Friday’s Fairy Tales: Swan Lake


“Far Longer than Forever….”

otherwise known as “that tale with(out) Derek the Douche”

Ahem. This week’s Friday’s Fairytales will be exploring the origins of the tale of “Swan Lake”.

I remember always watching the Don Bluth movie “The Swan Princess” whenever I would go to my grandad’s on a saturday afternoon (often in company with Thumbelina and Beauty and the Beast…constantly. I wore those tapes out.) So I figured what better way to get back into this feature than going to this beauty and weirdness of a tale.

Original Sources: Now I do not actually have a copy of the tale with me so yes, I will be basically referring to the glorious Wikipedia and interwebs for assistance on this one!.

The tale itself does not come along in great detail like most of the traditional fairy tales, as it was originally told in the form of the Ballet, which was composed by Tchaikovsky (the musical genius who also scored the ballets of Sleeping Beauty and the Nutcracker). The Ballet was composed in 1875-1876, although there is some debate and inaccuracies about the actual origins of the tale itself.

On the Aarne Thompson Scale, Swan Lake can be found under type 300:  Princess and Dragons.

  • The tale of “Swan Lake” tells the story of a princess named Odette who is kidnapped and cursed by a wicked sorcerer’s curse, which turns her into a swan. She is transformed by Rothbart, the sorcerer, into a swan and can only appear in human form by night.

  • At the lake, there are many companions who suffer the same curse, who subsequently named her their Queen (hence the original title “The Swan Queen”)

  • The lake was magically formed from the tears her mother cried for her when Rothbart Kidnapped her.

  • The only way for the curse to be broken is ~*~true love~*~. Basically if the vow of eternal love is broken, she will stay a swan.

  • While hunting, Prince Siegfried comes across Odette and nearly shoots her. She transforms in front of him and he is struck by her beauty (lol “WHAT ELSE IS THERE?” GUYS. Derek, you douche).

  • Odette explains her curse to Siegfried and he invites her a ball the next evening, where he will ask her to be his bride in front of the entire kingdom.

  • Prince Siegfried and Odette fall in love, but Rothbart tricks Siegfried into breaking his vow, trapping Odette in her swan form forever.

  • Rothbart sends his daughter, Odile, disguised as Odette, to appear at the ball before Odette can get there. Suspecting nothing (because he is stupid, hey ho nothing changes), Siegfried announces he loves fake!Odette.

  • Siegfried discovers he has been tricked, he runs to Odette at the lake and begs her forgiveness, she agrees but tells him that the only way she can escape the curse now is by death.

  • To escape, the lovers commit suicide “and are reunited in death, forever”.

You know, cheerful stuff.


I have only read one re-telling of this tale, and it is:

  1. The Swan Kingdom- Zoe Marriot (which I gave 2 stars)

Here are some other re-tellings I discovered when browsing:

  1. The Swan Maiden- Heather Tomlinson

  2. Princess of the Wild Swans- Diane Zahler and Yvonne Gilbert

Obviously I have also seen the gloriously bad Don Bluth movie enough to know the script .

I know this week’s hasn’t been upto the standard I usually do but yeah, this week kind of ran away from me! I need to get back into the habit of planning these posts properly.

What do you think of Swan Lake/The Swan Princess? Do you like it? Hate it?

As always, if there are any tales you really want me to discuss, feel free to request them!


2 thoughts on “Friday’s Fairy Tales: Swan Lake

  1. I also wore out my tape of the Swan Princess as a kid. hehe (Now those songs are going to be stuck in my head all day) I’ve never read the original. Thanks for the interesting post. 🙂

    • thebookheap says:

      haha Oh man, that movie is so full of issues. I used to adore it but I went back and watched it the other year and spent half of it with a very confused look on my face like “wait…did it really just do that?” I still love it though. Thumbelina will always top it for me, though.


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