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Literature / RWBY: Fairy Tales of Remnant

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And they lived.

Whether they're true stories passed down through the ages or myths defying time itself, our stories help explain who we are and why we're here. They give us solace when we need it, advice if we seek it, and connections that bind us together as one people. If you don't believe in stories, if you can't accept their truths, then you will always seek and never find.
Professor Ozpin

Fairy Tales of Remnant is a book about the fairy tales that exist in the canon's setting of Remnant, written by E.C. Myers and illustrated by Violet Tobacco. The book sits within the RWBY canon, a CGI animated series by Rooster Teeth, and was released on the 15th September 2020 by Scholastic, Inc. An audiobook version was also released on the same day, with narration by Jesse Vilinsky and Shannon McCormick, Professor Ozpin's voice actor.

Containing twelve fairy tales, some of which are mentioned in the main show, Fairy Tales of Remnant is written as if it's the personal copy of Professor Ozpin, and represents the culmination of a life's work researching Remnant's fairy tales. It contains both a foreword and an afterword written by him, and is scattered with notes throughout the book containing his thoughts about each of the tales.

Some of the fairy tales were turned into a series of animated shorts in 2021.

Tropes pertaining to individual fairy tales are troped on the RWBY: Remnant page.

E.C. Myers is also the author of several canon-setting novels that are listed on the franchise page.

RWBY Fairy Tales of Remnant contains examples of:

  • An Aesop: Most fairy tales have obvious moral lessons, but some have less obvious ones as well. Ozpin regularly discusses both and, in certain tales, offers alternative Aesops that hint at the truths that exist behind the stories. The collection's overarching Aesop is that stories should be remembered and learned from, as they help define who people are.
  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: invoked Ozpin never takes a story at face value, adding in additional morals he's heard and encouraging the reader to find more and think more critically. Many of his alternative Aesops hint at the truth behind the fairy tales and act as clues about the main show's plot or characters.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • In-Universe, Ozpin admits in his notes that, in the process of choosing which tales to include in his book, he sometimes brings several versions of a tale together in a new way. The tale that is most affected by this is "The Infinite Man"; Ozpin observes that it's been used so much as a propaganda tool by different people that there are more versions of this tale in existence than any other. He therefore chose to bring together versions that portrayed the Infinite Man as both a hero and a fool instead of one or the other, and to give him a slightly more sympathetic portrayal as a result. For the audience, who will know that the Infinite Man is one of Ozpin's previous incarnations, Ozpin's notes indicate that he wants people to finally hear his side of the story.
    • In his notes for "The Judgement of Faunus", Ozpin discusses how the god who created the Faunus is often interpreted differently between humans and Faunus. Faunus always depict their god as a being of great wisdom, who brought out the truest self in a person when they became Faunus and exposed the lie of prejudice. However, Humans often interpret the god as an untrustworthy Trickster God who will forever change them if they aren't careful. Ozpin considers that difference in depiction to be extremely telling, given how Humans view the Faunus in general.
  • Creation Myth: "The Tale of the Two Brothers" is how Remnant and humanity were created by the Brother Gods. "The Judgment of Faunus" and "The Shallow Sea" are two stories of how Faunus came to be: one is a god's attempt to solve a war between humans and animals that then creates new problems; one is a god's attempt to find a way to bring certain special humans over to their island sanctuary without humanity's instinct for destruction ruining the haven.
  • Defictionalisation: The book has been written as the personal copy of Professor Ozpin, and therefore is entirely in character. He created the book to fit in with the curricula of the Huntsmen Academies; it therefore acts as both world-building and plot clues for the audience.
  • Either/Or Title:
    • "The Man Who Stared at the Sun" is also sometimes called "The Farmer and the Sun".
    • Although one of the stories in the book is known as "The Indecisive King", its full name is actually "The Indecisive King (a.k.a The King, the Crown, and the Widow)".
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: invoked "The Girl in the Tower" ends with the classic "and they lived happily ever after". However, in both his notes on the tale and in his afterword at the end of the book, Ozpin discusses why he thinks this ending is dishonest. He observes how storytellers get to choose when to start and end a tale, so the audience doesn't get to see what came before or what comes after; they also get to control how the story they actually tell comes across. Ending a tale with "happy ever after" can be dishonest if the real story becomes a tragedy later on down the road. He therefore prefers to end with "And they lived.", closing the afterword and the book with that exact sentiment. Ozpin's observations about "The Girl in the Tower" are because it's based on the true story of how he and Salem met and fell in love; their story did not end happily and the tragic consequences are still being felt throughout Remnant to this day.
  • Foreshadowing: At several points throughout the book, there are obvious clues and set-ups for future events in the main show. One of the most obvious examples occurs in "The Indecisive King", which is about a silver crown with magical powers. The artist's rendition of the crown is identical in shape and design to the Relic of Choice. In defiance of the story, but in keeping with the Relics of Knowledge and Creation, the crown is coloured gold instead of silver.
  • "Just So" Story: A few of the stories attempt to explain the origins of certain things or why things exist in a certain state. How the world was created, why two continents are dragon-shaped, why the moon is broken, and why there are seasons can all be found in tales such as "The Gift of the Moon", "The Story of the Seasons", "The Two Brothers". Some stories even oppose or contradict others, such as the two Faunus tales "The Shallow Sea" and "The Judgement of Faunus", which both seek to explain why Faunus exist and why humanity hates them so much.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the foreword, Professor Ozpin warns the reader to always bear in mind where the stories come from, what their message is, and why are they being told now. While being a world-building book for the main show, it does also include some clues and hints about the plot.
  • Literary Allusion Title:
    • In the tale about the indecisive king, the part of the title called "The King, the Crown, and the Widow" is an allusion to C.S. Lewis' work The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
    • In "The Judgement of Faunus", the title is an allusion to the biblical Judgement of Solomon. However, in this story, the wisdom of the god's solution is deconstructed with an allusion to Greek mythology's Judgement of Paris. The tale isn't about the problem that the god solved, it's about the problem his solution then created: creating the Faunus may have stopped the war between Humans and animals, but it created a new species that was hunted by the Grimm and reviled by Humans. Just as Paris' judgement led to the Trojan War, the god's solution led to animosity between Humans and Faunus; in Remnant history, the Faunus Wars were fought between Humans and Faunus.
  • No Ending: A recurring theme in Faunus literature is that the characters have yet to find their true home and their greatest moments are yet to come. As a result, their tales also tend to end without resolution because they feel their stories are still unfolding.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: At least two of the gods in the fairy tales are associated with dragons and the old god that existed before the world was also described as a dragon. The two brother gods going into slumber is described as being the reason why two of Remnant's continents are dragon-shaped.
  • Our Gods Are Different: Several of the tales deal with gods; there are the Two Brothers, a pair of male gods attributed with the creation of the world; there are also gods mention in the creation stories of the Faunus, which are gender-neutral and responsible for the creation of the Faunus rather than the world and all its life. One story deals with a being who is repeatedly accused of being a god but keeps insisting that he's just a human being with unusual abilities.
  • Propaganda Piece: invoked Discussed several times by Ozpin. While he does single out one or two individual stories as definitely containing hidden agendas, he talks more generally about fairy tales being designed to convey the agendas of the people telling the stories, whether this is as simple as trying to control unruly children or as important as deciding the fates of incarcerated prisoners. On a subtler, more meta level, the book being compiled by Ozpin in-universe leaves the impression of an attempt to influence the readers, as well as a signaling sign for anybody who stumbles across magic or Remnant's other secrets to come to Ozpin himself.

When you finish a story, turn the page and start a new one. When you close a book, pick up another. Or of course you may always read this one again.