What did you think of Ella Enchanted’s movie adaptation? I think it’s an okayish film, but it’s pretty obvious that the people in charge were trying to cash in on Shrek’s approach to fairy tales.


I’m delighted you asked. You know how I say “I could write a paper about what’s wrong with Once Upon A Time and how to fix it”? I could do the same for this. The destruction of Ella Enchanted is endlessly fascinating to me.

So what it kind of boils down to is how fairy tales were depicted in film in the 2000s vs. how they’ve been depicted in the 2010s. Shrek is undoubtedly responsible for the former. It premiered in 2001 and handled the fairy tales in a kind of mocking way, tongue-in-cheek, spoofing Disney with excessively bright colors and simplistic, flattened versions of the fairy tale characters with anachronistic nods to modern day life. After Shrek, all of the fairy tale films really drove in this direction. the 2002 Hansel and Gretel, the 2003 Peter Pan, Hoodwinked!, the 2006 Red Riding Hood, and especially Ella Enchanted. The Brothers Grimm is a stand-out exception, using a much darker setting and twist on the tale, but for the most part, the fairy tale films of the 2000s are set in a sugary sweet fairy tale world. Even movies with modern twists like A Cinderella Story, Enchanted, and Sydney White are presented with a wink and a nudge,

Then the Shrek saga ends in 2010 with Shrek the Fourth, which was a disaster of a movie. The shift is very sudden, and I’m not sure what caused it. SyFy’s Alice, Tin Man, and Neverland series may have played a part. I hate to give him too much credit, but Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland probably had a role in this shift as well, along with the television premieres of Once Upon A Time and Grimm in 2011. The film industry started taking fairy tales more seriously. They developed their own small worlds, became visually more interesting and with more variety between the films. They are became darker and grittier and more serious in general. The 2011 Red Riding Hood, Snow White and the Huntsman, Jack the Giant Slayer, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters Maleficent, Beauty and the Beast… again, there are some exceptions. The live action Disney Cinderella comes to mind, it’s particularly noteworthy for its brightly colored aesthetic, but it still handles the fairy tale with great care and interest. And again, even the modern retellings, which have really subsided, are told with more of an edge, such as Beastly.

So Ella Enchanted is so frustrating because it was a victim of the 2000s interpretations of fairy tale. The book is so well written. Gail Carson Levine develops a very intriguing world with multiple kingdoms, fantasy races, new languages, fully-developed characters, twists that not only flesh out the original tale but explain it as well – Ella’s fairy blood affecting the size of her feet, not to mention, of course, the curse that the whole story centers around. Hollywood took this amazing adaptation, threw it in the Shrek-based self-aware cotton candy machine, and spit out a movie that’s… fun, in its own way, but is a shadow of its original novel.

We deserve a real movie version of this beautiful novel. Ella deserves it. Gail Carson Levine deserves it.

I’m particularly tied to Ella Enchanted because my first reading of it coincided with my introduction to Into the Woods, which really sparked my interest in fairy tales that lasted well into my adulthood. Until they adapt it correctly, I will forever feel slighted.

Hi :) I know that nessian is oversexualized in the fandom but I was wondering if you could see her as asexual (not that I believe that SJM would write her as ace). With Cassian, in her perspective in Wings and Embers the way she thinks about him does not hint at her feeling sexual attraction. The common aspect of the spectrum aside, despite her proclaiming that she was in love with Tomas The way she speaks makes it seem almost as if she just wants to get out of their situation by marrying and

even to make a point to Feyre. In WaE she does not seem hurt by the break up but she is affected by Tomas assaulted her. Moreover, she had barely let him kiss her and she hasn’t had sex. This could be a case of not wanting to have sex before marriage but she may also not be particularly attracted to men or women. She also mentions that she self-satisfies her needs and while the explanation was that she does not deem any man of lower position worthy in her PoV we see that this comment was meant to hurt Cassian if he actually processed it. What seems to make her interested in him is his honesty and the way he can actually see past her walls. It is not described as romantic or sexual. Even when she feels aroused when Cassian kisses her she seems shocked -not just surprised- and she even asks if magic is involved, which is a pretty strong reaction in my opinion and is interesting if we consider that there may be a bond that was established in AcoWaR -above anything else- as

predetermined attraction meant to provide strong offspring. I would love to see how this would play out with Nesta being written as asexual and greyromantic. 

This is a really great headcanon! It’s been a very long time since I’ve read Wings and Embers. I do remember recognizing the tension in that short, which I interpreted as sexual (which it definitely was on Cassian’s end), but I don’t recall the details of Nesta’s perspective enough to specifically comment on that. However, the rest of her behavior throughout the series could totally support this headcanon! Even her reading of romance novels in ACOWAR might be a hint that she’s trying to understand her sexuality or sexuality in general. Not gonna lie, I kind of used smut that way for a long time. 

At the very least, Nesta is 22 and throughout the series had has never had a fling or seemed interested in marriage beyond the opportunity to get out of her circumstances. She’s also very derisive of Feyre’s interactions with Isaac and Elain’s relationship with Graysen, indicating that she really just might not get those kinds of relationships. It could very well be that she’s grey-asexual (and probably grey-romantic, as you suggested), and that Cassian is the first person for whom she’s felt any inkling of attraction to. This is often a super terrifying and uncomfortable experience for people on the asexual spectrum, so it could add to the explanation of why Nesta is so slow to warm up to Cassian. 

Oh my gosh, the more I think about this, the more I love it! Thank you for bringing this to me!