“On that day it will be said to Jerusalem: ‘Do not fear; Zion, do not let your hands grow weak.  Yahweh your God is among you, a warrior who saves.  He will rejoice over you with gladness.  He will bring you quietness with His love.  He will delight in you with shouts of joy.’” ~ Zephaniah 3:16-17

We are finally within the last hundred years!  The Walt Disney 1959 animated version of Sleeping Beauty is a timeless classic, giving a fresh voice to the Sleeping Beloved characters.  Disney masterfully crafted the fairy tale into something unique; and yet, the story remained true to its nature.    

Disney pays homage to both the French and German stories throughout the film.  For example, the castle has fleur-de-lis-like decorations, and the cottage scenes are rather Germanic.  Our heroine is given two names to correspond with the merge, Aurora and Briar Rose (Aurora, or “Dawn”, was the name of Sleeping Beauty’s daughter in Perrault’s tale).

There are some interesting changes, too.  The cottage in the glen seems to be a Disney original (although a version from Italy puts Sleeping Beauty in a cottage in the woods after she falls asleep).[1] There are three fairies instead of twelve, and the old insulted fairy becomes the terrifyingly evil Maleficent.  It’s the first time we see a spinning wheel rather than simply a spindle, the hundred-years sleep is only the villains intent (not the reality), and for the first time we see the thorns being used to harm the Sleeping Beloved rather than protect. 

And yet, for all its “newness”, Disney’s Sleeping Beauty begins a shift back to the “original” story of Zellandine and Troylus.  For our Aurora is a second Zellandine, and Philip a second Troylus.

Over the centuries, Zellandine’s story was submerged…the theme of allowing love to awaken the heart was always there, but Zellandine was not.  She lay sleeping, waiting for her story to resurrect itself from the grave. 

With Aurora, Zellandine begins to awaken once more.  I don’t know if Disney meant it, but Aurora’s story is Zellandine’s…or rather, it’s what Zellandine’s should have been.

For Philip is everything Troylus wasn’t – a warrior-lover intent upon awakening his Beloved.  And that, dear one, is God’s intent for this version: to point to Himself as the Warrior-Lover who desperately wishes to awaken us, His Beloved…

 

Sources

[1] “Sun, Peral, and Anna,” Heidi Anne Heiner, Sleeping Beauties: Sleeping Beauty and Snow White Tales from Around the World, p. 27-31


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