You can't judge a book by its cover, unless it's a fantasy book, in which case you can and should judge the book characters by their outward appearances (also, the actual book covers are amazing). You'll have no trouble finding dumb fat characters, wise slender queens, and ugly evil warriors in otherwise inventive fantasy works, since everyone looks like on the outside what they are on the inside.
We get that in stories with a billion characters, you need some kind of visual shorthand to let the audience know who they want to die. It's only natural to utilize humans' inherent bias against gross people and scary animals. If you're partaking in the Dungeons & Dragons universe via some format or the other and run into one of the beholders, you're not going to be confused as to what to do next.
Wizards Of The Coast
"Do I have a spell that will destroy this entire dungeon? Including us?"
But even weirder, you can also tell who's evil based on who has a scar or other deformity.
New Line Cinema, Lucasfilm, Walt Disney Pictures
It seems only good guys have the 'Try not to get slashed in the face' instinct.
And that's not even including horror movies where Freddy Kreuger, Jason Vorhees, and Leatherface all parlay gross facial deformities into a life of psychopathy. Lesson learned: If you accidentally poured a pot of hot water on your head as a kid, or walked into a tree branch, you will probably end up trying to murder a hero at some point.
Meanwhile, if you do have a beautiful female villain (often in the guise of a vain and jealous queen), there's a significant chance it will turn out they're hiding their "true" face. Right before death, the spell will be broken and we'll get to see how old and ugly they truly are. It happens to the evil queen in Snow White And the Huntsman ...
Though we can kind of empathize if, as soon as the magic wears off, you instantly turn into female Gary Busey.
Morgana in Excalibur:
And the cruel stepmother in Tangled. Of course, at this point, we could talk about how you can judge how heroic a fantasy race is by their attractiveness (elves vs orcs, or how any race that looks like reptiles are bad guys), but that's a whole other can of worms that we've discussed before. We suppose it's no big deal -- aside from, you know, the fact that trying to create visual shorthand to identify who to hate is pretty much the root of every horrible thing that's ever happened in the real world.
In addition to badmouthing fantasy, Ark Tolei also writes stories under a female pseudonym to evade elvish assassins and plays video games for the internet.
For more reasons we shouldn't get our life lessons from fiction, check out 8 Dark Life Lessons Kids Learn From Pixar Films and 7 Classic Disney Movies That Taught Us Terrible Lessons.
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