Strong female fairy tale characters sound like a novelty. You might have furrowed your brow on that! To begin with these fairy tale characters, right from Cinderella to Snowhite, have always been portrayed as the standard ‘damsel in distress’ who waits for her ‘knight in shining armor’. Typically her Prince Charming or Mr. Right saves her from troubles. Also, all of these conventional female fairy tale characters, though quite capable of taking care of themselves, were never shown to take charge or ownership.
Times have (thankfully) changed now and modern-day storytellers have realized the need to show these female leads as strong female fairy tale characters rather than as someone who seeks out a man to help her out of tight situations. There are quite a few modern versions of fairy tales which are coming off as great fairy tale spin-off ideas portraying strong female fairy tale characters, unlike the ones they were in their classic versions.
1. Snow White in Mirror Mirror
This 2012 movie starring Julia Roberts is a spin-off of the classic fairy tale Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. Unlike in the original story, this is one of those modern versions of fairy tales where the lead female gets back at the evil queen with a twist. Instead of dwarfs (as shown in the original version), we have bandits who steal from the rich, much like the modern day Robin Hood. They end up teaching Snow White how to use stilts, swords, and traps. Now, isn’t that what you would call a strong female character! Also, (spoiler alert) instead of the prince saving her, she does the saving!
2. Snow White in Snow White and The Huntsman
Another Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs spin-off, this one shows a huntsman rather than an evil witch being assigned the task of killing Snow White. The twist is that instead of murdering her, the Huntsman becomes her protector. He trains her in dueling which eventually helps her in putting down the evil queen herself instead of the Prince doing so for her. We see Snow White as the warrior princess rather than as a damsel in distress.
3. Gretel in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
Hansel and Gretel spin-off in the form of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters continues the story of the two siblings. The character of Gretel is portrayed as a strong lead female character, who is capable of taking care of herself and disposes off witches who kidnap children.
4. Cinderella in Interstellar Cinderella
Unlike the slipper-wearing and prince-charming seeking Cinderella of the original fairy tale, this princess gets her hands dirty and knows her way around fixing space engines. Instead of her glass shoes, she forgets her wrench when fixing the prince’s ship. The gender-roles are further flipped when the prince asks for her hand, but she turns it down insisting to be his chief mechanic instead. Now, doesn’t that make her one of the most strong female fairy tale characters? On that note, here is a hilarious take on the original Cinderella story.
5. Catherine in Heartless
A spin-off from the fairy tale Alice in Wonderland, Heartless tells us the story of the Queen of Hearts from the original story. Instead of what the world (including her parents) expects of her, to be married to the King of Hearts, Catherine wants to open a bake shop with her best friend and follow her own dreams and passion.
6. Rose in Rose & Thorn
This is the retelling and modern-day version of the Sleeping Beauty. The difference between this and the original one is that, once Rose (the Sleeping Beauty) wakes up from her long slumber, she isn’t content with the ‘Happily Ever After’ she is expected to believe. Hence, she sets out to find her own happiness beyond the castle and her prince.
7. Tilly in Everywhere You Want To Be
A modern retelling of the classic Little Red Riding Hood, this one shows the journey of Tilly Castillo, a teenage aspiring contemporary dancer who will stop at nothing to pursue her passion as she defies her mother. Unlike the original one, where the girl gets is shown to be meek, Tilly is quite strong and independent.
8. Ash in Ash
Did you ever think Cinderella could be a lesbian? Well, Ash tells the original fairy tale where the lead female doesn’t wait for her Prince Charming but instead doesn’t even want one. Talk about a coming of age fairy tale with a modern and strong female character.
9. Iris in Confessions of An Ugly Stepsister
Moving away from the point of view in the original Cinderella, this retelling and spin-off tell the fairy tale from a step-sister’s side. Originally released as a book it was later adapted into a TV show as well. The lead character is not Cinderella but step-sister Iris, who refuses to bow down to her mother’s wishes of marrying her off to the prince instead of the man she actually loves.
10. Mina in Girls Made of Snow and Glass
A retelling of Snow White’s tale in a never heard or seen before way, this novel has not one but two strong female fairy tale characters. Strongly feminist in its narration, Girls made of Snow and Glass represents women who are gloriously powerful and triumphant in a world that never intends for them to be so.
The retelling proves that in order to create a fairy tale, you need to fight for it on your own instead of waiting for your prince charming.