In Sleeping Beauty (the Disney versions, at least), a princess is caught up in a conflict between two fey forces: 1. Good fairies, who lavish blessings on the newborn princess, and then raise her in protective secrecy from 2. The bad fairy queen, who is bent on her destruction. (I became quite conversant in this tale six or seven years ago, when my daughter was a preschooler and Disney princess tales were a staple of the bedtime story.)

Little motive is given to either of these fairy forces. The good ones are Good. The bad one is Bad. That’s apparently enough, as far as preschool concerns go.

But beyond the good-bad issue, there’s a broader question of motive: Why the hell do any of these fey folk care one whit about this earthly princess? Why are they involved in the kingdom’s affairs at all? What’s their angle?

Maybe Disney’s new movie will shed some light onto these questions:

I think that would be pretty cool, because if ever there was a fairy tale that implies something much bigger (and perhaps more sinister) going on in the backstory than occurs in the plotline itself, Sleeping Beauty is that tale. In fact, ever since those bedside storytimes (those many, many bedside storytimes—preschoolers have a high tolerance for repeat listening), I’ve often imagined running a game set against that backstory. What’s going on in the fey underworld that makes this kingdom—this royal family—this particular person—so important? What other storylines might play out against this conflict?

Too busy with other games (or other things in general) to chase this idea, it’s lain fallow. But that trailer has me thinking again. And mulling over what system would be just right for this. Hmm . . . I’m not married to Disney’s vision, but maybe there’s something to their vaguely-late-enlightenment-period setting. Castle Falkenstein, perhaps? What do you think?

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