In medieval culture, an event like a royal christening is not a private party; it’s the public social event of the year. To not invite any person of rank to such an event is a deadly insult.
Maleficent is certainly someone you wouldn’t want at a party, but she’s also someone powerful enough that only a fool would ever dare treat her with such blatant disrespect. The only way the King and Queen could possibly have gotten away with not inviting Maleficent was to not invite any of the fairies at all; inviting the other fairies and excluding her is explicitly taking sides in the conflict between the fairy factions.
Which means they made themselves her sworn enemies, and she responded by treating them as such from then on. If you actually get into analyzing the social dynamics of the scene, it’s very clear that Maleficent was willing to show mercy at first by giving the King and Queen a chance to apologize for their disrespect to her. She doesn’t curse Aurora until after she gives them that chance and they throw it back in her face with further disrespect.
And yeah, if the King and Queen had done the properly respectful thing and invited her, Maleficent would have given Aurora a scary awesome present. Moreover so would the other fairies, because at that point both sides would be using it as an opportunity to show off and one-up each other. What they gave her before Maleficent showed up was basically just trivial party favors by fairy standards.
How do you know so much about the social dynamics of medieval fairies
Because the very first things anyone reading a legit fairy tale will realize right away is
A) there are Rules and
B) ignore them at your peril
Same with unicorns.
True for all ‘spirits’ actually, and across pretty much all cultures at that, and it also applies to most deities, especially those of a pantheon.
There are some exceptions (The Jin, infamous for having free will, come to mind-although oddly the genie, as an evolution of the Jin mythos, do not have this exception apply to them) but the fact that spirits of all kinds having a set of rules that govern them that they have to obey (even ones that seem to be instruments of chaos) is a remarkably clear point in most stories.
Baba Yaga, the firebirds, selkies, unicorns, fairies, Jotun, etc. It’s something that we don’t see as much of in modern retellings of fairy tales – which honestly is a shame… knowing the rules and using them to your advantage can be as wonderful a tale as one that paints fairies as ‘identical to humans, just with powers/wings/sparkles’
I agree 100%It’s such a shame that modern re-tellings of fairy tales and legends focus so much on the protagonist as a single unit – when back in the day they were a part of a cohesive world and worked with it, not against it. All the stories I read as a kid (some of the best slavic/nordic folklore) were all about the smart protagonist using the rules to win – still bound by their power, but bending them just enough (a particular Northern tale comes to mind where a captured kid basically massacred his way through the troll’s home/livestock/family by only taking every command the troll gave him literally).
Now the protagonist just has to ‘believe in themselves’ and everything is fine, the strange and unusual will become their friend instead of frying their ass>_>
I’d love to see a return to the ‘older’ views on spirits and the like. They aren’t human and shouldn’t react as humans do (or follow the same rules). Even ‘evil’ spirits can be allies or at least useful if you know the rules and think things through. Conversely, even ‘good’ spirits can be enemies if you don’t follow the rules (insult them or expect them to BREAK the rules for you).
Honestly, someone who has to THINK their way out of a problem, using what exists instead of the universe re-writing itself around them as they passively ‘beweave’ with hands clasped over their wittle hearts instead of DOING something… (I have real issues with both passive ‘heroes’ and ‘universe rewrites itself around hero so they’re right’)
Give me THAT story. Give me someone who knows the rules, BENDS the rules, but does not BREAK the rules (or if they do break them, it bites them in the aft).
Yes, 1000 times yes!
That’s why the image of the Slavic witch is my most favourite – because depending on the need/story she (or sometimes a he) could be an enemy or a friend – sometimes at the same time. She just was, and if someone went to her for help and was nice and respectful, she could help them. If someone went against her, she would try to destroy them. In all the oldest legends there’s always a way out – follow the rule, or do something specific, and you can go. Help someone= they will help you. You didn’t have to be the strongest or even the kindest – but be smart, goddamnit, and brave in the right moments ad you were generally okay;)
Heck, my favourite tale of all is Andersen’s Travelling Companion and there the protagonist doesn’t do much – but he does one good ting at the right moment, and he gets rewarded for it. (also, what incredible vampire AU that would beXD)
Very well thought out, don’t skip this if you were planning to. It’s SO crucial to storytelling.