I wanted to have a thread to talk about the tropes, themes and stories that Wizard drew on to make the world of Eldraine to both dissucce as well as educate people who are unfamiliar with the stories and themes we are shown (as well as throw in some trivia). I'll add on to this as we see more about the set, how/if the cards flavorfully fit and fill it in with card names instead of the art.
Fairy tales where folk stories that have been passed through the generations, mostly in oral form until such people as Grimm or Perrault collected them and put them into wiring though some authors such as Hans Christian Anderson made up their own tales. These authors gave a baseline for most modern adaptation as such the very famous disney movies, though the story go back thousands of years and have hundreds of versions of the same story. The tales of King Arthur is similar with the story being told orally for years until finally written and re-written, the youtube Overly Sarcastic does a good video on the tale(s);
The Round Table
Lady of the Lake
In Arthurian tales a feature is Arthur meeting with his knights at a round table in order to give each knight equal say since there is no head of the table. Here it looks like we have a similar case, with 5 (maybe one for each color?) knights around it.
Another trope in Arthurian tales is the Lady of the Lake a magical being that often gives Arthur his magical sword. Here we have a merfolk or fae offering what looks to be a magical blade.
The Frog Prince
This art show a young maiden in a tower with long beautiful hair. This a nod to the story of Rapunzel, a similar character who was traded to a witch by her birth parents for food from the witches garden when Rapunzels birth mother had a cravings. The food is often called Rapunzel as well.
This is nod to the frog prince the story of a prince cursed into frog shape until its broken by a princess. The art is pretty smart here, hinting that the frog is more than he seems with the crown on the chair. In the older version the frog prince asks (among other slight creepy things) to eat from the princesses plate and drink from her glass so having the frog on the dinner plate also seems to reference this.
, Hansel and Gretel
These arts are referees to stories of witches living the woods who'd find people (mostly children) and eat them. A famous popular one is Hansel and Gretel which is about two siblings (often put as twins) who are abandoned in the woods and are lured by such a witch with a house made of bread/cake/gingerbead/sweets. This what the first art references with the second I think just the general trope of people eating witches. Also see Baba Yaga. Finally in the forest art it looks like its common for witch to live in the woods on this plane.
True Loves Kiss
While not certain this art is most likely meant to play wit the trope of an evil stepmother, complete with servant girl in rages washing the floor behind her and spoiled falsity demonic pup. However, the wicked stepmother trope was made from the Grimm brothers and other authors who couldn't believe a mother could do much things to their own child and often censored wicked mothers to wicked stepmothers in such stories as Snow White and Hansel and Gretal, though nearly every version Cinderella had a stepmother.
Personally one of my favorite tropes we see a maiden seeming breaking a curse on her presumed beloved. Kinds like the wicked mother was changed into the wicked stepmother (see above) true loves kiss was a nicer version then some of the older stories, such a rape and accidental Heimlich, which would be used to awaken/cure the person. Here we have a nice (though not unheard of) twist of a woman saving a man with a kiss(watch me be wrong and this be a curse or something).
Flaxen Intruder (as the user Sniffly figured out this cards name) plays into the story of Goldilocks and the three bears, about a little girl who breaks into a family of bears and after eating their food and using their chairs and beds is scared off when they return. This story has many many version with Goldilocks ranging from an old hag to a little girl and the bears being a range of beasts as well as going from being what seems to be roommates to a family after being renamed from big bear, medium bear and little bear to papa bear, mama bear and baby bear. the end also can range from Goldilocks being scared away, to being reduced by her parents or a hunter or being just plained murdered and eaten by the bears. Magic as done its own twist and made thier version into what seem to be a child hunter who breaks into her preys homes.
Flavor text on the card is a nod to a popular rhythm in most tellings. Goldilocks would sit in the bears chairs, eat thier food and end up sleeping in thier bed. For each of the bears she would find two of the three items unfit for her "This chair/bed is too hard/soft" "This food is too hot/cold" until she found the third choice which is she often say "is just right" (and often breaking the bed/chairs and tossing out the porridge she didn't eat.
The sorcery part is a reference to the three bears returning home to find their house broken into.
As Maro pointed out, food, chairs and beds would all be artifacts :D
A common image from the story of Snow White is her (step)mother offering her a poisoned apple to kill her. In the oringal story is a normal poison though the stepmother is smart and skilled enough to only poison one side and takes a bite to prove to Snow it was safe to eat. The disney and later version would extend this poison to be magical in nature as well. Many also see this as a nod to the story of Eve and Persephone who also got temped with a fruit.
My personal favorite fairy tale after the Oz books is the story of a mermaid who wishes to become human an trades her voice for legs. While many version have a happy ending the original was more tragic. The first part is mostly the same but the original adds merfolks don't have souls unless they marry a human. The sea witch is more neutral party and instead of 3 days to get true loves kiss, the mermaid will die if the prince marries another. Also fun part about how the mermaid will feel like she is stepping on swords when she is human and the mermaid cuts out her tongue to give her voice to the witch. The prince marries another and the mermaid is given the chance to live and become a mermaid if she kills the prince. However the mermaid loves the prince too much and instead dies and turns into an angel like being to help children to someday earn a soul.
Her part is wonderful flavorful. The ability is clearly refernce to the mermaid turning human. The cards flavor text makes wonder if thats is meant to be reference to the original version with this mermaid wanting vengeance from the prince who wouldn't love her.
This art show what looks to be a version of the gingerbread man, a story of a cookie who comes to life and out runs everyone trying to eat him until a fox tricks him into being a snack. This cookie tho looks very creepy and not nice.
While not much, Rowan the planeswalker star of this set is wearing a red hood that very red riding hood like as well as cutting what looks to be thorns similar to sleeping beauty.
Lovestruck Beast reference the story of beauty and the beast. A merchant family gets hits on with hard times after the father lose some ships of mercindice. Hearing of a possible surviving ship the merchant promised his daughters gifts and set out to see. However the ship was a bust and the merchant got lost retuning home finding an enchanted castle. After dinner and warmth the merchant left but ended up taking a rose the only thing he could bring back as a gift for his youngest daughter. After spending time with the Beast Beauty grows to love home, though she misses her family. The beast sends her home to visit and Beauty promises to return in a week. However either her family (often her sister), or her own forgetfulness stays longer and when she returns she finds Beast heart broke and on deaths door. Confusing her love and promising to marry him, Beauty finds the Beast had been a prince under a curse until he could find true love. They married and lived happy ever after.
This story is one of many "Animal Husband" stories that can be traced back as far as Ancient Greece with Eros and Psyche.
The flavor of Lovestruck Beast show that even in magic they are a couple with one half making the Beauty and the other half the beast who doesn't want to act without her. The beast is also holding a rose a ionic element of the tale. Finally the flavor text seems to point to how the Beast lived in solitude until he found Beauty. Clever too how Beauty is on the left side that makes the token and Beast is on right as the base creature in the promo art.
and Golden Egg
Run Away Together
The Goose that Laided the golden eggs is simple story. A farmer has a magical goose that lays him a golden egg once a day. Wanting more the farmer cut open the goose to find how the eggs where made but only found the insides of a goose. The moral being don't be greed and be happy for what you got.
The Goose making food is a fun refnerce to this story and it looks like we got a new version of Birds of Paradise
I wondered if this is really a trope card reference or not. But I do remember many fairy tales ending with two characters running away to live a happy ever after so I guess this slides (even if not intentional)
In the many version of Cinderella she is given a pair of shoes that later the prince uses to find to her after she flees the ball. The material has different from tale to tale from gold to fur. Codified by Charles Perrault the most popular is the idea of Cinderella having a pair of glass slippers.
Flavor wise this is on point, with Cinderella often said to have out fun the Prince and the palace guard at midnight, the shoes having haste makes sense.
A pun on the traditional "wishing well" where in folklore if you make a wish over the well (often with a coin offering) your wish would come true.
In many version of Cinderella for magical (magic wears off) or mundane reason (Thats when the Stepfamily was gonna head home) Cinderella flees the ball often trying to escape before the last stroke of midnight often losing a shoe.
While the adding blue is odd, everything else is a flavor win. The clock "strike" midnight and everything "resets".
King Arthur References
Lady of the Lake
Emry Lucker of the Loch
In the tales of King Arthur often have him wield a magical sword called excalibur. A symbol of Arthur would either (or sometimes a combination) pull the sword from a stone or be given it as a gift from the Lady of the Lake.
While not the first magical sword of magic, Embecleave is a version of excalibur as a symbol of power in the court of Embereth. Behind it you can also see a stone with many swords in it seeming referencing how excalibur was pulled from a stone in some myths.
The Round Table
The Circle of Loyalty
Another trope in Arthurian tales is the Lady of the Lake a magical being that often gives Arthur his magical sword excalibur. Here in Eldraine Emry is a merfolk helping blend the fairy tale side with the Arthur side.
The Cauldron of Eternity
In Arthurian legends the round table is a place where King Arthur and his knights would met as well as swear their oaths of knighthood. The table is round and thus had no head so each person seated there was treated equal. In Magics version of the round table is the circle of loyalty a magical circle of purifying fire that is the symbol of Ardenvale. It is used to test the loyalty of the wanna-be knights of court.
Gadwick, the Wizened
The Cauldron of Eternity is the eldraine version of holy grail from Arthurian tales.The holy grail is either a cup or dish that can make magical water that has healing properties as well as other magical power depending on the tales, including restoring the dead. Most Arthur stories that feature the item have the knight questioning for the grail for a number of reasons.
In Eldraine the Cauldron belong to Queen Ayara who forever sends knights to look of it reflecting the legends. In the Wildered Quest the cauldron appeared before Will and Garruk when they are drowning in a river. Finding them worthy the cauldron save the two and was able to use it healing powers to remove the curse of the chain veil from Garruk.
The Great Henge
Often in the Arthur myths he has a mentor wizard named Merlin. The archetype of all fantasy wizards Merlin has great magical powers often as a result of being half human and half fairy/demon/ect. Other versions such as The Once and Future King also have Merlin living backward in time or otherwise being a time travel.
King Arthur and Queen Genevieve
Kenrith, the Returned King Linden, the Steadfast Queen
Based on a real world wonder, Stonehenge has often been swept up into Arthurian legends, often giving Merlin the credit of making them. Here in Eldraine the Henge can be used to open gates into the wilds and is the mythic court artifact of Garenbrig. It plays a part in the Wildered Quest.
The center of the legends, King Arthur was a King who founded a kingdom called Camelot. Sometimes born a prince, sometimes a lost prince raised as a peasant and sometimes just a common boy Arthur would lead knights fighting for peace and good deeds and marry the lovely Guinevere. Common stories include fighting Morgan La Fay an antagonist witch/fairy who is sometimes Arthur's half sister, questing for the Holy Grail, making knights and swearing oaths at a round table, hunting a mythical stag and many others.
In Eldraine we have High King Algenus and his queen Linden. As kids they were given the quest to become high king and high queen by the question beast as well as magical swords, by becoming a knight of all five courts. Algenus completed his quest while Linden only earned four of five knighthoods. This is reflected in his card with Algenus having an ability for each color showing he is a knight of the five courts. As a nod to Algenus being missing being the main conflict he is the buy a box promo and not the in set proper.
A nod in the story also comments on in myths would lead to the fall of Camelot. In many versions Queen Guinevere and Arthurs best friend Lancelot would have an affair that would tarnish Arthurs truth in his closet allies. Second would be the arrival of Mordred, Arthur's illegitimate child between him and Morgan who would end up killing his (sometimes) father. In the novel Algenus is seduced and cursed by a witch to impregnate she might use the child for a potion. Linden kissed Algenus breaking the spell with truth loves kiss. Going mad from realizing what he's been doing for a year Alegenus killed his rapists and captor before running out of the wilds, with Linden using the gift of the questing beasts sword to return the twin babies back to life.
Once and Future
This card is a looses tied to Arthur through it being aMonty Python and the Holy Grail sketch inspired card. In a comedic take on the Arthur story we meet The Black Knight who is unwilling to stop fighting even as he loses his limbs in battle until he is reduced to just a head and torso. "Tis but a flesh wound".
While many fairy tales, folk tales, myths and legends have been told and retold many times through the year many versions have become the archetype in which newer version base themselves on. For King Arthur one of these is The Once and Future King is a work by T. H. White which popular was semi-adapted into the Disney's The Sword in the Stone. Once and Future King has also been used to refer to the common belief is that when needed most Arthur would return/be reborn and bring in a Camelot.
Fairy tale tropes
From Arthurian myth the Questing Beast was a creature that many knights such as Sir Percival. It was said to have the head and neck of a snake, the body of a leopard, the back of a lion, and the feet of a stag, aka what a medieval person would describe giraffes as.
Eldraine subverts this creature in many ways. First instead of being the prey of a quest the beast gives quests such as the one to pick the high king candor high queen. Next the elements of the beast have been twisted around with it have the snake neck but with more a of full body lion. Its tail and back now seem somewhat dragons now and this beast has three heads, many a nod to how the original beast was a mix of many animals.
In a few fairy tales there is a female protagonist that is "pure" and immune to harm. A dark tell is from "The girl without hands", where the devil tricks a man into giving up his daughter to him. However the devil can't touch her as "her hands are too pure". As the title guess you can also figure out what happens to the girl next though it does have a happy ending.
Cardwise we can see a similar trope used where the "big monsters" of the woods can't harm the princess.
Found in the stories of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White (as well many other tales) is a curse of enchanted sleep that keep the cursed person in slumber and often cut off from time staying as they were before the sleep. The cure for modern tales is true loves kiss but unless "sweet" ways have been used. Many believe this element is also a clue that the stories of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty might have come from the same original tale.
Claim the Firstborn
A common trope in fairy tales is a charming prince who marries the often female protagonist. The origin came from real life where often the best outcome for women in those times where the tales where coined was to marry a wealthy and kind husband. As such many tales would give a kind, charming and rich prince to the female protagonists, acting as a plot device to reward the female character for her hardships.
Card-wise this card is clever. In magic a charm is slang for 3 choice module spell and thus making this Prince card a charm. Honesty this my favorite aspect of top down design, when magic original stuff meshes with the tropes/genre of that they are using.
While common in many folk lore Rumpelstiltskin and Rapunzel popularized the idea of giving up your first born in a deal with a magical creature. The card claim the first born reflects this since often a converted mana cost 3 or less creature will be the first creatures your opponents cast.
Garruk, Cursed Huntsman
A play on the trope of a fairy godmother. Most popular in Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, a common trope in fairy tales is a magical patron/helper who gives the protagonist a little magical help.
Love the name play I gotta say.
Happily Ever After
A huntsman has been found in many fairy tales most famously Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood, often playing the savior to the protagonist, paired often against the big bad wolf.
As a hunter Garruk naturally fits his trope as well as being a twist as he works with the wolves instead of hunting them.
Mirroring Once upon a time many stories end with Happily Ever After. While many tales ends in sadness or horror many end with the protagonists overcoming the trials, journeying out of the woods and emerge a changed better and more grown up person able to find happiness for the rest of their lives.
"And it came to pass, all that seemed wrong was now right and those who deserved to Were certain to live a long and happy life, ever after journey over…" -Into the Woods
"...nothing to fear, no one to fight. I can't believe we've come so far happily ever after here we are" - Steven Universe
Once Upon a Time
A common element in stories, folklore and beliefs center around magical mirrors. For fairy tales two big ones stick out. The magic mirror from snow white which answer questions as well as in the story of the Ice Queen. Made by the devil or evil troll the mirror is shattered but its evil magic corrupts those who get shards of it into their bodies.
On Eldraine the Mirror is the mythic artifact for Vantress and will answer any question in extage for a secret it doesn't already know.
In modern times we have associated the phrase "Once upon a time" as the start to fairy tales. This might have roots in that fairy tales are old stories and when the true origins of these tales are lost all we can say is they happened some time in the past. This card plays into this as well as starting you off on your own tale/game as you joinery out for a beast or new lands.
True Loves Kiss
A common trope of many fairy tales are two siblings, often brother and sister who must journey into the woods and face its darkness before finding a happy ever after. In many modern version the siblings are often interrupted as twins.
The Kenrith twins play in this trope almost beat to beat with the extra layers of being knights from the Arthur influence and able to use magic and travel worlds from magics influence, as well as more modern twin tropes such as being opposites or foils to each other.
Personally, one of my favorite tropes, is someone using true loves kiss to break a curse on their loved one. Kinds like the wicked mother was changed into the wicked stepmother (see above) true loves kiss was a nicer version then some of the older stories, such a rape and accidental Heimlich, which would be used to awaken/cure the person.
Big Bad Wolf
Wicked Wolf Fierce Witchstalker
This plays with the trope of an evil stepmother, complete with servant girl in rages washing the floor behind her and spoiled fantasy demonic pup. However, the wicked stepmother trope was made from the Grimm brothers and other authors who couldn't believe a mother could do such things to their own child and often censored wicked mothers to wicked stepmothers in such stories as Snow White and Hansel and Gretal, though nearly every version of Cinderella had a stepmother.
The Wildered Quest showed a subversion this trope with Queen Linden. While somewhat antagonistic to the twins for not bending the rules at the start this was out of love and wanting the twins to follow the rules of the realm. It's also clear she loves the twins just as much as Hazel and Erec.
The Adventures of Pinocchio
Inquisitive Puppet Animating Fair
Many western stories and fables, such as Red Riding Hood or the Seven Kids tend to have wolves in the role of antagonist and many have been called "Big Bad Wolf". Often the wolf is a predator hunting the protagonist and often killed by a huntsman who often is able to save victims from the wolf's stomach, though many times the wolf wins to teach the dangers of the world. Some version also will swap out the "normal" talking wolf for a werewolf adding more human traits.
y Faerie Guidemother
Beauty and the Beast
A loney wood carver named Geppetto one day makes a puppet from a piece of magical wood. The puppet comes to life and becomes Geppetto's son. Pinocchio wishes to become a real boy and goes through many adventures and Pinocchio is forced to grow up after his horrible and naughty attitude and uncaring for other leads him into trouble. Along the way he meets a fairy with blue colored hair who helps him magical and in the end is able to turn the puppet into a real boy.
Human token Beloved Princess Merchant of the ValeLovestruck Beast True Loves Kiss Charming Prince
A merchant family gets hits on with hard times after the father lose some ships of merchandise. Hearing of a possible surviving ship the merchant promised his daughters gifts and set out to see. However the ship was a bust and the merchant got lost returning home finding an enchanted castle. After dinner and warmth the merchant left but ended up taking a rose the only thing he could bring back as a gift for his youngest daughter. A beast, the master of the castle attacks him for taking a rose after letting him have dinner and a place at the fire. The man begs to say goodbye to his family before being killed or imprisoned and hearing the tale the youngest daughter Beauty goes in his place since she was the one who wanted the rose. After spending time with the Beast Beauty grows to love home, though she misses her family. The beast sends her home to visit and Beauty promises to return in a week. However either her family (often her sister), or her own forgetfulness stays longer and when she returns she finds Beast heart broke and on death's door. Confusing her love and promising to marry him, Beauty finds the Beast had been a prince under a curse until he could find true love to promise to marry him.This story is one of many "Animal Husband" stories that can be traced back as far as Ancient Greece with Eros and Psyche.
Wicked Guardian Beloved Princess Faerie Guidemother Enchanted Carriage Crystal Slipper Charming Prince Midnight Clock Turn into Pumpkin Return to Nature Wildwood Tracker Revenge of Ravens
A darker tale is the story of Bluebeard. A rich nobleman with a blue beard has been known to take wives who always ended up vanishing. The newest wife is given keys to the palace (and sometimes another object such as an egg) and told she is allowed anywhere but a certain room. One day when her husband is gone the woman can't help herself and opens the forbidden room. Inside she finds the bodies of the other wives hanging on hooks and blood covering the floor. The wife drops the key (or other object) on the floor which becomes stained with blood that can't be washed off. The wife is able to send a note to hr family for help. Bluebeard returned and inspecting the key sees the blood and planned to add her to the room knowing she knows what he has done to his other wivies. Luckily the wives brothers arrive and kill Bluebeard. The wife inherits his fortune and lives happy able to move on from the ordeal.
The Frog Prince
Beloved Princess Frogify True Love's Kiss Charming Prince
One of the most oldest and retold stories, as well as having many cousin stories, is the tale of Cinderella. A man's first wife dies and he marries a beautiful woman with two beautiful daughter to live with him and his daughter from the first wife. (Most modern version have the husband died after marrying the wife). Disliking the girl, the stepmother forces her into a slave in her own house and forced to sleep by the fire and covered in ash she is called Cinderella. One day the prince of the land holds a ball and invites all the maidens in the land. The stepmother gives Cinderella impossible chores to go to the ball. Cinderella gets help from animals friends, normally that she was nice to before. The animals have ranged over the versions but often birds. However, the stepmother still keeps Cinderella from going and leaves the girl behind. Cinderella gets some magical aid that gives her a dress, carriage and shoes. The magical aid often a form of ghost of Cinderella's mother such as a tree or a magical fish and the type of shoes have ranged from gold to fur to gemstones. Charles Perrault coded the most popular version with the magical aid being a fairy godmother and the shoes made of glass. He also popularized the pumpkin carriage and mice into horse with rats and lizards as the rest of the crew. Up to three times Cinderella goes to the ball and meet the prince dancing with him all night. At midnight Cinderella runs out, either due to the magic is wearing off or that's the time her step family would leave to go home. (On the last night if more then one night) Cinderella loses a slipper in her haste to get home. As his only clue the uses the slipper to find the maiden he danced with. After the stepsisters fail to fit in the slipper, Grimm brothers version has them cutting off parts of their feet to try and fit, CInderella tries and it fits perfectly. Cinderella marries the Prince and escapes her stepfamily. In the Grimm's version at the end the stepfamily comes to the wedding and Cinderella's bird friends peaked out their eyes, blinding them for their wickedness.
The Gingerbread Man
The frog prince begins with a princess dropping her favorite toy, golden ball down into a well. A frog appears and offers to get it to her if he is allowed to be her friend, live in her home, eat from her plate and sleep in her bed. The princess agrees but when the frog get the toy she runs off without making sure he can keep up with her. However the frog is able to find where she lives and after explaining to her father the king what had happened the father makes the princess hold up her end of the bargain. So that night the princess has to let the frog eat from her dinner plate and at night sleep in her bed. An older versions of the princess is disgusted and throws the frog against a wall and that somehow breaks the curse on him transforming him into a prince. More modern versions it takes is the frog sleeping in her bed and awakens the next day a prince or simply a true love's kiss (often used give right after he get her toy to simplify the tale). The prince and princess Mary and when they return to the princess kingdom they find his servant there waiting for them. The servant in his sadness of losing his master had put three iron bands around his heart and upon seeing the return of the prince his heart swell with happiness and broke all three iron bands.
The Glass Coffin
Glass Casket Beloved Princess Charmed Sleep Kenrith's Transformation Charming Prince
The story of a cookie who comes to life and outruns everyone trying to eat him mocking with a little rhythm as he does "run run run as fast as you can, can't find me I'm the gingerbread man". FInally he comes to a river where al a fox tricks him into letting the fox give him a ride across. But as the reach the center and the cookie trapped the fox gobbles him up.
The Golden Goose
Gilded Goose Golden Egg
A young man see a stag and bull fighting will the stag killing the bull. The stag leads the man to an abandoned palace and the young man in time finds a glass coffin in a lower chambers. Opening it he finds a princess who tells him that an evil wizard who can turn into a bull had tried to marry her. Refusing him, the wizard had turned her brother cursed a stag and place her in the coffin, with the man now freeing her. The couple goes up and finds the princess's brother now human again able to return after finally killing the wizard in his bull form.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears
The Golden Goose is a simple story. A farmer has a magical goose that lays him a golden egg once a day. Wanting more the farmer cut open the goose to find more gold but only found the normal insides of a goose. The moral being don't be greedy and be happy with what you got.
Hansel and Gretal
Royal Scions Wicked Guardian Trail of Breadcrumbs Curious Pair Temping Witch Baked into a Pie Witch's Oven Oakhame Ranger
Flaxen Intruder plays into the story of Goldilocks and the three bears, about a little girl who breaks into a family of bears. Playing into the rule of three (x three?) by trying each bears chairs, food and beds. Each time she finds the first two items not fit for her but the third choice is always "just right" ending with the girl sleeping in the last bears bed, until the owners return. This story has many many version with Goldilocks ranging from an old hag to a little girl and the bears being a range of beasts or robbers as well as going from being what seems to be roommates to a family after being renamed from big bear, medium bear and little bear to papa bear, mama bear and baby bear. The end also can range from Goldilocks being scared away in the ending, to being saved by her parents or a hunter or being just plained murdered and eaten by the bears.
Jack and the Beanstalk
Merchant of the Vale Bartered Cow Giant Opportunity Tall as a Beanstalk Beanstalk Giant
A wife of a woodcutter decide to leave their children in the woods so she and her husband would not starve to death, originally the bio mom, modern version go with stepmom. The brother and sister hear and plan on how to get home. Up to three times the kids are left in the woods. The first two times the Hansel leaves white stones behind them to find their way back. The third time (or only time) with no white stones left the sibling use breadcrumbs. Sadly the bird of the woods eat up and the siblings end up lost until they find the house made of desserts (often gingerbread). From there they are trapped by a wicked witch who plans on eating Hansel and enslaves Gretel. Somewhat blind Hansel tricks the witch for a time using a chicken bone in place of his finger to test for fatness but in the end the witch decided to just eat them. Trying to trick Gretal into climbing in the oven and cooking her as well, Gretel tricks the witch into doing that and locking her in burns the witch in her own oven. After this the kids steal a bunch of treasure from the witch and going back into the woods find a goose or another kind of magical helper who takes them home. Their they find either both parents who repent or just the father with the (step)mother dying (often thought of being linked or even being the witch herself) and they all live happily ever after.
Giant Token Gilded Goose Golden Egg Giant Killer
The Juniper Tree
Wicked Guardian Tempting Witch Foreboding Fruit Baked into a Pie
A poor single mother sent her son Jack to the market to sell their old aging cow. Their boy is persuaded by a merchant into selling the cow for 5 magic beans. Jack's mother in her angry tossed out the beans which grew into a giant beanstalk into the clouds to a giants castle. Playing by the rule of three Jack goes up the stalk three times, meeting the giants wife and hiding when her husband (who loves humans flesh) returns home. Each visit Jack steals a treasure of the giants when they slumber, first gold, second a goose that lays golden eggs and finally an enchanted harp. The harp however cries out when he steals her and awakens the giant who chases Jack. The boy is able to escape down the beanstalk and getting his axe chops down the plant, sending the giant falling to his death and Jack and his mother to live out their days in wealth.
A number of tales have male character who similar names, Germany has Hans/Hansel, Russia has Ivan and English has Jack, which is why a number of characters with similar names appear but are otherwise unrelated, however a number of linked characters have been cited such as the Brave Little Tailor or of big know Jack the Giant Killer.
The Little Match Girl
Escape into the Wilds
While not one for one, Baked into a Pie is confirmed to be a nod to what could be the darkest fairy tale. A woman has a daughter with a wealthy man who also had a son from his first wife. Wanting her daughter, Marlinchen, to be the heir, the woman decided to kill her stepson. When he comes home from school one day she told him there was an apple, his favorite treat, in a chest for him and he just needed to poke his head in to get. When he does, she smashes the chest lid down on him cutting off his head. She then set up the body so when her daughter returned home she would knock into it and the woman then blamed the daughter of killing her brother. Tricking her daughter into helping her this way, the woman cuts up the boy and makes his meat stew and his blood sausage which she fed to the husband and forces the daughter to hide the bones under the Juniper tree. A bird appears from the branches and sings
"My mother she killed me
My father he ate me
And my sister Marlinchen
Was made to clean
My bones and put them under the The Juniper Tree
What a pretty bird am I".
The bird sang this three times, once to a jeweler, once to a banker and once to a miller. The Jeweler gives the bird a necklace, the banker gold and the miller a large millstone for the song. Returning home the bird sings his song and lures out his family. For the sister the bird gives her the necklace, the father the gold and finally drops the mill stone on the mother killing her. When the stone breaks they find the boy restored to life.
The Little Mermaid
Wishful Merfolk Sorcerous Spyglass Charming Prince Beloved Princess
A poor girl is forced out on New Years Eve by her cruel family to sell matches. Cold and in the dark the girl starts to light matches to have light to warm up a bit. Each flame showed her a visions, first a warm fire, next a great feast and finally her grandmother the only person who ever showed her love. In the final vision the grandmother welcomes the girl in her arms. On New Year's day the townsfolk find the body of the girl frozen, but with a smile clutching all the matched she had burned. (Not sure if this is a direct reference but I believe this card is a nod to this tale).
Little Red Riding Hood
My personal favorite fairy tale after the Oz books is The Little Mermaid. A mermaid falls in love with a human prince after saving him from drowning. Talking to her grandmother the mermaid learns that mermaids don't have legs or souls. The mermaid goes to the sea witch asking if she could get legs and a soul. The mermaid trades her voice (by cutting out her tongue) for a potion that will give her legs but each step will feel like stepping on thousands of swords. For a soul the witch tells the mermaid that the mermaid will gain one when she and the prince marry, however if he weds another the mermaid will die when the sun rises the next day. The mermaid takes the deal and goes on lands becoming a human. He befriends the prince however he refuses to marry anyone but a convent maiden who found him on the beach the mermaid had left him and credits her for saving him from drowning. Sadly when meeting a princess from another kingdom, the prince finds out the princess and convent maiden where one and the same so they wed. That night on the ship home the mermaid sees her sisters, bald, coming up from the tides. THe sisters had traded their hair for a dagger and if the mermaid used it to kill the prince she could get her tail back and return to the sea. However, the mermaid couldn't do it and instead jumps off the ship as the sun rises. The mermaid becomes an angel like spirit and is told if she can help enough children behave themselves she will earn a soul and ascended into heaven.
Rowan Wicked Wolf Fierce Witchstalker
Food Token Garruk, Cursed Huntsman
The Pied Piper of Hamelin
Piper of the Swarm
Once a girl wore a red hood (or in the Grimms version a cap) that was made for her by her grandmother so she called Little Red Riding Hood. one day the girls mother told her to go into the woods to her grandmother's house, to say on the path and don't talk to strangers. Red breaks this however when she talks to wolf about where she is going and the wolf talks her into going off the path to get flowers. The wolf then goes to the grandmothers and pretending to be the girl he breaks in and eats the grandmother (some version even have him cook the grandmother into stew and her blood as wine which he feeds Red). Disguising himself as her, the wolf tricks the girl into getting closer to him and like the grandmother eats her as well. Older version ended here but other have huntsman come by and saving the grandmother and Red by cutting them out of the wolf.
The Grimms has a part 2 (which might have been another version) where a second wolf tires to trick Red, but learning her lesson, Red outwits the wolf and warns her grandmother. Similar to the three pigs they realized the wolf is gonna try to come through the chimney so they put a giant pot of water under to drown/boil the beast.
, Rat token
Claim the Firstborn Beloved Princess Trapped in the Tower Wicked Guardian Charming Prince
Pied Piper of Hamelin is a story of a mysterious man dressed in multicolored clothes appeared and offered to rid the town of Hamelin when they have a rat problem. The Pipers magic song rids the town of rate but the town either refuses to pay him or doesn't pay in full. In retaliation the Piper used his song to kidnap the towns children with many version a child who is deaf, has a hurt/bad leg and/or was too young to keep up with everyone is often left behind as a witness to tell the adult of the town. Creepy this story is traced to a phrase written down in real world Hamelin in 1384 "It is 100 years since our children left".
Beloved Princess Charming Prince Spinning Wheel Rankle, Master of Pranks Claim the Firstborn
A pregnant woman asked her husband to get her some Rapunzel leave from there neighbor next-door who was a witch. The husband tries to steal some Rapunzel plant but gets caught by the witch. In exchange for the plant the man promises his baby to the witch. The babies a little girl who the witch names Rapunzel after the leaves and when the girl is become a maiden the witch takes her away to a tower with no doors and only a single window at the top. In order to get in and out the witch would have Rapunzel use her golden hair as a rope and loop it around a hook in order for the witch to get up and down when she said a certain phrase. One day at a prince witness the witch coming up and down the tower and mimicking her he has Rapunzel let her hair down for him to climb up. The prince and Rapunzel start a romance and on building a rope for Rapunzel to escape. One day Rapunzel accidentally let slip what's been happening to the witch. In the Grimm brothers version she asked the witch unthinkingly why takes the witch longer for her to climb up the tower. In older version she instead ask the witch why her stomach has become so swollen and her clothes don't fit, signs of pregnancy. Breathe which cuts off Rapunzel long hair and vanished is her to a desert. When the prince comes to visit Rapunzel next he climbs up the hair to sign the witch. Which tells them what she did to Rapunzel. After that the witch either pushes the prints out the tower window or in despair the prince jams and lands into the thorns ticket below where the Doris pierce his eyes black thing. Blind the prince wanders around until finally he comes up on a desert where Rapunzel and her twins where. Finding her prince after so many years Rapunzel wept in joy and as her tears fall on the princes eyes they were restored. The prince took Rapunzel and the twins out of the desert to live with him in him palace.
Faerie Guidemother Beloved Princess Spinning Wheel Charmed Sleep Charming Prince True Love's Kiss Wicked Guardian
As per Maro Rankle is a nod to the character Rumpelstiltskin. When a Miller brags about his daughter spinning straw into gold, the king forces her to do the task or die. Up to three times she has to do this and each time a little man would appear and offer to spin the straw into gold for payment, ending with her first born child. Well the King is impressed with the Miller's daughter and marries her to his son and within a year she gets pregnant. Trying to keep her child the little man says if she can guess his name he will leave her alone. The Miller's daughter sends knights out to look for names and one happens to find the little man saying his name, Rumpelstiltskin. When the Miller daughter meets with the little man she guesses his name keeping her child. In rage Rumpelstiltskin tears himself in half.
The Snow Queen
Magic Mirror Royal Scions Queen of Ice
Once there was a king and queen who had trouble having a child but finally the queen gets pregnant. On the baptism the king and queen invite fairies but forget to invite one of them. The fairies arrive, noteable the one they forgot to invite who was upset at the slight. The fairies each give the princess a blessing, until the univinted fairy lays a curse on the princess so that she would prick her finger on a spinning wheel at 16 and die. One fairy had yet to put her blessing and while she couldn't uncurse the princess, she was able to change the death part into a charmed sleep that could be awakened after 100 years. As prophesied at 16 the princess fell into a sleep. Some versions have the kingdom join her so that she wouldn't be alone when she woke up. 100 years pass and a prince comes by the princess. Modern version he wakes up with a kiss. Older version however basically has him rape him as she sleeps and awakens when she gives birth.
Older versions have a second part where the prince brings the princess and their children to live with him. His (step) mother who is of an ogre ancestry tries to have her grandchildren and daughter-in-law killed and cooked but is tricked by the cooks and is killed when her (step) son returns.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Magic Mirror Wicked Guardian Beloved Princess Garruk, Cursed Huntsman Seven Dwarves Tempting Witch Foreboding Fruit Taste of Death Charmed Sleep Glass Casket Charming Prince True Loves Kiss
The Snow Queen is another tale written by Hans Christen Anderson. The queen of winter and frost finds a young boy named Kai who has been infected with shards of a magic mirror that makes his eyes only see the bad in people and his heart turned to ice. She kidnaps the boy and makes him live in her ice palace only allows to leave if he can spell a certain word in ice. Thankfully Kai is saved by his friend Greta who journeyed to save him (which is what most of the story tells). Her love for her friend melted the shards of the mirror in Kai and dancing in join they solved the Snow Queens puzzle letting the pair leave to return home.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Overwhelmed Apprentice Sorcerer's Broom
A vain queen asks a magic mirror each day if she is the fairet of all. Each day the mirror would tell her yes until the day the princess Snow White came of age. The Queen (sometimes Snow White bio mom) would send a huntsman to kill the girl and put her heart in a box (which she plans to eat). The huntsman can't bring himself to kill the girl and Snow flees into the woods where she finds safety with seven dwarf siblings. However, the queen finds out and three times tries to kill Snow. First time she uses a poisoned comb, second she ties the girls clothing so tight it nearly strangled her and finally the poisoned apple. First two times the dwarfs are able to save Snow but the last time they can't see whas wrong. They put her in a glass coffin and later a prince happens by. In modern version he gives Snow a true loves kiss to awaken her but in the original tale(s) the prince takes the coffin and attaches it to his carriage. Along the way it knocks out the bit of apple in Snow awakening her and her and the prince wed. The queen asks her mirror if she is still the fairest and the mirror tells her a new queen is. Going to see this new queen, the evil queen is shocked to find its Snow and is forced to wear red hot iron shoes and "danced until she died".
The Three Billy Goats Gruff
These two cards sum up the poem The Sorcerer's Apprentice popularly adapted in Disney's Fantasia. A Master Sorcerer leave his Apprentice chores to do for the day and the Apprentice decides to enchant the broom he has to fetch water for him. However the Apprentice doesn't have the power to stop the brooms and tries to axe them to pieces, which only results in each part to reform into a new broom to fetch water. Luckily the Master returns and is able to stop the brooms.
Also of note was Disney and Hasbro's partnership for the 2010 film version of The Sorcerer's Apprentice in which magic cards proper were made for the film featuring the antagonistic celebrity Drake Stone.
Goat Token Gluttonous Troll
Three Little Pigs
Three goats brothers must run out food and must cross a bridge,to a new meadow. The bridge however ishome to a gluttonous troll. The first two goats are able to convince the troll that the largest and oldest goat would be a much better meal. Then the third came on the bridge, he rammed the troll into the water below killing the monster.
Boar Token Wicked Wolf Fierce Witchstalker Blow your House Down
Three little pigs (who are either brothers or friends) each build a house. The first two are kinda lazy and only build houses of straw and sticks while the last hard working pig makes a house of bricks. This comes into play when the/a big bad wolf comes by and blowing down the houses of the first two pigs either eats them or they escape to the third pigs house. Unable to blow the pigs house down the wolf tries to break into through a chimney instead only to land in a pot of boiling water set there by the third pig hearing the wolf on the roof, who drowns/boils alive the wolf.
Dance of the Manse
This imagery heavily draws from the idea of a coven of three witches/powerful women such as the Weird Sisters from Macbeth or the Fates from greek myth. They are mostly tied with the concept of fate. Looks like Eldraines witches do the same returning a knight from his fated death.
Dance of the Manse seems to be a nod to the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast. In their version the Beasts servants are enchanted into living household objects and knick knacks that move around the Beasts palace. Fun enough this was rooted in the original tale where either the servants where turned invisible, intangible and mute (or the palace was enchanted) and seemed if things moved on their own.
Lonesome Unicorn seems to be a reference to the fairy tales like story The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. In the tale a unicorn learns that the rest of her kind has gone missing and seeks out to see if she really is the last unicorn. Through the tales the unicorn in time meets and has a love story with a prince knight named Lir, which I believe is what the knight token nod is.
The cutest token of the set is a nod to the mice of Disney's version of Cinderella where she has talking mice friends who help her sew a dress for the ball, become the white horse who take Cinderella to the ball and finally help save Cinderella escape from her tower. While the imagery is clearly a disney nod, Cinderella and other fairy tale protagonists often do have animals allies who help them in their tasks and trials often as a result of the protagonist showing the creature kindness before hand.
Oko, Thief of Crowns
A loose reference here Mad Ratter is pun of the Alice in Wonderland character Mad Hatter who was in an endless tea party with a dormouse and a marsh hare keeping sharing the goblins affinity for rodents.
Robin Hood and His Merry Men
Robber of the Rich Outlaws' Merriment
Similar to Garruk and the Kenrith twins, Oko also plays in trope spaces, thought more into medieval english lore with Oko play the trickster fay character. From making cursed food, to transforming others, to even having an almost alien view of morality and other emotions by playing his cruel "pranks". From his looks he clear seems inspired from Puck and Oberon from shakespeare A Midsummers Nights Dream. His source inspiration being somewhat related but still not quite the fairy tale or arthurian legends of the plane also help great, letting Oko fit in somewhat while still feeling alien as a planeswalker to the world.
A folklore hero and skilled archer, Robin of Loxley also known as Robin Hood was a noble man who was driven into being an outlaw by the King abusing power (often cited as King John), who "steals from the rich and give to the poor". He is joined by a group of friends, most popular (seen in the tokens from Outlaws' Merriment Friar Tuck, Little John,Will Scarlett and love interest Maid Marian
While the card itself isn't a reference, the art is clearly inspired from the iconic sword fight between Prince Philip and Maleficent in Disney's version of Sleeping Beauty. As a child of the 90s I grew up on VHS disney and I can still remember of intense and action filled this was, cheering at the as the fairies help Phil strike the killing blow
"Oh sword of truth fly swift and sure, let evil die and good endure"
Wish Claw Talisman
A pun on the traditional "wishing well" where in folklore if you make a wish over the well (often with a coin offering) your wish would come true.
A little out there but this a top design card based on the monkey's paw. The tale goes a family get a monkey's paw which grants wishes but always in the twisted way. First the family wises for money and a day later their son dies in a factory accident and they get money to compensate. Wishes the son back alive the family instead get him as a mangled zombie until the third wish is used to send him away. Like the story this money will grant your wish but as well as your opponents.