“A weird mix of fanfiction, internet trolling, literature, genre & psychological horror…This one’s for the Outcasts. It’s about outcasts, for outcasts, written by an outcast. Weirdest book ever!”
6 Ways to Describe “The End of the Magical Kingdom”
(An Interview with the Author)
“God help the outcasts? No, the outcasts are all here. God help you.”
“So a Princess Falls in Love with a Witch…” Why does the princess always have to fall in love with the prince? For that matter, why does the singing fairy tale princess have to fall in love with a man at all?
The premise of “The End of the Magical Kingdom” is a princess (a parody of a ditsy Disney princess) realizing her true identity when she falls in love with a beautiful witch named Salem. A princess-witch romance ensues which causes a controversy in the fictional island of “Cadabra”. The story really takes off when the kingdoms around her react to her decision to forgo Happily Ever After and to pursue romance with a witch instead. The witch is viewed as the fairy tale equivalent of a terrorist (or “horrorist”) which only makes matters worse, since she is an outcast of “civilized society” and doesn’t follow any leader or established kingdom.
The allegorical book series is not only a parody of singing fairy tale romances and love cliches, but also a fierce commentary on political and religious issues that matter today. On the surface, it is about LGBTQIA rights, but the layers of the story reveal some subversive political criticisms, especially with follow up books in the series named curiously, “The Saint of Science”, and “The Watchmaker’s Child”, which are about other Cadabra princesses facing similar circumstances.
1.A Novel for People Who Don’t Like to Read
“To make the novel Young Adult friendly, I wrote it “Tragic Parody” style. A book for people who don’t like to read, and would rather imagine the story as a movie or screenplay.”
“That’s why there’s mostly action in the narrative, more dialog, more humor and shock value. Not as much boring introspection, internal writer speak, and long verbose descriptions that keep a lot of teens/millennials away from thick novels.”
“The book uses more gonzo writing techniques that you rarely see in modern teen and YA novels today.”
“Some people who read it classify it as mishmash because it’s too funny to be serious, too dramatic to be a comedy. I think the secret to writing good comedy is to realize the characters never understand they’re existing in a comedy world. They think of their lives every bit as painful as we would our own.”
“To me, the worst thing a book can be is boring. So if I make you laugh, piss you off, or scare the shit out of you, then mission accomplished.”
“The story is a parody of Disney fairy tales but with the darkness and psychological horror of the original Brothers Grimm fairy tales. The genre is officially a tragic parody, that is, a Shakespearean tragedy with harsh emotional intensity…but written like a sitcom or a Comedy Central cartoon.”
“The story was intended to be a comedy series in the style of Susan Harris’ Soap TV series and other shows that mixed absurdist comedy with tragic elements.”
“Just because characters are funny and situations are farcical doesn’t mean there is an absence of tragedy. Tragedy is all around us and especially in comedy, because our pain brings out our deepest survival instincts. And laughter will always be a great way to cope with despair.”
“This is the story of three princesses. Once upon a time, they were childhood friends.”
“They’ve all grown up, each one destined to inherit a kingdom. They haven’t seen each other in ten years…and it’s time for a reunion.”
Glossary of Warren’s Distinctive Style of Writing
Parody Homages: Paying “homage” to another book, movie or TV show. The tribute is obvious to fans but not noticeable to casual readers.
Trolling the Audience: A scene meant for shock value that pushes the limits of reading and writing.
Poetic Distraction: Using a poetic and verbose narrative to describe something absurd or mundane.
Graphic Language and Over-the-Top Violence: R-rated dialog and extreme violence – a characteristic of Warren’s conflict-driven storytelling.
Fanfiction Anarchy: The End of the Magical Kingdom reads like fanfiction in that some of these characters are obviously based on well known Disney archetypes. Yet we see them in situations we never thought possible. It’s intentionally out of character, and yet therapeutic to the fans who want to use iconic characters to explore issues.
Biblical Allusions: Biblical drama and religious issues are frequently mentioned in Warren’s books.
Orwellian Endings: Warren’s books oftentimes end in dark and or tragic fashion – but of course with sarcastic undertones that provoke a reaction.
Black Comedy: Dark wit, Gallow’s Humor…comedy so mean-spirited it actually stings your soul a little bit.
Lost Protagonists: Men or women confused at their futures and jaded about life. Usually an anti-hero who doesn’t play well with others.
Talking Animals: There is almost always a talking animal in Warren’s books, whether it’s a dream sequence or a fantasy novel.
Stream of Consciousness: Whether in prose or in italicized sentences, Warren enjoys taking glimpses into the minds of his more demented characters.
Comedy Roasts: Insults that characters use on each other that seem to go on several paragraphs, exploring the art of the personal insult.
Mental Breakdown: Pretty much all of Warren’s main characters, as well as some supporting characters, experience a mental breakdown at some point in the book. Usually, it happens NOT from circumstances or plot complication, but because of something rather mundane. Warren cites his study of manic depression as inspiration.
Music: Even in Warren’s non-musical books, music and lyrics are oftentimes catalysts for major events or character actions.
Cut Scenes (Left In): The author has always enjoyed movie outtakes featuring scenes that were cut from the final film. He makes it a point to include a somewhat irrelevant scene in all of his books as a tribute to “cut scenes” that were somehow, accidentally, left in the final manuscript.
Angel of Light: There is almost always an “angel of light” character, even in a cast of dozens of nihilists, psychopaths and monsters. Though usually not supernatural, the angel character represents a glimmer of hope and heroism, even in a dark world.
Acts of God: Extreme forces of nature are almost always happening in one of Warren’s books.
Dissociation: Literary depiction of a character losing first person perspective and experiencing an out of body moment, one where they realize they are looking down on a world that they are no longer a part of.
Awkward Conversations: Two or more characters are caught in the middle of an awkward conversation that seems to drag on a bit much. “This is unfortunately how many of us are in real life,” laughs Warren.
Symbolic Names: As the author enjoys allegory and symbolism, practically all of his characters are named something common on purpose. This allows the audience to make quick judgments of the character. The author uses these preconceptions to commentate on some aspect of society by further exploring the archetypical identity.
2. An Angry Book for Outliers and Outcasts
“Socially awkward is the voice of the new generation. Historically speaking, great writers always created literature and eloquent characters who spoke just as wittily as the narrative itself. But I wanted to give a voice to characters who are ‘socially awkward’ types.”
“I had three goals in mind.
- To write anti-heroes; characters and behaviors you’ve never really seen in mainstream books before.
- To embody the anti-establishment personality of the Gen X, Gen Y & Millennial generations.
- To write a book about all the major personality disorders.
“I dared myself to write a fairy tale book where all the major characters were hard to like, but fun to hang around. Each one suffered from major personality disorders.”
“None of them are role models. There’s a lot of trolling going on among these characters…they pick on each other. They bring out the worst in each other.”
“Just because characters speak the same language doesn’t necessarily mean communication is always clear and friendly, between such differing cultures.”
“I wrote the trilogy as a tribute to outliers and misfits of society of which I am a lifelong, card-carrying member.”
“I can’t speak for everybody but I certainly never felt like I fit in with any crowd, any group or any club, in school or out of school. I always seemed to make people nervous. My comments were always so outside the box, I don’t think people knew what to make of me. I think a lot of us today can relate to that.”
“I didn’t want to pretend as if every character was so perfect. I think one of the main points is just because you are not going to get along with a lot of people in life, you CAN actually find a really good friendship among your fellow outliers. There is a great spirit of tolerance in our culture, which transcends just age or social class. We are rebels, revolutionaries and oddballs and yet we take pride in what we are.”
3. A Parody and Satire Novel
“The Fairy Tale Parody Genre allows the author to teach with comedy. Parody has historically been associated with writers who wrote scathing criticism of their society. The humor or satire of such a book is often biting, slanderous and obscene, just enough to provoke a world of readers into rebellion or protest.”
“Miguel de Cervantes, Marquis de Sade and William Shakespeare all made use of the parody genre. It was written similarly to comedy, but wasn’t so “light”. Parody usually allows for more exaggerated violence or plot twists, that border on disturbing and upsetting—a definite turn off in light-hearted or juvenile comedy. These lampoons are supposed to be stories that criticize some aspect of society that the author believes to be unjust.”
“No one wants to read a depressing story about social injustice. So my first thought was to make it funny. Satirical, of course. But funny in that Disney style throw-caution-to-the-wind capriciousness that I’ve always enjoyed.”
Literary and Media Influences for The End of the Magical Kingdom
“Creating a fairy tale satire is a great way to discuss social issues in a safe context. It’s also a genre that plays to younger audiences or adults who don’t want topical issues of the day taken so seriously. Under the guise of fairy tales, writers and artists can use satirical humor to comment on today’s most important social issues.”
“Gay marriage, religious intolerance, misogyny and political injustice…these are the issues people care about. But I think that many readers are tired of being bashed over the head with dogma about how we ought to feel about this or that. One of the goals of fiction is to tell a story objectively, leading the author to form his or her own opinions about the moral of the story.”
“The Brothers Grimm stories, which Disney films are loosely based off, could well be considered a fairy tale satire, since they’re written to be allegorical and as cautionary tales for youngsters and adults. Ironically, the Disney films themselves that re-imagine these old morbid tales into something happy and quirky, could be called a family-oriented parody of a parody.”
4. An Anti-War Novel and Political Allegory
“I wanted to write a biblical epic and a war novel – or as I call it, an anti-war novel. I am a pacifist and third-party supporter, very much opposed to commercial war and imperialism. War is ugly, War is Hell. War is rape and tyranny no matter who wins and if it was justified. I think my generation needs to be reminded of this.”
“I felt that in order to be honest with myself, I had to empathize with the consummate politician. Why must they lie? Why must they kill and why do they think they are doing a greater good? Because they are essentially playing God. And in telling their story, I can hear their soul, in agony, and living with such a moral burden.”
“Salem the Witch is labeled a “horrorist” because of her anarchic views and refusal to cooperate with any of the four kingdoms of “Cadabra”, the island in which the series is set.”
“The intention was to make Salem dangerous and not have the book resemble the typical good guy, good girl that fall in love in the Disney fairy tale type movie.”
“In essence, we’re exploring the concept of “terrorism”. Salem wears the label of “witch”, and that rolls up so many persecuted minorities of people, from lesbians to Jews to atheists, to suicide bombers, to vegetarians and the poor. There was an intentional effort to make Salem seem like all of the above, in terms of ‘difficult’ personality types. The kind of all stereotypes in one character that bigots are just itching to hate. But her lack of apology to the world, her flippant rejection of society, is her outstanding feature.”
“Some of the visual and textual parodies are obvious…others are a bit cloaked, such as the cover of The Saint of Science.”
5. A Gay Disney Fairy Tale You Will Never See
“Like so many people, I wanted to see a Disney movie with a lesbian princess. Of course, Disney is taking forever because they’re afraid of offending people and getting banned in countries around the world. I’m like…who cares? Let’s offend the whole world. Gay marriage is awesome.”
“While the first lesbian and gay Disney fairy tale might someday hit theaters, one animated romance you will probably never see on a Disney screen is the relationship between Salem the Witch and Mary Melancholy.”
“Even if Disney ever produced such a gay cartoon, it wouldn’t really deal with the issues that we as a society face today. They would probably make it a little bit like Frozen; something a bit patronizing.”
“Then I started to think of my fantasy motion picture. An animated musical that went beyond the G-rated world of Disney. What I ended up with was a social satire that combined pathos, danger and tragedy happening in a comedy and almost childlike world.”
“The story began to explore the deeper questions of humanity, such as what causes bigotry and where hate and suspicion comes from.”
“The fact that Salem is not persecuted because she’s gay, but because she’s a ‘horrorist’ witch is significant. We insist upon creating divisions and labeling those whom we don’t understand because we’re afraid to question our own values.
“As the story ended, I realize this is what The Brothers Grimm were going for – social criticism piece meets horror, all the while happening in a fairy tale world for young minds to better comprehend. So we’re modernizing the concept.”
6. An Anti-Disney Novel
“One could say that the “princess mythos” carried an altogether different connotation in the days of the Brothers Grimm than in the overproduced modern age of Walt Disney-whitewashed love stories. To some, a princess is merely a debutante, a young woman entering into the world and struggling to fit in and failing to be a good role model.”
“To the more jaded among us, a princess represents entitlement. The delusional viewpoint that a monarchy will last forever because of the royal family’s good intentions. To jaded audiences of today, the very idea of capitalistic or oligarchic societies of the rich dominating and abusing the poor is not only trite, but insulting. The word princess understandably takes a more ominous implication.”
“The character of Mary Melancholy, a Disney-archetypal princess is raised in royalty, but is oblivious to the political chicanery happening around her, including an uprising of protesters against the “Golden Elite”, the rich monarchy that obviously caricatures capitalist society in America.”
“The story concludes with the touch of the macabre, as the singing and dancing stops cold and the story descends into a fairy tale straight out of Hell, as the Brothers Grimm might have imagined it, with death, darkness and dirges by Alan Menken.”
“The Anti-Disney Novel will no doubt become an even more popular genre as the Walt Disney Empire (every bit as evil as the House Lannister of Casterly Rock) continues to monopolize the entertainment business. No one can seem to stop the almighty claw of Mickey Mouse and Disney’s ruthless corporate policies that continue to starve artists while making marketing the focal point of every new movie.”
“Disney’s commercial stranglehold is hard to fight indeed. Whenever an independent production or talent starts to rise, Disney buys them off and hires them to promote their own projects. On the other hand, if you’re still striving to make a little noise as an independent voice, Disney, now the omniscient owner of Star Wars and Marvel Comics, will come after you with lawyers.”
“It’s a small world after all, laughs Mickey Mouse while slapping your mom’s ass like the tyrant he is.”
” This is why the intent was to create an Anti-Disney Novel, parodying Disney Princess culture, and the anti-feminist movies that they’ve continued to push. I think a lot of people are tired of Disney’s patronizing attitude towards the arts.”
For more about this monster known as L. M. Warren, visit his Author page. Just stay off the old man’s lawn.
You can also read about the history and culture of fairy tale satires and parodies, from the Brothers Grimm until today.