The Snow Queen: Summary, Characters & Analysis

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  • 0:04 'The Snow Queen'
  • 0:24 Major Characters
  • 0:47 Summary
  • 3:59 Analysis
  • 5:20 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dori Starnes

Dori has taught college and high school English courses, and has Masters degrees in both literature and education.

When shards of a magic mirror lodge in his eyes and heart, Kay becomes cold and the Snow Queen claims him as her own. But Gerda, with her power over animals and her true love for Kay, may yet be able to save him.

''The Snow Queen''

''The Snow Queen'' is the story of a little girl's grit, her way with animals, and a magic mirror. It was written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen in 1845. One of his longest and most famous tales, ''The Snow Queen'' has been the inspiration for books and films, including Disney's Frozen.

The Snow Queen is one of the longest and most celebrated fairy tales that Hans Christian Anderson wrote
The Snow Queen is one of the longest and most celebrated fairy tales that Hans Christian Anderson wrote

Major Characters

The major characters of ''The Snow Queen'' include:

  • Kay, a young boy who's kissed and put under a spell by the Snow Queen.
  • Gerda, a young girl who loves Kay very much and is described as having long blonde hair and rosy cheeks
  • The Snow Queen, a beautiful woman who's made entirely of ice

The Snow Queen kissed Kay and took him away
The Snow Queen kissed Kay and took him away


The story ''The Snow Queen'' is broken up into seven short stories. Together, they tell the tale of Gerda's search for her best friend Kay.

''The Looking Glass and the Broken Fragments''

A demon makes a mirror that reflects back only what's ugly and hateful, but it shatters into millions of tiny pieces that retain the evil magic. The fragments blow in the wind and get into people's eyes and hearts so they can see only the bad in everything and they become ''cold like a lump of ice''.

''A Little Boy and a Little Girl''

Two children, Kay and Gerda, live next door to each other. Kay's grandmother tells them the story of the Snow Queen. One day, Kay is watching the snow fall and sees a woman made of ice who waves at him. Later, Kay is struck by pieces of the shattered demon mirror. One winter day, Kay, who's now as cold as ice, meets the Snow Queen. She kisses him and takes him away.

''The Flower Garden of the Woman Who Could Conjure''

Convinced that Kay has died, Gerda searches for him. She finds the home of an old woman. For many days Gerda is happy with the old woman, but one day she thinks of Kay and begins to cry. Roses bloom where Gerda's tears fall, and the flowers tell her that Kay is still alive.

''The Prince and the Princess''

Gerda meets a crow, who tells her that he has seen Kay living with a princess. Kay isn't there, but Gerda tells her story to the prince and princess, who feel bad for her. They give Gerda a carriage for her to take in search of Kay, so she sets off again.

''The Little Robber Girl''

Unfortunately, the carriage is set upon by robbers, and Gerda finds herself playmate to a little robber girl. Gerda tells her all about Kay. Some pigeons hear and tell Gerda that they have seen Kay with the Snow Queen. A captive reindeer promises to take Gerda, so they head north.

''The Lapland Woman and the Finland Woman''

Gerda and the reindeer stop in Lapland. There, an old woman gives them directions to the house of a Finnish woman, and Gerda and the reindeer set off again. The reindeer leaves Gerda near the palace and she hurries on. The Snow Queen's guards show up, but Gerda is suddenly surrounded by angels who thrust spears into the guards, and they disappear.

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