Beauty and the Beast: Hidden in Plain Sight


If you want to be trapped in a total time-suck, visit TVTropes (although my poison of choice is actually Oh My Disney). But I braved TVTropes the other day to find inspiration for my Beast character, and stumbled across something completely different.

A lot of my favorite couples from literature and television are basically Beauty and the Beast. Who knew?! (You probably did…)

I’ve made a list of these couples, plus one or two I thought of on my own that weren’t cited as examples but still qualify. We’ll start with the no-brainers and work our way down:

  • Belle and Adam (the Beast): Honestly, I can’t believe they forgot to include his name. But the Disney version is one of my favorite movies, and probably my favorite classic retelling of the fairy tale. And who doesn’t love a good musical?
  • Rumpelstiltskin and Belle: Once Upon a Time’s interpretation, heavily based on the Disney one (not surprising, considering it’s a Disney show). Remember the famous Beast-giving-Belle-a-library scene? OUaT has two of those. TWO. Rumpel better not mess up again, he’s run out of libraries to gift-wrap.
  • Erik (the Phantom) and Christine: No matter how many times I see this musical, I always hope that Christine will choose to stay with the Phantom. Erik will say “fine, take Raoul and go,” and she’ll say “No, I actually chose you! He can drown for all I care.” Don’t take this the wrong way, Erik, but I want you to wear your mask all the time. It’s awesome.
  • Cyrano and Roxane: If you haven’t read/seen this yet, do so! It’s so amazing. Really depressing, but amazing.
  • Sandor (the Hound) and Sansa: I know, this relationship is slightly creepy and there’s a huge age gap, but I love them. Classic beauty and the beast here, because Sansa brings out the best in Sandor.
  • Jaime and Brienne: Same series, different dynamic. Jaime’s the pretty one, Brienne’s the honorable one. And they both bring out the best in each other!
  • WALL-E and EVE: WALL-E is the ugly little robot with a heart/processor of gold, and EVE is the beautifully sleek robot who learns to love. So adorable. And the ending is just perfect!
  • Tiana and Naveen: Disney, stop crossing-over your own stories. What’s interesting is that this couple doesn’t fall in love until they’re both frogs.
  • Tohru and Kyo: Fruits Basket starts out cheery, but it’s actually really dark. Almost every character is damaged, and Tohru’s gentle nature helps to heal all of them, but none more than Kyo. He’s always been told he’s a monster, so he finally started to believe it, and revel in it.
  • Rachel and Tobias: Tobias is the “cursed” one, trapped as a hawk, but Rachel is the one who is ruthless and out of control. I never even considered aligning them with Beauty and the Beast, but it makes total sense now!
  • Buffy and Spike: Spike doesn’t have a soul and works hard to be evil, but Buffy makes him want to be a better man. What’s interesting is that she’s not even very nice to him (she hates him for a long time), but he changes anyway to try and be worthy of her.
  • Antimony and Reynardine: Reynardine is a body-snatching demon who accidentally ends up under Antimony’s control. Their relationship has its bumps, but he’s definitely mellowed out under her influence. And is fiercely protective of her. I just wish she would notice him!
  • Elizabeth and Darcy: Arrogant and rude Mr. Darcy versus the “tolerable” Elizabeth with fine eyes. It takes a direct confrontation to make Darcy realize what a beast he’s been, but he makes his amends in time for a happily ever after.*

That’s my list! Are any of your favorite couples on here? Go ahead and add more in the comments!

* Mileage varies according to your fanfiction.

Jennifer A. Johnson is a newly published fantasy writer thanks to The Adventure of Creation anthology. She's still revising her first novel, but you can sign up for her free newsletter to pass the time.

Oh! So That’s Why the Fairy Tale Did That.

One of my favorite things about modern adaptations is how the authors solve unanswered questions from their fairy tale.

“But fairy tales are supposed to have unanswered questions!” you say. “They’re full of whimsy and magic!”

That’s nice, but why can’t we have some explanation?

For example, why does only a princess kissing a frog turn him into a prince, instead of any girl in (true) love? Why is Cinderella the only girl in the kingdom who fits that glass slipper? Why would a woman sell her unborn child for spinning straw into gold?

Okay, well that last one’s easier to answer (sell unborn child or die). But I want to know the other ones!

Here are some of my favorite explanations:

  • Cinderella wasn’t a push over. She was under a fairy curse to obey any order! (As per Ella Enchanted, which also explained that Ella had a drop of fairy blood that made her feet supernaturally small.)
  • Sleeping Beauty wasn’t a moron who had to touch every sharp thing put in front of her. She was attacked by a weapon that — to the ignorant eye — resembles a spindle! (As per The Stepsister Scheme.)
  • Rapunzel’s hair wasn’t seventy feet long just to help the witch into the tower. She couldn’t cut it, or it would lose its magical healing power! (As per Tangled.)
  • The twelve dancing princesses didn’t dance in a magical kingdom every night because they wanted to. They were forced to dance because of fairy magic! (As per Entwined.)
  • The Big Bad Wolf wasn’t trying to blow the little pigs’ houses down. He just had really bad allergies! (As per The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. If you didn’t have that as a kid, you missed out.)

What about you, what explanations have you seen that you’ve enjoyed?

Jennifer A. Johnson is a newly published fantasy writer thanks to The Adventure of Creation anthology. She's still revising her first novel, but you can sign up for her free newsletter to pass the time.

Once Upon a First Blog Post


It’s funny, because I had all these ideas for blog posts, but when I actually sat down to write one, I became paralyzed. I could only think, “this is my first post on my new site, my intro to the world – I’d better make it a good one! A great one!” And, well, that’s a bit intimidating.

So instead of putting forth something of dizzying intellect, I’m going to start things slowly with a list of my favorite fairy tales — which you’ll more than likely see in my anthology of re-tellings.

  • Beauty and the Beast: I always liked the idea of going off to live in an enchanted castle. Magic rings and curses are cool, too.
  • The Little Mermaid: The mermaid’s sacrifice of her voice and life resonated with me. To this day, I look at sea foam and think of dead mermaids. (I was a morbid little child.)
  • Little Red Riding Hood: Admittedly not one of my favorites, but I love the character I created from this tale, so here it is. I do like a few modern adaptations of it though.
  • Rapunzel: Again as a morbid little child, I liked the fact that the prince was pushed from the tower and blinded by briars. (I had a thing about children’s stories not being “real” enough with all their perfect happy endings.) But Disney’s version is now my favorite movie.
  • Princess and the Frog: I liked what Disney did with this tale, turning the princess into a frog as well, but the original is still good. I enjoy a good curse.
  • Princess and the Pea: I think I enjoyed this one because I could empathize with the princess. I have always had trouble sleeping, even without a pea to worry about.
  • Cinderella: It’s not just the classic rags-to-riches story I enjoy, but there are so many great adaptations. You can go so many places with this one!
  • Rumpelstiltskin: Just as I enjoy a good curse, I enjoy a good fairy deal. Tricky fairies and their one-up on humans are always fun!

There you have it! That’s my list of favorite fairy tales. What’s yours?

Jennifer A. Johnson is a newly published fantasy writer thanks to The Adventure of Creation anthology. She's still revising her first novel, but you can sign up for her free newsletter to pass the time.