Monday, 4 August 2014

Adventure Girls: Ariel

This is the third post of a new series of different story adventuresses."Adventure Girls" are about different heroines from fairytales, story books, folklore and legends. They're girls who've been on exciting adventures, and many of them had to survive or overcome their fears. Tough girls, and always seeking quests. Some have been led down scary sinister paths, or taken to other lands outside of their control, but soon regained their courage to get what they want. Many of these girls are pretty famous favourite characters from fairy stories. Others are not so well known but whose stories of adventure and magic have been around for a long time.The inspiration of doing this new project is an extension from other projects of mine, covered here on this blog, with the titles "Power of the Goddess" (focusing only on Norse and Germanic goddesses) and "Fairytale Gromoire" (there are 8 of those altogether).

Adventure Girl Part 3 = Ariel

Appears in: "The Little Mermaid" by Hans Christian Anderson
Pets: None although different versions include pet dolphins and fish.
Features: A young mermaid with a fish tail, later transformed into a human without a voice.
Other info: A princess mermaid that falls in love with a man.

It was very difficult thinking of a name for the title of this blog as she used to be knowned only as "little mermaid". In 1989 when Disney animations created a princess based on the heroine with a name Ariel so so I went with the name "Ariel" as it's the name that she's now famous for. In a way I'm thankful that Disney gave her a name and made her character stronger and no more of a tragic story. In other versions she's called Lena and Marina.

Before 1989, the little mermaid was a damsel in distress or actually a siren under stress. She was head over tails in love with a handsome prince that she rescued from a sunken ship. Her obsession took her deep into the depths of the sea, where she confided in a solitary sea witch. The sea witch gave her a potion that she had to drink on the seashore. When she woke up, her fishy tail was gone and now she had a pair of human women's legs. The only sacrifice she made was giving up her beautiful singing voice. Her whole voice was gone.

The voice of a mermaid is what draws ships. Sirens are said, throughout history, and in myths, to cause hallucinations, consume sailors with delirium and pull people to their doom. A siren's voice is like a weapon. It's also part of a siren's allure. So losing her tail and her voice cuts off Ariel from her heritage of the sea.

In the original version and other adaptions, Ariel is lost without her voice but gains a new talent through dancing. Yet it's not enough to win the heart of the prince as he married another woman and Ariel is heartbroken. Her sea sisters appear, who offer her a special knife to kill the prince so that Ariel can be restored again and return to the ocean. Ariel fails to kill the man she loves. In the end, she turns to foam and dies. The sad end of the Little Mermaid had so many children crying over the ages. Thanks to Disney, Ariel wins her prince and stays human and happy. In the earlier pre-Disney version, the mermaid is like Lady of Shalotte and Ophelia, who are sad by unrequited love and perish out of despair, by drowning.

The changes, not just with Disney but other versions and ballet adaptions of the story is that making the sea witch, Ursula, very prominant and an adversary, made the prince intelligent enough to see through the spell to fall in love with Ariel. But had the sea witch Ursula not have been wicked, and another girl did challange Ariel, would Disney's Ariel still have thrown herself into the sea? Maybe not, as she's a clever bubbly character and not a wet waif.

Because altering the characters and plot makes a different turn of events. Like altering fate, altering a story too will change the outcome. But it doesn't change the nature of a girl's love for a man being so strong that she's willing to do anything to be his including self sacrifice and giving up her assets, her home, job and even her body to seek a new life.

Different actresses who played the Little Mermaid:

Shirley Temple (1961)
Hayley Mills (1966)
Nina Gulyayeva (1968)
Victoria Novikova (1974)
Fumie Kashiyama (1975)
Shelley Duvall (1987)
Jodi Benson (1989)
Tia Carrere (1997)
Emma Watson (TBA)


Little Mermaid statue
Surlalune Little Mermaid

The picture on this post is called "Mermaid Ariel" and the artist is Alena Lazereva

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