Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Vile Villains: The Worst of Fairy Tale Characters

We have been reading fairy tales at my primary school library. Last week I shared Jack and the Beanstalk with my classes. The children at my school were struck by the vileness of the ogre in the story. The ogre's wife warns Jack that his favorite meal is "broiled boys on toast." (gasp!) And look at this ogre:

Pretty scary stuff.

We were talking about the qualities of a fairy tale last week. One common element is that characters are often extremely good or extremely bad. I began to think about whether some of our vilest villains in literature might be in fairy tales.

There is the witch in Hansel and Gretel. She builds a house of candy so as to capture children to eat.

Rumpelstiltskin wants to keep the queen's son as his own child.

Wolves are always bad. There's the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood...

...and the Big Bad Wolf in The Three Little Pigs. They always want to eat our heroes and heroines. 

Stepmothers are horrible, too. Remember the stepmother and stepsisters from Cinderella?

The stepmother from Snow White is trying to poison her own stepdaughter.

It's the parents in Hansel and Gretel that strike me as the most vile villains, I think, people who willingly abandon their children in the woods to starve.

Did I forget any vile villains of fairy tales? What do you think? Are the vilest villains in fairy tales?

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  1. I agree with you about the parents from Hansel and Gretel.

    Lauren @ Always Me

    1. The ogre and the wolf can't help themselves; it's their nature.

  2. As a child the story of the Snow Queen always frightened me. What Disney did with that story in Frozen is vastly different from the original concept so it's pretty weird to compare.

  3. Great take on today's theme. There are some really vile villains in fairy tales, but the worst I can remember is the stepmother who turns out to be a shape-shifting, man-eating ogre who marries a king, imprisons her stepdaughter the princess and tries to force her to marry her son. The theme can be found in several related Icelandic fairy tales.

  4. Makes you feel nicer about some of James Bond's villains!

  5. OOoh nice topic choice!! I love this twist and agree sooo much! I thought in some versions of Hansel and Gretel, the "mother" was really a stepmother. I think in one version it alluded that she may have even been the witch herself! Dun dun dun!!! LOL!

    And yeah, that wolf in Red Riding Hood was vicious! Always thought it odd that the Woodsman was able to rescue Red and her granny from its stomach! Basically the fact that they were still alive in his big ol gut! LOL! Oddly enough, that version you have showcased was a banned book! Why? Because of the wine in her basket! LOL! So weird!

    Again great picks! I think you hit all the major ones! I guess the witch in Rapunzel was pretty vile! Keeping Rapunzel for her own, like literally just wanting a companion all locked up. Then blinding the prince who found and fell in love with her and cutting her hair off and abandoning her to the woods!

    I'm sure I can think of more if given more time too! LOL! feel on the spotlight here trying to think of others that you might have forgotten! LOL! Again, great topic and picks!

    Here's my Tuesday Post

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)

    1. Excellent. Thanks for adding Rapunzel's captor. Very strong contender for Vilest of the Vile in Fairy Tales.

  6. Yes to Hansel and Gretel's parents. I read the original and my goodness, how could they leave the kids behind even if they were poor? Great list!

  7. Fabulous spin on this week's topic, Deb. Love it! The Witch (from "Hansel and Gretel") IS indeed creepy and of course, very stepmother character I can think of is a straight up villain, no doubt. :)

    Thanks so much for visiting Finding Wonderland.


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