Archive for October 17th, 2011

Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale

Monday, October 17th, 2011

By Carolyn Turgeon

The Short Take:

Any twist on Hans Christian Andersen’s original is an improvement for me. I truly hate that fairy tale. Turgeon has added more context to the original tale as well as adding some motivation and (most important of all) twisting the ending. All improvements.


As a rule I love fairy tales, even the dark ones. But Andersen’s Little Mermaid was just too futile and joyless. Turgeon’s twist is still pretty grim, but there is also purpose and achievement. That makes a big difference.

The love triangle of mermaid, princess, and prince is enhanced by the growing empathy the princess develops for the mermaid as well as the princess’ desire to halt an impending war.

Turgeon actually puts more reasoning behind everyone’s actions — even the rather callow and shallow prince. She also adds in a fair dollop of sex. But the best thing is she alters the ending just enough to keep you from throwing the book across the room (like I did when I read the original). And, I deeply thank her for that.

A Little Plot:

Turgeon stays pretty close to the original fairy tale plot-wise. She does add in an impending war between the families/countries of the prince and princess. And the mermaid’s relationship with the prince gains a whole new dimension.

Plus, the ending is different. Not Disney different — which appeals to all who love completely happy endings but is totally out of keeping with Andersen’s story — but just different enough. Too bad Andersen didn’t think of this one. Glad Turgeon did.

Now, if Turgeon would just rework Andersen’s The Steadfast Tin Soilder. I hate that one, too.

Read more about Turgeon by clicking here.


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