Throne of Eldraine is packed with references to classical European legends and fairytales. While all the stories in the set are centuries old, the way Eldraine presents them reflects all the different ways in which we tell them to each other, from bedtime stories to plays to movies. Here are ten of the cleverest European folklore references in Throne of Eldraine.
Oko, Thief of Crowns
Oko is essentially Puck from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Shakespeare isn’t usually what we think of when we say “fairytale,” but his plays (and especially this one) draw on older English folklore traditions that include fairies. Like Puck, Oko‘s job is to stir up trouble and point out to humans when they’re making fools of themselves.
Enchanted Carriage is part of a series of cards that roughly tell the story of Cinderella, but this is the cleverest one of the bunch because it’s so precisely flavored. This is the carriage created by Cinderella’s fairy godmother (or, in this case, Guidemother) so that she can go to the royal ball despite her Wicked Guardian‘s attempts to stop her. The carriage was made from an enchanted pumpkin and pulled by two white mice turned into horses. This version of the Enchanted Carriage card brings its own mice, and its Crew cost allows them to pull the carriage.
The story of Pinocchio is one of the newer fairytales in this set. Pinocchio, a wooden puppet who dreams of becoming human, comes from an Italian children’s novel written in the 1880s. In that novel, as well as in its 1940 Disney film adaptation, Pinocchio is initially brought to life by the Blue Fairy.
The Cauldron of Eternity
Many fairy tales have a Prince Charming whose job it is to rescue the princess from a terrible situation by marrying her. This particular prince also comes with a choice of enter-the-battlefield abilities reminiscent of other Magic cards with “charm” in the name.
These outlaws are the Merry Men from the medieval English legends of Robin Hood. The tokens this card creates even reference specific members of Robin Hood’s band of thieves: the Cleric is Friar Tuck, the Rogue appears to be Maid Marian, and the Warrior is probably Little John (named ironically, because he was very tall).
This black knight is specifically the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in which King Arthur fights a Black Knight, repeatedly cutting off his limbs (presumably removing a +1/+1 counter each time), but the Black Knight continues to insist that he’s barely hurt and can continue to fight. (It’s also worth mentioning that High King Kenrith bears a striking resemblance to that movie’s King Arthur.)
Dance of the Manse
This artifact-animating spell is a reference to the Disney film adaptation of the 17th-century French folktale of Beauty and the Beast. In the movie, the Beast‘s servants have been transformed into household objects, and they sing and dance to entertain the titular beauty, Belle.
Eldraine is home to cryptids as well as faeries. Here is their equivalent of the Loch Ness Monster, which in our world is said to inhabit Loch Ness in Scotland. Nothing has ever been seen of our “Nessie” except blurry photographs, but in Eldraine, she’s a little more real.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published in 1900 as “an American fairytale,” so while it’s younger than nearly all of the other stories referenced in Throne of Eldraine, it’s nice to see it represented here. This card is a reference to the 1939 film adaptation: when Dorothy first meets the Scarecrow in this version, he’s stuck up on a pole at a crossroads and gives her terrible advice about where to go next.
And if they’re not dead, they’re living there still
There are so many wonderful and clever stories hidden in the card names and art of Throne of Eldraine. Let us know which ones are your favorites!