Today is Valentine’s Day, so I thought I would dedicate this post to my favorite fairytale love story.
I think most would quickly say, “Cinderella!” I have to admit that I’m a little partial to The Little Mermaid. As swimmers, my sisters and I were extremely influenced by Arial and we spent hours playing mermaids, both in and out of water. But my attraction to this movie was mostly because of the magical, undersea world Ariel lived in as a mermaid. Most fairytale princesses and princes seem to follow a common trend; the princes are mostly flat characters and the princesses are usually helpless. None of them really have personalities of their own or show much character growth. In my mind, there is one big exception to this trend and that is Belle in Beauty and the Beast. She has hobbies, dreams of adventures, and is an excellent daughter. Best of all, the Beast has an actual personality. He broods, he is a bit melodramatic, and he learns to let down his beastly defenses to let love in. Their story is one of two distinct individuals with personalities and motivations all their own developing a strong bond of friendship that blossoms into love.
What I just love about this story and what makes is so romantic is how much emphasis is placed on the friendship between Beauty and the Beast. In other stories, the characters do not really know each other. For example, when Snow White’s prince kisses her and wakes her up from her enchanted sleep, he knows nothing about her except her unusually short group of friends and her stunning beauty. The Beast, however, could tell anyone what Beauty’s favorite flower or book is because they begin their relationship by getting to know one another first. Despite the Beast’s terrifying appearance, Beauty becomes comfortable enough to talk with the Beast and he listens to what she has to say.
Beauty clearly treasures his friendship too. When he frees her from the castle, she still chooses to return to the Beast and save him. In most of the other fairytales, the prince is the one who does the saving, but the inverse is true here. Really, she is the ‘knight in shining armor’ character, not the prince. Does she slay dragons and evil witches to do so? No. Nevertheless, she saves the Beast in whatever way she can, making her the active agent in bringing about a happy ending.
Unlike most fairytale couples, Beauty and the Beast aren’t just strangers who admire each other’s beauty and fall instantly in love, but are two people who get to know each other, come to like each other, and actively work to stay together. When the story ends and tells us they live happily ever after, I actually believe it because the two built such a strong foundation together before getting married. So, my vote goes to Beauty and the Beast as the most romantic and realistic relationship about a fairytale princess, both in the movies and in the stories.
Disagree? Let us know! We want to hear which fairytale princesses you think have the best love story!
Have a very Happy Valentine’s Day!
– Fairytale Studios