Ice Queen

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Trope · Genre
Related: Spooky Mulder
See Also: G Woman, Mrs. Spooky, Starbuck[1]
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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Ice Queen is an X-Files fanfiction trope in which Scully is perceived by others as a frigid, almost asexual person and not as woman with desires. It's used in so many fanfics it became fanon and borders on being a cliche.


Probably the first time the nick name was associated with Dana Scully was most likely in a post in a discussion in as early as in April 1994:

Was it my imagination or was Scully's attitude her partner warming. It seemed that in previous episodes she was an ice queen. But in this last one, her tone of voice was different and there seemed something

different in her eyes. Yeah, yeah, it know, its just a story. I have not seen every story so did something happened? Can anyone pin down when she stopped being a sceptic? Thanks

Scully warming 2194 by Gene Bilney on 4/18/94

One of the earliest uses in fanworks can be noted in the 1999 fan fiction "Blurred Vision" by Holly Alexander. This fan work was posted to on 2/24/96- where a man called Chris who became involved with Scully is discussing her with another person which is overheard and recorded on an audio recorder by Mulder:

'Are you kidding? Wow! This woman is such an Ice Queen on the outside, but once you hit the bedroom... all of that just flies out the window - she turns into an animal... man, some of the things she does...she leaves me horny for days...'" 2/4/99 REPOST: "Blurred Vision", by Holly Alexander (4/4) posted by on 2/24/96

Fannish reactions

Even during the second wave, fans were still confused about the origin of the trope. In a discussion on Steph (the_neon_one) asked about the issue:

It was something the very early fanfic writers that came up with. It's supposed to emphasize Scully's toughness. I think it usual goes with an explanation of something like "her colleagues called her 'the ice queen', but she had to act like one in order to be taken seriously in this men-cage. If she let her facade slip for one moment they would see her as weak, not as an equal or as a sex object..." That's what it basically comes down to - Scully hiding any sort of feeling and acting tough for fear of not being taken seriously by the men house the FBI is. edisto0304 12 März 2009, 14:44:20 UTC
Yeah, I'm focusing mostly on fanfics where she stresses that everyone thinks that she's an ice queen and therefore Mulder would never ever love her (besides he only loves "busty brunettes" and the FBI has more formal dances than "Pride and Prejudice"). I know that those, of course, do not represent the XFiles fandom (and will do my best to make that clear. It's certainly not unique to the XF fandom, and that's why I'm looking at a few different characters across fandoms. I mean, people read low self-esteem into Emma Peel, and the Avengers didn't even really have complex characters!), and I've been genuinely impressed by some of the fics I've read. I think the ones I'm looking at tend to be written by younger writers. I'm interested in how romance clichés are so ingrained in culture that they even pop up where they don't make any sense. (And yes, I'm taking care to take years and episode airing dates into account when I'm looking at the fic ;) )

I agree that she has to work extra hard to earn respect in the boy's club, and I know she has moments of self-doubt, but one of the things that I like about Scully is that, in the end, she's able to deal with it and bounce back (Yes, she has her breakdown moments, but I don't think her self esteem is ever as fragile as fanfic authors make it out to be.). She's complex, passionate, and strong.

the_neon_one 12 März 2009, 22:45:39 UTC

Scully is not an Ice Queen mulders-boyish-enthousiasm on tumblr.

(...)I disagree wholeheartedly with the somewhat popular assessment of Scully as Ice Queen, but that’s not to say she’s exactly the most in-touch-with-her-feelings kind of person either. Whenever disasters strike Scully – we see this time and time again, from after her abduction to her sister’s death – she puts her back up against professionalism, work, and structure. She’s not one to wallow. Season 4, Episode 14: “Memento Mori, the Review is Out There, September 10, 2015

Usage of the term by the media

A Saturday Night Live skit featuring David Duchovny as Mulder, Nicholas Lea as Krycek, Will Ferrell as Janet Reno and Molly Shannon as Scully, the term is used to refer to Scully by Reno in 1997:

Janet Reno: Scully! I got a file on that pouty-lipped ice queen, too. She’salways “Oh, I’m so skeptical about that. No, I’m sure there’s a reasonablescientific explanation for that.” If I ever see her, I will do my karate onher. [ does karate move ] Ow. The X-Files SNL Transcripts Tonight

Gillian Anderson and her role were also refered as "ice queen of the small screen" in profile on the actress in the same year in Biography Magazine.[2]

In a 2008 review for the season one episode Fire for Den of Geek , Matt Haigh remarks:

(...)This episode is great for highlighting the sexual tension between our two leads, as the presence of the English ex-girlfriend (sporting a horsey-yah accent so strong it's almost impossible to tell whether she's faking it or is in fact English) brings out the Ice Queen in Scully. Revisiting The X-Files: season 1 episode 12 by Matt Haigh, Nov 4, 2008

notable fan fiction


  • Stella Gibson, another character portrayed by Gillian Anderson in the British tv show The Fall was referred to by Netflix synopsis as Ice Queen, which didn't sit well with some Anderson fans.[3]

Further reading



  1. Special Agent Dana Scully profile on Access the X-Files
  2. High School Hellcat Saves Earth from Aliens by Rick Schindler, June 1997, archived on GAWS
  3. "Ice queen?" I’m sorry, is this X-Files fanfic?] 9ineminutes on tumblr