Once upon a times and happily ever afters pervaded my childhood thoughts. I’d always had a voracious appetite for fairytales, for those feel-good stories of good triumphing over evil, of true love conquering all– of mysterious wizards, mystical fairies, talking mirrors and handsome heroes. Yes, I would let my thoughts and imagination soar into a fable-lous world each and every night before I jumped into bed. A wannabe princess-in-training, but a true storyteller at heart, I loved being whisked away into a magical land where none of life’s multitude of worries would ever find me. It was pure bliss, well, at least for a couple of hours.
Sadly, as the years past, the ups and downs of reality began, inevitably, to sink in, keeping me further and further away from my perfectly imagined dream world. Fairytales, I was taught, are strictly for little girls and boys. They are not at all practical and can often cloud our judgements, offering only feel-good versions of the epic lives we wished we all had.
Yet in Hollwyood, where all things are (and can be made) possible, this is apparently not the case anymore.
We’ve entered a new age where magical stories of evil queens, feisty dwarves and fantasy adventures have become extremely appealing– even to full grown adults. Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficient” is currently ruling the big screen while HBO’s “Game of Thornes” is taking over the smaller one. According to Betsy Sharkey in a recent LA Times article, “these are magical times for adults. We are awash in fairy tales made for the grown-up set. And given their tremendous popularity, fairy tales are becoming the escapist antidote of choice to help weather stressful times.”
Well, I for one, could not be happier that we’ve finally (re)entered into a new age of enchantment.
Albert Einstein once remarked, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairytales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairytales.” Yes, fairytales, at least in my mind (and Einstein’s), are much more important than we may give them credit for. They can loosen the chains of the imagination, for young and old, providing things and images to think with and about– as well as the sense that anything is possible.
These are, as Sharkey so poignantly points out, “thorny modern times saturated with entrenched dilemmas, fractious politics and endless global uprisings.” In just the past few months, the U.S. alone has experienced more number of school shootings than anyone would ever imagine could occur in a lifetime. Over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls still remain missing from the April 2014 attacks in Chibok. What has this world come to? It’s a difficult question to think about, an even harder one to try to answer. But one thing’s for sure: our sudden fascination with magic, mysticism and mystery is no mere coincidence. These gripping stories serve as an outlet, a fanciful escape, gently handling problematic subtext by allowing us a fresh look at things without them being “clouded by contemporary culture”– by the ongoing hazards and heart breaks experienced in our everyday lives.
With the help of brilliant digital advancements, fairytales have been reinvented by the industry of entertainment. Films and television will no doubt continue to offer both young and old crowds a variety of selections that are sure to extend these magic-obsessed times we currently dwell in. In 2016 alone, sequels to 2012’s “Snow White and the Huntsman,” 2010’s “Alice in Wonderland” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” (the 5th installment) are due to hit theaters. “Once Upon a Time” will continue to light up the small screen for another season on ABC starting this fall, while NBC is slated to premiere its own new adventure series, “Crossbones,” with John Malkovich starring as the notorious pirate Blackbeard.
Oh yes, this is certainly a magical time for adults. And it is quite a comfort to know that in the months to come, I’ll be able to experience many more moments of the same childhood ‘bliss’ I so eagerly looked forward to every single night.