I’m interested in Andersen’s Queen – no, sorry, I haven’t seen the latest cartoons – some kind of intuition tells me that these cartoons, in order not to scare children too much, have carefully removed everything that seemed too terrifying. But maybe I’m wrong.
All Andersen’s tales are terrifying, because they confront us with the worst: with hearts as hard as ice, with hearts of stone, with those who have only themselves as love in life.
The Snow Queen is one of Andersen’s most epic tales – and also one of the sweetest in the end, because we know why it is possible to have a heart as hard and cold as ice.
In Andersen’s tale, there are no princesses, no reindeer, no friends to help on the road, no not at all.
Mmm… all right. This, is almost true.
First of all, there is the devil, who creates a strange mirror: everything that is beautiful and happy is not reflected – but everything that is ugly, everything that is bad, everything that is failed begins to appear, enlarged and distorted.
Alas, the mirror shatters and the northern winds carry away shards of glass in their storms.
So when Kay and Gerda, who were very cute, very faithful and very childlike young lovers, played on the balcony and the north wind blew into the city, two shards of the mirror got into the little boy: one in the eye, one in the heart.
The moment the shard of glass entered his eye, Kay no longer saw the beauty of the roses, but just their intertwined roots, the worm growing in a flower, the ugliness of his friend’s face who was crying because he was in pain.
As for the scene where Kay is sledding in the main square, where he lazily hooks his small sled to a huge white sled and where this sled carries him away, far away in a whirlwind of snow and ice, that he is all small and frozen on his wooden stuff, it is simply terrifying, as much for children as for adults.
Who will rescue him? His young lover Gerda, of course. She set off alone, straight north – to fight the Snow Queen? she wasn’t afraid.
She met crows and the crows mistook the little boy – it was not her friend who slept in a “palace according to the crows”. She met wolves, bears and the bite of the cold. She met the robbers’ daughter – who was quite a badass girl, who didn’t want to be nice, but who was nice anyway, a little bit. She met an old witch and her daughter – and at the end, when she couldn’t take it anymore, at the end, she entered the frozen kingdom of the Snow Queen.
In the palace, there was her friend Kay. He was blue with cold, almost blackened by the continuous burning of the ice. His vision was blurred and his heart was frozen. The queen had promised him freedom if he could complete a puzzle that would allow him to write the word Eternity.
But he couldn’t see anything, and he couldn’t complete the puzzle.
He had no emotion when he saw Gerda.
Nothing at all. His heart was frozen.
No joy. No fear. No sadness. No anger. No hope.
No nothing. His heart was frozen.
She ran to him.
He did not move. He had become indifferent to everything.
Then she cried.
She cried, she could not stop.
Her tears were hot and flowing
She cried so much that her tears pierced the boy’s chest, went to his heart and broke the ice that held him captive.
The little boy came back to life – each kiss of Gerda gave him back the colors of life, his eyes regained their brightness, his cheeks became pink again, his mouth became red.
When they finally returned home, they had grown up. The journey had been so long.
Here is what the ending says:
“Unless you are like children, you will not enter the kingdom of God.” Kay and Gerda looked into each other’s eyes and suddenly understood the old psalm:
Roses grow in the valleys Where the child Jesus comes to speak to us.
They were sitting there, both adults and yet children, children at heart… It was summer, the sweet blessed summer.“
Needless to say, I am unable to understand why this tale had to be changed.
Especially since the real hero is a little girl – and that’s not so common.
Add to that a whole series of adventures along the way, a whole series of different settings and atmospheres, with secondary characters that are sometimes funny, sometimes disturbing, sometimes downright terrifying
and that so touching love story that binds the two children to each other until the end – no, I don’t get it.
So yes, it’s true, the devil’s mirror that shows and amplifies the ugliness of the world is ugly.
But ? after all, haven’t we all become accustomed to looking in that mirror alone?
It is interesting to talk about this with children, don’t you think?
& moreover, for this story, frankly? wouldn’t you have the terror of your life, being in the sled with little Kay?
Wouldn’t you have the wonder of your life being in the forest, trying to negotiate with crows as nice as they are stupid?
The fear of your life, with the robbers’ daughter’s knife at your throat?
This story, in Virtual Reality for some of its most poignant parts, will be even more unforgettable.
As for the Snow Queen puzzle…
But yes, I know you’ve thought about it too.
Still, offering this puzzle in the AA App, but it’s so huge that it’s impossible not to do it!