and the nightingale sang for him and all his friends. But then someone brought a mechanical bird, covered with gold and jewels, who could sing just as beautifully as the nightingale. The emperor forgot the real bird in lieu of the wind-up one, and the real bird left for its home in the forest.
Several years later, the wind-up bird had grown so fragile that it was hardly used at all, and then it broke completely. The emperor grew very ill, and Death perched on the end of his bed. The emperor begs for music to keep Death away, in a line I still say to myself every time I turn on the tunes:
“Music! Music! The great Chinese drum!”
The nightingale hears of the emperor’s condition, and leaves the forest and sings at his bedside. Death is so moved by her song that he agrees to leave the emperor. The emperor apologizes to the bird for the way he treated her, and she agrees to come back and sing for him as long as she can come and go as she pleases.
Sigh. I love this story. It reminds us that as cool as technology is, nature is even cooler. Yeah, I’m a fruity hippie. 😉
Have you heard of this one? Do you have a favorite that isn’t so well-known? Tell me! I love new fairytales. 🙂