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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Trope-tastic Tuesdays: (Defrosting) Ice Queen

(Parts of this were originally posted on January 17, 2013)

Trope: Ice Queen (and its sub-trope, the Defrosting Ice Queen)

Description: The Ice Queen is aloof and, well, frigid. She may not want to get emotionally close to anyone, or it may just be men she disdains. There are a few different ways her icy qualities can manifest themselves, ranging from slinging nasty remarks at anyone who crosses her to simply coming across as emotionless and "cold". In romance, the hero strives to "defrost" her and win her over so they can embark on a relationship.

(While not required, Ice Queens often have blonde hair and blue eyes.)

Examples: Elsa from Frozen, Katherine from The Taming of the Shrew, Hot Lips from M*A*S*H, Miranda from the Mass Effect series

Pros: The Ice Queen is no wet blanket, and she doesn't sit back and take any bullshit. She won't swoon over the hero as soon as he walks in the door; he's going to have to WORK for her affection. Comedic value is bumped up a notch if she's the type to make snappy comebacks and sends the hero away with his tail between his legs. Even if we think she's a bit snotty, we frequently can't help but root for her and want her to find true love.

Cons: If not handled with care, this trope can veer sharply into "she needed a MAN to put her in her place" territory, or imply she was a lesser human being until that man came along to defrost her. Or tame her, in Shakespeare's case. Another possibility is that there's some deep, dark, secretive reason for why the Ice Queen is so icy; it can be valid, or overly melodramatic (or both, I suppose). Then again, maybe not. Maybe she's just not a people person. However, if she comes across as too cold-hearted, it can be difficult for the audience to like and relate to her.

Would/Did I Use It?: I figured I might as well kick off the reboot of this feature with the (defrosting) Ice Queen, because I have such a prime example in my list of publications now. If the title of Fire Beyond the Frost doesn't clue you in, the main character, Catalina, definitely fits this trope. She's even got the pale blonde hair, though her eyes are green. I admit some of her attributes are coincidental, but yeah. Ice Queen for sure. Her "frostiness" doesn't come from any sort of evil or malice, though; she's just a serious person with some insecurities she tries to conceal.

In thinking it over, the titular character of Hunting Astrid probably also qualifies. Astrid (strawberry blonde hair, eye color not specified) has been hurt in the past and has her guard up, and the whole plot of the book is based on the hoops she makes Tabitha jump through in order to win her heart. To a lesser extent, Jasmine (brown hair, but blue eyes, for those of you keeping track at home) from Out of Orbit and Veronica (brown hair, eye color not specified) from Seductive Suspect also come across as rather aloof at first, and their love interests need to chip away at their icy barriers.

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