Selkies are one of my favorite mythical/supernatural creatures, no doubt related to the melancholy nature of the legends told about them. Look, if it’s not absurdly bloody, heart-crushingly sad, or at least suitably bittersweet, it’s no good. And the various selkie legends have got those criteria covered.
I hate to knock the less showy forms of strength and bravery–of course there is bravery in patience and endurance in the face of hardship.
But it gets damned depressing to read about that brand of bravery. You start to want the heroine to do something. To draw blood, to speak up, to take the initiative, to take something for herself.
You start to wonder:
Where are the Badass Women?
It may not be the best-known of fairy tales, but “The Wild Swans” and related stories are among my favorites.In this particular set of tales, we see brothers who are turned into birds, whether by a parent’s foolish wish or a witch or fairy’s curse, and their younger sister’s quest to break the enchantment.[…]