I've spent the weekend pondering the state of enchanted forests. In literature, they seem to be thriving. I don't think climate change and population growth has really affected forests of the enchanted type. The most recent example is in the current Smurfs movie. Last Friday, I took five kids to see this soon-to-be box office classic, and was distracted right off the bat when the narrator described the Smurfs home as an "enchanted forest."
I realized I didn't know exactly what made their forest "enchanted." Seriously, I live in Colorado which is a state filled with forests - 24.4 million acres to be exact. Colorado forests are beautiful, fun, full of adventure, but enchanted? I'm not so sure.
As I begun thinking about the definition of the term "enchanted forest," I thought of all the times in literature, these magical forests exist. Usually, the term is used in the beginning of a story as a way to describe the setting or to set-up the story. What if these stories were submitted to editors today? Editors everywhere would do a collective eye-roll and mumble "Really,another enchanted forests?" Then, the stories would march straight to the reject pile.
So, what is an "enchanted forest?" I consulted the current source for all things wordy - Wikipedia. Didn't our go-to source used to be Websters? When did that change? Anyways, Wikipedia states an enchanted forest is "a forest under, or containing enchantments." I learned these forests "can be a place of threatening danger, or one of refuge or a chance at adventure." (That's not much different from real life forests.) These forests were featured as places of magic and danger in folklore from areas where local wild land was forested. Enchanted forests have been featured in a wide range type of stories, myths, and fables. These include:
* Smurfs - Since the movie is the whole reason behind this post, I have to list it.
* Hansel and Greta's forest contained a witch.
* Beauty and the Beast - Beauty father is lost in a forest.
* Snow White - She escaped her stepmom by running to a forest filled with dwarfs.
* The Wizard of Oz - The dangerous part of Oz was in a forest.
* Harry Potter - The nearby magical forest is forbidden.
* Shrek - What better place for an Ogre and talking donkey to live?
So, who knew a movie about little blue people would launch me into a weekend of research about enchanted forests, and then write a lengthy blog post on the topic? There are worse things a person can do with their time, and in the end, I find these magical forests to be simply enchanting.