For day six of Winter Faerytale Week, I have decided to focus on a tale by Louisa May Alcott. The Frost King; or The Power of Love is one of the Wintery fairytales written by the author best known for her iconic novel Little Women.
This is the story of a faery named Violet who is from a Flower Land that is being blighted by a cold and wicked Frost King. When the Faery Queen believed all to be lost, that her flowers and all of her subjects would cease to survive the torments of the snowy King, Violet stepped forth wanting to take the most beautiful wreath of flowers she could to the icy kingdom, hoping to thaw his heart and show him the power of love. The Queen realized that sending forth messengers with monetary gifts had indeed been the wrong course of action, and little Violet (the weakest among them according to the story) had seen what her best advisors could not.
Over the course of the tale, Violet traveled to the Frost King’s lands and brought her wreath of flowers. She is initially sent away but refused to go, so she is put in a cell for her disobeying the King. Soon she used her flower faery magic to make the cell grow with lovely flowers and got the love of insects within it to help her. So the King sent her to a cell deep in the earth, where moles became her friends helping her in her work. Yet again, she made this cell beyond lovely. Finally, the Frost King set her a task to create a castle more lovely than his own cold dark palace. She toiled away, with the Frost King missing her, as he had already warmed to her presence. She toiled for so long that it was believed she had perished and one of the Frost King’s servants was sent to gather the flower faery court to collect her. When they arrived Violet came forth to show that she has indeed completed her task. She bravely asked the King to choose whether he would rather be a king with ice in his heart or to warm his heart and become a Flower King who would be beloved by his people. He placed the flower crown on his head and the Frost King was now a Flower King with love in his heart!
Now that I have covered the plot, I want to look at the story as a whole. It is a lovely tale that speaks of the power of gentle love and perseverance in order to achieve your end goal. The gentlest and most loving faery is the one who can save her land and also help the Frost King’s people by making him a more loving leader. To me, the tale has echoes of the Hades and Persephone tale, a Springtime Goddess coming into the Underworld and making a King think differently. Likewise, I see other duality Goddesses in this, like Blodeuwedd who is literally made of flowers, and must take her own personal Sovereignty when it is not given to her at birth. Violet is fearless in her desire to help and save those that she cares about. She is fully willing to lose her life in order to achieve her goals, which makes her an emotionally powerful protagonist in this fairytale! It also serves to make us appreciate the changing of the seasons and the power of the Wheel of the Year.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my thoughts on this fairytale. Had you ever heard of this story before? What do you think of Violet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
- The Frost King; or The Power of Love by Louisa May Alcott