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Literature / A Twisted Tale

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A Twisted Tale is a series of young adult novels written by Liz Braswell, Jen Calonita, and Elizabeth Lim, and published by Disney Press.

Set within an Alternate Continuity, each novel revolves around a What If? story if a certain event in a Disney Animated Canon film had played out differently, usually by a negative outcome that results in the story's Downer Beginning by The Bad Guys Win while the heroes work towards fixing it.


As of 2020, entries in the series include:

  1. A Whole New World: What if Aladdin had never found the Genie's lamp?
  2. Once Upon A Dream: What if the sleeping beauty never woke up?
  3. As Old As Time: What if Belle's mother cursed the Beast?
  4. Reflection: What if Mulan had to travel to the Underworld?
  5. Part of Your World: What if Ariel had never defeated Ursula?
  6. Mirror, Mirror: What if the Evil Queen poisoned the prince?
  7. Conceal, Don't Feel: What if Anna and Elsa never knew each other?
  8. Straight On Till Morning: What if Wendy first traveled to Neverland with Captain Hook?
  9. So This is Love: What if Cinderella never tried on the glass slipper?
  10. Unbirthday: What if Wonderland was in peril and Alice was very, very late?
  11. Go the Distance: What if Meg had to become a god?

Compare these other Alternate Continuity approaches to the Disney Animated Canon:


Tropes in this series include:

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    In General 

    A Whole New World 
  • Broad Strokes: Aladdin and the King of Thieves is referenced, with Aladdin's father having left the family in search of a better life for them and Aladdin's mother dying while her husband is gone, resulting in Aladdin becoming a street rat. However, it is stated that Abu was a gift from Aladdin's mother, while Aladdin: The Series establishes that Abu left a circus of thieves to join Aladdin.
  • Broken Pedestal: Jasmine experiences this when she learns of the social problems in Agrabah and acknowledges that her father was a more flawed ruler than she believed.
  • Death by Adaptation: The Sultan is killed early on as part of Jafar's coup, and Jafar sacrifices Iago and Carpet to gain more power.
  • Humanity Ensues: Jafar wishing all magic in the world away has the side effect of turning Genie into a human, with the only hint to his former nature being a slight blue tint to his skin. Since magic is as natural to Djinns as something like walking upright or reading books is to humans, he's not happy about this turn of events. And he's none too fond of the whole walking thing either.
  • It's All About Me: A good assessment of Jafar's final act, as he wishes that all magic should die with him.
  • The Magic Goes Away: The last thing Jafar does before dying is to wish all magic in the world away, which also has the side effect of turning Genie into a human.
  • Ragtag Band of Misfits: A good description of Aladdin and Jasmine's efforts to oppose Jafar, with the aid of Agrabah's street rats.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Iago is nowhere to be seen in A Whole New World. This is because he was killed so that Jafar could see into the future.

    Once Upon A Dream 
  • Armor-Piercing Question: At one point, Maleficent is shown torturing Aurora's parents, and explicitly asks if they never tried to keep her in their lives because they would have preferred a son.
  • The Bible: Aurora references the story of Noah's Ark and Philip's horse is presumably named for Samson.
  • Parental Substitute: In Aurora's dream, Maleficent becomes one to Aurora after uprooting her Abusive Parents.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: While Aurora never has a chance to deliver it directly, after she learns of the circumstances that led to her being raised by the fairies, she often asks why her parents hid her away or why her guardians never told her about her real history, as they could have told her about her real family and presented it as a game without telling her that it was true.

    As Old As Time 
  • Big Bad: Monsieur D'Arque, who has revealed to have been locking up those with magical abilities, including Belle’s mother.
  • Bittersweet Ending: At the conclusion, Gaston is in prison and Monseiur D’Arque is dead, but the Beast is still trapped in his beast state even if his servants have been restored and Belle’s influence helped him retain his mind.
  • Gratuitous French: French words are dropped every now and then, but much of it is used incorrectly. For example, Lumiere continuously calls Belle, "mon chéri", rather than "ma chérie".
  • Heroic Sacrifice: At the conclusion, the Beast sacrifices a chance to return to human form so that his servants can be restored instead.
  • Likes Older Women: Alaric Potts’ diary notes that he had this preference, to the point that he wondered if his son (Chip) would end up falling for the daughter of his friend Maurice.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The key divergent moment from canon is when Belle touches the rose before the Beast finds her in the West Wing, which somehow disrupts the spell and literally seals the castle from the wider world, while also giving Belle a vision that reveals that the Enchantress was her mother.
  • Shipping Torpedo: Lumiere’s relationship with the duster, who is never named in this version of the tale, is unofficially over when she expresses prejudice against magical beings that Lumiere does not share.

  • Chinese Mythology: In Reflection, Mulan journeys with the Shang family's guardian, ShiShi, into the Chinese underworld, Diyu, which is ruled by King Yama.
  • Demoted to Extra: In Reflection, Mulan leaves Mushu, Khan, and Cri-Kee in the living world while she travels to Diyu. She specifically leaves Mushu because she knew that he would complain during the journey.
  • Downer Beginning: Reflection starts with the Huns definitely being killed by the avalanche this time, but Shang is fatally injured by Shan Yu in the process.
  • Missing Mom: Averted. Shang mentions that his mother is at home, which is why she isn't seen in the movie.
  • Real After All: When Shang recovers, he comes to assume that his experience in Diyu was just a dream. Ping reveals to him that it was real after all by claiming she had the exact same dream as him and recounts the specific details of it to him.
  • Rescued from the Underworld: Reflection is about Mulan journeying into Diyu to rescue Shang.

    Part of Your World 
  • Adaptation Expansion: Eric's kingdom is named Tirulia.
  • Classical Mythology: Ariel mentions that her cousin Lara is an athlete and at one point mentally prays to the gods that things work out.
  • Downer Beginning: Part of Your World starts with Tirulia having become an empire two years after the events of The Little Mermaid and has been invading neighboring countries while Eric and Vanessa are in charge. We learn shortly afterward that Ursula/Vanessa succeeded in marrying Eric without intervention and Ariel was forced to return home without her voice as the new queen of Atlantica while her father has been presumed killed by Ursula.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: At the beginning of Part of Your World, Tirulia invades a village near the Ibrian Mountains in the kingdom of Alamber. In addition, the village lives near the Veralean Mountains, the village of Garhaggio, and there is a later mention of the village of Arlendad. Judging by these pseudo-Spanish names as well as the Ibrian Mountains likely being a reference to the Iberian system of mountains in Spain, Alamber is likely the equivalent of Spain.
  • Handicapped Badass: Ariel has managed to be an effective ruler of the seas for five years despite the obvious handicap of not having a voice.
  • Jerkass Realization: As well as Triton accepting that Eric played a key part in his rescue and acknowledging that his past hatred of humans was excessive, Arista apologises to Ariel for leaving her responsible for the kingdom and volunteers to assist her father after his return so Ariel can pursue her new role as ambassador to the humans.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Ursula has Flotsam and Jetsam 'fish' for Flounder, and Ariel and Sebastian are horrified at what she may do to Flounder while he's in her clutches.

    Mirror, Mirror 
  • Abusive Parent: Ingrid and Katherine's father is hinted to have beaten them as children and is also misogynistic, yelling at them for not doing chores like the women they are when he finds them playing with toys on the floor.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • Snow White's parents are named King Georg and Queen Katherine.
    • Snow White's parents ruled over a province and answered to the Holy Roman Emperor.
    • The Evil Queen's name is Queen Ingrid.
    • The Evil Queen is the sister and lady-in-waiting of Snow's mother.
    • The name of Snow White's prince is Prince Henrich.
    • Henrich's kingdom borders north of Snow White's.
  • Adaptation Name Change: The Evil Queen's name is Queen Ingrid, rather than the typically used Queen Grimhilde (which hasn't been used as much recently, except for in A Tale Of...).
  • Age Lift: Snow White is seventeen during her story, rather than her more well-known age of fourteen.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Snow White is most well-known for being a kind and gentle girl, but when she finds out that the Evil Queen not only poisoned her lover but also killed her mother and banished her father, this takes her on a path to remove her evil aunt from power and have her tried for her crimes.
  • Cain and Abel: Ingrid is glad that her sister, Katherine, is gone so that she can marry Georg and be the new queen. In fact, Ingrid lethally poisoned her own sister. However, a flashback shows that it wasn't always like this, as Ingrid used to be a good big sister to Katherine and both were subject to their father's abuse.
  • The Corruptor: It is all but explicitly stated that the Magic Mirror is the reason the Evil Queen turned to evil, and it even attempts to do the same to Snow White before she manages to destroy it.
  • Disappeared Dad: After the passing of her mother and marrying her sister, Snow's father disappears. The Evil Queen spreading false rumors that he went mad leads to the assumption that he ran off. He was actually banished by her, but he and Snow manage to reunite during the story.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Snow leads her kingdom in an uprising against the Evil Queen with help from the Dwarves and throws her in jail to have her tried for her crimes.
  • How We Got Here: The first chapter begins with Snow discovering Henrich seemingly dead before the rest of the book flashes back to the events leading up to it.

    Conceal, Don't Feel 
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Olaf is created by Elsa just after the deaths of her parents, serving as an important confidant to her over the next few years.
  • Canon Character All Along: Freya, a seamstress from Arendelle who's also the best friend of Anna's parents, is actually a disguised Queen Iduna, periodically checking up on her daughter.
  • Evil Chancellor: Hans attempts to set himself up in this role with the aid of the Duke of Weselton, the Duke introducing Hans to Elsa so that the prince could become a confidant for Elsa due to their similar ages. The apparent long-term plan was that Hans would marry Elsa and form a trade agreement that was more beneficial to Weselton than their current arrangement, but this obviously failed as Elsa legitimately never sees Hans as more than a friend, and he is so desperate by the time he finds Anna that he tips his hand as to his true agenda too quickly.
  • From Bad to Worse: Elsa intervenes when Grand Pabbie tries to change Anna's memories, which results in a curse that causes Elsa and Anna to lose their memories of each other, in addition to Elsa forgetting she has powers and that Anna's heart and body would freeze over again if she spends too much time around Elsa. As a result, Agnarr and Iduna are forced to have Anna's godparents raise her instead while they keep an eye on Elsa.
  • Happily Adopted: Anna is raised by her godparents, Tomally and Johan. Tomally is an old friend of Iduna and the couple are ordinary bakers.
  • Mythology Gag: Some of the words from the songs of the original film appear in either dialogue or Elsa’s thoughts.
  • No-Sell: Hans attempts to court Anna, but she's already into Kristoff by then.
  • Wistful Amnesia: Anna and Elsa don't remember each other but miss each other anyway. Anna loves playing in the snow and making snowmen, and her trademark cookies are shaped like a snowman who would look suspiciously like Olaf.

    Straight On Till Morning 
  • An Arm and a Leg: In the final confrontation, Wendy implies that people are telling tales of how Hook will keep losing other limbs to Peter.
  • Batman Gambit: Wendy's final plan to confront Hook depends on him reacting in a certain way.
  • Break Them by Talking: Wendy attempts to do this to Hook.
  • Cute Mute: Tinkerbell, as always, with Wendy having trouble communicating with the fairy without Peter to ‘translate’ as he did in the film.
  • Deal with the Devil: With Peter having never come back for his shadow, Wendy makes a deal with Captain Hook to get to Neverland in return for the shadow.
  • Exact Words: As in the original films, Hook exploits this; he agrees with Wendy that he will take her to Neverland and back at some future date, but intends to force her to stay on the ship as he never explicitly agreed to take her to the shore of Neverland.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Tinkerbell is forced to overcome her own jealousy when Wendy is the only person available to help rally the forces of Neverland against Hook’s pirates after Peter basically disappears.
  • Imaginary Friend: Mr. Smee is a figment of Captain Hook's imagination in this version instead of a real person.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The whole situation of this novel arises because Tinkerbell preferred to keep Peter away from the Darling house rather than help him retrieve his shadow, which leads to a bitter Wendy making a deal with Hook and giving him access to Peter’s shadow.
  • The Smurfette Principle: As it turns out, Skipper, one of the Lost Boys, is actually a girl, but she basically enjoys so many of the Boys’ activities that they don’t consider her a ‘girl’ in the same sense as Wendy.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Without any evidence that Neverland is real, John and Michael have grown out of Wendy’s old stories, John, in particular, being very cynical about his sister’s tales.
  • Translator Microbes: Tinkerbell uses pixie dust that allows Wendy to understand what Tink and other fairies are saying.

    So This Is Love 
  • Adaptation Expansion: The opening details Cinderella's conversation with the prince, as well as how her father and mother got married.
  • Adaptational Nonsapience: In this story, the mice are just mice, and so they can't help Cinderella escape being locked in.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The Grand Duke, a loyal servant to the King in the animated movie, is here a Treacherous Advisor seeking to overthrow the King and take control of the kingdom for himself.
  • Fantastic Racism: There's a longstanding prejudice against fairies in the kingdom, which is why the Fairy Godmother kept her magic secret.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The Prince's father is named King George, the Prince himself is named Charles, and the Grand Duke is named Ferdinand of Malloy. The kingdom itself is named Aurelais, while the city is named Valors.


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