Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Snow Queen

Kai and Gerda
The Snow Queen

The flake of snow grew larger and larger; and at last it was like a young lady, dressed in the finest white gauze, made of a million little flakes like stars. She was so beautiful and delicate, but she was of ice, of dazzling, sparkling ice; yet she lived; her eyes gazed fixedly, like two stars; but there was neither quiet nor repose in them. She nodded towards the window, and beckoned with her hand. The little boy was frightened, and jumped down from the chair; it seemed to him as if, at the same moment, a large bird flew past the window. ~from Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen
I recently saw the Disney movie Frozen. Although it is purported to be based upon Hans Christian Andersen's story The Snow Queen, I saw little resemblance. While Frozen tells an interesting tale of two royal sisters, it has little in common with the Snow Queen of Andersen, except for the fact that loving tears melt a heart of ice. The original yarn is  much more complex than the Disney film, and is fraught with Christian imagery and themes. It begins with the activities of hobgoblins who create a magic mirror which distorts the beauty of whatever it reflects. As the hobgoblins try to carry the mirror to heaven in order to mock the angels, it smashes to earth. The splinters cause a great deal of harm by falling into the eyes of humans who then see the world around them in a warped manner. The story shifts, telling of a boy and a girl, Kai and Gerda, who have loved each other from childhood. When Kai gets one of the splinters in his eye, his behavior changes towards Gerda. He is later abducted by the beautiful and mysterious Snow Queen, and his friend Gerda sets out to find him. Gerda's adventures and the sundry characters she encounters make for an enchanting tale which has delighted many generations. Why anyone would feel the need to tamper with the product of Andersen's creative genius is beyond me.
The Snow Queen and Kai

The Snow Queen kidnaps Kai

Gerda and the Witch
Gerda and the Reindeer

The Angel
Read the original tale, HERE. More illustrations from Sur la Lune. Share

1 comment:

tubbs said...

Nice Beardsleyesque illustrations.
And can anyone explain to me why witches are so often depicted in Welsh folk costume? What is the connection, and shouldn't Welsh women be up in arms?