Arabian Nights/YMMV

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

  • Archive Panic - Hey, I've always wanted to read Arabian Nights! Wait, there's 1001 of these stories?!
  • Downer Ending: In one stage version of the play, the last line of the play is repeated several times as bomber radio chatter fades in. At the very end there's a sound of a bomb dropping, an explosion, and then all falls silent.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Aladdin and Ali Baba are the most famous stories from Nights even though they are not in the original source material; in fact their oldest documented versions aren't even in Arabic, but come from the French translation of Antoine Galland.
    • Sinbad the Sailor, who's probably second best known after Aladdin.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: According to The Other Wiki, the Nights to this day aren't particularly well-regarded in the Arabic world to anyone beyond certain writers and scholars, and it was even less popular back whenever it first was written (as Medieval Arabs thought that True Art Is Poetry). It's entirely possible that the Nights have had more influence on European literature than they did on Arabian.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade - Harun al-Rashid. Okay, maybe he did sometimes go out into the city in disguise, but in real history he was really not a lovable adventurer. Even before he killed his Vizier and the vizier's entire family, leading to a political crisis that took years to resolve, there's not much to suggest he was an extraordinarily good ruler, although he probably wasn't an extraordinarily bad one either. He's mainly in the stories because of the greatness of his empire, not of himself.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade - the specific vizier whom Harun al-Rashid killed. However, a few tales sometimes give Jafar a Historical Hero Upgrade instead, playing roles ranging from a detective in "The Three Apples" to a heroic adventurer in "The Tale of Attaf".
  • Ho Yay: The old man and the beautiful boys.
  • Values Dissonance - Like crazy.
    • One notable instance is in the fourth voyage of Sinbad, in which he murders and robs innocent people for their food and jewelry to survive a little while longer in a pit. He apparently didn't even bother to look for an escape, seeing as he easily finds one later, just by following a wild animal that was snacking on all the corpses.
    • Another one being the story of a King discovering his wife was cheating on him with what later translations claim to be the ugliest man on earth. Apparently more accurate translations was simply that she was cheating on him with a black slave.
    • At times it is (or was at least) a convention for Islamic storytellers to say use as preliminary decorations to their stories, phrases like "'Tis said-but Allah alone knows." While this comes across mostly as flourish to a Westerner, to a Moslem it was a way to avoid annoyance from religious authorities as the habitual distinction between lying and storytelling wasn't always taken for granted. If Allah alone knows, The Storyteller couldn't be held to be dishonest as he was theoretically reporting what was said, and of course "Allah alone knows."
  • What Do You Mean It's Not for Kids? - The book is known for its violence, sexual, and racist content. Thanks to Values Dissonance, it borders on Dead Baby Comedy at times.
  • Why Would Anyone Take Him Back?: (In the 2010 musical) The male genie and Aladdin take back Djinninia and Jasmina in spite of all the wrong they've done.