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Literature / The Bloody Chamber

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A short story anthology by Angela Carter based around the gothic retelling of old fairy tales.


The Bloody Chamber contains examples of:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Puss-in-Boots is well-aware of this trope and suggests that the best way to woo an unattainable woman is to "convince her her orifice will be your salvation, and she's yours!"
  • All Men Are Perverts: A common theme in Carter's stories, but taken to an extreme in "The Snow Child", in which a dead adolescent girl is violently raped by a sobbing man, just because he can.
  • Baleful Polymorph: A major plot point in several of the tales.
  • Beard of Evil: The Marquis in The Bloody Chamber. Makes sense as he's based on Bluebeard.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The heroine's mother in "The Bloody Chamber".
  • Conspicuous Gloves: In "The Tiger's Bride", the Beast wears an Uncanny Valley disguise to hide his appearance, which consists of very stylish (but outdated) clothing that is much too large for a normal person along with a handsome (too handsome) paper-mache mask over this face. The outfit includes enormous kid gloves that hide his paws.
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  • Deadly Distant Finale: It is heavily implied that the young soldier in "The Lady of the House of Love" will die in the trenches.
  • Determined Widow: The mother in The Bloody Chamber, who dramatically rides in on her horse and shoots the Big Bad in the head.
  • Disappeared Dad: In "The Bloody Chamber".
  • Fully-Embraced Fiend: "The Tiger's Bride" ends with the female protagonist willingly transforming into a tiger herself.
  • Grimmification
  • Humanoid Abomination: The Erl-King could be argued to be this. Appearing as a peculiar green tree-like man that represents the feral side of humanity, he has a tendency to kidnap young girls, rape them and transform them into songbirds, as well as being able to control the forest and its inhabitants. He is also not a nice guy.
  • Karmic Death: The Marquis again.
  • Kneel Before Zod: The Marquis commands his bride to kneel before him before he presses the blood-stained key into her forehead, leaving a heart-shaped mark like the Brand of Cain upon it.
  • Lighter and Softer: "Puss-in-Boots" is a Restoration sex comedy amidst mostly Gothic horror. "The Courtship of Mr. Lyon" is also not a horror story.
  • Love Redeems: A surrogate-maternal version of this occurs at the end of "Wolf-Alice", wherein Alice's act of kindness toward the Duke heals his soul and allows him to regain his reflection.
  • Mama Bear: The heroine's mother in "The Bloody Chamber".
  • Missing Mom: "The Courtship of Mr Lyon" and "The Tiger's Bride".
  • Our Vampires Are Different: In "The Lady in the House of Love".
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Werewolves figure in several stories.
  • Parental Abandonment: Crops up a lot in the form of Missing Mom and Disappeared Dad.
  • Retired Badass: The heroine's mother in "The Bloody Chamber". She had already dealt with pirates, nursed back to health a plague ravaged village, and singelhandedly shot and killed a maneating tiger, all before she was even 18. She comes out of retirement at the very end of the story.
  • Virgin Power: The young soldier in the "The Lady of the House of Love" is not afraid of the lady herself, despite her vampirism and the decay of her house, because he's a virgin. This is also why he's able to Mercy Kill her.
  • Wicked Cultured: The Marquis.


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