Disney’s latest animated hit, Frozen, offers eye-popping animation, but the plot will be familiar to anyone who knows their fairytales—it’s based on Hans Christian Anderson’s 1845 story The Snow Queen (though there’s no pop culture–savvy snowman in the original…sorry). Putting a new twist on an enduring legend is, of course, nothing new. Here are eight novels that took some liberties in retelling oft-told tales:
Krampus: The Yule Lord, by Brom
In Nordic legend, the Krampus is a familiar holiday figure who watches over children and deems them naughty or nice. Except instead of bringing the nice kids toys, he terrorizes the naughty ones. And instead of appearing with rosy cheeks and a jolly red suit, he wears rusty chains and looks like he stepped out of a Guillermo del Toro movie. When he laughs, he has a stomach that shakes like a bowl full of children’s entrails. And here I thought was creepy. This (terrifyingly) illustrated version of the story from writer/artist Brom stars a Krampus who is very, very upset about Santa stealing his thunder. Hide yo’ elves, hide yo’ wife.
and Rose Daughter, by Robin McKinley
Robin McKinley loves the Beauty and the Beast story so much, she rewrote it twice! She launched her career with Beauty, a gentle, fairly straightforward adaptation that is still one of her most beloved novels, and then took another stab at the legend nearly 20 years later with Rose Daughter, which looks at the story through eyes that have seen a bit more of the hardships life can offer. McKinley also reinterpreted Sleeping Beauty in Spindle’s End and adapted the Robin Hood legend into The Outlaws of Sherwood.
Beauty, by Sheri S. Tepper
In Tepper’s twisted, feminist take on Sleeping Beauty, the half-faerie Beauty tricks her twin sister into pricking her finger on that cursed spinning wheel in her stead. That, however, doesn’t protect her from being kidnapped by a band of 21st-century time travelers researching magic in medieval England, nor from the attentions of the Dark Lord (that would be the devil himself), who wants to claim the child in her belly. Perhaps the only version of the story that makes a pit stop in Hell.
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Hans Christian Andersen wrote The Little Mermaid story in 1836. A statue of The Little Mermaid sits by the water in Copenhagen, Denmark. It's one of the most photographed statues in the world. Thanks!