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Headscratchers / Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms

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  • So... In Fortune's Fool, is the story the Shogun tells Katerina (being the son of a ghost, etc.) an actual Japanese myth? Or is it just something Mercedes Lackey made up? ^^;
    • On a similar note, in The Fairy Godmother, what fairy tale (if any) is Elena trying set up when she arranges for a young woman to get a particular pot of flowers with the intention that this will eventually bring down a Black Magician?
    • This troper can answer the second: It's called Felicia and the Pot of Pinks. You can find it in Andrew Lang's The Blue Fairy Book.

  • Also how many fairy tales play out? Don't the ordinary folk realize eventually?
    • Scarily, this is also part of The Tradition; people don't notice because the Tradition doesn't let them! It's also because there are Five Hundred Kingdoms, and only so much Tradition to go around. If you're not a potential character, the Tradition leaves you alone.

  • The girls that get pinpointed as Fair Rosalinda's likely have a variant of Rose as their name. One shown who dodged her fate thanks to Madame Bella is named Rosalie. Would it not be better to make the variants of Rose anathema to thwart that particular path of Tradition? Also why did the Genre Savvy King and Queen of Eltaria name their daughter Rosamund? Given the fact that she is a Princess she is unlikely to fill the peasant girl aspect of it that well, but she could get kidnapped and raised as a peasant and her mother was a peasant.
    • Is it always variations on the name "Rose", or is it variations of the name Rose in Elena's set of kingdoms? Though, I suppose that it could be argued that the tradition wants Rosalinda's, so it makes people name their child variations of said name.
    • Given that the Tradition can make people do things even when they know it's a bad idea, most parents probably can't avoid giving a child a name with some Traditional story attached to it.
    • Also, you have to remember that most people don't know about the Tradition. They would have no way to know not to name their daughter some version of Rose, and it just wouldn't be particularly workable to try to outlaw the name or some such.
    • In Rosamund's case, her name is more of a reference to Briar Rose, the Brothers Grimm's version of "Sleeping Beauty". And since her parents and Godmother Lily were Genre Savvy enough not to have a public christening, the whole being cursed by an evil fairy/witch/sorceress was avoided.
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    • This sort of thing actually depends on the Kingdom/s. In Beauty and the Werewolf, Bella initially thinks that she's stumbled into a variation of 'The Monster in the Labyrinth', but with Sebastian playing both Daedelus (the Magician) and the Monster (the Minotaur) at once. (Note that she thinks of a Greek myth, though she lives in a pseudo - 18th century European town) Elena enlightens Bella that she's actually playing out 'the Maiden and the Monster' - which is a tale that Bella hasn't heard of, because it's from another Kingdom some distance away. It's only happening here because it's the only Tale the Tradition could find to fit the resulting circumstances, when the far more common situation between Sebastian and his bastard brother, leads to Eric cursing Sebastian to become a werewolf. The point I'm trying to make is that significance attaching to certain names or variations thereof probably depends on how prominent a particular Tale is in a Kingdom's history, thus strengthening that Traditional Path. ie variations on 'Blanche' would influence the Snowskin/Snow White path on a princess in a pseudo-English or Germanic Kingdom, but in a psuedo-French Kingdom could turn the princess to the old French fairy tale of 'The White Cat'. In support of this, I can only say that 'Fair Rosalinda' is actually a really obscure story IRL; when I first read 'The Fairy Godmother' I had to do some fairly extensive Googling to find out if Lackey actually invented the Tale for her book. (Note: she didn't - barely. 'Fair Rosalinda' is actually a medieval poem/ballad that's Based on a Great Big Lie about a mistress of Henry II of England, who Eleanor of Acquitaine supposedly had murdered and her body disposed of in the manner described in the story.)

  • The Sorceress Arachnia was first introduced as the abused, exploited stepdaughter send in the winter in a forest to gather strawberries and her attraction to the morose poet prince put in her path was because in her Traditional path she was supposed to have married a prince. And latter while talking to Elena she explains that she was supposed to be a Witch killer child from the begining. Maybe two paths intersected? She was both the victim of a Wicked Stepmother that after trials marries a prince and a child that outwits and kills a witch? In the first variant she would have been the girl in the Three Little Men in the Forest. Link here
    • it wouldn't be the first time - or rather, the last time the Tradition switched a character from one Path to another. Rosamund of The Sleeping Beauty was expected by both her Genre Savvy parents and Godmother Lily to follow the Sleeping Princess Myth - instead, the Tradition pushes her down the Snow Skin (aka Snow White) path. Lily muses that the Tradition, for some reason, seems to have been hedging it's bets with Rosamund - right up until Rosamund's mother died, and Lily stepped in to take the role of Wicked Stepmother, she could actually have taken either Traditional path.

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