Celtic Mythology Reexamined: Figures from Arthurian Legend

Camelot_Avalon_Empowerment

Sorry, but the figures you won’t find in this post are Sir Robin, the fighting obsessed Black Knight, the women of Castle Anthrax, the Knights of Ni, Brother Maynard, Prince Herbert, Tim the Enchanter, the Killer Rabbit and the Monster of Aaaargh. King Arthur: “On second thought, let’s not go to Camelot. It’s a silly place.”

While Celtic mythology is rather influential in itself though you may not realize it with many popular legends and figures. Unfortunately, it’s very hard to sort out since Celts were largely spread out in Western Europe, had no writing system, and a lot were conquered and assimilated rather early (like before Jesus) so much of their legends didn’t survive save maybe those coming from Ireland or the British Isles. Not to mention, the fact that most of what we know in Celtic mythology was written down during the Middle Ages when most of Europe was Christian, which can muddle a few things as well as lots of characters with names hard to pronounce. Don’t get me wrong but there’s a reason why I’m doing a post on Celtic gods or goddesses. Nevertheless, one of the more popular stories revolves around a man named King Arthur with his Knights of the Round Table in Camelot, the renown wizard Merlin, his wife Guinevere, and so many others. Though we’re not sure whether Arthur was a real historical figure (if so then a Romano-British general of some outpost who fought against the Saxons) or a mythological king, these legends (though Christianized) enjoyed a lot of popularity in Medieval Europe (as well as up to today in fact) particularly in England where he’s been seen as a national figure (though the earliest stories came from Wales and Cornwall in the 5th century. Also, these stories have been very popular in France.). Nevertheless, these legends aren’t known for their consistency. So without further adieu, here are an assortment of figures from the Arthurian Legends.

1. King Arthur

King Arthur receiving Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake after the Sword in the Stone is broken. Known for glowing brightly as well as having an insanely sharp edge. Scabbard is said to stop the wearer from bleeding. It's said that who wielded Excalibur could never be defeated in battle, though this isn't set in stone.

King Arthur receiving Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake after the Sword in the Stone is broken. Known for glowing brightly as well as having an insanely sharp edge. Scabbard is said to stop the wearer from bleeding. It’s said that who wielded Excalibur could never be defeated in battle, though this isn’t set in stone.

You know him as: The perfect warrior king who ruled Great Britain during a Golden Age with Merlin at his side but fell to treachery and now sleeps, waiting for his land’s hour of need (or else has succumbed to his wounds after the Battle of Camlann). He’s a legendary and somewhat tragic figure who tries to overcome the land’s chaos and the notion of “might makes right” through noble chivalry but is ultimately undone. Son of Uther Pendragon and Igraine who was married to Duke Gorlois of Cornwall at the time her famous son was conceived through a rape by deception (assisted by Merlin no less, though Uther and Igraine got married before he was born but poor Gorlois {who got killed}, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth). Raised by Merlin (or Sir Ector depending on the version). Became king when he pulled the Sword in the Stone (which may not have been Excalibur depending on version. If not, then he received it as a gift from the Lady of the Lake after the Sword in the Stone breaks). United Britain, set up a Round Table with his Knights, drives off the Saxons, and reigns as a beloved king in an age of chivalry. Should’ve paid more attention to Guinevere if you know what I mean.

What you don’t know about him: Though always a warrior hero, he wasn’t always the clean-cut king we all know and love. In earlier traditions he was quite lustful, jealous, prideful, and greedy. He could be seen quarreling with churchmen, trying to steal Tristan’s pigs, killing a rival over a woman, and fathering several sons, none of them by Guinevere. Oh, and in the earlier legends, he was more of a warrior than king doing his own grunt work half the time as well as becomes king only because he’s the only guy to stall the Saxon invasion. Oh, and when he has Guinevere burned at the stake, he’s not conflicted about it at all in the original rendition. Yet, at least the early legends didn’t have him trying drown all the Mayday babies after finding out he knocked up his sister.

Earliest Mention: First surviving reference from Welsh and Breton sources at around 600 A. D. In the earlier stories, he’s only an allied commander and war hero and commander of lower birth who won a lot of battles against the Saxons in the 7th century Historia Brittonum (which has the first description of Arthur’s career.) He’s also said to have a dog named Cabal and kill his own son Amr.

2. Merlin

Merlin is perhaps the inspiration of the old wizard archetype that has taken the form of Albus Dumbledore and Gandalf the Gray. Yet, this doesn't mean that Merlin is wholly good since his portrayal is rather dependent on the writer who could cast him as a hero, anti-hero, or villain.

Merlin is perhaps the inspiration of the old wizard archetype that has taken the form of Albus Dumbledore and Gandalf the Gray. Yet, this doesn’t mean that Merlin is wholly good since his portrayal is rather dependent on the writer who could cast him as a hero, anti-hero, or villain.

You know him as: King Arthur’s wizard mentor who may have raised him (except in the stories in which Sir Ector does then Merlin is just the honorary uncle who leaves him at Sir Ector’s doorstep). In most versions, he’s the son of mortal nun raped by a demon explaining why he has magic powers he could only use for good and was said to be one of the last shape-changers during his childhood. Through magic and intrigue he’s responsible for King Arthur’s existence and rise to glory as well as many other events in Arthurian legend. Had a tendency to teach magic to younger women and his relationship with Nimue led to her betraying him and binding him to a tree, rock, or cave (depending on version).

What you don’t know about him: Though his mom is almost always a mortal woman, his dad’s identity varies through legend. Sometimes he’s a demon and in others he could be a fairy, deity, Satan, or nobody. Still, his actions could be highly questionable such as helping Uther to disguise himself as Gorlois so he could father Arthur with Igraine, snatching Arthur away and having someone else raise him, as well arranging the Sword in the Stone test so events would happen as prophesied. Not telling Arthur who his parents were caused many rebellions during the latter’s early reign, as well as Arthur knocking up his sister, and the May Day massacre.

Earliest Mention: Merlin as we know him appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britannae written around 1136 and was based on an amalgamation of previous historical and mythical figures. Geoffrey originally based his version on eccentric mystic Myrddin Wyllt and Romano-British war leader, Ambrosius Aurelianus. Referred as Merlin Ambrosius  by Geoffrey of Monmouth for this reason.

3. Queen Guinevere

Guinevere has been portrayed as everything from a weak and opportunistic traitor to a fatally flawed but noble and virtuous gentlewoman. She could be praised for her friendliness, intelligence, and gentility or depicted as a vindictive adultress disliked by well-bred knights. Sometimes she's portrayed inauspiciously or hardly at all.

Guinevere has been portrayed as everything from a weak and opportunistic traitor to a fatally flawed but noble and virtuous gentlewoman. She could be praised for her friendliness, intelligence, and gentility or depicted as a vindictive adultress disliked by well-bred knights. Sometimes she’s portrayed inauspiciously or hardly at all.

You know her as: King Arthur’s wife and consort as well as best known for dooming her husband’s kingdom by having an affair with Sir Lancelot (well, the later legends anyway). Daughter of King Leodegrance (in the non-Welsh medieval romance), she was known for her great beauty and intelligence. After her affair with Sir Lancelot was exposed, Arthur condemned her to burn at the stake though Lancelot eventually rescued her anyway which sent Arthur into a rage and pressure the king to confront the knight. While Arthur is in France, Mordred prepares to take over and marry her himself. Her fate after this depends according to version (either she assented, ran away to hide in the Tower of London, or spent the rest of her life in a convent.) After Camlann, she meets Lancelot one last time before returning to the convent to spend the rest of her life. She also had famous abduction story where she’s kidnapped by the king of the “Summer Country” and King Arthur had to spend a year to find her and are finally reunited by Saint Gildas (in one of the earlier renditions. In a later rendition, she’s rescued by Lancelot and their affair begins from here.)

What you don’t know about her: In the earlier Welsh legends, King Arthur is married to three Guineveres (or she just has 3 different dads) and her family composition varies by version. In early Welsh variants, she has a sister Gwenhwyfach and it’s their contention that led to the Battle of Camlann. In the stories where she’s the daughter of King Leodegrance, she has an evil identical half-sister with the same name who tries to get rid of her and ruin her life but was stopped thanks to the Pope. Though childless in most stories, one has her bearing two sons to Mordred and she sometimes takes up with him, too in some variants as well.  In Geoffrey of Monmouth’s account, she’s a beautiful educated Roman0-British noblewoman in stories prior to the 13th century, she’s badass warrior and magic-user.

Earliest Mention: Earliest mention of her as King Arthur’s queen is in the Welsh tale Culhwch ac Olwen written in the early 1100s, but little more is said about her. Also, her name has a lot of spelling variations.

4. Sir Lancelot

Sir Lancelot may have been a latecomer in the Arthurian mythos but he quickly became very popular afterwards. In the later romances he's a main focus.

Sir Lancelot may have been a latecomer in the Arthurian mythos but he quickly became very popular afterwards. In the later romances he’s a main focus. Also, Guinevere isn’t the only woman he’s linked with in the legends.

You know him as: He’s probably the Knight of the Round Table you’re most familiar with and is seen as King Arthur’s greatest champion whose affair with Queen Guinevere brings Camelot’s downfall. Seen as the bravest knight, sometimes uniquely perfect in every way save his relationships with women as well as buddies with almost all the knights. Son of King Ban and Queen Elaine by was raised by the Lady of the Lake. Father of Sir Galahad with Elaine of Corbenic who had him sleep with her by tricking him into thinking she was Guinevere (though it’s said they were married for ten years after that.) Went on the Holy Grail quest to atone for his sins but he forgot everything about purity and all that as well as resumes his affair with Guinevere. When found out, he escaped before King Arthur could confront him but he rescues Guinevere from the stake. They meet one last time after Arthur’s death before he spends the rest of his life as a priest by her death.

What you don’t know about him: While known to go on a homicidal rampage in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, it’s worth remembering that he was mentally unstable prone to slaughtering innocents at no provocation, only to collapse in abject apologies afterward in the Sir Thomas Malory rendition (this is exactly how Monty Python depicted him though they depict him as rather sexually ambiguous.) Also had the habit of wandering into the other knights’ pavilions and making himself at home. Not to mention, he’s actually a relative latecomer as a Knight of the Round Table he joins long after it’s assembled.

Earliest Mention: Introduced in the 12th century by French writer Chretien de Troyes in Erec and Enide. First appearance as a main character was in Le Chevelier de la Charette (or “Lancelot, Knight of the Cart”). His patron was one of Queen Eleanor of Acquitaine’s daughters who may have ordered de Troyes to add Lancelot’s infamous affair with Guinevere. Thus, it’s possible the entire crux of a huge portion of the Arthurian Romances was the result of a lady wanting to turn an adventure story into a medieval equivalent of a Harlequin Romance novel.

5. Sir Gawain

Sir Gawain was King Arthur's nephew and original champion. He's known for his unparallelled courteousness and his way with women. His symbol is a gold pentangle on a red background (at least from the Green Knight legend).

Sir Gawain was King Arthur’s nephew and original champion. He’s known for his unparallelled courteousness and his way with women. His symbol is a gold pentangle on a red background (at least from the Green Knight legend).

You know him as: Knight of the Round Table and King Arthur’s nephew. Son of Morgause and King Lot of Lothain and Orkney, he is the best known of the Orkney brothers (depending on whether you accept Mordred as one of them.) Before Sir Lancelot, he was King Arthur’s greatest champion. He’s often seen as formidable, courteous, and compassionate warrior who’s loyal to his king and family. He’s a friend to young knights, defender of the poor, and defender of women as “The Maiden’s Knight.” Some legends have the sun as his source of strength and is said to be a great healer through his knowledge of herbs. Best known stories of him are his struggles with the Green Knight and his wedding to Dame Ragnell (an early prot0-feminist tale. Yet, he’s been romantically linked to other women in legends particularly Lady Bertilak from the Green Knight legend. He’s also credited with fathering at least 3 kids.)  Accompanied King Arthur on the quest for the Holy Grail yet, is buddies with Sir Percival, and  feuded with Sir Lancelot after the latter killed a few of his brothers (save Mordred.) Dies in an attempt to prevent Mordred’s usurpation.

What you don’t know about him: In the earlier legends, it’s implied that he’s King Arthur’s second-in-command as well as the true and rightful heir to his uncle’s throne. Of course, he was later struck down by Mordred’s forces. The French legends about him weren’t as glowing about him and depict him as a proud and worldly knight demonstrating through his failures the danger of neglecting the spirit for futile gifts of the material world. On the Post-Vulgate Grail Quest, he always has the purest intentions but can’t see God’s grace to notice the error in his ways.

Earliest Mention: He’s been mentioned in some of the earliest Welsh Arthurian sources under the name Gwalchmei who was seen as a traditional Welsh hero.

6. Sir Percival

There are many versions of Sir Percival's birth and family. His father may be Alain de Gros, King Pellinore, or another worthy knight. If Pellinore, then his brothers are Sir Agovale, Sir Lamorak, Sir Dornar, and Sir Tor. Guess there's a reason why his mom didn't want him to be a knight.

There are many versions of Sir Percival’s birth and family. His father may be Alain de Gros, King Pellinore, or another worthy knight. If Pellinore, then his brothers are Sir Agovale, Sir Lamorak, Sir Dornar, and Sir Tor. Guess there’s a reason why his mom didn’t want him to be a knight.

You know him as: Knight of the Round Table and known as “the Best Knight of the World.” Said to be the youngest of King Arthur’s knights as well as rather naive with few social skills since his mom raised him in the Welsh forests ignorant of the ways of men until he was 15 (then he went to join the Round Table through beating Sir Kay.) Still, in a lot of stories, he’s either a virgin or has very little experience with women, which is okay since he’s a teenager. Yet, don’t attack anyone unarmed in front of him or he will beat you up as Sir Kay learned the hard way. In some stories he has a sword that could cut through anything and would never break except in the toughest battle of his life. Best known for his involvement in the Holy Grail quest in which he meets the Fisher King but fails to answer a question to heal him, resists a beautiful enchantress, and was one of the two knights who accompanied Sir Galahad at the Grail castle.

What you don’t know about him: In earlier Grail narratives, he’s the hero while Galahad takes over in the later legends. Also, while he has a girlfriend in the earlier works, he’s certainly sexually inexperienced in the later versions and almost certainly stays that way since he becomes a monk. In some tales, he’s best friends with Sir Gawain (who’s sometimes his cousin) and in one legend even chooses to share a curse Gawain brought upon himself. His willingness to save his friend’s life by splitting the curse in half though they each get wounded badly.

Earliest Mention: He’s a difficult case. While he first appears under his regular name during the 1100s in Chrietien de Troyes’ le Conte du Graal (“Perceval, the Story of the Grail”), there is a similar character named Peredur in the Welsh legends but to what extent de Troyes adapted such stories into his work is a matter of debate.

7. Sir Galahad

Sir Galahad is one of the more familiar Knights of the Round Table but he's one of the most recent and least interesting. Rather he's seen as "the world's greatest knight." Then again, his character may have been inspired by the practices of the Cistercian Order founded by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux.

Sir Galahad is one of the more familiar Knights of the Round Table but he’s one of the most recent and least interesting. Rather he’s seen as “the world’s greatest knight.” Then again, his character may have been inspired by the practices of the Cistercian Order founded by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux.

You know him as: Knight of the Round Table and hero of the Holy Grail legend. Though an illegitimate son (conceived through rape of deception) of Sir Lancelot and Elaine of Corbenic, he is known for his gallantry and purity. Upon reaching adulthood, he’s knighted by his dad and joins the Round Table after being the only person to survive the Siege Perilous and pulling a sword out of a rock. During the Grail Quest, he smites his enemies, saves Sir Percival from 20 knights, rescues damsels in distress, and what not. After receiving the Grail, he is taken up to Heaven and never to be seen again.

What you don’t know about him: He was actually named after his dad Sir Lancelot (who’s name was originally Galahad before changing it). Also, despite being one of the best known Knights of the Round Table, he doesn’t really do much except go on a quest for the Holy Grail which was what he was pretty much chosen for.

Earliest Mention: He’s a latecomer in Arthurian legend with his first appearance being in the 13th century French Lancelot-Grail cycle. Most of what he does in the Holy Grail quest, Sir Percival does in earlier versions.

8. Sir Kay

Though known for his bad mouth as well as bullying and boorish behavior, Sir Kay appeared in some of the earliest Arthurian legends as one of King Arthur's premier knights. Later legends have him as a jerk to get the crap beat out of him.

Though known for his bad mouth as well as bullying and boorish behavior, Sir Kay appeared in some of the earliest Arthurian legends as one of King Arthur’s premier knights. Later legends have him as a jerk to get the crap beat out of him.

You know him as: As son of Sir Ector, he’s King Arthur’s foster brother, seneschal, as well as one of the first Knights of the Round Table. Though a loyal and capable knight, he tends to manipulate the king to get his way and prior to the Sword of the Stone story (the story he’s best known in), Arthur was his squire at a tournament who only pulled the sword out because he couldn’t get the new knight’s sword due to being locked out of the house. Sure he tries to claim he pulled the sword but later relents it was Arthur. He’s also kind of a hothead with a fiery temper and sometimes could be bit of a bully who mainly serves either as a foil or to get the crap beat out of him by the new knight.

What you don’t know about him: While he’s not seen in a great light in the best known Arthurian legends, the Welsh legends have him as a really badass knight capable of magical powers like growing giant size, generating so much body heat he could keep dry in the rain, holding his breath underwater for 9 days as well as going without sleep the same amount of time. Also, it’s said that if no wounds could be healed from his sword.

Earliest Mention: He’s one of the earliest characters in Arthurian legend from the original Welsh tales.

9. Sir Bedivere

Sir Bedivere returning Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake. Though a prominent figure in the early Arthurian Mythos, this is what he's most remembered for. Well, that and trying women for witchcraft by weighing them against ducks.

Sir Bedivere returning Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake. Though a prominent figure in the early Arthurian Mythos, this is what he’s most remembered for. Well, that and trying women for witchcraft by weighing them against ducks.

You know him as: Early Knight of the Round Table and King Arthur’s marshal (or cup-bearer in later versions.) In the Arthurian mythos, he’s best known for being the only Round Table Knight to survive the Battle of Camlann and throws Excalibur back to the Lady of the Lake at the mortally wounded King Arthur’s request.  In pop culture, he’s best known for condemning a woman to death for witchcraft by weighing her against against a duck since he believes she’s made out of wood in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

What you don’t know about him: In older Welsh legends, he’s the handsome one handed knight with a four pronged spear and was known for using dark magic against his foes with great skill and aggression to the townspeople’s chagrin. He’s also said to be the best looking knight in Britain.

Earliest Mention: He’s one of the oldest characters in Arthurian legend from the original Welsh tales.

10. Sir Mordred

Sir Mordred once a capable knight only to become traitor when discovering he was a product of incest. In the Welsh sources, he's only King Arthur's nephew and in the earliest sources, they're not related at all.

Sir Mordred who was once a capable knight only to become traitor when discovering he was a product of incest. In the Welsh sources, he’s only King Arthur’s nephew and in the earliest sources, they’re not related at all.

You know him as: Knight of the Round Table and notorious traitor who fought King Arthur at the Battle of Camlann where that claimed both their lives (or at least his if you accept the King Arthur in sleep narrative). He’s popularly seen as King Arthur’s illegitimate son by his half-sister Morgause (if not, then Morgan Le Fay). At first, he’s a loyal and competent knight until he finds out about his real father. Let’s just say it’s goes downhill from there. Though two of his half-brothers expose Guinevere’s affair with Sir Lancelot, he nevertheless exploits it when King Arthur leaves him in charge of the kingdom so he could fight the guy who slept with his wife. Once his uncle dad is gone, he officially has himself declared king. Camlann is fought when King Arthur returns.

What you don’t know about him: In the Welsh legends, he’s only King Arthur’s nephew (if related at all) and foster son as well as was legitimately conceived between Morgause and her husband. In stories where he takes over the kingdom while King Arthur is away, he marries (or at least tries to marry) Guinevere though she didn’t have much choice in the matter. In stories he doesn’t, he’s married to Queen Guinevere’s sister Gwenhwyfach (making him King Arthur’s brother-in-law) and his inevitable confrontation with King Arthur at Camlann was due to a spat between their wives.

Earliest Mention: The first surviving mention of him is in the 10th century Annales Cambriae where he’s listed as Merdaut. All it says is that him and Arthur died at Camlann but it’s never certain whether they killed each other or were on opposite sides. He first plays role of traitor on Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britannae.

11. Sir Palomides

Sir Palomides may be the most famous Non-European Knight of the Round Table, but he has such rotten luck. Not only did he fall in love with a girl who had the hots for his best friend, but in some stories, he's killed after the Grail Quest for killing that woman's husband.

Sir Palomides may be the most famous Non-European Knight of the Round Table, but he has such rotten luck. Not only did he fall in love with a girl who had the hots for his best friend, but in some stories, he’s killed after the Grail Quest for killing that woman’s husband.

You know him as: Knight of the Round Table from the Middle East along with his brothers Segwarides and Safir. Originally a pagan prince of Esclabor before converting to Christianity (in some versions during the Grail Quest). While best friends with Sir Tristan, he sort of resents him when they both fall in love with Iseult the Fair, though he doesn’t want that to t ruin their relationship (also, because he lost a joust with Sir Tristan that determined which one called dibs). Best known for taking over King Pellinore’s hunt for the Questing Beast which proved to be just as fruitless as the hope of having a relationship with Iseult the Fair (though Sir Thomas Malory has him finally slay the beast after his conversion to Christianity which releases him from worldly entanglements).

What you don’t know about him: His fate differs according to version. In Sir Thomas Malory’s tale, he sides with Sir Lancelot after the latter’s affair with Queen Guinevere is exposed and is made a Duke of Provence. In the Post-Vulgate version, Sir Gawain kills him after the Holy Grail Quest since he killed King Mark of Cornwall for slaying Sir Tristan.

Earliest Mention: First appears in the 13th century Prose Tristan an expansion of the Tristan and Isolde story.

12. Sir Ywain

Sure Sir Ywain may have killed a supernatural fountain guardian who beat up his cousin and later married the guy's widow. But he at least has a cool lion despite that he's the Round Table Knight you probably never heard of.

Sure Sir Ywain may have killed a supernatural fountain guardian who beat up his cousin and later married the guy’s widow. But he at least has a cool lion despite that he’s the Round Table Knight you probably never heard of.

You know him as: Knight of the Round Table and son of King Urien (sometimes with Morgan Le Fay, which makes him King Arthur’s nephew). Best known for rescuing a lion from a serpent who proves to be a loyal companion and symbol of knightly virtue. As for him, not so much since he ended up killing a guardian of a supernatural storm-causing fountain because the guy beat up his cousin. Not to mention, he also marries the guy’s widow Laudine who later dumps him after Sir Gawain tempts him into another adventure (they make up thanks to the lion helping him to shape up after he’s basically devastated by the whole thing).

What you don’t know about him: He was a very popular character in the Arthurian legends during the Middle Ages though he’s not a well known knight nowadays though he’s more or less seen as “the one with the lion” if he is. Also, there’s a Welsh legend of him playing chess with King Arthur as the Saxons prepare to fight the Battle of Badon.

Earliest Mention: He’s one of the earliest characters associated with King Arthur from the Welsh legends. Also, he’s based on the historical figure Owain mab Urien, King of Reghed in Great Britain.

13. Sir Tristan

I don't know about Sir Tristan here, but I'm sure that sharing a love potion with your uncle's fiancee is never a good idea. Really not a good idea, on a positive note, he's not in the Harry Potter universe where love potions are date rape drugs.

I don’t know about Sir Tristan here, but I’m sure that sharing a love potion with your uncle’s fiancee is never a good idea. Really not a good idea, on a positive note, he’s not in the Harry Potter universe where love potions are date rape drugs.

You know him as: Knight of the Roundtable who was sent by his Uncle King Mark of Cornwall to fetch the Irish princess Iseult the Fair for the Cornish king’s wedding. Yet, on the way, they accidentally consume a love potion and fall helplessly in love. Though she marries King Mark as promised, the pair undergo a lot of trials and tribulations that test their secret affair. Of course, this goes on until their tragic deaths by despair (his by poison out of thinking she abandoned him) but they’re buried side by side as two star crossed lovers should be with a honeysuckle springing from her grave around a hazel tree growing from his (that or a briar twirling around a rose or just pain dead).

What you don’t know about him: Since he couldn’t marry his beloved Iseult the Fair, he married another woman named Iseult of the White Handsand is only attracted to her because she shared his beloved’s name. It goes as worse as you’d expect since this Iseult ended up indirectly killing him by saying his beloved was never coming back just as the girl arrives to cure him.

Earliest Mention: He makes his early appearance in the early 12th century in Celtic mythology and/or folklore though his affair with Iseult the Fair is incorporated into the Arthurian Mythos later.

14. Morgause

Though Queen of Lothain and Orkney and mother of five sons and a number of daughters, Morgause still has a heft sexual appetite. Yet, this is what did her in at the end when her son Gaheris lopped her head off.

Though Queen of Lothain and Orkney and mother of five sons and a number of daughters, Morgause still has a heft sexual appetite. Yet, this is what did her in at the end when her son Gaheris lopped her head off.

You know her as: King Arthur’s half-sister, wife of King Lot of Lothain and Orkney, and mother of the Orkney brothers: Sir Gawain, Sir Agavain, Sir Gareth, Sir Gaheris, and Sir Mordred. May have conceived Mordred with King Arthur in an act of inadvertent incest, but they’re estranged upon realization for good reason. Yet, despite five boys and a number of daughters, she manages to be some sort of cougar being very friendly with younger men (King Arthur included). After King Lot’s death, she has an affair with Sir Lamorak (son of the guy who killed her husband), which leads to her son Sir Gaheris beheading her in bed though tries to frame her lover leading Agavain, Gawain, and Mordred to get rid of him.

What you don’t know about her: In her earlier stories, she does nothing but be the mother of the Orkney brothers. She doesn’t become a fully formed character until Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. Also tends to be combined with Morgan Le Fay and some scholars think she was created due to a translation error.

Earliest Mention: She’s a later addition appearing in Chretien de Troyes Perceval as Orcades. Yet, she did have a few earlier counterparts before then.

15. Morgan Le Fay

Morgan Le Fay is perhaps one of the best known characters in Arthurian legend as well as one of the most popular. Somehow there's something hard to resist with such a complex scheming witch who feels that Queen Guinevere's a hypocrite for banishing her lover and taking up with Sir Lancelot. Of course, she also had the hots for him as well.

Morgan Le Fay is perhaps one of the best known characters in Arthurian legend as well as one of the most popular. Somehow there’s something hard to resist with such a complex scheming witch who feels that Queen Guinevere’s a hypocrite for banishing her lover and taking up with Sir Lancelot. Of course, she also had the hots for him as well.

You know her as: King Arthur’s half-sister, a powerful sorceress, and in later traditions, wife of King Uriens and mother of Sir Ywain. Though some modern renditions make her Mordred’s mother, she is not but like her sister Morgause, she has a string of lovers nevertheless (though Uriens doesn’t seem to mind when she’s married to him). Yet, while she sometimes has a adversarial relationship with King Arthur (to the point when she tries to arrange his downfall but fails), she’s more of a an arch-enemy toward Guinevere (who exposed her having an affair with her cousin). Also, part of her hatred for Guinevere stems from the fact she herself wanted to sleep with Sir Lancelot. She devotes a lot of her time in the legend to exposing Guinevere’s affair with Sir Lancelot though King Arthur didn’t believe her no matter how hard she tried to convince him. Yet, somehow she mellows, she and Arthur reconcile, and soon takes him up to Avalon after Camlann.

What you don’t know about her: She may have started out in Arthurian legend as a supernatural being possibly a goddess. Also, she didn’t start out as King Arthur’s half-sister and actually had nine in her early appearances. She also plays a role assisting Sir Ywain in one story, too as a healer but the story doesn’t imply that they are mother and son. Oh, and she appears in stories that are unconnected with the Arthurian Mythos as well.

Earliest Mention: It’s hard to say whether she started out as a French character or as a Welsh one. She’s first mentioned by name in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Vita Merlini while the later French tales feature her with all her familiar traits.

16. Nyneve

She may not have given King Arthur Excalibur but Nyneve's a magical being who's closely identified as being the Lady of the Lake. Also, has many names like Nimue, Niniane, and Vivian.

She may not have given King Arthur Excalibur but Nyneve’s a magical being who’s closely identified as being the Lady of the Lake. Also, has many names like Nimue, Niniane, and Vivian.

You know her as: She’s best known as the Lady of the Lake (though she’s not the one who gave King Arthur Excalibur, though she was a servant of hers in some versions who’s later beheaded in the Sir Thomas Malory stories).  Learned magic from Merlin who fell for her yet she ends up betraying him and using her powers to lock him in a tree, (rock, or cave). Afterwards, she replaces Merlin as King Arthur’s adviser. Still, her love is Sir Pelleas who she used her magic to hate a girl who was thoroughly uninterested in him (yet, she ended up dying in despair). Nevertheless, the guy lived mostly because of her. Associated with Avalon and may have raised Sir Lancelot.

What you don’t know about her: Though one of the more familiar characters in Arthurian legend, there’s not a lot of stories about her and her character.

Earliest Mention: Either in the works by Chretian de Troyes or the Lancelot Grail cycle. About as early as the 1100s maybe even before that.

17. Iseult the Fair

Iseult's affair with Sir Tristan is one of the more enduring medieval love stories that has stood the test of time. Yet, this was originally a separate story before being part of the Arthur Mythos.

Iseult’s affair with Sir Tristan is one of the more enduring medieval love stories that has stood the test of time. Yet, this was originally a separate story before being part of the Arthur Mythos.

You know her as: An Irish princess who heals Sir Tristan and is arranged to marry his Uncle King Mark of Cornwall. Yet, when she and Tristan accidentally drink a love potion en route, they fall hopelessly in love. Once she’s married, they embark on a tragic love affair consisting of secret meetings until King Mark banishes Tristan from Cornwall. They meet again when Tristan is poisoned (or stabbed in the back by King Mark once he catches him playing a harp from a tree).

What you don’t know about her: In verse tradition, she and Tristan don’t meet again after he’s banished until he’s on his deathbed. Some versions have their affair go much longer and in some stories they even have kids. Also, she has a lot of guys attracted to her mostly so they could have a conflict with Tristan.

Earliest Mention: Like Sir Tristan, she makes her first appearance in the 12th century in Celtic mythology and/or folklore, though her affair was treated as a separate story and incorporated in the the King Arthur Mythos later.

18. King Pellinore

King Pellinore on the endless hunt of the legendary Questing Beast whose appearance can't be articulated in this post. Still, this guy probably should've been making less war and spend more time with his family or families.

King Pellinore on the endless hunt of the legendary Questing Beast whose appearance can’t be articulated in this post. Still, this guy probably should’ve been making less war and spend more time with his family or families.

You know him as: Best known for his endless hunt of the Questing Beast and beating King Arthur in three jousts which breaks the Sword in the Stone, which leads to the latter to fetch Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake (if the sword is Excalibur, Merlin just enchants Arthur to save his life. Both become friends afterwards and he’s invited to join the Round Table afterwards. Also, he’s known to have a lot of kids to different women and at least has three sons join the Round Table, too (though he’s sometimes referred to as Sir Percival’s father). Not to mention, he helps King Arthur put down a lot of rebellions of other kings including his brother-in-law Lot of Lothian. Kills King Lot of Orkney during a battle that results in a blood feud with the Orkney brothers and many other deaths including his own son Lamorak.

What you don’t know about him: When trying to rescue Nyneve, he refused to provide aid to a wounded knight and his ailing lady. Lady later killed herself with her dead lover’s sword before he would eventually find out she was his own daughter.

Earliest Mention: He’s at least in Arthurian legend as early as the Post-Vulgate cycle.

Our Father Who Art in Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Religious Art

The-Last-Supper

As a lifelong practicing Catholic, art aficionado, and history buff, I always have a great appreciation for religious art, architecture, music, and movies. Well, just as long as I find them to be of great artistic quality and not something that looks like you can put it on somebody’s T-Shirt. Quality religious art has always been greatly influential in our modern culture whether it’s the great Madonna and Child paintings from the Renaissance, large intricate Gothic cathedrals from the Middle Ages, sacred hymns, and a lot of religious films of the 1950s. I mean Ben Hur might’ve starred Charlton Heston but you have to enjoy the chariot race scene. I can go on and on about the great religious masterworks but that would be a very long post since it would involve scores and scores of paintings and sculptures you’re already familiar with. Instead, I’ll focus on some of the great blunders that would make everyone wonder why God hadn’t unleashed His wrath on the artist in the first place. Yet, since this is about bad religious artworks, here are a few points to follow.

1. This isn’t a post that shows anti-religious artwork or anything that’s intentionally depicted as sacrilegious. In fact, much of the works were done by religious artists themselves but they just didn’t seem to depict the true spirit of the religious subjects that they’re either tacky or unintentionally funny. Examples include, crapsaccharine mentality, bad artistic representation, or images that in some way don’t make any sense.

2. This isn’t an anti-religious post, just a post of bad religious expression in art. Rather, as a Catholic, I don’t see anything wrong with making fun of religion as long as it’s not offensive. Since religious art plays a critical role in our culture, I see nothing wrong with mocking the tacky pieces.

3. This isn’t a post depicting religious artwork used for an amusing purpose or has the equivalent of Jesus being depicted in a Batman suit, a celebrity in an iconographic image or a dog version of The Last Supper. I know these exist but they were supposed to be funny on purpose. These works shown in this post were initially intended to be taken seriously as well as catered to an audience.

4. These aren’t artworks with religious motifs or symbolism in otherwise secular works.

5. These are mostly done by contemporary artists since I can’t bring myself to criticize the great masterpieces of religious art during the Renaissance and Baroque Era unless it’s Abraham trying to sacrifice Isaac with a blunderbuss to his head. Yet, I haven’t found this one yet.

6. Yes, most of these works derive from Christianity yet that’s because many Christian artworks tend to be the worst offenders. Basically if Christians are willing to depict Jesus in a business suit, I’ll practically run with it. I’m also willing to post Jesus with a gun.

7. Some of these would have quotes as to what the artist intended for this work to mean, which aren’t in my own words.

8. This doesn’t include bad restoration work so the lady who made Jesus look like a monkey is off the hook.

So without further adieu, here is an assortment of kitschy religious artwork.

1. Leaping Jesus on the cross talking to the women of Jerusalem.

I suppose this is for a children's Bible but even in kids' Bibles, this isn't depicted as a very happy occasion. I mean Jesus is supposed to be suffering in deathly agony carrying a huge cross. This doesn't cut it.

I suppose this is for a children’s Bible but even in kids’ Bibles, this isn’t depicted as a very happy occasion. I mean Jesus is supposed to be suffering in deathly agony carrying a huge cross. This doesn’t cut it.

2. Jesus rising out of his tomb body and spirit.

I think this moment is meant to be left to the imagination. Also, when the women approached the tomb, Jesus' body wasn't there at all. Not to mention, why does Jesus look like he's just out of a gym.

I think this moment is meant to be left to the imagination. Also, when the women approached the tomb, Jesus’ body wasn’t there at all. Not to mention, why does Jesus look like he’s just out of a gym?

3. “It seems obvious that if Jesus were to shock the status quo in the 21st century with a tattoo that it would say ‘Father.’”

Except this could easily be some 1990s rock musician who could easily look like Jesus. Also, he probably wouldn't be looking at us with such intensity of a male stripper into his job. He's probably using his "Father" tattoo as an excuse to show off those biceps to some Christian ladies.

Except this could easily be some 1990s rock musician who could easily look like Jesus. Also, he probably wouldn’t be looking at us with such intensity of a male stripper into his job. He’s probably using his “Father” tattoo as an excuse to show off those biceps to some Christian ladies.

4. “The anguish that God experiences while His children are abused is the cumulative experience of all the abused children since the beginning of time compressed into one eternal moment.”

While the broken dolls may represent God’s children having to put up with worldly abuse, Jesus’s facial expression doesn’t seem overcome by anguish over innocent souls suffering. Rather Jesus appears in this painting like he’s doing a promo for some “Head and Shoulders” shampoo commercial. Let’s just say if a Christian artist doesn’t know the difference between the facial expressions of “upset” or “happiness during shampoo massage,” he shouldn’t be doing religious paintings.

5. Jesus during story time at school.

Seriously, I kind find this picture of Jesus sitting with the little ones during story time a bit unnerving for some reason. Just find seeing a 1st century man in his thirties at a modern day elementary school just out of place.

Seriously, I kind find this picture of Jesus sitting with the little ones during story time a bit unnerving for some reason. Just find seeing a 1st century man in his thirties at a modern day elementary school just out of place.

6. Jesus at the United Nations.

"Uh, fellas, can you please let me? I can't get through the door here. It's too tiny. Seriously, I need a bigger entrance."

“Uh, fellas, can you please let me? I can’t get through the door here. It’s too tiny. Seriously, I need a bigger entrance.”

7. Just a still life of Christian imagery.

So we have cross, Holy Spirit Dove, divine light, Roman soldier, lyre, Bible, two greatest commandments, and a coffee cup? Seriously, I don’t think there were any coffee drinkers in 1st century Palestine.

8. Jesus at the Liberty Bell.

I don't know about you but Jesus seems a little frustrated over being in a painting with lots of Americana. I mean he doesn't seem to be happy as a figure of American patriotism.

I don’t know about you but Jesus seems a little frustrated over being in a painting with lots of Americana. I mean he doesn’t seem to be happy as a figure of American patriotism.

9. Jesus is always the senior business partner. “Christ’s presence is an integral part of daily life, no matter one’s profession or calling.”

I don't know about you but while I think Jesus' presence should be encouraged in business meetings, it doesn't mean everyone's going to listen to him. Also, remember that time when he's yelling and overturning tables at the temple. Man, you don't want to see him like that.

I don’t know about you but while I think Jesus’ presence should be encouraged in business meetings, it doesn’t mean everyone’s going to listen to him. Also, remember that time when he’s yelling and overturning tables at the temple. Man, you don’t want to see him like that.

10. Jesus takes up the soul of Michael Jackson wearing the King of Pop’s glittery glove.

Seriously, why have Michael Jackson in a religious painting? I mean what the hell did this ever get produced? Guess it’s someone’s fan work I guess. A Michael Jackson zombie portrait would’ve been much more appropriate.

11. A suffering Jesus with a chalice and a tiger?

Seriously what does a white tiger have to do with Jesus' suffering other than the fact the artist thought it was too awesome to leave out?

Seriously what does a white tiger have to do with Jesus’ suffering other than the fact the artist thought it was too awesome to leave out?

12. If only Jesus had taken anabolic steroids, he probably wouldn’t have suffered on the cross.

Sorry, I can’t take this painting seriously for some reason. Maybe it’s seeing Jesus with a body like Arnold Schwarzeneggar. Also, Jesus seems to have a determined expression on his face and for breaking off the wood on the cross.

13. A modern rendition of the Annunciation.

I know the girl in blue is supposed to be the Virgin Mother dressed as her favorite Disney princess but she looks like such a kid in this it's not even funny. In fact, it's kind of creepy. The Angel Gabriel praying kind of irks me, too. I think the Annunciation should be depicted in its own time or with an older Mary for God's sake.

I know the girl in blue is supposed to be the Virgin Mother dressed as her favorite Disney princess but she looks like such a kid in this it’s not even funny. In fact, it’s kind of creepy. The Angel Gabriel praying kind of irks me, too. I think the Annunciation should be depicted in its own time or with an older Mary for God’s sake.

14. Jesus reaches for the sky.

Heard that God hated this statue of his beloved son so much that he sent a lightning bolt down to destroy it. Guess there's a limit to the level of tackiness the Almighty can tolerate.

Heard that God hated this statue of his beloved son so much that he sent a lightning bolt down to destroy it. Guess there’s a limit to the level of tackiness the Almighty can tolerate.

15. “Only God will share in the fullness of your sufferings and never forsake you.”

Also, if you shoot up heroin, Jesus also gets high so it balances out. I mean I guess assuming that Jesus and the addict share the same tattooed arm. Still, perhaps Jesus shouldn't materialize behind unsuspecting people anymore since it has lead to a lot of misunderstandings.

Also, if you shoot up heroin, Jesus also gets high so it balances out. I mean I guess assuming that Jesus and the addict share the same tattooed arm. Still, perhaps Jesus shouldn’t materialize behind unsuspecting people anymore since it has lead to a lot of misunderstandings.

16. The Most Holy Trinity.

I get the whole “Jesus is God” thing with Christianity but he’s “the Son” of the Holy Trinity, not “the Father” and “the Holy Spirit.” Let’s just say if you depict Jesus as all three persons of the Trinity, you have a problem. Also, the little angels don’t seem too happy with the Jesuses stomping on their heads.

17. Jesus riding on a dinosaur, need I say more.

Yes, this picture is as ridiculous as it sounds since Jesus is depicted in a prehistoric setting, let alone before the New Testament.

Yes, this picture is as ridiculous as it sounds since Jesus is depicted in a prehistoric setting, let alone before the New Testament.

18. Jesus Christ is the savior of truckers.

Now I don't want to insult any truckers since they perform a valuable purpose that we can't deny and I know that many of them need Jesus' protection as well. Yet, somehow I find this so tacky that I'd expect it to be seen in some rundown trailer for some reason. And the fact it's velvet.

Now I don’t want to insult any truckers since they perform a valuable purpose that we can’t deny and I know that many of them need Jesus’ protection as well. Yet, somehow I find this so tacky that I’d expect it to be seen in some rundown trailer for some reason. And the fact it’s velvet.

19. Jesus moping on the cross.

For some reason, I can't help looking at this and  not expect Jesus about to break into some Flashdance routine after he says his prayers. Also, where are his "stigmata" marks for his hands and feet seem totally bare.

For some reason, I can’t help looking at this and not expect Jesus about to break into some Flashdance routine after he says his prayers. Also, where are his “stigmata” marks for his hands and feet seem totally bare.

20. And yet another picture with Jesus and the dinosaur.

Now Jesus with a dinosaur is ridiculous enough. Jesus with a dinosaur, rainbow, and a young blond girl just takes tackiness to a whole other level. Looks like Jesus is so excited to finally see a dino after working on his new time machine or something.

Now Jesus with a dinosaur is ridiculous enough. Jesus with a dinosaur, rainbow, and a young blond girl just takes tackiness to a whole other level. Looks like Jesus is so excited to finally see a dino after working on his new time machine or something.

21. See Jesus hang out with his buddy Lord Krishna.

Of course, Jesus and Krishna are both said to be human incarnations of God or a god. Yet, outside India (where Krishna is a major icon in Hinduism), this picture would kind of border on blasphemy because of the whole one god rule in Christianity.

Of course, Jesus and Krishna are both said to be human incarnations of God or a god. Yet, outside India (where Krishna is a major icon in Hinduism), this picture would kind of border on blasphemy because of the whole one god rule in Christianity.

22. The King of Rock and Roll meets the King of Kings.

For some reason Elvis Presley doesn't seem thrilled meeting Jesus despite that he was a staunch Christian all his life and didn't like people calling him "King" to his face for this reason. Probably is due to the fact Elvis was disappointed about the buffet up in Heaven.

For some reason Elvis Presley doesn’t seem thrilled meeting Jesus despite that he was a staunch Christian all his life and didn’t like people calling him “King” to his face for this reason. Probably is due to the fact Elvis was disappointed about the buffet up in Heaven.

23, Here’s the Mormonism Founder Joseph Smith as a Spinx.

For a moment, I almost thought it was a tacky monument to Buster Keaton at some Los Angeles country club. My apologies to the late great silent screen star.

For a moment, I almost thought it was a tacky monument to Buster Keaton at some Los Angeles country club. My apologies to the late great silent screen star.

24. Of course, this art work depicts Jesus’ little known Sermon of Stepford.

This was actually done by a Mormon artist and it was alleged that this was supposed to be a picture of Jesus with his polygamous wives. Despite that many Mormons (particularly early ones) believe Jesus  had at least two wives, the artist denies this. Still, such Mormon concept makes Dan Brown's idea of Jesus and Mary Magdalene as a couple seem pretty tame.

This was actually done by a Mormon artist and it was alleged that this was supposed to be a picture of Jesus with his polygamous wives. Despite that many Mormons (particularly early ones) believe Jesus had at least two wives, the artist denies this. Still, such Mormon concept makes Dan Brown’s idea of Jesus and Mary Magdalene as a couple seem pretty tame.

25. Lucifer snared on the power lines.

So, remember kids, the main reason we have power lines is because they're the best defense against Satan. The fact they provide electricity to your house is purely coincidental.

So, remember kids, the main reason we have power lines is because they’re the best defense against Satan. The fact they provide electricity to your house is purely coincidental.

26. See Jesus walking in the woods with a huge bear.

"As my Father in Heaven proclaimed, only you can prevent forest fires." And then the bear made out with Jesus's food sack.

“As my Father in Heaven proclaimed, only you can prevent forest fires.” And then the bear made out with Jesus’s food sack.

27. C’mon, kids, let’s go to Heaven to join Jesus in the Rapture.

Man, despite all the carnage wreaking havoc during the apocalypse, these people don't seem to worry about losing everything in eternal hellfire. All that matters to them is gleefully going up to Jesus in 1950s fashions.

Man, despite all the carnage wreaking havoc during the apocalypse, these people don’t seem to worry about losing everything in eternal hellfire. All that matters to them is gleefully going up to Jesus in 1950s fashions.

28. Jesus taking all souls to Heaven while destruction wreaks havoc on earth.

Come to think about it, this picture makes a compelling case why Michael Bay should do a film on the Rapture. Think of his depiction as the Christian version of the Transformers series. Also, why are all the figures wearing white gowns in this?

Come to think about it, this picture makes a compelling case why Michael Bay should do a film on the Rapture. Think of his depiction as the Christian version of the Transformers series. Also, why are all the figures wearing white gowns in this?

29. Welcome to the Rapture, please let the angel guide you to your appropriate destination before being taken up to Heaven.

Also, why the 1950s fashions? I mean the Rapture didn't happen then. And if it were to occur sometime in the future, people would certainly not be dressed like they're from the 1950s.

Also, why the 1950s fashions? I mean the Rapture didn’t happen then. And if it were to occur sometime in the future, people would certainly not be dressed like they’re from the 1950s.

30. Jesus will help you through the raging waters of the storm.

"See that stretch of land, going there, steer thataway full speed ahead." Also, what the hell is that boat pilot wearing? Because that doesn't resemble a life jacket to me.

“See that stretch of land, going there, steer thataway full speed ahead.” Also, what the hell is that boat pilot wearing? Because that doesn’t resemble a life jacket to me.

31. Nothing brings a true expression of Christianity than a sculpture of two disembodied hands in a praying position.

This freakish statue stands in front of Oral Roberts University. Nevertheless, despite it being a religious artwork, Christian piety didn't seem to be what I had in mind upon seeing this.

This freakish statue stands in front of Oral Roberts University. Nevertheless, despite it being a religious artwork, Christian piety didn’t seem to be what I had in mind upon seeing this.

32. See the Dark Lord Satan tempting-I mean lending his evil- I mean giving wise words of wisdom to these two kids standing near him.

This is a Satanic monument for the Oklahoma State Capitol. Now I know that real Satanist are nothing like how they're depicted in Hollywood. Yet, I don't think presenting Lucifer with a goat head and seated like a mall Santa is helping their case.

This is a Satanic monument for the Oklahoma State Capitol. Now I know that real Satanist are nothing like how they’re depicted in Hollywood. Yet, I don’t think presenting Lucifer with a goat head and seated like a mall Santa is helping their case.

33. See Jesus bestowing his words of wisdom to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. According to the artist: “The Introduction is a stunning portrayal of that first moment of man’s special blessing from God. A brand new world sparkles and vibrates with color and movement as Adam and Eve gaze with a wonder and tenderness to set the standard for all time.”

I don't know about you but I know that just because Christianity says, "Jesus is God" doesn't mean that Jesus should be in this  because he's "the Son" and that incarnation of the Holy Trinity doesn't show up until the New Testament. Adam and Eve are in Genesis and thus, in the Old Testament. Portraying God as the old man in the sky would've been more appropriate. Also, I'm sure that Adam and Eve aren't just gazing at each other in wonder and tenderness.

I don’t know about you but I know that just because Christianity says, “Jesus is God” doesn’t mean that Jesus should be in this because he’s “the Son” and that incarnation of the Holy Trinity doesn’t show up until the New Testament. Adam and Eve are in Genesis and thus, in the Old Testament. Portraying God as the old man in the sky would’ve been more appropriate. Also, I’m sure that Adam and Eve aren’t just gazing at each other in wonder and tenderness.

34. To suit your Holy Communion needs, here’s a wine dispenser of Jesus’ hand.

I don’t know about you but I kind of find the idea of blood spurting into the chalice from Jesus’s giant stigmatic hand kind of creepy. Kind of has the all too literal “Body and Blood of Christ” connotation to it.

35. What better Christian velvet painting to have than three Jesuses looking towards the moon.

Somehow I look at this picture and the words come to mind are, "I'm just a poor boy nobody loves me./ He's just a poor boy from a poor family./ Spare him his life from this monstrosity." Also, three Jesuses is way too many and kind of creepy.

Somehow I look at this picture and the words come to mind are, “I’m just a poor boy nobody loves me./ He’s just a poor boy from a poor family./ Spare him his life from this monstrosity.” Also, three Jesuses is way too many and kind of creepy.

36. Here’s Jesus greeting the doves from the sky after his baptism.

I don't know about you but I'm not sure this artist knows how to draw sun rays because his tend to resemble scorching flames. Hope those doves didn't get burned.

I don’t know about you but I’m not sure this artist knows how to draw sun rays because his tend to resemble scorching flames. Hope those doves didn’t get burned.

37. Don’t worry, Jesus is here to stop the storm at sea.

Think of this painting as a Christian themed version of Lost since everyone on that boat seems to be racially diverse and wearing modern day clothes. Also, why is there a wooden sailboat here? We don't use those kinds of boats anymore.

Think of this painting as a Christian themed version of Lost since everyone on that boat seems to be racially diverse and wearing modern day clothes. Also, why is there a wooden sailboat here? We don’t use those kinds of boats anymore.

38. Jesus is always online with your concerns.

However, despite the image, those who wish to chat with Jesus on the internet would be sorely disappointed because Jesus didn't mean "online" at a digital standpoint. Still, despite his hairstyle not conforming to office regulations, he sure knows how to dress for work.

However, despite the image, those who wish to chat with Jesus on the internet would be sorely disappointed because Jesus didn’t mean “online” at a digital standpoint. Still, despite his hairstyle not conforming to office regulations, he sure knows how to dress for work.

39. Jesus in Heaven with his celestial horses.

Yes, you hear me, Jesus with his stable of celestial cloud horses. Seriously, don’t tell me that even Christian artists could be on acid? Because this is messed up, man. Also, there’s a giant cloud dove in this, too.

40. Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd as well as a sexy beefcake.

Who made our Lord and Savior into a figure on a Harlequin Romance novel? Seriously, why make Jesus sexy when most Christian denominations don’t consider him to have any sexual activity? Of course, if this was for a cover of some Jesus-Mary Magdalene shipping fanfic, I’d totally understand, Dan Brown.

41. Goku kneels down for Jesus.

I’m sure Goku from Dragon Ball Z wasn’t at the crucifixion nor would he have been the beloved disciple. Seriously, this is pretty tacky fanart or something.

42. You don’t want to see naked crucified Jesus when he’s angry.

"Where's my clothes?" Man, Jesus may be crucified, but he can sure grow into the Incredible Hulk when he wants to. Also, exposed genitalia might be offensive to many Christians just a little FYI.

“Where’s my clothes?” Man, Jesus may be crucified, but he can sure grow into the Incredible Hulk when he wants to. Also, exposed genitalia might be offensive to many Christians just a little FYI.

43. “The man in the middle represents the modern Christian … a man who must decide whether or not he will stand up for his Christian beliefs. Many are shouting out to tell him what to do. He raises his hand to say, ‘Be silent, for I know that Jesus is the Christ!’”

Christians may be persecuted in some parts in the world but usually in countries like North Korea. However, I’m sure the white male in a business suit is surely not oppressed in Christendom not in the least. Yet, you can tell where this artist’s politics stand in this painting with making the white male suit a symbol of the modern Christian.

44. Jesus was the inspiration for the constitution.

Maybe Jesus was but he has to share credit with the Enlightenment figures like John Locke and Rousseau. Nevertheless, Lincoln, John Adams, and Alexander are trying to start a barbershop quartet while Washington doesn’t seem too interested. Still, this is a more blatant painting commemorating the artist’s conservative politics than it is about Jesus.

45. Here’s a painting of the biblical heroine Judith of Bethulia who beheaded a guy named Holofernes in of the extra canonical books of the Bible.

Of course, this painting seems to resemble something that would be hung on some college guy's dorm room. Yeah, a badass biblical heroine is reduced to some scantily clad chick you see in certain action movies. Pretty much a shame.

Of course, this painting seems to resemble something that would be hung on some college guy’s dorm room. Yeah, a badass biblical heroine is reduced to some scantily clad chick you see in certain action movies. Pretty much a shame.

46. See Jesus and Beelzebub box each other in the ring.

Jesus and Satan boxing with oven mitts while God serves as announcer. Now I've seen everything. Still, all the angels and demons feel so excited about the match.

Jesus and Satan boxing with oven mitts while God serves as announcer. Now I’ve seen everything. Still, all the angels and demons feel so excited about the match.

47. Jesus gets mauled by a bear and trying to confront it.

Uh, Jesus, you might want to run away because it has cubs in the background. Trying to make peace with a mama bear is never a good idea, honest to God I'm not kidding.

Uh, Jesus, you might want to run away because it has cubs in the background. Trying to make peace with a mama bear is never a good idea, honest to God I’m not kidding.

48. Accept NASCAR Jesus as your Lord and savior.

Honestly, this is one of the most redneck Jesus artworks I’ve ever seen. Hey, I didn’t know Jesus had Budweiser as a sponsor. Of course, he’s just at the track to protect racers from wrecking into each other or dying while wrecking into each other, since wrecking is basically the only interesting thing that happens during NASCAR races.

49. My, Jesus, what green eyes you have.

Kenny Loggins doesn't seem to have aged well in recent years. Nor does he seem to have grown out of that 1980s haircut of his.

Kenny Loggins doesn’t seem to have aged well in recent years. Nor does he seem to have grown out of that 1980s haircut of his.

50. Aww, what a sweet painting of Jesus watching a child sleep.

For some reason, I find this rather creepy, especially reading Jesus' expression and his trying to touch the child's head.

For some reason, I find this rather creepy, especially reading Jesus’ expression and his trying to touch the child’s head.

Movie Couples that Won’t Last

We’ve seen the kinds of movies in which love conquers all and that the leads involved will live happily ever after. However, we need to know is that it takes more than that to keep a relationship together and there are couples who you see in the movies that don’t seem to have much of a future together after the credits roll. There are some Hollywood movies that have realistic ideas about relationships and others that would make anyone ask questions wondering why these people just don’t split up already. Here is a list of couples who I believe won’t make it after the film is over. These include couples whose relationships have already ended by the movie’s conclusion or is destined to end when one of them dies. Rather these are couples who are together by the end but who won’t seem to have much of a future any time soon.

 

1. Johnnie Asgarth and Lina McLaidlaw

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From: Suspicion

Problem: Money issues and lack of trust

If there is any movie relationship I think would least likely last after the credits, I would put my money on this one despite being made in the 1940s. Despite being played by Cary Grant, Johnnie Asgarth is a selfish and irresponsible turd who probably wouldn’t have proposed to Lina if she didn’t grow up rich. And he wouldn’t have spent vast amounts of money on Lina As the relationship progresses, it’s very clear that Johnnie’s gambling, dishonesty, and selfishness become glaring liabilities that he eventually loses Lina’s trust to the point she considers leaving him only to decide staying due to her low self-esteem as well as her fear of remaining single for the rest of her life. The relationship eventually gets to the point that Lina starts suspecting that Johnnie is planning to kill her, which may make her seem a bit crazy at first. Yet, take into account that Johnnie’s tendency to lie is well-known even among his friends, Lina’s cousin firing him for embezzlement and she didn’t know for weeks, him selling his wife’s priceless antique chairs (which were family heirlooms and a wedding gift from her father) to pay off a gambling death without her knowledge and consent, his friend was found dead under mysterious circumstances after Johnnie convinced him to finance a hugely speculative land development scheme, and his disturbing enthusiasm for murder mysteries. Of course, we find out in the end that Johnnie intended to do no such thing but that doesn’t dismiss him from being a terrible husband and that he was secretly trying to borrow from his wife’s life insurance policy to repay someone doesn’t necessarily make things better either, assuming that Johnnie was telling the truth. Sure they may have made up by the end but their marital problems may never be resolved. Johnnie may have promised to face his responsibilities but he’s probably not going to stick to it and he would soon be back to his old irresponsible ways. The only future I see in this relationship is one of rampant distrust and financial ruin, both of which lead to the inevitable of divorce. And it’s only a matter of time when Lina realizes that she doesn’t have to put up with Johnnie’s crap and has the courage to leave him for good.

 

2. Benjamin Braddock and Elaine Robinson

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From: The Graduate

Problem: Mutual interest is more based on unavailability and desire to rebel against parents than actual love. Also, he banged her mom.

While Elaine Robinson would’ve made a mistake to quit college and marry a medical student (even at her mom’s wishes), being in a relationship with Benjamin Braddock is hardly a suitable alternative. I mean he’s a guy with no job, no ambitions, and no prospects as well as had a torrid affair with her mother, which would make any future family get togethers seem a bit unsettling. Also, keep in mind that they only went on one date after which Mrs. Robinson forbade them from seeing each other again. But Ben becomes increasingly obsessed with her that he ends up stalking her at Berkeley despite that she’s not really into him and is seeing another guy. Oh, and he wrecked her wedding but that is more forgivable since she probably didn’t want to marry the blonde guy in the first place and didn’t know much about him either. Yet, the fact she was willing to run off with Benjamin over it more or less seem like a desperate girl’s attempt to escape from her parents’ control (and I couldn’t blame her for this) than actual love. This isn’t a good basis for a relationship and even the end scene makes it clear that they may not actually love each other and perhaps would end up exactly like their parents. Then again, it’s possible that they’re finally starting to think about the implications of their actions.

 

3. Artie Green and Betty Schaefer

From: Sunset Boulevard

Problem: While he was away, she had a romantic entanglement with his best friend who later got killed over it.

Their relationship isn’t a main focus in this movie but you have to remember that Betty was engaged to another man by the time she took up with screenwriter Joe Gillis. Of course, Artie was away at the time but even before his departure, you sense that Joe and Betty have an attraction toward one another which will play a key role to the plot once they start working on a screenplay together and falling in love in the process. Now anyone familiar with this move knows that Joe Gillis has spent considerable time living with a rich older woman named Norma Desmond who’s to put it mildly emotionally unstable. Now Norma’s discovery of Gillis’ and Betty’s at least emotional tryst would eventually lead her shooting him dead. Despite that Joe’s murder isn’t her fault, Betty is going to feel some degree of responsibility for it possibly for the rest of her life. And this may be a source of emotional strain in her relationship with Artie since she’s probably not going to be willing to talk about it with him. Then again, with the publicity surrounding Gillis murder by a once famous movie star, Artie might find out anyway and may have some questions to ask Betty when he gets back that she may not even want to answer. And Betty should at least be lucky that we didn’t have shows like Dateline and Nancy Grace during the 1950s since she would’ve certainly be hounded by such sensationalistic press. Also, it seems very likely that Betty is willing to marry Artie just because he has much less baggage even if she may not be wildly in love with him.

 

4. Han Solo and Princess Leia

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From: Star Wars

Problem: Han’s looming unemployment and deteriorating self-worth. Also, the bit about Princess Leia’s sense of royal entitlement and their relationship revolving around the galactic rebellion.

So here’s the couple united by the cause of the galactic rebellion in which they overcame things like checkered pasts, socioeconomic differences, experimentation in incest, carbonite freezing, and a general distaste for one another. Sure Han and Leia are certainly entertaining to watch but their happiness after the victory party isn’t expected to last long. After all, Leia is certainly going to be busy with helping her brother restore the Force and reestablish the galactic senate. Han is obviously unemployed and really can’t go back to his smuggling days before the war since the legal equivalent is just a trucker which wouldn’t make him seem like a badass. And it doesn’t help that he owes money to every planet in the galaxy and always shoots first in a fight, which doesn’t make him good material for a diplomat. Not to mention, him and Leia didn’t meet before the war and practically every single activity and conversation they shared revolved around it. Not only that but they don’t really know each other outside of that context which is one reason why marriages rushed into wartime usually don’t last as evidence by divorce statistics rising after almost every single major war in recent times. It’s very likely that Han will grow passive aggressive and spiteful toward Leia’s royal sense of entitlement leading to possible 4 am fights, alcoholism, and murder suicide to follow. Then again, Han may decide to settle down as a house husband but I don’t really see that going down well.

 

5. Prince Eric and Ariel

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From: The Little Mermaid

Problem: Unrealistic compromise and that this relationship is based on terrible decision making and rushed escalation.

Sure a lot of little girls may have liked The Little Mermaid, but we have to face the facts that Ariel is a terrible role model as a Disney princess. Ariel basically gave up her life, voice, and lower body to be with a guy who she just met while Eric is conflicted between choosing her and another girl he just met (who turns out to be Ursula in disguise). Also give into account that Ariel is a teenage girl prone to making the same stupid impulsive decisions as any teenager would. I also don’t think Eric is too far off either since he basically decided to marry a girl he knew for less than a day (granted he was under Ursula’s spell at the time but still rushing to marry someone you knew for less than 24 hours is never a good thing). Still, even though Ariel and Eric marry as humans and seem happy in the end, their future doesn’t seem very good. For one, the two of them hardly knew each other and their attraction to each other seems rather shallow and based on physical attributes and Florence Nightingale syndrome. Second, soon Ariel will grow up to realize what she’s done and her relationship with Eric is doomed to end with her either feeling homesick or resentful and homesick or perhaps physically sick when she discovers that human sex isn’t the same as mermaid sex.

 

6. Spock and Uhura

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From: J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek

Problem: Emotional unavailability, different expectations, and needs.

I don’t know about you but I’m personally stumped why J. J. Abrams would decide to make Spock and Uhura a couple. If there was any woman in the Star Trek universe I’d match Spock with it would have to be Nurse Chapel since she had the hots for him during the original TV series (that or the girl Spock was supposed to marry back home). Sure there are certainly successful Vulcan-human pairings in the Star Trek universe and Spock is living proof of that since his parents were still together in the original series as far as we know (though we don’t see them “together in the movies”). And it’s possible that Vulcans and humans can be attracted and have a relationship with each other. Yet, let’s face it, Vulcans aren’t known for their emotional intimacy since they pride themselves suppressing any emotional displays in favor of cold, calculating logic. We know from J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek that Uhura has certain emotional needs, which Spock unsurprisingly tries to ignore. And it’s no surprise that emotional unavailability leads to disengagement from the relationship in which Uhura could only put up with Spock’s emotional distance for so long before walking out. And if they have a child, then it could expect a frustrated mother and a distant father, which doesn’t translate to a happy childhood. As for their sex life, I’m sure it’s not one of Spock’s favorite activities since he’s part of a species known to get horny every seven years. Yet, he’s probably not the one who’s initiating it. Then there’s Pon Farr, and you don’t want to see Spock during that time.

 

7. Pat Solitano Jr. and Tiffany Maxwell

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From: The Silver Linings Playbook

Problem: Mental illness, unemployment, and her sex addiction.

Sure Pat and Tiffany may love each other and life happily ever after, but remember that neither of them have been cured or even adequately treated. Also, note that if they are to have a life together, remember that they both were fired from their jobs for serious misbehavior whether it’s nearly beating up a co-worker for banging his (soon to be ex) wife or sleeping with everyone at the office after her husband’s untimely death. These aren’t ways you’d want to be remembered from work and they will both have a hard time getting a job, especially since Pat did time in a mental institution for eight months. Not only that, take note that Pat is a teacher by trade so he probably doesn’t have much chance of finding a job in the educational field again. Then there’s the fact that Tiffany asked Pat to have sex with her an hour after they first meet as well as her explaining, “I was a slut. There will always be a part of me that is dirty and sloppy, but I like that!” Hmm, I love this movie but I’m not sure if a union between a mentally ill man whose explosive outburst of assault toward a man having sex with his ex-wife and a clinical nymphomaniac is going to amount to anything good. I hope that Tiffany doesn’t like that dirty part about herself too much because one relapse can make this relationship become less than a romantic comedy and more of a Nancy Grace obsession. Still, at least they’re a couple who knows exactly what they’re getting into unlike some couples on the list.

 

8. T. R. Deviln and Alicia Huberman

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From: Notorious

Problem: Workplace romantic entanglements, alcoholism, emotional unavailability, and overall dickishness.

Look, I don’t know about you but I don’t think Devlin and Alicia’s relationship has much of a chance after the movie even if they are played by Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Sure they fall in love during the course of the film but what they really have is almost nothing more than a working relationship and despite his feelings, Devlin has no qualms about putting the job before anything else, even Alicia during an espionage mission that basically amounts to government-sponsored prostitution. Also, speaking about her, the only reason why Devlin ever tried to pursue her was because he was sent to recruit her for an espionage mission involving her father’s friend in Rio de Janeiro since her dad was convicted as a Nazi spy and she’s an admitted American patriot. Yet, Alicia is also an alcoholic with a reputation for promiscuity, and Devlin doesn’t let Alicia hear the end of it. Still, Devlin uses Alicia’s love for him and low self-esteem to help carry the mission and yet, has the propensity of acting like a total dick to her that you seem to have more sympathy for Alex Sebastian despite that he’s a Nazi, is storing uranium in his wine cellar, and eventually tries to kill Alicia towards the end. Then there’s the fact that Alicia was poisoned toward the end and the chance she may not make it to the hospital. If she does, the chances of them staying together don’t seem good since Devlin is still a spy as far as we know and Alicia will probably emerge from the situation perhaps even more messed up than she was before. And I don’t see Devlin as a supportive love interest when it comes to Alicia’s problems, because he certainly wasn’t during the job though maybe it was his way of acting “professional.”

 

9. Godfrey Parke and Irene Bullock

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From: My Man Godfrey

Problem: Immaturity, personality differences, different focuses, and that attraction seems rather one sided.

Sure Godfrey must’ve felt some romantic affection for Irene and was certainly grateful for all what she did for him, but I don’t really see him being as crazy about her as she is about him. Nor do I see them as perfectly suited for each other either since she just acts like an infatuated teenage girl who seems to have a spoiled rich girl entitlement complex while he is much more concerned about getting his life back together after losing everything through an ugly divorce and I doubt he wants to get into a new relationship anytime soon. Besides, Irene is just so immature and I think she kind of forced Godfrey into marrying her and she didn’t really seem concerned with his needs too much though she is really nice about it. I kind of imagine them eventually getting sick of each other with Godfrey getting annoyed at Irene’s crazy superficial antics and Irene basically getting bored with him as her infatuation dies down. Either they’d end up like Irene’s parents or headed for divorce court. Godfrey probably should’ve married the maid.

 

10. Hercules and Megara

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From: Hercules

Problem: Basically it’s doomed by canon.

Let’s face it. I know Hercules would go to the Underworld to save Megara in the Disney movie but the original myth doesn’t have a happy ending to these two. Rather their relationship ends with Hera (who’s not his mom) driving Hercules insane and killing Megara and their children. Either that or he just killed their children and Megara simply went back to her dad who had her married to someone else. Oh, and did you know that Megara’s said to be the daughter of the Theban King Creon who’s Oedipus’ uncle and brother-in-law? That would make her Oedipus’ cousin and niece by marriage. Still, whether out of guilt by this or not, Hercules would have to go on performing Twelve Labors after this. Nevertheless, if it’s Greek mythology, then the tragic end of Hercules’ relationship with Megara can’t be avoided. Hey, at least it won’t end as ugly as Jason and Medea’s, now these two make even the nastiest breakups seem pretty tame.

 

11. The Little Tramp and Most of His Love Interests

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From: Most of Charlie Chaplin’s films up to Modern Times

The Problem: Doomed by canon, homelessness, unemployment, possible criminal record, and others.

We may love Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp character who has won over so many hearts and fans during the 1920s. Too bad he doesn’t have much luck with women and we always know that practically every relationship he has (even if they’re still together at the credits) will end in some sort of breakup before the next Little Tramp film comes around, despite that he tends to do practically a lot for the girls he likes. Perhaps it has to do with that he’s a homeless man who probably drifts from one town to the next while his love interests want to settle down. Not to mention, the Tramp has a tendency to get arrested a lot since he’s, well, a hobo. So while he could be a sweet as can be, his relationships with women would all end in some sort of breakup before the next one comes around.

 

12. Lieutenant Jack Dunbar and Stands With a Fist

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From: Dances With Wolves

Problem: Mutual Stockholm Syndrome.

Hmm an army officer abandoned by his military at some faraway outpost and later forced into interacting with Native Americans hooks up with a white woman orphaned during an Indian raid on her family’s settlement and then forced into similar dependency on the tribe. They met as consenting captives of the Sioux and fell in love while exploring the their captors’ virtues together. Sure they may seem to be in a stable compatible relationship and don’t seem to have much problem at first. But what these two white people have is known to psychologists as Stockholm syndrome which pertains to the a captive’s misinterpretation of a lack of abuse as kindness as if they were abused dogs with new owners. According to the experts, a love predicated on a psychological disorder is doomed to fail, especially when the cause of the disorder is removed. At the end the couple leave the tribe and set off on their own on the open plains. The only way Dunbar and Stands With a Fist could keep the spark alive is that they act as perpetrator against the other. And you thought this was a happy love story.

 

13. Jason and Medea

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From: Jason and the Argonauts

Problem: Doomed by canon, unrealistic compromise, dickishness, and craziness.

Let’s just say while Medea may have helped Jason and his fellow Argonauts obtain the Golden Fleece, but once they land in Corinth, let’s just say it’s going to get ugly. Medea is a powerful and genius sorceress who ends up betraying her father and brother (who she’d later kill) for a guy she just met by the name of Jason. She supported Jason through their adventures, quests, and battles as well as suffered horribly for her love for him and bore him two boys. Jason was impressed by Medea’s devotion to him and swore to stay by her forever. And guess what Jason does for all that she’s done for him? Well, he dumps her for a princess since he has no more use for Medea. Medea retaliates by killing his new bride, father-in-law, and their two kids. Jason should’ve known what he was getting into and should have never royally piss her off in the first place.

 

14. John Bender and Claire Standish

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From: The Breakfast Club

Problem: Relationship based on his Post-Traumatic Embitterment Disorder and her desire to get back at daddy.

I haven’t seen this movie but this pairing seems far uglier than those “good girl and bad boy” couples. At least Han and Leia were adults who knew what they were getting into. Claire is just a naive girl who mistakes antisocial tendencies for awesome attractive qualities. Bender is simply an angry, bitter, and aggressive teenage boy with a rap sheet and history of self-destruction. Basically he’s a guy who’s future consists of a prison cell in his lifetime. He’s antisocial, offensive, and generally kind of a dick who torments Claire on a regular basis. Sure he may have had a traumatizing childhood filled with shitty Christmas gifts. Such a combination of helplessness and rage may draw a girl like Clair who may want to help and get back at daddy but she should just go towards the door. According to the experts, Bender will likely shut down around affection and intimacy, and when he’s incapable of expressing his feelings like a normal human being, lash out with violence. If she decides to stay with Bender, Claire has a possible future of unrequited love and excuses about running into a door.

 

15. Nick and Honey

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From: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Problem: Marriage is more or less based on money and a  pregnancy scare than anything as well as emotional unavailability, alcoholism, and possible mental illness.

You would think that George and Martha would be the couple in this movie headed to divorce court because they are simply dysfunctional alcoholics who constantly fight and insult each other. Yet, later on you tend to realize that these two are utterly messed up people who thrive on drama and their torrid relationship is basically built on that and they can’t really live without each other either. With these Nick and Honey, there seems to be no foundation between them other than money and perhaps a pregnancy scare from what I figured. Neither seem to be in love with one another and don’t seem to have much of an emotional connection. There’s obviously something wrong with Honey other than alcoholism. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Nick just left her in a couple years for one of his prettier students.

 

16. George Wickham and Lydia Bennett

From: Pride and Prejudice

Problem: Basically these two married because they were living together unchaperoned for two weeks and that he as bribed by Mr. Darcy. Also, he’s overwhelmingly selfish while she’s just an immature brat.

Sure I know that divorce wasn’t easy to get in the early 1800s but let’s just say Lydia is bound for an unhappy life after marrying Wickham as a teenager and I wouldn’t be surprised if she goes back home to her parents after a few years, carries on an affair, or is forced to fend for herself. Still, she’s selfish, completely self-involved, materialistic, and cares absolutely nothing about those hurt because of her, the trouble she causes for her family, or the consequences of her stupid actions. In fact, she won’t even acknowledge that her actions were stupid or had any damaging effects. However, Lydia is a teenage girl who does stupid teenage things so there’s a chance she’ll regret what she’s done once she grows out of being such a brat. As for Wickham, well, he may seem an okay guy on the surface but once you get to know him, you realize that he’s a manipulative and selfish bastard who spends his time partying, whoring, and running huge gambling debts that he had to desert his militia regiment because he owes so much money to his soldiers. Oh, and he was hoping to marry a rich girl even after he deceived Lydia into thinking he was in love with her so she would elope with him. Not only that, but if it wasn’t for Mr. Darcy and his large disposable income, Wickham probably wouldn’t have married her in the first place. Still, you can make the case for Wickham being a sociopath and probably doesn’t love Lydia. Let’s just say that Jane Austen has them in a loveless marriage and leeching Lydia’s relatives but that doesn’t mean they’re living together.

 

17. Professor Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle

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From: My Fair Lady

Problem: Socioeconomics, large age difference, his misogyny, the fact George Bernard Shaw didn’t see them as a couple, and other reasons.

Sure Higgins may have grown to care for Eliza by the end of the movie but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s a misogynist who took advantage of her to win a bet. This isn’t something Eliza is going to easily forgive him for. I mean the guy has two songs about how he doesn’t like women. George Bernard Shaw always hated how his Pygmalion adaptations have Higgins and Doolittle pairing up and he thought that seeing Eliza with a middle aged misogynist as the worst thing he could’ve imagined. If it were up to him, she’d end up with Freddie who’s the creepy stalker but considering his play took place in 1912, there’s an obvious reason why that may not last. It’s very clear that any romance involving Eliza and Higgins would involve the latter wearing the pants in the relationship and it’s very likely that it would be rather similar to what they have when he was trying to teach her how to speak English without a Cockney accent. However, this time, Eliza wouldn’t have much desire to reinvent her life because she already has and would probably leave Higgins for some nicer guy her age. And no, she probably wouldn’t end up with Colonel Pickering because he’s older than Higgins and more like a father figure to her.

 

18. L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries and Lisa Carol Freamont

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From: Rear Window

Problem: Differing lifestyles, the fact the relationship doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere, and other issues.

This is a hard case since Jeff is clearly not the happiest camper in this movie since he’s recovering from a broken leg while confined to a wheelchair in his little apartment in 90 degree weather with no air conditioner, no TV or internet, and no handicap access. We shouldn’t be surprised that Jeff may come off like a jerk whose new hobby is watching his neighbors, especially a guy who might’ve killed his wife. Now I have respect Lisa for being there for Jeff at this difficult time in his life but he doesn’t really seem to appreciate her and has doubts on whether their relationship would last. Of course, it’s given that Jeff is a professional photographer who travels a lot and Lisa’s a socialite who probably has a much more luxurious lifestyle than what he’s used to given what his apartment looks like while she’s wearing designer clothes. Not only that but I’m sure that many of Jeff’s neighbors aren’t that well off either. Not to mention, Jeff seems to have bitter attitudes about marriage. I’m not sure that either is willing to compromise for the other. Let’s say I give them until his legs are better.

 

19. Don Birnam and Helen St. James

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From: The Lost Weekend

Problem: Alcoholism and co-dependency issues.

I have never believed in the notion that a good woman helping a guy turn his life around and while this movie seems to hint toward a happy ending, things aren’t so much cut and dried in reality. Don might’ve stopped drinking and decide to write his novel but he’s not necessarily out of the woods yet or whether he’ll stay sober for good (in the original book, he doesn’t). And if he does, it’s not going to be because of Helen. Still, we have to accept that they were together for three years and Helen knew Don was a drunk the whole time. Throughout the film, it’s very apparent that Helen is a co-dependent since she’s constantly babying him, always making excuses for him, and refuses to make demands for him. Furthermore, she foolishly thinks that she has the strength and determination to help Don stop drinking. By three years in, she should know that Don’s alcoholism isn’t her problem and she can’t fix it. But Helen doesn’t seem to acknowledge this at all. Still, I could see this relationship going in a variety of ways. Don may experience continual relapses that will either lead to his death or Helen possibly coming to her senses and dumping him. And if Don stays sober there’s a possibility he may come to see Helen as medicine and demand a fresh start in a new relationship with a more self-assured woman willing to make demands on him.

 

20. Edward and Vivian

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From: Pretty Woman

Problem: Let’s see, she’s a hooker and he’s a callous businessman, the possibilities are endless since screwing other people is not a solid foundation for a relationship.

I haven’t seen this film and I’m not sure if I ever want to since it kind of has unrealistic ideas about love and such, especially in the realm of wealthy businessmen dating hookers. But having a long term relationship with one? Please, I’m not sure if that’s going to work out. Of course, the notion that Edward may not be entirely comfortable with Vivian’s colored past as a prostitute, but it’s very clear in the movie he already knows about her work in the sex industry and that there are certain things about prostitutes you need to expect. After all, as a businessman, he probably has been with quite a few of them. However, while businessmen and prostitutes may screw over people for money this doesn’t mean they’re similar creatures who belong together. Rather, there’s a big difference between your body because you have to and ruining other people’s businesses because you want to. And while Vivian may give up her life as a prostitute, this doesn’t mean Edward would stop screwing other businesses and ruin other people’s lives, including some women who may become prostitutes because of him. I’m not sure that Vivian would feel comfortable pairing up with such a jerk.

Mending the Rift Between Obama and Catholics

historymaniacmegan:

Providing workplace flexibility to pregnant women is one of the better ways to support life and family than some other certain policies that shall remain nameless.

Originally posted on TIME:

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and President Barack Obama have had a rocky relationship over the past six years, with perhaps no issue more contentious than the Health and Human Services mandate, which has sparked the Bishops’ three “Fortnight for Freedom” campaigns. But President Obama’s recent speech at the White House Summit on Working Families provides a good opportunity for the two sides to turn the corner in the President’s final two years and work together on promoting an agenda that would benefit millions of American families.

If the Bishops hope to follow Pope Francis’ lead, fighting to undo the pressures and hardships that menace American families seems like an obvious next step. Pope Francis has constantly drawn attention to the impact of economic injustice on families, calling for changes that will give them greater economic security and more time for one another.

On both the left and the…

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Original Fairy Tales Part 3

Last time I did Little Red Riding Hood, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Puss in Boots, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Three Little Pigs, The Fisherman and His Wife, The Little Mermaid, and the Girl Without Hands. Of course, these aren’t the only tales we know but I have a few more to go over in this one. Still, many people would say that fairy tales are merely stories for children and are rather G rated. Yet, what most parents don’t realize is that many of them contain a lot of family unfriendly material like sex, violence, and creepy features. So without further adieu, here are even more familiar fairy tales with their original versions.

Pinocchio

Geppetto creating Pinocchio.

Geppetto creating Pinocchio.

How You Know It: Toymaker makes wooden puppet boy who comes to life and would be a real boy if he is good. Unfortunately, Pinocchio is kind of mischievous and gets into all sorts of trouble but his nose grows when lies while he sees bad boys being turned into donkeys and sold to the circus. After saving Geppetto from a fish, he shapes up and becomes a real boy.

The Original Version: Based on the 1883 book “The Adventures of Pinocchio” by Italian Carol Collodi. While Pinocchio was mischievous in the movie, he’s far so in the source material where he runs away as soon as he could walk. He’s found by police who put Geppetto in prison on suspicion on abuse. Oh, and the talking cricket who warns him of the dangers on hedonistic pleasures and obedience, Pinocchio kills him (sorry, Jiminy). When Geppetto is released, he insists Pinocchio go to school but the living puppet sells his schoolbooks for a ticket to a puppet show where he encounters a fox and a cat who steal his money and try to rob him.

The Emperor’s New Clothes

Emperor parades in his new clothes and exposes himself at the same time.

Emperor parades in his new clothes and exposes himself at the same time.

How You Know It: Fashion obsessed Emperor is swindled by two “weavers” (con artists) who offer to make him a set of new clothes with a special material that would only be invisible to complete idiots. Emperor thinks this would help him find out who in his court is unworthy for their position and gives them permission. Nobody makes a fuss regardless of whether they believe those two crooks until the Emperor decides to parade in his new “outfit” in which a child points out that he is naked.

The Original Version: Written by Hans Christian Andersen but while illustrated adaptations usually have the Emperor in his underwear, the original version makes it clear he was probably completely nude. Oh, and he still goes on with the procession even the kid speaks about the Emperor not having any clothes on. Still, this may be based on an old Spanish tale from the Middle Ages yet the king is cheated by “weavers” who claim to make clothes that would be invisible to anyone who’s not a son of the guy’s presumed father.

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

Girl receives nutcracker for Christmas.

Girl receives nutcracker for Christmas.

How You Know It: Kids receive a toy nutcracker for Christmas by their godfather Drosselmeier. One of the kids breaks but is later repaired with the young girl swearing to be its nurse before going to bed. That night the nutcracker comes alive and thanks to the girl, is able to overcome his foes (such as the mouse royal family) and eventually kills them before transforming into a handsome prince. He then takes her to show his doll kingdom.

The Original Version: It’s an 1816 German tale by author E.T. A. Hoffman and his version is much creepier than the one you’d see at the ballet around Christmas time. In this tale, the girl is named Marie who’s seven and the nutcracker is actually Drosselmeier’s nephew transformed by an evil mouse queen’s curse for 7 years. And he’s at least in his early teens. Also, the sadistic Mouse King has seven heads, visits her three times, eats sugar dolls, and makes Marie surrender all her candy and toys to him or else he’ll destroy the nutcracker. Then there’s the mice biting a princess and turns her into a monster but, too. Oh, and after the tour Marie wakes up in her own bed and tells her parents of the whole thing the next day who don’t believe her and forbid her to speak about it again (even though she has the Mouse Kings 7 crowns to show for it). Yet, Marie goes to the nutcracker and vows that she’d love him if he was real, even if he was ugly which breaks the curse and he asks her to marry him. She accepts and after a year, the nutcracker prince/king takes her to the doll kingdom where she is crowned queen.

The Princess and the Pea

Pea under a bunch of mattresses, girl still can't sleep.

Pea under a bunch of mattresses, girl still can’t sleep.

How You Know It: A prince wants to marry a real princess and tries to find one to no avail. One night, a young woman claiming to be a real princess seeks shelter from a storm. The queen suggest she test her by placing a pea on a bedstead and piling 20 mattresses and feather beds on top of it. There the young woman spends the night. The next morning she tells her hosts she endured a sleepless night being kept awake by something hard on her bed. The prince rejoices since the young woman was found to be a princess. They marry and live happily ever after.

The Original Version: Written by Hans Christen Andersen who claimed to have heard it as a child but it has never been a traditional tale in Denmark. It might’ve been in Sweden but that version used seven peas. Also, in Andersen’s version, the pea was said to have bruised the princess.

Bluebeard

If your new man keeps a torture cellar of his brutally murdered previous wives, that’s a dealbreaker, ladies.

How You Know It: Rich widower asks young woman to marry him. After the wedding, he gives her a set of keys to every room in the mansion with the stipulation that she never ever use to golden key to open a certain room in the house. While her husband is on a business trip, the woman naturally gets bored and increasingly curious about this particular room that she does. And to her shock, she finds the blood spattered bodies of all Bluebeard’s former wives he murdered for money as well as a basin full of blood. She flees in horror but when her husband returns, he finds out one way or the other, and threatens to kill her, too. Woman gets saved at last minute (whether by her family or the authorities).

The Original Version: The most familiar version is from the 17th century author Charles Perrault which is based on an old French folk tale which may have been inspired by a true story relating to a friend of Joan of Arc (yes, that Joan) named Giles de Rais who was also a famous 15th century serial killer (yet he killed children just for the heck of it not wives for money). Still, in the Perrault version, the woman actually escapes and ends marrying a better guy. Though the author tried to make the Bluebeard story about how curiosity is a flaw as well as could ruin a perfectly good marriage if a wife sticks her nose in her husband’s affairs, he kind of failed miserably considering that Bluebeard’s dark secret consisted of brutally murdered wives in a torture cellar.

Bluebeard has major trust issues for good reason.

Bluebeard has major trust issues for good reason.

There’s an English version called “Mr. Fox” that was cited in a play by William Shakespeare. This one has the heroine actually witness the villain murdering his previous bride and confronting him at the pre-wedding breakfast with the severed hand of that unfortunate lady and is saved by her relatives and suitors. There’s also a second Grimm Brothers variant in called “Fitcher’s Bird that says that the heroine was only wrong in that she got caught. Of course, she also finds her sisters’ bodies in a way her husband can’t detect and ultimately comes out on top.

The Tortoise and the Hare

Tortoise and the hare are about to race. Guess who wins.

Tortoise and the hare are about to race. Guess who wins.

How You Know It: Hare ridicules tortoise that he can outrun him in any race chiefly due to obvious biological differences. The tortoise challenges to a race to prove it. The next day, the hare is so confident in his natural ability that he shows off by messing around the entire race. Finds out later that the tortoise ended up ahead of him and wins.

The Original Version: This is one of Aesop’s fables from Ancient Greece, which had the hare actually take a nap halfway through before realizing that the tortoise had beat him. Still, there’s a version by the Grimm Brothers that replaces the tortoise with a hedgehog who has a bet with the hare that whoever wins gets a bottle of brandy and a gold coin. Oh, and the hedgehog cheats by having his wife dress up as him and hide at the finish line only to come up before the hare just crosses it. Being a sore loser, the hare challenges the hedgehog again and they start at the finish line. The hedgehogs pull the same trick. The hare keeps challenging the hedgehog more than 70 times (with the hedgehogs winning through the same trick each time). That is, until the 74th time when a blood vessel bursts in the hare’s throat and he collapses at the middle of the racetrack, gurgling his last confused breaths while drowning in his own blood.

The Red Shoes

Girl can't stop dancing in her red shoes.

Girl can’t stop dancing in her red shoes.

How You Know It: Girl gets a red pair of shoes, can’t stop dancing to take them off, and dies.

The Original Version: Based on a story by Hans Christen Andersen. Still, she’s brought in by a rich lady who gives her a pair of shoes. Yet, being the materialistic brat she is, she remains obsessed with the shoes. Yet, of course when she starts dancing at a party (when her adoptive mom is ill) she just can’t stop as if the shoes have a life of their own. Of course, this really has a negative effect of her life that she can’t attend her adoptive mother’s funeral. Oh, and there’s an angel that condemns her to dance even after she dies as a warning to kids everywhere. The girl begs for mercy but the red shoes take her away before the angel could say anything else. She then has an executioner cut of her feet, yet that doesn’t do the trick for the shoes continue to dance before her. Eventually the angel gives the girl mercy she asked for and her heart bursts so she’s taken up to heaven.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Perhaps using magic to help with housework is probably not a good idea.

Perhaps using magic to help with housework is probably not a good idea.

How You Know It: Kid magician apprentices for a sorcerer but he’s stuck with mopping the floor instead using no magic. When his master’s away, the boy enchants a broom to do the work for him (using magic in which he’s not fully trained). The floor is soon covered in water and the apprentice realizes he can’t stop the broom because he doesn’t know how. He splits the broom with an ax but new brooms form from the pieces and each take a pail fetching water at twice the speed. Sorcerer comes back at the last minute to save the day.

The Original Version: Though remembered as a Disney sequence from Fantasia, it’s from an 18th century poem by Goethe, but the sorcerer isn’t as angry in that. Also, there’s an Ancient Roman version to this as well by Lucian from 150 AD. Yet, the master is actually an Egyptian priest called Pancrates and the role in the apprentice is the guy’s friend Eucrates who thinks he could cause some magic after just eavesdropping on his companion. Yet, the implement here is a pestle.

The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen takes the boy to her ice castle.

The Snow Queen takes the boy to her ice castle.

How You Know It: Magical winter queen kidnaps young boy named Kai and takes him to her castle and makes him forget about his home. Girl named Gerda makes long hard journey to save him, with the help of a robber girl and her animal friends, a princess, a couple old ladies, and others.

The Original Version: Written by Hans Christian Andersen. Sure people think Frozen is based on this but it’s a bit of a stretch (it was originally going to be an adaptation but it didn’t work out that way). Still, the Snow Queen in the Hans Christian Andersen tale bears more resemblance to the White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia series with the exception that she’s not an evil person. Besides, Kai willingly stays with her and she’s willing to let him leave if he once though he has to accomplish an almost impossible task. Also, the story has a prequel with an evil troll (who’s actually Satan) makes a magic mirror of cynicism, it slips from his grasp and shatters into a billion pieces. One of those hits Kai in the heart and eye (before the Snow Queen kidnaps him though even with a frozen heart, he still lives but it takes Gerda’s tears to thaw him). Not to mention, there’s a lot of Christian subtext in this story which many adaptations leave out.

Original Fairy Tales Part 2

Last time I did Aladdin, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, The Elves and the Shoemaker, The Gingerbread Man, The Frog Prince, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Hansel and Gretel, and Jack and the Beanstalk. Of course, these aren’t the only fairy tales we all know since I’m going to go over a few more in this one. Let’s just say that while fairy tales are said to contain fantastical elements or happy endings, sometimes neither is the case. And sometimes there’s a lot of violence thrown in as well. So now on with more fairy tales and their original versions I should talk about accordingly.

Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood at her grandmother's. "Grandmother" looks inexplicably hairy with big teeth.

Little Red Riding Hood at her grandmother’s. “Grandmother” looks inexplicably hairy with big teeth.

How You Know It: Red hooded girl goes out into the woods with a basket of goodies to give to her sick grandmother. On her way, she is stopped by a wolf who asks her where she’s going. Too innocent to know better, she just tells him flat out. The wolf later takes a shortcut to the grandmother’s house, either swallows her or holds the grandmother hostage, and sits in her bed wearing her bedclothes. When Little Red arrives, she remarks on how unusual her “grandmother” looks until she says “Grandma, what big teeth you have!” In which the wolf replies, “All the better to eat you with my dear!” Wolf springs out while Little Red is either eaten or escapes. Yet, soon Little Red and her grandmother are rescued by a passing huntsman (or lumberjack) who kills the wolf, and they all live happily ever after.

The Original Version: The original Little Red Riding Hood first appeared in print as a story by 17th century French writer Charles Perrault (yet this tale may have been as old as the 10th century). And in that version, the story ends with the girl’s death followed by a moral such as, “Children, especially attractive, well-bred young ladies, should never talk to strangers, for if they should do so, they may well provide dinner for a wolf.” This might mean that, “any stranger could be a pedophile, serial killer, and/or rapist.” There’s no woodsman who saves her at the last minute, there’s no grandmother, and the wolf lives, end of story. Also, in Perrault’s story, she didn’t have a red hood but a red cape, which was his artistic touch for original folk tale didn’t even describe what color Little Red’s cloak was (and the Grimm Brothers added the hood part though their version has a happier ending as well as a sequel in which Little Red and her grandmother kill another wolf themselves). Still, some of the early versions play this fairy tale as one of seduction with the wolf not just wanting to eat Little Red and in some earlier variants. And in early versions with a happy ending, the wolf is punished horribly such as the huntsman either cutting him open or filling his stomach full of stones. Oh, and in some of these, Little Red gets away from the wolf with no outside help from anyone.

The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Pied Piper luring the kids out of the town with his music because he didn't get paid.

Pied Piper luring the kids out of the town with his music because he didn’t get paid.

How You Know It: Town hires broke musician to clear local rat infestation with his unconventional methods in exchange to pay him back. Rat catching musician lures rats away with his musical chops but the townspeople reneged on their promise and refuse to pay him. In revenge, the Pied Piper uses his music on the local kids who follow him out of the town and who knows where and are never seen again.

The Original Version: This is a very old tale which may have roots from a true story of how Hamelin lost its children but in the original the kiddos are all drowned in the river. The earliest record from the town chronicles is in the entry from 1384 which says “It is 100 years since our children left.” Some historians believe that the plague killed all the kids while others speculate that they were forced to move due to overpopulation. There are even some who say that this story was an allegory to the disastrous Children’s Crusade (though this may not have consisted just kids but also displaced homeless people) and that the Pied Piper was Nicholas of Colonge. There are plenty of other theories out there as well.

Puss in Boots

Puss meets the ogre.

Puss meets the ogre.

How You Know It: Miller dies and his youngest son finds himself stuck with the old man’s anthropomorphic cat. Cat promises to make the guy rich if he buys him some boots. Once he has them, Puss makes several visits to the local king claiming to be a servant to the Marquis of Carabas, each time bringing gifts he caught himself. He soon has his owner play up the ruse by having him skinny dip in a river with Puss claiming that someone stole his clothes in front of the king and his daughter. Puss then has the country folk brought into his scheme by having the king tell the king that the lands belong to the Marquis of Carabas or else face certain death. He later goes to the castle in which he flatters and taunts the resident ogre into proving his powers by transforming into a mouse, whereupon Puss promptly kills and eats him. When the king arrives, he is impressed with the bogus marquis and his estate and gives him his daughter in marriage and everyone lives happily ever after.

The Original Version: The most familiar version of this story was “The Master Cat, or The Cat in Boots” by 17th century French writer Charles Perrault but the cat in the story wasn’t named Puss in Boots, it was just a fan nickname. However, this tale of the trickster cat is way older than what many people expect. The earliest version is actually by a Hindu priest from Kashmir whose 5th century compilation the Panchatantra has a tale following a cat similar to Puss but he fares much less well than Perrault’s version as he attempts to make his fortune in the king’s palace.

Miller son changes into clothes and meets princess.

Miller son changes into clothes and meets princess.

In 1553, the Venetian writer Giovanni Francesco Straparola had a tale “Costantino Fortunato” which also falls on similar lines of Puss in Boots except that it takes place in Bohemia, the young man is the son of a local woman, the cat is a fairy in disguise, and the castle belongs to a lord who conveniently perishes in an accident. The young man eventually becomes Bohemia’s king. Yet, we’re not sure whether this one had origins in oral tradition or Straparola just made it up.

Then there’s a similar Puss in Boots tale published in 1634 by Neapolitan Giambattista Basile, yet the young man is actually a beggar whose fortunes are achieved in the same manner as Perrault’s. Yet, the tale ends with the former beggar boy promising the cat a gold coffin at his death as an expression of his gratitude. Three days later, the cat plays dead to test his master and is absolutely mortified to hear his master tell his wife to take the dead cat by its paws and throw it out the window. The cat leaps up frantic to know whether this was a better reward for helping his owner to a better life and runs away, leaving the ungrateful bastard to fend for himself. It’s almost certain that Charles Perrault wasn’t aware of these previous versions.

Rapunzel

Witch about to get Rapunzel a haircut after discovering what she was doing with the prince.

Witch about to get Rapunzel a haircut after discovering what she was doing with the prince.

How You Know It: Witch kidnaps abnormally long haired girl and shuts her up in a tower due to her dad stealing some of her garden plant to satisfy her mom’s pregnancy cravings. The only way to have access to the tower was to say “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair.” A smitten prince gets wind of this, climbs up to rescue her and the two live happily ever after.

The Original Version: The best known version is by the Brothers Grimm (though probably based on a story called “Petronsinella” by Italian Giambattista Basile though it contains more bawdy language and Mamoidselle La Force’s Persinette which has a fairy instead of a witch) yet this is quite different in which prince doesn’t rescue Rapunzel the first time he’s up there (yet he visits several times) but while they do make plans to elope, they also engage in less family-friendly activities as revealed later when Rapunzel complains to the witch about how tight her dress was getting around the middle (though the Grimms would change this). This would cause the witch to cut off the girl’s hair to lure the prince in and banished her to the desert where she lives as a beggar with no home, no money, and two little mouths to feed after a few months. When the prince came, the witch pushed him off the tower into a bed of thorns which left him blind. They wandered in the desert for some time (during which Rapunzel bore twin boys) before running into each other. Rapunzel would embrace him weeping in which her tears restored the prince’s sight and they all lived happily ever after.

Rapunzel letting her hair down for the prince.

Rapunzel letting her hair down for the prince.

It is said that the tale has some elements to the story of Saint Barbara such as having the girl locked in a tower, though Barbara’s ordeal was more or less honor-related abuse for defying her dad and it didn’t end well for her. Then there’s the 10th century Persian tale Rudaba which also has the “let down your hair” motif. Still, there are many older forms such as the Italian tale “Snow White Fire-Red” in which the prince is cursed by an ogress for breaking her pitcher in which the only girl he could marry was Snow White Fire-Red (the “daughter” of another ogress who like Rapunzel also has extremely long hair and lives in a tower but we’re not sure how she got there). Oh, and she’s a magic girl who enchants furniture as well as other tricks. The story ends when the other ogress curses her to make the prince forget her but she later helps break that one, too. Older forms of Rapunzel have similar variants like this one.

Rumpelstiltskin

Weird little helper ask for payback but relents if queen could say his name.

Weird little helper ask for payback but relents if queen could say his name.

How You Know It: Miller boats about his daughter’s exaggerated domestic skills with the talent she could spin straw into gold in an effort to feel important. King catches wind of this and the girl finds herself locked in room and charged with the aforesaid impossible task with nothing but a spinning wheel and a royal death threat (yet, the king later says he’d marry the girl after he completes her task). Well, almost impossible when a weird little man suddenly shows up and offers to do the deed in exchange for a few favors such as her necklace, ring, and firstborn child. Once the girl marries the king and has a child, the weirdo shows up and tells her to pay up. Yet, the queen is rather unwilling to fulfill her end of the bargain for obvious reasons so the guy says that she could keep the kid if she can guess his name within the next three days. Frantic, the queen and her servants try to think up but finally a messenger does happen to catch the weird guy boasting about his name. The Queen guesses Rumpelstiltskin correctly and the little man’s plan is foiled.

The Original Version: Rumpelstitskin’s fate in the original story has him flying off the window on a spoon while the Grimms have him either simply leaving in a huff or tearing himself in two after stamping in a fit of rage. Still, this story has a lot of cultural variants. There’s also another Grimm tale called “The Three Aunts” which is about a girl in the same situation but instead of her firstborn child, the women just ask to attend her wedding as her aunts as well as ensure her that she won’t need their help again. Yet, the king did learn his lesson in that one once he saw what years of spinning did to these women.

Sleeping Beauty

Princess is fast asleep in magical coma.

Princess is fast asleep in magical coma.

How You Know It: A girl is born to a king and queen and all the fairies are invited to celebrate. Well, save one who shows up anyway and curses her to death by spindle touching while another just succeeds in softening the curse to sleep. However, despite the king and queen’s efforts to rid the kingdom, the princess ends up in a cursed sleep anyway (though sometimes the whole kingdom is put to sleep as well for a century). Soon the prince shows up, plants a kiss that brings her back to life and they live happily ever after.

The Original Version: While the best known version of this tale is the Grimm’s version which was probably the main inspiration for the Disney movie (sans the 13 fairies, magic frog, and a lot of dead suitors in the forest surrounding the castle), there are plenty of earlier variants. The earliest printed version was compiled by 17th century Neapolitan author Giambattista Basile whose retelling called “Sun, Moon, and Talia” would make Walt Disney look like a feminist. In this one, the princess falls in a magic coma not by pricking a spindle but touching a thread of hemp under her fingernail. Thinking her dead, her dad props her on a velvet chair and abandons her. Sometime later another king comes across that very castle while hunting and tries to check the place out. There he finds the sleeping princess, falls in love with her, carries her to the bed, rapes her, and leaves forgetting the whole affair. The princess wakes up when one of her infant twins sucks the splinter out of her finger (yes, she had twins while in her unconscious state.) Soon the king returns to see her again finds her awake and proceeds to confess that he was the kids’ father. Despite her not knowing anything about him other than as her rapist baby daddy, the two go on a weekend sex marathon in the hay, and the princess and twins move into the king’s castle but they are kept secret from his wife. The Queen soon finds out and orders the kids cooked and served to her husband but the cook hides the tots at his or her home and prepared a goat dish in its place. The Queen later sent for the princess just to have her thrown in the fire for having sex with her husband. Luckily, the king arrives, has his wife thrown in the fire, marries the princess, finds their kids and they all live happily ever after.

Prince finds Sleeping Beauty.

Prince finds Sleeping Beauty.

In the 17th century French writer Charles Perrault’s version of this tale has an epilogue in which the already married princess (who’s also a mother of two) has to deal with her jealous part ogre mother-in-law. She demands to have the wife and kids cooked and eaten but the cook hides them and serves animals instead. The queen proceeds to prepare a big pot of nasty venomous creatures to kill them but the prince arrives just in time, the queen falls into the pot and everyone lives happily ever after. In the Grimm version, this was a separate story called “The Mother-In-Law” in which the queen is just put to death. Also, in the Perrault version, the king and queen simply abandon the princess as soon as the fairy is done putting everyone else to sleep for 100 years and the princess doesn’t age a bit. Oh, and she wakes up when the prince merely enters her chamber when the 100 years are up averting the whole sexual assault thing.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Please don't eat that apple.

Please don’t eat that apple.

How You Know It: A queen wishes for a child with rose red lips, snow white skin, and ebony black hair. She gets her wish but promptly dies soon after Snow White’s birth and is replaced by a beauty obsessed wicked stepmother. She’s so obsessed with her own looks that she asks the mirror every day, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Of course, the mirror always says she is until one day it says that Snow White is which sends the queen into plotting her assassination. She orders a huntsman to do the deed and cut out her heart as a royal trophy. The huntsman is unable to do this so he lets Snow White go (and brings a pig’s heart to the queen instead). After some time in the woods Snow White falls with a bunch of dwarfs who let her stay as long as she does the housework. But the queen is undeterred so she disguises herself as a peddler and tries to kill her via poison apple. Snow White eats it and drops to the floor. When the dwarfs find her, they assume she’s dead and put her in a glass coffin where they keep watch. Soon a prince arrives and revives her with a kiss and they live happily ever after.

The Original Version: The Grimm version is the most familiar to us, yet the queen tries to kill Snow White in more ways than in the Disney movie. In the Grimm version, the queen asks the huntsman to bring Snow White’s heart to her so she could eat it yet the guy gives her pig parts instead. And when disguised as a peddler, she not only tries poison apple as an assassination method, but also tight corset lacing and poison comb. Snow White falls unconscious from these but the dwarves manage to revive her. The poison apple was just the only method that seemed to stick. Oh, and the wicked queen dies at her stepdaughter’s wedding where she is forced to dance to death in red hot shoes. Not only that, but the Grimm retelling was the first version of the tale to have the wicked queen as Snow White’s stepmother. In earlier versions, she’s her biological mother and took her daughter to pick flowers in the woods and abandons her.

Snow White doing housework for the seven dwarfs.

Snow White doing housework for the seven dwarfs.

As for Snow White, during most of the story’s action she is about seven years old and the prince doesn’t kiss her back to life. Rather he takes her home (despite thinking her dead) but on the way, the coffin is jolted and Snow White is revived after the bits of poison apple are dislodged from her throat. Also, when she stumbles at the dwarves’ home, her first idea doesn’t pertain to clean up after them. Rather, she eats their food, drinks their wine, and sleeps in their beds. When the dwarves come home, their place is a mess. There are also other cultural variants of Snow White as well including an Albanian one where she kills her stepmother and lives with 40 dragons.

Three Billy Goats Gruff

Looks like the troll messed with the wrong goat this time.

Looks like the troll messed with the wrong goat this time.

How You Know It: Three Billy goat brothers attempt to cross a bridge for greener pastures but has a bad tempered troll living under it. The youngest two go first but they shiver in the troll’s presence and only get off by saying that their brother would make a better dish than them. When the oldest brother ventures, he trounces the troll and throws him off the bridge so he and his brothers could cross it and eat the grass from the other side.

The Original Version: This is derived from a Norwegian folk tale compiled by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jorgen Moe.

The Three Little Pigs

Third little pig working on his brick house while his brothers have a good time. Boy will they pay for it later.

Third little pig working on his brick house while his brothers have a good time. Boy will they pay for it later.

How You Know It: Three pigs move out of their mom’s house to find their fortune and all build places of their own. Soon the Big Bad Wolf comes on the scene with intentions to eat them and due to the first two pigs’ poor choice of building materials, their houses are burned down. Yet, when he gets to the third pig’s brick house, he tries to blow it down but couldn’t so he tries to get access through the chimney but the third pig thwarts him.

The Original Version: This story was written in the 1840s and unlike most adaptations, the wolf actually eats the first two little pigs. Also, the Big Bad Wolf is cooked to death in a pot of boiling water, thanks to the third pig.

The Fisherman and His Wife

Fisherman about to ask a favor from a fish on behalf of his wife. Notice the castle in the background.

Fisherman about to ask a favor from a fish on behalf of his wife. Notice the castle in the background.

How You Know It: Poor fisherman captures a magic fish and lets it go. When he tells his wife, she suggested asking the fish for a wish such as a nice house. The wife becomes ever more greedy and wishes for more and more things until the ticked off fish eventually reduces them to the same life the fisherman and his wife had before.

The Original Version: While most adaptations use his tale about how money can’t buy happiness and such, the original tale Grimm version has the fish grant the fisherman’s wife such wishes to be queen, empress, and even pope. Yet, the fish has enough when she asks to be equal to God and thus revokes everything granted.

The Little Mermaid

Sorry, Mermaid, but this isn't Disney. Your prince ain't going for you this time.

Sorry, Mermaid, but this isn’t Disney. Your prince ain’t going for you this time.

How You Know It: Mermaid falls in love with a human prince she rescued and exchanges her voice for plastic surgery from the sea witch. She and the prince get together and after some rough patches end up happily ever after.

The Original Version: Unfortunately, the Hans Christen Andersen version isn’t as happy as the Disney movie. For one, the mermaid doesn’t just exchange her voice for legs (by having her tongue cut out), but she also finds it painful to walk. If she could make the prince fall in love and marry her, she could be a full fledge human all her life. Yet, if the prince marries someone else, she would die. Also, the sea witch is a rather neutral character in this and her motives are simply payment. Though the prince may be charmed by the mermaid and takes her in, he ends up with someone else. While her sisters give the mermaid a knife to kill the prince, she can’t bring herself to do so and dies dissolving in froth.

The Girl Without Hands

Looks like dismemberment is the only way you can please the devil this time.

Looks like dismemberment is the only way you can please the devil this time.

How You Know It: Devil offers poor man wealth if he gives him whatever is standing behind his mill. Poor man thinks it’s an apple tree, but it’s actually his daughter. Devil tries to take girl but can’t because she’s so pure so he threatens to take her dad unless she allows him to chop off her own hands. She agrees and father does so. Oh, and there’s a bit about receiving silver replacements, marrying a king, and giving birth to an alleged changeling caused by a miscommunication, as well as regaining the hands she lost after the king found her seven years later.

The Original Version: In earlier variants the young girl chops off her arms to make herself ugly to her brother who’s trying to rape her. In another, the dad chops off the daughter’s hands because she refuses to have sex with him.

Original Fairy Tales Part 1

Once upon a time, there were stories known as fairy tales with roots in the folk tradition as well as told to generations. They were usually told in a more spare and laconic style with characters defined by their actions and their motives described as short and simple. Almost every culture around the world has them and have widespread variants yet only a handful are known today. Still, while the notion of “fairy tale” means an idealized romance or ending, many of the classic tales we’re told as a child are much darker than what many people realize and wouldn’t be seen as Disney material. Yet, without further adieu, here I will discuss some of the older versions of the stories you all know and love (though this will take a series).

Aladdin

arabian_deliver_me

Aladdin and the Genie of the Ring.

How you know it: Middle Eastern orphaned homeless bum with a heart of gold but dreaming of riches is manipulated by an evil Grand Vizier into retrieving a magical lamp in a cave. With the Genie’s help and three wishes, he defeats the evil vizier, wins the heart of a princess, and finds relative security.

The Original Version: Contrary to the Disney movie and other popular adaptations, Aladdin and most of the characters in the original story was supposed to be Chinese. Yet, this can be forgiven since the story’s setting is completely Islamic anyway and doesn’t seem to bear any resemblance to China. Still, this tale wasn’t included in The One Thousand and One Nights or in any other documented source until the 1710 French translation by Antoine Gallard who claimed to have heard it from a Syrian storyteller but many speculate that he made the whole story up since there’s no hard evidence on that claim either (same goes for Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves).

Aladdin and the Genie.

Aladdin and the Genie of the Ring in the cave.

Not only that, but by the time the story takes place, Aladdin’s mother is still alive while his dad died of disappointment when Aladdin preferred being a juvenile delinquent to following his old man in the tailoring business. Nor is he homeless since he still lives with his mom as well who is the first to rub the magical lamp that releases the lamp Genie. Not to mention, he could ask the lamp Genie for an unlimited number of wishes and gets the Sultan’s blessing to marry the princess once he sees the extent of Aladdin’s bank account, granted by the Genie. He also marries the princess early on though he has the Genie kidnap her from her fiancé as well as torment them both every night until they conclude their marriage is cursed and split up where Aladdin then swoops in and romances her. How romantic! Not to mention, he has his own palace before the lamp is stolen. Oh, and Aladdin not just has a magic lamp but also a magic ring he uses to release another Genie who gets him out of the cave as well as transport him to his palace, free his wife, beat the bad guys, and gets his lamp back. Yeah, there are two genies in the original story but the Ring Genie is the main one while the lamp Genie is far more powerful. Oh, and the Magic Ring and Magic Lamp also helped inspire the Green Lantern.

Aladdin and Ring Genie save the day.

Aladdin and Ring Genie save the day.

As for the Grand Vizier in the original story, he’s more of an obstructive jerk politician than a devious villain but like the Disney version he does want to get rid of Aladdin yet more because he wants his own son to marry the princess (not himself and he’s justified as well). And he tries to do so by stating that Aladdin’s riches and the incredible things he could do must’ve been the result of black magic. The sultan just writes him off for being a sour puss over his own son being passed for Aladdin. Oh, and the Grand Vizier isn’t even the main villain of the original story nor does he steal Aladdin’s lamp. That honor belongs to the evil Moroccan sorcerer named Maghreb who manipulates Aladdin into entering the cave to retrieve the lamp (though we don’t know why he was the only one to enter it. Oh, and he tricks him by saying that he’s his long lost uncle on his dad’s side). He also steals the lamp by simply tricking Aladdin’s wife in to trading the old lamp for a new one and she didn’t know that her husband’s lamp contained a very powerful Genie. He then proceeds to wish for Aladdin’s palace and wife to be moved into his possession. Oh, he has a more evil brother who kills an old woman and dresses in in her clothes but he’s vanquished from the Lamp Genie. Not only that, but Aladdin had to drug the evil sorcerer to get his lamp back.

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

Morgiana uses boiling oil on in the jugs hiding the thieves. Poor thieves.

Morgiana uses boiling oil on in the jugs hiding the thieves. Poor thieves.

How You Know It: Wood cutter stumbles onto a cave containing a thieving gang’s treasure stash that is opened by saying the magic words “Open Sesame.” He takes some treasure and becomes rich. Later his brother hears about it, makes his way in the cave but is murdered by the robbers due to his greed and short term memory problems. Ali Baba finds his dead brother, retrieves his body, and the thieves go after Ali Baba, too. Yet, they are repeatedly foiled by him and his friends while all the thieves are defeated. Thus, Ali Baba and his associates live happily ever after.

The Original Version: Like Aladdin, this wasn’t included in the original One Thousand and One Nights and in any other documentation before Antoine Gallard’s 1710 translation, and it’s likely he made this one up, too. Oh, and you had to use “Shut Sesame” to close the cave before you left as well. Also, in the beginning of the story, Ali Baba is an older man with at least adult son and he’s only the main character until after he retrieves his brother’s dead body which was cut up into quarters and hung up at the cave entrance to warn others. The hero in the later part of the story is actually his young slave girl named Morgiana (who’s sometimes seen as his wife in some adaptations even if she wasn’t in the original) who stitches Ali’s brother back together for the funeral as well as thwarts the thieves who try to infiltrate Ali Baba’s house by filling up the large jugs containing the other thieves with hot boiling oil. Still, at least she gets rewarded in the end by marrying Ali Baba’s adult son (which earns her freedom in the process) while Ali ends up with his widowed sister-in-law.

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and Beast. Notice the creative license on the beast.

Beauty and Beast. Notice the creative license on the beast.

How You Know It: An ordinary village girl ventures to a mysterious castle (owned by a menacing beast cursed with his form by ignoring an old beggar woman) where her dad is found trapped in after seeking shelter from a winter storm. Girl agrees to be the Beast’s hostage in her dad’s place. While there she finds the Beast develops a romantic attachment to the girl and doesn’t seem so bad as she grows fond of him. One day she asks the Beast to go home to see her sick dad, and he reluctantly agrees but is hampered by people who want to keep her and the Beast apart. Meanwhile the Beast almost loses the will to live before the girl comes back and says she loves him which breaks the spell and turns him into a handsome prince.

The Original Version: There are actually literary two versions of the tale I’ll get into from the 18th century with both of them written by French women as propaganda piece for girls to accept arranged marriages. Of course, since this tale has outlived the practice, its meanings are far more romanticized in later adaptations. The 1740 version was by Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve and this story is a sprawling and convoluted story filled with contrived coincidences and last minute exposition in which both Beauty and Beast were revealed to be double first cousins, half-fairy (on their mother’s side), and royalty (on their father’s side). It also includes a love triangle in which Beauty is conflicted between the Beast and the handsome prince before finding out that they’re the same person. Also, she has twelve siblings.

Beast as bear proposing the Beauty by going down on one knee.

Beast as bear proposing the Beauty by going down on one knee.

The second version was written in 1756 by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont which is moderately close to the Disney version. Yet, there are differences in this version. For one, the heroine was literally named Beauty instead of Belle but since the story takes place in France, this wasn’t much of a change. Still, in Beaumont’s version, her dad is a rich merchant falling on hard times who was on his way home after a trading scheme gone wrong. She also has two materialistic scheming sisters who are the main villains instead of a jealous suitor. Oh, and the two sisters try to keep Beauty home longer than a week after she comes back from the castle simply out of jealousy of her good looks and how well she bears under her various misfortunes as well as conspire to try to get her eaten alive. Yet, they get punished by being turned into stone statues. Not to mention, Beauty volunteers to stay at the Beast’s castle after her dad returns home.

As for the Beast, while unlike in the Disney version, he’s actually nice to Beauty from the very beginning in the Beaumont version, despite threatening to kill her dad. And his house isn’t a bad place either, which includes a garden and everything. Oh, and he keeps asking Beauty to marry him even though she keeps saying no like every night. Yet, she does agree to do so when she realized that the Beast is a kind and caring man which breaks the spell.

Cinderella

Fairy Godmother making pumpkin into coach.

Fairy Godmother making pumpkin into coach.

How You Know It: Young noblewoman’s mother dies and father remarries a total bitch with at least two equally bitchy daughters of her own, then disappears (either he dies or is an absent parent to his daughter). The girl’s new stepfamily turns out to be vindictively cruel and makes her work as a servant just for kicks earning her nickname “Cinderella.” When the local prince holds a kingdom wide ball, the they refuse to let her attend. Yet, Cinderella calls on a spirit helper which could be her fairy godmother or a representative of her dead mom who takes pity and prepares her for the ball in which she manages to outshine almost every girl there and win the prince’s heart. However, the spirit’s help comes with a cache is that Cinderella must return by midnight yet when the time comes she rushes off and leaves her slipper at the castle. The prince tracks her down the next day through the lost slipper and once reunited they marry and live happily ever after.

The Original Version: This is a very old story with a lot of renditions, including a traditional Irish version with a guy with big feet named Cinderellis who steals a giant’s shoes. Of course, the most familiar version of Cinderella complete with glass slippers, fairy godmothers, pumpkin coaches, and such was written by a 17th century French guy named Charles Perrault (yet his story has two balls and a less bitchy stepsister while most modern versions have one and the stepsisters have no characterization). The earliest version from Ancient Greece written before the birth of Christ in which Cinderella is a Greek girl named Rhodopis kidnapped and sold into slavery in Egypt and is subject to constant harassment by her co-workers because of her lighter skin tone, sings and dances with her animal friends, has her old master give her red golden slippers, and manages to win the Pharaoh’s heart by having the god Horus steal one of them and drop on the king’s lap. And yes, though Rhodopis doesn’t attend the celebration the Pharaoh makes a decree that all maidens have to try on the slipper and the one whose foot fits would be his Queen. When he arrives at Rhodopis’ place she shows him the other slipper and they live happily ever after. Think of it as Cinderella meets Joseph and his Technicolor Dreamcoat but much less realistic (I mean there’s no way in hell a Greek slave girl could become Queen of Egypt, more like a Pharaoh’s concubine at best). Yet, this version may have very well been based on a true story by Aesop of a Thracian courtesan from the 6th century BCE.

Cinderella rushing to leave around midnight.

Cinderella rushing to leave around midnight.

There’s even a Chinese version from the 9th century in which Cinderella is named Ye Xian and is the daughter of a bigamous scholar so this means her stepmother’s daughter is her half-sister. Of course, her parents die from plague but her mother is reincarnated into a fish to watch over her little girl in a nearby lake (you could tell that some Buddhist wrote this one). When her stepmother learns of this, she has the fish captured and served to herself and daughter. Ye Xian collects the leftover bones and is told by the spirit to place them on the foot of her bed and her desires would be granted if she requests them of the bones. At the beginning of the Spring Festival, Ye Xian’s stepmother tells her to stay and clean as a spirit tells her to where to find clothes to wear to the event. She enjoys herself at the festival until she rushes home to avoid her stepmother’s detection yet, she leaves a golden slipper behind (notice that the slippers aren’t always glass). The slipper is discovered by a king who resolves to trace the owner’s identity and when he does, he takes Ye Xian as his wife to her joy while the vindictive stepmother and half-sister are crushed to death by an earthquake.

The glass slipper fits.

Of course, I couldn’t do a post on the original Cinderella without talking about the famous Grimm Brothers’ version, which contrary to popular belief isn’t the oldest version (since I said this story has been around before Jesus). It’s actually very much the same as most versions except that there are three balls, she is helped by a tree at her mom’s grave and a couple of doves, and what happens after Cinderella leaves her slipper behind. Let’s just say when the prince comes to her house, the stepsisters try to fit in the slipper by mutilating their feet hoping to fool him. Oh, and once Cinderella is whisked away by her prince, the stepsisters have their eyes plucked out by birds and are forced to live their lives as beggars. Of course, there are even some versions in which Cinderella kills her stepmother, one of them so her dad could marry a servant instead. Oh, and the said servant had a lot of kids, to boot.

The Elves and the Shoemaker

Watching the elves tinker with their overnight shift.

Watching the elves tinker with their overnight shift.

How You Know It: A poor struggling cobbler wakes up to find shoes he planned to create the next morning already made which leads better sales. One day he discovers a few elves carrying on in his workshop and decides to do something to thank them. Prosperity follows.

The Original Version: Unlike many adaptations, there were only two elves in the Grimm version and to show his gratitude, the cobbler decides to make clothes for them. The elves don’t come again but they ushered a new era of business for him. Still, the process of giving clothes to free house-elves in Harry Potter, comes from this tale. Oh, and the cobbler discovered the elves working in his shop on Christmas, which is another reference elves making stuff around the holiday.

The Frog Prince

Frog fetches golden ball for princess.

Frog fetches golden ball for princess.

How You Know It: Princess loses golden ball down a well and a nearby frog offers to retrieve it for her in exchange for a kiss. She agrees and they live happily ever after.

The Original Version: In the Pre-Grimm Brothers’ version there was more than one girl who encountered the frog but it was only the last one who kept her promise to marry him. In the Grimm version, there is just one. Still, the Grimm version doesn’t have the frog ask the princess to kiss him. Rather, he demanded that she kept him near her as a pet, share her food and drink with him as well as sleep on her bed (cue the sexual overtones here). She is repulsed but reluctantly agrees though she goes home without him after she gets her ball back. The frog turns up at the castle and has the king take his side. At first, it’s no problem but come nighttime, the princess refused to let the frog sleep on her pillow and angrily threw him against the wall (once again, cue the sexual symbolism, though in some early versions he’s either burnt or decapitated). To her shock, she finds the frog transformed into a handsome prince, they fall in love, marry, and live happily ever after. Oh, and during this whole time the frog prince’s servant Henry had his heart bound with iron straps to keep it from breaking while he was enchanted, which break in the end.

The Gingerbread Man

Fox eats the Gingerbread Man.

Fox eats the Gingerbread Man.

How You Know It: A magical anthropomorphic gingerbread man comes to life out of the oven and runs away from the old couple who baked him. They chase him and fail to catch him and the Gingerbread Man outruns several farm workers and animals taunting them with the phrase “Run, run, run as fast as you can! You can’t catch me! I’m the Gingerbread Man!” Ends when the fox tricks the Gingerbread Man and eats him.

The Original Version: Actually not an old fairy tale but first appeared in an 1875 issue of St. Nicholas magazine. Yet, this was called The Gingerbread Boy. Still, despite the ending, the Gingerbread Man continues to make appearances in the Shrek movies.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Somebody's been sleeping and my bed and there she is.

Somebody’s been sleeping and my bed and there she is.

How You Know It: A young blonde juvenile delinquent breaks into the residence of three anthropomorphic bears who were away but forgot to lock the door. Goldilocks proceeds to eat their food, sit on their furniture (destroying a chair in the process), and sleep in their beds. The bears return, see evidence of the break in, and chase Goldilocks out of Baby Bear’s bed when they find her.

The Original Version: This tale has evolved over the years. The original tale of the Three Bears, the bear family lived in a castle and the intruder was a vixen (like a female fox) named Scrapefoot. 19th Century English writer Robert Southey was the first person to publish the tale that he heard as a child yet he accidently thought that the intruder was the wrong kind of vixen who, in turn got changed into a lawless old woman who after not being invited around the bears’ place, decides to go see for herself. She falls out the window and is never seen again but it’s hinted that her fate isn’t good. Oh, and Southey’s three bears are actually all adult males sharing a house in the woods together named, “a Little, Small, Wee Bear, a Middle-sized Bear, and a Great, Huge Bear.” Goldilocks as we know her turned up twelve years later in Joseph Cundalls version just to stop the confusion with other old ladies in other fairy tales but she was called Silverhair for a long time. Also, she wasn’t the only little girl in the tale. Not to mention, the bears were changed into a family in Cundall’s tale since who knows what three bachelor bears living together would be up to.

Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel eating the witch's candy gingerbread house. Of course, the witch doesn't mind but for different reasons.

Hansel and Gretel eating the witch’s candy gingerbread house. Of course, the witch doesn’t mind but for different reasons.

How You Know It: Two kids are kicked out by their dad and stepmother and are forced to survive in the woods by themselves making a trail of breadcrumbs so they could come back (but the birds eat them). One day, they stumble onto a gingerbread house in the woods owned by a witch who is initially nice to them but they later find out that she wants to eat them and Hansel finds out he’d be dinner the next morning while Gretel is a servant. The witch asks Gretel to light the oven, she pretends she can’t. Yet, when the witch bends over, Gretel kicks her in the oven, rescues Hansel, and the two live happily ever after.

The Original Version: This tale may have originated during the Middle Ages at the time of the Great Famine of 1315-1317, when people were driven to desperate measures. Kids were abandoned to fend for themselves and there were many incidences of cannibalism. In the original Grimm version from 1812, the woman who drives Hansel and Gretel out was their biological mother and the father also shared the blame for abandoning the kids. There’s an earlier French version called “The Lost Children” where the main villain is the devil and his wife. Now the devil is tricked by the children in much the same way as Hansel and Gretel but the devil works it out and makes a sawhorse to put one of the kids on to bleed. The children feign ignorance on how to get on so the devil’s wife demonstrates (and she tried to help them earlier). When she is lying down helpless, the kids slash her throat, steal the devil’s money, and run off.

Jack and the Beanstalk

Jack chopping down the beanstalk and sending the giant to his death. Hope his house and mother don't get smashed.

Jack chopping down the beanstalk and sending the giant to his death. Hope his house and mother don’t get smashed.

How You Know It: Poor guy sells the family cow for some magic beans to his mom’s dismay so she throws them out the window. Overnight the beans grow into a massive beanstalk that reaches up to the clouds. Jack climbs the beanstalk and finds a massive castle owned by a giant once he reaches the top that says, ”Fee-fi-fo-fum! I smell the blood of an Englishman. Be he live or be he dead, I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.” Jack makes a few trips the next few days and with the help of the giant’s wife, manages to bag the giant’s gold, the goose that lays the golden eggs, and the magic golden harp. Soon the giant chases him down the beanstalk yet Jack manages to reach the bottom first, grabs the ax, and kills the giant.

The Original Version: The oldest commonly known version was collected by Joseph Jacobs around the turn of the 19th to 20th century. Yet, this story seems to be an amalgamation of many giant killing stories such as “Jack the Giant Killer” (which has roots in Arthurian legend but different and more violent plot) and “The Brave Little Tailor.” It also bears striking similarities the Norse myth called “The Thief of Idunn” which a trickster travels to a giant’s lofty castle and steals a few magic treasures, only to be found out and chased back home, where the giant meets his doom.

Egyptian Mythology Reexamined: The Gods

Ancient Egypt was the home of one of the oldest civilizations on earth that existed for more than half of recorded history known for building the pyramids as well as mummies. Yet, it’s mythology is ancient and complex as well as lacked central authority so many major cities and areas in the region had their own important gods. Myths often got mixed up with gods having different roles, being combined with others to form new composite gods, and different family relationships as old gods fell into obscurity and new gods rose to prominence. Like many of the prominent Egyptian historical figures such as the royal family, the Egyptian gods did screw around with their siblings. Yet, they had animal heads but they took various forms in art mostly taking on symbolic concepts. Also, it was believed that the Egyptian gods were abstract forces anyway so who knows what these people believed the looked like. So without further adieu, I’ll list the more important gods of Egyptian mythology.

1. Ra

The god of the sun and chief deity as well as one of the most important and worshiped deities in Ancient Egypt. Takes many forms and names. Benevolent, but aloof and withdrawn to his important duties.

The god of the sun and chief deity as well as one of the most important and worshiped deities in Ancient Egypt. Takes many forms and names. Benevolent, but aloof and withdrawn to his important duties.

Domain: Primary sun god as well as sometimes the creator and wind god. King of the Egyptian gods and one of the more important deities for thousands of years. Thus, it goes without saying that he’s the most widely worshiped Egyptian god. Has many other names with each part of the sun or time of day of the sun often having its own name. Also, has a lot of various forms and manifestations as well as traveled on a solar barge. Is often combined with other gods with Atum-Ra and Amun-Ra as the most famous.

Pro: He’s a benevolent deity who embodies the positive and life giving properties of the sun. Is often too busy to be involved with other god’s squabbles since he has many important duties, yet he makes an exception whenever it comes to his archenemy Apophis.

Con: Is often seen as aloof. Tried to avert a prophecy that a child of the sky goddess Nut would be evil by forbidding her to have children on any day of the year (though Thoth managed to find a loophole for her anyway). Also, as Atum-Ra may have created the universe through masturbation, just to let you know.

Symbols and Motifs: Depicted in artwork as a man with a head of a hawk, a scarab (in his form of Khepri), or a ram. Also pictured as a full bodied ram, beetle, phoenix, heron, serpent, bull, cat, or lion among others. His symbol is a sun disk. As Amun Ra, his symbols are two vertical plums and the ram headed sphinx.

City: Heliopolis as Atum-Ra and Thebes as Amun-Ra.

2. Hathor

An important goddess in Ancient Egypt, Hathor was one of the most popular and widely worshiped in Ancient Egypt. She was the goddess of love and fertility who helped protect women during childbirth. Yet, she was also a hard drinking party girl you didn't want to anger.

An important goddess in Ancient Egypt, Hathor was one of the most popular and widely worshiped in Ancient Egypt. She was the goddess of love and fertility who helped protect women during childbirth. Yet, she was also a hard drinking party girl you didn’t want to anger.

Domain: Goddess of love, music, dance, drunkedness, fertility, miners, foreign lands, motherhood, beauty, and joy. An important goddess for women and one of Egypt’s most paramount sky deities as well as one of the most significant in Ancient Egypt. Worshiped by royalty and common people alike in whose tombs she’s depicted as “Mistress of the West” welcoming the dead into the next life. In some stories she’s depicted as the wife, daughter, or mother of Ra and sometimes the wife and mother of Horus. Yet, like Ra, she has other manifestations as well. Also one of the oldest gods with predynastic origins.

Pro: She’s a benevolent fun personified goddess as well as said to help women in childbirth. Also, she was very popular among the Ancient Egyptians who had more festivals dedicated to her as well as more children named after her than any other deity in Ancient Egypt. Never suffered from depression or doubt.

Con: Don’t get me wrong but she has a bad side as well as is single minded in pursuit of her goals and has a real nasty alter ego in the form of Sekamet (depending on the version). Not to mention, she’s been linked with just about every major god in the Egyptian pantheon in different versions of the mythology. Also, she’s a hard drinking party girl.

Symbols and Motifs: Often pictured in the form of a cow or a human with cow ears. Her symbol is the sistrum.

City: Dendera.

3. Set

While he was originally depicted as a powerful badass deity, Set was later significantly demonized as a god of evil after he was worshiped as the chief god of the Hyskos. Then again, he did kill his brother and tried to rape his own nephew. Also, don't ask me what the animal his head is supposed to represent.

While he was originally depicted as a powerful badass deity, Set was later significantly demonized as a god of evil after he was worshiped as the chief god of the Hyskos. Then again, he did kill his brother and tried to rape his own nephew. Also, don’t ask me what the animal his head is supposed to represent.

Domain: God associated with chaos, storms, disorder, violence, foreigners, and the desert. Originally he was a powerful protective deity for Upper Egypt guarding Ra on his nightly trips to the underworld and was the only god who could defeat Apophis as well as resist his hypnotic gaze. He was increasingly villainized after Egypt united and Horus worship became dominant, particularly after the Hyskos invasion (a people who identified him as their chief god). Most famous for killing his brother Osiris for the Egyptian throne, and contesting his nephew Horus over it.

Pro: Before Egyptian unification, he was quite the badass in upper Egypt who was the only god capable of defeating Apophis, which was the main reason why Ra employed him on his solar boat in the first place. His favorite food was lettuce which he ate for his fertility problems (being a god of the desert could do that). Also, has ties to a trickster archetype since he’s also capable of shape shifting and he did relent when Horus got his throne back (though he was humiliated in the process). Also, had a following by the Ramaseid dynasty for a time in the New Kingdom who were great fans of his.

Con: Let’s just say that as Horus got popular, Set was increasingly demonized, especially after  Egypt was invaded by a people who worshiped him as their chief god. Killed his brother Osiris for the throne (and possibly for screwing his wife Nephthys {which was more her fault than his} or because Nephthys wasn’t as hot as Isis) and chopped him into 14 pieces and would later (rape or at least try to or perhaps had consensual sex with) his nephew Horus (who challenged him for the throne). His relationship with Nephthys is rather dependent on how people perceived him.

Symbols and Motifs: We’re not sure what animal on his head is supposed to represent which could either be completely made up or the depiction was stylized until it became unrecognizable. Yet, he’s also associated with many animals including jackals, antelopes, hippos, snakes, wild boars, asses, and crocodiles. His symbol is the was-scepter.

City: Ombos and Sepermeru.

4. Bastet

Bastet is the one and only cat goddess to the greatest cat loving civilization in history. Sure she may be a benevolent deity but she can also be quite fierce, especially since she originally appeared in Lower Egypt as an intimidating lioness goddess.

Bastet is the one and only cat goddess to the greatest cat loving civilization in history. Sure she may be a benevolent deity but she can also be quite fierce, especially since she originally appeared in Lower Egypt as an intimidating lioness goddess.

Domain: A cat goddess associated with the sun, fertility, music, dance, protection, joy, love, and lionesses. Was very popular with children and common folk because protected them and kept their fields safe from crop destroying pests (which cats do by eating rats and mice). Called “Lady of the East.”

Pro: She’s a kind hearted cat lover who uses cats to protect the fields from being invested by vermin. After all, she was very popular in Egypt since she in the pantheon of one of the great cat loving civilizations of history. I mean they even mummified cats for God’s sake. Also, kind of a badass since she was seen as the defender of the pharaoh.

Con: She was originally a savage lion goddess akin to Sekhmet in Lower Egypt and could be quite aggressive. When she became a protective deity, her role in the pantheon would diminish as Sekhmet became more prominent after unification.

Symbols and Motifs: She’s often appears as a lioness and, well, small domestic cat. Her symbols are the lion, cat, and sistrum.

City: Bubastis

5. Sekhmet

The lioness headed goddess Sekhmet is perhaps one of the fiercest goddesses in the Egyptian pantheon. You don't want to be caught in one of her violent rampages if you ask me. Still, please don't call her a cougar. Just don't.

The lioness headed goddess Sekhmet is perhaps one of the fiercest goddesses in the Egyptian pantheon. You don’t want to be caught in one of her violent rampages if you ask me. Still, please don’t call her a cougar. Just don’t.

Domain: A darker counterpart of Bastet and Hathor. A lioness goddess originating in Upper Egypt specializing in war, poisons, vengeance, medicine, menstruation, and plagues. It’s said that her breath formed the desert as well as was seen as a protector of pharaohs and led them in warfare. Sometimes seen as a daughter to Ra.

Pro: Well, she’s a badass who’s seen as the protector of pharoahs and led them in warfare. In Upper Egypt, she was also associated with healing. I mean they worshiped her and had festivals in her honor for a reason. One of her nicknames was “(One) Before Whom Evil Trembles” as well as “One Who Is Powerful.”

Con: She’s a bloodthirsty maniac who went on an almost unstoppable rampage until Ra tricked her into getting drunk with blood colored beer. Among her nicknames are, “Mistress of Dread”, “Lady of Slaughter” and “She Who Mauls.” She’s kind of like a female Ares though let’s just say Ares may be nicer than her in comparison.

Symbols and Motifs: Well, she’s often depicted as a lioness, of course. Her symbols are a sun disk, red linen, and a lioness.

City: Ijtawy, Leontopolis, and Memphis

6. Nephthys

As the more benevolent and more human looking gods, Nephthys is an embodiment of the death experience, divine assistance, and protective guardianship. She helped Isis put Osiris together as well as raise Horus. Yet, in the more popular legends, she's said to conceive Anubis with Osiris but dressing up as Isis.

As the more benevolent and more human looking gods, Nephthys is an embodiment of the death experience, divine assistance, and protective guardianship. She helped Isis put Osiris together as well as raise Horus. Yet, in the more popular legends, she’s said to conceive Anubis with Osiris but dressing up as Isis.

Domain: A funerary goddess associated with death, service, lamentation, and nighttime. Wife and sister of Set though the nature of their marriage is dependent on how the Egyptians perceived Set at the time and in some stories, the mother of Anubis (but with Set, Osiris, or Ra). As the cult of her brother Osiris took prominence, she eventually became associated with death and the afterlife despite her original nature being unknown.

Pro: In the underworld she protects and guides souls of the dead and is a rather benevolent goddess. Helped Isis raise Horus and gather pieces of Osiris after his murder. Said to represent divine assistance and protective guardianship.

Con: In some stories, she’s said to disguise herself as Isis and slept with Osiris, which was a way how Anubis was conceived. This was one of the reasons why Set wanted to kill Osiris.

Symbols and Motifs: She’s usually depicted as a young woman. Her symbols are the house and mummy wrappings.

City: Sepermeru, and Diospolis Parva.

7. Anubis

Anubis is the jackal headed god of mummification, judge of souls, and lesser god of the dead as well as the more recognizable of the Egyptian gods. Contrary to many depictions, isn't an evil guy but is certainly cool if you know what I mean. Yet, he's now a sex symbol among the furries for some reason.

Anubis is the jackal headed god of mummification, judge of souls, and lesser god of the dead as well as the more recognizable of the Egyptian gods. Contrary to many depictions, isn’t an evil guy but is certainly cool if you know what I mean. Yet, he’s now a sex symbol among the furries for some reason.

Domain: God of mummification, judge of souls, and lesser god of the dead as well as the most recognizable of Egyptian gods. Parentage is disputed and varies through source though the most famous account says he’s the son of Osiris and Nephthys through an affair (or rape by deception on her part) but raised as Set’s son. Known for weighing a dead person’s heart against the feather of Maat. Originally one of the more important gods of the dead before Osiris surpassed him. Now a modern sex symbol among the furries.

Pro: Despite being a jackal headed god of the dead, he had great compassion for humanity which led to Set abandoning him. Was also an ally of Horus against Set and helped Isis put Osiris together again.

Con: Has often been depicted as a bad guy in films like The Mummy even though he was far from it. Not to mention, despite his cool jackal head, he plays almost no role in the Egyptian myths. Oh, and if your heart is too heavy, he feeds it to Ammut, Devourer of the Dead.

Symbols and Motifs: Often depicted with a jackal head but is seen as a full jackal in Old Kingdom renditions. His symbols are the fetish and the flail.

City: Aysut and Cynopolis.

8. Osiris

Osiris may look badass in his picture with his blue-green skin but he is one of the big distressed dudes from Egyptian mythology who Set killed after tricking him into a coffin and throwing him in the Nile before chopping him up in several pieces across Egypt. Also, he died after being first resurrection following sex with Isis. Yet, he still got to be Lord of the Dead.

Domain: God of the afterlife, fertile vegetation of the Nile valley,  and of resurrection of rebirth. Son of the primordial gods Geb and Nut as well as husband and brother of Isis (as well as brother to Nephthys and Set) and father of Horus. Oversees the weighing of the heart and lets souls enter the afterlife if they pass the test. Very prominent example of a Life-Death-and-Rebirth god. King of Egypt after his father (or Ra) stepped down and before Set would murder and chop him into 14 pieces scattered around the Nile area. Yet, despite being resurrected, he was unable to return home and became the ruler of the land of the dead.

Pro: Considered a merciful judge of the dead in the afterlife as well as the underworld agency that granted all life, including spouting vegetation and the fertile flooding of the Nile River. Has nicknames like, “Lord of Love,” “He Who Is Permanently Benign and Youthful,” and “the Lord of Silence.” Pharaohs were often associated with Osiris in death as he would raise from the dead they would, in union with him, inherit eternal life through a process of imitative magic. Was widely worshiped as Lord of the Dead until the Christian Era and would soon eclipse Anubis and Set in popularity.

Con: He’s also one of the first examples of a distressed dude with the misfortune of unintentionally sleeping with Nephthys (in some stories) and trusting his power hungry brother Set afterwards which may have led to his murder when Set tricked him into entering in a coffin and threw him into the Nile. Oh, and when Isis found his body, Set tore it apart and scattered the pieces across Egypt. Thanks to Isis and Anubis, Osiris was reassembled and equipped with a new golden penis (his original got eaten by a fish) as well as resurrected twice, but was never allowed to rejoin the world of the living. The first time he was resurrected, he died almost immediately after having sex with Isis and impregnating her with Horus. The second time, he was shuffled off to the underworld to rule over the dead as a powerful god and venerated as one of Egypt’s chief deities, which is a pretty good deal since the Egyptian underworld is more akin to heaven than in other mythologies but still. Still, he was no badass.

Symbols and Motifs: Often depicted with blue or green skin since he’s well, dead, kind of like a zombie. His symbols are a crook and flail, the Atef crown, ostrich feathers, fish, and mummy gauze.

City: Abydos.

9. Isis

Isis is seen an ideal as the ideal wife and mother in Egyptian mythology as well as a competent queen and skilled sorceress to boot. Best known for restoring her husband-brother Osiris to life as well as securing her son Horus' claim to the throne of Egypt. Though seen as a benevolent goddess, she can be quite a bitch at times.

Isis is seen an ideal as the ideal wife and mother in Egyptian mythology as well as a competent queen and skilled sorceress to boot. Best known for restoring her husband-brother Osiris to life as well as securing her son Horus’ claim to the throne of Egypt. Though seen as a benevolent goddess, she can be quite a bitch at times.

Domain: Goddess of magic, healing, health, marriage, love, children and motherhood as well as protector of the dead. Best known for her struggles against her brother Set to rescue her husband and brother Osiris and secure the Egyptian throne for her son Horus. Seen as an important representation of the pharaoh’s power who was depicted as her child who sat on the throne she provided and artistic representations with the two of them had influence of the Madonna and Child paintings in Western iconography. Was a very popular goddess in Egypt as well as beyond.

Pro: Worshiped as the ideal mother and wife by the Egyptians and was a friend of slaves, sinners, artisans and the downtrodden. Yet, she also listened to the prayers of the wealthy, aristocrats, and rulers. Put Osiris back together and back to life (though only long enough to conceive Horus). Still, she is a skilled queen and very powerful sorceress.

Con: Despite being seen as a benevolent goddess and paragon of motherly virtue, she has a dark side and was well known to be as deceptive as she is clever. She convinced Ra to tell her his secret name by poisoning him as well as tried to get him to step down so Horus could assume the throne. In one tale, when Horus informs her of Set either (raping or having consensual sex with him) and shows her his hand with Set’s semen, she berated him and cut off his hand. Doesn’t help that she shares a name with an Islamic terrorist organization. Then there’s how she managed to conceive Horus with Osiris, once the latter was, well, dead.

Symbols and Motifs: Usually depicted as a woman but can sometimes have wings. Her symbols are the throne, the sun disk with cow’s horns, sparrow, cobra, vulture, and sycamore tree.

City: Abydos and Philae.

10. Horus

Horus is the falcon headed god of the sky and is associated with the Pharaohs with each of them being his earthly incarnation. He’s best known as the god who struggles against Set to avenge his father’s death and claim the throne of Egypt as his own. Still, you don’t want him to serve you a salad.

Domain: God associated with the sun, moon, sky, righteous vengeance, protection, and kingship. While he’s usually seen as the son of Osiris and Isis, in some stories, he’s their brother (though this could be a different Horus since the name could apply to half a dozen gods and in other accounts he’s depicted as Hathor’s son and possibly his wife). Nevertheless, he’s one of the oldest Egyptian deities worshiped since the Predynastic era to Greco-Roman times. He was also the first known national god in Nekhen in Upper Egypt. Still, the Egyptians considered their pharaoh to be the avatar/personification of Horus on Earth and was one of the reasons why many of Egypt’s female Pharaohs wore fake beards and dressed up as men during their rule. His eyes were thought to be the sun and the moon.

Pro: Let’s just say when his mother Isis struggled secure Horus’ claim to the Egyptian throne over Set, she didn’t have to do much other than raise him, which seems to have paid off. Horus is a genuine badass and had many battles with Set not only to avenge his father’s death but also come on top as the rightful ruler of Egypt despite being blinded and perhaps raped by Set in the process. Also, she’s said to accept Anubis as her stepson at least in the stories in which Osiris is his father.

Con: However, in some versions of the myths of his struggle against Set, he may have had what may amount to “hate sex.” Also, even when Set was seen as a not so evil deity, he was still the guy’s rival and their fight was originally a constant struggle. Not only that, but Horus used his own semen on a salad and served it to Set (don’t try this at home, please). Oh, and in one myth, he’s said to have chopped off his mom’s head in a fit of rage when he found out Isis couldn’t destroy Set since he was her brother. Then there’s the fact, he may not be the only Horus in Egyptian mythology.

Symbols and Motifs: He’s mostly depicted with a head of a falcon and sometimes as one himself. In his younger representation, he’s depicted as a normal stunted kid. His symbols are the wedjat eye and the pharaoh crown itself as well as the beard.

City: Nekhen and Behdet Edfu.

11. Bes

Sure he may not look like much but Bes is one of the oldest and most popular Egyptian gods. He was known as a champion for everything good and enemy to everything evil. Still, you didn't want to mess with him.

Sure he may not look like much but Bes is one of the oldest and most popular Egyptian gods. He was known as a champion for everything good and enemy to everything evil. Still, you didn’t want to mess with him.

Domain: Protector of households and in particular children, mothers, and childbirth. Later came to be regarded as defender of everything good and enemy of all that was bad as well as symbolized the enjoyment of life. Though originally thought to be an import from Nubia, recent archaeological evidence suggests he was one of the oldest Egyptian gods even though he wouldn’t enjoy widespread popularity until the New Kingdom.

Pro: Aside from being a deity, he was also a demon fighter as well as could strangle bears, lions, and snakes with his bare hands. Could scare off evil spirits by dancing, shouting, and shaking his rattle. His image appeared on many things in Ancient Egypt, including on the thighs of musicians and dancers.

Con: One of the ugliest gods in the Egyptian pantheon. Also, had no temples and no priests ordained in his name. Oh, and he’s not depicted much in the Egyptian myths.

Symbols and Motifs: Originally depicted as a lion and later as a bearded dwarf. His symbol is an ostrich feather.

City: None.

12. Thoth

The Ibis headed Thoth is a god that wears many hats as well as credited with inventing writing and most areas of knowledge. Plays a roles in a lot of myths as a mediator between good and evil.

The Ibis headed Thoth is a god that wears many hats as well as credited with inventing writing and most areas of knowledge. Plays a roles in a lot of myths as a mediator between good and evil.

Domain: God of the moon, wisdom, knowledge, hieroglyphics, medicine, astronomy, science, magic, and writing. Played many vital and prominent roles in Egyptian mythology such as maintaining the universe and along with Maat stood on Ra’s boat. He was later heavily associated with the arbitration of godly disputes, the arts of magic, the system of writing, the development of science, and the judgment of the dead. Served as scribe to the gods, Ra’s counselor and secretary, and the mediating power between good and evil as well as made sure that neither had a decisive victory over the other. Said to be master of physical and divine law and was believed to be self-created.

Pro: He was probably a true renaissance god credited by the Egyptians as the inventor of writing and most if not all the areas of knowledge. Whenever a god was seriously injured in a fight, he would heal them. As arbitrator, he oversaw three epic battles between good and evil and was a great help to Isis after Osiris was murdered.  He also restored Horus when he was slain and in one myth was responsible for tricking Sekhmet into drinking blood-colored wine which ended her rampage. Always spoke the words that fulfilled the wishes of Ra.

Con: Usually remains neutral in many situations. Also, he was credited by the Egyptians for inventing hieroglyphics which everyone knows was a very difficult writing system.

Symbols and Motifs: Usually depicted with the head of an ibis though sometimes appears as a baboon. His symbols are a moon disk and papyrus scroll.

City: Hermopolis.

13. Sobek

Sobek is the god of the Nile and fertility which basically makes him seem as a good Egyptian deity. However, as a god, he is violent and hedonistic who lives up to his sacred animal.

Sobek is the god of the Nile and fertility which basically makes him seem as a good Egyptian deity. However, as a god, he is violent and hedonistic who lives up to his sacred animal.

Domain: God of the Nile, water, the military, pharaonic power, and fertility. In Ancient Egypt, he was complex god who was sometime revered and sometimes reviled as well as rather ambiguous in terms of worship. Served as a protective deity against the Nile’s dangers. Was particularly popular during the Middle Kingdom.

Pro: During the Middle Kingdom, he was associated with Isis as a healer of Osiris and was said to assist her in Horus’ birth. His protective powers and strength were valued when used in the defense of Pharaoh and his people. Could protect the justified dead in the underworld as well as restore their sight and senses.

Con: He is considered a violent, hyper-sexual, and erratic deity prone to his primal whims. Among his nicknames were,  “he who loves robbery,” “he who eats while he also mates,” and “pointed of teeth.” Also, was said to be paired with a number of goddesses as well as was said to take women from their husbands whenever he felt like it.

Symbols and Motifs: His main symbol is the crocodile and is often depicted as either this or with a head of one. Crocodiles were raised and mummified in his name (yes, the Egyptians mummified those animals, too.)

City: Kom Ombo, Faiym, and the appropriately named Crocodilopolis.

14. Maat

Maat is the goddess of truth, justice, and order and it's her feather that is weighed against a person's heart to see if it goes to the afterlife. Other than that, it's all she does.

Maat is the goddess of truth, justice, and order and it’s her feather that is weighed against a person’s heart to see if it goes to the afterlife. Other than that, it’s all she does.

Domain: Personfication of truth, balance, order, law, mortality and justice. Seen as a goddess regulating the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and deities, who set order of the universe from chaos at the moment of creation. She was more of an idea than a goddess yet her primary role dealt with the weighing of souls in the underworld that were considered to reside in the heart. Weighing someone’s heart against the feather determined which people got into the afterlife and who did not. Sometimes seen as the daughter of Ra as well as the wife of Thoth.

Pro: She was central to the conceptions of the Ancient Egyptian universe and was seen as a balance of divine order as well as prevents chaos from reigning supreme. It was thought everything would be lost without her.

Con: She has been represented in Egyptian mythology more as an idea than as a goddess. Also, doesn’t have much personality.

Symbols and Motifs: She’s usually represented as a young woman, sometimes with wings. Her symbol is an ostrich feather.

City: All ancient Egyptian cities.

15. Apophis

As the undisputed snake god monstrosity of evil Apophis seeks to reduce the entire universe to a void. Yet, he's literally invincible and can't really be permanently defeated so Ra has to battle him every night.

As the undisputed snake god monstrosity of evil Apophis seeks to reduce the entire universe to a void. Yet, he’s literally invincible and can’t really be permanently defeated so Ra has to battle him every night.

Domain: An embodiment of chaos and god of darkness, storms, earthquakes, and basically anything harmful. Attacked Ra and his entourage every night as they traveled through the underworld and had a hypnotic gaze he used to swallow them which caused a solar eclipse if he succeeded.

Pro: Well, he’s considered as all powerful and being from the land of the dead, he can’t be killed. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help Ra’s case.

Con: Where to begin? I mean he was considered as the Ancient Egyptian god of evil that even the other chaotic gods hate him. All the souls he devours cease to exist and used his hypnotic gaze to lure the gods before eating them which only Set could resist. His mission is to reduce the entire universe into a void and Egyptians wouldn’t dare speak his name, let alone worship him.

Symbols and Motifs: Always depicted as a giant snake.

City: None because he wasn’t worshiped at all.

16. Tawaret

Taweret is the big hippopotamus looking goddess known for protecting expectant mothers. Certainly doesn't adhere to traditional goddess beauty standards yet manages to have multiple lovers and is always seen pregnant. Guess she's doing something right.

Taweret is the big hippopotamus looking goddess known for protecting expectant mothers. Certainly doesn’t adhere to traditional goddess beauty standards yet manages to have multiple lovers and is always seen pregnant. Guess she’s doing something right.

Domain: A protective goddess of childbirth and fertility. Though not a chief god, she was a popular household deity, especially in Middle and New Kingdom Egypt. In the Old Kingdom, she was seen as the wet nurse of the Pharaoh. Said to look constantly pregnant and linked to be married to Apophis and Set (as well as romantically linked to other gods, particularly Sobek).

Pro: She’s seen as a benevolent goddess as well as a protector of women (especially if they’re pregnant). When married to Set, she tries to restrain his evil impulses to protect humanity.

Con: She was initially seen as a more aggressive and unpleasant goddess, before she was known as a protector of expectant mothers. She’s always unfaithful to her husband though nobody seemed to care. Yet, you’d wonder why how she gets around because she’s not an attractive goddess by any means.

Symbols and Motifs: Usually depicted as a bipedal hippopotamus with the paws of a lion, women’s breasts,  and the back of a Nile Crocodile. Her symbols are the sa, ivory dagger, and the hippopotamus, naturally.

City: Not applicable, she was a household deity worshiped throughout Egypt.

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Here Comes the Wedding Cake!

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Spring and summer are big seasons for weddings since these are times when the weather is supposed to be nice and sunny, well, most of the time. Of course, you don’t need to take my word for it that they are big occasions that require constant planning yet we’re pretty sure that most couples who are about to make the trip to the altar pretty much know what they’d want their wedding to be like. Then again, there are plenty of women who’ve already planned the trimmings to their wedding way before they met the man (or woman in some states) of their dreams. One of the big features of the wedding is the big wedding cake which is often the centerpiece of the wedding buffet as well as the only piece of food made for people to look at. I can go all day about the nice wedding cakes I’ve seen but this post would be boring so instead I’ll post cakes that would turn any bride to be into an instant bridezilla and for good reason since some of the cakes don’t always turn out according to plan and mistakes can’t always be repeated, too. Then again, you may have some brides saying, “Well, we can always renew our vows.”

1. Nothing says that the wedding is all about the bride than having a large cake in her likeness.

Seriously, this is the kind of cake you get when the bride has no taste or budget. Besides, I think having a wedding cake in your likeness is one of the creepiest and selfish things you could do.

Seriously, this is the kind of cake you get when the bride has no taste or budget. Besides, I think having a wedding cake in your likeness is one of the creepiest and selfish things you could do.

2. Best wishes to Donna and Adam Overly and may their marriage not become like their initials on their wedding cake.

I hope the initials on this cake don't describe the happy couple's future together or how they'll end up in the hospital after being stabbed by the local serial killer. Then again, maybe the initials don't mean anything.

I hope the initials on this cake don’t describe the happy couple’s future together or how they’ll end up in the hospital after being stabbed by the local serial killer. Then again, maybe the initials don’t mean anything.

3. Looks like this couple has ordered a cake of their wedding based on their favorite hobby: rock climbing.

Is it just me, or does that cake look like a giant turd with plant foliage on it? Still, I hope they have a rock solid marriage until death do they part, which in this case is one of them losing control of the bungee cords and falling 100 feet to their demise.

Is it just me, or does that cake look like a giant turd with plant foliage on it? Still, I hope they have a rock solid marriage until death do they part, which in this case is one of them losing control of the bungee cords and falling 100 feet to their demise.

5. Why not have a wedding that’s based on the bride’s favorite Disney movie?

Maybe a Cinderella cake is fine by me but I think this is kind of over the top. Also, I'm not much of a fan of the girl finding her way out of her godforsaken hellhole through losing her footwear.

Maybe a Cinderella cake is fine by me but I think this is kind of over the top. Also, I’m not much of a fan of the girl finding her way out of her godforsaken hellhole through losing her footwear.

5. Some people cry at weddings while this baker made a cake that resembled a tissue pile.

May this cake be a reminder of all the tissues Susie went through during her dating life until she met Todd.

May this cake be a reminder of all the tissues Susie went through during her dating life until she met Todd.

6. This wedding cake’s theme from John J. Audubon’s Birds of America: The Winter Series.

Sure the birds may be beautiful in the snow but all the branches on this cake seem dead for some reason. It doesn't seem that this cake was made for a happy occasion since it looks rather depressing if you ask me.

Sure the birds may be beautiful in the snow but all the branches on this cake seem dead for some reason. It doesn’t seem that this cake was made for a happy occasion since it looks rather depressing if you ask me.

7. So may your life be filled with peeps, kisses, Jack Daniels, and tacky lawn ornaments.

Either that, or the Hershey's kisses are a stand-in for the flamingo poo droppings. Still, this cake sort of illustrates that this couple has horrible taste.

Either that, or the Hershey’s kisses are a stand-in for the flamingo poo droppings. Still, this cake sort of illustrates that this couple has horrible taste.

8. Let this cake stand to remind you that marriage is just one monogamous sausage fest.

Seriously those tubular decorations can't be icing. I mean they look like ham, bacon, or some other meat. It's disgusting.

Seriously those tubular decorations can’t be icing. I mean they look like ham, bacon, or some other meat. It’s disgusting.

9. Let this wedding cake tell us that it’s important to practice safe sex in a monogamous relationship.

Yet, perhaps these condom decorations are for the guests who want to hook up with someone during the reception.

Yet, perhaps these condom decorations are for the guests who want to hook up with someone during the reception.

10. Why better wedding cake than one resembling a fountain?

This cake actually looks pretty nice except for the spikes on the top which makes it better suited for a horror movie.

This cake actually looks pretty nice except for the spikes on the top which makes it better suited for a horror movie.

11. Nothing says “true love” than a wedding cake of a tree with an initialed heart cut in.

Except that this tree looks like it was straight out of a badly drawn Dr. Seuss book. This, assuming that Dr. Seuss was in kindergarten at the time.

Except that this tree looks like it was straight out of a badly drawn Dr. Seuss book. This, assuming that Dr. Seuss was in kindergarten at the time.

12. Why not have a wedding cake that looks like it was designed by the baker’s 5 year old daughter?

This cake looks more like a little girl’s art project. I swear it seems like the cake is made out of styrofoam and blue electrical tape. I suppose the flowers came from someone’s art set, too.

13. Why not have a wedding cake that’s made on top of a large stump?

Either that, or Cousin It. Then again, it kind of resembles a stool you might want to buy at the Pottery Barn with a cake topper on it. Let's just say if weren't for the topper, I wouldn't know it was a wedding cake.

Either that, or Cousin It. Then again, it kind of resembles a stool you might want to buy at the Pottery Barn with a cake topper on it. Let’s just say if weren’t for the topper, I wouldn’t know it was a wedding cake.

14. Why not have a cake that says “I have a hunk a heart of burning love,” or something like that?

Then again the fires on this cake have substantially cooled as far as we know. Still, doesn't quite cut it in the Elvis song.

Then again the fires on this cake have substantially cooled as far as we know. Still, doesn’t quite cut it in the Elvis song.

15. Nothing says a fall wedding like wheat decorations that give it a rustic tone.

Of course, the wheat on this cake is so tall that I can't see the rest of it. Also, kind of resembles a do-it-yourself fertility goddess headdress or something.

Of course, the wheat on this cake is so tall that I can’t see the rest of it. Also, kind of resembles a do-it-yourself fertility goddess headdress or something.

16. May this wedding cake show how love rises to new heights within the bonds of matrimony.

Of course, the baker got so carried away with the cake design that the wedding has gone way over budget.

Of course, the baker got so carried away with the cake design that the wedding has gone way over budget.

17. For the wedding reception, what cake to have than one with a disco ball on top of it?

Of course, this cake design brings us why people no longer look to the 1970s for decorating ideas. Also, a disco ball as a cake topper? That's tacky beyond all understanding.

Of course, this cake design brings us why people no longer look to the 1970s for decorating ideas. Also, a disco ball as a cake topper? That’s tacky beyond all understanding.

18. Of course, what winter wedding would be complete without an Alpine skiing cake from the Rocky Mountains.

What the hell are those green things? Are they supposed to be rocks or something? Can somebody answer me?

What the hell are those green things? Are they supposed to be rocks or something? Can somebody answer me?

19. Nothing says a festive wedding than a salmon color wedding cake.

Reminds me of a place called Cafe Salmonella from A Series of Unfortunate Events where all the food was this color. Of course, this color is fine on salmon but disgusting on anything else edible.

Reminds me of a place called Cafe Salmonella from A Series of Unfortunate Events where all the food was this color. Of course, this color is fine on salmon but disgusting on anything else edible.

20. What wedding wouldn’t be complete without two doves as a cake topper?

Of course, the cake itself looks like a little girl's art project complete with spray paint and glitter.

Of course, the cake itself looks like a little girl’s art project complete with spray paint and glitter.

21. Of course, there’s no redneck wedding like a camo wedding cake decorated with beer cans and taxidermy squirrels.

The taxidermy done on these cake toppers was by Norman Bates. Also, using taxidermy as cake toppers is kind of unsanitary if you ask me but perhaps this cake was done on a budget.

22. Here comes the….hey, what happened to the bride’s head?

Seriously, this is freaky if you ask me. Why have a cake of the bride's bust? Also, the fact it doesn't seem to have a head is even more disturbing.

Seriously, this is freaky if you ask me. Why have a cake of the bride’s bust? Also, the fact it doesn’t seem to have a head is even more disturbing.

23. Not to fear, Wal-Mart has the perfect wedding cake for you this Valentine’s Day season, now at a great low price.

This would've been the perfect cake for the Game of Thrones "Red Wedding" episode. Of course, you can see why the show's fans wouldn't even consider buying such cake that seems to be oozing in blood.

This would’ve been the perfect cake for the Game of Thrones “Red Wedding” episode. Of course, you can see why the show’s fans wouldn’t even consider buying such cake that seems to be oozing in blood.

24. What better wedding cake than one that resembles a place you wouldn’t drive on.

Of course, this was designed by a boy who thought that wedding cakes have gotten a bit too girly for some reason. Also, this is why grooms shouldn't plan weddings (just kidding).

Of course, this was designed by a boy who thought that wedding cakes have gotten a bit too girly for some reason. Also, this is why grooms shouldn’t plan weddings (just kidding).

25. May this wedding cake remind you of the golden moments you shared on this fateful day.

Of course, this baker has used way too much spray paint on this and it shows big time.

Of course, this baker has used way too much spray paint on this and it shows big time.

26. Nothing says wedding cake than having one that seems to be made out of paper mache and tissue paper.

That cake looks fairly convincing, for some kid's 3rd grade art project, I guess.

That cake looks fairly convincing, for some kid’s 3rd grade art project, I guess.

27. These three wedding bakers seem so proud of their new creation.

That looks like a it was based from a pile of expensive looking pillows found in some 5 star hotel.

That looks like a it was based from a pile of expensive looking pillows found in some 5 star hotel.

28. Nothing says “Southern Wedding” than beer cans, chocolate mud, strawberries, and Confederate flags.

Now this is why rednecks seem to be offensively stereotyped, folks. Also, not only is the Confederate flag a racist symbol, it's also a terrible wedding decoration. And I'm not saying that to anger, Lynard Skynard fans here. I'm just saying.

Now this is why rednecks seem to be offensively stereotyped, folks. Also, not only is the Confederate flag a racist symbol, it’s also a terrible wedding decoration. And I’m not saying that to anger, Lynard Skynard fans here. I’m just saying.

29. Of course, no fall wedding could be complete without an autumn styled cake with deer toppers, especially when it’s after Thanksgiving.

I don't know about you but I think deer heads should be on someone's wall, not on a wedding cake. It's kind of tacky if you ask me but at least the rest of it is tasteful.

I don’t know about you but I think deer heads should be on someone’s wall, not on a wedding cake. It’s kind of tacky if you ask me but at least the rest of it is tasteful.

30. Ain’t no wedding like a Mardi Gras wedding.

Then again, these Mardi Gras bead decorations don't seem to bring in the festive spirit. Rather it seems like a more appropriate cake for Lent despite it being a season where many give up sweets and their New Year's resolutions.

Then again, these Mardi Gras bead decorations don’t seem to bring in the festive spirit. Rather it seems like a more appropriate cake for Lent despite it being a season where many give up sweets and their New Year’s resolutions.

31. Aw, what can possibly go wrong with a wedding cake decorated with dolphins?

Oh, my God, this is a horrible cake. I mean the dolphins look like they're all dead. Seriously, what does this baker have against dolphins?

Oh, my God, this is a horrible cake. I mean the dolphins look like they’re all dead. Seriously, what does this baker have against dolphins?

32. Nothing makes a fairytale wedding than a cake of Cinderella’s castle.

On second thought, this cake has made one of the most iconic castles in Disney movies look like one of most terrifying places on earth. Seriously, it makes me wonder why Cinderella would want to marry the Prince and move in to such a place.

On second thought, this cake has made one of the most iconic castles in Disney movies look like one of most terrifying places on earth. Seriously, it makes me wonder why Cinderella would want to marry the Prince and move in to such a place.

33. Aw, nothing says “true love”  on a winter wedding like a wedding cake depicting a scene from Dr. Zhivago.

Sure, Dr. Zhivago is one of the great romances and "Lara's Theme" is a great piece of music but it's about the Russian Revolution as well as a guy who carries on an extramarital affair with some Bolshevik official's neglected wife who he once saw after she was raped by a Russian aristocrat. Let's just say if you know the rest of the Dr. Zhivago story, you can see why seeing Yuri and Lara enjoying a sleigh ride doesn't seem like an appropriate wedding idea. Also, the winter limbs on this cake are horrifying.

Sure, Dr. Zhivago is one of the great romances and “Lara’s Theme” is a great piece of music but it’s about the Russian Revolution as well as a guy who carries on an extramarital affair with some Bolshevik official’s neglected wife who he once saw after she was raped by a Russian aristocrat during the 1905 uprising. Let’s just say if you know the rest of the Dr. Zhivago story, you can see why seeing Yuri and Lara enjoying a sleigh ride doesn’t seem like an appropriate wedding idea. Also, the winter limbs on this cake are horrifying.

34. Sometimes when two don’t agree on the same wedding cake design, there needs to be a compromise.

As awful looking as this cake is, at least both bride and groom tried to accommodate their tastes. Still, camouflage shouldn't be used on wedding cakes. I'm sorry.

As awful looking as this cake is, at least both bride and groom tried to accommodate their tastes. Still, camouflage shouldn’t be used on wedding cakes. I’m sorry.

35. May this cake remind you of the fireworks between the two of you.

Of course, I hope your relationship has more spectacular sparks than this cake would imply. Otherwise, your marriage doesn't have a prayer.

Of course, I hope your relationship has more spectacular sparks than this cake would imply. Otherwise, your marriage doesn’t have a prayer.

36. Nothing says a summer wedding than a couple standing on top of a pile of dead sharks.

This is a terrible idea for a wedding cake. Even more disturbing is that all the sharks on this cake are oozing with blood. Sure sharks may attack people but there's no reason why we should try to annihilate them since they have an important place in the ecosystem.

This is a terrible idea for a wedding cake. Even more disturbing is that all the sharks on this cake are oozing with blood. Sure sharks may attack people but there’s no reason why we should try to annihilate them since they have an important place in the ecosystem.

37. What a wonderful wedding cake with butterflies and sperm?

Look, if having sperm on a baby shower cake is bad, it's certainly a terrible idea for a wedding one. Then again, these could be tadpoles, but still.

Look, if having sperm on a baby shower cake is bad, it’s certainly a terrible idea for a wedding one. Then again, these could be tadpoles, but still.

38. Of course, at a wedding, make sure there is plenty of cake to go around.

Lord knows how many guests attended this occasion as well as how much was spent on doing this cake alone. Still, it's pretty tacky if you ask me.

Lord knows how many guests attended this occasion as well as how much was spent on doing this cake alone. Still, it’s pretty tacky if you ask me.

39. What better wedding cake can you have that contains rainbows, flowers, and butterflies.

Is it just me, or does this cake seem to have been made by Lisa Frank on an acid trip or something?

Is it just me, or does this cake seem to have been made by Lisa Frank on an acid trip or something?

40. Of course, this cake shows that this couple is very serious when it comes, “till death do we part.”

Yet, why did they have to make the point about it with eyeballs, blood, and lopped off body parts, I don't have the slightest idea.

Yet, why did they have to make the point about it with eyeballs, blood, and lopped off body parts, I don’t have the slightest idea.

41. Oh, what a beautiful message to put on a wedding cake.

However, the cake topper with the bride wearing the pants bit is kind of a bit sexist if you ask me. Also, the writing seems to be melting.

However, the cake topper with the bride wearing the pants bit is kind of a bit sexist if you ask me. Also, the writing seems to be melting.

42. What kind of wedding cake wouldn’t be without butterflies?

Along with outlandish foliage that seems to come straight out of a Dr. Seuss story. Seriously, if your garden is like this cake, it needs weeding.

Along with outlandish foliage that seems to come straight out of a Dr. Seuss story. Seriously, if your garden is like this cake, it needs weeding.

43. You can never have too many flowers on a wedding cake.

Uh, yes, you certainly can as this cake points out since you could barely see it itself. Also, I'm pretty sure those flowers are fake.

Uh, yes, you certainly can as this cake points out since you could barely see it itself. Also, I’m pretty sure those flowers are fake.

44. Here is a wedding cake that was inspired by Aunt Bertha’s hat.

Seems like more money was spent on the cake decorations than the actual cake. Still, this looks so freaky.

Seems like more money was spent on the cake decorations than the actual cake. Still, this looks so freaky.

45. This wedding cake brings the festive spirit into any reception.

Then again, this cake kind of makes a lame show at it. Still, very colorful though but the "wow" factor is missing.

Then again, this cake kind of makes a lame show at it. Still, very colorful though but the “wow” factor is missing.

46. Of course, what better wedding cake for Star Wars fans than one of Jabba the Hut?

Actually, I can think of a lot of better Star Wars wedding cake ideas than this one. Also, have you notice that Jabba the Hut resembles an abnormally shaped turd from the back?

Actually, I can think of a lot of better Star Wars wedding cake ideas than this one. Also, have you notice that Jabba the Hut resembles an abnormally shaped turd from the back?

47. May God bless Sonia and BrianOliver on their wedding day.

Of course, this cake is bound to get a lot of giggles since the initials spell SOB. Couples, before you use monograms on your wedding cake, make sure they don't spell something that has a negative connotation or makes people laugh.

Of course, this cake is bound to get a lot of giggles since the initials spell SOB. Couples, before you use monograms on your wedding cake, make sure they don’t spell something that has a negative connotation or makes people laugh.

48. Nothing like a weapon cake that shows you’re flirting with disaster.

I don't know about you but this wedding cake contains all sorts of things that no wedding cake should have. I mean its supposed to be a happy occasion, not set to the scene of some action movie with plane crashes, gunfights, and blood everywhere.

I don’t know about you but this wedding cake contains all sorts of things that no wedding cake should have. I mean its supposed to be a happy occasion, not set to the scene of some action movie with plane crashes, gunfights, and blood everywhere.

49. Ain’t no wedding cake like one made out of snack food.

This is probably a way of saying "we spent all our money before we could think of a wedding cake so help yourself to some Hostess snack foods as our honored guests."

This is probably a way of saying “we spent all our money before we could think of a wedding cake so help yourself to some Hostess snack foods as our honored guests.”

50. And of course, what wedding wouldn’t be complete without a cake of a tree.

Particularly a sickly, sweating, morning after a bender during the reception and woke up next to a stranger tree. Yeah, not very convincing is it?

Particularly a sickly, sweating, morning after a bender during the reception and woke up next to a stranger tree. Yeah, not very convincing is it?