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The brothers were born in the town of Hanau in Hesse-Cassel now Germany and spent most of their childhood in the nearby town of Steinau. Their father's death in impoverished the family and affected the brothers for many years after.

They attended the University of Marburg where they began a lifelong dedication to researching the early history of German language and literature, including German folktales. The rise of Romanticism during the 18th century had revived interest in traditional folk stories, which to the Grimms and their colleagues represented a pure form of national literature and culture.

The Brothers Grimm established a methodology for collecting and recording folk stories that became the basis for folklore studies. Between the first edition of , and the seventh and final edition of , they revised their collection many times, so that it grew from stories to more than Individually, they published a large body of linguistic and literary scholarship.

Many of Grimms' folk tales have enjoyed enduring popularity. The tales are available in more than languages and have been adapted by filmmakers including Lotte Reiniger and Walt Disney , with films such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Sleeping Beauty. During the s and 40s, the tales were used as propaganda by the Third Reich ; later in the 20th century psychologists such as Bruno Bettelheim reaffirmed the value of the work, in spite of the cruelty and violence in original versions of some of the tales, which the Grimms eventually sanitized.

The family became prominent members of the community, residing in a large home surrounded by fields. Biographer Jack Zipes writes that the brothers were happy in Steinau and "clearly fond of country life". In , Philipp Grimm died of pneumonia, plunging his family into poverty, and they were forced to relinquish their servants and large house. Dorothea depended on financial support from her father and sister, first lady-in-waiting at the court of William I, Elector of Hesse.

Jacob was the eldest living son, and he was forced at age 11 to assume adult responsibilities shared with Wilhelm for the next two years. The two boys adhered to the advice of their grandfather, who continually exhorted them to be industrious. The brothers left Steinau and their family in to attend the Friedrichsgymnasium in Kassel , which had been arranged and paid for by their aunt.

By then, they were without a male provider their grandfather died that year , forcing them to rely entirely on each other, and they became exceptionally close. The two brothers differed in temperament; Jacob was introspective and Wilhelm was outgoing although he often suffered from ill-health. Sharing a strong work ethic, they excelled in their studies. In Kassel, they became acutely aware of their inferior social status relative to "high-born" students who received more attention. Still, each brother graduated at the head of his class: Jacob in and Wilhelm in After graduation from the Friedrichsgymnasium , the brothers attended the University of Marburg.

The university was small with about students and there they became painfully aware that students of lower social status were not treated equally.

They were disqualified from admission because of their social standing and had to request dispensation to study law. Wealthier students received stipends, but the brothers were excluded even from tuition aid. Their poverty kept them from student activities or university social life; ironically, however, their outsider status worked in their favor, and they pursued their studies with extra vigor.

The brothers were inspired by their law professor Friedrich von Savigny , who awakened in them an interest in history and philology , and they turned to studying medieval German literature. Through Savigny and his circle of friends— German romantics such as Clemens Brentano and Ludwig Achim von Arnim —the Grimms were introduced to the ideas of Johann Gottfried Herder , who thought that German literature should revert to simpler forms, which he defined as Volkspoesie natural poetry as opposed to Kunstpoesie artistic poetry.

Jacob was still financially responsible for his mother, brother, and younger siblings in , so he accepted a post in Paris as research assistant to von Savigny. On his return to Marburg, he was forced to abandon his studies to support the family, whose poverty was so extreme that food was often scarce.

He took a job with the Hessian War Commission. In a letter written to his aunt at this time, Wilhelm wrote of their circumstances, "We five people eat only three portions and only once a day". Jacob found full-time employment in when he was appointed court librarian to the King of Westphalia and went on to become librarian in Kassel. He arranged and paid for his brother Ludwig 's studies at art school and for Wilhelm's extended visit to Halle to seek treatment for heart and respiratory ailments, following which Wilhelm joined Jacob as librarian in Kassel.

According to Jack Zipes, at this point "the Grimms were unable to devote all their energies to their research and did not have a clear idea about the significance of collecting folk tales in this initial phase. During their employment as librarians—which paid little but afforded them ample time for research—the brothers experienced a productive period of scholarship, publishing a number of books between and In , Wilhelm married Henriette Dorothea Dortchen Wild, a long-time family friend and one of a group who supplied them with stories.

Jacob never married but continued to live in the household with Wilhelm and Dortchen. During the next seven years, the brothers continued to research, write, and publish. The two brothers taught German studies at the university, becoming well-respected in the newly established discipline. The s were a period of political upheaval and peasant revolt in Germany, leading to the movement for democratic reform known as Young Germany. For refusing to sign the oath, the seven professors were dismissed and three were deported from Hanover, including Jacob who went to Kassel.

He was later joined there by Wilhelm, Dortchen, and their four children. The brothers were without income in and again in extreme financial difficulty, so they began what became a lifelong project: The brothers again depended on friends and supporters for financial assistance and influence in finding employment.

In addition to teaching posts, the Academy of Sciences offered them stipends to continue their research. Once they had established their household in Berlin, they directed their efforts towards the work on the German dictionary and continued to publish their research. After the Revolutions of in the German states , the brothers were elected to the civil parliament.

Jacob became a prominent member of the National Assembly at Mainz. In the late s, Jacob resigned his university position and saw the publication of The History of the German Language Geschichte der deutschen Sprache. Wilhelm continued at his university post until After retiring from teaching, the brothers devoted themselves to the German Dictionary for the rest of their lives.

He continued work on the dictionary until his own death in Zipes writes of the Grimm brothers' dictionary and of their very large body of work: The rise of romanticism , Romantic nationalism , and trends in valuing popular culture in the early 19th century revived interest in fairy tales, which had declined since their lateth-century peak. They collected and published tales as a reflection of German cultural identity.

In the first collection, though, they included Charles Perrault 's tales, published in Paris in and written for the literary salons of an aristocratic French audience.

Scholar Lydie Jean says that Perrault created a myth that his tales came from the common people and reflected existing folklore to justify including them—even though many of them were original. Versions of tales differ from region to region, "picking up bits and pieces of local culture and lore, drawing a turn of phrase from a song or another story and fleshing out characters with features taken from the audience witnessing their performance.

However, as Tatar explains, the Grimms appropriated stories as being uniquely German, such as " Little Red Riding Hood ", which had existed in many versions and regions throughout Europe, because they believed that such stories were reflections of Germanic culture. When Jacob returned to Marburg from Paris in , their friend Brentano sought the brothers' help in adding to his collection of folk tales, at which time the brothers began to gather tales in an organized fashion.

These tales were heavily modified in transcription, and many had roots in previously written sources. It is the earliest extant version of the Grimms' collection and has become a valuable source to scholars studying the development of the Grimms' collection from the time of its inception. The manuscript was published in and again in The brothers gained a reputation for collecting tales from peasants, although many tales came from middle-class or aristocratic acquaintances.

Wilhelm's wife Dortchen Wild and her family, with their nursery maid, told the brothers some of the more well-known tales, such as " Hansel and Gretel " and " Sleeping Beauty ". Despite her middle-class background, in the first English translation she was characterized as a peasant and given the name Gammer Gretel. According to scholars such as Ruth Bottigheimer and Maria Tatar , some of the tales probably originated in written form during the medieval period with writers such as Straparola and Boccaccio , but were modified in the 17th century and again rewritten by the Grimms.

Moreover, Tatar writes that the brothers' goal of preserving and shaping the tales as something uniquely German at a time of French occupation was a form of "intellectual resistance" and, in so doing, they established a methodology for collecting and preserving folklore that set the model followed later by writers throughout Europe during periods of occupation.

From onward, the brothers added to the collection. Jacob established the framework, maintained through many iterations; from until his death, Wilhelm assumed sole responsibility for editing and rewriting the tales. He made the tales stylistically similar, added dialogue, removed pieces "that might detract from a rustic tone", improved the plots, and incorporated psychological motifs. He believes that Wilhelm "gleaned" bits from old Germanic faiths , Norse mythology, Roman and Greek mythology , and biblical stories that he reshaped.

Over the years, Wilhelm worked extensively on the prose and expanded and added detail to the stories, to the point that many grew to twice the length they were in the earliest published editions. After , he began writing for children children were not initially considered the primary audience , adding entirely new tales or adding new elements to existing tales, elements that were often strongly didactic.

Some changes were made in light of unfavorable reviews, particularly from those who objected that not all the tales were suitable for children because of scenes of violence and sexuality. The Grimms' legacy contains legends, novellas , and folk stories, the vast majority of which were not intended as children's tales. Von Armin was deeply concerned about the content of some of the tales, such as those that showed children being eaten, and suggested that they be removed.

Instead, the brothers added an introduction with cautionary advice that parents steer children toward age-appropriate stories. Despite von Armin's unease, none of the tales were eliminated from the collection, in the brothers' belief that all the tales were of value and reflected inherent cultural qualities.

For example, in the Grimms' original version of " Snow White ", the Queen is Little Snow White's mother, not her stepmother, yet even so she orders her Huntsman to kill Snow White her biological daughter and bring home the child's lungs and liver so that she can eat them.

The story ends with the Queen mother dancing at Snow White's wedding wearing a pair of red-hot iron shoes that kill her. To some extent, the cruelty and violence may have been a reflection of medieval culture from which the tales originated, such as scenes of witches burning, as described in " The Six Swans ". Tales with a spinning motif are broadly represented in the collection. In her essay "Tale Spinners: Submerged Voices in Grimms' Fairy Tales", children's literature scholar Bottigheimer explains that these stories reflect the degree to which spinning was crucial in the life of women in the 19th century and earlier.

Spinning, and particularly the spinning of flax , was commonly performed in the home by women. Many stories begin by describing the occupation of a main character, as in "There once was a miller", yet spinning is never mentioned as an occupation, probably because the brothers did not consider it an occupation. Instead, spinning was a communal activity, frequently performed in a Spinnstube spinning room , a place where women most likely kept the oral traditions alive by telling stories while engaged in tedious work.

The tales were also criticized for being insufficiently German, which influenced the tales that the brothers included as well as their use of language. Some critics such as Alistair Hauke use Jungian analysis to say that the deaths of the brothers' father and grandfather are the reason for the Grimms' tendency to idealize and excuse fathers, as well as the predominance of female villains in the tales, such as the wicked stepmother and stepsisters in "Cinderella", but this disregards the fact that they were collectors, not authors of the tales.

The collection includes 41 tales about siblings, which Zipes says are representative of Jacob and Wilhelm. Many of the sibling stories follow a simple plot where the characters lose a home, work industriously at a specific task and, in the end, find a new home. The Large editions contained all the tales collected to date, extensive annotations, and scholarly notes written by the brothers; the Small editions had only 50 tales and were intended for children.

Jacob and Wilhelm's younger brother Emil Grimm illustrated the Small editions, adding Christian symbolism to the drawings, such as depicting Cinderella's mother as an angel, and adding a Bible to the bedside table of Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother. The first volume was published in with 86 folk tales, [22] and a second volume with 70 additional tales was published late in dated on the title page ; together, the two volumes and their tales are considered the first of the Large annotated editions.

The seventh and final edition of contained tales— numbered folk tales and eleven legends.

FSM: The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (Leigh Harline)

Batman in The Long Halloween. He spends most of the story chasing around after whatever supervillain is around for each chapter. He doesn't save any of the victims from the Holiday killer, he doesn't save Harvey Dent from becoming Two-Face and he only catches the killer by getting Sal Maroni killed by him. There's a comic book where Sherlock Holmes meets The Phantom of the Opera ; it follows the original Leroux book, with Holmes tacked on to watch the show.

Spider-Man himself tends to turn into this in any multipart story in his own series that has lots of guest stars. He's always been a guy who works best alone, and quickly takes a back seat as part of a team. The biggest example was the Maximum Carnage storyline; the cover of one issue even lampshaded the trope by having Spidey shout, "Hey! Whose mag is this, anyway?!

Thanos in his backstory comic Thanos Rising spends much of each issue acting on suggestions from Death who is constantly nagging to commit murders. Even when he becomes a space pirate captain it's because he accidentally won a duel with the old captain.

He swings a sword with his eyes shut and kills him without meaning to, and so gains authority by sheer accident. In several issues of Venom 's first limited series, Spider-Man actually got more screen time. The subsequent ones fixed this problem. Because of Disneyfication , Mowgli in Disney's The Jungle Book spends all his time reacting to the other characters and doesn't instigate any plot events; he does resolve the plot in the end, but he needs Baloo's help to do so.

This is totally ironic if you know the character from Rudyard Kipling 's original stories. The titular unicorn from The Last Unicorn leaves her forest to find the rest of her kind She falls asleep on the side of the road and is captured by a Wicked Witch who knows where the rest are, she is freed by one of the witch's magician assistants — who knows how to get there.

He also ends up accidentally changing her into a human so she can reach King Haggard. Though she finally does something in the climax. Aurora of Sleeping Beauty , despite being the titular character. The only thing she does of her own volition is run into Phillip; everything else she does is at someone else's order or suggestion. She has a total of eighteen lines of dialogue in the entire movie. Phillip doesn't do a whole lot, either, as even in the final battle, the fairies are clearly doing most of the work.

The heroine of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is also an example of this trope. The dwarfs, the wicked queen, the huntsman and the prince are the characters who actively drive the plot, while Snow White's role is to inspire their actions and have things happen to her as a result of how the others feel about her.

In the original Grimms' fairy-tale , the queen is essentially the Villain Protagonist , who takes the most action and gets the most attention out of all the characters in the text; while Snow White gets more emphasis in the Disney version, she's still mainly important for what happens to her, not for anything she does herself.

Wart spends most of The Sword in the Stone being turned into various animals and being dragged around by Merlin. He only comes across the titular sword by chance, and draws it in complete ignorance of the implications of doing so. Tack the Cobbler from The Thief and the Cobbler is a Cute Mute who spends the first two-thirds of the movie largely being dragged around by other characters.

He undergoes no notable character development or Hidden Depths , which makes his burst of heroism in the movie's final act come across as an unexpected Ass Pull.

Thumbelina 's titular protagonist. She's found by a fairy prince, who takes her on a ride during which she's spotted by a toad who then steals her. The toads then just leave her on a lily pad, and she spends the rest of the movie bumping into various antagonists. The only proactive thing she does is to get Jacquimo to fly her to the Vale of the Fairies for the climax.

The narrator of Waltz with Bashir is a decidedly tragic example. When his commanding officer is killed he doesn't rise to the occasion and completely fails to get any of his squad mates out alive; afterward he bitterly realizes that there was a lot more he could have done but was just a confused kid who got in over his head.

In '71 , Pvt. Gary Hook spends most of the movie fleeing from people trying to kill him, or relying on locals willing to help him. He begins to use some initiative when he decides to leave Eamon and Brigid's flat to escape on his own. The title character of Barbarella fits this perfectly. The entire movie consists of her repeatedly getting into trouble through her own stupidity, being rescued by some guy, and then having Rescue Sex with her savior. The only reason she managed to find the man she was looking for at all was because Duran Duran accidentally stepped on the device she had been given to track him down which she had not once even thought of turning on since receiving.

In Barry Lyndon , Barry goes through his life simply having things happen to him, such as being robbed, or being press-ganged, or having his child die. Even his initial action, shooting an officer in a duel, turns out to have been a fake duel, planned all along by his friends.

Despite his attempts to gain agency over his life, at the end of the movie, he's just as much a victim of fate as he was in the beginning. The Dude just wants to bowl and smoke weed when his life is interrupted by a case of mistaken identity, resulting in the ruining of his rug. His attempt to obtain a new rug leads him down a twisted path of mystery and intrigue that he ultimately has no control over. The soundtrack likens him to a "tumbling tumbleweed," passively blown around by exterior forces.

Movies based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Once he gets to the factory, the only notable things he does is to steal a Fizzy Lifting Drink which disqualifies him from the promised lifetime supply of chocolate and return the Everlasting Gobstopper to Mr. Wonka rather than give it to a rival competitor negating the disqualification and becoming the owner of the factory in the process , and so he wins.

This is still an improvement on the original book, in which Charlie does almost nothing upon arriving at the factory. His only act of any significance is at the end, when he informs Mr. Wonka that he is the only child left. Wonka then immediately announces that Charlie has won by default. However, given that Charlie is exceptionally well-mannered, this makes sense given the fates of the other children — he gets it for just being nice.

In the second film version Charlie regularly questions Mr. Wonka, triggering most of his flashbacks, and then outright defies him at the end, forcing him to seek out his estranged father. The stage version puts its own, smaller twist on the whole business by giving Charlie a highly imaginative, creative streak in addition to his kind nature, which affects the plot in that a certain someone , upon realizing his potential, makes sure that he gets a Golden Ticket — and a chance to prove himself a kindred spirit.

Charlie and the audience are kept in the dark about this until the end. While Mia and the Aerialist are seeking each other, they spend most of the film getting caught up in and reacting to the events taking place around them.

They rarely affect said events and are offscreen for significant stretches of time. In The Damned , a film about a group of Nazis and Nazi collaborators fleeing to South America aboard a U-boat at the end of the war, the protagonist is a French doctor who is kidnapped and forced aboard the sub. He does nothing through the course of the movie and has no influence on events.

Jen of The Dark Crystal spends much of the film's first and second acts commenting on how he has no idea where he is going or what he is looking for as various characters comment on prophecy and destiny and the like. In an example of this trope being done well, it serves to show the audience the wonderfully imaginative world of the movie, and the fantastic special effects of Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

Forrest Gump just does whatever he feels like doing at the time. At one point, he becomes sort of a running guru and unintentionally leads a group of literal cross-country runners for months. At one point he stops running "Listen, he's about to say something! I'm going to go home now," and just walks home to Alabama, from the Nevada desert! This accusation is often thrown against those three classic young heroines of literature: Alice , Wendy and Dorothy.

Susan Sto Helit is described as an aversion of this Dorothy gradually averts this trope in later Oz books, and all three strongly avert it when featured in the webcomic Cheshire Crossing.

Jake Epping, a man from living incognito in the late 50s and early 60s on a mission to prevent the Kennedy assassination, has to study Lee Harvey Oswald's actions to make sure that he is in fact acting alone, but he must also be extremely careful not to alert Oswald to his presence.

In other words, Oswald's actions drive the plot of the book for the most part, and Jake just has to follow him around and actively avoid doing anything important until he's positive that killing Oswald will in fact save Kennedy. In Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves , Ali Baba is the protagonist at first , but he stops being such after he recovers Kasim's body from the lair of the Forty Thieves; at that point, the role is taken over by Morgiana, with Ali Baba now a supporting character.

In Anno Dracula , Charles Beauregard is assigned by the Diogenes Club to investigate the Jack the Ripper killings; however, by his own admission, he makes little progress in his investigation and his presence does nothing to deter the killer from his crimes. It turns out the Club are just setting him up to be the hero of the case so that he will be invited to meet the Royal family, for the sake of his real mission: The entirety of The Crying of Lot 49 is like this, although that is because it is about a person just exploring a secret organisation, being told to go to another part of the organisation, and then going there — she only begins to take initiative right at the end, with the eponymous auction of the title.

Although Sam Vimes and company play little part in the successful resolution of the novel as the dragon is defeated by Errol the Swamp Dragon , the Patrician specifically states that people need to see there are heroes and so rewards Sam Vimes and the Night Watch accordingly. It is also implied that the Night Watch are heroic, merely because they actually did something to stand up to the dragon, even if unsuccessfully. Vimes did also stop Wonse from killing the best Patrician the city had ever had and looked after the dragon that eventually saved the day.

Vimes ends up thinking this about himself in Night Watch. As the revolution enters into full swing, all he wants to do is keep some well-meaning but foolish comrades from dying unpleasantly; he's staunchly uninterested in any of the so-called changes the rebels think they want. He is however bitterly aware that everyone else in the narrative thinks he's the hero, and realizes that he assumed Keel — whose role in events he is now occupying — was a genuine rebel, and now he wonders if Keel just wanted the same thing he did.

The Doc Savage novels pulled in involved bystanders to their plots to act as first person narrator protagonists assisted by the titular Man of Bronze. The Doctor Who Past Doctor Adventures novel Independence Day is noted for having the Doctor spend the whole novel wandering about with a bunch of minor characters, then just as it seems he's about to do something he swallows a toxic worm and spends the climax comatose in a mass grave while a rebellion started by someone else defeats the Evil Overlord.

In Excession , most of the plot is driven by starship AIs and other superpowerful Minds while the protagonist, diplomat Byr Genar-Hofoen is sent by his mysterious bosses on a journey to the GSV Sleeper Service to find the one person who may have knowledge of the Excession , but it becomes apparent that she isn't even there, and his whole trip occurred because the Eccentric ship wanted him to reconcile with his ex-girlfriend, which has no impact on the story.

And then the Excession leaves with no real explanation. Tyrone Slothrop of Gravity's Rainbow , who never solves the mystery he's after, spends his time on various sidequests instead, avoids death only by accident and eventually simply goes mad, gives up and disappears from the story. Nick Carraway does absolutely nothing in The Great Gatsby.

He is, however , an outside view of rich people screwing up the lives of themselves and everyone around them. He does organise that meeting between Daisy and Gatsby, but that's about it.

Harry Potter often is this in his books. Although he's often trying to solve the mystery or defeat the evil, it rarely seems to come out successful due to his own skills or ingenuity.

Oftentimes, his attempts can actually make things worse. It's made explicitly clear that he's the main character early on, yet it takes awhile for him to take an active role and not just react to events around him.

If something isn't directly affecting her right then and there, she'll forget about it. In some cases, she forgets about it right after it happens. Nora from Hush, Hush. She spends most of the book going about her daily life, reacting when something or someone tries to kill her, then promptly forgets about it in favor of going back to her daily routines. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke Meggie spends a lot of her time just reacting to things the adults do.

On the rare occasions she tries to affect things her plans are thwarted, stalled, or rendered useless. In The Island of Doctor Moreau , Richard Prendick does nothing but get thrown overboard, land on an island and watch more interesting people do experiments. Kino from Kino's Journey tries to be this type of character; being a Traveller, one is not supposed to pass judgment or meddle in the affairs of the places they visit and is only there to observe objectively.

However, various circumstances typically get Kino wrapped up in the affairs of the places she comes to and forces her to act, whether she wants to or not. The Gathering novel Prophecy is largely told through the perspective of an enslaved soldier who has next to no impact on the plot of the book.

Fanny from the Jane Austen novel Mansfield Park , due to the emotional abuse she's suffered for eight years living with her rich aunts and uncle, basically feels she has no right to her own opinion or happiness and thus lets her aunts and cousins push her around for most of the novel.

Naturally, this makes the two times she stands up for herself all the more impressive and the other characters all the more shocked. Alphonse van Worden has various bewildering or scary things happen around him and to him, and is told lots of stories. Most of it turns out to be a show staged for van Worden in an attempt to convince or convert him. He doesn't influence the trial in any way, or have anything to do with the murder — he could just as easily have been left out, and the story written in third person, and while the feel of the story would be different, the plot wouldn't change at all.

Terisa Morgan of Stephen R. She has a cripplingly low level of self-confidence thanks to an oppressive father and passive mother; the narration makes an analogy to a princess imprisoned by a curse. She mostly exists as a catalyst to inspire other characters to do other things. Her existence is what drives her mother into prostitution to pay her evil foster parents to keep her — and her mother's death spurs Valjean into finding her and rescuing her.

When she's all grown up, she then attracts Marius's attention. She doesn't actually do anything herself and she's mostly along for the ride when Valjean flees from the police. And she's one of the few characters to survive the book, presumably because she did so very little.

Most commentators agree that she serves more as a symbol of hope, love and goodness than as an actual character. Case in Neuromancer by William Gibson , it's difficult to name one decision made in the book that's solely his as the real chess game is played by two AIs , mostly offscreen. The adventure video game based on the novel inverts this and concentrates on hacking and finding equipment and software, very much abandoning the tone of the book.

It takes him over half the book before he really does anything terribly useful, and it wasn't exactly proactive on his part, either. He finally does start to take more initiative down the road, but for most of the story he is merely a vessel for viewing London Below and the events unfolding around his companions. Oliver is a helpless orphan boy who is pushed from one set of circumstances to another without any real power.

In fact, his inaction is his greatest triumph, as he never gets corrupted by his ill fortunes. Discussed in The Pinballs , where Carlie's speech about the three protagonists being pinballs evokes a very dark interpretation of this trope.

Justified since she's an abused child, also she ultimately renounces her claim. Owen is the driving force of the plot. Johnny is there for the ride. In the Matthew Reilly books, Shane Schofield spends the first few chapters of every book he's in in this state, usually because he's reacting to whatever group is trying to kill him this time and finding out what they want.

Then he starts hitting back. The main character of The Sharing Knife. In terms of plot, almost everything that happens is because of her primary love interest, with her dragged along for the ride. When fighting starts, said love interest is impressive even for a member of the resident Superior Species , whereas she's physically unsuited to combat and tries to stay out of the way. However, as the series progresses she learns more self-confidence. To the point that when her husband is threatened, she defies an entire camp of sorcerers to ride out and rescue him.

Bernadette Manuelito is this in the murder mystery The Sinister Pig. She asks interesting questions as a Border Patrol officer and talks to a variety of people, but the murder mystery is solved by other officers Chee and Leaphorn; the whole plot is resolved when Bernadette walks straight into a trap, and a different character who's been developed in other parts of the book solves everything. Out of all the point of view characters in A Song of Ice and Fire , Sansa Stark stands out as being the most reactive and passive, spending much of her early page time being pushed around by other characters.

This is justified — she's a naive preteen girl, and unlike the others, she's in no position to be proactive. Part of her storyline is shedding this trope and gaining her own agency, which ironically starts happening once she's under the guardianship of the biggest manipulator in the series. The protagonist and narrator of Iain Bank's A Song of Stone is an aristocrat called Abel living during in a civil war. The Stand may or may not have this trope, depending on what you see the main plot of the book as being.

In terms of rebuilding society in the wake of an apocalyptic event, the Main Characters actually do quite a bit. In terms of fighting Randall Flagg, the Big Bad of the story, though, they accomplish virtually nothing; at best their role is to serve as witnesses to his defeat by the Hand of God with a little help from the Trashcan Man.

Carnelian is like this for incredibly long stretches of The Stone Dance of the Chameleon. In the first book, the only instance of him taking matters into his own hands ends in disaster.

Only at the very end of the trilogy does he finally step up. Beverly King in L. Montgomery's The Story Girl is there purely to observe the more interesting characters around him. Then again, they are very interesting characters. Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman has a justified example that's probably impossible to top.

The main character can't control his muscle movements enough to communicate in any fashion, and it's commonly assumed by those around him that he doesn't even have a mind. The "plot", such as it is, is his commenting on how his life is and how people react to him, with him unable to change anything even to save his own life.

In this review of Brazilian novel Twelve Fingers , it's even stated that the Forrest Gump-like protagonist "bounces around like a ball in a pinball machine, occasionally disappearing from view entirely for longer periods of time. They're both Extreme Doormats , so it makes sense from an in-story standpoint, but it's one of the reasons Stephenie Meyer's works are so polarizing. Geralt, in The Witcher saga. Mostly because the setting is populated with dozens of wizards, nearly all of them planners of various degrees.

His person isn't even important to the plot. She argues that Indiana Jones is completely irrelevant to the plot: Sheldon can't find any flaw in this logic, which causes a temporary Heroic B. The guys later watch the movie again to see if there is any way around it, and the best they could determine is at least Indy was present to actually recover the Ark but again point out that it was taken from him to a Secret Government Warehouse , so he couldn't even get it to a museum like he hoped.

On the Criminal Minds episode "North Mammon", the team is called in on a case. After chasing various red herrings , the perp, independent from the actions of the team, lets go of some of the victims. Since the victims at this point can simply identify the man who captured them, any policeman could have made the arrest.

While he is generally a major player in most stories, this has been known to happen with the Doctor on occasion. The companions sometimes get this too, even in A Day in the Limelight: Steven spends the story as main protagonist, but he completely fails to change events in the slightest, and has no real idea what is going on. He only just finds the Doctor in time to escape Paris and avoid the impending atrocity. This means that the Doctor spends the whole plot able to do little other than argue with the Toymaker in ADRed lines, and even Steven and Dodo have no real agency except to win the games the Toymaker set out for them until the Toymaker just gives them the TARDIS back.

Unfortunately, his expansive apparent knowledge followed by his sudden absence ramps up the paranoia among the humans to a fever pitch, to the point where everyone turns against him and the General even accuses him of killing his son. Even after his prediction turns out to be right and the planet dies, it's a hollow victory, as the Doctor's unconsciousness is revealed to be a Chekhov's Gun foreshadowing a majorly controversial plot decision.

In "The Space Pirates" , the Doctor is barely in the first and last episodes. His only action that really affects the plot is increasing the power of the electromagnetism on the satellite segment, with most of the other victories being the payoffs of other cast members with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder.

Many of Grimms' folk tales have enjoyed enduring popularity. The tales are available in more than languages and have been adapted by filmmakers including Lotte Reiniger and Walt Disney , with films such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Sleeping Beauty. During the s and 40s, the tales were used as propaganda by the Third Reich ; later in the 20th century psychologists such as Bruno Bettelheim reaffirmed the value of the work, in spite of the cruelty and violence in original versions of some of the tales, which the Grimms eventually sanitized.

The family became prominent members of the community, residing in a large home surrounded by fields. Biographer Jack Zipes writes that the brothers were happy in Steinau and "clearly fond of country life".

In , Philipp Grimm died of pneumonia, plunging his family into poverty, and they were forced to relinquish their servants and large house.

Dorothea depended on financial support from her father and sister, first lady-in-waiting at the court of William I, Elector of Hesse. Jacob was the eldest living son, and he was forced at age 11 to assume adult responsibilities shared with Wilhelm for the next two years. The two boys adhered to the advice of their grandfather, who continually exhorted them to be industrious. The brothers left Steinau and their family in to attend the Friedrichsgymnasium in Kassel , which had been arranged and paid for by their aunt.

By then, they were without a male provider their grandfather died that year , forcing them to rely entirely on each other, and they became exceptionally close. The two brothers differed in temperament; Jacob was introspective and Wilhelm was outgoing although he often suffered from ill-health. Sharing a strong work ethic, they excelled in their studies.

In Kassel, they became acutely aware of their inferior social status relative to "high-born" students who received more attention. Still, each brother graduated at the head of his class: Jacob in and Wilhelm in After graduation from the Friedrichsgymnasium , the brothers attended the University of Marburg. The university was small with about students and there they became painfully aware that students of lower social status were not treated equally. They were disqualified from admission because of their social standing and had to request dispensation to study law.

Wealthier students received stipends, but the brothers were excluded even from tuition aid. Their poverty kept them from student activities or university social life; ironically, however, their outsider status worked in their favor, and they pursued their studies with extra vigor. The brothers were inspired by their law professor Friedrich von Savigny , who awakened in them an interest in history and philology , and they turned to studying medieval German literature.

Through Savigny and his circle of friends— German romantics such as Clemens Brentano and Ludwig Achim von Arnim —the Grimms were introduced to the ideas of Johann Gottfried Herder , who thought that German literature should revert to simpler forms, which he defined as Volkspoesie natural poetry as opposed to Kunstpoesie artistic poetry.

Jacob was still financially responsible for his mother, brother, and younger siblings in , so he accepted a post in Paris as research assistant to von Savigny. On his return to Marburg, he was forced to abandon his studies to support the family, whose poverty was so extreme that food was often scarce.

He took a job with the Hessian War Commission. In a letter written to his aunt at this time, Wilhelm wrote of their circumstances, "We five people eat only three portions and only once a day". Jacob found full-time employment in when he was appointed court librarian to the King of Westphalia and went on to become librarian in Kassel. He arranged and paid for his brother Ludwig 's studies at art school and for Wilhelm's extended visit to Halle to seek treatment for heart and respiratory ailments, following which Wilhelm joined Jacob as librarian in Kassel.

According to Jack Zipes, at this point "the Grimms were unable to devote all their energies to their research and did not have a clear idea about the significance of collecting folk tales in this initial phase. During their employment as librarians—which paid little but afforded them ample time for research—the brothers experienced a productive period of scholarship, publishing a number of books between and In , Wilhelm married Henriette Dorothea Dortchen Wild, a long-time family friend and one of a group who supplied them with stories.

Jacob never married but continued to live in the household with Wilhelm and Dortchen. During the next seven years, the brothers continued to research, write, and publish. The two brothers taught German studies at the university, becoming well-respected in the newly established discipline. The s were a period of political upheaval and peasant revolt in Germany, leading to the movement for democratic reform known as Young Germany. For refusing to sign the oath, the seven professors were dismissed and three were deported from Hanover, including Jacob who went to Kassel.

He was later joined there by Wilhelm, Dortchen, and their four children. The brothers were without income in and again in extreme financial difficulty, so they began what became a lifelong project: The brothers again depended on friends and supporters for financial assistance and influence in finding employment.

In addition to teaching posts, the Academy of Sciences offered them stipends to continue their research. Once they had established their household in Berlin, they directed their efforts towards the work on the German dictionary and continued to publish their research.

After the Revolutions of in the German states , the brothers were elected to the civil parliament. Jacob became a prominent member of the National Assembly at Mainz. In the late s, Jacob resigned his university position and saw the publication of The History of the German Language Geschichte der deutschen Sprache.

Wilhelm continued at his university post until After retiring from teaching, the brothers devoted themselves to the German Dictionary for the rest of their lives. He continued work on the dictionary until his own death in Zipes writes of the Grimm brothers' dictionary and of their very large body of work: The rise of romanticism , Romantic nationalism , and trends in valuing popular culture in the early 19th century revived interest in fairy tales, which had declined since their lateth-century peak.

They collected and published tales as a reflection of German cultural identity. In the first collection, though, they included Charles Perrault 's tales, published in Paris in and written for the literary salons of an aristocratic French audience.

Scholar Lydie Jean says that Perrault created a myth that his tales came from the common people and reflected existing folklore to justify including them—even though many of them were original. Versions of tales differ from region to region, "picking up bits and pieces of local culture and lore, drawing a turn of phrase from a song or another story and fleshing out characters with features taken from the audience witnessing their performance.

However, as Tatar explains, the Grimms appropriated stories as being uniquely German, such as " Little Red Riding Hood ", which had existed in many versions and regions throughout Europe, because they believed that such stories were reflections of Germanic culture.

When Jacob returned to Marburg from Paris in , their friend Brentano sought the brothers' help in adding to his collection of folk tales, at which time the brothers began to gather tales in an organized fashion. These tales were heavily modified in transcription, and many had roots in previously written sources. It is the earliest extant version of the Grimms' collection and has become a valuable source to scholars studying the development of the Grimms' collection from the time of its inception.

The manuscript was published in and again in The brothers gained a reputation for collecting tales from peasants, although many tales came from middle-class or aristocratic acquaintances. Wilhelm's wife Dortchen Wild and her family, with their nursery maid, told the brothers some of the more well-known tales, such as " Hansel and Gretel " and " Sleeping Beauty ". Despite her middle-class background, in the first English translation she was characterized as a peasant and given the name Gammer Gretel.

According to scholars such as Ruth Bottigheimer and Maria Tatar , some of the tales probably originated in written form during the medieval period with writers such as Straparola and Boccaccio , but were modified in the 17th century and again rewritten by the Grimms. Moreover, Tatar writes that the brothers' goal of preserving and shaping the tales as something uniquely German at a time of French occupation was a form of "intellectual resistance" and, in so doing, they established a methodology for collecting and preserving folklore that set the model followed later by writers throughout Europe during periods of occupation.

From onward, the brothers added to the collection. Jacob established the framework, maintained through many iterations; from until his death, Wilhelm assumed sole responsibility for editing and rewriting the tales.

He made the tales stylistically similar, added dialogue, removed pieces "that might detract from a rustic tone", improved the plots, and incorporated psychological motifs. He believes that Wilhelm "gleaned" bits from old Germanic faiths , Norse mythology, Roman and Greek mythology , and biblical stories that he reshaped. Over the years, Wilhelm worked extensively on the prose and expanded and added detail to the stories, to the point that many grew to twice the length they were in the earliest published editions.

After , he began writing for children children were not initially considered the primary audience , adding entirely new tales or adding new elements to existing tales, elements that were often strongly didactic. Some changes were made in light of unfavorable reviews, particularly from those who objected that not all the tales were suitable for children because of scenes of violence and sexuality.

The Grimms' legacy contains legends, novellas , and folk stories, the vast majority of which were not intended as children's tales. Von Armin was deeply concerned about the content of some of the tales, such as those that showed children being eaten, and suggested that they be removed. Instead, the brothers added an introduction with cautionary advice that parents steer children toward age-appropriate stories.

Despite von Armin's unease, none of the tales were eliminated from the collection, in the brothers' belief that all the tales were of value and reflected inherent cultural qualities. For example, in the Grimms' original version of " Snow White ", the Queen is Little Snow White's mother, not her stepmother, yet even so she orders her Huntsman to kill Snow White her biological daughter and bring home the child's lungs and liver so that she can eat them. The story ends with the Queen mother dancing at Snow White's wedding wearing a pair of red-hot iron shoes that kill her.

To some extent, the cruelty and violence may have been a reflection of medieval culture from which the tales originated, such as scenes of witches burning, as described in " The Six Swans ". Tales with a spinning motif are broadly represented in the collection.

In her essay "Tale Spinners: Submerged Voices in Grimms' Fairy Tales", children's literature scholar Bottigheimer explains that these stories reflect the degree to which spinning was crucial in the life of women in the 19th century and earlier.

Spinning, and particularly the spinning of flax , was commonly performed in the home by women. Many stories begin by describing the occupation of a main character, as in "There once was a miller", yet spinning is never mentioned as an occupation, probably because the brothers did not consider it an occupation.

Instead, spinning was a communal activity, frequently performed in a Spinnstube spinning room , a place where women most likely kept the oral traditions alive by telling stories while engaged in tedious work. The tales were also criticized for being insufficiently German, which influenced the tales that the brothers included as well as their use of language. Some critics such as Alistair Hauke use Jungian analysis to say that the deaths of the brothers' father and grandfather are the reason for the Grimms' tendency to idealize and excuse fathers, as well as the predominance of female villains in the tales, such as the wicked stepmother and stepsisters in "Cinderella", but this disregards the fact that they were collectors, not authors of the tales.

The collection includes 41 tales about siblings, which Zipes says are representative of Jacob and Wilhelm. Many of the sibling stories follow a simple plot where the characters lose a home, work industriously at a specific task and, in the end, find a new home. The Large editions contained all the tales collected to date, extensive annotations, and scholarly notes written by the brothers; the Small editions had only 50 tales and were intended for children.

Jacob and Wilhelm's younger brother Emil Grimm illustrated the Small editions, adding Christian symbolism to the drawings, such as depicting Cinderella's mother as an angel, and adding a Bible to the bedside table of Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother.

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