Solbjørn Hvittsen (sol-byurn vit-sen) is the son of the white bear-prince, the male protagonist of East of the Sun and West of the Moon.
Although he, for obvious reasons, would rather not have been bestowed under a similar spell that his father once had, Sol tends to associate himself with the Royals simply out of convenience. Many folks of the Royal alignment tend to be actual princes and princesses, after all, and it is often with them, with notable exceptions, who are less likely to judge a select number of his characteristics as general haughtiness.
Solbjorn is a stoical young man with a penchant for endurance, his air of dignified calm giving the impression that he’s a little more aloof than he actually is. Some may see him as your typical pretty-boy prince, avoiding the fact that he’s one of many destined dudes-in-distress while keeping away from the sun to maintain his notable fairness. Others might notice his more reserved nature, and brush him off as some rigid stick-in-the-mud who only cares about maintaining his legacy. Either way, it’s not hard to figure that he’s yet another well-off student in a sea of royalty.
Or so you think.
Not a ton of folks would guess that he’s already cursed. Not that he cares if people already know, but it could be said that he's done pretty well at "passing" as normal. Even less would come to the conclusion that he’s independently skilled when it comes to the outdoors, particularly when away from the afternoon sun, or at least those outside of his Beast Training & Care class. And for those who know his story, they might assume that his evil step-mom doesn't come into play until it’s time to fulfill his destiny. But she’s already invaded his life for better or worse, and the fact that his transformation will take full form at 18 means that, until then, he still has some rather, erm, interesting habits most often displayed by the animal he’ll turn into.
Suppressing himself and shrugging off his hardships has not come easy, nor is it something that those around him would grasp without effort. It’s not that he wants to put himself on a pedestal, it’s just easier at times to keep his distance and let people assume than let them judge him for exactly what he is. Anger does not come easily to him but when it does, his instincts are not far behind, and being a mere two years away from taking beastly form does not help one bit. All in all he’s a tight-lipped yet stalwart young fellow who wants more than just a few to understand without fear, but like everything else in his life, the silver spoon that others see him use has not the sweetest porridge to dine on.
Whether due to his bear of a curse or his inclination for the outdoors, Sol is strongly built at 6 ft 3 inches and is somewhat stocky, even during those rare moments where he isn't wearing a plethora of layers. His skin is exceptionally pale as a result of his albinism, hence why he's often covered from head to toe. He'll usually wear a brimmed hat over his white, mildly tousled hair to help keep himself out of the sun.
His bright blue eyes are suspectable to photophobia, or sensitivity to light, which he'll combat by wearing a pair of blue tinted glasses while outside. As Sol has low vision, he'll bring a clip-on monocular to help see from a distance; while reading or in the classroom, reading glasses and a dome magnifier are his aids.
Fairy Tale: East of the Sun and West of the MoonEdit
The Norwegian fairy tale collected by Asbjornsen and Moe, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, goes as followed:
Once upon a stormy autumn night, a white bear knocks on the windowpane of this farmer peasant dude with a bunch of pretty kids, because bears are very polite apparently. As one would predict of most fairy tales, the prettiest of the peasant's children is his youngest daughter. He lets the bear in
given that letting a wild animal inside the house is totally logical and said bear asks to take in his youngest daughter for a little bit of lovin' in exchange for riches. Unlike Beauty's father from BatB, peasant-dad asks his daughter but she immediately declines, so the bear lets them sit on the decision until the week after.
So because the dad's a greedy bastard, he uses that time to convince his youngest to go with the talking, totally-not-shady beast because he wants some dollar signs. The girl goes with the bear and they arrive at his enchanted castle hidden in the mountainside
as opposed to a suspicious looking white van, the inside vast, beautiful, and glistening with silver and gold. The bear also hands her a silver bell which can give her anything she wants with a single ring. Due to the fickle nature of many a classic story, this bears (geddit, bears) literally no plot significance later on. She uses it to have a hardy dinner, then goes to rest after a filling meal.
Meanwhile, as the lights are turned out whenever she goes to bed, a mysterious stranger she never sees joins her in bed chamber if you know what I mean. As most savvy readers can probably conduct, it's the bear in human form. No ellaborate magical girl transformation is described, sadly. Meanwhile, the girl gets bored and lonely because her beast of a hubby is rarely around during the day and she misses her family. He lets her go on the condition that she should avoid talking to her mother without others around to see, and that she should not heed to her advice if this happens.
Since there would be no plot otherwise, the girl does exactly what he tells her not to do.
The mom suspects that it's actually a troll joining her in bed, and tells her to sneak in a tallow candle with her the next time this oh-so-mysterious joins her for some primal lovin'. When the girl does this, she happens finds an attractive hunka prince. Because apparently acting upon one's ladyboner while your significant other is asleep is A-okay, she kisses him. Three drops of tallow spill on his shirt and he wakes up.
Turns out he has a troll of an evil step-mom and if she'd have kept it in her pants for the rest of the year, then maybe he'd have eventually turned human with time, rather than having to marry his step-mom's daughter, a troll-princess. So incest is ethical when they're not related by blood, and the marriage is only bad because they're trolls and therefore not Christian. More on the Christian bit later.
He leaves the next day and the whole castle-mountain disappears, but before then he tells her that the trolls are taking him to the castle east of the sun and west of the moon. She angsts her tears away until it's time to kick it into gear and save her man. Thus our leading lady meets three old woman who have no clue where that is, but each end up giving her three gold-tinted items and a horse in this chronological order: An apple, a comb, and a spinning wheel. She then comes across each of the four winds, with the North Wind being the only one powerful enough to bring her to her destination. And so he does, all via traveling across the sea liKE A BAWS.
After that, the former bear-prince's bride-to-be hassles the girl three times for each of her golden trinkets, all of which the girl exchanges for a night alone with her hunka man. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Unfortunately said man is given a sleeping drink/is basically drugged up by said troll-princess two times in a row, but before the third night a group of lovely Christian prisoners tell him that his true blue gal came to save the day. Refusing the troll-princess's drink on the third night
because drinking is bad kids, don't don't end up like a drunk dude in distress, he's wide awake and lays out a plan.
On the day of their wedding, he says that only the woman who can marry him is the one who can successfully wash off the tallow spilled off the white shirt, the one he wants to wear during the ceremony. Both troll-mom and troll-bride cannot, because of course the tallow was spilled by a Christian and of course trolls are somehow not Christian enough to scrub it. Which turns out to be true because it magically became dirtier than before when they tried. His girl successfully washes it off though, and all the trolls in the castle magically combust in a fit of literal unholy rage. Our lovely pair freed the prisoners, raided all the gold in the castle, and ditched the place because reasons.
Tl;dr and VariationsEdit
It's basically a Norwegian Eros and Psyche. Or for those who have no clue what that is, it's somewhat of a combination of Beauty and the Beast, the second but not-so-well-known portion of Perrault's version of Sleeping Beauty, and The Singing, Springing Lark but with snowy mountains, kind old ladies who must be loaded, personified wind currents, even more gold, (polar) bears, and spontaneously combusting trolls.
Slight variants of the same tale will give the story two beds for the bear-prince and youngest daughter to sleep in rather than one, and may omit the old women entirely while making it so said prince sees his "true" brinde on his wedding day with him coming up with the plan right then. And the Christian prisoners/Christianity bit might be excluded as well, because it's probably species-ist to trolls.
It's possible that Sol's reliving of the tale could potentially go with the admittedly sanitized/censored version of the story. But since Jade Encrusted Bugs could care less about said version, we'll just have it so his dad went through the tale as narrated in that rather biggish summary above, while assuming that it's the same version that Sol's going to go through.
How Solbjorn ties into itEdit
As trolls are commonplace in Scandinavian folklore, and because everyone has loved ones in high and low places, the troll-princess was not the only biological daughter that the prince's step-mother had. In fact, the troll-woman's youngest daughter was sent away from the castle east of the sun and west of the moon, a precaution made in case the worst of the worst happened before the marriage.
Well, she found out what happened. The whole of her family was gone, just like that. All because of her wretched step-brother, his true bride, and those meddling Christians. If her family suffered in the prince's hands, then what was left of his family would suffer as well.
By the time she tracked them down, both monarchs were blessed with a beautiful four-year-old son who was even more fair of face than the two of them together. Well, had been for the late queen who'd risen from peasant life to royalty. The young woman had died of an unknown illness, an unfortunate happening at the time that devastated the prince-to-king who now took human form. Since destiny was to take place, the remaining heir of the royal Troll family was allowed joint-custody with the king over the child, therefor taking the part of his step-mother. The she-troll also had a daughter of her own during her travels, appropriately named Ishara Troll, and so an arranged marriage was begrudgingly planned for Sol and the young troll-princess.
The first thing she did when the young prince was in his custody: cursed him so that he would take the form of a bear on his 18th birthday. The enchantment from prince to beast, however, was different than the one that the last prince had. Rather than an immediate transformation, hints of his animality were to gradually creep in as he grew older. A keen sense of smell; inhuman strength; specific eating habits relating to the flesh and skins of many a seal, as would a polar bear, although a general carnivorous diet and particularly sea life sustain him for the time being.
And of course, though the above is not quite limited to what's listed: the unpredictable, even dangerous instincts that come with all of it.
Solbjorn's family, as thusly described, isn't exactly the most conventional. Since his dad and step-mother aren't married, and with the latter inheriting the castle east of the sun and west of the moon, he spends a portion of time between both his father and the aforementioned's living quarters. When away from school, the weekdays are dealt with at his dad's hidden mountainside palace, which was rebuilt after the tale. During the weekend he stays with the she-troll and her daughter, which he travels to through the power of his step-mom's mirror portal.
Being a strong yet loving as a noble king should, Sol gets along well with his dad. While he can be particularly stern when his exact instructions aren't followed as said, he accommodates for his son's needs as well as he can. The prince was taught from a young age how to navigate, track/gather, hunt, and generally live off the mountainside and surrounding forests as preparation for his destiny. In turn his teachings have helped Sol in learn how to blow off steam when his instincts spring up with unexpected force. These activities normally happen during the mornings and evening, primarily as a way to avoid the worst of the blistering sun.
Although he had only known her in his much earlier years, Sol remembers his mother's presence somewhat. He has memories of the pang he felt while missing her when not allowed to stay in the same room as a result of her sickness. He'll usually mention that he was young when she died to reduce the usually sympathies from others (when brought up at least), but a part of him wishes he could have bade her a proper goodbye before her time had come.
With his step-mom, things are a different story. The only thing preventing her from literally exploding upon the very sight of him is knowing that he doesn't like staying with her in the first place. After all, any ounce of his misery means that she's helping to avenge her late maternal family. He finds himself more often than not cooped in her castle, as the older troll would rather not deal with him escaping, let alone would she want to bend over backwards over his condition.
His being around Ishara – the niece of the troll-bride – isn't at all bad, although neither of them are looking forward to their almost-marriage. He's not terribly fond of of her obsession for gold, sure, but at least his step-mother's hate never rubbed on the troll-princess. She's aware of and looks past the curse her mother gave him, and Sol is often the first to defend the girl from the occasional prick who thinks being a troll and a future antagonist is enough reason to harass an innocent. Overall, they see each other as brother and sister first and foremost.
As one can figure, Sol doesn't have a whole ton of friends, but will often be seen around what could be considered the royal "clique" of sorts. He tends to relate more with the (to-be) enchanted and not-quite-as-human princes and princesses, but his human physique tends to help him blend in with both crowds with relative ease.
This isn't to say his only friends are Royals and royalty however, nor that they're all beast-like in nature.
One of his closest childhood friends is the adopted daughter of one of the old women in his story, the one who gave his late mother the golden spinning wheel before finding the East Wind. His father and the woman, upon knowing that their children both had different types of albinism, thought that it would help for the two of them to have friends who shared a similar condition. They've had each other's backs since, with the helpful young girl aware of his step-mom's curse/helping him out and vise-versa. He's also close to his step-sister and future false bride.
He has other friends who are not royalty and/or happen to be Rebels themselves, definitely including some of the more beast-like students, but that is a paragraph to be written for another time.
Although he doesn't know who his future, true bride will be, to properly detail upon the romantic portion of his life would be difficult without mentioning his destiny. Although he may identify as a Royal, in his mind he'd be more than happy to have anyone he falls for, destined or not, to stay with him in a certain castle for a year once his complete enchantment kicks in. No tallow-spilling, skipping the whole bit about his step-mother kidnapping him, the like. But he still has to take bear form whether or not he signs the book, and it doesn't look like his step-mother will be taking away the enchantment on her own anytime soon.
Of the few times he's taken up any romantic interests, those interactions have led him to be wary about explaining how to break the curse. Unfortunately, many of his past dates have mistakenly assumed that he envisioned them as staying with him in his bear form at the enchanted castle in his story, and he's unfortunately dealt with girls his age range who haven't been accepting of his asexuality.
As mentioned before, Solbjorn dawns quite a few layers, wearing a thin light and dark gray cardigan, a red and royal blue waistcoat, and a light blue faux fur vest over a black and navy turtleneck sweater. The waistcoat in question has six buttons in rows of two-by-three, half of them silver and the others gold and sun-shaped.
Over his head is a gray hat, where his pointed silver and gold crown, to symbolize the colors of the castle he is to live in, sits along the corners of its brim. It is encrusted with pearls by its tips, and along its borders with sky blue and ruby red gemstones. The front most gem(s) have been carved to appear in the shape of the sun and a crescent moon, the jewel above a violet amethyst.
He wears regular blue jeans that tuck under a pair of brown, durable boots with gray-black fronts and a gray tongue with a tear-shaped flame design. His shoes along with his crown are trimmed with a similar material as his frontmost vest, as are his fingerless gloves.
- Solbjørn, as both a Norwegian and Danish name, is a younger variant of Salbjǫrn, a name in Old Norse. The name element salr means "house with one room, big room, hall" among similar titles, being a minor reference to the near-beginning of his tale where the white bear enters the peasant's house. Sol also is the latin root for sun, alluding to how the bear's enchantment goes on from day to later at night. As for bjørn, it simply means bear in Norwegian.
- Hvit means white, the color of the bear's fur in the tale, with sen the Norwegian equivalent to using "son" as a suffix. With "white" being used as part of a noun or name, there are two ts in Sol's surname instead of one.
- If any of the above is incorrect then feel free to correct me. Seriously, I mean it.
- Although he's 16, Sol is a sophmore due to having been born in autumn.
- Specifically, he has type OCA1a albinism.
- During those occasional moments where they're together, Sol's step-mom has been known to pester his father about the gold he'd taken from her late mother's castle and then some. Through both annoyance and pity she has gradually acquired a relatively significant sum of the gold her family once had. Due to constantly providing funds for his late wife's family and the small size of his northern reign, the king worries that the kingdom won't be financially sustained by the time Sol has to fulfill his destiny.
- While he currently can't live off on greens alone, he was actually vegetarian for four years, starting when he was 11 and ending around age 15. By then the craving for fleshy, protein-filled meals began to take over, and he was starting to turn ill as a result of not sustaining the diet enforced by his curse.
- As mentioned in his family section, however, he was taught how to hunt, something that he's quite skilled at. Although this and his former vegetarianism may seem to contradict, it's best to keep in mind that it's a needed skill for him as per destiny. A bear after all, enchanted or not, has to keep himself sustained without starving.
- The Anemoi as mentioned in his Story Book Romance Status refers to the Greek personification of the Winds. While they aren't named specifically in the story, their personas are very much in vein of each god's mannerisms as they gradually lead the prince's love closer to the castle of the titular tale. What Sol is saying is that he wants someone who can be similarly dedicated (tallow-spilling aside) as his mother was when she came to his father's rescue, and that he'll give his special someone the same dedication in return.