Honestly, I’m not sure how I’m going to make it through the next two weeks. I’ve been given a project to complete, on top of everything else I’m doing right now, and in order to complete it on time, I’m working whenever I can – until late into the night. I’m getting four or five hours of sleep a night, which is not good for me.
So for the next two weeks I’m going to be posting sporadically, and my posts may not be all that interesting. I apologize in advance . . .
Today, I’m going to post about something that came out online just today: my slideshow on the top ten fantasy love stories for Huffington Post. Here’s the introduction:
When you’re in love, it feels as though you’re living in a fairy tale. The prince or princess of your dreams has chosen you, and you’re going to spend the rest of your lives together, happily ever after, in a castle on a hill with singing furniture and animals that do all the cleaning. Right?
Of course, real life never works out that way (show me a mouse that does dishes, for example). But fantasy does tell us some important underlying truths about the experience of being in love. There’s a reason that romance has always had a fantasy element. (Think of Odysseus falling in love with the sorceress Circe, who turned his men into swine, or Oberon and Titania deciding the fates of lovers in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, or Mr. Rochester asking Jane Eyre if she is one of the fairies). Romance is a sort of magic: it changes our perception of the world, making us believe that we’ve found the person we are meant to be with, that the two of us are truly one. It can fill us with an ecstatic sense of joy and make us feel as though the furniture could sing – if we just listened closely enough. But fantasy also shows us some darker truths about love. The modern popularity of paranormal romance has its roots in fairy tales about women marrying bears, and bulls, and other beasts, which reveal that the one we love is not, in fact, a version of ourselves, but another being – one we can never know completely. Love can overcome those differences, but they are still differences. Fairy tales also reveal that love is difficult: sometimes you have to climb a glass mountain in iron shoes or confront a bloodthirsty ogress. I think some of the truest and most important stories about love are fantasy stories, which show us both love’s power and its complexity.
Here are my choices for the top 10 fantasy love stories, both ancient and modern. Fair warning: none of them involves sparkly vampires!
I’m going to give you my top ten here, but in order to read why I’ve selected them, you’ll have to go over to the Huffington Post slideshow! So, without further ado, the top ten! (In my mind, I ranked them 10 to 1, but the slideshow allows you to rank them yourself.)
10. The Myth of Eros and Psyche
9. Henry DeTamble and Clare Abshire in The Time Traveler’s Wife
8. Richard St. Vier and Alec Campion in Swordspoint
7. The Ballad of Tam Lin and Janet
6. Tristran and Yvaine in Stardust
5. Morgon and Raederle in The Riddle-Master Trilogy
4. The Legend of Tristan and Iseult
3. Aragorn and Arwen in The Lord of the Rings
2. The Fairy Tale of Beauty and the Beast
1. Westley and Buttercup in The Princess Bride
Do you agree with my choices? Disagree? I’m interested in finding out . . .
Happy Valentine’s Day!