The Snow Queen
1843 was a cold winter in Denmark. Copenhagen was blanketed in snow, and the wind howled with a chill. Danish author Hans Christian Andersen bundled up and ventured out into the cold.
He had met Jenny Lind, a Swedish opera singer, and fell in love with her. Shy around women, Andersen was too nervous to even approach Jenny. She was a beautiful 20-year old with a voice of a nightingale. He mustered up the courage to write her a letter of proposal, expressing his love and feelings.
Jenny wrote back. Andersen clenched the letter tightly in his hand. The promise of a new beginning was on the brink of his fingertips. As he started reading Jenny’s letter, his hope quickly faded. She did have feelings toward him, but not in the way he wanted. She saw him more as a friend and brother.
He felt a lump in his throat and a tightness in his chest. He had poured his heart into the letter, and now it was for nothing. The Swedish Nightingale’s letter was cold, and her rejection stung. Feeling defeated, Andersen slumped back in his chair and let the pain wash over him. Then he opened up a blank piece of paper. He let his emotions spill out as he began to write the story of “The Snow Queen.” It was his way of honoring the love he had for Jenny, even if she could not return it.
He wrote furiously. When he finished, he looked at the pages with a heavy heart. Yet he felt a strange sense of peace. He had crafted his pain into something beautiful, and in doing so, he had found a way to heal.
He had given us one of his most enduring fairy tales.
“The Snow Queen” tells the story of an ice-hearted queen. Her character is one of icy indifference. Like Jenny, she is beautiful and powerful, but her heart is cold and unyielding. A powerful and mysterious sorceress, she has the ability to manipulate the weather and create snow and ice. She is determined to bring winter to the world. She has no qualms about using her powers to force people into her service.
But despite her cold and calculating behavior, she does have a softer side. She is not pure evil. Although she is ultimately defeated in the end (through the power of true love), the Snow Queen survives. As in some of Andersen’s other stories, evil can go unpunished.
The 2013 animated musical Frozen was inspired by Andersen’s classic fairy tale. Loosely based on the “The Snow Queen,” in the Walt Disney film she takes center stage as Elsa.
Her magical powers gone out of control, Elsa accidentally casts an icy spell over her kingdom. With the help of her sister and a group of friends, she saves the kingdom from eternal winter.
The movie also features a variety of memorable songs, such as “Let it Go,” which celebrates Elsa’s newfound sense of freedom and independence. The words express Anderson’s heart:
Let it go, let it go,
That perfect girl is gone,
Here I stand in the light of day,
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway.
The Snow Queen Activity 1
Pick out the nouns and then the verbs in the following sentences:
- Copenhagen was blanketed in snow, and the wind howled with a chill.
- The promise of a new beginning was on the brink of his fingertips.
- Andersen slumped back in his chair and let the pain wash over him.
- With the help of her sister and a group of friends, she saves the kingdom from eternal winter.
- She is not pure evil.