Freaky Fairytales: Mythical Violence in Brave

‘Brave’ was inspired by folklore from Danish and German authors of Fairytales that depicted mythological violence and the book ‘Brave Margaret’.

Adaptations Book Culture Classics Fandom Fantasy Pop Culture TV & Movies

In our next segment of Freaky Fairytales, the movie Brave was inspired by the original fairytales by Danish author Hans Christian Anderson and Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the German brothers (Brother Grimm). These authors are Danish writers from the 1800s. The specific tales were written in 1812.

The first director of Brave was Brenda Chapman, who had all those inspirations.

Acts of Violence


The movie Brave takes place in 10th century Scotland.

Many of the tales in the Brother Grimm’s stories did have men who turned into bears by witches. However, in these tales it gave off a beauty and the beast scenario. The protagonist was a woman who would look past the looks of these bear ‘men’ and turn them back into men.

Many of these tales from Anderson and Brother Grimm were celtic folklore, where witches would receive very brutal painful deaths.

Brave focuses on Merida and the mother/daughter relationship. Merida’s goal is to be adventurous, and not give away her hand in marriage. This motivates her to consult with a witch, resulting in the mother’s appearance as a bear.


In the original celtic folklore tales, wisps were present. The wisps are represented in Brave, as spirits of the land to guide toward life. However, the wisps in the original Brother Grimm tales are seen as unhappy spirits in limbo that cause mayhem and chaos towards the living.

Inspirational Book


Other than the Danish and German fairytales and folklore, the book Brave Margaret by San Souci and Sally Wern Comport was an additional inspiration behind the storyline of Brave. This novel is a retelling of 19th century Gaelic Folklore.

The story is about Margaret, who is very brave and craves adventure. When a ship appears in harbor and is headed to the Kingdom of the Cold, she gets on. During her quest she battles sea monsters in blood. During her adventure she must find an old woman with strange powers (witch); that way she will be able to bring her, and her lover, home.

If you want more Freaky Fairytales click here!