Title: The Golden Rope
Author: Tanith Lee
In: Red as Blood (Tanith Lee)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Fairy tales, Retellings
Dates read: 9th November 2019
Format: Short story
5th sentence, 74th page: The moon rose late upon the walled garden.
Jaspre was bought before she was born. But her childhood has been idealistic and pure. Until the true purpose of her life is revealed and a more sinister tie is shown.
This short story is a creepy, dark and kind of devilish version of Rapunzel. The prince doesn’t climb up the tower to reach her. In fact, there isn’t really any prince. But there is still a seduction of a form and a woman who keeps a foundling child trapped for some nefarious reason. The nefarious reason in this story is just far more intense and dark than other versions I’ve read of this tale.
As with many of the fairy tales that I’ve read, virginity and purity are major themes. Normally it’s a lot more subtle than in this story. After all, in this version, she is raised purposely sweet and pure so that she will lovingly sacrifice herself to the prince of darkness. Which just seems all the darker and more twisted than a normal virginal sacrifice… maybe because she’s raised to go to it willingly. With no true concept of pain.
There is a bit of a happily ever after in this story. It wasn’t even remotely what I expected. But, apparently it was kind of everything that I wanted. Definitely enjoyable and almost impossible to forget. I look forward to rereading this in the future when I want my fairy tales with just a dash of darkness.