The Faces of Eve in The Huntsman: Winter's War
The film offers two very different leading women, Freya and Ravenna, rival sisters who are queens of their own kingdoms. Both sisters, bruised and heartbroken by lovers are left with disappointment. Ravenna seeks vanity and domination as her solace while Freya goes to seclusion and rejects love to cope. As daughters of Eve, we, too suffer with loneliness and the impulse to control. A lot of this post's content was drawn from the movie and the book, "Captivating" by Stasi Eldredge.
Freya and Ravenna experience deep mistrust of love and men so they close their hearts and create huge walls so that nobody can ever come close to them again. Vulnerability and loving others is seen as a weakness so the sisters rebuke love and seek only one thing: power and domination. A woman’s deepest fear is rejection and abandonment. She tries to secure herself by going to the world for value when she should be seeking God and asking Him to fill her. Too many times we go to the world to answer these questions about us: “Am I Lovely? Do you see me? Are you captivated by what you find in me?” – Stasi Eldredge. We need an answer but get wounded to believe lies about ourselves when we don’t hear the answer from God first. So we also experience the curses of Eve and they can be experienced through fear, the need to control and the desire to satisfy our loneliness.
She needs no one. She is in control. She wears the crown and issues the commands. She wears the pants. Her controlling nature makes everyone feel inferior and intimidated to initiate any kind of relationship. It is as if she has a sign on her forehead saying: "Back off! I got this."
Ravenna uses her beauty to dominate and control others by manipulating others. She gets what she wants and she is completely unapologetic as she leaves a trail of dead bodies behind. She is hard. Severe. No weakness. No tenderness. No openness to love. No vulnerability. She has set aside her femininity and her capacity for love in pursuit of beauty and power. Love is for the weak. Ravenna is disgusted by failure and wants to purge the world of beauty and weakness so that she is the sole heir of all that is beautiful and powerful. She is rigid and ruthless.
Relation to Eve: Eve’s tender vulnerability gets taken away when she experiences the Fall and she too emasculated Adam when she went ahead and spoke to the serpent without any dialogue with her husband before that. She thinks she can dominate and thinks that Adam won’t provide for her so she takes the law in her own hands and that brings the fall. Fallen Eve controls all around her. She will grasp for control until she gets it.
Freya experienced deep loss and wanted to be alone forever. She has shut down her capacity for love and has literally created a heart of ice. She is weary and tired from her pain. She suffers with anxiety and depression as she tries to hold onto her crown and control of the kingdom. Everyone feels uninvited and rejected in her presence. Her message is: “I have nothing to give. There is nothing for you here.” Freya’s devastating loss defines her. She closes her heart, becomes the Ice Queen, moves away into another land all because of her loss. Her decisions define her. Her past plagues her. She longs to be filled but won’t allow herself to be filled with lasting truth or love but she gives into indulgences that are temporary. Freya gives into the need for discipline, for rules, for control to fill her ache. Control makes her feel less lonely but the ache persists and she is still left bitter and cold and lonely.
Relation to Eve: Freya, like Eve, cannot be filled. Her deepest worries and desires point to a desire for love and relationship but that vast need for lasting intimacy can never last as part of the curse bestowed on Eve. The emptiness is constant and the hunger to be filled never goes away. The ache persists and Freya and Eve try to fill it by grasping for power and knowledge but it does not satisfy. Eve, like Freya, hides herself behind the leaves after she tastes the forbidden fruit. She experiences shame and does not want to be used or objectified so she chooses loneliness and mistrusts everyone out of fear of rejection. Many of us are like Freya, but take heart, your past doesn't define you. You are a new creation. He makes all things new.
Take courage, my friends, Mary is the New Eve. She is the ultimate role model of redeemed femininity where tenderness, and authentic beauty can be brought to life again. We need to suffer with dignity and let our longings be awakened, let us say yes to the invitation to love.
Let us pray:
Lord, help me to respond out of a deep desire to find the life my heart knew it was meant for. Help me to be steadfast and press through my fears. I desire to not abandon all hope and say yes to your plan for me. Help me to be willing to risk my beauty and vulnerability. I pray that I may protect my relationships and take up the call to cultivate beauty, truth and goodness. I desire to unveil my beauty to others. I know that with your help, I can take the challenge and adventure to be a warrior that defends true love. Love truly conquers all. Amen.
If you haven't seen the movie, I recommend it! Check out the trailer below if you want a better idea of the characters, Ravenna and Freya: