All great fairytales have one thing in common….a great romance. Snow White would not be the same story without Prince Charming and true love’s kiss. The couple meet, have to be parted, stay true to one another and are finally reunited to live happily ever after.
While this may be the ideal, it is an important part of fairytales and shows the influence of romantic or courtly love in the story. The idea that love had to be true, proven and worthwhile was made popular during the time of knights, jousting for the approval of their lady or queen. Often the knight would never marry, let alone be able to spend time alone with this lady, but the idea has had a huge influence on our own view of romantic love.
The unattainable, the ideal, the woman worth risking all for. This is what so many fairytales embody…the man or prince, who can prove himself to such a woman, who might even be worthy of her hand. Many critics dismiss fairytales as a story of a girl or princess waiting around for Mr. Right to show up and save her. But in truth, it is about a man searching the countryside for Miss Right, in order to prove himself worthy of her respect, admiration and if he is very lucky, her love.
So, the romance of a fairytale is not the woman waiting in the garden for the man to notice her….but more likely the man waiting in the garden, hoping to catch sight of the woman he loves from afar. And if he can prove himself worthy, he may even walk through the gardens with this woman. She is the main character and it is really her story. After all, most fairytales are named for the woman, are they not?
By the end of the story, the the two are able to overcome all the obstacles in their path and pledge themselves to one another, with true love’s kiss. And as we all know….they live happily ever after. It’s that classic fairytale ending of romance, commitment and enduring love. Fairytales help us believe, or at least hope, that such a love might be possible. And that’s the real magic.