Archived Discussion

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.



Solandra: What about the gender-reversed variant of this trope, in which a bad boy is reformed by a good girl?

Binaroid: Doesn't Beast and Beauty at least partially cover that?

Solandra: It covers the "reform" aspect, but what I had in mind was the Troubled, but Cute guy or handsome Jerk with a Heart of Gold being made sweeter by their love interest's innocence — in many cases, the girl is perfectly ordinary and unassuming and her innocence is what intrigues the jaded boy. You know, the typical "melt the hot baddie's heart" plot? No (external) ugliness here!

Jordan: There's also a nonsexual version in a fairy tale called the Snow Queen, I think where a young boy is made Not Himself by having a sliver of ice through his heart, but his sister's love for him is able to melt it.

Tzintzuntzan: I can't believe I just discovered this discussion now. In response to Jordan, the Snow Queen is a Hans Christian Andersen story. Kai and Gerta are close friends, but the Snow Queen puts icy shards in Kai's eyes which turn him into a near-zombie. When Gerta finally finds the queen's castle, Kai is still under the spell and rejects her — but her tears reach his eyes and melt the ice (and thus the magic).

Another thing: if I'm remembering right, Gerd from the Norse myths isn't quite an example. When Frey's servant asks her to come, she isn't impressed, and only gives in because the servant threatens to cast a spell that will make her ugly. She does melt when she finally meets Frey in Asgard, but it's not so romantic when she had to be blackmailed into coming.

Kilyle: Christopher Booker's theories in The Seven Basic Plots concern the symbolism behind the joining of a heroine with a man, or the joining of a hero with either a woman or the love of (or for) a young child. According to the book, the heroine is not whole because she lacks her masculine half (inner strength, self-discipline, an ordered mind), while the hero is not whole because he lacks his feminine half (true sight and empathy, love, compassion). The Ice Queen is one of his examples and follows his theories very closely. The shard in the boy's eye clouds his sight, making everything look wrong, and the shard in his heart prevents him from feeling love.

I'm not sure how his theories apply to stories in which the genders are opposite of normal, and I'm certain that his theories don't cover every good story, but I think there may be reason to separate the melting of a male's heart with that of a female's heart. And I think the initial personality of Rich Bitch, the classic female who can't yet love, is distinct from the male versions enough to make this two distinct tropes. The male characters I can think of aren't anything like a Rich Bitch: the professor who needs to step outside the intellectual realm, the stern commander who needs to soften up (a la The Sound of Music), the loner who needs connection, the playboy type who needs to stop thinking merely in terms of sex, etc. I don't think even Mr. Darcy is anything comparable to the Ice Queen type. The Rich Bitch type, to me, seems more about popularity and prejudice, social manipulation, social constraints, most of which don't affect the male characters in the same way. Or am I totally misreading the tropes here?

Hieronymus: If I could drag down the level of erudition and style for a moment, on Cardcaptor Sakura how do you count Syaoran? Troubled, but Cute isn't him since he's not a delinquent (attempted mugging aside), he's not a Beast and I think Jerk with a Heart of Gold implies the two qualities co-exist, whereas he's exposed to Sakura's cuteness and goes from Jerk to Heart of Gold. Defrosting, no? For that matter, I'm not sure Mr. Darcy thaws at all, the heroine merely discovers his Heart of Gold beneath his outer Jerk, yes?

Nobodymuch: I don't really see the difference between the classic Ice Queen and the man of high social status who doesn't have much use for women on a personal level until one special woman gets under his skin...except that the woman is not going to be overpowering him and forcing a kiss on him.

Fly: I don't think Meryl is a very good example. Even before she falls for him she's not exactly non-flirty. (FOX-HOUND needs a better psychotherapist.) I think Snake himself is a much better example, actually, but he's more of the Darcy type as mentioned above (he's naturally a loving, compassionate man, and just hides it). Erm...if I had to give an MGS example, I vote Sniper Wolf. She starts as a crazy stalker woman who uses her femininity as a weapon. On her death bed she turns into a tragic war-child in love with Otacon. But even she's not a great example. There's Naomi, who starts out hating Snake and intent on revenge, but after she discovers that he was actually a good person she begins to regret it more and more until she forgives Snake at the end, but again she never actually seemed to the audience to be an ice queen - snippy, yes, but also hard-headed, intelligent and practical. Actually, I think this the one trope MGS does not actually do.

Jordan: I just noticed a comment on my Snow Queen sugestion of a non-sexual version. What I was remembering is a children's book by Kirk Douglas (yes that one) which I think was set during the Holocaust. It was obviously based on Andersen's story but perhaps fit the trope more than the original.

16/07/09 3:23 There is a discussion underway in the forums about merging this trope with Kuudere. Please participate and have your voice heard.