Sooooo, the lovers. This is one of the first cards I knew I had a plan for – this one, the Devil, the Emperor, and Death. I am in no way the first to read a bitchload of queer subtext into this chapter of The Snow Queen; I’m probably not the hundredth. It basically screams off the page. If you’re not familiar with Hans Christian Andersen’s original story, you can read it here. And because chatting about it with a friend reminded me that the Toast once used this same couple for Femslash Friday, you should totally go read that one here, it’s hilarious.
But so essentially, my lovers card is about rising above yourself and sacrificing for the one you love, and the balance between two opposing personalities who both need some of what the other has, and also just a teensy muff joke, how could I resist? When we first meet the little robber girl she’s this wild, terrifying little Tazmanian devil, jumping her (terrible) mother an biting her to protect Gerda, promising Gerda that if anyone kills her it’ll be herself, terrorizing her ‘pets’, sleeping with knives. She’s . . . not a great romantic prospect. But the thing is, it’s all surface level swagger and overcompensation for the fact that she is clearly a sweet soft girl underneath. She’s bold and brash and wild, and she balances out Gerda, who’s been somewhat passive through this whole adventure and really needs a little of what the robber girl has. She’s also clearly had a TERRIBLE home life. The story sort of sweeps over it, but we have descriptions of her mother ‘filliping her nose till it’s red and blue’, and her eventual plans for Gerda’s escape depends on her knowing that her mother will drink herself into a stupor by midday EVERY FUCKING DAY. She makes it sound like she’s the scary one when she sleeps with her knife, but why exactly has a child learned that that’s necessary? She’s had an absolutely tragic life so far, and yeah, she’s lashing out at the poor animals, but that also seems to stay at empty threats. IT’S NOT GREAT and she seems primed to repeat the treatment she’s grown up with, but there’s more in her than that. She has a wellspring of love inside her that saves Gerda. She gives her back her fur boots; she steals her mother’s big mittens in exchange for her pretty muff (teehee) to keep Gerda’s hands warm, she gives her her reindeer and sends her off on her quest with no real expectation that her own situation will improve at all or that she’ll ever see Gerda again.
And happily we do see her again briefly at the end, riding out looking far more prosperous and happy, off to adventure herself, and if Gerda had half of the robber girl’s bravery she’d ditch Kay and go adventuring with her. But boo, whatever, obviously that’s not the ending Andersen was going to write.
Gerda and the Robber Girl map so nicely for me with another famously queer-inflected female friendship, Anne Shirley and Diana Barry. They have a similar dynamic – the one who’s grown up outside society is able to declare her passion loudly and intensely; the one from the safe middle-class home is less sure but clearly wants to go where her love leads.
On a more practical note, this one scanned reasonably well, so I will be throwing it up on Redbubble and Teepublic momentarily.
Gradually dyeing my hair blue again! It’s been a year of brown, I’m ready. So far I’ve done a very gentle dye remover to get the heaviest of the box color off, then a couple nights of deep conditioning. I think today is the day to go ahead and do the dye thing.