Friday, March 29, 2013

Fairy Tale Friday: Bluebeard

Fairy Tale Friday is finally back (even though it’s a day late)!

Today we’re covering a fairy tale that isn’t very well known, but it’s been buzzing quite a bit lately, with a new retelling coming out this month. If you haven’t already guessed, I’ll give you some hints: It originated from France, I reviewed every single retelling of it that I know of this week (exactly one (and a half)), and the name is in the post title. If you guessed Bluebeard, then you’re right! (If not, you need to get your eyesight checked)

What’s the story?

Check out SurLaLune Fairytales for a very thorough annotated version of the original. Or…

Check out The Secret Adventures of WriterGirl for a hilarious annotated version of Bluebeard!

Or you can read my summary:

220px-BarbebleueBasically there’s this creep known as Bluebeard who marries a random girl off the street, but shortly after the marriage he has to go away on a “business trip”. He leaves her with a set of all the keys in the house, telling her she’s free to open whichever doors she chooses, except for a random closet. So what does she do? Well, she starts out by being obedient, leaving the closet alone. She invites her friends over for a party, and they go crazy running around the mansion. Soon she’s sick of her selfish friends and decides to ditch her guests and take a peek in the Forbidden Closet, and too late does she discover that it was the dumbest decision of her life (besides, you know, marrying the creep in the first place!)

There she finds the corpses of young women hanging on the wall like they were coats or something. In shock, she drops her key in the pool of blood on the floor, and what do you know? Bluebeard returns! And when he gets the keys back, he sees the blood on the key and threatens to kill her, but she convinces him to give her a moment to say her prayers, AKA scream out the window for her brothers (who conveniently were passing by), who stop by just in time to kill Bluebeard. The girl (whose name is Anne) is left with a big, fancy house full of expensive stuff, and wisely uses that money to marry a man who was sane enough not to keep his dead wives in his closet (or not have any dead wives in the first place). Happily Ever After!

What’s up with Bluebeard?

I genuinely want to know what’s going on with Bluebeard. He obviously has some issues. He’s essentially forcing the girl to marry him, and then when he gets upset he pulls a Queen of Hearts

Not the best relationship if you ask me. Maybe it’s time for some couples counseling. Of course there’s also the issue of a closet full of dead wives. Seems like he had quite the temper. I still don’t understand why he’d even give her the keys in the first place, since it’s obvious that she’d open the closet door. If he had any intent of being married for more than a week, he probably should’ve taken a better approach.

And what’s going on with Anne?

Anne is not my favorite fairy tale heroine, but I must admit she’s better than some. She’s forced into a marriage with a terrifying older man whose blue beard is full of secrets. Already she’s not off to a good start, but she seems sensible. But once she’s left alone with a key to The Forbidden Closet, she throws a party with her friends! If I were her, I’d run to the closet the moment he left, and flee the country once I saw what was inside. But she throws a party and tries to forget about that stupid closet. Even if the closet wasn’t an issue, that kind of husband isn’t one I want to be associated with, and I’d still run! But I guess she’s trying to have an open heart and give him a try, but if that was truly her intent, you’d think she’d be able to control herself and leave the closet alone, right? At least she’s clever enough in the end, buying some time to call to her brothers, though. And then after Bluebeard is long gone, she puts his money to good use and buys herself a nice husband. So, props to her for using some sense!

What’s the Moral of the Story?

These types of tales tend the have quite a few lessons in them. Hopefully I don’t have to spell this out for you, but just to be safe:

Beware of old men with strangely colored facial hair!


13721341Retellings of Bluebeard are rather sparse, but I highly recommend that everyone check out the recent release Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson!

***Spoiler Alert***

[ If you want another book with quite a few Bluebeard elements, Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross has quite a few elements of Bluebeard in it. This is only marked as a ‘spoiler’ because this revelation doesn’t come until the end of the book, though it’s plain from early on that a main character is in the role of Bluebeard (the blue hair is a dead give away) ]

What do you think about Bluebeard? Crazy, or just misunderstood?


  1. I can't wait to read Strands of bronze and gold. I like this story and I haven't read a retelling about it before (only Kill me softly)

  2. I love the tale of Bluebeard as he is quite the evil villain. My favorite retelling is the Robber Bridegroom, where the clever girl finds her way out of marrying a man who only wants to murder her and feast on her flesh.

  3. I've always found this tale quite disturbing.


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