What’s your favorite Fairy Tale?
It’s National Tell a Fairy Tale Day, so we asked our writers to take a moment to talk about their favorite Fairy Tale or Tall Tale influence in Wizard101 and Pirate101. Here’s what they had to say.
Jesse Scoble (King Artorius):
It’s no secret that Wizard101 pulls constantly from history, mythology, legends, children’s literature, folk and fairy tales (and of course, pop culture, too, but that’s for another time and place). It’s not always easy, or important, to draw a bright line between a myth and a fairy tale, so let’s instead focus on a few examples from Wizard101.
In Khrysalis, my associate writer, “The Thundersnake”, proposed a Three Blind Mice story. It fit very nicely with the idea of the Burrowers as an oppressed people, suffering under the cruel wrath of a mean woman (Morganthe as the butcher’s wife). So he combined the Three Blind Mice nursery rhyme with the names of three interesting blind characters from various fantasy/SF sources (Romo, Geordi, and Aemon), and came up with a goal of finding several missing music boxes (to play into the idea of a children’s song).
In Avalon, we played a great deal with Arthurian tales as inspiration for many of our quests. For example, we took the old French and German stories about Melusine, a fairy or part-fairy, who has a fish tail although she can appear as a normal woman. She is encountered by a traveler who falls in love with her without realizing her true nature. She agrees to marry him on condition that he never enters her chambers on a Saturday, for on that day she returns to her mermaid form. When her husband breaks his promise and sees her true form, she curses him, and/or vanishes forever.
We took elements of that fairy tale and translated them into a version that felt appropriate for the Spiral. We downplayed the elements of romantic love, but kept the essence of a fairy who is frightened of revealing her true form. In our version, Melusine is half fox (like many of the Avalon characters) and half mermaid. Finn Gingersnap is a young man, or fox, who heard stories about Melusine’s beauty and wit, and wanted to be her friend. When he surprised her swimming in the pool outside the tower of Belle Regard, she cursed him to never leave Belle Regard until the tower falls (which would presumably kill him). When Finn offers to do anything to prove his friendship, Melusine gives the Wizard a chance to fashion a magical fish tail for Finn, so that he can spend half his life in the water with her, and they can spend the other half of the time living together in the tower. In order to accomplish all of this, the Wizard must defeat and then befriend the Black Knight (Finn’s sister, who guards Belle Regarde to protect her brother), obtain a portion of silver from Scurvy Skirkers, then have a silversmith fashion the silver into a fish tail, and finally get a three-colored serpent to enchant the tail.
And in doing all that, we probably touched on a half-a-dozen other fairy tales in the process!
Sam Johnson (Blind Mew):
It’s not precisely a fairy tale per se, but if you open it up to mythology I’m very proud of what we did in Aquila: the main story is a riff on both the Illiad and the Odyssey, two of the biggest cornerstones of western mythology. It was a little tricky to twist them into a family-friendly format with KI’s unique brand of humor, but I think we got some great bits out of the Illiad: Eagilles needing to be coaxed back into battle with a party and a song, the Golden Egg the war is being fought over standing in for both Helen of Troy and Eris’ golden apple (and of course what hatches out of it), and the Trojan Mouse. Finding ways to make the episodes from the Odyssey actually work as MMO gameplay was a big challenge – the Sirens and Scylla and Charybdis were very hard to pull off but I think they work perfectly. Of all of those references, I think I get the biggest chuckle out of the notion that Polyphemus was just a hapless Cyclops cave-sitting for his cousin Argos who got absolutely rolled by that jerk Ulysses.
Thanks to our writers for taking time out of their busy schedules to share with us! Now it’s your turn . . . what’s your favorite Wizard101 or Pirate101 Fairy Tale or Tall Tale?