Fairy tales, those bright cheerful stories of our childhood upon which Walt Disney built an empire, once you get below the gloss tend to be on the dark side. But then, most fairy tales started out as folk tales, and fold tales have always been dark. Stories told around the fire on those long winters nights. Storytelling is a dark profession by its very nature for so much of its subject matter is darkness. What lays beyond that ring of fire light. What moves in the forest. What awaits you in the depths of inky pool.
Why do storytellers tell tales of the darkness? Well that is simple enough to understand, because the darkness is the unknown and humanity has ever been fascinated by the unknown and the unknowable. Fascinated and afraid, it makes the blood quicken, and the only thing better than explaining what lays in the darkness, is not. So storytellers back from those days around the campfires, to the first writings, to novels and movies have always dwelt a little in the darkness because they know there audience. Its the dark stories that people crave. But there are two sides to that coin….
“It was the possibility of darkness that made the day seem so bright.”
― Stephen King, Wolves of the Calla
Darkness can only exist as a concept because of light. If there is never any light, if all there is is the darkness, if there is no campfire to huddle around, then the dark is no longer the unknown, it is everything.
What i am saying here is not that endings need to be happy, or good needs to defeat evil in the end. God forbid that all stories ended happily. Sometimes the big bad wolf needs to eat little red. Sometimes the wood-cutter never comes. And sometimes even when the darkness is pushed back by the light and the hero wins out, its is just a respite, an the darkness still lurks, because the storyteller needs the darkness as much as his audience does. The darkness left hanging, the threat remains…
However, all that said,
Something very much on my mind this afternoon. I’m wondering is 2020 is paying attention…