E has started to love watching television. Or to be honest, she has started to love watching two short films on DVD. TV in general she’s still not bothered by. But she loves watching the film of her favourite book, Room on the Broom, and she loves watching The Snowman.
This pleases me. I love The Snowman. I was seven when it first came out (the film not the book) and I remember watching it with my family. My dad would point out the discrepancy at the end where the snowman melted yet the rest of the snow was still there. My grandpa loved the Snowman too. The simple charm of the story would appeal to him. And I imagine we all related to the nostalgia for a childhood filled with the almost mythical snow it depicts.
E finds it very funny. She likes the bit where he switches noses, and she’s started to count down to the part where they start running to take off and fly. “Are you ready?” she says. “Are you steady? Whee!”
She doesn’t find the ending upsetting. In her world snowmen melt and that’s fine. They melt in her books and so they also melt in this story. The boy sinks to his knees at the end and she just watches, impassive. Of course the snowman’s gone, I can almost hear her thinking. He was magic, he couldn’t last for more than a night.
I find the ending even worse now than I did when I was a child. But then I find the whole thing rather sad. The music is lovely but there is an unbearable melancholy to the main theme tune. I find it sets the tone for the whole piece. The boy seems lonely and isolated and for his only friend to melt after a night just seems cruel. And yet what other ending could there be?
It’s a masterpiece. And one that genuinely has appeal across the generations. So tomorrow I imagine I will happily put it on again to watch when I’m asked. And then try not to cry.