GUESS WHO'S ON SPRING BREAK?!
No, not the Pope. Or, at least, I don't know how his schedule works.
No, not George Clooney. Unless he's not doing a movie right now?
Yes, it's ME! And I'm not in Miami or Mississippi or the Bahamas like some of my friends. I'm home, sitting on my couch while my dad's flipping channels. Plans are: read The Princess Bride, draw The Mona Lisa (art contest), and just chill. It's been barely two days and we've watched two new Disney movies: Big Hero Six (sob) and Cinderella, the new one that just got into theaters. And I realized something. BH6 is based off a comic book, and Cinderella has been thrown into every facet imaginable.
Cinderella is still blonde, wears blue, and talks
to mice. The Prince is still charming and the
Evil Stepsisters are boorish and
snappy. However, this time I teared up
at Cinderella's unfailing kindness, and the
prince had a personality and a name (Kit)! I
knew exactly what was going to happen.
But I still loved it. Fairy tales, comic
books; they're tried and true and we adore
them. Think how many Batmans, Supermans, how many Romeos, Juliets, Snow Whites and more have been written about. Stuff that everyone knows--everything in the public awareness, a world mythology of sorts--is game. Think about it: The Lunar Chronicles, the Percy Jackson series, Harry Potter, the Vampire Chronicles, etc. None of their authors invented Sleeping Beauty, Poseidon, wizards or vampires. What I'm trying to say is, nobody really owns Cinderella. I mean, what, are the Brothers Grimm or whoever wrote it going to snatch up a Ouija board and file a lawsuit?
I guess I love the idea that writers have the ability to take a beloved story and explore its nooks and crannies, its maybe questionable plot points, and take it apart like patchwork in order to spin it on its edge. In Dante's day (Dante Alighieri, that guy who wrote all about hell, purgatory, and heaven), it was a common thing to tug great lines out of epics and use them as your own. Now that's often called plagiarism, but not when you use old, old tales. Thor and Loki and Odin. Zeus and the rest of the Olympians. King Arthur. Robin Hood. Even Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene wait in the wings (Da Vinci Code, I'm lookin' at you). These figures dance around in everyone's imaginations and gladly follow authors on roads untraveled.
Who decided what tales become free of copyright? Is it because they are legendary? Some, like Peter Pan retellings, are often called "unofficial" because J. M. Barrie gave the rights to a hospital. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has some "official" stories as well if an author gets permission from whomever holds ownership of Mr. Holmes and Watson. Then again, those legends are a little younger. I doubt you could email King Arthur for permission to write about his life (if he wasn't a figment of someone's imagination).
Anyway, just sharing my thoughts. Any favorite legends you've heard retold or have retold yourself? :)