Friday, 15 October 2010

Friday is for Fairytales: The Snow Queen

My post today is about: The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen

This fairy-tale is definitely on my favourites list. I love to read it in autumn and winter because it is quite a dark fairy-tale and it suits me to have a perfect “dark” atmosphere when reading it. Snow or autumn mists are my kind of perfect.

What I like about this story:
the magic mirror, created by the devil, which distorts the appearance of things it reflects (I love mirrors in stories!); it doesn’t reflect the goodness in people, but magnifies their bad features, making them look even worse than they are in real life (that’s one very powerful weapon of evil, I think, which makes the quest for goodness all the more poignant and difficult, in my opinion)
the mirror shatters and its shards get into people’s eyes and hearts, making them cold and they only side bad things in other people (again, the workings of evil are very tricky in this story)
the two friends Kay and Gerda, I like these two children a lot, especially the brave, innocent Gerda
Kay’s grandmother’s story about the Snow Queen and her snow bees
Kay becomes a victim of the mirror, as one mirror shard enters his heart, making him cold, and the other his eye, making him see ugliness all around, and then little Gerda goes on her quest to save him, all by herself
the Snow Queen’s palace is located in an actual place, Lapland; this often gives me a feeling of a reality, instead of this story being only a figment of imagination
the Snow Queen’s condition to release Kay: he must put together the pieces of the broken mirror to create characters and words, and if he manages to put together the word eternity, she will release him and give him a pair of skates (quite an impossible task, meaning the Snow Queen intends to keep Kay)
little Gerda saves Kay with love: she weeps for him, her warm tears melting the shard in his heart, and then he begins to cry too, washing out the shard from his eye (this is one of my favourite endings and I love its very simple, yet poignant message: love conquers everything)

I have to say that I’ve never read any academic articles about C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, but I’m pretty sure that the cold Queen of Narnia is based on Andersen’s Snow Queen. The similarities are too obvious and if that’s true, then I’m really happy about it.


Laura @ A Jane of All Reads said...

I have a giant storybook, much battered and loved, from when I was a little Jane, that has this story in it. It was even illustrated. I remember absolutely loving this story and being TOTALLY TERRIFIED of broken glass for a long time :D

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I've never read this story although I'm familiar with Mercedes Lackey's reworking of it. HCA sure wrote some sad stories-glass in the heart and eye? But at least there's a happy ending.

Blodeuedd said...

Did not know it was located in lapland, cool, though I wonder which if that would mean the Norwegian, Swedish or Finnish part

Jan von Harz said...

I remember going to my first movie with my mother and seeing a cartoon of this story probably more than fifty years ago. I love the movie and have no idea who it was by, but have always wanted to see it again.

I agree that Lewis fashioned his Queen from Anderson's fairy tale. Great post.