After Happily Ever After

What does happen after happily ever after?

There is a transformation in every story, the identity is revealed, the mystery solved, and the world brought back to rights. But the characters are new and different–how do they know how to act, what to do in their new circumstances?

Many stories end in the glow of new love, of new circumstances, of riches after poverty, of power after powerlessness. That is a good plaace to stop a bedtime story, but many of the older, longer versions of Cinderella type stories in particular, there are continuing problems.

The prince’s mother is often an ogress–and nobody has commented on what it is like to be married to a half-ogre–who has the intention of doing away with the new bride and her children. The mother-in-law orders the death of the children (like in Snow White) but the servants take the children away instead. The mother is accused of killing her children, and finally banished.  It generally takes seven years for the husband to get to the truth, often because he is often away at war, before he can find his wife again and recover their children.

But then the story ends again, and there is no explanation of how the separated lovers learn to live together again as the parents of half=grown children. What would happen if the ogress was successful–as she must sometimes be?

That’s the sort of problem that fairy godmothers want to stop before it happens. That’s why they listen to the story of the people involved to find out what they want, what their true intentions are and what can reasonably be done to change their circumstances so that they can get what they want.

But most people only get one wish–or they get only one story–so we don’t know what happens next. But Maven will be finding out as she deals with the aftermath of her first week on the job. All her clients’ stories affect other people, just as our own stories affect others, and so those folks are in line to become Maven’s clients too.  It gives the whole idea of teh butterfly effect a power more like the flapping of dragon wings as Maven works to give women more choices over the directions their lives take.  Fiona is not pleased. She has some not-so-happily after plans for Maven.

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