Before I get started, I want to make it clear that I am referring to the actual Storybook of Legends, not the novel by Shannon Hale (which I loved by the way; fans who haven’t read it really should.)
In The Tale of Legacy Day, Apple and Raven saw what the book and the magic mirror had in store for the two heroines. Naturally, my first thoughts were, “Whoa! Talk about final nail on the coffin.” However, I started over-thinking, as I usually do, and I noticed a few things that just glared at me. Though it wasn’t the focus of their Riddlish-filled conversation, Maddie did say that Giles had told her that something is wrong with the book. Along with some observations, I’ll tell you what I think this “something wrong” is. I hope you’re comfortable, ‘cause this is going to take a while.
First, I’ll start with Apple White. As you all know, Apple is a true believer when it comes to destiny, and why shouldn’t she? After all, her destiny is a pretty sweet deal: Hailed as the fairest in the land, animal friends, seven adoring dwarves, a handsome prince, and a kingdom. However, this is not just something she dreamed up in kindergarten (or nursery rhyme school, as the case may be) and picked as a career choice. This is what she was born to do, literally! Everything about Apple; her lifestyle, her ambitions, her mannerisms, her education, even her outfits (have you seen her purse?!) are all about being Snow White. Clearly, she doesn’t just see her destiny as an obligation of tradition like other Royals. Apple wants her destiny, really wants it. In the Storybook of Legends novel, we learn that her dreams of Happily Ever After are not just based on starry-eyed awe, but of fear too. When Apple was six years old, she fell down a well. This one traumatic, two minutes-long experience in her otherwise flawless childhood is what made her so desperate for destiny. To Apple, anything unpredictable is too dangerous and scary to face, and her story, with it’s promise of safety and happiness despite a few hiccups is the better option. In short, Apple chose security and ignorant bliss over limitless possibilities and potential.
Now for Raven Queen. Like Apple, Raven’s childhood shaped her views of destiny. Her mother, Evil Queen Extraordinaire, made it a point to regularly remind Raven of the villainous role she would one day inherit, even exposing her to bloody conquest and black magic as early as age six. But even as a little hatchling, Raven knew one thing: she does not want to be a wicked sorceress. But what is it about her destiny that ruffles this bird’s feathers? It’s not the fashion sense, not the power, and she’d like her magic if she had a better control over it. No, what she’s really scared of is all intelligent life fearing and hating her. Raven wants her own life, because, no matter how bad real life can get, there is the possibility of friends and happiness that’s not in her story. As the direct opposite of Apple, Raven fears her destiny, and welcomes the unpredictable future in hopes that she can find something better.
Okay, now that we’ve gotten through the character analysis, let take a look into the book. Apple and Raven both saw the two of them re-enacting the iconic poison apple scene, but what came afterward was all but different stories. Apple got two pictures with nothing but fame and glamour, and the sight of her all grown up and a queen. Now, Apple has no thoughts on her destiny besides that it is the straight path to happiness, and that’s all she saw: herself, safe and on top of the world. Raven, on the other hand, got a more detailed view of her future. Three pages and a mirror full of nothing but isolation, poverty, imprisonment, and misery by the bucket-load. Before taking her leap of faith, Raven was constantly processing whether or not to sign the book. Would she really turn into public enemy #1, or just poison Apple, knowing she’ll be perfectly fine, and go back to being Raven? Well, the book answered that question. Basically, Apple saw a dream come true, and Raven saw her every nightmare come to life.
To me, it was all too good, too bad, too much. Almost like the Storybook was trying to force our heroines to their ultimate decisions. For that reason, I proposes that the Storybook of Legends does not show it’s reader what will happen, but what they think will happen!