WARNING: The following post contains plot spoilers from the movie Frozen.
Has anybody ever read a book
and been completely surprised by the revelation at the end?
Think Naked Once More by
Elizabeth Peters, in which a woman vanishes before the novel even begins. All
the way through, speculations fly about her whereabouts. The revelation at the
end, though, caught me entirely off-guard.
Sometimes it’s good to be
surprised. If the story was predictable, no one would care. And a surprise can
mean that the author did a fantastic job making the foreshadowing an organic
part of the story.
Ever read a novel — or, for
that matter, watched a movie — when the ending caught you so off-guard that you
wanted to call a foul?
That can be an instance of
less than effective foreshadowing.
In Disney’s Frozen, the villain role sort of (ambiguously) belongs to
several people — Elsa, for freezing Arendelle, and the duke of Weselton for
planning to exploit the kingdom. (In a side note, the duke’s minions are more
sidekick material than outright villains.)
Personally, I never saw
Prince Hans coming.
The only indication I had that he might have an agenda was his
reference to being the youngest of thirteen (!) brothers, and spending his
childhood largely ignored.
When he turned up as the
arch-villain masterminding the sisters’ downfall, I was floored.
If you don’t mind being
caught entirely by surprise, you were probably fine with the revelation.
On the other hand, without
much foreshadowing, or much more obvious and organic foreshadowing as part of
the story line, Hans kind of felt like a deus ex machina device … no less a
villain, but less fulfilling.
How might the
writers/creators of Frozen done more
to foreshadow Hans’s true character? Looking at your own, WIP, do you have the
right balance between not too much and not too little foreshadowing?