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Literature / The Land of Stories

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The Land of Stories is described by its author Chris Colfer (yes, that Chris Colfer) as a "modern day fairytale," following twins Alex and Conner Bailey as they fall from the real world into a world full of fairytales they have only ever read about before. But after run-ins with trolls, goblins, wolves, and witches, getting home might be more difficult than they thought.

The series began in 2012 and concluded in 2017. The six entries are: The Wishing Spell, The Enchantress Returns, A Grimm Warning, Beyond the Kingdoms, An Author's Odyssey, and Worlds Collide.

There is also a prequel series titled The Tale Of Magic.


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Tropes:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Princess Trollbella loves chasing Conner, although this trait is most prominent in the first two books.
  • Action Girl: Goldilocks and the Huntress, although the later is more of a Dark Action Girl.
  • Adaptation Distillation: This makes it so that the Prince Charmings of Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Snow White are all brothers.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The Queen of Hearts is played a lot more seriously than in her original story.
  • All Myths Are True: Many fairy tales (if not all) are real tales from The Land of Stories.
  • Alliterative Family: All four of the Charming brothers have names that begin with the letters "Ch," also making them all have an Alliterative Name.
    • Although Cinderella’s name doesn’t start with “Ch,” she also counts as this, as her name after marriage is “Cinderella Charming.”
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: In-universe example. Conner’s presentation on The Boy Who Cried Wolf has this, with Conner stating that the boy was just a little kid who didn’t know any better and should have been supervised by his parents in the first place.
  • Alternate History:
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    • The fact that Froggy’s background didn’t ring any bells for the twins, even after learning about a long lost prince, implies the tale of The Frog Prince doesn’t exist.
    • The President of the United States is a woman, despite that not having happened yet.
  • And I Must Scream: What happens to Mira, Evly,and Froggy, who are all in magic mirrors, and the 24 missing children, who are having their youth drained for Morina's potions.
  • Another Dimension: The Land of Stories take place in a world physically separate from the story's version of Earth.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The Little Mermaid after her death, becoming the Sea Foam Spirit.
  • As You Know:
    • The author of the journal writes down the most basic knowledge about the fairy tale world, despite having no way of knowing that anyone who hasn’t spent their whole lives in the Land of Stories would come across the book.
    • Due to The Little Mermaid being given a particularly bad case of Adaptation Distillation, the book had to inform the audience how the actual tale differs from more well known versions. The Little Mermaid recites her story, despite even her admitting it’s common knowledge.
  • Author Avatar: In universe. When Connor grows up, he turns his adventures into a book series called “Fairytaletopia.” Based on the titles, the books are identical to what happened to him. He even made the main character be a girl named Connie with a twin brother named Alec.
  • Badass Bookworm: Alex, Bree, and arguably Conner.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Froggy is a human that turned into a large frog by a curse. He's actually the missing Charming prince, and is briefly returned to his human form, but later discovers he's actually better off as a frog, and decides to stay as one.
  • Big Bad:
    • The Evil Queen for The Wishing Spell.
    • The Enchantress for The Enchantress Returns.
    • General Marquis for A Grimm Problem.
    • The Masked Man for Beyond the Kingdoms and An Author's Odyssey.
  • Brick Joke: When establishing the twins father in the first novel, he tells his daughter a story about a curvy tree and his son a story about a fish that wished for legs. At the end of Connor’s story, he tells him he preferred the story about the Curvy Tree.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: From Book 3 onward.
  • Child of Two Worlds: The twins are called this virtually by name. They were the first children to born to a human from the Otherworld and a fairy from the Land of Stories. Their birth was so phenomenal it caused the two worlds to stop moving at vastly different rates.
  • Cool Old Lady:
    • The twins' grandmother is literally the Fairy Godmother and head fairy in the fairy tale world.
    • Mother Goose is the Fairy Godmother's best friend and also is very close to Conner.
    • Cornelia Grimm Bree's distant cousin learned how to fly sometime in the sixties and is willing to help her fifteen-year-old cousin learn the same way she did although, the same way her father taught her, she secretly had autopilot on the whole time.
    • Finally, Emgee appears to be just as much of a badass as her namesake and inspiration, Mother Goose.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Conner, who snarks in almost every single scene he's in.
  • December–December Romance: Merlin and Mother Goose, who fall in love and decide to stay together in Beyond the Kingdoms
  • Disney Villain Death: The Masked Man's first "death" involves the flying monkeys dropping him into the woods, while his second, actual death involves him being dragged into a grave by zombies. It Makes Sense In Context.
  • Doesn't Know Their Own Birthday: In the third book, Alex is so preoccupied with training as a fairy she forgets her fourteenth birthday. In the fifth book, both of the twins are so worried about saving both worlds from their uncle they forget about their fifteenth birthday.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The third book is titled A Grimm Warning because it features a warning from the Brothers Grimm that is grim in of itself.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: The more dark magic a witch performs, the more grotesque features they gain.
  • First-Episode Twist:
    • It’s hard to talk about the plot of the books past “The Wishing Spell” without mentioning the twins’s dad is from The Land of Stories and their grandmother is the Fairy Godmother.
    • Granted, it’s pretty easy to guess, but Froggy being a prince.
  • Foreshadowing: When the twins are discussing the meaning behind certain fairy tales, all of the ones mentioned Alex and Connor later come across in some form.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Alex and Conner jump into freezing cold water.
    Conner: We might be twin sisters now!
  • Gossipy Hens: The four members of the Book Huggers - Cindy, Lindy, Mindy, and Wendy - are a cross between this and Conspiracy Theorists, to the point where their parents take them to see a psychologist.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Alex and Conner are half fairy.
  • Human Mom Non Human Dad: Red and Froggy become a adoptive version of this when they adopt the Lost Boys.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The series starts to move into darker territory once General Marquis and the Masked Man show up. Morina and the Queen of Hearts are looking to take things further.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Subverted. At the end of book three, Alex claims the Masked Man is their deceased father. In book four, it’s revealed the Masked Man is actually their uncle, making it a downplayed version of this trope.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Not only does the Fairy Tale world incorporate all of the various fairy tales, but later books also incorporate works of classic literature such as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and Peter Pan.
    • The fifth book also incorporates several short stories written by Conner and Bree.
  • Meaningful Echo: The end of An Author's Odyssey for a quote in The Wishing Spell.
    Alex/ Chief of Staff: Our/My most educated analysis, with all means of science and technology in mind, is that it's magic.
  • Meaningful Name: Mira, who was turned into The Magic Mirror, Evly, whose name anagrams to Evyl, thus sounding like 'evil.', and Alex ('Defender').
  • New Media Are Evil: Mrs. Peters seems to believe this at least.
  • Not in Kansas Anymore: Parodied. When they enter into The Wizard of Oz, Connor takes a look at the dreary landscape and concludes that they’re not in Kansas anymore-and by that he means they’re actually in Kansas.
  • Posthumous Character: The twins father died a year before the first book takes place.
  • Reality Ensues: After spending 100 years asleep, the Sleeping Kingdom is mostly dead and the inhabitants still prefer to sleep all day. Sleeping Beauty is still trying to make things right.
  • Reverse Whodunnit: In the prologue for the book that proceeds the Luke, I Am Your Father twist, we are shown the Fairy Godmother had two children-the twins father, who acts exactly like one would expect based on previous descriptions of him, and Lloyd, a withdrawn, power hungry young boy. They also look exactly like one another. Yeah, guess which brother was actually behind the Masked Man? A good portion of the book hinges on when the twins will figure this out.
  • Sadist Teacher: Mrs. Peters, at least in the first book, and at least towards students other than Alex. She blatantly favors one student above all the others, although when Alex leaves for the Land of Stories, she begins character development into a Stern Teacher instead and comes to enjoy Conner's stories.
  • * Sadly Mythtaken: Mrs. Peters refers to Perrault's The Sleeping Beauty as "the original version". Given the oral nature of folklore, no such thing exists and even if it did, there are much older and nastier versions of this particular tale type.
  • Series Continuity Error: In “The Wishing Spell,” Froggy claims he was cursed as a punishment for being vain. In “Beyond the Kingdoms,” the story changes into him being cursed because Morina thought he was breaking up with her for being ugly, despite the real reason being that she was a witch.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Where Alex is an overachieving "A" student and an optimist in love with fairy tales, Conner is extremely lazy in school and a sarcastic skeptic.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: The Fairy Godmother calls her sons striking images of their father. They look so much alike John’s own children mistook them for the same person.
  • Trapped in Another World:
    • The plot of the first book is about the twins trying to find the Wishing Spell items so they can get back home.
    • In the fourth book, Lloyd tricks them into going into the worlds of King Arthur and Robin Hood without an easy way of getting out.
  • Uneven Hybrid: Morina, a witch, states that her grandfather was a troll, meaning that she is most likely 3/4 witch and 1/4 troll.
    • Connor’s children are also this, as he, a half-human half-fairy, has children with a human, making them 3/4 human and 1/4 fairy.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Connor calls the Fairy Council out on how they were punishing a fairy who lost her temper and turned the wings of another fairy who was teasing her into prune leaves for a few seconds (and how they were ready to banish her), but they weren't doing anything about the Trolls and Goblins enslaving people. Though they don't show their shame, they all admit that he's right, and the fairy is pardoned.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: Time on Earth passes faster than in the Land of Stories, allowing the twins to meet Cinderella, etc, despite their tales being centuries old. Though due to the twins' birth the worlds have begun moving at a similar speed.

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