Envisioning a new world of harmony, humanity, and peace

Editor’s Notes

Soria Moria

Image: Theodor Kittelsen / Norwegian National Museum / Creative Commons
“Far, far away, Soria Moria Palace shimmered like Gold”

Dear readers and friends,

There are some paintings you never get tired of looking at, and there are stories you can listen to over and over again. 

For me, “Soria Moria slott,” an oil painting in peaceful shades of blue by the Norwegian artist Theodor Kittelsen in 1900, is one of them, and not in the least, because of the story by the Romantic storytellers Asbjørsen and Moe it brings to life.  It is the story of Askeladden, the Ash Lad, when he catches sight of Soria Moria Castle glittering far away in the distant mountains, the manifestation of all his longing and dreams.

Much has been written about the meaning of Soria Moria, but for most Norwegians and all readers of the folk tales, the far-off castle shining in the sun stands as symbol of our quest for happiness and personal fulfillment. And this quest is not always an easy one. The path is not clearly marked, and there are dangers along the way. 

In Asbjørnsen and Moe’s adventure, Askeladden encounters no less than a bear, a dragon, and a golden bird on his way to free the princess in the castle. Finally, he must face off in a battle with a sinister troll before he can free the princess in the castle before the two can live together happily ever after.

Looking back on the past few weeks, it is easy to believe that ideal of Soria Moria is only a fairy tale, no longer relevant in the world of today. What we have experienced has been no less than earth shattering, as the very fundaments of our society have been put to the test. We have mourned the wrongful death of a fellow human being, and we have seen our cities shattered by violence and destruction.

As individuals and as a society, we are not always sure where we are going. It is easy to feel weary and disillusioned—but now, it is more important than ever to hold on to our ideals. Our community, our entire country must be guided by hope, justice, and love, and we will find our way.

Our Syttende mai photos issue has always been special for us, as it looks back on a day that stands for everything we believe in. And while this year was different, your photos tell the story that it was just as memorable—and perhaps even more meaningful—than ever. Despite the restrictions of the coronavirus, it was a great day of celebration around the world.

As I have said many times but cannot say too many times, as editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, I have the enormous privilege of working with a uniquely talented team, who, with each edition, work to bring you a newspaper full of light and life. This issue is no exception, as we bring you a selection of articles and features to welcome in Midtsommer: art, music, food, and festivities. By no means do we want to diminish the profundity of the challenges we face, but we want to make your life happier, with a sincere hope for better times.

“Far, far away, Soria Moria Palace shimmered like Gold” is the title of Kittelsen’s painting. That shining, bright castle is still there for us today, if we can keep our vision of a world of peace and harmony alive. May we never lose sight of it.

Lori Ann Reinhall
Editor-in-chief, The Norwegian American

Photo: Marianne Friman
Musical connections across the Atlantic have enriched Editor-in-chief Lori Ann Reinhall’s life. Last fall, she visited her friends from Trio Mediæval, featured in this issue.

If you would like to contact Lori Ann Reinhall, please email her at loriann@na-weekly.com.

This article originally appeared in the June 12, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall, editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, is a multilingual journalist and cultural ambassador based in Seattle. She is the president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association, and she serves on the boards of several Nordic organizations.