I wanted to look at the traditional story of Rapunzel and I was primarily interested by the relationship between the witch and the girl
The witch is not a stereotypical fairy story witch. She has a name, Mother Gothel (apparently a generic term in Germany usually used to designate a godmother). She doesn’t appear to use magic – spells, incantations etc – in the course of the narrative. She obviously has power, or the peasant family wouldn’t have handed over their daughter. She has enough influence to get away with this and keeping her for twelve years before keeping her locked up for a few more. And she probably has wealth, building a tall tower/castle in the middle of a wood, even in medieval Europe, wouldn’t come cheap.
She presumably cared for the girl. It’s not like the stories of Baba Yaga or Hansel and Gretel where the object was to eat the child. Rapunzel was looked after until she reached puberty then was locked into the tower, presumably to preserve her innocence. The witch, to her way of thinking, was protecting her (medieval Europe not being a particularly safe place for young girls). It makes me wonder about the witches own history.
None of these ideas have been backed up by research. They are purely based on what I know, half remember and have assumed. But given that I am responding to an unread piece of buried writing which in turn alludes to a handed down fairy tale I don’t feel that the facts need get in the way of a good story.
The tall format (and embossing on the cover) references the tower. I wanted to use the concertina format to play with the idea of stories having different interpretations and readers bringing their own viewpoint to the narrative. How you fold the book influences alters the visible image and these can be read in different ways.
The witch and Rapunzel
Together inside the tower encircled by the dangers outside
The outcome of the relationship between Rapunzel and the prince
The cyclical nature of the story. In the original Rapunzel became pregnant. Does Rapunzel become the older woman trying to protect her child? (I decided in the end to use soft covers on the book so that they don’t intrude when it is viewed as a circle)