Fairy Tales - Hans Christian Andersen

The Complete Fairy Tales - Hans Christian Andersen

OK. So. Fairy Tales. Everyone loves a good fairytale, right?

But, you know, one. Or two. Three at best. By the time I'd read all these, I could predict exactly what was going to happen. And most of them are so horrible! Nearly all of them involve death, or unrequited love, or divine judgement, and some of them don't even seem to have any point. Surely "The Old Bachelor's Nightcap" is just gratuitous misery? And is it just me, or does Andersen have a thing for anthropomorphism? Nearly half of these tales are written from the viewpoint of an inanimate object. "The Steadfast Tin Soldier." "The Shirt-Collar." "The Daisy". After a while they all blur into one.

There are maybe a handful of tales I'll revisit. My favourite is definitely "The Wild Swans", although there are some major plot holes - why didn't Eliza just write stuff down instead of talking? But then, I suppose, fairy tales aren't meant to make you think, you're just supposed to take the moral as it comes.

These fairy tales are charming enough, taken one at a time - even the death is just keen tragedy - but read all at once, they're cloying and predictable. Give me The Lord of the Rings any day.