History Main / WickedStepmother

27th Sep '16 9:22:00 AM higgledypiggledy
Is there an issue? Send a Message


The Wicked Stepmother, the woman hostile to her stepchildren, is a perennial trope. OlderThanFeudalism, she appears constantly in legends and folklore around the world, and is the villain of many a {{Fairy Tale}}. She seldom appears played straight in modern works, except when they are retelling {{Fairy Tale}}s, but the number of retold fairy tales (especially "Literature/{{Cinderella}}", "Literature/SnowWhite", and "Literature/HanselAndGretel") gives her a number of straight appearances. Many psychologists hypothesize that she is an ArchetypalCharacter, devised by children to contain all they hate in their mothers so they can continue to regard Mother as perfect. Sadly enough, TruthInTelevision; children are vastly more likely to be abused by stepparents (and people cohabiting with the parent are even worse). For any or all of these reasons, even decades (centuries?) of [[SubvertedTrope subversion]] have not transformed her even into a DiscreditedTrope; she can still be played straight or subverted. {{Shout Out}}s are commonplace whenever dealing with a stepfamily.

to:

The Wicked Stepmother, the woman hostile to her stepchildren, is a perennial trope. OlderThanFeudalism, she appears constantly in legends and folklore around the world, and is the villain of many a {{Fairy Tale}}. She seldom appears played straight in modern works, except when they are retelling {{Fairy Tale}}s, but the number of retold fairy tales (especially "Literature/{{Cinderella}}", "Literature/SnowWhite", and "Literature/HanselAndGretel") gives her a number of straight appearances. Many psychologists hypothesize that she is an ArchetypalCharacter, devised by children to contain all they hate in their mothers so they can continue to regard Mother as perfect.

Sadly enough, TruthInTelevision; children are vastly more likely to be abused by stepparents (and people cohabiting with the parent are even worse).worse). In fact, in some languages, the word for "stepmother" is the word for "mother" followed by a pejorative suffix[[note]]such as Spanish ''madrastra'' -- the Latin suffix is the same as in "poetaster," a hack poet; in French, the cognate ''marâtre'' is now ''so'' associated with this trope that it's only used for wicked ones, with the common word being ''belle-mère'', same as "mother-in-law."[[/note]]. For any or all of these reasons, even decades (centuries?) of [[SubvertedTrope subversion]] have not transformed her even into a DiscreditedTrope; she can still be played straight or subverted. {{Shout Out}}s are commonplace whenever dealing with a stepfamily.
19th Aug '16 8:39:26 AM eowynjedi
Is there an issue? Send a Message

Added DiffLines:

* Anne Boleyn in ''Literature/WolfHall'' doesn't even have to see Mary Tudor to make her life difficult. Anne admittedly does have an understandable interest in securing her daughter Elizabeth's claims to inherit, but she routinely mocks Mary, makes cruel remarks about her appearance, and tells Thomas Cromwell to destroy her reputation by having one of his apprentices seduce her (he refuses). In a particularly petty move, Anne rechristens her fool, a dwarf, Mary.
1st Aug '16 11:14:56 AM 24601is2460done
Is there an issue? Send a Message

Added DiffLines:

* In ''AshAndCinders'' Phira treats Cinder and Azoc like workers and threatens to kill Cinder after her own child is abducted.
17th Jul '16 6:57:30 PM GlitteringFlowers
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* The Japanese legend ''[[http://www.worldoftales.com/Asian_folktales/Japanese_folktale_16.html The Mirror of Matsuyama]]'' plays with this trope. The stepmother isn't very kind to her teenaged stepdaughter, but that's because she fears that the girl hates her so much that she's secretly cursing her, and [[AngerBornOfworry lashes back under that belief.]] At the end of the story, the father finally steps in and asks for his daughter to explain everything; she says that she was actually just looking at a mirror, [[TragicKeepsake which was the last thing her dead mother ever gave her]]. [[note]]Not to mention the girl is very naive and believes the reflection in the mirror is her mom's, not hers, helped by the uncanny physical resemblance.[[/note]] Upon hearing this, the stepmother realizes that she was wrong, begs for forgiveness and apologizes for being cruel, and once she's forgiven the family lives together happily after that.
** That is not to say the figure of the WickedStepmother is foreign to Japanese folklore. Some variants of Hachikazuki (the princess who had to wear a wooden-bowl on her head) has the heroine driven from home by one after years of abuse.

to:

* The Japanese legend JapaneseMythology
** In
''[[http://www.worldoftales.com/Asian_folktales/Japanese_folktale_16.html The Mirror of Matsuyama]]'' plays with this trope. The the stepmother isn't very kind to her teenaged stepdaughter, but that's because she fears that the girl hates her so much that she's secretly cursing her, and [[AngerBornOfworry lashes back under that belief.]] At the end of the story, the father finally steps in and asks for his daughter to explain everything; she says that she was actually just looking at a mirror, [[TragicKeepsake which was the last thing her dead mother ever gave her]]. [[note]]Not [[note]](Not to mention the girl is very naive and believes the reflection in the mirror is her mom's, not hers, helped by the uncanny physical resemblance.[[/note]] )[[/note]] Upon hearing this, the stepmother realizes that she was wrong, begs for forgiveness and apologizes for being cruel, and once she's forgiven the family lives together happily after that.
** That is not to say the figure of the WickedStepmother is foreign to Japanese folklore. Some variants The tale of [[https://justanimeforum.net/threads/japanese-culture-princess-hachikatsugi.5389/ Hachikazuki (the princess who had to wear a wooden-bowl on her head) head)]] has the heroine driven from home by one after years of abuse.



** Averted in ''VideoGame/FireEmblemFates'', [[spoiler: Queen Mikoto loves her four stepchildren just as much as her biological child, the Avatar, and they love her back.]]

to:

** Averted in ''VideoGame/FireEmblemFates'', [[spoiler: Queen Mikoto loves her four stepchildren just as much as her biological child, the Avatar, and they love her back.back and even refer to her as "Mother", since [[ParentalSubstitute she raised all of them]].]]
6th Jul '16 12:56:14 PM XFllo
Is there an issue? Send a Message


** When Cersei Lannister's husband King Robert Baratheon dies, she orders the deaths of his bastard children [[spoiler:to help cover up the fact her children are illegitimate, as the bastards' resemblance to him helped Stannis Baratheon, Jon Arryn, and Ned Stark to realise this.]]



** Going further back, Queen Visenya Targaryen is suspected of poisoning her [[EvilAunt nephew]]/stepson Aenys (her brother married both her and her sister, and her [[BrotherSisterIncest brother and sister]] are Aenys's parents) so [[MotherMakesYouKing her son]] [[TheCaligula Maegor]] could take the throne.

to:

** Going further back, Queen Visenya Targaryen is suspected of poisoning her [[EvilAunt nephew]]/stepson nephew/stepson Aenys (her brother married both her and her sister, and her [[BrotherSisterIncest brother and sister]] are Aenys's parents) so [[MotherMakesYouKing her son]] [[TheCaligula Maegor]] could take the throne.



----->'''Persephone''': [coldly] "We had a little family spat."
----->'''Nico''': "Family spat? You turned me into a dandelion!"
** Juno/Hera is an aversion, but only because she can be just as awful to her own kids. Yeah, she drove Hercules insane so that he killed his wife and kids, but she also threw her own son, Hephaestus, off Mount Olympus for being ugly.
* Enforced in the ''Literature/TalesOfTheFiveHundredKingdoms''; because the world runs on narrative causality, even stepmothers who don't start out evil become evil, unless GenreSavvy people can subvert it. Played with in ''The Sleeping Beauty'', where no less than three evil sorceresses try to enchant the king while he is still mourning his beloved wife; the local Fairy Godmother beats them to it and marries the king herself in disguise as the ObviouslyEvil Wicked Stepmother.
** However, the next book ''Beauty And The Werewolf'' has it revealed the heroine's stepmother avoided this fate (as much as her stepsisters avoided becoming wicked) thanks to her being a ''busybody''. A rare occasion of a flaw saving people, though the heroine learns to calm down and calls herself out for being such a busybody when she realizes people really didn't need her being so controlling to have things work.

to:

----->'''Persephone''': --->'''Persephone:''' [coldly] "We We had a little family spat."
----->'''Nico''': "Family
spat.
--->'''Nico:''' Family
spat? You turned me into a dandelion!"
dandelion!
** Juno/Hera is an aversion, but only because she can be just as awful to her own kids. Yeah, she She drove Hercules insane so that he killed his wife and kids, but she also threw her own son, Hephaestus, off Mount Olympus for being ugly.
* Enforced in the ''Literature/TalesOfTheFiveHundredKingdoms''; because the world runs on narrative causality, even stepmothers who don't start out evil become evil, unless GenreSavvy people can subvert it. Played with in ''The Sleeping Beauty'', where no less than three evil sorceresses try to enchant the king while he is still mourning his beloved wife; the local Fairy Godmother beats them to it and marries the king herself in disguise as the ObviouslyEvil Wicked Stepmother.
** However,
Stepmother. the next book ''Beauty And The Werewolf'' has it revealed the heroine's stepmother avoided this fate (as much as her stepsisters avoided becoming wicked) thanks to her being a ''busybody''. A rare occasion of a flaw saving people, though the heroine learns to calm down and calls herself out for being such a busybody when she realizes people really didn't need her being so controlling to have things work.



* Averted in Jeanne Birdsall's ''The Penderwicks on Gardam Street'' with Iantha.

to:

%% * Averted in Jeanne Birdsall's ''The Penderwicks on Gardam Street'' with Iantha.
16th Jun '16 11:16:31 PM Morgenthaler
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* Subverted on ''WheelSquad'', where Mr. Rotter, the only character who qualifies as somebody's stepparent, treats his stepdaughter Emilie like a real daughter. Even on the Cinderella parody he was just strict and punishing her for a prank that could have gotten herself and her victim seriously hurt (and for not keeping satisfactory grades).

to:

* Subverted on ''WheelSquad'', ''WesternAnimation/WheelSquad'', where Mr. Rotter, the only character who qualifies as somebody's stepparent, treats his stepdaughter Emilie like a real daughter. Even on the Cinderella parody he was just strict and punishing her for a prank that could have gotten herself and her victim seriously hurt (and for not keeping satisfactory grades).
8th Jun '16 9:08:16 AM JoeMerl
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* ZigZagged in ''{{Enchanted}}:'' the villain, Nerissa, is a WickedStepmother, but oddly her target is not her stepson, Prince Edward, but his betrothed, Giselle. There's also a scene where Morgan complains about her father planning to marry Nancy because of this trope; given that [[MythologyGag Nancy's surname is]] "[[{{Disney/Cinderella}} Tremaine]]," that's understandable. Giselle, however, assures her that plenty of stepmothers subvert this trope. [[spoiler: Giselle herself becomes an aversion, as she ends up as Morgan's stepmother by the end]].

to:

* ZigZagged in ''{{Enchanted}}:'' the villain, Nerissa, is a WickedStepmother, but oddly her target is not her stepson, Prince Edward, but his betrothed, Giselle. Giselle; Edward has spent years gallivanting around like a KnightErrant while Nerissa runs the kingdom, but now she's worried about him settling down. There's also a scene where Morgan complains about her father planning to marry Nancy because of this trope; given trope (given that [[MythologyGag Nancy's surname is]] "[[{{Disney/Cinderella}} Tremaine]]," that's understandable.understandable). Giselle, however, assures her that plenty of stepmothers subvert this trope. [[spoiler: Giselle herself becomes an aversion, as she ends up as Morgan's stepmother by the end]].
8th Jun '16 8:40:22 AM JoeMerl
Is there an issue? Send a Message

Added DiffLines:

* "[[https://www.nytimes.com/books/first/b/bly-king.html The Maiden Czar]]" gives the stepmother an unusual motive, in that she's actually [[LoveFatherLoveSon fallen in love]] with her stepson and thus schemes to keep him from the title character.
22nd May '16 1:17:56 AM Tron80
Is there an issue? Send a Message

Added DiffLines:

* In ''Fanfic/NeonGenesisEvangelionGenocide'', Asuka revealed Hikari that her stepmother never cared about her. She only took care of Asuka to get close to her father.
23rd Apr '16 4:12:35 PM Dravencour
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* In Creator/TheBrothersGrimm's "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/authors/grimms/47junipertree.html The Juniper Tree]]", the stepmother kills her step-child, [[ImAHumanitarian cooks the body]], and serves the dish to the boy's father. The stepmother's motive was that she wanted her daughter to get the family's money instead of the son. The girl is extremely distressed with the death of her half-brother. He gets better.
* In Creator/JosephJacobs's "Literature/TheRoseTree", the stepmother kills her step-daughter out of pure jealousy of her beauty, [[ImAHumanitarian cooks the body]], and serves the dish to her husband. In most versions, the child [[UnexplainedRecovery gets better.]] (The half-sibling in these stories is invariably on good terms with the stepchild.)

to:

* In Creator/TheBrothersGrimm's "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/authors/grimms/47junipertree.html The Juniper Tree]]", the stepmother kills her step-child, [[ImAHumanitarian cooks the body]], and serves the dish to the boy's father. The stepmother's motive was that she wanted her daughter to get the family's money instead of the son. The girl is extremely distressed with the death of her half-brother. He gets better.
better. The stepmother does not.
* In Creator/JosephJacobs's "Literature/TheRoseTree", the stepmother kills her step-daughter out of pure jealousy of her beauty, [[ImAHumanitarian cooks the body]], and serves the dish to her husband. In most versions, the child [[UnexplainedRecovery gets better.]] (The half-sibling in these stories both this story and "The Juniper Tree" is invariably on good terms with the stepchild.)
This list shows the last 10 events of 474. Show all.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.WickedStepmother