Wishing is the act of strongly desiring or hoping for something. The concept of wishing dates back millennia and is very much prevalent in modern society. We’ve all wished for something at some point or other and, for the lucky ones of us, our wishes have come true.
Our desires want and hopes are a source of inspiration for all sorts of stories, tales, and myths. The concept of wishing finds its way into cultures and traditions all around the world. Some very well-known works of fiction are based on the act of wishing and the potential consequences it can have. In this article, we’ll have a look at how the act of wishing and the things we want the most have inspired stories.
How Wishes Work
A lot of the time wishes work in the same way. A person asks some sort of supernatural deity to grant him or her a wish or wishes on something, such as a seemingly ordinary object that actually has magical properties. Sometimes, a character just expresses a wish and isn’t relying on any sort of powerful being or enchanted object to make that wish come true.
Beings that grant wishes, such as spirits and genies, are usually trapped within some sort of container. They’re only released whenever a certain action is performed (such as rubbing a magic lamp), and they’re often bound to the object they’re contained in. Also, they may or may not have a choice in what wishes they grant, though they are able to restrict the number of wishes granted to a single person.
As for objects that people wish on, these can vary greatly. Some people say their wishes out loud when they see a shooting star, for example. Other actions that some wish on include tossing a coin into a well or fountain, blowing a dandelion’s seeds, or even breaking the wishbone of a chicken or turkey.
Human Wishes as Inspiration for Storylines
One of the best-known stories that are inspired by the concept of wishing is that of Aladdin. Popularised by two Disney films, one animated and one live-action, the story follows the street rat Aladdin and his journey from rags to riches. He ends up encountering a powerful genie, who will grant him three wishes. Aladdin ends up using one of these wishes to make him a prince so he can woo Princess Jasmine. Another one he uses to save his own life and the third and final one he uses to free the genie from his magic lamp.
There are lots of other stories that include wishes as a key plot element. Many of these are geared towards children and are family-friendly in nature. Some examples of these include Pinocchio, Home Alone, Labyrinth, Cinderella, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, to name a few. Many of these have some sort of fantasy element to them and aren’t entirely grounded in reality. Big, Liar Liar, and 13 Going on 30 are some examples of films that feature wishes and are more suited for adults and teens. Some films show characters expressly making wishes. Others don’t necessarily have the characters make wishes out loud, but the film’s written in a way that the viewers are well aware of what the character wants.
There are all sorts of wishes. Some people make wishes because they want to improve their living situation or things in their lives. In Cinderella, for example, the titular character wants to go to the ball and meet the prince. In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie Bucket is a boy from a very poor family who wants to find a Golden Ticket and visit the world-famous chocolate factory.
Then there are some that aren’t necessarily good-natured. In the film Labyrinth, for example, a young girl is sick of her baby brother and wishes him to be spirited away, which he is. The film then focuses on her efforts to make her way through a huge labyrinth and reclaim her brother from a goblin king.
Most wishes are made to give the wisher a better life; sometimes, wishes are made to cause something bad to happen to someone else. Stories that include these types of wishes tend to be darker and more sinister in tone. Voodoo dolls, for example, are used when someone wishes something untoward to happen to an enemy. The character sticks pins into a doll representing their enemy.
Wishing sometimes isn’t portrayed as something good. There’s the phrase ‘be careful what you wish for’. What this means is that if you wish for something, and your wish does indeed come true, the end result might not necessarily be good for you. In other words, there could be consequences that could turn out to be negative and harmful. An example of this is the 2015 film Careful What You Wish For. It’s about a young man who embarks on an affair with an investment banker’s wife, only to end up getting framed for murder and eventually sent to prison, despite being completely innocent of any crime.
We’ve only mentioned a small number of films that feature wishes. You can probably think of many more, including lots of TV shows and books. Why do so many stories include wishes? It’s because people enjoy seeing others get what they want. We enjoy seeing Cinderella make it to the ball and getting the happy ending she’s wanted for so long. When we see her living with her stepmother and two stepsisters who make her life a misery, we desperately want her to escape and get a better life for herself. When her wish comes true, we’re delighted, and the investment we’ve made in watching the film pays off.
Even if the things we wish are impossible or incredibly unlikely, that doesn’t stop us from wanting to see fictional wishes come true for fictional characters. You might not get the mega-mansion you’ve been wishing for, but you can at least enjoy watching a film where a character makes a wish and becomes a multi-millionaire.
It’s always good seeing a character get what they want, especially when that character truly deserves it. A large number of stories feature wishes because readers and viewers get behind a character who deserves something good to come into their lives. We form emotional connections with characters and sympathize with them. We watch the film or TV show or read the book because we want to see if the character gets what they desire and how that pans out.
Wishes in Gaming
The world of online casino games is one of many where the concept of wishing is used. There are loads of online slots that are themed to wishes and the things people desire the most. For example:
- Wish Upon a Jackpot Megaways is a slot with up to 117,649 ways to win on every spin and a host of special features. Several prominent fairytale characters, such as the three little pigs, the fairy godmother, and Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk put in appearances. Other fantasy-themed slots to do with wishes include Wishing Well, Wishwood, and Well of Wishes.
- There’s also Wild Wishes, which focuses on the story of Aladdin and his wish-granting Genie as the main character. In fact, there are quite a few other slots that draw inspiration from this particular story. For example, there’s Genie Wishes, Bottled Wishes, Arabian Wishes, and Aladdin’s Wishes.
While lots of slots are themed to wishes and include fantasy elements, there many that are themed to things that people wish for a lot. For example, there are loads of slots inspired by luxury, riches, and wealth, such as #LuxuryLife, Minted Money and The Glam Life to name just a few.
Even those of us who are content and happy still wish for more. It’s only human to want more. As the saying goes, the grass is always greener on the other side. The things that we want, work towards, dream about, and wish to make their way into all sorts of stories and different forms of media. There are countless examples of wishes in stories, some of them explicit and others implied.
Stories that include wishes in one form or another tend to have a fantasy element to them. The way wishes work can vary greatly, but most of the time the story shows how a character is affected when they get what they wish for. If you think about it, there are all sorts of stories where someone ends up getting what they’ve longed for. Not all of them bring up the concept of wishing, but the basics of it are still there.
Many stories that include wishes are quite uplifting and feel-good in nature. Watch a wish-themed film if you’re in the need of a pick-me-up and escape to a world where wishes can come true!