05 May 2012


Locus Focus: Take Seventy-One!

Welcome to "May at the Movies: Part II"!

Blogging about books is great, but I'm a fan of other media as well. Thanks to last month's theme of "Settings in Song", I got to feature some music I really like; and now that last year's "May at the Movies" is finally getting a sequel, I get to gush about movies again.

But not just any movies . . . Last May, I gave myself the additional challenge of finding maternal settings and was able to come up with an alma mater, a place from Mother Nature, someone's Motherland, and the most "womb-like" SF setting I could find. It was so much fun that I think I'll do it again . . .

This month, all my the featured places from movies will be places which feature books! =P

Feel free to grab the badge and blog your own Locus Focus. (You don't have to do the extra challenge as long as you follow the main theme.) I no longer put up a linky, but if you leave a link to your post in the combox, I'll embed it at the end of this post and the beginning of next week's post. =)

The Library
Beauty and the Beast

 "I can't believe it! I've never seen so many books in all my life!"

Ever since Disney's 90s "Renaissance," it has become notorious for taking all sorts of creative liberties with the faerie tales it adapts into full-length animated features. It changed the plot of Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp (but not too badly), changed the ending of The Little Mermaid (this time unforgivably so), changed the characters of Beauty and the Beast (from Beauty's sisters to Gaston), and changed so many things about The Frog Prince and Rapunzel that the movies don't even use the same titles. But of all their "younger" offerings, it is arguably Beauty and the Beast that is most faithful to the traditional story.

But of course I'd say that: I'm writing a Locus Focus and I'm zeroing in on the Beast's enchanted castle. =P

You may remember that this castle originally had invisible servants. (It makes symmetrical sense: a master with a changed appearance would be served by a staff who cannot be seen.) But Disney doesn't do invisible where it can do adorable, and in the tradition of Snow White's woodland creatures, Cinderella's mice, and Sleeping Beauty's bumbling faerie godmothers, Belle is waited on hand and foot by all sorts of talking furniture and knick-knacks.

The only part of the entire property that doesn't seem enchanted at all is the library . . . but you can argue that libraries have an enchantment all their own and don't need anything extra. 

The Beast's gift of his entire library to Belle is my favourite moment in Beauty and the Beast. I believe the Broadway version makes it more meaningful, as Belle makes her own spontaneous present to the Beast by reading one of the books aloud to him. It makes sense as the point at which they truly fall in love with each other. 

While I usually don't like letting Disney have the definitive word on classic faerie tales, I confess that Beauty and the Beast has raised the bar on faerie castles. Unless they come with libraries, they are not quite as magical--or as romantic--as before.

Image Source: Beauty and the Beast library


cyurkanin said...

I'm pretty sure he doesn't have the Hunger Games in there anywhere.

Paul Stilwell said...


Enbrethiliel said...


Christopher -- You and The Hunger Games . . . It's a hate affair that never ends. LOL!

Stilwell -- Et tu, Paule? =P

amy said...

While I agree with you that Beauty and the Beast is the best and the library the most romantic etc...I've always wondered if non literary types would agree...

By the way, have you read "Beauty" by Robin Mckinley? I've always wondered if Disney based their adaptation a little on hers.

Enbrethiliel said...


Hi, Amy! I'm glad to see you here. =)

I agree that bibliophiles would make Beauty and the Beast a favourite without giving it that much critical thought. I've noticed that big collectors tend to love The Little Mermaid just because they identify with Ariel's huge stash.

I haven't read Beauty yet, but I've been reading only good things about it and think of it as something to look forward to someday. (I just don't know when! I'm very slippery about committing to books.)

amy said...

That's funny about the Little Mermaid and collectors.

I love Beauty, but then I love everything I've read by Robin Mckinley, unless it has to do with vampires. I don't do vampires.

No need to commit to reading anything- you seem like a busy lady! However if you happened to find a copy at a used book store and you slipped it under your mattress in case of illness... It is not too long, by the time you are well the book will be done! It might be just what you need to get through a little cold or fever... :)

Enbrethiliel said...


How did you know about the biblio-stash under my mattress??? =P

I often buy bargain books I don't have time to read yet, in the optimistic expectation that the time will come sooner rather than later. And no matter how big the pile gets, there's always room for one more. ;-)