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Fairytale Motifs / RWBY

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In RWBY, many characters have design elements based on fairy tales. However, a lot of the inspiration behind other characters relates to other, non-fairytale, works of literature.


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    Team RWBY 
All members of Team RWBY allude to the heroines of fairytales.
  • Ruby Rose.
    • Little Red Riding Hood.
      • Ruby's primary colour scheme is red and black, just as Little Red Riding Hood's primary colour theme is red.
      • Ruby's introductory trailer consists of her fighting a forest full of Beowolves, wolf-like Grimm.
    • Dorothy Gale of Land of Oz
      • As well as Little Red Riding Hood, Ruby can be see as a representing Dorothy. When Ruby is inducted to Beacon, the one who she first meets is Glynda in reference to how Glinda met Dorothy when she arrives in Oz.
      • Ruby's Silver Eyes allude to the Ruby Slippers. In the original story, the Ruby Slippers were the Silver Shoes but became red for the 1939 film. Just as the Slippers are Dorothy's key to protecting herself and returning home, Ruby's Silver Eyes are key in defeating the Grimm, and possibly Salem. Emphasised by the colours associated with Ruby being red and silver.
      • Ruby has a dog called Zwei as Dorothy had Toto.
  • Weiss Schnee is Snow White.
    • The translation of Weiss' name from German to English is "White Snow".
    • The song in the "White" trailer which introduces Weiss heavily alludes to the Magic Mirror in the original fairytale.
      Mirror, tell me who's the loneliest of all.
    • One of the Schnee family's employees, Klein Seiben is all of the Seven Dwarves. His name translates from German to English as "Little Seven" and he has seven different personalities.
  • Blake Belladonna alludes to both the Beauty and the Beast from Beauty and the Beast.
    • Blake is a Badass Bookworm, referencing the Disney adaptation of the fairytale where Belle, the Beauty, is an avid reader.
    • Blake is a Faunus, a half-human, half-animal species, reference to the Beast.
  • Yang Xiao Long alludes to the title character from Goldilocks.
    • Yang loves her blonde hair.
    • In the "Yellow" trailer, the owner of the bar she goes into is named Hei Xiong, meaning Black Bear in Chinese. His nickname is also Junior, in reference to Baby Bear.
    • In "Welcome to Haven", Yang refuels at a station called "Just Rite" and is described by a creepy guy as "not too bulky, not too lean" but "just right", in reference to the fairytale's narrative of having Goldilocks try the chairs, porridge and bed before finding the third one adequate.
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    Team JNPR 
The members of Team JNPR allude to characters from stories who masqueraded as someone of the opposite gender.
  • Jaune Arc's inspired by the real-life figure Joan of Arc, who learned how to fight and lead an army of her own on the fly - just like Jaune was an inexperienced fighter who quickly grew into the role of his team's leader.
  • Nora Valkyrie's a nod to the Norse god Thor, both sharing a powerful hammer as their weapon and a connection to lightning.
  • Pyrrha Nikos alludes to the Greek hero Achilles, who crossdressed as a woman named Pyrrha to avoid the Trojan War. They both wield a shield and weapon of Greek design, and both met their ends through an arrow in the heel.
  • While it's less obvious, Lie Ren is an allusion to Hua Mulan.

    Ozpin's Circle 
Ozpin and his inner circle allude to characters from Land of Oz.
  • Professor Ozpin and Oscar Pine are The Wizard of Oz.
    • The Wizard's initials spell out OZPINHEAD.
    • Ozpin's colour scheme is green. The primary colour associated with the Oz books is green, but specifically relate to the Wizard.
    • The series' portrayal of Ozpin as being incredibly deceitful, constantly lying for the "greater good", alludes to the Wizard being a trickster and charlatan.
    • Ozma, the original incarnation of Ozpin, references Princess Ozma, the rightful ruler of Oz.
    • Ozpin was the creator of the Four Maidens, granting them their magic. This is a possible reference to the four cardinal witches of Oz.
    • Oscar references Tip from The Marvelous Land of Oz. He's a Farm Boy who runs away from his female guardian, like Tip. Oscar also has elements of Tip's true form, Ozma, in that Tip shares the soul of Ozpin, whose original incarnation was named "Ozma".
    • Oscar's name comes from the Wizard of Oz, whose real name is "Oscar Diggs".
    • Oscar also has elements of Dorothy.
  • Glynda Goodwitch is Glinda, the Good Witch of the South.
  • Qrow Branwen is the Scarecrow.
    • The Branwen twins, Qrow and Raven, are based on Huginn and Muninn, a pair of birds that served Odin by bringing him information from around the world.
  • General James Ironwood is the Tin Woodman.
  • Professor Leonardo Lionheart is the Cowardly Lion.
  • Professor Theodore possibly alludes to either Dorothy Gale, Theodore being the male equivalent of Dorothy, or the Wicked Witch of the West, who is called Theodora in some works.

    Salem's Circle 
Salem and her allies have no clear common theme.
  • Salem
    • The Wicked Witch of the West.
      • Salem is the primary opposing force to our hero, Ruby, the Dorothy of the story. As well as this, she has a long history with the Big Good, Ozpin, RWBY's answer to the Wonderful Wizard.
      • Salem's name is a reference to the famous witch trials. As well as this, she is one of the only two people in the world who can wield magic (not including the Maidens).
      • She also trades the WWoW's iconic green skin for a deathly white.
      • The WWoW had an army of winged monkeys at her disposal. At the closing of Volume 6, Salem can be seen creating a mutated form of Beringel, gorilla-like Grimm, that have wings.
    • Rapunzel
      • Salem started her life trapped in a tower by her father only to be rescued by a handsome "prince". This is a clear allusion to Rapunzel, itself referenced in the series by Pyrrah as a fairy tale called "The Girl in the Tower".
    • Because of her association with Cinder, her magical nature, as well as the implied mentor-student relationship she has with Cinder, Salem is possibly a reference to the Fairy Godmother.
  • Cinder Fall is Cinderella.
    • Cinder is heavily associated with both fire and glass, in reference to Cinderella sleeping by the fire and her glass slippers.
    • Cinder's name in production was "Cinder Ella" with the "ll" pronounced as a "Y" a in Spanish.
    • Cinder's semblance, Scorching Caress, allows her to super heat materials then manipulate them, namely glass.
    • While her Maiden powers grants her Elemental Powers as well as other forms of magic, Cinder still chooses to use Playing with Fire above all others.
    • Cinder's original weapon was called "Midnight" in reference to how the Fairy Godmother's magic would only last until the last stroke of midnight.
    • Cinder has a back tattoo of two heeled shoes placed sole-to-sole forming a heart.
    • Much of Cinder's ideology is based on those being under the thumb of those with power rising up. This reflects how Cinderella was oppressed by her step family who abused her but ultimately comes out on top.
  • Tyrian Callows
  • According to the CRWBY, Dr. Arthur Watts and Hazel Rainart are explorations of characters under different circumstances to their source material. The former was conceived as "If Dr. Watson worked for Moriarty instead of Sherlock Holmes", while the latter is meant to be "Hansel if Gretel had died".

    Sanus 
  • Dr Oobleck is based on the story Bartholomew and the Oobleck. He shares his name with the titular character, and his hair color matches that of the Oobleck. He also insists on being referred to as "doctor" instead of "professor", in reference to the author's pen name "Dr" Seuss.
  • Professor Port is based off of the title character from Peter and the Wolf.
  • The Malachite twins are based on Snow-White and Rose-Red.

    Anima 
  • Lil' Miss Malachite is based off of the nursery rhyme "Little Miss Muffet". Aside from her name, she mentions having once been afraid of spiders and has adopted them as her personal symbol.
  • Caroline Cordovin is inspired by the nursery rhyme "The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe".
  • Raven Branwen is based on Huginn, one of a pair of magical birds that served Odin in Norse Mythology.
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    Solitas 
  • Team FNKI are all based off of internet memes.
    • Flynt Coal originates from a Running Gag on the Achievement Hunter Minecraft Let's Play.
    • Neon Cat is based off of Nyan Cat due to her name, her faunus species, and the fact that she leaves a trail of rainbows as she rides around.
    • Kobalt and Ivori are collectively based off the "What color is the dress" meme.
  • Robyn Hill and her Happy Huntresses are Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Robin, Fiona, and May all share initials with their counterparts.
    • Robyn Hill
      • Robyn rejected the elite Atlas in favour of Mantle, a city often at the receiving end of Atlas' poor treatment. She and her band also steal supplied for the Amity Project for Mantle. Both serve well to emphasis the Robin of legend's message of "stealing from the rich to give to the poor".
      • Robyn's weapon of choice is a crossbow, the original Robin wielded a bow and arrow.
    • Joanna Greenleaf is based on Little John. Reynolde Greenleaf is an alias used by Little John.
    • Fiona Thyme is based on Friar Tuck.
    • May Marigold is based off of Maid Marian.
  • Pinocchio
    • Penny is the titular character. They're both humanoid beings whose names start with "p" and who want to be seen as human. Penny's weapon, Floating Array, are swords manipulated by strings, just like a puppeteer controls their puppets through strings. Whenever Penny would tell a lie, she'd hiccup as Pinocchio's nose would grow.
    • Pietro, Penny's creator and father, is Geppetto.
    • Fria, the most recent Winter Maiden, was thought by many to be an allusion to Freya from Norse mythology and Nora, similarly a reference to Norse mythology, was thought by many to be her successor. However, Fria's name means not Freya but Fairy. With her blue colour scheme, name and the fact that she bestows the power of the Winter Maiden to Penny, rendering and proving her as a "real girl", Fria is a clear reference to the Fairy with the Turquoise Hair, better known as the Blue Fairy.
    • Salem arrives at Atlas astride an enormous whale Grimm. While it's yet to be seen if the two will come into direct conflict, should Penny fight the Whale Grimm, it may be a reference to the whale of the story who swallows Pinocchio.
  • The Schnee Dust Company:
    • Founder and former patriarch Nicholas Schnee is inspired by Santa Claus, particularly of the Badass Santa variety. A heroic figure that devoted to family and helping those in need, Nicholas built a business empire for the purpose of bringing happiness to the people of Mantle.
    • Jacques Schnee, the current head of the family, is based on the trickster spirit Jack Frost. Like the more villainous portrayals of Jack that pit him against Santa, Jacques is a spiteful deceiver that took over his father-in-law's company and has destroyed everything good that Nicholas worked to build.
  • The Ace Ops are, naturally, based on Aesop's Fables:
    • Clover Ebi is based on "The Fisherman's Good Fortune", possessing a luck-based Semblance and wielding a weapon based on a fishing pole. His weapon and appearance are based on the Kingfisher, a bird considered a good omen by fishermen.
    • Vine Zeki and Elm Ederne are based on "The Elm and the Vine". Their Semblances are highly compatible, drawing from the story's lesson about unity and mutual support.
    • Harriet Bree is the Hare from "The Tortoise and the Hare". She possesses a speed-based Semblance, and is noted for being extremely competitive about everything.
    • Marrow Amin is based on "The Dog and his Reflection". A Dog Faunus, he struggles with decisions and his Semblance can only work on a single target at a time.

    Miscellaneous 
  • Adam Taurus alludes to the Beast from Beauty and the Beast.
    • Adam's emblem is a rose, a reference to the wilting rose from the fairy tale.
    • Adam's name is derived from Prince Adam, the human name of the Beast in the Disney adaptation.
    • Adam's last name and horns allude to him being based on a bull, which the Beast was frequently described to resemble.
  • Sienna Khan references Shere Khan from The Jungle Book, and Ghira Belladonna refers to Bagheera from the same book.
  • Tock is based off of Tick-Tock the crocodile from Peter Pan.
  • Maria Calavera is heavily based around Día de Muertos, a Mexican holiday.
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