By any evaluation, Hans Christian Andersen’s “Snow Queen” (1845) hardly instantiates sex normativity. The tale explores a variety of arguably homosexual and homosocial as well as arguably heterosexual and heterosocial relationships: mutual (sexual) attraction between a young boy (Kai) and an adult woman (the Snow Queen); mutual (sexual) attraction between two children (Gerda and Kai) who, though not biologically related, are raised as siblings; and mutual (sexual) attraction between Gerda and the various women and girls she meets on her travels. In “Snow Queen” live-action films and television versions, five of which I discuss here, the ways in which protagonists enact the story vary. In moving from page to screen, the female characters in particular appear difficult to keep in their conventional, heteronormative places. I argue that male directors flirt with sexual possibilities in the tale, generally making heterosexuality more explicit and manifest than same-sex attraction. Yet they also tend to include homosocial, possibly lesbian (same-sex erotic) relationships for Gerda while simultaneously offering alibis for all queer relationships except those of the Little Robber Girl.


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pp. 110-134
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