Retellings, yay or nay?

Retellings have now become a prominent part of popular literature. Of course, most stories are in some way a retelling. It’s easy to notice echoes of past stories in new work. However, I’m talking about full blown, identifiable retellings.

Disney have jumped on the bandwagon in a huge way! I think this is mostly down to the success of the brilliant Wicked. If you haven’t read it or seen the musical, Wicked is the story of the wicked witch from the Wizard of Oz. I fell in love with this story and unbelievably, with the wicked witch! What I will say though is that I worry that Disney are about to go too far. Sometimes the evil character just needs to stay evil! 

We have seen a different side to Snow White and Hansel and Gretal in recent films but also a different side to all fairy tale characters in Once Upon a Time. It’s strange how intrigued I am by these character’s stories even when it completely skews your original view of the character.

Lately I reviewed A Court of Thorns and Roses, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It takes the essence of the original story and throws it into a fantasy world. It didn’t matter how predictable that made the story, it’s one of my favourites, I could probably read it over and over again in different variations. 

So why is it that (excluding Harry Potter) I generally don’t reread and yet! And yet! I love reading retellings. The same story over and over in different forms. From Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story to Pride and Prejudice and Bridget Jones’ Diary. I know what’s coming…I’m expecting it and still I take joy in its unfolding. 

What do you think of retellings? 

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8 thoughts on “Retellings, yay or nay?

  1. I haven’t actually read a lot of retellings. I will watch retellings, but for some reason, I don’t have much motivation to read them. Maybe I need to pick up A Court of Thorns and Roses because I love Beauty & the Beast.

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  2. I’ve been ambivalent about retellings that directly borrow from the blueprint of a previous work, especially when the adaptation is far more expensive than the original (which is often free as part of the public domain). Nevertheless, I did end up writing my own modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. It was a lot of fun, and now I’m hooked on writing and reading this type of fan fic. It’s a way of re-experiencing some of my favorite novels.

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  3. I think it is the thrill of already knowing. Humans love when they can say ” I knew that would happen, or I totally called that”. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, its just amazing to see how something that it already done can be told through another person’s perspective. I actually like retellings and what makes the best retelling is putting your own personal spin on things!

    Also, I love to re-read books. I find that if I re-read after a a long time, I find new things and lessons from the book because I’m most likely in a different place in my life than I was when I first read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll hold my hands up and say I am exactly that kind of human 😂. I think a retelling stops me trying to outsmart the author because we both know what’s going to happen. I love to reread but with so many new books I don’t really get around to it sadly!

      Liked by 1 person

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