Over on my book log, I've just posted a comment on Deerskin, by Robin McKinley, in which I talk around some problems I had with the book. For the curious, I put spoilers behind the cut tag. This will probably not make any sense at all if you haven't read the book.
My problem with the magical help is this quote (page 226, Ace paperback):
She had lived. They were now only memories, and where she stood now the sun was shining.
Five years ago.
The Moonwoman had said, I give you the gift of time.
Time enough to grow strong enough to remember. Maybe the Moonwoman had known Lissar well enough after all.
Now, if the time had been so that people wouldn't associate her with the missing/presumed dead princess of her original kingdom, fine. Makes perfect sense to me. But those years lying on the mountaintop felt as though one night for her; she didn't experience them at all. I fail to understand how the passage of time, when not experienced, allows one to grow strong. Might as well have just healed her wounds and taken her memory away, and skipped those years completely—surely it would have been the same from Lissar's point of view?
This is what I mean about psychological realism (time to grow strong) not fitting well with fairy tales (magical sleep and healing on mountaintops).
My practical questions, by the way, were: what's going to happen to the kingdom of Lissar's father, now that he's old and broken and heirless; and what about Camilla, Ossin's sister, the responsible and interesting one who was to marry said nameless king? This isn't her story, but to me she feels like she has one.