Fantastical Reimaginings: Rapunzel 
Fantastical Reimaginings

Fantastical Reimaginings: Rapunzel
by Nicole S.
 
Rapunzel

Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your golden hair! Do you remember the story of Rapunzel? A beautiful girl trapped in a tower with nothing to do but tame her long, long, LONG golden locks? Some of you may have watched the Disney story of Rapunzel in the movie “Tangled”. Did you know the original tale of Rapunzel was much darker than its Disney counterpart? And there were no frying pans in the original? “Frying pans – who knew right?!?”  
History
Like many of the darker fairy tales, the tale of Rapunzel was published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812. They adapted the story of Rapunzel from Friedrich Schulz, which he had published in 1790. However, all these versions were inspired and adapted from the 1698 fairy tale “Persinette” by Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force. 

Rapunzel

The Original
 
The original story of Rapunzel starts with a lonely couple who are desperate for a child of their very own. The couple finally gets their wish and while pregnant, the wife experiences weird cravings and longs for the Rapunzel (type of greens) that grows in their neighbor’s walled garden. She refuses to eat anything else and starts to wither away. The husband finally steals away to the garden and steals the Rapunzel to make a salad for his wife. She eats it but isn’t fully satisfied and asks her husband for more. When the husband attempts to sneak into his neighbor’s garden a second time, his neighbor, who happens to be a sorceress, catches him and accuses him of thievery! The husband begs and pleads with the sorceress who in returns lets him take more of the Rapunzel on one condition: when the baby is born the sorceress gets to claim her. The husband agrees. The wife gives birth to a baby girl who is given to the sorceress and named after the greens, Rapunzel. As Rapunzel and her golden hair grows, she is locked up in a tower with no stairs, no doors and only one window. One day a prince hears her singing and learns how to visit her by using the same chant the sorceress does to have Rapunzel let down her hair to climb. The prince visits Rapunzel many times and they fall in love and he asks her to marry him. As they hatch a plan to escape Rapunzel discovers she is pregnant. The sorceress is furious when she finds out and proceeds to cut Rapunzel’s long hair and banish her into the wilderness. The prince comes back and climbs Rapunzel’s hair only to discover the sorceress has tricked him. After she tells him Rapunzel will never be seen again he leaps/falls from the tower landing in a thorn bush that scratches his eyes and blind him. For many years he wanders the country yearning for his lost love until he eventually finds Rapunzel with twins, a boy and girl. Upon seeing her prince, she cries tears of joy on his face, restoring his vision. He takes Rapunzel and their kids to his kingdom to live happily ever after. 
Rapunzel Retellings
So, how much has this classic fairy tale changed over the years? Are the retellings similar or impossibly different? Find out more about similar tales below!

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Rapunzel
 
Disney’s “Tangled”
Available on Hoopla

A more recent retelling of this fairy tale is from Disney in the movie “Tangled”. In this story a queen is pregnant and is starting to die due to sickness. There is a legend of a golden flower somewhere on their kingdom’s island that has said to have healing powers. However, many years before a sorceress discovered the flower first and uses its powers to stay young and beautiful. Eventually the golden flower is discovered by the king’s guards and brought to the queen. She is healed and gives birth to a golden haired baby girl they name Rapunzel. One night the sorceress breaks into the kingdom and steals the baby girl. She hides Rapunzel away in a tower in the middle of the woods and uses the power of the golden flower through Rapunzel’s hair to stay young and beautiful by singing a chant while brushing her hair. As Rapunzel grows up she longs to see the world outside her tower but her mother strictly forbids it. By now, Rapunzel’s hair has grown and grown and her mother uses it to come and go from the tower. One day a thief, Flynn Rider, happens upon the tower while escaping the royal guards for stealing a crown. Rapunzel and Flynn strike a bargain – Flynn will show Rapunzel the world and Rapunzel will give back the crown he stole. Rapunzel explores the kingdom and learns about the traditions of the lanterns the kingdom does in honor of their lost princess. In this version, Rapunzel is a lost princess and her love interest is a thief, not a prince. 

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 Cress

“Cress” by Marissa Meyer
Available on Hoopla as a digital audiobook

This is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series. Cress has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with net screens as her only company. Thanks to this she has become an amazing hacker and is forced to work for Queen Levana. Her orders though are to track down Cinder and her accomplices. Cress has an opportunity at her freedom but it comes at a high cost. This story is a continuation of Cinder a cyborg mechanic we learn about the first book of the Lunar Chronicles, “Cinder”. Each book focuses on a different fairy tale character with whom Cinder comes into contact. 

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 Bitter Greens

“Bitter Greens” by Kate Forsyth
Available on Hoopla as a digital audiobook

French novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. At the convent, she is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens. After Margherita's father steals parsley from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off, unless he and his wife relinquish their precious little girl. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death. She is at the center of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition. Locked away in a tower, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young man does.
Inspired by Charlotte’s writings that first penned Rapunzel, this retelling weaves historical fiction, fairy tales and romance into one story. The story features narratives from each of the three leading females in the story: Charlotte, Margherita and Selena.

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Now that you know the real story check out these and other Rapunzel retellings on Hoopla!
o “The Golden Braid” by Melanie Dickerson
“My Name is Rapunzel” by K.C. Hilton
o “Reign of Shadows” by Sophie Jordan
o “Towering” by Alex Flinn
o “Golden Curse” by M. Lynn

“Go. Live your dream.”- Tangled

Picture credits: Disney, Trina Schart Hyman, Hoopla

Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org On 31 July, 2020 at 11:54 AM  

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