Thursday, October 3, 2019

[Book] The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen

Title Illustration
I read somewhere that the story of Disney's Frozen was based on this book, so I decided to read and review it for this blog.   I want to be clear that there is almost nothing that the story of Frozen has left in common with this original fairytale, except for a talking reindeer.  This is a short read, and I've linked to the full text via Project Gutenberg in the book information block below.

The story starts with the creation of a mirror by a mischievous hobgoblin/sprite, which once broken spreads, as dust and tiny shards, evil into the world.  In the second chapter, we are brought forward to meet the main characters, a young boy named Kay and a little girl named Gerda, and we learn that the worst snow storms are accompanied by the Snow Queen.

As fairy tales go, this one is elaborate.  There is a great deal of symbolism that may have been recognizable tropes to a contemporary reader of 1844, but left me feeling a bit lost.  Even the Snow itself is described instead as "white bees swarming".

Even though it is a short read, I don't recommend it.  I felt that most of the imagery was too abstract in that it doesn't translate to a modern day very cleanly.  That is, trying to figure out the meaning behind certain things was exhausting.  Chapter 3 introduces an Enchanted Flower Garden, but I couldn't figure out what the point was of most of it.

Feel free to try to explain what I'm missing in the comments below.


The Snow Queen
Childrens' Fairy Tale
Public Domain
Released: 21 December 1844
Softcover, 100 pages

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