Saturday, April 30, 2011

Are royal weddings automatically fairy tale weddings?

I've been away. Not in the happy and relaxed or happy and academically profitable way. In the "lifting more than a comic book or two makes pain inevitable" way. The timing, midway through the semester, could have been better.

On the other hand, it did give me an excuse to watch the royal wedding. Remember the wedding of Princess Mary? It was described as a 'fairy tale wedding'. So too was the wedding of Kate Middleton to Prince William just the other day. Why are royal weddings automatic 'fairy tales'? Yes, there are princes involved, but I don't think either Kate or Mary were exactly cursed to clean for housefuls of dwarfs or to be kidnapped by beasts or to run away from lecherous fathers before the nuptials, although part of the romance undoubtedly lies in their status as 'commoners' who rise up the ranks. In a rather neat gender reversal, Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria married her personal trainer. Again, her groom hadn't pushed through thorn barriers or discovered why she kept wearing out her dancing shoes. In contemporary, real world terms, the fairy tale has been boiled down to the wedding ceremony and, particularly, the dress. Fairy tale has become an adjective for wedding paraphernalia and hopes - an indication of how prized a pretty dress and wish for 'happily ever after' still is. While many lament the disassociation of married life from this fairy tale equation, I actually lament the loss of the pre-story with the fantastic adventures, disappointments and serendipities. Somehow, even when there is a prince or princess and a castle into the bargain, the landscape of pubs, gyms and university campuses doesn't quite feel the same.

I should note, too, that I managed to lose a previous post in which I mentioned having seen Red Riding Hood with my fairy tale reading group (it was a sometimes slightly bizarre, Twilight-infused mash-up of tropes) and Terry Pratchett at the Wheeler Centre (funny and incredibly sensible and I can now tick him off on my list of authors I'd really like to see and hear speak).

But I'll end on this note.


Last year I gave a talk at AussieCon 4 on the Doctor as fairy godfather. I simply had to get my hands on this latest comic issue.