Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fairy Tales and Romance: East of the Sun and West of the Moon

Many of you regular readers are well aware that Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales. Consequently, I have a soft spot for a closely related tale, East of the Sun and West of the Moon. I came to this tale much later than Beauty and the Beast, but fell in love when I discovered it. A Norwegian tale, it is also a boon to have a tale that comes from a good portion of my ancestry although I have almost as much German ancestry through the line that gave me my Heiner name.

Anyway, I'm not the only one to love this tale for it has become one of the most popular ones to reinterpret into novels over the last several years, from Edith Patou's East to Dennis L. McKiernan's Once Upon a Winter's Night to Jessica Day George's Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow to Sarah Beth Durst's Ice, each unique in their own way.

I considered a discussion of why so many of the most popular fairy tales are romantic tales, tales of love found and happy endings after great trial and tribulation. But I don't have much to say on the topic and well, it's Saturday. I just wanted to share one of my favorite tales and some of my favorite illustrations for it, particularly those by P. J. Lynch for Naomi Lewis's retelling of the tale.

Aren't these beautiful and dare I say it, romantic? Make you want to reread the tale again, don't they? P.J. Lynch has some images for the tale available on his website where I borrowed these from for this post. Visit here to see them all. Then buy the book if you don't have it. Cause it's too beautiful not to see them in full glory. They're bigger on his site, too.

Also, I shared Lynch's images for Snow Queen back in December and he discovered the post and commented on it, so visit the post again to see. But my post also inspired him to post on his own blog about how illustrators influence and are influenced by each other. See his posts Borrowing from Dulac and Inspired by Dulac and Christian Birmingham's version of The Snow Queen.

Either way, go read the tale. It's about love found, lost and found again. The heroine is spunky and endures to the happy ending, rescuing herself and her lover. A fine tale for a cold, winter weekend. (Unless you are one of the few readers living on the other side of the equator, of course.)


  1. Great post. Just found your blog and became a follower. Wonderful images.

  2. I happen to be reading Edith Pattou's East at the moment. I've always loved the tale, it's amazingly romantic. Lovely post for Valentine's!