luxken27: (Heroes - Peter contemplation)
LuxKen27 ([personal profile] luxken27) wrote2015-09-28 11:28 am

Ever After | Oneshot: The Queen's Counsel

Title: The Queen’s Counsel
Fandom: Ever After (1998)
Universe: Canon
Genre: General
Rating: K+
Word Count: 2,078
Summary: Danielle seeks the queen’s counsel when it comes to the matter of settling her father’s estate.

Links: DW | | AO3

Written for the "boldly" prompt on my 2015 Summer Mini Challenge table.

Before I fell into my Monarch of the Glen rabbit hole, I (re)watched Ever After, a favorite retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale, and was inspired to fill in a gap in the canon: in particular, the penultimate scene in which the royal family punished Danielle's stepmother and stepsister for their obstinacy. It's a very powerful scene, but also an unusual one, and I decided to take on the challenge of figuring out how they got there =)

Ever After is a particularly feminist retelling of Cinderella, empowering the main character to take charge of her own destiny instead of being a passive figure waiting for rescue or, indeed, direction in her life. Danielle doesn't take guff from anybody, even if she is basically demoted to servant in her own household because she had the temerity to be the apple of her father's eye (and then he had the temerity to die, leaving his daughter in the hands of a stepmother she barely knew, much less loved). She cares about her father's modest estate and the people who work it, so she's basically just fine with her lot.

She catches the royal prince stealing her father's horse and unseats him with an apple to the forehead (heh), and he gives her money in exchange for her silence. She uses the money to buy back one of the servants her stepmother sold to pay off some debts, and runs into the prince again - only this time, in disguise. He is intrigued (and enchanted) by her, and thus begins her double life, as she hides her meetings with the prince from her family, who are intent on pursuing him themselves in order to snag a marriage proposal.

It all ends very badly, of course, with Danielle's identity revealed in front of basically the entire court, and she retreats home. She tells her stepmother that the only thing she cares about is her father's home, and that she's content to be there for the rest of her life - she had no ambitions for the crown, or the power behind the royal title, and she has accepted her miserable lot in life. Until, of course, the stepmother sells her to a wretched little man (basically to pay off debts again) - from whom she escapes by herself, without need for a royal rescue. That might be my favorite scene, actually, when she holds Monsieur Le Pieu at the end of her sword :D

Danielle and Henry are reunited and married in secrecy, and then her stepmother and stepsister are brought before the royal court to pay for their lies in pursuit of the crown:

It's a great scene, in that it demonstrates Danielle's strength of character. She is not vengeful, though she has every right to be. I do believe that once this matter is dealt with to the royal family's satisfaction, that Danielle would be able to settle into her life with her husband and with her new family.

Besides dealing with the matter of settling her father's estate, the other thing I wanted to highlight was the other major theme of the movie - Danielle's wish for a mother to love her. She didn't know her own mother, and her stepmother was far too jealous of her to give her the time of day, but I think she and the Queen would get along quite well, and I think the Queen would take her under her wing very quickly. She's seen what Danielle has meant to and done for her son, and she is willing to support that 100%.

It was nice to write the middle scene, of the two of them bonding, because I don't think Danielle would quite know what to do with a motherly figure showing her kindness. It's a relationship that I think would foster and grow and the two of them could form a formidable alliance - and truly hold the power behind the crown =)

It was fun to shake off the rust a bit and delve into a novel canon for a change - sometimes that's all one needs to get the juices flowing! It certainly seems to have worked for the challenge is keeping it going, LOL :P