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Literature / Tales of the Frog Princess

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A book series by E. D. Baker that was the very, very loose inspiration for The Princess and the Frog. The books are, in order:

  • The Frog Princess (2002)
  • Dragon's Breath (2003)
  • Once Upon a Curse (2004)
  • No Place For Magic (2006)
  • The Salamander Spell (2007)
  • The Dragon Princess (2008)
  • Dragon Kiss (2009)
  • A Prince Among Frogs (2010)
  • The Frog Princess Returns (2017)

The first four books in the series follow Princess Emeralda (AKA Emma), a tall, awkward, clumsy princess who constantly hides in the swamp to avoid her mother. There, she meets prince-turned-frog Eadric. During the first four books, Emma and Eadric fall in love, Emma comes into her abilities as a witch, and they end the curse that has been plaguing Emma's family. The fifth book is a prequel about Emma's aunt Grassina. The last three books are about Emma and Eadric's daughter Millie.

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The series was dormant for over six years before E.D. Baker announced on her facebook page that a new novel, "The Frog Princess Returns," set in between the third and fourth books, would be released in the summer of 2017.

Tropes

  • Abusive Parents:
    • Haywood's father was emotionally abusive, before letting all his brothers gang up on him at once and attack him.
    • Chartreuse is borderline emotionally abusive to Emma, constantly criticizing her and making it very clear she'd prefer if Emma were different.
  • Animal Talk: All animals can talk to each other, and humans who have been transformed into animals retain the ability after they turn back. Witches and wizards get it for life automatically, but non-magical people have to practice often or they'll forget how. Eadric, being friends with a bat and having a beloved horse, has no problem practicing.
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  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Bradston is this to Eadric, who's nicknamed him Brad the Brat. Hell, it was a rather mean-spirited joke on Bradston's part that led to Eadric getting turned into a frog in the first place! That said, he does love him, and doubts Bradston would've played that joke on him if he'd had any way of knowing how it would turn out. (Emma herself doubts this after meeting him.)
  • Arranged Marriage: The first book gets kicked off when Emma is engaged (completely against her will) to Prince Jorge. She gets out of it.
  • Betty and Veronica: Sweet, naive, bubbly Li'l vs. spoiled, arrogant Hazel, for Garrid. Subverted in that Garrid was never really interested in Hazel — he was courting her for political reasons.
  • Big Little Sister: Grassina to Chartreuse, as Grassina is far more more powerful and respected, despite Chartreuse being queen.
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  • Cool Old Lady: Olivene, even while she was under the family curse. Especially while she was under the family curse. It helps that she's an insanely powerful witch who always makes her opinion known.
  • Curse Escape Clause: It's actually a law of magic that curses have to have a way to break them—and they can't be impossible. Difficult, yes. Impossible, no. Grassina comments that there seems to be a certain level of fairness required. Olivine also notes this when she reveals what it would take to break her curse on Haywood, which everyone immediately dismisses as "impossible."
    Olivine: It's not impossible, or it wouldn't have worked.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Garrid is a vampire who competes in a jousting tournament under the name "The Black Knight," but is a good guy.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Emma at times. Being sarcastic is how she copes with things, especially in earlier books.
    • Zoe also has her moments, presumably for the same reason.
    • Grassina and Olivene were like this while under the influence of the curse.
      Emma: If you don't have time to talk to me, I can come back later.
      Curse!Grassina: Don't be silly. Of course I don't have the time.
  • Death by Childbirth: Haywood's mother died giving birth to his youngest sister.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Fairies are known for cursing people for offending them, and it is easy to offend them. The Swamp Fairy didn't just curse Hazel for being rude; she cursed all her female relatives, including the ones who weren't even born yet. And refuses to lift the curse after literal centuries.
  • Exact Words: Olivine's curse on Haywood relies on this. None of the four objects required to break the curse exist... if you interpret them literally. For example, one item is "a gossamer hair of mother of pearl." Mother of pearl, of course, has no hair... but Olivine knows a mermaid named Pearl, whose mother has translucent blonde hair.
  • The Fair Folk: A mixed bag. Fairies aren't evil, and have a noted soft spot for kids, but they're extremely vain, easy to offend, and impossible to reason with.
  • Fiery Redhead: Grassina in her youth, with auburn hair and an explosive temper.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Garrid, who's a very helpful and usually cheerful ally towards our heroes.
  • The Gift: Magic. You either have it or you don't. Non-magical people can sometimes make some magic work, but in very small amounts, and it rarely goes right, no matter what they do. It appears to run in families, but can also show up randomly. Chartreuse doesn't have it, and never quite got over it—not helped by the fact that her daughter does have it.
  • Happily Married: All of the married couples in the series are incredibly happy together. Even Limelyn and Chartreuse, though they don't talk much by the time of the main series, do genuinely love each other.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Li'l and Garrid; a real bat with a vampire who can turn into a bat.
    • Millie and Audun; a human who turns into a dragon and a real dragon (who later learns how to turn into a human).
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Francis, who is sarcastic and has no qualms about picking on his cousin, but is a loyal, chivalrious and brave young man.
    • Eadric is stubborn, sarcastic and hotheaded, but a good man who's always loyal to Emma.
  • Kaizo Trap: Non-video game example. The spell that turned Haywood into an otter has an escape clause, but completing it makes a shower of flowers fall from the sky. Emma's family is cursed so that any woman over the age of 16 who touches a flower will become an ugly Jerkass. Grassina undoes the spell, but is cursed in return.
  • Kick the Dog: The Swamp Fairy cursing Hazel? A bit over-the-top, but Hazel was a horrible Spoiled Brat even before she snapped at her, so fine. Cursing all her female relatives and descendants on top of that? Plain cruel.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Vannabe is a wannabe witch.
    • Li'l, well... is.
    • The royal family of Greater Greensward (all of whom are descended from the first Green Witch) have green-themed names.
  • Painful Transformation: Turning into a dragon isn't very pleasant.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Haywood and Grassina. Even they realize how stupid they sound in Salamander Spell.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Emma only has eyes for Eadric (though Eadric has loved a girl before Emma), Li'l and Garrid only have eyes for one another, and Grassina and Haywood... well, they were apart for over two decades and neither of them ever got together with someone else.
  • Skewed Priorities: Chartreuse is utterly horrified that Emma was alone with an unrelated young man (i.e., Eadric) with no chaperone for several days, to which Emma exasperatedly has to remind her that they were frogs at the time.
  • Straw Vegetarian: Averted. Emma becomes a vegetarian after having been turned into a frog, especially since she now calls so many animals her friends, but she doesn't care if other people continue to eat meat (including Eadric, who was also turned into a frog and has no such compunctions).
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: In Once Upon a Curse, once arriving in the Dark Ages, Emma is initially mistaken for one of the many daughters of Uncle Markus and Aunt Frederika, which she goes with in order to have an excuse to hang around the castle. However, said daughters and aunt are clearly confused when Emma waves to them, and Emma makes every effort to avoid them. Millie then tells Emma that she's figured it out — Aunt Frederika isn't really Emma's mother, but Uncle Markus is her father, and Frederika was forced to raise her as her own despite resenting Emma for it. Emma's relieved that Millie's found her own explanation, and plays along.
  • Time Travel: In Once Upon a Curse, Emma, Eadric and Li'l travel back to the Dark Ages.
  • The Unfavorite: Haywood was by far the least favorite child of his father, for being a nerdy weakling.
  • Vague Age: Garrid. He looks like he's a young man, but isn't. We know he's old, but we don't know how old.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: Garrid is described as being very, very handsome.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Emma mentions that Garrid's relatives in No Place For Magic have an odd accent. Judging by the audiobooks, the trope applies to Garrid himself.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?:
    • Francis's parents, Haywood and Grassina, wish he would practice magic more often, but Francis just isn't interested.
    • Hinted at with Garrid and Zoe, due to Zoe not being on board with the whole "drinking blood" thing.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Fairies, despite being willing to curse people (and their whole families) for minor offenses, are noticeably more forgiving towards children, and seem genuinely fond of them.
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