In the right previous post, crystalcocoon had already anticipated this one with these words:
In addition, The Snow Queen has some of the strongest female characters I’ve read in these kinds of stories and in this time period: from [···], to the Princess, who is looking for a husband who can intellectually satisfy her (and of whom I’ll talk more about in the next question), [···]
Fairy Tale Challenge | Day Two → Favourite Character of Royalty
The Princess and Prince (The Snow Queen) – Hans Christian Andersen
“He was quite free and agreeable and said he had not come to woo the princess, but to hear her wisdom; and he was as pleased with her as she was with him.”
First of all, I promise there are more fairy tales in this challenge, but these two questions were one after the next and it was a coincidence. Now, I have to pick these two characters together because I think they’re both great and their love story is probably one of the most romantic ones I’ve read in fairy tales.
Here we have a Princess, described as “wonderfully clever”, who one day decides that she wants to get married, because she’s bored and doesn’t have anyone to talk to or who can challenge her or interest her. She decides that she wants to get married, she isn’t forced, she isn’t rushed, and she isn’t looking for a hero who can save her but a man who can talk to her. So, she sets the rules for her courtship: her husband to be will be the man who can speak the best, who can converse with her as equals.
After many rich and gorgeous men that are unable to say something interesting meet the princess, a young man who is very poor, looks nothing like the rest, and who, listen to this: “(did) not come to the palace to woo the princess but to hear her wisdom” turns out to be the one. That’s right, that’s what he wanted, to talk. He supposed he didn’t have a chance but he wasn’t embarrassed by his appearance or poverty, he just wanted to talk to the woman that everyone admired for her vast knowledge. Needless to say, they got along quite well and eventually got married.
Isn’t this fantastic? We not only have the courtship organized by a woman, a Princess, but it is based in common interests, in conversation and not in a ball or a parade of contestants who have to prove their value by beauty, titles, or irrational life-risking tasks. Not only that, but they both decide they’re pleased with each other, it’s a common understanding and not a decision only made by the Princess. The young man doesn’t think that he’s less than her for being poor, he accepts her as much as she accepts him for what she knows, how she speaks, and how they get along. If these two aren’t the most capable pair of rulers a tale can have, I don’t know who they are.
This is a review not by yours truly, but by another enthusiast of this Andersenian OTP, a blogger called crystalcocoon, in her fairytale blog Persinette in the Tower --the photo montage in honour of these two is hers as well. So I felt that I just had to share it myself, for she has already said as much as can be said to praise this wonderful royal couple. (She could have added how their kindness to Gerda exemplifies noblesse oblige, and how the ending with them "travelling in foreign countries" on honeymoon is the perfect wrap-up, but we leave Persinette's impressive review right here)