We've all heard men describe women as "ice queens" on the sole criterion of refusing their personal advances, but Hans Christian Andersen took it to a whole new level. In 1843, he became obsessed with opera singer Jenny Lind, A.K.A. the real singer in The Greatest Showman ...
... and that's putting it mildly. They met once three years before, but over a three-week period in September of that year, Andersen went from "Nice to meet you again" to "Be mine forever please."
He couldn't say it to her face, though: He'd handed her a "letter of proposal" just before she boarded a train, and while it's not known exactly what her answer was, a letter she wrote to him the following May suggests it was "silence." She wasn't exactly unaware of his feelings: He'd previously said of her "No book or personality whatever has exerted a more ennobling influence on me, as a poet, than Jenny Lind ... for me, she opened the sanctuary of art" and presented her with a book inscribed with a love poem that ended "Have I a girlfriend won?" (Extreme dorkiness aside, they'd known each other for less than two weeks at that point.) This was clearly a guy who wasn't going to take a hint. In her May 1844 letter, she closed with "Farewell! God bless and protect my brother is the sincere wish of his affectionate sister."
That might sound harsh, but she could have been a lot harsher. By 1843, when she was only 22 years old, she'd become one of the most famous singers in the world after living out her own personal versions of both Cinderella and The King's Speech when overuse caused her to lose her voice at only 20. It was also around this time that she probably became involved with married German composer Felix Mendelssohn, who Andersen probably called "Chad" behind his back. Basically, she had a lot going on, and the suffocating affections of some nearly 40-year-old weirdo she barely knew was something she just did not need.
True to his word, Andersen wrote a lot about Lind during his brief period of obsession, including "The Nightingale" and "The Ugly Duckling," but after one of the most celebrated women in the world absurdly refused to marry a much older man who she'd known for three weeks and couldn't even propose to her face, he wrote "The Snow Queen" about a woman who rules over the cold, kidnaps a boy, and forces him to write words out of ice letters until he finds the one she wants (and then probably a more explicit version in his whacking journal). It's not subtle, and it might be the first time the sadboi notion that you can make someone love you if you press the right combination of buttons was communicated in fiction. It would probably enrage him to know that it became Frozen, a story about an actual queen with no need for a man who defeats a two-faced jerk named Hans.
Let it go, bro.
Manna, regrettably, has a Twitter.
Top image: The Walt Disney Company