Marissa Meyer’s WINTER is a Nontraditional Spin on Fairy Tales
Marissa Meyer’s new book Winter hit bookstores today and promises more fairy tale princesses and princes in a dystopian future. Her first book, Cinder, was based around the tale of Cinderella and introduced the cyborg Cinder and her skill with mechanics. Throughout her other books, we met other characters such as Scarlet (Red Riding Hood), Cress (Rapunzel), Emperor Kaito, and the evil Queen Levana. Now we meet Winter, who is not the average princess. She has no royal blood and is completely insane due to her refusal to use her powers of deception. In Winter, she must join Cress and her team to end the reign of Queen Levana.
Marissa Meyer was interviewed by MTV about her new book.
MTV News: What first brought you to modernize these fairy tale princesses into this epic sci-fi platform?
Marissa Meyer: Years ago I decided to enter a writing contest in which the host had made a list of ten things, and you had to choose two things from the list to include in your short story. I chose to set my story in the future and to include a fairy tale character, and I ended up writing a science-fiction retelling of the story “Puss in Boots,” in which Puss was a robotic talking cat searching for a lost princess from the moon.
I didn’t win the contest, but I had so much fun writing the story, and I thought there was a ton of potential in combining these two very different genres. It inspired me to start brainstorming what else I could do, and soon I knew that I wanted to write an entire series of sci-fi fairy tale adaptations.
MTV: If you had to pick a *favorite* Disney Princess, who would it be and why?
Meyer: For Disney specific, I have to go with Rapunzel. I loved “Tangled” so much, and I adored how her character was smart, honest, and adorable. She had moments of bravery, and also moments of weakness. I think Disney really nailed her character. (On that note, I’m rather partial to Flynn Rider, too.)
MTV: What is it about being raised on Luna that makes certain people so hostile?
Meyer: It’s a pretty flawed society. A lot of the social hierarchy is determined by how good you are at manipulating and brainwashing the people around you, and a lot of people treat mental manipulation like a game.
On top of that, you’re surrounded by people who hide behind glamours, so it’s very difficult to know when someone is being authentic, and there’s more importance placed on glamours and physical beauty than on forming true connections with people. So it’s very difficult to navigate, and for a lot of people, hostility is the only way they can keep from becoming a victim of the people around them.
MTV: If Cinder had grown up on Luna, would she have inherited her mother’s heinousness? Or do you think her goodness is inherent, like Winter?
Meyer: Oh, the age-old nature v. nurture question! It’s impossible to say, but if I had to guess, I think she would have turned out fairly heinous, because she would have been stuck with her mother and aunt as her only role models. Winter was lucky in some regards, in that she had a father with a lot of kindness and integrity, and she grew up admiring the way he was able to defy societal expectations. That went a long way in building her character.
MTV: In the one-off novella “Fairest,” we learn that Levana’s obsession with image comes from a dark place. If she had found someone to love her even with her scars, do you think she would have been a more just ruler? Or is she evil through and through, just like her sister?
Meyer: I think that so much of Levana’s cruelty is a direct result of her yearning for love and compassion, and so to find someone who really loved her would have made a huge difference in some of the decisions that she made and the person she became. Which isn’t to say that she’s at all blameless or that one good relationship could have changed everything—the abuse and torment she suffered as a child had lasting mental impact that may still have manifested in some ways, and by the time Levana was a teenager, her idea of love was already pretty flawed. So it would be an up-hill battle for just about anyone to love her. But, if they got to her in time, I think her life could have been much different.
This interview, unfortunately, does not give fans very much insight on Winter. It does, however, mention another book focused on Iko (which I will certainly be looking out for in the future). I cannot wait to read Winter and see how Marissa Meyer wraps up the Lunar Chronicles series and know if Cinder will get a happily ever after.
Read the full interview at MTV