Top 10 Romantic Myths
One of my favorite things about writing The Ragnarök Prophesies series has been introducing readers to some of the myths and legendary figures I fell in love with when I was a kid. Not only did I get to play with the Norse myth of Ragnarök in the series, but I got to delve into the myths and love stories of many different cultures. I felt like a kid in a candy store.
Here are ten of my favorite romantic pairings from mythology and legend, many of which you'll find referenced in some fashion in Arionna and Dace's world in FADE and FALL.
1 Eros and Psyche –Their story is so full of drama and intrigue. I just can't keep myself from cheering for these forbidden lovers. When Aphrodite gets fed up with the beauty of Psyche, she sends her son, Eros (Cupid), to shoot Psyche with one of his arrows while she sleeps. Aphrodite plans to present a hideous creature to Psyche when she awakens, but when Eros pricks himself with the arrow, things don't quite work out that way.
2 Diana and Orion – Meet two of the world's earliest star-crossed lovers. When Diana is tricked into killing Orion by her brother, Apollo, she takes his body and places it amongst the stars, thus immortalizing him and our love of star-crossed lovers. There are many different versions of how Orion earned his final resting place in the stars, but this has always been my favorite.
3 Tristan and Isolde – When I read Romeo and Juliet as a teenager, I wasn't particularly impressed by them. Perhaps because I'd already fallen in love with Tristan and Isolde, another legendary pair of ill-fated lovers. Their tragic story broke my little heart into pieces…and still does so. I cry like a baby every time I read their story. While the latest movie version leaves out so much of the story, I've fallen in love with it as well. James Franco crying? Be still my heart!
4 Izanagi and Izanami – The story of Izanagi and Izanami is unique. It does triple duty as a love story, a creation myth, and a cautionary tale. When the lovers join as husband and wife, Izanami gives birth to the eight islands of Japan. From there, things rapidly begin to unravel, and the story ends with their broken marriage. Granted, the end is not very romantic, but it's still such a fascinating love story.
5 Diana and Lucifer – No, not that Lucifer, but the one found in Charles Leland's Vangelo delle Streghe. As with Izanagi and Izanami, this story doubles as a creation myth. But the ending here is much happier. Diana falls madly in love with Lucifer, God of Light, but he flees from her. She searches out the most primordial part of herself, and learns that she must fall in order to be reunited with Lucifer. Diana does so, and as she falls through the Seven Planes, she divides, becoming lifetimes upon lifetimes of souls, and eventually reunites with Lucifer who helps her spin the wheel that set the universe into motion.
6 Pyramus and Thisbe – These two Babylonian lovers, denied the opportunity to wed by their parents, plan to meet beneath a mulberry tree near Ninus's tomb to declare their love for one another, but a pesky lion ruins the day, and leads to the deaths of these lovers. When the gods hear their tragic story, they change the color of the mulberry from white to red to honor Pyramus and Thisbe.
7 Procris and Cephalus – Procris and Cephalus are madly in love when Cephalus is kidnapped by Eos, who tries desperately to convince him to forsake his wife. He refuses, and finds his way back to Procris, but not before Eos plants the suspicion that Procris has been unfaithful to him. Much drama ensues, and these two lovers eventually make up. But a grave misunderstanding happens, and Cephalus accidentally kills Procris.
8 Niu Lang and Zhi Nü – This is one of the most famous stories to come from China, and is still celebrated throughout the nation. Each day, Zhi Nü descends from Heaven to bathe in a pool. One day, Niu Lang sees her, and the two fall madly in love. Soon they wed, and when Zhi Nü's father (the Jade King) finds out, he's furious but is too late to do anything. One day, Zhi Nü visits her father in Heaven, and when she leaves to return to Niu Lang, her father places the Milky Way in her path, only removing it one night a year so the lovers may reunite.
9 Lancelot and Guinevere – Their love, according to legend, was the undoing of one of the greatest kingdoms. When King Arthur learns of his queen's affair with Lancelot, Guinevere is sentenced to death. Lancelot swoops in and rescues her at the last moment, which causes King Arthur to declare war on the errant knight. Eventually, Guinevere is imprisoned by Mordred, who attempts to wed her himself. King Arthur learns of this plan and returns from his war with Lancelot to kill Mordred. He is seriously wounded during their confrontation, and is whisked away to Avalon while Guinevere spends the rest of her life in a convent.
10 Freki and Geri – These wolves were Odin's most beloved companions. He fed them from his table. In exchange, they followed him everywhere, keeping his loneliness at bay. Geri and Freki's love for one another was so great that, according to legend, when Odin and the Æsir created humanity, Odin sent the wolves to the humans to show them how to care for and protect one another. Humanity learned much about love from this pair, and grew to revere the wolf, a tradition which continues to this day in many parts of the world.