Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Little Mermaids


When I was but a wee lass, I happened across an animated version of The Little Mermaid playing on TV. Not the Disney one. This one stuck very closely to the original Hans Christian Anderson story. And I think it may have emotionally scarred me at a very young age. What an f'd up story to tell your kids.
Maybe this is why I love the disney version so much. Happy endings are always better.

So anyway, I recently rewatched it on youtube and it went a little something like this. The little mermaid gets turned into a human to get the prince to fall in love with her. If he doesn't, she'll turn to seafoam. Prince falls in love with a different girl who he thinks saved him. They get married. Little mermaid's sisters cut off their beautiful hair and give it to the sea witch. In return they are given a knife. Little mermaid needs to use that knife to kill the prince. When his blood spills over her feet, it'll turn back into a fin and she can be a mermaid again. Little Mermaid decides she loves the prince too much and cannot kill him. She turns into seafoam. Prince wakes up, sees a scale that the Little Mermaid left behind and realizes it was her all along who saved him.

So EVERYBODY IS SCREWED! Little mermaid is DEAD. Sisters cut off their hair for NOTHING! Prince is stuck with the OTHER girl. Depression ensues until I watch Disney's little mermaid and am happy again.

Even more screwed up, I remember the TV version I watched when I was young saying if the little mermaid stabbed the prince in the heart with the knife, he would fall in love with her instead of the woman he married. I also remember being totally confused how someone could get stabbed in the heart and potentially live through it. My guess is that this was the American censor way of making this movie suitable for airing on television. Good work television censors. Tell kids that stabbing people in the heart makes them like you MORE!

As an adult, I am able to appreciate the tragedy and irony of the original story a little more, but as a kid.....well, I wouldn't recommend showing it to kids.



Well anyway, since this Little Mermaid is by far my more favorite of the two, I figured I'd do an Ariel to go along with the series of her sisters that I did a while back. You can't have all the sisters without Ariel. :)

22 comments:

Chris Battle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Battle said...

I totally remember how that was the biggest bummer fairytale ending. Great illustration; No more complaining outta you about your coloring skills from now on, right? Right.

potato farm girl said...

I will trade you Dumbo for two nice prints of these mermaids! I like the dayglo purple shadow on Ariel very much. I grew up with the japanese Little Mermaid too. Used to hate it, but have an appreciation for it now, it was so sad! I kinda wanted her to stab the Prince for being a jerk, but oh wells, bubble sea foam for Marina.
Oh yeah, the first piece reminds me a bit of Gustaf Tenggren , :)
This is pretty. http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/File:Tenggren_Blue_fairy_workshop.jpg

Michael Pfeffer said...

Almost all of the old, real versions of those old fairy tales were quite violent and depressing.

I remember reading the Wizard of Oz and finding out the Tin Man was quite the accomplished murderer.

Warren said...

I love your artwork. And I loved this story. :)

Andrew Murray said...

I remember the dvd extra of little mermaid where John and Ron talk about the depressing version of the little mermaid and how it was originally conceived back in the 9 old men days but never made it further than that.

Is this an exception to when you tell someone the book is better than the movie? har har.

-nice drawing!

allison j. sebastian said...

Beautiful mermaids

emilio said...

Awesome.

Darkness U.S.A said...

A lot of old European fairy tales have murders in them from Hansel and Gretal to the Three Little Pigs. I guess old world children were less sheltered and were exposed to the harsh realities of life at an early age.

Anonymous said...

I remember anoher japan or maybe it was korean mermaid tale that was alomst the same expect before she drowned angels carried her off (to heaven I guess) as a reward for her selfless act of not killing the prince.

Brian Lue Sang said...

That's one depressing story! Holy cow... but now I have to check it out. Hopefully my adult mind won't be shattered and I won't be found in the corner of the room crying for the sea-foam-maid.

Great drawings!

Olga said...

Hello Lauren,
I'm new to your blog, and it's been a treat looking at the past entries and seeing all the cool sketches and artwork. :)

This Mermaids piece is awesome - I love the POV and the color scheme. My first exposure to the story was the original HCA version, and it still managed to lodge itself in the subconscious... something so tragic and tragically romantic about the way she tragically sacrificed everything for a dude... XD And it's my most fav Disney princess flick as well. ^_^

I hope you'll be able to share more art with us, and maybe some storyboards as well? I'm a fledgling sb student, and it's incredibly inspirational to see your work. ^__^

Great to meetcha!
~Olga

Melissa B said...

I had no idea you were/are scarred my the OG Little Mermaid story. I laughed out loud at this post. Hope Ashley dosen't go around stabbing people in the heart.... maybe I will only let her watch the Disney version.

EruditeChick said...

I saw that! I remember that! There was a weird little section at the Blockbuster in Lake Oswego, OR that had all of these bizarre 'classic fairytales' that had been made in Japan and then dubbed for US distribution.

The Little Mermaid and Unico and the Island of Magic probably did the most damage.

Smarry said...

I totally remember how that was the biggest bummer fairytale ending. Great illustration

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Anonymous said...

yeah, the original story is pretty messed up yo. O.o

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Well indeed it is a better version the one from Disney, this other like you said, it is a odd one.

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xlpharmacy said...

It is my cousin favorite movie. she has been searching about it to buy it. I don't know why she is so hard fan about it.

Anonymous said...

The original story is actually about the author. He was in love with someone who married someone else.

However, something that the t.v series you describe has missed out is that she doesn't just turn into sea-foam.
She becomes a spirit of the air, one of those who look down on those still on earth and do good deeds, and in how-ever many years and a lot of good deeds, they will come back to the world and live again.

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