“So I watched the way anyone familiar with The Merchant of Venice, its antecedents, or its thousand heirs might watch: a little tiredly, but hopeful that this particular version of the story would take some interesting detours en route to its fated end. The perfect man would of course suddenly appear. Something would be wrong with him. He might be low-class (Aladdin, Robin Hood), he might be a gruff and unpleasant bachelor consumed with self-hatred (Jane Eyre, Beauty and the Beast), or he might seem at first too proud, too stiff, too unwilling to accommodate the heroine’s spontaneity and wit (Pride and Prejudice). But he was coming. Everyone in the audience feels it. Even as the camera stops on each of the three clan leaders and their unappealing sons, we were all trying to spot the real hero. Once he showed up, he’d take over most of the story.”
“If everyone is brave, why are we making a big deal of it? Its sheer abundance makes us stumble over our own expectations of what bravery is supposed to do. Bravery is good! is our default position. We need more of that for our girls! But too much bravery sucks, it turns out: it costs people legs. It turns political summits for nascent kingdoms into childish free-for-alls. And for our hero, Merida, courage doesn’t achieve the victories we expect fictional bravery to produce.”
This essay is amazing!