Created By: ccoa on August 2, 2012 Last Edited By: ccoa on May 1, 2013
Troped

Frozen Heart, Frozen World

An unnaturally long winter that is caused deliberately

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Trope
An unnatural winter that is artificial and intended to last forever, or at least a very long time.

Winter is usually considered the least desirable season: the short days and cold weather can be deadly to humans and animals alike, and no food can be grown. It's also used as a symbol for death, followed by the rebirth of Spring. Perhaps it is for this reason, or perhaps because Evil Is Deathly Cold, causing a winter that never ends is a common goal for a villain.

Of course, not only villains have this in their bag of tricks. Sometimes a character or object causes this just by existing. Such a character is not necessarily a villain, but will often be an antagonist nonetheless. Expect to see a member of The Fair Folk or another creature with Blue and Orange Morality in this role.

In more realistic works, this might be caused by enough material in the atmosphere blocking off the light of the Sun, such as that from nuclear or volcanic fallout or the result of a large enough meteor striking the Earth. In Speculative Fiction, it's more likely to be the work of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens or a wizard.

Sister Trope to and frequently overlaps with The Night That Never Ends.


[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
  • In The Mighty Thor, the "Cask of Winters"/"Cask of Ancient Winters" is used to create this effect by several enemies of Asgard, especially Malekith "the Accursed". Probably inspired by the Fimbulvetr.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film - Animated]]
  • The plot of the Disney film Frozen revolves around the Snow Queen putting a curse on the land which causes endless winter.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film - Live-Action]]
  • Mirror, Mirror has winter fall over the land when the evil queen starts to rule. It ends when she is defeated.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
  • The White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia brought a hundred year winter to the titular land, which only ended when Aslan returned. Not only is it an endless winter, but it's specifically a winter without Christmas.
  • In the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, winters can last for decades. There are oral traditions of a winter that lasted for generations, and a myth that, should the Others return and invade Westeros, they will cause a winter that never ends. Word of God is that the unnatural seasons are caused by magic, but it's unclear if it's the Others' magic or something else.
  • In The Dresden Files, whenever Mab the Queen of Winter Fae stays on the material plane for too long, the winter just seems to drag on forever.
  • Inverted in The Wheel of Time. The Dark One uses his influence to make it eternal summer in order to burn out the world and kill the plants with heat. To counter this, the main characters seek and eventually find an object that controls the weather and use it to start winter. In order to balance things, they have to make the winter much harsher and longer than usual. Famine becomes a major problem in the series.
  • In Wintersmith the titular Wintersmith creates an unnaturally long winter (although his opposite number the Summer Lady) would have created an endless summer). Tiffany tries to balance nature again.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
  • The music video for Erasure's "Always" features a Kabuki style demon who was intent on creating an eternal winter. Andy Bell portrays the nature god who defeats him.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Myth, Legend, and Oral Tradition]]
  • In Norse Mythology, the Fimbulvetr or Fimbulwinter is an especially harsh winter that lasts twice as long as usual and signifies the beginning of Ragnarok.
  • The Hans Christian Anderson fairytale The Snow Queen's titular character is the "queen of snowflakes." She curses the protaganist's hometown to an endless winter.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Table Top Games]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
  • In Dragon Quest V, the Winter Queen tricks Dwight into taking the Herald of Spring to the Winter Palace, causing an endless winter.
  • The plot of Fahrenheit takes place against the backdrop of an unnaturally long and harsh winter, which is eventually revealed to be supernatural. Even though the villains didn't cause it, one of them chooses not to stop it in the ending where he wins, destroying humanity.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
  • In The Fairly Oddparents TV special "Christmas Everyday!" one of the consequences of Timmy's everyday is Christmas wish is that everyday is a snow day. This made it extremely difficult for him to travel to the north pole to get Santa Claus' help in cancelling the wish.
[[/folder]]


Community Feedback Replies: 78
  • August 2, 2012
    elwoz
    Does it literally have to be endless, or just very long?

    • The Helliconia Trilogy, set on the planet of the same name, involves a world in a highly elliptical orbit around its sun. Its summers last decades, but its winter lasts for over a thousand years. It's so severe that it acts as a de facto Reset Button on the civilization of the planet.
  • August 2, 2012
    KTera
    Does this include ice world Single Biome Planets?
  • August 2, 2012
    Rognik
    For The Chronicles Of Narnia example, C. S. Lewis makes a point that it's endless winter without Christmas. The arrival of Father Christmas is the first sign that the White Witch's power is waning.

    • Mirror Mirror has winter fall over the land when the evil queen starts to rule. It ends when she is defeated.
  • August 3, 2012
    Arivne
    Literature
    • Dream Park novel The Barsoom Project. The Fimbulwinter game takes place on an Earth where the sun is shrinking due to evil magic and humanity is faced with a planet-wide winter.
  • August 3, 2012
    Koveras
    Maybe expand this to Unnaturally Long Winter? In The Dresden Files, whenever Mab the Queen of Winter Fae stays on the material plane for too long, the winter just seems to drag on forever.
  • August 3, 2012
    ccoa
    It's already unnaturally long winters - the villain's goal is an eternal winter, but unless The Bad Guy Wins, they never actually succeed. Just like The Night That Never Ends.

    Places that have long winters naturally, like ice planets, aren't examples.
  • August 3, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Zig Zagged (maybe) in an episode of The Twilight Zone, "The Midnight Sun." The story takes place on a world where it's getting hotter and hotter because the Earth is getting closer and closer to the sun, which is terrible for the protagonist specifically because she's a painter, and all that heat is ruining her paintings. But it turns out it's All Just A Dream - actually the Earth is getting colder and colder because it's moving away from the sun, and will eventually become an uninhabitable big ball of ice. From the protagonist's POV, this is a Happy Ending.
  • August 3, 2012
    Koveras
    • The plot of Fahrenheit takes place against the backdrop of an unnaturally long and harsh winter, which is eventually revealed to be supernatural. Even though the villains didn't cause it, one of them chooses not to stop it in the ending where he wins, destroying humanity.
  • August 3, 2012
    Koveras
    Subtrope of Evil Plan? The title should also somehow indicate that this is about villains trying to bring about an eternal winter, not unnaturally long seasons per se.
  • August 3, 2012
    elwoz
    Shnakepup: I think Helliconia is Not An Example, because there is no villain (or otherwise) who caused the long winters; it's pure astronomical happenstance.

    Also I fixed your it's/its confusion. HTH, HAND.
  • August 3, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    Is this an Endless Winter, Improbably Long Lasting Winter or Villain Induced Endless Winter? Pick your choices and a proper name, please.
  • August 3, 2012
    ccoa
    You know, it really isn't necessary to treat our readers like idiots. The Night That Never Ends is thriving just fine.
  • August 3, 2012
    Generality

    (I know it's not done by a specific villain, but it is a portent of evil things to come)

    • Inverted in The Wheel Of Time. The Dark One uses his influence to make it eternal summer in order to burn out the world and kill the plants with heat. To counter this, the main characters seek and eventually find an object that controls the weather and use it to start winter. In order to balance things, they have to make the winter much harsher and longer than usual. Famine becomes a major problem in the series.
  • August 3, 2012
    captainpat
    Clear Concise Witty. I'm not really how a name that's more indicative of what the trope is means that we're treating our readers like idiots. Does this have to involve a villain? If so, the names kinda missing a big part of the trope.
  • August 3, 2012
    animeg3282
    In Wintersmith the titular Wintersmith creates an unnaturally long winter (although his opposite number the Summer Lady) would have created an endless summer). Tiffany tries to balance nature again.

    (the wintersmith is more of an antagonist than a villain- it's his nature to create winter, but on the other hand, an endless winter would kill all the villagers.)
  • August 3, 2012
    ccoa
    No, it does not have to involve a villain necessarily. An antagonist, or just someone who causes it by accident would also fit the trope.

    Take a look at the Evil Overlord trope - it's described there as "endless winter", and I doubt anyone who reads that assumes "oh, yeah, winter that never, ever, ever ends" rather than "guy tries to create a winter that never ends, but of course it ends 'cause the hero beats him."

    And honestly, we've swung waaaaay too far to the clear side of the scale, at the expense of concise and completely sacrificing witty. Seriously, Villain Induced Endless Winter could be a laconic entry.

    (And I am amused at the irony of people trying to throw policy at me.)
  • August 3, 2012
    cygnavamp
    • The music video for Erasure's "Always" features a Kabuki style demon who was intent on creating an eternal winter. Andy Bell portrays the nature god who defeats him.
  • August 3, 2012
    Jordan
    • In The Mighty Thor, the "Cask of Winters"/"Cask of Ancient Winters" is used to create this effect by several enemies of Asgard, especially Malekith "the Accursed". Probably inspired by the Fimbulvetr.

    • Would Jadis in The Chronicles Of Narnia count? I remember it being perpetual winter in Narnia when she was in charge, but forget what caused it.
  • August 3, 2012
    animeg3282
    She used her magic to make it always winter but never Christmas. She's referenced above as 'the white witch'
  • August 3, 2012
    Jordan
    Sorry, somehow missed that entry. Thanks.
  • August 4, 2012
    Koveras
  • August 6, 2012
    ccoa
    This was sort of the last straw for me, so I started a wiki talk thread about it.

    Endless Winter Ploy excludes characters that cause it by existing. Artificially Endless Winter works, but is not as concise or catchy as Endless Winter. I'm not a fan at all, but it could work.
  • August 6, 2012
    acrobox
    Endless Winter is a fine name. I think most of us knew what it was when we clicked on it. no need to perpetuate the increasingly awkward tvtropes jargon of too many adjectives and adverbs, bad grammar, snowclones, and adding 'ploy' and 'gambit' or 'x of y' to everything.
  • August 6, 2012
    captainpat
    [[folder:Western Animation]]
    • In The Fairly Oddparents tv special "Christmas Everyday!" one of the consequences of Timmy's everyday is Christmas wish is that everyday is a snow day. This made it extremely difficult for him to travel to the north pole to get Santa Claus' help in cancelling the wish.
    [[/folder]]

    This fit?
  • August 6, 2012
    acrobox
    in fact i'm surprised we didnt have this one already
  • August 6, 2012
    ccoa
    ^^Tropes Are Flexible so, yes, that fits.

    ^You're not the only one. I was shocked we didn't have it, too.
  • August 6, 2012
    Generality
    Often as not, a Weather Control Machine is involved.
  • August 6, 2012
    Jir
    • In Touhou Project one game, entitled Perfect Cherry Blossom, Youyuko steals spring to feed a giant monstrous cherry tree in the ghost word, causing perpetual winter in the land of Gensonkyo.
  • August 6, 2012
    randomsurfer
  • August 7, 2012
    ccoa
    Definitely have enough hats, but would like a handful more examples so that I can cross wick it at launch a little more.

    Also, need to resolve the issue with the name. Which one are we going with?
  • August 7, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    Winter Lenghtening is the only thing I can think of that isn't overly long.
  • August 7, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    This could also happen if those Painting The Frost On Windows fail to end winter.
  • August 7, 2012
    ShadowHog
    My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic S 2 E 13 Hearths Warming Eve revolves around this. Evil Windigoes are the cause, attracted by the different species' distrust and discontent toward each other. It causes famines so awful that the leaders of each tribe, with their respective assistants, migrate to a new land - but the Windigoes just follow them there, too. It's finally stopped when the three assistants, their bossy, hateful leaders encased in ice, amicably make amends.
  • August 7, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Um, would Permafrost Power be too much of a pun?
  • August 7, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    It's a name that would need some redirects, but I don't think it's thaaat bad especially with some redirects to compensate for any ambiguity.
  • August 7, 2012
    acrobox
    Wait whats wrong with Endless Winter ?
  • August 7, 2012
    ccoa
    There are some replies that indicate people think it's confusing and/or not narrow enough. I, personally, think it'll be fine - a wick check shows that closely related trope The Night That Never Ends does not have large amounts of misuse, and its name has the same noted problems as this name.

    It's not out of the running, just has objections. We may need a crowner here, as neglected as they are in YKTTW.
  • August 7, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    "Phil Connors was trapped in his Groundhog Day Loop for 10,000 years" is an anecdote about an early draft of the script, and somewhat silly; the director later said "10 years" (on the DVD commentary), which is way too short a time. It is obviously of unspecified duration. That shouldn't be just tossed out as Word Of God.

    Also if this is "inflicted by a villain" then that isn't an example anyway.


    I like the name Endless Winter.
  • August 7, 2012
    ShadowHog
    I like the name Endless Winter as well.
  • August 9, 2012
    beamerpook
    Another vote for Endless Winter. Also, in Wheel of Time series, winter comes earlier lasts longer, and grows more bitterly cold each year, as an effect of the ever-loosening prison of The Dark One.
  • August 9, 2012
    Arivne
    Do we already have a Super Trope for all types of endless winters, not just artificial ones?

    If not, to avoid Missing Supertrope Syndrome we could make this the Super Trope (and call it Endless Winter), then make a Sub Trope for artificial ones.

    A non-artificial Endless Winter example:

    Literature
    • In the Fritz Leiber short story "A Pail of Air", the Earth is ripped away from the Sun by a passing black hole. As a result of losing the heat of the Sun the Earth has gotten so cold that the atmosphere has frozen.
  • August 9, 2012
    ccoa
    ^That's a good idea. In that case, we need a good name for this trope.

    Permafrost Power is cute, but has the potential to be mistaken for An Ice Person.

    Brainstorming: Snow Glazed Plan? Permafrost Plot? Plunged Into Winter? Plunged Into Permafrost? Frozen Heart Frozen World?

    Eh, something may come to me.
  • August 9, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
  • August 9, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Would another Sub Trope include an ice planet form of Single Biome Planet?
  • August 9, 2012
    Treeckosawesomeness
    Would Pokemon Black 2 And White 2 count? About half of the region is frozen.
  • August 11, 2012
    sigh824
    Drakengard's E ending means this in the real world. Subverted in that 1312 years later, it looks normal again(Or as normal as post-apocalyptic world can be).
  • August 11, 2012
    Xtifr
    Another vote for Endless Winter, although it may get some mild misuse for the purely astronomical version found in Science Fiction. Still, some people will misuse/shoehorn any trope no matter what it's called. :)
  • August 11, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ That's going to be the Super Trope name. This is artificially making it so.
  • August 11, 2012
    Goldfritha
    • In John C Wright's Count To A Trillion, Menelaus's first spring is when he is six. The younger characters regard it as this. The older ones hush them: the Japanese created it deliberately, in order to fight a disease, and if they hadn't, mankind might have gone extinct.
  • August 12, 2012
    captainsandwich
    Dungeons And Dragons has the epic spell "Ice Age" which lasts until it is dispelled.
  • August 27, 2012
    captainsandwich
    I do think we should change the title so the Intentional nature behind the winter is more clear in the title.
  • August 28, 2012
    Koveras
  • August 28, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    Those are worse by far than Endless Winter I think; a little bit of clarity is gained by sacrificing a lot of concision (and a bit of wit, just EW sounds good). The fact that it's intentional doesn't have to be part of its name. They are in descending order of importance but they are all important: clear, concise, witty.

    If the name is changed it should be to something different and good, not the same but worse. And not going to use EW because of a trope that doesn't exist? Maybe that one should have a different name...
  • August 29, 2012
    captainsandwich
  • August 29, 2012
    ccoa
    I think you guys missed the part where Endless Winter is going to be the supertrope.
  • August 29, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    I did not: "If the name is changed it should be to something different and good, not the same but worse."
  • August 29, 2012
    ccoa
    There's no need to change the name of the supertrope at all - it covers more than just artificial/deliberate winters. What we need is a name for this trope.
  • August 29, 2012
    captainsandwich
    I find "Just by existing" and "Deliberate" almost mutually exclusive (its not really fare to demand that it give up its life to stop it if it is alive). If it is a creature and it does this "just by existing", it probably overlaps with Walking Wasteland. Although I can see it as deliberate if the character/item in question is was intentionally made with or given this involuntary ability (like an Iceheart, Major found in the Dungeons And Dragons book It's Cold Outside).

    speaking of which
    • There is an item you can make called "Iceheart, Major" that creates winter. Thus, the mere presence of a major iceheart generates a 15-mile-radius zone of eternal winter; the majority of frostfell regions that appear in temperate or tropical climates are the result of the introduction of a major iceheart into the region.
  • August 30, 2012
    ccoa
    As noted in the trope, creatures that cause winter by existing are usually treated as antagonists, if not outright villains, by works. I'm having trouble thinking of one that isn't the Snow Queen archetype.

    I could see your point about a truly innocent creature, though.
  • August 31, 2012
    lu127
    Relation to Spring Is Late?
  • August 31, 2012
    ccoa
    Hmm. Similar, but not the same. Let me think about how best to approach this.
  • January 16, 2013
    ShadowHog
    Hrmm, this kinda stalled out, didn't it?

    Is there anything preventing this from launching already? Just the name, right?
  • January 16, 2013
    Larkmarn
    ... this needs a new name. Frozen Heart Frozen World is poetic but... well, the first half is just unrelated.

    Endless Winter Plan works for me... seems like the problem people had with it was that it would cause confusion with the supertrope of Endless Winter... that never got made.

    And honestly, a supertrope seems redundant since most Endless Winters would either be engineered, or a result of a Single Biome Planet. Not sure what else could fall into that.

    A couple examples:
    • In the webcomic Oglaf winter lasts until the Snow Queen is... satiated. She's not villainous, but is seen as an obstacle.

    • Mr. Freeze's plot in Batman And Robin is to freeze Gotham City using a massive version of his freeze ray.
  • January 18, 2013
    MrRuano
    Dawn Of War II: Chaos Rising stated that before the Warp Storms claimed planet Aurelia, it was a major commerce hub and home to a monastery to the Blood Ravens. When it finally returned to real-space after millenia in the Warp, it has since turned into a wintry wasteland thanks to the ruinous powers in the Warp.
  • January 18, 2013
    MetaFour
    This can be related to Empathic Environment or Fisher King.
  • April 27, 2013
    GilvaLepista
    Bumping. Suggest re-name to Endless Winter. Seriously, this trope is everywhere, so it really needs to exist.
  • April 27, 2013
    lexicon
    I do like the idea of a cold-hearted person causing ongoing winter, but the description says that a person doesn't have to be causing it so Endless Winter sounds fine.
  • April 28, 2013
    aurora369
    I don't think Endless Winter is a good name, since it is bound to end some time, usually as a happy ending. I think Unnatural Invasive Winter is better. Unnatural says it's not just a season, it's caused by someone or something that wasn't there yesterday. Invasive says it starts where there was a warmer climate before.
  • April 28, 2013
    doorhandle
    I think the term endless winter might work, as would fimblewinter. Also more exsamples
    • In Video Game:Injustice:Gods Among Us, Lady Frost's classic ending ends up with her freezing the entire northern hemisphere and ruling it as "The Winter Queen."
    • The D&D spell Fimbulwinter does this, much like the norse equivalent.
    • Real-life planet Pluto might also be an example, as may the ice caps.
    • Nuclear winters, and winters caused by volcanos.
  • April 28, 2013
    acrobox
    Endless Winter implies that it's supposed to be endless, not that it's actually endless. we all know that it usually ends once the plot is resolved.
  • April 28, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    The tentative title "Frozen Heart Frozen World" immediately made me think of:

    Film Animated
    • The heartless wizard Nekron in Ralph Bakshi's Fire And Ice is able to expand his ice palace world into the tropics. His glacier stops advancing only when Nekron tires.

    Western Animation
    • The Famous Studios cartoon Suddenly It's Spring from 28 April 1944 features Raggedy Ann pleading with Old Man Winter to relent, so that the sun may shine upon her owner, who lies abed dying from lack of sunlight.
    • The Ice Vikings that invade Acmetropolis, home to the Loonatics Unleashed, are armed with "hammers of frost" and know to attack the power station to best plunge that world into a new Ice Age.
  • April 28, 2013
    GilvaLepista
    Just importing the examples from the "Magical Winter" YKTTW.

    Literature

    Tabletop Games

    Western Animation
  • April 28, 2013
    Larkmarn
    I think we can safely rename it to Endless Winter
  • April 28, 2013
    GilvaLepista
    I agree. The arguments against Endless Winter all sound pretty pedantic to me, and the majority seems to prefer it.

    ccoa, captainpat, acrobox, rodneyAnonymous, Shadow Hog, beamerpook, Xtifr, lexicon, doorhandle, Larkman, and Gilva Lepista all vote for Endless Winter.

    Seriously. Just launch it already.
  • April 28, 2013
    StarSword
    Video Games:
  • April 28, 2013
    acrobox
    Up For Grabs on hitting the launch button?
  • April 28, 2013
    lexicon
    It's been well over two months since Cocoa (OP) has been involved in this. I'd say it's Up For Grabs. If you plan on 'hitting the launch button' I hope you're going to make wicks for it to link to it too.

    Like I said, I do like the idea of a cold-hearted person causing ongoing winter but it looks like that would be a sub-trope. Would that be good for me or someone to make?
  • May 1, 2013
    TwoGunAngel
    The Killing Frost of Ghulurak from the D&D supplement "Elder Evils" is essentially one of these meant to end the world.
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