Musings on Fiction and Tropes

Beauty and the Beast – from Disney to Buffy the Vampire Slayer – why we still love this trope.

Beauty and the beast

Beauty and the Beast was one of my favourite fairy tales when I was growing up. It then became one of my favourite retellings (Beauty, by Robin McKinley), and recently one of my most enjoyed live action fairy tale movies. But the story of the brave and beautiful heroine who soothes and transforms the beast into a prince is not just restricted to this tale. In fairy tales alone there are several – from East of the Sun, West of the Moon, to the Briar Rose story. Some of these tales are literal transformations from beasts and others are from ‘beast’ like humans.


What is Disney’s Tangled, after all, but a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast trope? Flynn Rider is the jaded, criminal ‘beast’ (a Han Solo-esque antihero), and Rapunzel the kind and positive and enthusiastic young woman who helps him have a change of heart. It’s possibly why I love it so much (that, and the horse is hilarious). Continue reading “Beauty and the Beast – from Disney to Buffy the Vampire Slayer – why we still love this trope.”

Musings on Fiction and Tropes

A good Romantic Trope is a Beautiful Thing

couple love handsThe beauty of romance is that while you know what the ending will be, it’s the journey that matters. This means that the tropes in romance can be reworked and merged and used again and again and it doesn’t have to detract from the story – sometimes it enhances it.  So what are a few of my favourite romantic journeys?

The love triangle is a bit of a staple in some genres, and it’s one I confess I find both exciting and frustrating. I prefer to not be constantly thinking the heroine has chosen the wrong person, and my innate loyalty means I dislike playing people off each other. That said, one of my favourite romances of all time is Bath Tangle by Georgette Heyer. The total mess everyone ends up in is entertaining mostly because you know right from the beginning who will end up with whom. Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is another such romp. Not so much a love triangle as a love jigsaw puzzle.  Viola’s unrequited love for Orsino struck a chord with me and I relished my performance of her speech to Olivia where she says she would ‘build a willow cabin at your gate’. It is both comical and tragic, but you know from the beginning that she will end up with Orsino. And therein lay its appeal to me. I like to know I’m in for a happy ending.  Continue reading “A good Romantic Trope is a Beautiful Thing”