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"Spring will be a little late this year
—"Spring Will be a Little Late This Year," Frank Loesser
In Real Life, the transition between seasons can take a while. Winter can linger past March and well into April (hell, early June in some areas) depending on where you live. (Or September and October on the other half of the planet.) Of course, it depends on your point of view. If you're a technical-minded type, then Spring can never actually be late because it always starts on March 21st no matter what the weather is like outside. Of course, when people say that it's "late," what they really mean is that there's still snow outside or that it's cold, the trees and flowers aren't blooming, etc.
Not so in TV Land. For fictional denizens, winter lasts a couple of days at most, and spring arrives March 21st on the dot. If not, then something is wrong. Maybe something happened to the creatures responsible for changing the seasons, or perhaps the MacGuffin needed to dismiss winter has gone missing.
Often there are terrible consequences for Spring being late. And yet, no one seems to care if Spring lasts into Summer or if Autumn goes missing. Perhaps it's because Evil Is Deathly Cold.
Anime and Manga
- In a one-shot manga by Megumi Tachikawa, Haru o Yobu Orgel (Music Box of Spring), the seasons are changed by the playing of a large music box. But when a young witch takes the star Sirius to make a love pie, she accidentally prevents spring from coming, as the music box is set to start bringing in spring when Sirius is directly above it.
- In the Blake and Mortimer album SOS Météores, Western Europe is suffering under an unusually severe winter lasting well into April. Turns out the main villain is meddling with the weather with a piece of impossible machinery to help the enemy invade.
Folklore and Mythology
- Older Than Feudalism. The Greek/Roman myth about the seasons of the year includes this as Hades kidnapped his wife-to-be Persephone from the Olympus and that results in the advent of winter (later they make a deal and the normal seasoning begins).
- Not quite true. The way the Greeks and Romans would have told it, the kidnapping caused a period of eternal summer: summer in the area around the Mediterranean is scorching and nasty, and winter comes as a welcome respite, rather than the temperate standard of winter being the lifeless season of cold and summer being a welcome respite of sun and clear skies. The idea that winter came when Persephone was with Hades came about when the myth moved north, and between explaining why having an eternal summer was bad and just switching it to winter, the latter was easier.
- There's also Fimbulvetr in Norse Mythology, which lasts thrice as long as a normal winter and serves as the first sign that Ragnarök is nigh.
- In-universe in the film Franklin and the Green Knight, in which everyone knows the tale of a Green Knight (a frog) and his faithful squire who set out to bring Spring to their land after an overly long winter.
- Groundhog Day. If the groundhog sees his shadow, then that's six more weeks of winter. But if there's no shadow, that's supposed to mean that winter will end early. So naturally it follows that if winter doesn't soon end, then that means spring is late.
- In the 1980s Strawberry Shortcake book, "Strawberry Shortcake and the Winter That Would Not End," Winter lasts much longer than it should, due to the Snow King's magic crystal being stolen (without it, the snow won't stop). The culprit turns out to be a crotchety old badger who wants winter to last forever so he can sleep and not be disturbed by other animals. The strawberry kids eventually get him to see the good side of Spring, and the crystal is returned.
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - the witch kept Narnia in a perpetual state of "always Winter but never Christmas," so spring was about 100 years late.
- In The Berenstain Bears Easter Surprise, spring is delayed when Boss Bunny (aka the Easter Bunny) quits.
- In Wheel of Time, Winter lasted till the equivalent of early May, due to the Dark One interfering with the seasons.
- Then summer lasts clear to January.
- Interestingly, people DO care when Summer lasts till January, as the entire world starts to turn into a tinderbox from the heat.
- In First Lord's Fury Tavi forces Spring to come late. He does this by drawing in cold air from the north to maintain winter by the Shield Wall. This is used to transport ships over land across the realm in days, where it would normally take weeks to travel with conventional methods.
- This happens in Wintersmith because the Anthropomorphic Personification of the Winter refuses to leave.
- In Tad Williams' ~Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn~, the lengthening of winter is a sign of the growing power of the Big Bad Storm King and plays a key plot point in Binabik's character arc, as his people view it as a sign of his betrayal of his shamanistic duties until they are convinced that it's really the Storm King's doing.
- In The Dresden Files in Ghost Story there's still snow on the ground in May. Mab is forced to remain near Chicago to keep Harry's soulless body alive, and it's clearly causing her great strain to stick around this late in the year.
- Said in the prologue of the very first Warrior Cats book.
- In John C. Wright's Count to a Trillion, Menelaus is six before spring first arrives. This is a Good Thing because the prolonged winter destroyed a plague that could have ended humanity, but still, they are glad when spring arrives.
- Earth 2 had a really loony example - spring was late on the colony planet because nature itself needed to be fertilized. Never mind axial tilts or that kind of garbage.
- In the song "In Like a Lion (Always Winter)" by the band Relient K refers to a "curse that can't be lifted" and a world where it's "always winter and never Christmas". The title and lyrics are a reference to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
- In Rupert Bear it is found that spring is brought about by "The Imps Of Spring". One story has Rupert shrink to small size (thanks to some magic seeds) find their hideout and wake all of them up to tell them they've overslept (it is March and the weather is still wintry).
- In the 90s Rupert Bear cartoon, the imps make an appearance there as well, only brought up to Rupert's size and Gender Flipped. The imps are supposed to use a staff to turn winter into spring, but a trainee Rupert meets refuses, saying she would rather use a mechanical contraption named a "spring machine". Raggerty meanwhile decides to sabotage all of these attempts as spring makes him itch. He gets thwarted. Eventually.
- Volcanic eruptions or short-term climatic shifts can cause prolonged winters in temperate regions, as happened when Krakatoa erupted in 1883.
- In New England, spring is often very late and likes to come back and visit occasionally. In recent years, there has been snow in late April, weeks after spring has arrived (meaning most or all of the snow was gone). Freak ice storms are also common in early spring in New England.
- Change the name to Scotland and you've summarised the weather here as well. (Not England. Recenty, while England was suffering from a hose-pipe ban, there was snow in Scotland. Amazing what a few hundred miles will do.)
- Residents of Vorostokov, one of Ravenloft's harsher inhabited domains, have been waiting for a proper Spring for a couple of decades now. At best, the rate of snowfall decreases temporarily, and a few above-freezing days each summer keep the accumulation from turning villages into glaciers, but actual thaws are unknown.
- Perfect Cherry Blossom: Spring is very late, because someone is stealing it in order to make a certain tree to bloom.
- In the video game Majora's Mask, Snowhead Mountain is plunged into eternal winter by an evil spirit. When Link breaks the curse, the land instantly transforms into a warm sunny place: snow melts, plants bloom, and ice-themed enemies are replaced with their springtime counterparts.
- In the Tinkerbell movie, the season are changed by the Neverland Fairies, and when the preparations for Spring are upset, the ministers discuss delaying Spring, but come to the conclusion that Spring has to happen on time in order to preserve the balance of nature.
- Similar to the example in literature, the 2003 DVD Spring for Strawberry Shortcake starts when there's still snow on the ground on the first day of Spring, so Strawberry and her friends go out to find it. They end up finding the young girl Spring who would rather keep playing in Winter's snow than bring Spring to the world, but they convince her to do her job.
- This is also the motivating crisis behind Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer; the villain's attempt to steal the "diamond planet" Spectra prevents spring from occurring on Earth. Somehow.
- Weather and the seasons are created manually in the world of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, which means that everyone has to chip in and clear away all the remnants of Winter on the day before Spring. In the episode "Winter Wrap Up," we learn that Ponyville has been late bringing in Spring these past few years, but the only consequence appears to be embarrassment on the part of the citizens of Ponyville. But thanks to Twilight Sparkle, they are able to bring in Spring on time.
- The biggest theme of Franklin and the Green Knight, other than that Franklin's family is expecting a new member. "Wake up, Spring where are you? Wake up! Come on Spring, let's have some fun! ... Spring, come out, now don't be shy. Oh, Springtime, can't you even try?"
- With a twist in "Angelina's Spring Fling" on Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps. The characters know perfectly well that there's nothing they can do to stop it from being cold and snowy outside. So, instead, they decide to try to create a bit of spring inside by doing things such as pretending to play baseball, painting Easter eggs and playing a CD of Vivaldi's "Spring."
- At the end of the Silly Symphony Winter, the groundhog character, who is said to predict the changing of the seasons, is hoping that the sky will turn cloudy that day, signaling the end of winter. Unfortunately for him the clouds clear up, revealing a sunny sky, and as a result the groundhog turns around and sees his shadow, frightening him back into his burrow, implying that winter will continue. Interestingly enough, although this short is preceded by two other shorts titled Summer and Autumn, respectively, there is no follow-up short called Spring at all!.
- While the first Fantasia film showed fairies changing spring to summer to fall and to winter, a segment featuring a fairy changing winter to spring did not show up until the sequel released 60 years later.