Follow TV Tropes


Defrosting Ice Queen

Go To
Liara: She was so cold when I first met her, completely focused on her duty.
Shepard: I don't know that she's lightened up that much.
Liara: She has. Believe me, you have no idea how much you've changed her.
— Discussing Miranda Lawson, Mass Effect 2

She is the Ice Queen: cool, reserved, and giving nothing away. She may want love as ardently as anyone, but she masks her soft heart behind a wall of ice. It is up to someone else, typically her Love Interest, to soften her cold demeanor and win her love. (Substitute "Ice King" if more applicable.)

"Cold demeanor" can mean anything from Rich Bitch, to haughty and proud, to Emotionless Girl, to being a Jerkass. Occasionally, she has — legitimately or not — misunderstood her Love Interest or companion. Furthermore, she will work with them and be professional enough for the task, if through some gritted teeth. Over the story, the other person successfully melts the Ice Queen's cold heart, giving her Character Development into a nicer character. Typically, the payoff comes When She Smiles and shows he's gotten through to her.


Usually it's a romance story that is Wish Fulfillment for both men ("That girl doesn't hate me, she's just waiting for me to prove my love is true.") or women ("A warm and caring man will fall in love with me and bring me fulfillment and happiness."). Occasionally it's not romantic, instead being a buddy tale of The Power of Friendship. Either way it can be a morality tale.

Sometimes the defroster is a faker, who now breaks the former Ice Queen's heart, sending her back into her shell, but then sometimes the faker ends up subjected to Becoming the Mask, and decides he or she likes the Ice Queen (or King) after all.

The reversal of gender roles in this trope is common; see All Girls Want Bad Boys about the female fantasy of reforming a heartless man.

Compare: Jerk-to-Nice-Guy Plot, Jerk with a Heart of Gold, Jerkass Woobie, Broken Bird, Lady of War, The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask, Sugar-and-Ice Personality, Took a Level in Kindness, Took a Level in Cheerfulness, and Took a Level in Idealism. Overlaps with Morality Pet. Don't You Dare Pity Me! may come into play in the early stages. Platonic examples may intersect with certain variations of Rude Hero, Nice Sidekick.


Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • Princess Kinuko in Usagi Yojimbo seems to be a Rich Bitch to Usagi. After being attacked by ninjas and going on the lam, they eventually see that they're Not So Different, as she is nervous about going into an Arranged Marriage while Usagi is upset that his beloved Mariko has married his rival. They briefly contemplate running away together, but after they're rescued Kinuko decides to err on the side of duty and honor and the two part forever in a Bittersweet Ending. The whole story is a flashback sparked by Usagi hearing Kinuko's name as her entourage approaches. As it passes, Usagi wonders if she remembers him, and stares straight at Kinuko's palanquin while the rest of the townspeople have their heads down. When nothing happens, he accepts that she probably doesn't remember him anyway and walks away... just as Kinuko drops a chrysanthemum flower (her favorite flower) out of her palanquin door.
  • The female Dr. Light, during DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths. Her obnoxious behavior was later retconned into being the result of chemicals in the soda she was drinking. This itself was ignored by later writers, of course. It's even lampshaded in the Justice League of America title, where Zatanna recognizes that Kimiyo has been taken down and replaced by an impostor after seeing how politely she is acting.
  • In Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl, Batgirl was a temperamental jerkass who trusted no one, let alone other crimefighters. However Supergirl manages to befriend her as they work together, and for the end of the story Barbara looks happier and less cold.
  • XXXenophile uses the trope rather literally in the "Orgasm Lass" story, describing the heroine's encounter with the Ice Queen. Orgasm Lass uses her power of generating orgasms to defrost the Ice Quuen (who is An Ice Person due to her super-frigidity) by focusing it on one area of her body at a time.
  • Starfire's evil sister from Teen Titans started to turn into this during the definitive Wolfman run. She proved herself to be a capable leader of her people and even started to put aside the needless, if somewhat understandable, grudge she bore against her sister. It didn't last.
  • Emma Frost is in no danger of defrosting completely anytime soon. Since she was already defrosting in the Generation X, but then Morrison reverted her to even more of an ice queen than when she was a villain), any defrosting now still seems like a regression. In Dark X-Men: The Confession #1, she's not only defrosting, she seems to be melting.
  • In the early years, Maggie Sawyer seemed to have a personal vendetta against Superman, often tried to arrest him as a vigilante. After Superman saved her from a terrorist plot, she began to warm up to him and eventually became a trusted ally.
  • This is how Jena Makarov progresses over the course of Nikolai Dante. At first, she is cold, aloof, and very much Vladimir's daughter. She starts to appreciate Nikolai when, after defeating Caius Zacharovitch in a duel, he says that Russia would be a far better place if Caius had been Jena's father, rather than just a father-figure.
  • My Little Pony Micro Series: Jade is initially very distant and rude towards Twilight, but Twilight's positive attitude and love of reading eventually brings them closer together.
  • Happens to Lumi the actual Snow Queen in the Fables Universe, in Fairest. She starts out cold-hearted and cruel, but quickly begins to change once she meets Ali-Baba. Turns out to be a partial subversion, as this is actually her slowly returning to her original personality from before she started working for Gepetto.
  • X-23: Abused, raised as a living weapon, quiet, withdrawn, and struggled to form emotional connections with others. Much of the focus of her solo series was Laura defrosting with the help of Gambit, Wolverine and Jubilee.
  • Literally in The Ice Princess, with the ice princess Frigilda, an arrogant and cruel woman, showing her tender and romantic side at the end of the story, thanks to Mickey Mouse and Mrozek.
  • A comical example in The Sanctuary Tree, where the fat female guard, who was angry and rude throughout the story, shows her tender and romantic side in the end when falls in love with Donald Duck... although this only happens because of the love potion.

    Films — Animation 
  • The titular heroine in Coraline starts off a grouchy and unfriendly girl due to her frustration with moving to a new town as well as her constantly busy parents , she becomes much kinder and nicer by the end. It helps that she learns a valuable lesson that inspires the personality change.
  • Gru from Despicable Me. He starts of cold and stoic, initially not caring for Margo, Edith, and Agnes but, slowly, overtime, he grows to warm up to them.
  • How to Train Your Dragon:
    • Astrid is an Ice Queen via being both a battle-ready Action Girl and looking down on the protagonist as a useless, bumbling sap. She gets better, of course.
    • Toothless could count too, since he was wary of and didn't like Hiccup very much in the beginning. He eventually grew attached to Hiccup and became fiercely protective of him.
  • Tigress in the Kung Fu Panda series. Originally a bitter Resenter to Po who seemed to snatch away her dream of becoming the Dragon Warrior, she softens considerably after Po proves himself by defeating Tai Lung singlehandedly. By the time of Kung Fu Panda 2, she has become his closest friend among the Furious Five and perhaps even more.
  • EVE from WALL•E initially doesn't want anything to do with WALL•E, but eventually warms up and falls in love with him.
  • Sgt. Calhoun in Wreck-It Ralph initially only sees Felix as an unplanned tagalong, but warms up to him throughout the movie and marries him at the end.
  • In Frozen, Elsa is emotionally reserved and afraid of her powers throughout the majority of the film, but after Anna sacrifices her life for her sister and almost dies, she understands that The Power of Love is what's needed for her to control her powers and thaw the winter she made.
  • Sawyer in Cats Don't Dance was shown to be pretty frosty due to her dreams of stardom being broken and was pretty harsh around Wide-Eyed Idealist Danny. However, Danny's determination to get into movies eventually defrosted her and she became the one to have the most belief in him.
  • In Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers, Daisy Duck did not show any interest in Donald Duck until the very end, where she was rescued and she has Donald all by herself, getting him Covered in Kisses.
  • In Strange Magic both the heroine, Marianne, and the "villain", Bog, have closed themselves off due to past bad experiences with love. Over the course of the movie they defrost each other in bonding over those experiences. By the end of the movie both are willing to open themselves up to new love with each other.
  • Penny from Mr. Peabody & Sherman initially acts like a bully to Sherman due to his adoptive father being a dog, but eventually warms up to them while accompanying them on their time-traveling adventures.
  • Shrek:
    • Shrek himself spends a good part of the first movie as a grouchy, anti-social hermit who just wants to be left alone. With Donkey's friendship and Fiona's love, he gradually defrosts to become a kinder, more sociable family man.
    • Fiona starts off grouchy and bitter towards Shrek for failing to meet her dream fairytale standards, but quickly warms up to him after the two realise each other's Hidden Depths - Shrek and Fiona eventually fall in love and get married, and Fiona becomes a Nice Girl for the rest of the series.

  • One interpretation of Matchbox 20's "If You're Gone" is a husband undergoing this trope.
  • Willy, in the song "Eppie Morrie," clearly thinks this is what he is doing with the title character, but it comes off as more a Stalker with a Crush. After she refuses to marry him, he kidnaps her, forces a priest to marry them at gunpoint, and then tries to consummate the marriage. Eppie Morrie successfully fights him off, and in the morning demands to be returned to her mother just as much an ice queen (and a maiden) as she was when the whole thing started.
  • In the 1940s standard "(I'd Like to Get You on a) Slow Boat to China", invoking this trope is the singer's motivation for taking the boat trip.
    Out on the ocean, far from all the commotion, melting your heart of stone...

    Myths & Religion 
  • Older Than Print: In Norse Mythology, the god Freyr fell in love with the giantess Gerðr who first rejected him but eventually gave in to his persuasion and returned his love.
  • The Russian tale of Snegurochka has a maiden of literal snow whose melting heart kills her.

  • The Adventure Zone: Balance: at the beginning of The Stolen Century, Davenport is very serious-minded and professional; however, Merle manages to get closer to him during the first cycle, and discovers that they have a lot in common. Several decades later, he's lightened up enough that he plays counter-pranks on Lup and Taako.
  • Hannah from Sequinox starts out very cold and snooty towards the other girls, especially Chel, but over time she warms up to them. Slightly.
  • Welcome to Night Vale: In the September Monologues, Steve Carlsberg implies that Cecil was extremely work-focused with very little social life before he started dating Carlos.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Invoked by a genre blind Sugar Dunkerton, who aimed to melt the icy heart of Daizee Haze in Chikara. Haze, having a vendetta against the whole promotion for perceived efforts to baby her, wasn't moved in the slightest, but was willing to use this as extra bait in her trademark Wounded Gazelle Gambit. Sugar did finally realize what was going on and give up.

  • The title character of Puccini's opera Turandot, after a Forceful Kiss. Except probably because Puccini died before he could finish the last act, the defrosting feels rather unconvincing.
  • The title character of Gilbert and Sullivan's Princess Ida is a strong, educated woman, who has forsworn all men (largely because all the men in her family are either nasty sarcastic buggers or utter idiots). The plot throws her in with the man she had been married to at birth, who is disguised as a woman for most of it. It parodies a poem by Tennyson, and does have some unfortunate Victorian values in it, but better than a lot of portrayals of the time.
  • Iolanthe has a whole female chorus of examples half-way between this and Tsundere. The fairies are at war with the British peers. They also grow to find them more and more attractive, and by the middle of the second act, we get this lovely example of mixed messages, where even the insults are sung in as flirtatious manner as possible:
    In vain to us you plead—
    Don't go!
    Your prayers we do not heed—
    Don't go!
    It's true we sigh,
    But don't suppose
    A tearful eye
    Forgiveness shows.
    Oh, no!
    We're very cross indeed—
    Yes, very cross,
    Don't go!
  • William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew cranks up the Unfortunate Implications on this one. Nevertheless, it has inspired many examples.
  • The Sound of Music: Captain Von Trapp, who runs his house like a tight ship and doesn't tolerate unruliness or deviancy, softens up when he hears his children sing "The Sound of Music" to the Baroness and, for the first time since his wife's death, allows the wonderful sound of music to enter his heart.

    Visual Novels 
  • Most otome games include at least one (male) example of this. Probably the most memorable was Himuro Reiichi in Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side, the protagonist's overly-strict homeroom teacher. If pursued long enough he is reduced to a blushing sensitive sap who loves to play the piano and go for long drives in the countryside. Eventually he confesses his undying love for the main character in a shy sort of way.
    • From the first Tokimeki Memorial, there's Mira Kagami. Also somewhat of a Broken Bird who had her heart broken many times when younger, so she swore off love completely to not get hurt again.
    • And Tokimeki Memorial 2 has Kaori Yae, who's a Broken Bird like Mira, albeit for different reasons : she was betrayed by her friends of the Volley-Ball Club she was a member of in her former High School, who abandoned her after she Took The Heat in order to save the club from a scandal. She'll need a considerable ammount of The Power of Love from the protagonist to heal the scars in her heart and make her turn back to her former Genki Girl self. No wonder she's the Ensemble Dark Horse of this game.
  • Aoba in Family Project. Oddly enough, it's actually in her own route that she gets the most jerkassy and cold before melting. However, in all routes she does warm up to them quite a little... making her a tsundere. Better than nothing.
  • Adrian Andrews in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All. She is smart, calculating, and is pretty much straight to the point. She doesn't like to waste time with trifling details and will shut you down if you try to talk to her about topics that don't get her attention. However, all of this is just a mask. She only acts cold because she is pretending to be tough and independent. Celeste Inpax, her mentor, was her strength and when she committed suicide, Adrian tried to do the same as well. Her cold demeanor is to hide the fact that she can't live on without depending on other people. By Trials and Tribulations, she is a much more cheery person.
    • Also Lana Skye in in the Bonus case of the first game. When Phoenix first meets her, she seems devoid of emotion, but once the case has been won, she can smile at last. The reason for her behavior is because Gant blackmailed her into becoming Chief Prosecutor and assisting with his schemes in order to avoid having Ema be suspected of Neil Marshall's murder, and Lana became cold in order to endure doing illegal things fo him.
    • Franziska Von Karma, of all people, begins warming up a bit in Trials and Tribulations during the time when Maya is missing.
    • Miles Edgeworth would count, also. He's cold and rude towards everyone, even when Wright becomes his lawyer in 1-4 and believes in his innocence the whole time. He begins to show emotion during his trial, where his LIP TREMBLES after Maya gets held in contempt of court to save the case and he gets persuaded to show his happiness for being acquitted in an extremely awkward shout.
  • By her own admission, Tomoyo Sakagami from CLANNAD starts out as this... in flashbacks. Due to a screwed up family, she could only vent her anger by fighting and hurting other people (somehow attaining a legendary delinquent status), and distances herself from her family, even her slight Morality Pet of a little brother. When her parents tried to divorce, she couldn't have cared less. After her brother cripples himself by jumping off a bridge into a river (jumping in front of a moving car in the Visual Novel), she and her family make amends to each other and Tomoyo defrosts into someone much warmer... which is the Tomoyo we see in the beginning of the series.
  • Komachi Tsugumi in Ever17 starts out as a total Jerkass who always seems to look down on the others. However, she eventually warms up to the others and even falls in love with Takeshi and bears his children only to be frozen again again after she believes Takameshi dead and has her children taken away, and then defrosted for good in the True ending.
  • Saber from Fate/stay night. Shirou wins her over via the standard tactic of getting the shit kicked out of him repeatedly. Saber, of course, spends the entire time wondering why anyone would go to such lengths to protect her, Broken Bird that she is.
  • Subverted in Umineko: When They Cry. A large part of episode 3 of the visual novel focuses on Beatrice realizing how cruelly she has been abusing her powers until that point. She reforms, eventually even helping the Ushiromiya side of the game board, and ends up denying witches to have Battler win the game, causing her own demise. At the very end of episode 3, all of this is revealed to only be an act to get Battler to voluntarily recognize the existence of witches, and Battler almost signs a contract to do so until he is interrupted by the unexpected visitor Ange, who explains to him that he has been tricked.
  • Shirogane Sakuya, racist pampered aristocrat, softens and changes somewhat during his otome route in Hatoful Boyfriend. Still prickly and proud, though. It's actually largely a softer version of Break the Haughty.
  • An interesting example is Octavia from Tears to Tiara. She starts as more of an Emotionless Girl, and is defrosted not by the hero (though he does play a role), but by the hero's childhood friend Morgan. Hello Les Yay! Later in the series, Octavia and Morgan become quite close and Octavia matures into a Lady of War.
  • Ryoma Shirasagi in Office Secrets is the protagonist's immediate supervisor in her new job, and he's an incredibly demanding perfectionist who can barely say anything to anyone without including some kind of criticism. As his route progresses and the protagonist gets to know him, however, she sees him demonstrate quite a bit of kindness in understated ways, and late in the route there are a few moments in which his rigid self-control breaks completely.
  • Yumiko in The Fruit of Grisaia has an incredibly icy demeanor early on, but after she loosens up a little she shows herself to actually be the nicest of the girls barring possibly Amane. Pretty good for someone that attacked the protagonist with a boxcutter and tried to slam his fingers in a door the first time she met him. In her route, she not only defrosts, but mostly turns into a puddle on the floor. By The Eden of Grisaia she's defrosted to not only admit that she's participating in the rescue Yuuji operation not just for Yuuji's sake but also for all of her friends, but also functions as an emotional core to the group by providing direction while Amane plays the peacekeeper.
  • Sayuri from Nurse Love Syndrome is introduced as a very sharp-tongued and bitter girl who constantly belittles the protagonist. She gradually warms up to the protagonist, and her route has her doing a complete 180 and becoming a very doting girlfriend.

    Web Animation 
  • A variation in Red vs. Blue with Agent Carolina as we're introduced to her in Season 9 during the prequel Freelancer scenes where she's generally nice and supportive of her team (if a tad hypercompetitive). At the end of Season 9 and into Season 10, we meet her in the present and she's gone completely into heartless ice queen territory. Then comes Season 10, Episode 12 when she is shown journal entries of her late love interest and let the thawing commence.
  • RWBY:
    • Weiss Schnee begins the series acting cold and dignified and being openly antagonistic towards her partner Ruby Rose, who she sees as an immature brat undeserving of her leadership role. However, it's clear that a lot of this is a facadé, and she mellows out fairly quickly after Professor Port lectures her about her poor attitude and convinces her to give Ruby a fair chance. The very next scene is of her giving Ruby some coffee so she can study more then confiding in her that she wanted bunk beds as a kid. She has some animosity towards teammate Blake Belladonna later in Volume 1, but that has pretty deep personal roots for the both of them. As a side note, this is acknowledged In-Universe, with several characters openly calling Weiss "Ice Queen" — and she invariably responds with a frustrated "Why does everyone keep calling me that?!"
    • In Volume 2 she starts hamming it up along with her teammates a bit more, and is making an effort to be more outgoing and kind.
    • By Volume 3, Weiss has practically become a different person entirely. When Yang is framed for assault by Emerald and Mercury, she is the one who speaks out most in her defence, against General Ironwood no less. She also seems to have overcome her past animosity with Blake, inviting her for coffee.
    • Gets lampshaded a few times in Volume 5, when the teams meets for the first time since the Time Skip. See the following dialogue when Weiss brings coffee for Ruby and Yang:
      Weiss: Don't worry, I put blasphemous amounts of cream and sugar in it, just for you.
      Ruby: Yay! Nice Weiss strikes again!
      Weiss: I will pour this on you, and it will burn.
    • Throughout Volume 4, Blake becomes a Defrosting Ice Queen too. After the events from Volume 3 left her uptight and paranoid, both her father and Sun convince her to open up, and help her change into someone who can accept help from people. Because of this, she manages to reform Illia.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Dave is a male example. He started out as The Bully, but thanks to Whitney connecting with him through their mutual love of sports, he has slowly begun to unwind.
  • Dreamscape: Keela isn't exactly easy to befriend, as Vampire Lord and Anjren know all too well. However, as Dylan and Ahjeen know, if you can get through to her, she'll stick with you through thick and thin.

    Web Comics 
  • Dr. Frost: The titular Dr. Frost starts off cold (no pun intended), but begins to display stronger emotions as the series goes on, which does not go unnoticed by other characters. He explicitly begins to externally show kindness to others, especially towards his assistant, and even adopts a similarly injured puppy. It gets to the point he openly weeps over Professor Chun's death.
  • Eerie Cuties: Layla is the Aloof Darkhaired Girl variety and has been referred to as such by Melissa Hellrune. But her interactions with Tiffany shows she isn't as standoffish as she pretends to be and eventually becomes best friends with her... much to her own surprise!
  • Susan from El Goonish Shive. She started out as a Straw Feminist, but various events have caused her to actually open up and become friends with Tedd.
  • For Shanna Cochran in Fans! it's not so much her heart that needs defrosting as her imagination. Partly owing to her Back Story (insane mother, father who abandoned her), she's so determined to be "normal" that she's suppressed her sense of fun and wonder to the degree that she's grown up to be uptight, unimaginative and hopelessly mundane. As well as her continued exposure to her friends in the Science Fiction club and the various weird things she encounters, her imagination is freed further by a series of psychological tortures she is put through over the course of the strip which, although designed to break her, ironically only serve to make her stronger by allowing her to free her imagination and outwit her captors. The romantic angle is not entirely absent, of course, since this also has the beneficial side-effect of warming her heart as well; she gradually falls in love with Will, who eventually returns her feelings, after which Shanna is able to help him overcome his own tragic childhood.
  • Due to her unusual upbringing and the death of her mother, Annie from Gunnerkrigg Court starts off as a Spock Speaking killjoy, unable to communicate comfortably with her peers and oddly passive-aggressive towards those older than her. Mostly due to her best friend Kat she's gradually moved away from this, to the point where it's unusual for her not to be smiling.
  • Marlene of Jet Dream, in her Character Focus story from My Jet Dream Romance. Originally uninterested in romance due to her Gender Bender and devotion to Science!, she gradually warms up to the idea over the course of the story.
  • Carrie from Loserz. Considering that strip hasn't been updated in two years now, and there's been no word from the creator since — she'll probably never finish any such journey.
  • Oglaf has a seriously NSFW and rather literal example, which is essentially an interpretation of the original story the metaphor comes from: spring won't arrive until someone seduces the incarnation of winter each year. The comic being what it is, this is Played for Laughs and pretty much immediately turns into whacky (and usually pornographic) hijinks as local villagers try various methods to "set her up" each year, with varying levels of success.
  • Penny and Aggie:
    • Penny in early strips, describes herself as "too pretty to share any feelings with the likes of you" and, despite her popularity, keeps boys and even her girl friends at arm's length. She begins to open up in stages when she falls in love with "bad boy" Rich, supports her best friend Sara as she comes out and most of all during "The Popsicle War" when, after losing all her friends due to Karen's gang's machinations, overcomes her rivalry with Aggie and works with her to stop Karen and win her friends back. She now shows her feelings, positive and otherwise, much more readily.
    • Double Subverted in regards to Charlotte. She's introduced as nutty, cold and eager to "punish" whomever she thought deserved it, but her interaction with Duane showed her getting mellower... Until The Stinger of the second chapter of the Missing Person arc reveals that she is the one who kidnapped Cyndi. But in the third chapter her motivation for doing so is implied to be related to Cyndi's actions hurting others, especially Duane, and Charlotte tells him that she is a better person for having met him.
  • Gray Yeon from Weak Hero was always a stoic and unapproachable person, but his barriers increased tenfold after his first true friend was hospitalised. He gradually ends up getting closer to Ben's gang, however, until he's eventually able to admit to himself that they're his new friends.

    Web Original 
  • Addison Harris in Strange Little Band is an example of this. It's her relationship with Half-Human Hybrid Shane Myers that thaws her out.
  • Leta Adler in Caelum Lex is depicted as cold, stern and unflinching particularly towards Fiearius, but in time she warms up to him and even comes to love him.

    Web Videos 
  • Gameboys gives us the Tsundere, Cairo. He starts the series grumpy & annoyed at Gavreel's advances. Through the episodes you can see him slowly warm up to Gav, culminating in fully accepting Gav's Baby and even comfortably using the nickname back.

  • In Sanders Sides, Virgil, aka Anxiety, starts the "Sanders Sides" series cold, condescending, sarcastic, and obnoxious, but as time goes on, it becomes apparent that he doesn't like his job very much, and that he lashes out partially because none of the other Sides want him around and he's lonely. The others befriend him eventually, and Virgil's nicer side begins to shine through, even willingly messing around with the other Sides and smiling from time to time!

Alternative Title(s): Defrosting Ice King, Defrosting The Ice Queen


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: