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The Last Wish (The Witcher, #0.5)
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2016 Reads > TLW: Fairy Tales in the stories

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Anne Schüßler (anneschuessler) | 842 comments I've read three of the seven stories now (or rather listened to them as I chose the audiobook for this pick) and it seems pretty clear to me that Sapkowski is using fairy tale classics in his stories.

In the third story it's more than obvious that Renfri is Snow White or at least some alternate version of Snow White. The second story sounds very much like a different take of Beauty and the Beast to me.

I can't find any fairy tale to fit the first story but maybe I'm missing something or looking for the wrong clues. I also don't know if this is just a thing for the stories mentioned, as I haven't read all of the stories yet.

With this in the back of my mind, I find the stories even more compelling as they have something very familiar which is then turned upside down and retold in a completely different context. I'm enjoying that a lot and hope that I will find something in the stories to come.

I'm also not sure if these should be regarded as retold fairy tales or if it's rather little bits of common lore woven into a story which other than that has nothing to do with these stories. Not sure if I'm making myself clear here, but anyway... discuss away.

Sean | 355 comments I think all but the last two stories (and the framing story) are based on or reference some fairy tale. Personally, I love it, because it's a lot more interesting than the standard D&D-esque fantasy worlds. It's also why I like this short story collection more than the second, because these stories are all about Geralt doing Witcher stuff.

Also, per the Witcher Wiki, the first story is based on a Danish fairy tale called "The Princess in the Chest" or "The Princess in the Coffin" ( Based on the synopsis, I think it's a pretty solid guess.

Anne Schüßler (anneschuessler) | 842 comments Nice, thanks for the link. I would have to re-read the first story in The Last Wish, but the resemblance surely is there, so I guess we found our fairy tale.

message 4: by Lara (new) - added it

Lara | 24 comments Poland also has folk tales and fairy tales that are not well known outside the central Europe/Slavic countries. My husband is from Poland, so I can also ask him about the stories, though he hasn't read the book.

message 5: by Ivi_kiwi (last edited Jul 30, 2016 02:30AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ivi_kiwi | 87 comments In the third story a kind of "rapunzel" is mentioned who escaped a tower by climbing down on her iwn hair.
And I also spotted baba yaga.
I am currently reading the fourth story and i remins me of "hans, my hedgehog".

Daryl | 92 comments Fairy tale meets pulp fantasy. Love it.

Ivi_kiwi | 87 comments The last story seems inspired by alladin.

Anne Schüßler (anneschuessler) | 842 comments Ivi_kiwi wrote: "The last story seems inspired by alladin."

Yeah, I thought so, too, but I guess Djinns and Ifrits are common lore, so I'm not sure if there's really a relation to the specific story or if he is just using well-known magical creatures in the story. Other than the Djinn, are there any story plots that can be traced back to Alladin?

Ivi_kiwi | 87 comments Anne wrote: "Ivi_kiwi wrote: "The last story seems inspired by alladin."

Yeah, I thought so, too, but I guess Djinns and Ifrits are common lore, so I'm not sure if there's really a relation to the specific sto..."

The three wishes, i guess.

message 10: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4208 comments Parts of this book reminded me of the comic book series Fables, with Geralt in for Bigbie. Fables came after so perhaps drew on this for inspiration. Although I could easily believe that they both drew on common inspiration.

message 11: by Joanna Chaplin (last edited Aug 07, 2016 12:48PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments This reminded me a lot of the The Fairy Godmother and the rest of that series. In that world, The Tradition is the magical force that makes things happen the way they do in the stories. Those in the know study the stories and try to nudge them into better outcomes. Knowing how the stories go and using that is also a big piece of The Seventh Bride. A little bit shows up in Howl's Moving Castle which I also read recently. It's an approach to fantasy that I actually like quite a bit.

I really want The Fairy Godmother to be a pick, incidentally. It's delightfully meta.

message 12: by Ryne (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ryne | 68 comments The Snow White story of how Gerald became known as The Butcher of Blaviken is quite possibly my favorite story in The Last Wish.

message 13: by Adam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Adam Gutschenritter (heregrim) | 114 comments I loved the new twist and take on traditional fairy tales that this book did. It placed the stories within a stronger cultural context for me through the tongue and cheek referencing without the traditional story taking over the whole prose. Very, Very well done.

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