If you haven’t seen Frozen, keep walking. There are massive spoilers ahead.
If you have seen it, you remember Hans. The dashing seventh son, a prince in his kingdom, who would live and die in obscurity, never to rule behind his six brothers with greater claim to the empire.
When Hans meets Anna, they are suddenly smitten and we are in for the stereotypical Disney love story, with the small exception that level headed Elsa, who has no feelings, says it’s dumb. That is refreshing and new, but not really foreshadowing.
Hans goes out of his way to show he would be a great ruler, that he cares about the kingdom, and that he is dedicated to his new lover, Anna. When given the chance to kill Elsa, therefore getting the queen out of the way, he saves her life. The man is a dream boat, even when Anna isn’t watching. Even when everyone else he is with wants to go for the kill, and no one would blame him if he did. The man was unerringly amazing.
Suddenly Anna is there with him, requiring a true love’s kiss, and the man sends a zinger, “If only there was someone out there who loved you.”
I get there was the meager foreshadowing of Kristoff and Elsa being against love at first sight, but not once did Hans reveal his true intentions. Disney would come out to say Elsa was supposed to be the villain, and I think she was a stronger villain than Hans. She actually had a motive, it was revealed throughout the early part of the movie where she would end up, and suddenly she’s in an ice castle and has plunged her usually warm kingdom into a winter Midwesterners are very accustomed to.
Despite how magical the movie was, the weakness of Hans got under my skin. If he was removed, or marginalized, the movie would have been better. Even if Elsa was the villain and the savior in the movie, it would have been a stronger movie.
What this comes down to, is make sure to foreshadow. A book is brilliant when the clues are there, like a seed planted, growing, and finally blossoming.
I watched Fight Club the other day. Now that I watch the movie, I don’t know how it got past me. I don’t know why I couldn’t put together that Tyler Durden was our narrator’s split personality. You see Brad Pitt flash in the background as the man’s insomnia is getting the better of him. Edward Norton states he knew things because Tyler knew things. Dreams and rumors were discounted, but all pointed at the truth. The way Norton became unimportant any time Pitt was present and acting out, and how no one responded to the fact Norton was there. I do need to read this book eventually, but I haven’t yet.
The Sixth Sense is another masterful movie of foreshadowing. Lolita with Humbert Humbert’s rival showing up throughout the story. The list goes on. The stories we love are ones where we can go back and see all the hints. We can see how obvious it all was. Those who do not use foreshadowing, the ones who simply throw out the surprise without any lead up, are like slasher flicks. The killer jumps out and goes to town. Anyone can make that “scary.” A master makes it scary when you’re waiting in suspense for something to happen and it’s dragged out to the point your knuckles are white and the veins are popping out of your hands.
So use foreshadowing. Do not surprise us with cheap antics. Write and have a great day.