Episode 9 of Ronja The Robber’s Daughter, titled Stuck in the Snow, opens on our gamine girl racing up the circular staircase of an aerie in Mattis’ fort, her exhalations expelling ephemeral clouds of white vapor as she climbs. She gasps at the panoramic view at the apex. The once lush forest surroundings have crystallized with winter snow.
Down below, the robbers grumble and groan as they shovel huge mounds of fallen snow. Lovis fits Ronja with a winter coat and she runs outside and instigates a snowball fight with the robbers, who seem in need of levity. Lovis, ever the enforcer, shuts it down. Ronja joins Mattis, who has been rummaging through the attic. He hands her a pair of wooden skis from his childhood and sends her off.
Now outfitted in adorable matching winter wear, Ronja takes off skiing down the hillside. There is definitely a learning curve as she fights gravity to stay upright. It takes several days of practicing, but soon our little Ronja is a seasoned pro, jumping peaks and schussing down hills at a rapid clip. Mattis whines and worries about her, to which Lovis quips, “Stop your bitching,” only not literally, but we all know what she really means.
Ronja skis through her forest, intermittently snow-shoeing when inertia strikes. At a particularly high jump, one of her skis detaches and sails away into the trees. She crashes, her leg driving straight down into the packed snow. Despite several attempts to free herself, she’s stuck. As she tries to wrench herself free, three pom-pom-like creatures—colorful tribbles with faces—grumble up from beneath the snow in front of her. She’s relieved to see they’re rumphobs and not gray dwarves. She asks them for help but they inform her, in broken, mumbling, “I’m-sorry-is-that-English-thank-goodness-for-captions,” that she has broken their roof with her foot, which is indeed lodged in their ceiling.
Ronja apologizes and promises to go home if they will only help her. They tunnel away, leaving her in the approaching dark. She can hear the rumphobs grumbling underground as the camera pans down to reveal that they’ve already made use of her trapped foot. As the Artful Dodger might say, “Consider yourself part of the furniture, Ronja.” The rumphobs have looped a cradle around her foot, utilizing the kineticism of her struggles to rock their baby rumphob to sleep.
Ronja stops struggling and realizes that she’s broken the first rule of Mattis’ forest: she’s deeply frightened. She looks up at the sky, observing its resemblance to the snow—so blank, unyielding, and dispassionate to her predicament.