Philip Pullman is set to put the grim back in Brothers Grimm
Posted on: Monday, April 02, 2012
Wales Online - 2nd April 2012
His magical vision of children and their daemon companions on other worlds has entranced legions of young people, yet his next work is set to be far darker.
Best-selling writer Philip Pullman is following the popular His Dark Materials trilogy by creating new, darker versions of the Brothers Grimm tales that have become well-known through Walt Disney films like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
Pullman, who spent much of his childhood growing up in North Wales, said he would be trying to remain true to the far less cosy spirit of the original stories, which usually featured bloody, or terrifying endings.
The brothers, who lived in Germany at the turn of the 19th Century, are among the best known tellers of classic European folk tales including Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin and Cinderella.
Pullman said: “I've taken 50 of the 200 or so tales of the Brothers Grimm and re-written them in my voice.
“I haven’t toned down anything . I think it’s a bad mistake. This is not a book for children that I’m doing. It’s not an illustrated book and it's not a book of happy little fairy tales you give to your grandchildren at Christmas,” he said.
“This is a book for adults who want to know what these stories are. It’s published at Penguin Classics – it's that sort of book.”
His decision means some younger fans of both the movies and his earlier works may find these versions difficult, but Pullman said children would cope.
He said: “You can see why people do that they don't want to upset the little dears and it can be upsetting.
“But actually in my experience and the experience of everybody who has told these stories the little dears love these blood thirsty endings.”
The brothers’ stories have entranced the world ever since they were originally published as Household Tales for Young and Old.
Across the world, they are available in hundreds of languages and in scores of different film and written versions.
Among the 50 re-worked titles to be completed by Pullman are Rapunzel, Snow White and Cinderella lesser-known stories like The Three Snake Leaves, Hans-My-Hedgehog and Godfather Death.
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