I think one of my favorite things about Robin McKinley’s book Beauty is that she changes the sisters to be kind and loving.

This is a departure from the original story, but it adds an appropriate and satisfying level of complexity that didn’t, couldn’t, exist before. When home is a place you like, and want, to be, leaving into peril has more significance.

All the “heroines” who face danger so well and take daring chances (Cinderella, after all, did marry a complete stranger) do so from an unavoidably what-have-I-got-to-lose base.

One who allows their protagonist to have loving friends/family, and good times, good memories, is also (I believe) a less-lazy writer. Angst and isolation are the cheap shortcut to a reader’s pity. They are the “givens” in so many works of fiction (look at Disney, and Anne McCaffery).

It is understandable, and even forgivable (most people on some level seem to want to protect someone else– it affirms both our superiority and our competency), but this is also what makes positive characters (and supporting characters) so praiseworthy.

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