Okapina in Norway

I’m a thirty-something woman with a lot of time on her hands (time being inversely proportionate to money) and a big fan of nostalgia, specifically animated films.

I live in Oxfordshire, England and I have an MA in French and Italian translation. I’m now studying a Diploma in Copywriting (i.e. how to write stuff for the web), hence the recent change in blog title from “Disney – the Dettol of Storytelling?” (which about three people got) to “Disneyfied, or Disney tried?” (which about five people will get. Baby steps, eh?). Hopefully my posts now seem exciting by comparison. In any case, thanks for visiting!

69 thoughts on “About

  1. okapina, i’m can’t wait for Pinocchio, Cinderella, alice in wonderland, peter pan, and more in your blog

    • Hi Ariella,

      That’s very sweet of you, thanks for your comment (and reminder!). More posts are on the way, apologies – I have to navigate such horrors as moving house and other monsters, so I’m a bit behind. Thanks for checking though!

  2. I realized reading your critique of “Hunchback” that if Esmerelda was stolen by the gypsies from an ethnic Frenchwoman, there is no reason why she would’ve looked Egyptian….unless the gypsies only stole babies who they thought could pass. Frankly, I think Hugo led us astray.

    • Hi Kelly,

      This never occurred to me until your comment. I went to check the novel and I couldn’t find anything to suggest that the “recluse” was dark-skinned herself; there is a reference to Esmeralda’s skin being “as pale as the moonlight” at one point, but that was during a scene at night when she looked particularly beautiful/scared, so I’m not sure that counts either. Nice spot!

  3. Hi Okapina,

    I’m currently writing about the changing representation of the Female protagonist in the Disney Princess line films and I stumbled upon your blog. I would like to cite your blog about Mulan but as mentioned before there is no definite information about your blog. If you’re okay with it could you email me your details etc as well?

    with kind regards


    • Hi William,

      Thanks for your comment. Your project sounds very interesting, especially now we have characters like Elsa and Anna in the mix. I’ll pop you a quick email with the reference details. Good luck!

    • Hi OKAPINA,

      I am a middle school student and I am doing an NHD project with a partner right now. NHD stands for National History Day, and it is a national project were students pick a topic, do a project, and go to competition with it. Each year there is a new theme and this year it is Leadership and Legacy. My partner and I have chosen to make a documentary about Hans Christian Andersen. We are trying to prove that he does not receive enough credit for his changed fairy tales and that they should not be changed because that disrespects his memory.

      Your blog posts about The Little Mermaid and The Snow Queen helped us a lot (especially the pictures). We were wondering if we could email you a few questions because you seem very educated about our topic.

      Sincerely, Katie and A.J.

      (Also, I love your title, “Disneyfied, or Disney Tried?”)

      • Hi Katie and A.J.

        Thanks a lot for your comment and very kind feedback.

        Your project sounds extremely interesting. I wouldn’t call myself an expert (I just read a few books!) but I’d be happy to help if I can. I’ll pop you an email separately and then you can send me the details.

  4. Hi Okapina, may I know your full name and the date of when this post was put up, I would like to cite your work but there appears to be no definite information as to when it is written. If that’s okay with you that is.. (disclosing your info and all)

    P/s: I think your writing is impeccable. The last time I laughed this hard in front of a computer screen was from watching a cat getting its head stuck in a yogurt container. My point is, I love your writing. The humourous touch on academic-level comparison is just wow

    Regards, Arif..

    • Hi Arif,

      Wow, thank you for your wonderful comment, although I’m not convinced my writing’s funnier than a cat stuck in a yoghurt pot – that’s comedy gold! You’re very kind and it’s always nice to hear people have enjoyed what I have written. Let’s hope it continues!

      If you mean the “About” post, I published it on 6th November 2011. Otherwise, the published date should be at the end of each post, under the “related articles” carousel and above the keywords. I’ll email you my details separately if that’s okay?

      Thanks again!

  5. Since you made more than one blog about Disney stuff, I have a suggestion for you: how would you like to take part in one, more, or all of the creations that I’d like to make for Disney?

    • Hi again Mysterious One,

      That sounds very intriguing (goes with your name I suppose!). Are you involved with Disney at all, or writing a script for them? I’m not sure how much help I could be, but I have done a spot of proofreading in my job so I’d be happy to take a look if you needed an extra pair of eyes. Animation/art-wise I’m hopeless so I could only really offer written input. In any case, that sounds like great fun and my fingers are crossed for you!

  6. Your Disney vs Original writings are totally awesome! Really interesting to read. You should do one for the movie Anastasia too. That’s my favorite. πŸ˜›

    • Hi Natasha,

      Thanks for your lovely comment! I’ve had a few requests for non-Disney animated comparisons, so it may be something I look at in future. You can’t fault Don Bluth’s animation in Anastasia, so I’m not surprised!

      Take care,

    • Hi Brittany, wow thanks for the nomination! I’m afraid I’ve already been nominated, but I’ll give your blog a shout out in one of my future posts if that’s okay. Thanks again!

  7. Hello! I very much enjoyed your Mulan article! It was very interesting and detailed. I’m doing a research paper on Disney films and why they aren’t good (I decided to challenge myself due to my belief that I absolutely LOVE Disney and go against this), focusing particularly on Pocahontas & Mulan. I searched your blog for credibility/information about yourself, but I would like to see if you can give me some information to cite you properly for my bibliography? Just your name! If you have it here somewhere, I must of missed it, but your information you’ve gathered would be incredibly useful!

    • Hi Claudia,

      Sounds like you’re going over to the dark side, ha ha! You’re right though, it is worth looking at the films objectively especially when they’re based on real people or established legends. Glad they were helpful! I have a page on About Me here if you need more info for your bibliography. Thanks for your comment, and let me know if you need anything else!

  8. You have such an amazing blog here. I hope you definitely will continue to find the time to keep it maintained. As a history major at Washington State University, I have pondered a bit on my life after college – or in other words, what the heck I’m going to do with a degree in History. I’m currently an undergrad, but I have thought about maybe one day teaching a college history course by Disney. It’s bittersweet to see my course material in your blog. I love it actually, but it means that I’m not the first to think of the idea. lol. Excellent work. I love your blog and I will be visiting to frequently to brush up on my my skewed Disney history. πŸ™‚

    btw, have you thought about maybe telling about London England through Mary Poppins? or how about Peter Pan vs the Original, or Sword in the Stone vs the Arthurian Legend? Also I’m curious, but what could you come up with for The Black Cauldron?

    • Hi Jacob,

      Thanks for your comment and lovely feedback πŸ™‚ Take heart, I wasn’t the first either, there are plenty of other blogs about that touch on the original stories for Disney, and if your course is good then it wouldn’t matter anyway!

      I’m primarily interested in the animated films as those are the ones with the biggest nostalgia kick for me. Sword in the Stone is definitely on the list, as is The Black Cauldron, although I hear that’s based on a beast of a book (or three!!) so might take me a while. I may reserve judgement on the live action ones but we’ll see.

      Thanks again for commenting, and let me know if you have any questions I could help with.

  9. hi, there! I only wanted to say that I like very much your blog, especially because you do real research to prove what you’re saying. Are there any chances you do Merida’s story? (from Brave) It’s my favourite story because it’s the less disneyesque (I mean, typical-white-nice-and-passive-princess-with-a-bad-mother-and-a-nice-prince) (and that’s why Frozen dissapointed me so much…)

    • Hi Alice,

      Thanks very much! Unfortunately Brave isn’t based on any story in particular, so I’ll have to leave that off my list I’m afraid. I know what you mean; it’s the reason I like Mulan and The Lion King because they have some darker elements and different characters. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. hey! I absolutely love your blog and can not believe how helpful it was! I am a college freshman and used it write a paper for my world mythology class. The topic could be our choice as long as it relates to mythology, so I chose Disney, naturally. Your blog made the whole “Disney vs. the Myth” transition SO much easier! haha thank you!!

    The only bad thing I gained from this was the harsh reality of the little mermaid (my absolute favorite movie). I mean my life has no meaning now but you know…..no big deal….

    its actually a HUGE deal just saying lol

    keep up the great work!

    • Hi Sarah,

      Thanks! I wish I had thought of doing that at university! Ha ha yeah sometimes it’s a bit of a shock reading the original when you’ve grown up with the Disney version. Luckily for me I already knew the original story when I watched The Little Mermaid, but Pocahontas and The Fox and the Hound traumatised me for a while, I have to say. Take care!

  11. Hi I am doing a degree in photography and my project is on fairytales and how they have changed over the years, and how they effect children. I am looking at the originals and comparing them to disney versions and doing a final piece using news clips and putting them together to work as though they were talking about a fairytale (either cinderella or snow white) I can’t decide. I’d love to have a chat with you about some stuff as you are clearly the fountain of all knowledge!
    Alice x

    • Hi Alice,

      That sounds like a very cool project. How much time do you have to finish it? I haven’t got to Snow White or Cinderella yet but they’re on their way. Hmm not sure I’m a fountain of all knowledge, maybe just a spout of occasional insight but would be happy to discuss this with you πŸ™‚ Thanks for your comment!

  12. I’m sooo glad I found your brilliant blog! I especially loved your ‘Beauty and the Beast vs La Belle et la Bete’ comparison. That one really did gave me tears of laughter! Your “jumping the shark” comment just about killed me. But your other posts are excellent of course : )

    Have you watched the TV show ‘Once Upon a Time’ by any chance? I’m not necessarily saying that you should review it but I think you would find it very interesting because the fairy tales that it depicts are basically the Disney versions that we’ve grown up with. Some people have a problem with that but not me, hey I like Disney. There’s another TV show that deals with fairytales as well, ‘Grimm’. I haven’t watched that one yet but I’ve heard mixed things.

    • Hi Hannah,

      Thanks for the stellar feedback, it’s always appreciated! Yes I nearly forgot I wrote that one, it’s been a couple of years now but glad you enjoyed it.

      Nope, the Once Upon a Time series is new to me…is it in the U.K. or just in the U.S. (or wherever you are commenting from? :P) I may have a look, ditto Grimm, food for thought certainly! Thanks again!

      • And thank you! OUaT is an American show. In the UK, Season 1 is available to buy now and Season 2 has just finished airing on Channel 5 and is available on pre-order. Season 3 is going to be shown on US TV very soon (they get it so much sooner than we do that it’s very annoying!) They’re also doing a spin-off show called ‘Once Upon a Time in Wonderland’.

      • Ah cool, thanks Hannah, I may check those out. I’m out of the loop with TV these days so it’s good to catch up!

  13. I love your blog! It’s really interesting to see the Disney stories in comparison to the original texts. I was wondering if you were planning a comparison of Cinderella with the original. It’s just a suggestion, but it would rock πŸ™‚
    Again, love your blog! Keep up the awesome work!

    • Thanks Luca! πŸ™‚ Yes sometimes it’s mind-blowing how different they can be. Cinderella is certainly on my list, as well as Snow White, so I will get to them at some point. Thanks for commenting!

  14. what about other films like swan princess, the prince of egypt, quest for camelot, anastasia,? i know they are not disney but are changed from the original stories what about them? please tell how the non disney films changed from the original stories they based on

    • Hi Ariela,

      Thanks for your comment. This blog is for Disney films only, but I may think about other animated adaptations in the future; there are some other ones that are of interest to me too like Spirit:Stallion of the Cimarron. Perhaps I will set up another blog for this later on. Thanks for your suggestion!

  15. I’m a stay-at-home mom who long ago was an English major, and reading through your blog was one of the most engaging and enjoyable intellectual experiences I have had in a long time. I’m now thinking of re-reading Bambi: A Life in the Woods. Thank you for the great writing and wonderful fodder for thought!

    • Hi Leigh, thanks so much for your wonderful comment, I appreciate it. Part of the fun of writing this blog is going back to stories I watched/read a long time ago, so I’m glad it’s had the same effect for you. It must be lovely if you can share these books and films with your children too. Take care!

  16. Absolutely loved your Disney vs. Sun, Moon and Talia post! I’m writing my dissertation on Basile’s text now, comparing it to Perrault and Grimm and of course including Disney. I’m also looking at all the original illustrations.

    Your writing is fantastic! Very dry and witty! Superb!

    • Thanks so much for your comment, glad you liked it and it was helpful. I was surprised how close Perrault’s was to the final film; are there huge differences between the Disney version and Grimm’s version? Good luck with your dissertation πŸ™‚

      • Yeah I re-watched the Disney version just the other day (all in the name of research) it actually says in the opening credits that it is based on Perrault’s version. The Grimm version is very much the same as Perrault, apart from it doesn’t have the end section where the evil ogress tries to kill the Princess and her children (lots of cannibalism – YAY). Also, the chaste kiss in the Disney version comes from Grimm not Perrault. In Perrault it is just his mere presence that awakens her.

        Thank you! I think I’m going to need it. Looking forward to reading some more!

      • Ha ha yes “research”, the very reason I started this blog πŸ˜‰ That’s interesting, I was going to check out the Grimm version myself but by that point I was fed up as I had ordered a couple of versions of what I thought was the original story, only to find out there were successively older versions and was going around in circles! I’m surprised it’s not much darker, as you hear about Grimms Fairy Tales being rather nasty. Thanks for commenting again and for reading, posts are a bit erratic at the moment but glad you enjoy them!

  17. What a great blog idea, and very well-written. I really like your approach to the comparisons (in that it’s not completely “Disney ruined everything!!!!!111!!”, but more “Disney retells it differently a la x,y,z”).

    • Thanks for your comment, it’s really kind of you. I imagine it would be hard to get annoyed with films I enjoy anyway!

  18. Definitely glad I found you- it was actually through TVTropes. I’m looking forward to your future disseminations. I love refreshing my memories of the stories I knew before the films.

    I wonder- do you plan to treat “Oliver & Co”, “Pinocchio,” “Sword in the Stone”, or “Robin Hood?” There are many others I’d love to see, but those are about the most departed from “source text” that I can think of.

    Oh, wait- Dickens DID mean to have Billy Joel voice the Artful Dodger… right?

    • TVTropes? Really? That’s odd, I didn’t know there were any links from there, good news though!

      Well Pinocchio and Sword in the Stone are definitely on my list; I’m not sure about Oliver and Company, because that’s a “re-imagining” of the story and is kind of deliberately different, if that makes sense. The same goes for Treasure Planet, and as much as I love The Lion King, it’s not officially based on Hamlet, so I won’t be doing that one either sadly. Robin Hood I’m not sure about, as the source text issue is a bit iffy. It’s the versions that are purportedly based on another story that will feature in this blog, but I’m open to other suggestions too!
      Thanks again for commenting,I appreciate your time πŸ™‚

      • The link to your website on tvtropes can be reached through their Beauty and the Beast article under Darker and Edgier. I know because that happens to be how I found you too! Hope they’ll eventually make a Just for Fun article on this blog! (Fingers crossed!)

      • Yes I get a lot of traffic from that actually! I was rather chuffed when I realised it was included on TV Tropes. Fingers crossed indeed! Hope you enjoy the rest of my posts, more to come soon (am a bit behind at the moment). Thanks!

    • Lol how random! I have a cat, but that’s pretty much the only connection. I hope you found what you were looking for in the end!

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