So it’s been a little while since I researched the original stories or inspiration of our favourite Disney movies. Meeghan from @meeghanreads made a suggestion to do Frozen which is loosely based on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson, that was back in August so I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to put it together!
Are you sitting comfortably?
You may already be aware of The Snow Queen written by Hans Christian Anderson in 1844. I remember reading many Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Anderson when I was younger without paying too much attention to all the details. Well many have said that the Disney movie Frozen is loosely based on this Fairy Tale, so I decided to reread this and come to my own conclusion.
I found 4 big similarities between the two with some pretty dark events and descriptions in the tale which I definitely wasn’t aware of when I first read this aged around 10.
The story begins with a Hobgoblin who is a Demon, he invented a mirror where every good and pretty thing reflected in it shrank away to nothing. On the other hand every ‘bad & good for nothing thing’ stood out and looked it’s worst. This mirror was believed to be a miracle as it was the first time it was possible to see what the world was really like.
The mirror was accidentally smashed to ‘hundreds of millions & billions of bits’ some no bigger than a grain of sand, they flew all over the world getting stuck in peoples eyes and distorting everything they looked at. Some people got a bit of glass into their hearts which then turned it to a lump of ice, this is our first similarity and a pretty big part of the story in Frozen.
Enter the story, here we have our boy named Kay and our girl named Greda, they have always lived next to each other and are very close. Kay is struck in the eye and heart with the shards of mirror, he sees the ugliness in everything and starts to become mean to Greda and his Grandmother. During a snow storm Kay takes his Sleigh too far out and finds himself face to face with the Snow Queen.
She guides him to get into her bearskin coat and she kisses him, yes, she kisses him. Once to numb him from the pain of the cold, and a second time to make him forget about Greda and his Grandmother. “Now I mustn’t kiss you anymore, or I should kiss you to death!”
What?! Then instead of taking him back to his home she takes him to her palace!
“The moon shone bright & clear… Kay looked at it all the long, long winter nights; in the day he slept at the Snow Queen’s feet”
Surely someone should be looking for him after all them nights? Well yes Gerda (a young girl remember) has set off on her own little adventure where she meets a few odd characters on the way. She also spends half of the journey with a reindeer, sound familiar? Now this reindeer isn’t as cute as Sven but he does speak to her and help her to the Snow Queens palace.
The Snow Queens Palace is also made from snow and ice with over 100 rooms shaped just as the snow had drifted, ‘big and empty glistening in their iciness.’
When Gerda arrived she found Kay “Blue with cold, nay almost black; but he did not know it, for the Snow Queen had kissed away this icy shiverings, and his heart was little better than a lump of Ice.”
The Snow Queen had numbed the boy of all his pain to the point that he didn’t know the effects that the cold was having on his body!
He appeared to be frozen stiff as he didn’t move when she arrived, “Little Gerda shed hot tears; they fell upon his breast & penetrated to his heart. Here they thawed the lump of ice & melted the little bit of mirror which was in it.” Kay then cried so much that the glass was washed out his eye. We do have a happy ending as they escape the palace while the Snow Queen is away and they go home together.
The similarities are definitely important enough that I would say it’s more than loosely based on The Snow Queen, they took the best and most significant parts of the story and made them more enjoyable for younger audiences.
This may not seem as dark and shocking as the other origins which I have done however this is a pretty cruel tale for Kay especially. He was kidnapped and made to forget his family while his heart was turning to ice.
If you have any suggestions then please comment below.
See you in the next one…