Rating the Princes Charming by Christoper Healy + GiveawayAs one of the iconic “heroes” in all of literature, Prince Charming is unbelievably dull. He’s got no personality, no distinct identity outside of his highborn social status, and doesn’t do much to earn that “hero” label. I wrote The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom to set things right, to add some oomph to one of kid-lit’s flattest characters. But was I being too harsh in my critiques of the original versions? Surely they can’t all be that bad. Can they?
Let’s take a look at these Princes Charming in their original tales and see how they rate as true heroes.
Defined character traits: Handsome; rich; possibly sneaky.
Known deeds: In most versions, he sends a valet to scout out a girl he liked and lost, though in a few variations he does the girl-scouting himself. And in one Grimm Brothers version, the prince actually schemes to make Cinderella lose her slipper — he sneakily coats the steps with wax so that her shoes stick to them. So depending which version you read, the prince is either sweet-but-lazy or resourceful-but-Machiavellian. Oh, and there’s also the bit where the wicked stepsisters trick the prince into thinking the slipper fits them by cutting off parts of their feet. The prince never notices the bloody mess himself — he needs a magical bird to point it out to him. So… points for observation skills.
Hero rating (out of 10): 3
SNOW WHITE’S PRINCE
Defined character traits: Lucky; kinda creepy.
Known deeds: He stumbles upon Snow White, presumably dead, in a glass coffin and is so smitten by her beauty that he tries to buy her from the dwarfs — at least that’s the way the Grimms tell it. When he realizes she’s not dead, he’s just kind of like, “Hey, cool.” In other versions, he’s just so saddened by the loss of someone so pretty that he can’t help but kiss her. I suppose that’s slightly better.
Hero rating: 1
RAPUNZEL’S PRINCEDefined character traits: Good-hearted; not so bright.
Known deeds: In the original tale, the prince discovers Rapunzel in the tower and wins her over by being a generally nice guy. And she proposes to him (at least in some versions). So he returns to her every day, bringing bits of silk so that she can eventually tie them into a ladder and escape. Prince Smarty McGenius thinks this is a much better plan than just bringing an actual ladder. When he returns on one occasion to find the witch there instead of Rapunzel, he jumps out of the tower, lands in a thorn bush, and blinds himself. The guy messes up repeatedly, but, hey, at least he tries.
Hero rating: 5
SLEEPING BEAUTY’S PRINCE
Defined character traits: Brave (if foolhardishly so); a bit cocky
Known deeds: In some classic versions of the Briar Rose tale, the princess has been asleep for one hundred years before our prince shows up. And during that time, many wannabe heroes have died trying to hack through the mystical briar patch that covers the whole kingdom. The prince is undaunted by this, though, enters the tangle of thorns anyway, and kisses the enchanted maiden to wake her. Other iterations of the tale require the hearty prince to vanquish the evil fairy herself before reaching Sleeping Beauty. Either way, you’ve got to give the guy props for courage. But you’ve also got to admit he’s perhaps a little too well-stocked in the ego department. When people remind him about all the other princes whose bodies are still sticking around, impaled on those magic thorns, he basically says, “Well, it’s not going to happen to me.” Self-confident? Sure. Bit of a show-off? Absolutely. Wise? Meh.
Hero rating: 9
Okay, so Sleeping Beauty’s prince may be the real deal (or at least something approaching it), but his motives aren’t the most noble we’ve ever seen. In the end, I still think giving Prince Charming a makeover was the right thing to do.
About The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom
Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never head of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as “Prince Charming.” But all of this is about to change…
Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Guztav stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other associated terrors to becom the heroes no one ever thought they could be.
This title is the first in a series about the adventures of Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav. The second title is due out in 2013.
About Christopher HealyChristopher Healy has spent years reviewing children’s books and media online and in print before setting off to write The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, his first children’s book. He lives with his wife and their two children in New Jersey. You can find him online at ChristopherHealy.com.
Listen to the audio sample because I am giving away an audiobook thanks to Christopher and Walden Pond Press. Use the Rafflecopter below to enter!