Now we come to our seconde interview for Round 2, the Best Leading Lady. But I think you'll find that the winner is no stranger because this is already her seconde win in the contest. Our winner is one of the only two heroines in the contest that were actually new characters, Helga from Broken Shards of A La Reine des Neiges Heart. Her only competition that actually got nominated was Merida from Rebelle 2 but it was clear that Helga was the fan favorite. Now let's get on with the interview with AaronHayley4ever, our very deserving winner. How does it feel to win two rounds in a row?
I hate to be redundant, but this win was an even bigger shock than the first. I thought that since I won the last round, this one would surely go to somebody else. But in the end, it doesn’t matter whether it’s win 1 ou win 100; each one is a triumph in its own right because each win brings me one step closer to proving the La Reine des Neiges fandom wrong. How hard was it to come up with the character of Helga?
Coming up with the general idea for her was fairly easy. I knew early on that this story would hinge on Hans having a change of heart, and the character that eventually became Helga was the only one who could bring that change about. The real challenges I had in developing her were keeping her from seeming too perfect and making her distinguishable from the other princesses, especially Anna and Elsa. That was why I decided that she and Hans would be childhood friends, that she would become captain of the guard, that she would give her life to save Hans. No Disney princess has ever done that before, but the thing I think sets her apart most is that all the others dream of somehow bettering their lives (e.g. Ariel wants to be human, Tiana wants her own restaurant, etc.), but Helga is perfectly fine with her lot in life; the thing she wants most is Hans’s happiness. Did toi have several different ideas for leading ladies that toi thought about using before Helga?
Yes. Some of the other concepts I considered for the leading lady were a housemaid who worked for the royal family of Arendelle and a noblewoman visiting the Southern Isles from a neighboring kingdom. If so, why did she decide to make Helga the leading lady?
I chose Helga because she fit the story I needed to tell better than my other ideas would have. It made absolutely no sense that a housemaid from Arendelle would forgive Hans after he nearly killed her employers, much less put herself on the line for him. Having someone visiting from another kingdom ultimately become a l’amour interest for Hans has been done to death in La Reine des Neiges fanfiction, and I wanted to set this story apart from what was already out there. The leading lady needed access to Hans while he was imprisoned, which a guest in the château wouldn’t have, and even so, I think someone from a neighboring kingdom would’ve taken an interest in one of the other twelve princes before she’d risk Scandal par getting to know Hans. So Helga was the logical choice. As a guard, it made sense that she would interact with Hans, and her history with him made it reasonable that she would be willing to forgive his actions. What inspired toi to make Helga?
I know they say you’re never supposed to do this when creating a character, but Helga was essentially based on me. I’m not trying to say I’m anywhere near as Rebelle ou as pretty as Helga, but she is a representation of my beliefs about hypocrisy, redemption, and justice. Almost everything she says ou does was inspired par something I wish I could do myself, so she does the things I know I could never get away with. If Helga became an official DP where would she rank her on the favoris list?
7th. I hope that doesn’t sound like I don’t l’amour Helga; I do. I just can’t bring myself to place Ariel, Belle, Anna, Mulan, Rapunzel and jasmin lower. If Helga became an official DP where would she rank her on the beauty list?
4th, behind Elsa, Cinderella, and Aurora. Helga as been compared to Esmeralda. How does it feel to have made a character that is compared to such a beloved character like Esmeralda?
Esmeralda is actually my favori Disney heroine, so I consider it a huge honor that people see similarities to her in Helga. Do toi see any similarities between Helga and Esmeralda?
I certainly didn’t base Helga on Esmeralda, but now that I think about it, I can see some similarities. They both stand up for what they feel is right, even when it isn’t necessarily the socially acceptable thing to do, and they both see the good in people society shies away from. Esmeralda befriended Quasimodo despite his outward appearance, and Helga never stopped believing in Hans, even after learning what he did to Anna and Elsa. What was the inspiration for her design?
Her looks were most influenced par my design for Queen Edith. Since so much of Helga’s relationship with King Gunther stemmed from his desire to hold on to his dead wife through her, it was important that she strongly resemble the queen. I gave Helga the same hair and facial structure as Edith and briefly considered giving her the same eye color but decided against that because I didn’t want Helga to look like a clone of Edith. Also, it became important that only Hans had the queen’s eye color because Gunther sees him as nothing plus than a reminder of what he lost, and I thought that association would be much less strong if half the cast had green eyes.
For Helga’s outfits, I tried to emulate the styles from La Reine des Neiges as much as possible because since this was meant to be a sequel, it was important that I stay true to the original. Young Helga’s dress was heavily influenced par Young Anna and Elsa’s dresses. The guard uniform was a redesign of Hans’s manteau with the blue, black, gray, and magenta color scheme of his main outfit, and the wedding dress was inspired par Elsa’s coronation dress, as well as Ariel’s wedding dress and Aurora’s blue dress. What is your favori thing about Helga?
I l’amour that she stands up for what she believes in, no matter what the circumstances. It would’ve been easier to give up on Hans because that’s what everybody else had done, but she stood par him even when things got tough. She isn’t aggressive, but at the same time, she doesn’t avoid conflict out of fear of being attacked ou unpopular. I really wish I was plus like Helga in that way. What is your least favori thing about Helga? (if any)
I’ll have to think about that. I guess my least favori thing about Helga is her overwhelming desire to prove herself to others. She, like Hans, has a lot of feelings of inadequacy, so she can’t let any negative opinions of her slide; she won’t stop until she proves them wrong. Reputation is extremely important to her, and every decision she makes is influenced par what people will think of her. This is why she’s so conflicted par her feelings for Hans at first and tries to deny them for as long as she can. Being kind to a prisoner is seen as taboo, let alone falling in l’amour with one. She eventually has to choose between Hans and her rank, and this is very hard for her. In our last interview toi a dit Helga was one of the most difficult characters to write because she almost ended up being too perfect. How did toi make sure that she wasn't too perfect?
I was so worried about Helga seeming too perfect that I actually took a Mary-Sue litmus test, and after getting the result back, I made some changes to her. Her backstory underwent a dramatic overhaul to avoid being overly tragic, and a lot of scenes between Helga and Gunther were edited out. The original draft of the final battle had Helga almost singlehandedly saving Hans, so that was changed. Also, the original Helga was much snarkier and plus impulsive than the version that wound up in my contest entry, but I decided it was important that she only defy authority with good reason.
Another huge concern I had about Helga was that she might come across as a weak, besotted character (think along the lines of Bella cygne ou Merope Gaunt), and I didn’t want the audience to think her identity was solely defined par loving Hans. The thing about Helga is that she isn’t blind to Hans’s flaws; she just chooses to look past them. I tried to make it clear that Helga didn’t need to be rescued par Hans ou anyone else; she can take care of herself. What are some of the flaws toi gave her?
I’ve already covered her feelings of inadequacy and desire to prove herself, so I’ll say one of Helga’s flaws is she allows emotion to nuage her judgment. She fights Herman for control of the whip when he’s over twice her size and could seriously injure her without much effort. She steals nourriture from the ballroom for Hans and soon after abandons her post when she leaves for Arendelle. In all of those case, her l’amour for Hans made her blind to the consequences of her actions. She’s also extremely stubborn. She absolutely refuse to believe Hans could’ve tried to kill the Queen of Arendelle and probably never would’ve believed it if she hadn’t heard it from Hans himself. She doesn’t take no for an answer when she begs the king to intervene on Hans’s behalf ou when Anna and Elsa refuse to help her save him, and she constantly argues with Anna. That said, I think Helga’s biggest flaw is she’s a poor judge of character. She only sees the good in others, which is in itself a good thing, but it makes it easy for her to trust the wrong people.. She trusts Klaus and Karl to look after Hans, but they try to starve him to death. She trusts King Gunther to act in his son’s best interest when he’s been planning his demise all along, and when she finds out about it, she trusts the other princes to help her but they turn a blind eye. If your story was made into a movie toi a dit you'd have her voiced par Katie Hall. Why did toi choose her?
Although Helga has to disguise her voice to sound plus masculine when she‘s giving orders, her natural voice is high-pitched and singsongy, and that voice is really Hans’s first clue that there’s plus to the captain of the guard than meets the eye. It was important that the voice actress for Helga be able to convey all of those subtle nuances that were vital to the story, and I decided on Katie Hall after re-watching her performance as Cosette in the Les Miserables 25th anniversary performance. If Helga became an official DP and was voiced par Katie Hall where would she rank her on the favoris DP chant voice list?
3rd, behind Lea Salonga and Mary Costa. Helga is quite different from most animated heroines. For most of the story she wears armor. What made toi choose to do that?
The armor came from necessity plus than anything else. Helga is captain of the guard, so it wouldn’t be practical for her to wear a frilly robe like most of the Disney princesses. The fanfic version of the story will go into much plus detail about the circumstances of Helga becoming captain of the guard, but King Gunther (and certainly the other members of the guard) would’ve wanted to keep the fact that the captain was a woman under wraps as much as possible. The armor was instrumental to disguising her gender and provided something to hide her identity from Hans until the right moment. Without the armor, he would’ve recognized her immediately, and the entire story would’ve derailed from there. The really problematic thing about Helga wearing armor came in the final battle. I knew she would give her life for Hans, and King Gunther had to be the one to kill her. The big question going into that scene was: how could he mortally wound her if she was wearing armor? So I got around that problem par having Anlaf confiscate her original armor, and the only armor left after everyone else had been outfitted was unsuitable for use. If Helga became as populaire a Disney character as Ariel and Belle how would that feel?
Someday little girls could be wanting a Helga doll like this
Wow! It’s hard to imagine something like walking into the Disney Store and seeing a display of Helga merchandise ou little girls dressing as her for Halloween, but if that happened, it would be nothing short of a dream come true. That would make the story come full cercle for me. In the story itself, Helga’s belief in Hans changed a kingdom, and having her well-received par the public for that reason would be confirmation that my belief in him changed the Disney fandom. What do toi think makes Helga a good role model?
Helga sees the good in others, even when it would be much easier to focus on the bad. She’s incapable of holding a grudge. It may take her some time, but she’ll always forgive, no matter what the transgression. She was willing to give Hans a seconde chance, and I’m confident that (had they survived) she would’ve at some point forgiven the royal family as well. A lot of people would see this as a weakness, but I think of it as a strength. There aren’t many who would favor forgiveness over retribution, and I think the world would be a much better place if there were plus people like Helga. Last question! Do toi think Helga deserved to win Round 2? If not, who? (be honest)
No, actually I think Helga was among those who least deserved to win. Don’t get me wrong, I’m flattered that the fans liked Helga enough to vote for her, but creating original characters is the easy part, at least in my opinion. I think the real challenge is taking an existing Disney character and having them grow and change throughout the story without completely abandoning their original personality. The example of this that most sticks out in my mind is Merida in Rebelle 2. She kept all the spunk of the original but still was able to mature and learn.