The Romance Reviews

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Interview with Little Golden-Hood about her Encounter with the Wolf

The story is my favorite version of Little Red Riding Hood and is different from the Brothers Grimm version.  This version is found in The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang who derived his tale from the works of Charles Marelles. Andrew Lang (1844-1912) was a Scottish poet, novelist, anthropologist and was an avid collector of folk and fairy tales. By the way the University of St. Andrews, which Kate and William attended and met, was named after him.

My interview is not with the child but with Golden-Hood as a grown woman.  We met at my favorite cafe.


My goal was to hear about her long ago encounter with the wolf and the magic that saved her. Or did it?

The door opens and I see a tall confident beautiful woman with long dark hair, however she does not wear a golden-hood but a red cloak.

Me: “Welcome and please introduce yourself”
B: “Merry Meet, my name is Blanchette of the Wood, once known as Little Golden-Hood.”
Me: “Why were you nicknamed Golden Hood?” 

B: “ When I was a child my grandmother who knew of the old ways made me a magical golden cloak from the rays of sunshine. It would forever bring me luck and protect me. I used to wear it everywhere. Soon all the villages throughout knew me as Little Golden-Hood.”

Me: “What do you mean your grandmother knew of the old ways?”
B:  “My grandmother was a witch and was so old could not remember her true age. Yet she was very powerful. So powerful that not even the witch hunters gave her trouble.” 

Me: “Where did you live?”
B: “Our village was high in the mountains at the edge of the wood. My grandmother lived across the wood near her village’s windmill.”

Me: “What happened on the way to Grandma’s house?” 

B: “My mother made grandmother cake and instructed me to take it to her. She told me not to stop to chatter and especially not with strangers. On the way a wolf, bigger than most and with the ability of speech stepped in front of me. He introduced himself as Friend Wolf and asked where I was going.”

Me: “You must have been frightened”
B: “I was but I was a foolish girl and told him I was visiting my grandmother and describe her cottage. He knew of the house and that he would get there fast and tell my grandmother I was on my way.”
Me: “I wonder why he didn’t attack you in the middle of the wood?”
 B: “Not too far from where we spoke were wood-cutters and he knew my screams would attract them. He dashed away and I took my time. It was spring and I enjoyed picking daisies, and watching birds building nests. I even put my basket down for a moment to chase butterflies. Like my grandmother I enjoyed the natural world.”
Me: “So what happened when you arrived to Grandmother’s house?”
 B: “What I didn’t know then was that Grandmother had gone to the town to sell herbs.  Unaware I knocked on the door. “Toc, Toc.” The voice that answered was raspy and almost sounded like a growl. I was told to come in and I immediately asked Grandmother if she had a cold? Back then so many died of the Black Death that I felt my heart race, thinking she may be ill. The wolf that lay under the covers coughed to play along with his deception."

Me: “And you didn’t recognize the wolf?”
B: “No, it had cleverly disguised itself in Grandmother’s nightwear and cap. But then as I moved closer she began to remind me of Friend Wolf. Here is what I remember about our conversation:
 'Oh!' How like you are to friend Wolf, Grandmother!'

'That's on account of my night-cap, child,' replies the Wolf.

'Oh! what hairy arms you've got, Grandmother!'

'All the better to hug you, my child.'

'Oh! what a big tongue you've got, Grandmother!'

'All the better for answering, child.'

'Oh! what a mouthful of great white teeth you have, Grandmother!'

'That's for crunching little children with! 'And the Wolf opened his jaws wide to swallow me.
I called, “Mama!” and ran. He was only able to grab hold of my golden hood. 

He then howled as the hood burnt his tongue. In agony he continued to howl and desperately tried to get out but Grandmother arrived just in time. 

She nabbed him into her magical sack and then threw him down the well where he drowns.” She smoothed her cloak. “My golden-hood was torn but years later after I apprenticed with Grandmother she gave me this red cloak.”
Me: “And now it’s been twenty years and surely you must know this was no ordinary wolf?”
B: “No he was not. He was a werewolf and well known to have killed many.” 

Me: “Do you stay away from the wood?” 

B: Blanchette smiles with a toothed grin. “No, I live deep in the forest. Away from the village.”
Me: “But why?”
B: “You see before I leapt from the bed, the wolf managed to nip me. Just a pinch, not a savage bite, but enough to curse me with lycanthropy.”

Me: It was then that I noticed a fine layer of fur on her arms and her pointed ears. She removed her cap and it was then that I saw her true appearance. 

B: She smiled with fine glistening fangs. “Don’t worry I’m not a bad wolf.” She stood and bowed. “Nonetheless, I must leave and tend to my cubs. They get quite rambunctious during the full moon.”
Me: “I was astonished at such a twist in fate. Yet I knew I was looking at a good parent. As a mother what advice do you give your children?”
B:“Never talk to strangers, especially humans.”
Me: A howl outside the cafĂ© prickled my skin. “Another werewolf?”

B: “My mate.” She left and sauntered into the deep wood.

So I concluded my interview with Blanchette.  If you like Little Red Riding Stories I highly recommend The Company of Wolves.

 I hope you enjoyed this brief interview and come by again to meet another fantastical creature from my Bestiary Parlor.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

4 Howls for Red Riding Hood for Fun YA movie

I did not have high expectations but must admit I loved the imagery and the sweet Twilight-like Romance. I'm also a sucker for all the versions of Little Red Riding Hood. Next full moon I will be interviewing my favorite version, TBA soon. Anyway, the story revolved around a small village at the edge of the forest with a big canine problem. Like Twilight there are two hot guys who like the same girl. Amanda Seyfried plays Red Riding Hood.  Shiloh Fernandez plays Peter (was he named after Peter and the Wolf?).

Max Irons plays love interest number 2, Henry, the rich blacksmith's son.

Unlike Jacob from Twilight, these guys keep their shirts on. Must be the cold temperatures.

Gary Oldman plays the tormented Werewolf Hunter (his story is based on an old legend). He has a creative way to make you confess to being a werewolf. Racks and thumb screws are so yesterday, though his technique is not cost effective. Not 'green'.

The grandmother is definitely baby boomer, not like sweet plump old granny from older versions. Very  new age.

If you pay close attention you get to see the 3 little pigs, a man in sheep's clothing and big bad wolf "my what big features you have" references. The werewolf is typical Hollywood. There is the full moon, silver used to kill the beast, its aversion to holy ground and its bite that will turn one into a werewolf.

The audience is kept guessing on who the werewolf is. Though in the beginning there is a subtle hint. No spoilers here. Could be anyone. In my town I think the werewolf was my former math teacher.

Who is the werewolf in your neck of the woods? Could it be Charlie Sheen? No, Duh! He has tiger not wolf blood. Nonetheless, I never let my kids talk to strangers.

I liked the village. No city distractions and they really know how to throw a fun celebration with cool masks.
Village occupations seems to be woodcutters, blacksmiths, priests, mask makers, pig farmers and healers. Do they have high unemployment? They apparently outsource the production of silver swords.  There were no school  but maybe they closed because of the economy. I bet the kids are home schooled. There was one pub. Not sure about the menu. The village is alpine but no one seemed to complain about the cold. We are such wimps. We wear snow boots, gloves, down jackets and have snow days. So that's why there was no school.
What would be your occupation in Red Riding Hood's village?

The werewolf was the super-sized variety seen in Twilight and in my novels. Real wolves are about the size of a German Shepard. No real wolves used in the making of this movie. Using the lycanthrope werewolf, like in 'The Howling' type might have turned the movie into a horror. What is your preference?
The music was modern meant perhaps for the teen audience. I would have preferred music by Medieval bands such as Corvus corax, Medieval Babes or Nox Arcana. What do you all think?

My favorite part was grandmother's cool home in the woods. What a cool place to write my werewolf novels. Totally off the grid. Then again, I would need internet service.

I also found the ending satisfying. Feel free to let me know what you thought of the movie and or the answers to my questions. Here are some folks that read this blog;

Gary Oldman

My favorite wolf reporter.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Red Riding Hood trailer

Feel free to drop reviews about the movie. I especially want to hear from werewolves, grandmas, woodsman and young village girls who are partial to red hoods. Will it be 5 howls or not even a yelp?

On the next Full Moon (March 19) I plan to interview the more traditional Red Riding Hood