Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sparklepires And Pretty Monsters: On Reinterpretation

Monsters. Myths. Urban legends. Fairy tales. These are some things that have been adapted in a bazillion ways. Storytellers take the original material, then infuse it with a shiny new twist. They could even change genres in order to explore that original material in a different setting with different rules.

Which leads me to this:

AWFUL grammatical errors aside, I am bothered by this, folks. Not because I am a rabid advocate of sparklepire rights (even though I believe they should have their rights both acknowledged and respected). Not because I prefer my monsters pretty and CGI'd all the time. This isn't why I cringe whenever I read or hear someone berating authors for their "lame" and "not scary" versions of once-feared creatures. Hell, I might find some of those new versions lame and not scary, too. 

But I have no problem with lame and not scary. I choose not to engage with these reinterpretations, and my life goes on.

I have a problem with clinging to one version of anything

Variety is the spice of life, but it's also what makes literature worth reading. Imagine if all vampires were sparklepires who watched their romantic leads while they slept. Now imagine if all witches were super smart with weird hair and poor social skills. Now imagine if all aliens were blue and had six-packs and flew on pterodactyl-looking creatures. Would you be excited to read books with this version offered to you over and over? Or would you be excited to discover new ways of looking at the same archetype/monster?

I know which boat I'm floating on. Long live reinterpretation, even if I don't like how that reinterpretation plays out in the end. 

What about you? Where do you stand on the reinterpretation spectrum? Are there any reinterpreted monsters/stories you prefer to the original?  


  1. LOL. What a change!

    I think changing the monster would have to depend on what they were. Witches, I'm okay changing, but vampires...not so much. ;)

  2. I think when we're talking imaginary creatures instead of historical figures, they are open to limitless reinterpretation. (Even historical figures are open to reinterpretation, but only within the limits of known facts.)

  3. I love it! The individualization of monsters and magic gives us new ways to understand each other, to express ourselves. I just saw another version of Rumpelstiltskin called RUMP, for kids. Of course it explains the bad things he does so he doesn't seem so bad after all. I haven't read it yet, but I want to because it sounds adorbs. That's the beauty of a spectrum. So many colors of light. We can enjoy the whole rainbow or pick a favorite color. :p

    Great post, as always, Amparo!

  4. I grew up with Dracula and the Stephen King variety in 'Salem's Lot. But I'm okay with vampires who are pretty or classically monsterish. I like authors who take chances with the tropes, like Rachel Hartman in Seraphina.

  5. I love reinterpretation. In fact, that's part of the reason I liked Twilight initially. She gave new spins to old legends. So the whole sparkly thing as a reason for not going in the sunlight? I could dig it. Plus, I have to admit, she wrote it much cooler than it was (or could be) depicted in the movies. And I'm no big fan of Twilight. So long live reinterpretations!