In this video tutorial I´ll show how to make a Frozen inspired snowglobe.
Magic of the north
Growing up in north-western Finland I´v seen northern lights several times. Living near the sea dancing lights I saw were mostly green but every time when I went up north to visit my grandparents I saw northern lights in all colors of the rainbow. Still today when I see northern lights during dark October nights I see them as true miracle of nature and I understand how they captivated minds of the people in the past same way as they captivate the imagination of a modern human. There are several myths told about the northern lights and I will share some of them with you.
Estonian Celestial Wedding
In Estonia there is interesting myth told about the birth of the northern lights. According to Estonian myths northern lights were created when humpback whales were playing games and their scales are reflected into the night sky.
Another Estonian folk tale tells us that northern lights are born when spectacular horse drawn carriages are carrying heavenly guests into magnificent celestial wedding.
Firefox of the Saami's
In the Lapland of Finland northern lights were believed to be created by a magical giant fox called Tulikettu. Foxes were hunted because of their fur and it was believed that great fox hunter was also a great shaman. Tulikettu was like the Phoenix of all foxes and there could only be one fire fox at time. It was believed that the hunter who catch the fire fox would live in great wealth for the rest of their life. Fire fox however was so fast that no one could ever catch it. When it ran in the snowy hills it´s fur and tail brushes would create sparks that would fly into the skies and turn into northern lights. Finnish word for northern lights revontulet literally means fox´s fires.
Lapland, Scandinavia and Greenland
According to another Saami myth northern lights were spume of water ejected from whales swimming in the arctic sea.
For fishermen in northern Sweden northern lights were a good prophecy. Omen that there was large groups of herrings swimming by.
In Norse myths aurora borealis thought as reflections of the shining spears, armors and helmets of the valkyries. The warrior women who rode on horseback leading fallen soldiers to Valhalla. Sometimes northern lights were believed to be the Bifrost Bridge. Magical arc that lead straight into Valhalla the home of the gods and goddesses.
For the Inuits in Greenland northern lights were spirits of still born babies and even children that had been killed after birth.
Northern Lights in Inuit and Native American Myths
Native American myths about the Aurora Borealis vary great deal same way as the traditions and cultures of different tribes.
Algonquin´s the natives of Ottawa and Ontario in Canada believe that northern lights were created by their creator spirit Nanahbozho. For them it was a sign that he was always watching over them.
For the Menominee´s native American tribe of the Wisconsin area northern lights were torches used by evil giants when they speared fish at night.
Inuit´s living in Point Barrow, the most northern point of Alaska believed strongly that northern lights were evil and suspicious and they could come down from the skies and kill a man. They carried knives with them to protect themselves from them.
Inuits of Nunivak Island in the Bering Sea thought that northern lights were created by a walrus spirits who were playing with human skulls.
Makah´s, native american tribe from the Washington state told stories about a tribe of dwarfs who boiled whale blubber. Another myth which connects Aurora to cooking comes from Mandan from north Dakota where people believed that in the northern lights there lived great warriors who cooked their enemies heads in massive pots.
Aurora in Greek Mythology
Aurora Borealis are a rare sight in such southern parts of Europe as Greece but for the ancient Greece there was nothing that could have not be explained without the presence of gods and goddesses. In Greek Aurora means sunrise and boreas means the wind. Aurora was the sister to Helios the sun god and Seline the moon goddess. In Greek myth sun and the day are born when Helios and Seline ride in the skies with their celestial wagons. Sometimes Aurora joins the ride but her wagon is made of vivid dancing colors. She is assisted by god of the northern wind Boreas who gives her chariot a nice blow.
Fight of the dragons, Northern Lights of the East
It is not very common to see Aurora Borealis in the firmament of Japan or China but when they are seen they are considered to be mystical powerful occasions.
In Japan child conceived under northern lights is believed to receive good looks, intelligence and great fortune.
In China Aurora Borealis are connected to the stories and legends about mighty dragons. Lights in the skies are good and evil dragons testing their powers against one another and breathing fire.
Australian Aboriginals do not see northern lights but southern lights, Aurora Australis. For the aboriginals Aurora Australis represents their beloved deities and spirit dancing in the celestial sky.
Central Europe and Britain
Northern Lights are rare phenomena in central and southern Europe. Before people knew the science behind the northern lights people lived in an atmosphere where all supernatural things were frightening and northern lights terrified people. In Italy and France northern lights were thought to predict war, plague and mass deaths.
In north of Scotland where northern lights are more common they are called dancing merry men representing souls of the soldiers who died in a battle.
Be Careful When You Whistle
Some Native American tribes believed that northern lights were trickster spirits who would come down if someone whistled and would kidnap the person. To protect themselves person should clap. This made the lights retreat and people would be safe from them.
In Greenland expecting mothers were told not to whistle otherwise child would be born crossed-eyed.
Saami´s in Lapland also had superstitions about whistling. If they would whistle the lights would come down from the skies, chase them and burn their hair. Because of this still today many saami´s test their powers by whistling to the northern lights.
My other articles and vlogs with stories from the north:
Siberian and Eurasian shamanism
Sun and the moon in Saami mythology and folklore
Reindeer in the saami mythology
How stars got in to the sky
Mythmas Northern Lights
Check out my northern lights collection from my Redbubble store.
Väki is a deeply rooted concept within Finnish mythology.
The Life Force
In Finnish folklore, Väki is the life force that flows in every single living creature and being. It is similar to the concept of mana in Hinduism, life force chi in Chinese culture or the Force in Star Wars. Väki literally means a group. It describes the power / group or spirits that reside in a certain idea/concept/element or being.
Väki of the elements
When a person was a practitioner of witchcraft (in Finnish context) what they essentially were doing was to work with väki. Everything has their own väki; nature, trees, animals and all the elements. The idea of elements is very common in Finnish myths and all the elements possessed their own väki. Ilmanväki (väki of the air), tulenväki (väki of the fire), maanväki (väki of the earth) and vedenväki (väki of the water). From the elements, väki of the water was considered to be the most powerful because of the healing powers of water but also because the water was seen as something eternal. The woman grew children in the waters of their womb. The earth was born from waters and water always returned in some form, was it then rain or snow.
Väki of the animals
Väki of the animals was always connected to their element. For example, väki of the bear was connected to the earth and the power of the forest. Birds possessed väki of the air. Fish and frogs were part of the väki of the water. In spellcraft, if a person wanted to perform a ritual that needed elements from certain väki they used animal parts from an animal that belonged to that väki.
Some animals possess extremely strong väki. One of those animals was a wild deer. If a person ate brains of a wild deer they would sleep very restlessly and see nightmares of dark figures, which were shadow beings of the forest.
Even the smallest animals like ants and spiders possess their own väki. Väki was always connected to the myths and stories told about the animals.
Väki of women
People also had their own väki. Woman´s väki was considered the strongest because women were the creators of life. Women had an important role in ancient Finno-Baltic societies. If a man wanted to marry a woman they had to ask permission from the mother of the bride and when the father of the household died the oldest son did not inherit the house-stead but the widow did. Väki of the women was also feared by the men occasionally. If the man cheated the woman the woman could raise their väki and hurt the man as revenge. Woman´s status was connected to her marriage and later on her becoming a mother and a grandmother. This idea is directly based on the mother earth cult and ancestral worship where the passed away grandmother became a worshiped figure.
Older video done for the youtube pagan challenge. Topic was "chants, mantras and affirmations. Enjoy )O(
Disney´s Beauty and the beast from 1991 is Disney´s 30th classic. It is also my favorite movie of all times and I have seen it about 90 times.
Beauty and the beast was the first Disney animated film which had two leading characters and later on it was an inspiration for movies like Aladdin, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pocahontas and Atlantis which clearly has two or more leading characters. First Disney animation with two leading characters was Lady and the Tramp from 1955.
It is a story about a beauty called Belle and a prince who was turned into a beast by an enchantress. He is doomed to be a beast until he finds someone who loves him. The castle is forgotten, servants are turned into living objects and the beast has hidden himself from the outside world. Belle lives in the near by village with her eccentric inventor father. She is an outsider because she reads a lot and she is curious. Belle is courted by handsome hunter Gaston but Belle does not want to marry a man who is not interested from her thoughts. One day her father, Maurice travels to inventors meeting and gets lost. He finds his way to the beast´s castle and the beast captivates him. Belle goes to save her father and the beast takes her instead.
Belle is free to wander around the castle but she is not allowed to enter the west-wing. There is a magical rose which flourishes as long as the beast has a chance becoming human again. Curious Belle enters the west-wing. Beast finds her and gets outraged. Belle escapes and is chased by wolves. Beast saves her and because of this unselfish act Belle decides to stay in the castle. They start to spend more time together and become friends. In the spring time servants arrange a ball for Belle and the beast. After a romantic evening Beast shows Belle his magic mirror and Belle sees her father who is ill. Beast allows Belle to leave and accepts his destiny, that he is doomed to live as a beast for the rest of his days. He also realizes that he is in love with Belle.
Belle travels to see her father. Gaston isn´t over the humiliation Belle caused by publicly turning down his proposal. He pays for the leader of mental institution to take Maurice. Belle tells everyone that Beast is real and that her father is not mad. Gaston leads the villagers to the castle to kill the beast. Belle and Maurice escape with the help of Chip. They go to warn the beast but it is too late. Gaston has wounded him. Belle tells dying beast that she loves him and the curse breaks. Beast returns back into human form and so does the servants. Movie ends into a grand ball.
Walt Disney and Beauty and the Beast
Walt Disney was interested to turn Beauty and the Beast into an animation already during his own lifetime but the complexity of the story became a problem. Just in the beginning of the 90´s following the success of the Little Mermaid the new generation of Disney animators and script writers re-discovered Beauty and the Beast.
Tale As Old As Time
Story of beauty and the beast is literally tale as old as time. First literal versions of the story can be found from ancient Greece but theme of the story is as old as storytelling itself.
There was a historical model for the beast. A man called Petrus Gonsalvus. In the 16th century European nobles had a sick habit to collect different kinds of people. Gonsalvus suffered from hypertricosis. His body was completely covered by hair. He was found as a child from the jungles of Teneriff and was brought into the court of France. King Henri II decided to do a test and see if he could turn a savage into a noble man. Later on king´s wife Margareta, who was known for arranging marriages, arranged Petrus to marry a daughter of one of her enemies (daughter´s name was also Margareta). For the surprise of queen Margareta and the rest of the court the couple fell in love. Petrus and Margareta never got a chance to live a free life. Their every single moves were followed. From their seven children, four had hypertricosis and they were given to different courts around Europe to amuse the noble.
La Belle et la Bête
Few centuries later the story of Petrus Gonsalvus inspired the authors of the French court. 1740 Gabrille Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve published her story La Belle et la Bete. Story was about a wealthy merchant and his beautiful daughter called Belle. The plot of the story is very complex and very much like a soap-opera. In the book Belle constantly dreams about a handsome prince. And she is convinced that the beast who has captured her has also captured the handsome prince of her dreams. When Belle returns to her home to her evil, envy sisters she understands that she is in love with the beast. She has a magical ring and mirror with her and from the mirror she sees that the beast is about to die. She goes back to the castle and tells the beast that she loves him and then beast turns into the prince from Belle´s dreams. In Villeneuve´s story prince has lost his father and her mother is leading a battle against another kingdom. He has been home schooled and when prince´s mother is far away away his tutor who is the enchantress wants to marry him and when the prince refuses, she turns him into a beast. Beauty´s mother also returns. She was the sister of the passed away king and captured by the enchantress. In the story beauty and the beast are cousins and Belle is a royal by blood.
I read Villeneuve´s beauty and the beast last year. My English is pretty great but I must admit it was quite challenging for me to read the novel because it was written in very old fashioned English. But I did get something out of the book and that is, it is foremost the story of Belle. She is both smart and beautiful. During the time when book was written, forced marriages were very common and women married young. Villeneuve wrote the book for those young women to encourage them to adapt into the situation. Future unknown spouse might seem frightening beast at first but when you get to know them they might turn out to be really nice. Some of the forced marriages were indeed love-marriages and some were not.
Girls With Monsters
In Hollywood movies that portray the relationship between a woman and a monster, the beast has always reflected fears of the people of the time. For exampole the first King Kong movie from 1933 is an allegory of a love affair between a white woman and a black man. A topic that was not openly spoken during the time.
In 1756 French lady called Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont wrote a shortened version of Villeneuve´s tale and Disney animation is mainly based on Beaumont´s version. Another inpiration for the classic animation was Jean Cocteau film from 1947. Animators and the designers used Cocteu´s film style and make up as an inspiration for the animated characters.
Belle A Modern Beauty
In the beginnig of the 90´s Belle was a Disney princess that world had never seen before. She read, she was curious and wanted to know about the world. Belle is French for beautiful and she is often considered to be one of the most beautiful Disney characters ever created. Belle´s beauty is much more than outside beauty. She is incredibly smart, bit cheeky and she is kind. Belle´s mother is absend. We can assume that she has passed away. She has been raised by eccentric single-dad and Belle loves him dearly. Belle is also very aware that both she and her father have questionable reputation in the village. Their home is just outside the village which higlights this separation from the rest of the village. Belle is never ashamed of her father. She is proud of him and it is probably because she was raised by such father Belle loves to read and is very clever. Linda Woolverton who was the script writer of Beauty and the Beast hoped that Belle would not be portrayed as a perfect character or someone who wishes to be perfect. This is why she often has one of two strangles of hair on her face and she is pulling them back behind her ears.
Mentality of the villagers in the Beauty and the beast can be easily compared to the political athmosphere of modern day where people´s mentality and ideas are constantly manipulated by the media and people are not encouraged to think by themselves. When we first become introduced to the character of Belle, already the first song of the movie tell s how the villagers react to people that are different than others. Why woman in her 20´s reads? Why she isn´t like the others? Half of the village men are stunned by her beauty but they are also afraid of her independent character.
There is also grudge towards Belle. Brigid Bardot-look-a-like triplets can not understand how any woman can reject Gaston and his muscles. In the original fairytale Belle had brothers and sisters. Her brothers were kind and protective but her sisters were always jeaous of her beauty. It is very common in fairytales that women, sisters especially are portrayed evil. In the first animation scripts Belle had evil sisters but in the end they were removed because the writers wanted to focus more on the relationship between Belle and her father. Triplets were left to the animation to represent the envy sisters.
Sheeps that gather around Belle when she is sitting by the fountain represent the sheep-mentality of the villagers. They don´t feel need to think independently and for someone to do that feels strange to them. Maurice who is probably the most smartest person in the whole town, is thrown out of the pub when he tells about Belle´s kidnapping. Have villagers considered Maurice nuts the whole time? Geniouses have been considered crazy throughout times. Sheep-mentality is on it´s highlight in the end of the movie where Gaston seduces them all to go to a beast-hunt.
Beauty and the beast begins when an old woman enters the palace and asks shelter. Young spoiled prince doesn´t want the ugly hag to enter his palace and tells her to leave. Fairy sees the corrupted soul of the prince and turns him into a beast. He grows to an adult in constant self-hatred and aggression. Beast is completely attached to the palace. He can not enter the outside world because people would be afraid of him. Right in the beginning of the movie the narrator asks the most important question about the beast. ”How beast is able to love anyone, if they can not love themself?” When Belle enters the palace beast starts to understand himself and his own behavior. Like Belle is his prisoner, Beast is the prisoner of the curse.
The loyal servants of the beast know their master very well. They can see when he is on a good mood or a bad mood. In away all the servants, but especially the three most important ones, Lumiére, Mrs Potts and Cogsworth represent the conscience of the beast. Lumiére who´s name is French for light represents the hope of the beast. Belief that everything can turn out fine. This comes out in Lumiére´s optimistic character and charm. Lumiére is something that the beast wishes he could be.
Rational clock, Cogsworth represents the time passing by. Cogsworth is the one who reminds the beast about the rose and his noble heritage.
Mrs Potts symbolizes beast´s parents. Beast´s parents are not mentioned in the movie. They are dead or otherwise out of the picture which has made the prince bitter. Motherly Mrs Potts looks after the beast even when he is not taking care of himself. She represents unconditional parent´s love. Her large family that lives in the cupboard reminds the beast of the things that he can not have even though he would want to.
Beast is no doubt one of the most complex and multi-layered Disney characters. When he get´s to know Belle his nature becomes more calm and he becomes more human. This was the biggest problem in the Beauty and the beast live-action. Belle was trying to change the beast to her liking and he did not change at all. In the animation beast is the one who changes himself. Beast changing into a man is not a reward for Belle but it is a reward for the beast because he chooses to die as a beast or to become a man that he has always wanted to be.
Gaston The Handsome Beast
Gaston is the villain of the Beauty and the beast and possibly one of the best Disney villains ever created. Gaston is tall, dark, handsome, muscle man- master shooter. He is also chovinist and not very bright. Gaston is similar to the beast. They both have a large ego and anger-issues. They are also physically bit similar. Aggressive behavior of the beast is not tolerated by the society because of his looks but the evil deeds of Gaston are approved because he is very handsome. Sexist behavior of the character probably would not be extremely uncommon in 17th century French village. Gaston tells Belle that woman should not read, which annoys Belle a great deal. She continues her journey with her nose in the book while Gaston sings to the village how excellent wife she is going to be for him. Belle does not want to marry a man who is only interested from her looks. In the beginnig of the movie Gaston is portrayed as buff idiot. Lefou who is always following Gaston represents Gaston´s ego. He never questions his motifs. Instead he is always worshiping and praising him. When Belle refuses to marry Gaston. Gaston´s revenge is cruel. He hires the leader of mental institution to take Maurice. An act that is as cruel as turning a teen age boy into a monster. Gaston represents the man that the prince would have turned out to become if the fairy would not have turned him into a beast. Did the fairy foresee what was going to happen. I hope so.
When Belle shows beast to the villagers from the magic mirror to prove his fathers words Gaston´s true nature comes out. He persuades the men of the village to join him on his hunt. Durign the chace he says out loud all those words that the beast has been thinking by himself
do you think the girl loves you when he can have me. You are too kind..beast
There are three stages in the transformation of the beast. The first transformation takes place when the beast saves Belle from the wolves. After this kind act Belle decides to stay in the castle and help him heal his wounds. The second transformation is the most important one and it takes place during the famous ball scene. Beast let´s Belle go and return to her father. He realizes that he has fallen in love. Third transformation is often forgotten. It happens during the battle between the beast and Gaston. Beast is about to strangle Gaston who begs for mercy and the beast let´s him go. Gaston stabs the beast and falls to his death at the same time. Act of mercy that beast shows to Gaston saves him in the end. If you watch the animation carefully, the moment when Gaston is stabbing the beast you can see small skulls in his eyes.
Beauty and the beast begins in the end of the summer and it ends in the spring. Changes in nature represent the changes in the lives of the leading charactes. In the beginning of the movie world is filled with warm colors. Belle is wearing white and blue and she stands out from the other villagers. White and blue are colors associated to Virgin Mary. Belle is innocent but she is not naive. Dress is similar to Dorothy´s dress in the Wizard of Oz. Just like Dorothy Belle finds herself in a strange magical world.
More familiar Belle feels herself in the castle of the beast, the colors of her outfits become warmer. They go from pink to red and from blue to forest green. Use of colors represent the concreting of the adventure she was looking for. Life in the castle is surprisinly exiting. The yellow/gold dress she wears in the ball represents her future role as a princess. Blue/gold outfit that the beast wears in the same scene reprents self-acceptance and appreciation.
In the beginning of the movie beast wears dark red/purple cape. Dark outfit symbolizes his wish to hide himself from the outside world. When Belle and the beast enjoy the winter wonderland beast has a bright purple cape. Purple symbolizes transformation and royalty. Such simple act as the settle color change represents the quite change that has began in the character of the beast since Belle has arrived. Gaston´s colors are red and black. Red represents attention, blood and hate. Black is the color of hidden identity.
Palace of the beast is dark and blink. After the curse the angels on the walls have turned into laughing demons. Color world of the rooms varies between dark red and purple. Ballroom with´s it´s gold ornaments and painted ceiling is familiar to the mirror room of Versailles. When the curse is broken the dim colors become bright again and the angels return. Palace is like it´s owner, the cursed beast. Abandoned and nearly forgotten. When Belle and the beast fall in love, palace begins to change as well. It does not show outside just yet but interior becomes more and more brighter.
In the Villeneuve´s fairytale Belle´s father climbed to the beast´s garden to pick up a rose for his favorite daughter. In Disney´s beauty and the beast rose has another meaning. It became the hourglass of the curse. When the rose dies, the beast has lost all hope. In the language of flowers red rose symbolizes passionate, all winning love. Love between Belle and the beast overcame all obstacles (hopefully after the curse was broken it was also passionate). The fact that the rose is kept under a glass cover represents the hopeless situation of all characters. They are trapped and way out of it feels hopeless at times.
Lot of the success of the Little Mermaid in 1989 had to do with it´s music and the composer duo Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. They were hired to compose music for the Beauty and the Beast. Beauty and the Beast bears similarity to Frozen in that sense both movies had a song that lives a life of it´s now. People who have not seen the movie know about the son. These songs are of course Let it go and Beauty and the Beast. Songs for Beauty and the Beast were recorded with a living orchestra. There was also a pop-cover made from Beauty and the Beast and it was performed by Céline Dion and Peabo Bryson. Song plays during the film´s end credits. Movie won the Academy Award from the best music in 1992. Song human again was composed for the film but it was cut away from the movie because it wasn´t nessecary for the plot. In 1994 human again was added to the Beauty and the Beast broadway musical and since 2002 song and the animation scene made for it have been added to dvd and blue-ray versions. Howard Ashman had Aids and he passed away eight months before the premiere of Beauty and the Beast on March 8th 1991 and never witnessed the worldwide success of the movie. Creators of the film dedicated it to the memory of Howard Ashman. In the end of the film it says:
To our friend Howard who gave mermaid her voice and a beast his soul, we will be forever grateful
I am really fed up with the Stockholm syndrome talk so here me out. Standing up to yourself is not a typical behavior for people with Stockholm syndrome. The person who made the claim clearly hasn´t seen the film and neither knows what the syndrome is all about. In Stockholm syndrom person sheepishly does everything that their abusers tell them and never question them. Belle always stands up to herself when the beast is cruel and she only decides to stay when he saves her.
In the beginning of the 90´s there was lots of changes going on in the Disney studios. The first storyboard was closer to Beaumont´s book. Belle was a daughter of a merchant and the role of the beast was much smaller. Film was directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise. Beauty and the Beast was first movie direction for both of them. Trousdale had been working at Disney in the effect appartment since the 80´s and Wise as an animator. Later on both have directed several Disney films. Script was written by Linda Woolverton who was later on writing the Lion King, Mulan and live-action Beauty and the Beast and she was also the first women who ever wrote a script to a Disney film.
Woolverton wanted to make Belle a different kind of Disney princess. Princesses before Belle (and Ariel), such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella were products of their time and lived in rather domesticated world. Belle was more free. She was allowed to come and go as she pleased. Neither her father or the beast forced her to do housework. In the film we don´t see Belle cleaning or baking. She sings more to herself than to animals. Belle reads and she dreams about a different kind of life. She can´t stand men like Gaston. It is easy to minimise the importance of her character in 2018 but in 1991 character of Belle represented the independent woman of the 90´s and she showed the way for other powerful Disney heroines such as Mulan, Pocahontas and Elsa.
According to Woolverton Belle´s character was inspired by Kathreen Hepburn´s Jo March in the 1933 film version of Little Women. She made Belle into someone who loved reading, who was not a princess and who did not have any desire to become a princess or to get married. Belle was radically different to any of the previous Disney princesses and this caused grudge and suspicion among some of the movie producers and animators. In the first storyboards animators constantly drew Belle crying during her captivity. Woolverton did not accept this. Belle was not a quitter. She was at the time oldest of all Disney princesses, 20 years old (Elsa is currently oldest, being 21). In the beginning of the captivity Belle might have been shocked by the situation but she owned it and straight away started to familiarise herself with the new environment. When the animators gave up crying, Belle became a super-bitch and she was constantly fighting with the beast. It was not until Woolverton, Belle´s voice Paige O´Hara and the producer Don Hahn explained to everyone what kind of character Belle truly was movie was back on tracks.
When Glen Keane did sketches for the beast he combined several different animals, but the eyes of the beast remain the same throughout the whole movie was he in his beast of human form.
Beast in his human form and the inspiration, Michelangelo´s David.
Beauty and the beast was partly created with CAPS (Computer Animation Production System). Caps was a digital software that was created by Dsieny for Pixar. With the program it was possible to create more deeper and larger variety of colors and color effects to the characters. Ballroom secen was one of the first scenes in the history of animation where characters painted on animation cells are animated against a digital background. Originally the creators did not want to use computers at all but after the software became more advanced they decided to use it in the ballroom scene. Because of the success of the scene studio started to take more risks with the animation. This can be seen especially in the following Disney animation, Aladdin from 1993. Scene where Aladdin is on a magic carpet flight in the treasure chamber was made with the same advanced technique.
Most important ingredients of the animation are the characters. Figure of Belle was inspired by the Dega´s Balet Dancer paintings and her facial features came from Hollywood golden age actresses, Vivien Leigh and Audrey Hepburn. Belle´s animators were Mark Hehn and James Baxtor and Gaston was animated by Andreas Deja. Beast was animated by (now a Disney legend) Glen Keane. When Keane was shaping the character of the beast he used several different animals as an inspiration. Such as bears, bores, oxes and bisons. For the transformation scene in the end he studied sculptures from Greece ad Rome. Especially the works of Michelangelo. Human shaped prince has lots of similar features to Michelangelo´s David.
I have seen beauty and the beast countless times in Finnish but also in English and in French. I grew up with the Finnish version but I also liked English and French versions. I did not understood aything from the French version except of course words ”bonjour” and ”ma cherie” thanks to Lumiére but since the movie takes place in imaginery France I think French language fits well to the world of the film. I was actually bit puzzled when I saw the English version because in the Finnish version beast´s voice is always downgrated when he is in the form of the beast. This is not the case in the English version. I do love the voice of Paige O´Hara. She is nowdays an official Disney fine artist and paints a lot Beauty and the beast themed art. In the Finnish version wonderful opera-singer Mervi Hiltunen is the voice of Belle (she is also Finnish voice of Aurora and Alice). Lumiere is Esa Muje, Beast is Matti-Olavi Ranin and Esa Ruuttunen is Gaston. Ruuttunen is also an opera-singer with a wonderful bariton-voice. Definitely my favorite Gaston voice.
When Beauty and the beast appeared it broke all the animated-movie records. It was nominated in four different academy awards categories and it was the first (and only) animation ever to be nominated for the best picture award. This happened way before there was a category for animated movies. It was also nominated for the best sound, music and song. It won the best music and song awards. It was the first animation in the world to win a Golden Globe for the best movie/musical of the year.
List of awards and nominations
Academy AwardsMarch 30, 1992Best PictureDon HahnNominated
Best SoundTerry Porter, Mel Metcalfe, David J. Hudson& Doc Kane
Best Original ScoreAlan MenkenWon
Best Original SongAlan Menken & Howard Ashman for "Be Our Guest"Nominated
Alan Menken & Howard Ashman for "Beauty and the Beast"Won
Alan Menken & Howard Ashman for "Belle"Nominated
Chicago Film Critics AssociationFebruary 1992Best PictureNominated
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association1992Best Film3rd place
Best Animated FilmWon
Golden Globe AwardsJanuary 18, 1992Best Motion Picture – Musical or ComedyDon Hahn
Best Original Score – Motion PictureAlan Menken
Best Original Song – Motion PictureAlan Menken and Howard Ashman
For the song "Be Our Guest"Nominated
Alan Menken and Howard Ashman
For the song "Beauty and the Beast"Won
Grammy AwardsFebruary 18, 1993Album of the YearNominated
Record of the YearCeline Dion and Peabo Bryson
For the song "Beauty and the Beast"Nominated
Best Album for ChildrenWon
Best Pop Performance by a Group or Duo With VocalFor "Beauty and the Beast"
Song of the YearFor "Beauty and the Beast"Nominated
Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion PictureAlan MenkenWon
Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for TelevisionFor "Beauty and the Beast"
Best Pop Instrumental PerformanceFor "Beauty and the Beast"
Los Angeles Film Critics Association December 14, 1991Best Animated FilmGary Trousdale and Kirk Wise
Producers Guild of America March 4, 1992 Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures Don Hahn
Me and the beauty and the beast -inspired hair style (also works for Elsa and Elizabeth Swan)
Me and Beauty and the Beast
I could write a whole a book about this movie. I have seen it so many times. Often Disney fans like to categorize themselves. I am a Beaty and the Beast fanatic. I saw the film first time at the age of 5 and I watched it at least once a day after that. I was obsessed with it. I still watch it at least once a year.
Fun fact, some years ago I came across an article that listed favorite Disney films of different generations. For those born in the end of the 80´s, majority´s favorite is Beauty and the Beast. For those born in the beginning of the 90´s, it is the Lion King and for those born in the beginning of the 2000 that movie is Frozen. This list is easy to explain with the fact that these three films are the financially most successful Disney animations of all times. Especially when Lion King premiered it was marketed with intense never seen before.
When I first time saw Beauty and the beast I had an artistic awakening. It is all because of Glen Keane. The scene where the beast turns back into a man was for the young me so beautiful and amazing that I made a conscieus decision to become an artist when I grow up and create something as magnificent and moving (only the people who like my art know if this came true).
Many girls of my age (and probably some boys as well) identified themselves to the character of Belle. She is very easy to relate. She is an outsider in her village, a book worm who dreams about another kind of life. When I was a child Belle was my absolute favorite princess. I still think she is one of the most beautiful animated characters ever created. More I have matured the more I have started to like and appreciate the character of the beast because of his complexity. He is not a typical prince and he is not Flynn Rider/Robin Hood type of rogue/trickster hero. Beast is a beast. A conflicted, torn a part character who becomes a better person when Belle enters to his life. Not because they fall in love straight away (quite the opposite) but because his interactions with her force beast to look deep down inside himself. He becomes more brave and unselfish. Quoting the animator of Belle James Baxtor:
What makes Beauty and the beast a remarkable character-oriented film is that it is a story where the main characters become friends and actually get to know one another before they fall in love. It is not like Disney stories before that where girl and the boy fell in love during the first song.
Film has been sometimes criticised for the fact that the beast returns back to human in the end of the film. Does it change the message of the film that the beauty is also inner beauty? I admit I was a bit disappointed as a child when the beast turned into a prince. But nowadays I really like him as a human prince as well (especially when he has his hair loose). We know that Belle would love him was he a beast or not. Beauty and the beast is a story about two people. When the prince learns to put other people before him he becomes human again. Becoming a human is not a reward for Belle for accepting him as the way he is but it is a reward for the beast for sacrificing himself and deciding to be better. Message of the film that beauty comes in all shapes and forms is truly tale as old as time.
I recently added some binders on sale to my Zazzle store. Those of you who enjoy my articles, art and stories you can support me by buying my merch <3 Always greatly appreciated.
Video done for youtube pagan challenge. Topic is grimoires and correspondenses. Enjoy )O(
I´ve added some new binders to my Zazzle store. I especially love this one with Mielikki. If someone did not already know she is my favorite goddess in Finnish mythology )O(
Pagan Roots of Christmas Tree
Throughout history people in the northern hemisphere celebrated Winter solstice between December 21st and 22nd. They decorated their homes, particularly doors and windows with ever-green tree branches to please their gods. In many cultures it was believed that sun itself was a good who got weak and sick during the long winter and returned in the spring more stronger each day. Winter solstice was believed to be time when sun returned to it´s strength. Evergreen plants served as a reminder that soon sun would return and all life would flourish again.
One of the earliest records about winter solstice celebration comes from ancient Egypt where people worshiped sun god Ra, who had a head of a hawk and sun as his crown. During winter solstice when Ra would recover from his illness ancient Egyptians decorated their homes with palm rushes which for them symbolized life defeating death.
Saturnalia was one of the biggest festival celebrated in ancient Rome between 17th and 25th of December. Saturnalia was celebrated to honor Saturn the god of agriculture. To honor the god and the fact that soon farms and fields would be green and fruitful they decorated their homes with green branches. During Saturnalia no one could be prosecuted for breaking the law, killing, raping or injuring others. Lot of people took advantage of this time of lawlessness but Saturnalia was also time to remember others by giving them small gifts.
In the early days of Christian church, birth of Jesus was set to be the last day of Saturnalia. This was an attempt created by the early Roman Christians to convert pagans into Christianity. There are many suggestions made when Jesus was really born (they vary from Easter to Summer Solstice) majority of the modern day church history scholars and researchers agree that Jesus was not born near Winter Solstice and not even in December.
Among (at least in) Germanic, Celtic and Slavic pagan cultures there was a habit to decorate homes with ever-green branches around winter solstice. Many times green branches were used as the symbol of the world-tree. World-tree is an early shamanic concept. Belief for that world was made of several different layers and those layers were hold together by the world tree. Number of layers varied between 3 to 17 depending on the belief system. In northern hemisphere branches from ever-green trees also symbolized rebirth of nature and everlasting life bringing hope for people about the coming spring.
In Germanic Yule celebration a conifer tree was most popular because the trunk was used for making the Yule log. Spruce trees especially were also connected to several highly respected forest deities and spirits. Pine cones and sprigs were used to decorate homes.
Around the area of Baltic sea people widely worshiped trees. In Finland people had custom to bring sacrificial gifts under the spirit tree during winter solstice.
Christmas Tree and Reformation
Catholic church did not approve pagan custom to bring tree branches inside. Protestant church approved the custom and tree branches were seen as symbol of wealth. When in Catholic traditions native scenes were the official symbols of Christmas, Christmas tree became the official holiday symbol for the protestants. According to Christian mythology an angel appeared to the shepherds and told about the birth of Jesus. This is why in Christian tradition there is either angel or a star in the top of the Christmas tree. Sometimes Christmas tree is told to symbolize the tree of paradise and Christmas balls represent forbidden fruits.
In 16th century Christmas trees received more and more popularity and even the most puritan clergymen had to face that fact that the custom was here to stay. According to the legend German priest Martin Luther who became the founder of Lutheran church was on his way home to Wittenberg one winter night and he saw a beautiful spruce tree and a star shining bright above it. He was so touched by what he saw that he took one of the trees inside his home and put candles to the tree branches. Story was spread across his congregation and later on after reformation soon all protestant countries in Central Europe had their own Christmas tree tradition. Tradition spread into United States in 18th century together with German soldiers.
Christmas tree tradition arrived to Scandinavian countries in 19th century. First mention of a Christmas tree in Finland is from 1829. A baron from Helsinki bought eight Christmas trees to decorate his home with. First people who adopted the Christmas tree tradition were clergy men and noble men. It was not until the 20th century when Christmas tree tradition spread to all Finnish homes.
Decorating The Christmas Tree
Decorating Christmas trees started in Middle Ages. Baltic countries Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia (together with Scandinavian countries) were last countries in Europe that were converted into Christianity. In Baltic countries merchants traditionally decorated tree branches for the winter solstice celebration. In 16th century in Germany and in Switzerland the handcraft-er guilds decorated twigs with sweets and they were given as gifts for other guilds. Early Christmas tree decorations were all eatable like apples, nuts and sweets. Now days majority of the Christmas ornaments are made of plastic and the topics vary great deal. Most common ones are different kinds of Christmas balls, stars, angels and elves.
Before Christmas trees became official symbol of Christmas it was a custom that was only available for the richest families. Some people might even had more than one tree. Many times Christmas tree was an exotic decoration. Sometimes people even had competitions with their neighbors on who´s tree was the most handsome. Wealthy families might even had Christmas tree in every room. Tiny trees were placed on shelf's or hanged into the ceiling. Big tree was placed into the living room and it was also a status symbol. More handsome tree the wealthier owner. When custom spread into the homes of the Middle class their trees were usually small and placed into the middle of the table. When demand for the Christmas trees grew the size of the trees grew as well.
Christmas trees did not please all people. There was political and religious groups who banned Christmas trees and were convinced that they were an attempt to destroy people´s moralities. Trees were not always considered safe. Some of the arguments were accurate such as decorating trees with actual candles which might lead into fires. Electric lights became more popular in Christmas trees in 19th century. World´s first Christmas tree with electric lights was on display in New York in 1882.
Real Tree Or Plastic Tree?
There are special Christmas tree farms where quality Christmas trees are being grown. If you happen to own some forest you can easily get tree from your own land. We are living times of environmental awareness and more families have Christmas tree made of plastic that can be used year after year. Unfortunately plastic Christmas tree does not have the scent of an actual spruce tree. One great tip to get that real scent is to ask Christmas tree seller if you could take some of the branches with you and they usually give branches away for free. Last year I placed bunch of branches into a bucket filled with water and decorated them with Christmas lights and red and golden balls. After holidays you can burn branches or you can throw them into bio-recycling.
Christmas tree decorations vary in different cultures. In many English speaking countries people like flashing colorful lights. I try to spent all my Christmas holidays in Finland with my family. There December-January is the darkest time of the year maybe that explains why in Scandinavian countries people prefer bright lights over colored ones.
For people living in the cities Christmas tree can be a symbol of the forest and remind from the nature connection. Christmas tree has both pagan and Christian origins. Then again Christmas as a holiday is a mixture of different customs and beliefs. I come from very non-religious family and for us Christmas mostly means good food and hanging out with friends and family. Our Christmas tree is filled with Disney and Moomin ornaments and decorations bought around Europe. Christmas tree can tell a lot about the personalities of those who decorate it.
My love for tv crime dramas with paranormal twists started at the tender age of 10 when I saw my first episode of the X Files. Considering the fact that the episode was about a Flukeman who was half human and half-worm I´d say my love for the X Files had as much to do with creepy monsters as with the chemistry between David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. Eight years later another crime drama with similar concept came into my life. This time it was about a female doctor who had difficulties to bond with people and extremely handsome FBI agent who had a silent way to fight against the FBI protocol. Usually this rebellion was manifested by this agent wearing colored socks and a belt that said ”cocky.
Now am I just someone who has natural affection for FBI agents who behave like married couples without not being married. Is it the monsters? Witches in closets? Mummies on electric fences? Weird scientific experiences? Alien babies? Or maybe it is my never-ending crush on Alex Krycek.
On the first glance The X Files is dark, film-noir, very secretive and in many ways sexy without trying. Bones is clever, action-filled, it has lots of humor, lots of drama and variety of interesting characters which all could pull spin off of their own. X Files and Bones are like close twins but the other one only likes to come out at nights. Not to mention both shows are some of the most successful crime dramas in tv history. Time to share some light to the secret formula.
"I have never met anyone so passionate and dedicated to a belief as you. It´s so intense that sometimes it´s blinding!" - Scully
Guy or a Girl Thing?
The X Files was created in 1992 by Chris Carter. When Carter was creating characters of Scully and Mulder he wanted to switch the traditional gender roles upside down. Character of Mulder became the believer. An attribute that in most western cultures is considered to be a female quality. Character of Dana Scully MD became the skeptic who´s work was to debunk agent Mulder´s theories which were too off-limits with the government policies. In the earlier seasons of the X-FILES Mulder was not sure whether to trust Scully and who´s side she was on. Scully however proved to be worth of his trust and two bonded in such level that it left it´s marks to several generations of fans of the show all over the world.
For so much of my life my intelligence was all I had. I may not have had a family but I understood things that nobody else could. My brain, the way I think. Is who I am. Who I was – Brennan
Bones was created by Hart Hanson. Hanson had very similar idea for his characters and he also swapped the gender roles. Hanson´s characters were like night and day. Temperance ”Bones” Brennan a brilliant scientist and an anthropologist. Seeley Booth FBI agent with Catholic upbringing and amazing talent to read people. In the beginning of Bones Booth and Brennan are like oil and water looking for a common ground but season by season their relationship deepened from partnership to friendship and eventually to love. Many of the creators of Bones, Hart Hanson included, were also big fans of the X Files.
I don´t know any real life FBI agents so I can not confirm my theory that agents:
1. Automatically give each others nicknames
2. Always call each others by their last names. Even when they are having babies and living together.
Fox Mulder has the most realistic reason to ask everyone (including his parents) to call him Mulder (let´s face it David Duchovny will always be a fox). During the 11 seasons of the X Files Mulder calls Scully Dana once and this happens during supervised circumstances. When Mulder calls Scully by her last name for them it is one more way of saying that she is his equal in every way, his partner and his touchstone. She would not have it any other way. For the rest of the world Dana Scully is either Agent Scully or Dana Scully, Medical Doctor. But for Mulder she is Scully. His partner and love of his life.
Don´t Call Me "Bones"
If you have watched the first season of Bones at least five times in your life (welcome to the club) you will notice that quite soon after Seeley Booth is partned with Dr. Brennan our heroine is extremely annoyed by the fact that Booth gives her a destinctive nickname Bones. By the time we get into the second season she has become less annoyed and he does not mind her calling him Booth.
Did you know that it was very close that Gillian Anderson didn´t get the role of Scully? Originally producers of the show wanted a curvy tall blonde to play agent Scully but creators of the show insisted that Anderson should get the part. Considering the fact that at the time such sexualized shows like Baywatch were popular the producers were´t confident at all that the show would succeed. How wrong they were! Both Scully and Mulder became pop culture icons. Scully wore power suits, cheap high heels and she was way shorter than her partner (Gillian Anderson is 5,3 in shoes) and her red-hair became as important element of the show as Mark Snow´s whistling theme music.
Scully was highly educated, medical doctor with undergraduate degree in physics. Personal traits of Scully were equally as impressive. She was smart, intelligent, beautiful, loyal and above all courage. X Files never brought as one-dimentional characters. Dana Scully was always a badass but she never was a bitch. Popularity of the character started so called Scully effect. Dana Scully has inspired thousands and thousands of women to pursue careers in science and medicine.
”It was a surprise to me. We got a lot of letters all the time, and I was told quite frequently by girls who were going into medical world or the science world or the FBI world or other worlds that I reigend, that they were pursuing those pursuits because of the character of Scully. And I sayed ”yay!” - Gillian Anderson
Bones and New Generation Of Scientist
What it comes to Bones for some of the viewers long-run series was way more than entertainment. It showed future possibilities in the world of science, anthropology and other STEM careers. Emily Deschanel who played the part of Temperance Brennan in Bones stated that she loved being continuence to the Scully effect. Bones had rich cavalcade of female characters and each one of them has been part of the Scully effect. Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin) artist and Camille Saroyan (Tamara Taylor). Show portrayed three diverse female scientists. Something that had not been shown in tv-before. All of them were smart, beautiful and independent.
”There is nothing that makes me more proud of doing the show than meeting or hearing about young girls..who wanted to go into science because of my character or other characters on the show. That makes it all worth it to me” - Emily Deschanel
The Crazy Scientist
I met T.J.Thynes last year at Welsh Comic Con. I had prepared a speech in my head but when I met him I went all jell-o and forgot everything I was going to say. He was very sweet and complimented my Snow White outfit. But that´s the way they are. Every single person who has met any actors from Bones say that they are the sweetest people. Bones was a very well-written show with huge variety of interesting character. Jack Hodgins (T.J.Thynes) was one of the most memorable ones. In the beginning Hodgins was a crazy scientist with anger problems. His character changed and developed a lot during the series. He became more caring and considered. Relationship with Angela was not always easy but a definite fan-favorite and who could forget all those king-of-the -lab moments and Doc-Brown-type of enthusiasm!
Angela Montenegro was somewhat a free-spirited artist and best friend of Bones was just what we needed to understand the character of Temperance who was more reserved.
What about Sweets? My favorite baby-duck psychologist who knew that Booth and Bones belonged together way before they realized that themselves (he even wrote a book about it). I still can not watch end of the season 9 without crying. Bones was filled with wonderful characters from federal prosecutor Caroline to all apprentice squints.
The Lone Gunmen
Mulder was always the outcast of the FBI. He was forced to work in the basement and was called as Spooky Mulder by his peers. During his search for the truth Mulder became friends with the Lone Gunmen. Richard ”Ringo” Langly, Melvin Frohike and John Fitzgerald Byers. Lone Gunmen were government watchdogs, computer hackers and above all conspiracy theorists. Often X FILES was a dark show that handled difficult sometimes painful themes and the lone Gunmen brought needed humor to the show. Killing them in the season 9 caused outrage among the fans. But was it the end? Ringo made a comeback in the season 11 episode ”this”. During the whole series Mulder and Scully are both driven by their personal agendas. Mulder´s agenda was to find out the truth and for that he needed help from his friends who also provided deeper insight to his character.
Cases With Paranormal Twists
X Files took us into dark paths from government conspiracies to alien abduction s and chilling monster of the week episodes. I used to love all the MOTW episodes. They were my highlights of the month. Some of the monsters became almost as popular as the leading characters.. Do you remember Flukeman? Creature that was a product of radioactive waste from Chernobyl or Eugene Tooms? Man who ate liver and hibernated in a nest. He had ability to stretch his limbs so that he could crawl inside apartments through window cracks. After seeing Mama Peacock I was very glad that nothing could fit under my bed.
Let´s just wait until he puts down that big chainsaw until we accuse her of murder -Booth
Brennan and Booth Catch Serial Killers
What I always loved about Bones was all the clever ways squints managed to solve murder cases. This is probably the biggest difference between Bones and the X Files. When the X Files was a show where many of the questions were left open and unanswered, in Bones finding the answers is the key. There were some terrifying serial killers in Bones. Everything about the Grave Digger was just creepy. In one of the most memorable episodes Heather Taffet almost got Brennan and Hodgins buried alive. Howard Epps was scary to extremes and so was the headless witch in the woods! Thank goodness we have Booth and Bones solving cases and making the world better and safer place to live.
It seems to me that the best relationships, the ones that last, are frequently the ones that are rooted in friendship. You know. One day you look at the person and you see something more you did the night before. Like a switch has been flicked somewhere. And the person who was just a friend is suddenly the only person you can ever imagine yourself with -Scully
"Maybe We Believe To The Same Thing"
Now days term shipping is widely used to describe a TV-couple that we wish to end up together and live happily ever after. Term shipping was created by the X Files fandom already in 1993 to describe viewers who wanted to see a romantic relationship between Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. They were refereed as ”shippers” or as ”relation-shippers”. Therefore X Files is the mother ship of all shipping. SMR (Scully Mulder Romance) is one of the main reasons for the long lasting popularity of the show. All shippers have their own opinions on these things but I personally believe that it was Scully who first fell in love with Mulder. At the same time she knew that he was a man in a mission and therefore a difficult man to love. That is why it took (literally) ages for them to get together.
"I can be a duck"
Romance between Booth and Brennan and chemistry between Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz was one of the reasons for the huge popularity of Bones. During the first 6 seasons these two were dating everyone else except each others. Why? Because they were afraid that it was going to ruin their friendship and their partnership (I bet Scully and Mulder had similar problems). It was not until Bones realized that Booth was falling in love to somebody else she confronted her true feelings. Which was followed by a baby, beautiful weddings and another baby.
Will we get another show that is even remotely as good as the X Files or as clever as Bones? Who knows. Bones ended in 2017. Last episode of the season 11 of the X Files is in fact approaching while I am writing this. Shows are shown as reruns, they can be found from streaming services and if I remember right when the X Files was aired it was showed over in 150 countries. These two shows have had huge impact on my life and lives of millions of others.
Pronounced as Nee-na.
Artist, illustrator, writer, watercolorist and a folklorist. Gryffinclaw. Comes from Finland. Likes cats, tea and period dramas.
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