skygiants: Hazel, from the cover of Breadcrumbs, about to venture into the Snow Queen's forest (into the woods)
[personal profile] skygiants
T. Kingfisher's The Raven and the Reindeer is an enjoyable Snow Queen variant that stakes out its territory with a few clear thematic changes:

- Kai was always kind of a jerk
- Gerta is projecting feelings onto Kay that neither of them really have
- Gerta's journey of discovery and self-knowledge is largely about getting over Kay and finding true love with the robber girl

The book commits hard to these things, as well as to the talking raven, and the creepy reindeer magic, and the Finnish-Sami setting. It's a well-written quest story and I had fun reading it, but as soon as I finished it I was struck with an irresistible urge to go to my bookshelf and reread Anne Ursu's Breadcrumbs, which remains my all-time favorite Snow Queen retelling.

The books are doing extremely different things, so it's not really fair to compare them. The Raven and the Reindeer is a quest fantasy coming-of-age story, written for teens and adults. Breadcrumbs is a battle to the death against loneliness and depression as filtered through the iconography of fairy tales, written for eleven-year-olds. The Raven and the Reindeer is Robin McKinley; Breadcrumbs is middle-grade Utena.

Also, Breadcrumbs is not gay. Nor is it straight! Because everyone's eleven.

Now, having just said that it's unfair to compare them, I'm going to compare them anyways: having read Breadcrumbs first and coming to The Raven and the Reindeer after was probably the wrong order to get the most satisfying Raven and the Reindeer experience.

Breadcrumbs is built around the relationship between Hazel and Jack. They have been best friends. They have meant something important to each other. That's real. They may well grow away and apart from each other, they may well have done so already; that's real too. Jack gives Hazel the most important thing he has when she needs it, and Hazel gives it back to him when he needs it, and it saves him -- but then it's lost to both of them. Saving Jack very probably doesn't mean saving Jack-and-Hazel, and it certainly doesn't mean saving Jack for Hazel. It just means saving Jack. And sometimes that's got to be enough.

The Raven and the Reindeer is not at all interested in Kay: he's an excuse for Gerta to have an adventure and prove something about herself, but in and of himself he's unworthy and uninteresting, and Gerta's journey is in large part about growing out of him. This is a perfectly reasonable way to interrogate the fairy-tale rescue story, but after Breadcrumbs, making Kay such an easily-shed MacGuffin felt a bit to me like taking the easy way out. Breadcrumbs is digging deeper into more uncomfortable truths, and the quest means something much more to me as a result.

(ALSO Jaina/Gerta is certainly cute and I'm all for it, but also all seemed to happen very fast? Like, makeouts within 24 hours of Gerta's initial kidnapping by robbers may have been necessary for Gerta's lesbian awakening but dang, Jaina, maybe slow your roll a little with your bewildered prisoner? Maybe wait until after three or four whole conversations, rather than two?

The emotionally fraught reindeerified throat-cutting was some good stuff, though.)

As a sidenote, I don't think I've ever actually read the whole original of Anderson's Snow Queen, but from similarities among all Snow Queen variants I have now collected the following important facts about the Snow Queen:
- snow is made of bees
- having a frozen heart makes you very good at math
- flowers are more helpful than almost any human being
- the best thing to do with a kidnapped child is make them do ice puzzles for you

Date: 2017-06-02 01:40 am (UTC)
sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
From: [personal profile] sovay
the following important facts about the Snow Queen:
- snow is made of bees
- having a frozen heart makes you very good at math
- flowers are more helpful than almost any human being
- the best thing to do with a kidnapped child is make them do ice puzzles for you


This is almost a poem and honestly I think you should make a story out of it.

I wrote a version of "The Snow Queen" with the primary ingredients of queerness and the Winter War; I apologize in advance for the lack of flowers and bees.
Edited Date: 2017-06-02 01:40 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-06-02 02:57 am (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
Oh, I'd read that, but didn't know the Snow Queen well enough to make the connection.

Date: 2017-06-02 04:05 am (UTC)
sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
From: [personal profile] sovay
Oh, I'd read that, but didn't know the Snow Queen well enough to make the connection.

I'm glad to know it works without knowledge of the original story!

Date: 2017-06-03 05:19 am (UTC)
sovay: (Sovay: David Owen)
From: [personal profile] sovay
You do have the flowers, though! The roses and the smell of moss.

I was thinking that they didn't exactly talk, but it is true that your post didn't specify that. Still pretty sure about the bees, though.

They are excellent elements for a Snow Queen, and it's an excellent story.

Thank you!

I am trying to start writing fiction again as opposed to just prose about film. I did it before.

Date: 2017-06-02 02:16 am (UTC)
hebethen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hebethen
Bees.

:|a

Bees?

Date: 2017-06-03 05:21 am (UTC)
sovay: (Haruspex: Autumn War)
From: [personal profile] sovay
APPARENTLY IT'S A REAL THING STRAIGHT OUT OF ANDERSON

It is. I can vouch for this. According to Kay's grandmother the Snow Queen is the queen of the snow bees, although not as much is done with this as you might think.

Date: 2017-06-03 03:03 pm (UTC)
amelia_petkova: (Princess Bride icon)
From: [personal profile] amelia_petkova
As a sidenote, I don't think I've ever actually read the whole original of Anderson's Snow Queen, but from similarities among all Snow Queen variants I have now collected the following important facts about the Snow Queen:
- snow is made of bees
- having a frozen heart makes you very good at math
- flowers are more helpful than almost any human being
- the best thing to do with a kidnapped child is make them do ice puzzles for you


I mean, you're not wrong. All that's definitely Snow Queen canon.

Date: 2017-06-04 05:35 pm (UTC)
amelia_petkova: (Princess Bride icon)
From: [personal profile] amelia_petkova
Yeah, he's funny about things like that. I remembered that the goblin makes spectacles from the cursed mirror and that Kai's into math, but skimming through the story again reminded me that there's also a princess who advertises her search for a husband in a newspaper.

Date: 2017-06-05 01:45 am (UTC)
laceblade: fanart of Utena Tenjou, headshot (Utena fanart fierce)
From: [personal profile] laceblade
Breadcrumbs is middle-grade Utena

*immediately pulls this from TBR pile*

Date: 2017-06-05 02:03 am (UTC)
evewithanapple: forehead kisses | <lj user="evewithanapple"</lj> (king | with grace in all she offers)
From: [personal profile] evewithanapple
I had basically zero exposure to any versions of the Snow Queen story (besides Frozen, which doesn't count) which I feel like might be a contributing factor to how much I enjoyed this book. I had no basis for comparison or thoughts on how it worked as an adaptation, so I was just along for the magic snow lesbian ride.

(I will say on Janna's behalf- beside the fact that the book is, I believe, a novella, so aspects of the plot were condensed for space- that she's implied to have been living with a bunch of smelly cannibalistic bandits for a year or more, so when someone who wasn't a smelly cannibalistic bandit happened along, she was like "HOT DAMN." Although not enough to have sex with her while she was part magic reindeer. Janna: Definitely Not A Furry.)

Profile

skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (Default)
skygiants

June 2017

S M T W T F S
     12 3
456 789 10
1112 1314151617
18 1920 21222324
252627282930 

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jun. 23rd, 2017 05:15 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios