Differences between Anime’s version of Bluebeard and the story that inspired it

; its eponymous character, a Frenchman who has that name because of the colour of his beard although for those who have not read the tale, it may come as appalling to know that despite his name being the title of the fairy tale, he is in fact, the villain. He is known for having married many times but all his wives have disappeared. When he is married again, his wife discovers that he murdered her predecessors and attempts to avoid death at his hands, prompting her brothers to successfully rescue her and kill him.

The French folktale Bluebeard by Charles Perrault is perhaps one fairy tale where we can already guess why it is called so; the eponymous character, a Frenchman with a blue-coloured beard, is (ironically) a notorious villain who has a dark history of marrying and murdering his wives. His latest wife, upon discovering his sinister deeds, seeks to escape, leading her brothers to successfully rescue her and put an end to Bluebeard’s life.

The story has been adapted for film and television numerous times but has never followed the tale closely. While Disney is still to bring the fairy tale to life, the Anime series ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tale Classics’ featured the story of Bluebeard with perhaps more differences than there have been regarding the story that inspired it.



  • The tale never began with Bluebeard killing one of his wives. In fact, it is not even known why Bluebeard killed the woman who was allegedly his wife in the first place. Some scholars theorize that his first wife may have been killed for defying his restriction on curiosity. The story has been likened to the tale of Pandora and the Garden of Eden where temptation of women has been met with dire consequences. Bluebeard simply made up stories as to how his previous wives died such as a deadly disease consuming one or the plague taking up another fatally.
  • In the story, Bluebeard met his new wife through his neighbour who was her father and while most of his daughters are afraid to marry him when he asks for one of their hands in marriage, Adriane, the daugter who choses him in the process defies her family’s wishes, especially her (closest) sister Anne’s, and agrees to marry him despite her brothers’ objections. In the television series, Adriane is named Josephine and comes from a woodcutting family living in a forest. Bluebeard, knowing her dream of marrying a prince, decides to marry her. In the book, Adriane declares her love for Bluebeard and accepts his proposal at a banquet. Critics believe that the feast symbolizes the banquet in the original tale. In the TV series, Bluebeard sends his servant to fetch Adriane, offering her brothers a bag of gold, but they decline. Eventually, Adriane decides to go willingly. This is thought to align with the original story where Bluebeard considered multiple women as potential suitors, but Adriane ultimately chooses him.
  • Bluebeard does not give Adrianne the same meal each night in the original story neither is the food improperly prepared according to her and not (according to) him. Also Adrianne never fussed about what dresses she wore when going to dinner with her husband.
  • In the original story, Adriane had two brothers, not three and they were not woodcutters.
  • Adriane knows nothing about the other rooms, even the forbidden one on the day that she comes to her new husband’s home. Also her wedding to Bluebeard never occurred at his palace itself but rather before coming there.
  • Before Bluebeard heads off on business, he gives his wife the keys to each room in the palace except for one which is forbidden to use on a door she cannot enter into. However, unlike the television series, the forbidden room’s key was not gold or kept separate from the other keys. It is also not revealed in full detail as to what exactly Adriane saw when she entered the rooms except (before) the forbidden one but simply says they were wonders of all kinds.
  • There is no mention or appearance of Adriane’s sister Anne or her other sisters or friends and unlike the original story, a party involving them thrown by Adriane does not take place although it is on that day that she is overcome with the desire to see what is in the forbidden room and unwillingly breaks her husband’s trust to not go into the room, as a result, seeing the dead bodies of his previous spouses.
  • In the story, there were no white roses in the forbidden room that immediately reddened when Adriane walked in and discovered the dead bodies of Bluebeard’s previous wives although being a magical key in both the book and the television series, it manages to catch some blood and as a result will not wash off no matter how hard she tries to do so in order to rid herself of the evidence that she went into the room. Also the room was simply a bloodbath when she entered and the flow of blood was not triggered by the falling of roses’ petals.
  • None of the roses in Bluebeard’s castle were magical and thus were not triggered into their redness by Adriane defying her husband’s orders to keep unlocked and unvisited the forbidden room although much like in the original story, he does return somewhat unexpectedly but only after four days when he said his visit away would be longer.
  • In the story, Adriane confines herself in her room and refuses or eat or drink because she is too busy trying to clean blood off the key to the forbidden room, an act that is carried out for the same period of days that he husband is away although she tells no one why she is not coming out or eating and simply says that she will not eat until her husband is back home again despite them bringing food to her room which she does sometimes eat.
  • Adriane’s brothers do not seek to pay a visit to her to see how she is doing but in the book do so because they do not approve of Bluebeard being her husband and are hoping to expose him as a cruel man which they do in the end, thanks to their deduction of him. Fortunately there are hints of this in the television series as well.
  • When Bluebeard returns home in the original story, Adriane pretends to have lost the key to the forbidden room in order save herself. He asks when returning to see her why she is looking so worried and if it has come from him returning so soon and she replies that it has to do with her having lost that key to which he asks her to go and get which she does but in both the story and the television series, he realizes she has defied him thanks to seeing the unremovable bloodstains on the key and must die for it.
  • During her visit to Adrianne, her sister Anne has tried to persuade her multiple times to leave her husband which she evidently refuses although by the time she has decided to do so, it is too late for he wishes to kill her for defying him by entering the forbidden room where the dead bodies of his earlier wives are, although this feat is not present in the television series. Another aspect not present is Adriane asking for a last prayer (with her sister) before Bluebeard is ready to kill his wife which he seems to respect. Also by this time, the rest of their sisters have already left.
  • In the story, the arrival of Adriane’s brothers to pay a co-incidental visit to their brother-in-law to expose him as an evil person are signalled indirectly by their other sister Anne to save her and their sister from Bluebeard while in the television series, the brothers are visiting to see how Anne is doing although their purpose becomes concern for her due to bad weather affecting the castle, although in the original story, there was no rough weather on that day and thus lightning and fire from it could not have affected the woods or the castle for that matter.
  • When Bluebeard is about to deliver the deathblow to his wife, her brothers charge in by knocking down the castle gate and then its doors where they fall upon Bluebeard and stab him to death. However in the television series, they crash through a window on seeing their sister in danger believingly from the fire that has stemmed from the storm outside and upon seeing their sister in danger, standing between her and Bluebeard, they finish him off with their axes before escaping the castle with Adrianne.
  • Unlike the television series, in the original story, Adriane’s brothers are swordsmen, one a dragoon, the other a musketeer. Both of them fight (and kill) Bluebeard although in some versions, he uses a double-bladed sword and is able to kill one of them much to the anguish of his other siblings and the other brother, as enraged and anguished as his sisters, uses his hatred of Bluebeard to an advantage in order to sever Bluebeard’s weapon in two and kill him before escaping with his sisters. Such a pattern may (or may not) have served as (an) inspiration for the climactic duel of The Phantom Menace, a film set 32 years before the events of the original Star Wars.
  • It is unknown what happens to Bluebeard’s servants and the people who work for him in both the original story and the television series although in the latter, it is implied that they died with him when the castle burnt although nothing happened to the castle in the story.
  • Because Bluebeard had no heirs both in the story and the television series, Adriane became the sole owner of his estate which is burnt down by bad weather in the latter.
  • What does not occur in the television series is that, following the acquisition of her abusive and evil husband’s estate, Adriane used some of his wealth to marry her favourite sister Anne off to a man she loved for years and to help her brothers receive captain’s commissions. Later whatever remains of the wealth, she uses to give a proper (Christian) burial to Bluebeard’s other wives while she marries and settles down with an honest and kind man who helps her to forget the terrible time she had with Bluebeard although she never became curious ever again.

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