Versus: Rapunzel Edition

In this edition of Versus I thought it would be fun to talk about some of the similarities and differences of Rapunzel and the fairy tale in all the books I read for Project: Fairy Tale. This will be spoiler-y for all the books.


Selfishness is what starts off pretty all the stories. Rapunzel’s birth mother craves rapunzel desperately.  That craving causes the father to steal from the witch (instead of asking for the rapunzel or buying it from her). The witch catches him and to keep from being punished he gives Rapunzel to the witch. The mother selfishly craves something that’s unobtainable and essentially whines about it until she gets what she wants. Selfish? You betcha. The father gives away his newborn daughter to keep getting the rapunzel his wife want/keep from being punished. That’s selfish.

Rapunzel Untangled changes things up by the witch being the selfish one. Her only concern is her daughter so she kidnaps a baby to raise and have save her daughter. Obviously she went about the situation completely wrong but then again she is a witch. Golden‘s witch does the same thing.


I thought it was interesting that selflessness appeared in several of the Rapunzel books I read. Into the Wild features Rapunzel as a hero. All fairy tales take place in the Wild. They’re stuck there to play out the stories over and over again. Over time the characters become aware of what’s going on but are unable to break the curse. Rapunzel is the one to start and lead the “rebellion” that breaks the characters out. She is willing to do whatever it takes to get herself and her friends out. In the end, she ends up leaving her prince behind in an effort to get everyone out.

Golden‘s Rapunzel is selfless as well. She goes her whole life believing the Witch is her mother. She finds out that she isn’t and that the witch raised her to save her daughter, Rue. Rapunzel isn’t forced to save Rue but she decides to try anyway. Most of us wouldn’t want to have anything to do with someone who has lied to us for our entire life but Rapunzel chose to still help her out.


Unfortunately instalove is an element in all of the Rapunzel stories since the story hinges on the girl being stuck in a tower. Zel‘s prince meets her only once but he’s smitten with her. Their instalove is mellowed out by the fact that he does love her and spends the next 2 years searching for her rather than marrying someone his parents want him to marry.

Rapunzel Untanged‘s love is a bit more true to life. Rapunzel does unknowingly flirt with Fane online (and later in person) but I don’t think it is love per se. More like….instalike. It’s obviously that they both like each other but I don’t think their entire world rests upon the other one. They’re concerned about each other but not in a super creepy way.

Golden’s love is an interesting twist. We have Prince Alexander who falls for Rapunzel. Rapunzel doesn’t fall for him. They have some nice playful banter. They could eventually learn to love each other. Instead she “gives” him to Rue so Rue can break the curse. Rapunzel ends up with the boy she’s known most of her life. The one who cared about her even though she was bald. No instalove here. Just real love.

Have you noticed any reoccurring themes in Rapunzel re-tellings?

Check out more fairy tale posts here:

Project Fairy Tale

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