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Modern Interpretations of East of the Sun and West of the Moon

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The story of East of the Sun and West of the Moon and its themes have appeared in literature and other forms of art. This page provides a small discussion of some of the better known treatments by authors and other artists.

Literature   Poetry   Music   Film   Theatre

Literature: Novels

East of the Sun, West of the Moon by Carole Bellacera

Bellacera, Carole. East of the Sun, West of the Moon. New York: Forge, 2001.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in hardcover or paperback.

NOVEL: From publisher: "Can you ever justify cheating on your husband? This is the question that Leigh Fallon is faced with when she learns that her marriage to Congressman Bob Fallon is not as honest as she's always assumed. It feels like Bob has been all but ignoring her, except to criticize, and Leigh finds herself helplessly drawn to Erik, the twenty-something Norwegian exchange student who's staying in their home. When she finds proof that Bob has been spending his free time in the arms of his beautiful, young Capitol Hill secretary, Leigh decides that "enough is enough" and allows herself to begin a relationship with Erik. Little does she know that her affair with the young Norwegian will change her life forever, setting in motion a series of events that bring tragedy, anguish, and ultimately a discovery of hidden strength and courage."

In a Dark Wood by Amanda Craig

Craig, Amanda. In a Dark Wood. New York: Doubleday, 2002.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in hardcover or paperback.

NOVEL: From Amazon.com: "Benedick Hunter is a recently divorced, out-of-work, thirty-nine-year-old actor. Feeling both guilty and sorry for himself, he blunders through weekends with his two spirited children and fends off various women desperate to snare an eligible man, all the time fearing that he is on the brink of a nervous breakdown.

"His life takes on a new direction, however, when he discovers a long-forgotten book of fairy tales his mother wrote and illustrated decades earlier. Drawn to its pages, he becomes entranced by the hints of reality embedded in the stories, from thinly veiled portraits of his own father and his parents’ acquaintances to alluring glimpses of his mother as a young woman. Convinced that the stories can explain his mother’s suicide when he was six and put an end to his agonizing mood swings, Benedick embarks on a journey to untangle the past, a journey that eventually takes him to the heart of his own nature, modern fatherhood, manic depression, and the elusive character of fairy-tales."

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

Durst, Sarah Beth. Ice. New York: Margaret K. McElderry, 2009.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in hardcover and paperback.

NOVEL: From the publisher: "When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and has no time for make-believe.

"Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back -- if Cassie will agree to be his bride.

"That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairy tale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knows will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her -- until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of Ice."

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

George, Jessica Day. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow. New York: Bloomsbury, 2008.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in hardcover.

NOVEL: From the publisher: "Blessed—or cursed—with an ability to understand animals, the Lass (as she’s known to her family) has always been an oddball. And when an isbjorn (polar bear) seeks her out, and promises that her family will become rich if only the Lass will accompany him to his castle, she doesn’t hesitate. But the bear is not what he seems, nor is his castle, which is made of ice and inhabited by a silent staff of servents. Only a grueling journey on the backs of the four winds will reveal the truth: the bear is really a prince who’s been enchanted by a troll queen, and the Lass must come up with a way to free him before he’s forced to marry a troll princess. "

Once Upon a Winter's Night by Dennis McKiernan

McKiernan, Dennis. Once Upon a Winter's Night. New York: Roc, 2001.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in hardcover or paperback.

NOVEL: From Amazon.com: "The bestselling author of the immensely popular Mithgar books now turns his unique talents to a phantasmic retelling of the classic fairy tale, "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" in which a young woman enters into a strange, peril-filled marriage to a mysterious prince."

East by Edith Pattou

Pattou, Edith. East. New York: Harcourt, 2003.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in hardcover or paperback.

NOVEL: From Amazon.com: "Rose has always felt out of place in her family, a wanderer in a bunch of homebodies. So when an enormous white bear mysteriously shows up and asks her to come away with him--in exchange for health and prosperity for her ailing family--she readily agrees. The bear takes Rose to a distant castle, where each night she is confronted with a mystery. In solving that mystery, she loses her heart, discovers her purpose, and realizes her travels have only just begun."

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Literature: Short Stories

None so far!

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Armless Maiden edited by Terri Windling

Clewell, Johnny. "The Iron Shoes." The Armless Maiden. Terri Windling, ed. New York: Tor Books, 1995.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in hardcover or paperback.

Jackson-Adams, Tracina. "Seven Pairs of Iron Shoes." The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Sixteenth Annual Collection. Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, eds. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2003.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in hardcover or paperback.

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I have listed primarily classical compositions of music using the themes of this fairy tale in either ballet, opera or some other musical style. I have also provided links to popular recordings of the music when available at Amazon.com. The advantage to these links is that you can listen to samples of the music at no charge.

None so far!

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To learn more about these films, please visit the
Internet Movie Database.

Polar Bear King movie

Kvitebjorn Kong Valemon (1991). Ola Solum, director. USA Title: The Polar Bear King.
Buy the movie on VHS.

Jack Fjeldstad .... King of the Winterland
Maria Bonnevie .... Princess
Tobias Hoesl .... King Valemon
Monica Nordquist .... King Valemon's Mother
Anna-Lotta Larsson .... Witch/Heksa

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Ludlam, Charles. The Enchanted Pig. New York: Samuel French.

FULL-LENGTH PLAY: Comedy. Combine elements of King Lear, The Frog Prince, Cinderella and The Three Sisters and you have this delirious merriment.

''Clean and camp-free, it should appeal both to wide-eyed adults and sophisticated children.''—N.Y. Times

Based on the fairy tale, "The Enchanted Pig," which is similar to "East of the Sun, West of the Moon." Read the text to the tale on SurLaLune at The Enchanted Pig.

East of the Sun & West of the Moon by Nancy Willard

Willard, Nancy. East of the Sun and West of the Moon. New York: Harcourt Young Classics, 1989.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in hardcover.


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East of the Sun & West of the Moon by Kathleen Hague illustrated by Michael Hague

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©Heidi Anne Heiner, SurLaLune Fairy Tales
Page created 11/2001; Last updated 10/8/2013