X is for…

X – C A L I B U R

Xcaliber

Okay I cheated – I know it is spelt Excalibur but there are no Disney Characters that begin with X. I have searched and searched nothing.

Excalibur is the mythical sword that appears in The Sword in The Stone. Legend stated that whoever was able to draw the sword out of the stone would become the next King of England. In the legend the sword drawer was of course Arthur. In Disney’s version Arthur is a young orphan who is known by his carers as Wart.

Wart is befriended by Merlin after stumbling across his cabin in the woods. Merlin has a pet owl called Archimedes who talks like a human. Archimedes also teaches Wart to fly.

I apologise for my drawing today. Only there was not a lot to go on. See you tomorrow for Y…

lu

Some Tales are worth Re-Telling

Beauty and the Beast is one of the most popular Fairy Tales to be adapted and reworked into many forms, whether written or visual. It is of course one of my favourite stories of all time, though I am constantly surprised that many people are unaware of the origins of this common fairy tale.

It is a common misconception that the original tale was penned in 1740 by Gabrielle-Suzanne Bardot de Villeneuve entitled “La Belle et la Bete”.  It was abridged later in the 1700’s by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont who turned it into a cautionary tale for young maidens. Due to her lack of reference to the original author she is often given the credit of penning the fairy tale.

However, the tale of Beauty and the Beast predates the 1700’s and can actually be traced to Greek/Roman Mythology, in a surprisingly little known tale of Psyche and Cupid. This may have something to do with the fact that Cupid is often depicted as a baby with a fondness for arrows. This was a mistake that occurred round about the 15th Century when Cupid’s image got confused with Putto and they became indistinguishable from each other.

Cupid comes from the Latin Cupido which means desire and was actually the god of erotic love  – Slightly disturbing that images of baby now resemble this, don’t you think? Anyway I digress.

This story though common in the ancient world now only exists in Apuleius’s The Golden Ass.

The Story of Psyche and Cupid (in brief)

A King and Queen have three daughters, one of which has unearthly beauty, guess who that was? Her name was Psyche (which means life or breath in ancient Greek).  Psyche’s beauty was so astounding that Venus grew jealous. Venus was angry that people were comparing Psyche’s beauty to her own that she ordered her son, Cupid to use one of his arrows of desire to force her to fall in love with a monster.

Cupid went to the earth to carry out his mothers will however he was so taken by Psyche’s beauty that he accidentally shot himself. From that moment he only had eyes for Psyche. At around the same time Psyche’s parents cannot find any mortal man to marry her so they seek the advice of an Oracle. The Oracle informs them that it is Psyche’s fate to marry an immortal lover, a monster who no god or human can resist. Her husband was waiting for Psyche at the top of a mountain.

Psyche accepted her fate and is swept away by Zephyr to a beautiful valley and in the centre is a magnificent palace which could only have been built by the hands of the gods. Psyche accepts that this is her home, a sentiment echoed through the halls by a faceless stranger. His only request id that his face remains a secret. The stranger visits Psyche at night and makes love to her. Despite his tenderness Psyche is haunted by the Oracles words, that he is a monster.

Psyche’s two sisters are eventually allowed to visit her and are jealous of her beautiful home. They convince Psyche that she needs to discover the identity of her husband. Psyche looks upon her husbands face and Cupid is so distressed at his wife’s betrayal that he flees the palace.

Psyche chases after her husband and spends many days searching for him before she comes to the Temple of Cere’s. Cere’s instructs Psyche to surrender herself to Venus. Venus gives Psyche three trials to overcome. Unbeknown to Psyche, Cupid is their providing her with much needed aid. Eventually Psyche is so upset by the trials she has to overcome that she opens a forbidden box and succumbs to Stygian Sleep. A sleep so strong she is considered the living dead.

Cupid has had enough of being separated by his wife and flies to her rescue. Lifting her sleeping form to the heavens, Cupid begs Jupiter to talk to his mother and make her lift the sleeping curse. Venus eventually agrees to lift the curse and as soon as Psyche wakes she is transformed into an immortal allowing her to be properly wed to the god Cupid.

The End

We Can Fly

Aww… This is my last Peter Pan themed post for February. I honestly never realised how much I liked it until I started this theme. I am going to miss Peter…

Peter Pan’s Flight

When Walt Disney first announced that Fantasyland would be the main park in his new theme park Disneyland, Disney declared to the public “ride a pirate ship through the sky”.

In 1955 when Disneyland opened, guests did indeed ride a pirate ship through the sky, on the ride entitled Peter Pan’s Flight. Over 60 years later guests to the various Disneylands and of course Walt Disney World are still doing this today.

Peter Pan’s Flight is quite easily one of the most popular rides in the Disney portfolio. It is also one of my favourite rides. I have been on the ride 3 times (at least), at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris. I love the fact that the ride was the same in Paris as it was in Florida.

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Flying over London 

To begin the ride (after you have queued – even with Fast Pass) you step inside a Pirate Ship. The Cast Member will then sprinkle fairy dust as the bar of Pirate Ship rests on your lap and the Ship takes off. As you enter the world of Peter Pan you initially find yourself flying through the nursery of the Darling Family before taking flight over the city of London as you take the second star to the right and head off to Neverland. You fly through the Mermaid Lagoon, meet Captain Hook, Smee and of course the Crocodile.

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It is bright and colourful. There are recognisable scenes with so much to see as you serenely fly through the air.  The only way to describe this ride is that it is like you are moving through the actual movie.

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This makes sense when you discover that the actual animators of Peter Pan created the actual ride. Walt Disney wanted the rides to be reminiscent of the movies so he wanted the animators to play a big part in creating all the rides at Disneyland. The picture above is one I took at Walt Disney World. It is the model of the Peter Pan Ride. it was hard to get a good photo as it was in a glass display case.  I am always fascinated by how things work so I really enjoyed the exhibit at the Disney Hollywood Studios.

If you ever visit one of the Disneylands or Walt Disney World make sure you take the time to go on this ride.

Booktober Challenge Post 19

Just a little fantasy…

A   F A N T A S Y   B O O K

Fantasy, is one of my favourite genres. I love the fact that there are no limits and it covers a whole range of different types of storytelling. Fantasy covers a huge area of fiction. There are some out there who will argue that high fantasy follows certain laws, but aren’t laws there to be broken?

I rarely read fantasy now I prefer to write it… so this is one of the books I really used to love.

P O L G A R A   T H E   S O R C E R E S S

DAVID & LEIGH  EDDINGS 

d-polgara_the_sorceress

Polgara the Sorceress is a spin off book from The Belgariad Series. What attracted me to these books is not so much the story, but the characters. The Eddings had a way of creating characters that came to life. The reader really finds themselves getting sucked into their stories.

This story explains the life and trials of Polgara before the events that occur in The Belgariad. If i remember correctly she decides to write down her life story, after reading her fathers (Belgareth’s) recollection of events and wants to set the record straight. The book begins with Ce’nedra visiting her and the twins, in an attempt to get her to write her story. Out of the entire series this book was my favourite. I really enjoyed reading the tale from Polgara’s point of view. It also explained a few of the questions readers may have about Polgara after reading the previous books.

If you have never read any of the Eddings books, I recommend starting with The Belgariad. The Belgariad consists of Five books, followed by the Mallorean also five books, then Belgareth the Sorcerer and finally Polgara the Sorceress. They are an entertaining read.