Wednesday, May 3, 2017

IWSG: Beauty and the Beast

It's IWSG day, a monthly event author Alex Cavanaugh started to get writers sharing about insecurities and other stuff going on in their lives. This month’s IWSG question is: What’s the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story? I don’t know if this is considered weird or cool…But since my WIP has a culinary theme, I’ve been spending time in the kitchen trying new recipes. When my recipe is successful, it’s fun to eat my research. (And when the recipe is a fail, I consider it a learning experience.)

Today I don’t have an insecurity to share but a thought about how stories can be interpreted differently from one audience member to another.

Back in March, I took my daughter to see the live-action movie for Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson. Both my children have seen the Disney animated movie. Lately, they have been listening to the soundtrack for Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast. 

I’ve always interpreted the story’s villain as Gaston, who shows no empathy to the suffering of others, tries to have Belle’s father incarcerated and killed, and attempts to kill the Beast once he realizes Belle has feelings for the Beast.

The other day, my son asked me if the Enchantress who cast the spell on the Prince to turn him into a Beast was a bad guy. I responded that the bad guy was Gaston. My son persisted and asked why the Enchantress had to turn the Prince into a Beast. I explained that the Prince wasn’t nice to the Enchantress- he unfairly judged her looks-and so the Enchantress wanted to teach him a lesson about looking past outside appearances. My son responded, “Just because someone isn’t nice to you doesn’t mean you have to turn them into a beast.”  

I have always been fascinated by the character of the Enchantress in Beauty and the Beast. In the recent live-action movie, I was particularly pleased to see that the Enchantress played a bigger role than she did in the animated feature.
(Actress Hattie Morahan did a great job.) I never saw the Enchantress as a villain but a character who existed to support the fantastical elements of the story.

Nonetheless, my son’s perspective is also valid and offered an idea I hadn’t considered before. It is true that you don’t have to turn someone into a beast just because they aren’t being nice. (You can just imagine doing it, haha.)

What do you do when you encounter someone who isn’t being nice?