Elsa the Snow Queen of Arendelle is the deuteragonist in Frozen, voiced by actress Idina Menzel. She is the older sister of Princess Anna and Queen of Arendelle until the exposure of her powers over ice and snow resulted in her departure from the kingdom and adoption of a new person as the Snow Queen. Elsa will join the Disney Princess line-up as the thirteenth princess.
Elsa is based on the titular character of the fairy tale, The Snow Queen by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. The character from the original story (and many other adaptations) was an antagonist, but Elsa was rewritten to be a more complex and multifaceted character.
Broadway veteran Idina Menzel, best known for the role of Elphaba from Wicked, was cast to provide the voice for Elsa. Director Chris Buck believed Menzel's vocals would help in Elsa's portrayal, saying, "Idina has a sense of vulnerability in her voice. She plays a very strong character, but someone who lives in fear—so we needed someone who could portray both sides of the character, and Idina was just amazing." Menzel acknowledged the similarities between Elsa and Elphaba in an interview, describing them both as formidable but incredibly misunderstood individuals. She went on to say that she could empathize with the characters, having hidden her singing talent from her schoolmates. She explained, "I didn't want to alienate anyone. If everyone was singing along in the car to a Madonna song, I didn't join in because when we're younger we're afraid of sticking out or showing off, when in fact we should own those things make us really unique."
Following the decision to cast Menzel, Elsa's character underwent major modifications. According to Menzel, Elsa was originally written as a one-dimensional antagonist but was gradually amended into a more vulnerable figure whose seemingly bad actions were the result of her fear.
Director Jennifer Lee stated that Elsa is significantly influenced by fear throughout the film. Producers identified "Let It Go" as a pivotal point in her character development as the scene depicts her decisions to "let go" of her fear of using her powers and to embrace that aspect of her being that made her truly unique. Character design supervisor Bill Schwab said, "Before 'Let it Go', Elsa is really buttoned up, her hair is up—everything is perfect. During the song, she gives herself permission to be who she is and everything changes—her hair is more wild, her gown is magical. She's finally free—even if she is all alone."
However, lead writer Paul Briggs explained that ultimately, Elsa needed Anna's support the most when her powers are exposed: "The strength of the family bond is what makes this story so powerful because it's her sibling who's willing to look beyond her powers and stand between her and the world if that's what it takes."
Official Disney Bio
- From the outside, Elsa looks poised, regal and reserved, but in reality, she lives in fear as she wrestles with a mighty secret—she was born with the power to create ice and snow. It's a beautiful ability, but also extremely dangerous. Haunted by the moment her magic nearly killed her younger sister Anna, Elsa has isolated herself, spending every waking minute trying to suppress her growing powers. Her mounting emotions trigger the magic, accidentally setting off an eternal winter that she can't stop. She fears she's becoming a monster and that no one, not even her sister, can help her.
As the queen regnant of the kingdom of Arendelle, Elsa acts calm, reserved and regal, and unlike her sister, is experienced in grace and poise. But beneath this elegant appearance, Elsa is quite complex; in truth, Elsa is troubled with her abilities, a trait that stems from an incident as a child. When she was younger, she had cared strongly for Anna and, although acting as the more mature of the two, was quite playful. However, ever since her magic nearly caused her sister's death, Elsa had lived in fear for a great amount of her life, too nervous to let her powers overdevelop. As a result, Elsa desired isolation from everyone she cared about, including Anna, out of fear that she could hurt them, and chose to keep things to herself rather than communicate. However, whenever fearful or pressured, her emotions cause her magic to be released in the forms of deadly ice and storms.
From said concern, Elsa is sensitive towards other people and their well-being, as Elsa always felt she had to be far away from people as much as possible in order to keep them safe. As such, she felt that she could not truly rule a kingdom because of this flaw, although she tried her best to repress her abilities for the sake of the kingdom. Often, although Elsa demonstrates her willingness to sacrifice her own happiness for everyone else's, she herself feels pressured from the restraints she is forced into, most evidently on her coronation day. It is also apparent that Elsa had tried her best to suppress her abilities for her parents' sake in order not to hurt others and to be a good ruler for Arendelle when her time came. Despite her moral reasoning, she came off as aloof and cold towards anyone who wished to see, and so was forced to cut interaction with Anna believing she could not control her powerful emotions when Anna was around to spur them. Because Anna had to lose the memories of Elsa's magic in order to survive Elsa's curse, Anna failed to understand why Elsa's isolation was so dire and simply believed Elsa was uncaring. However, Elsa truly loved Anna and always wished to be with her whenever Anna asked, a chance Elsa greatly regretted refusing and was left in deep despair when Anna became the only family she had left. She also believes that she thinks she does not belong in Arendelle as she sees herself only as a force of destruction, implying that Elsa is self-denigrating towards herself in an extreme case, as she constantly blames herself to be the sole cause for most of her life's misfortunes despite others stating she is not, to the point that she labels herself as a living storm and distances herself from everything in general.
Despite her fear, Elsa shows to truly care about her family and her kingdom as more than just a position quite selflessly, as she was evidently frightened when she realizes that she had created a winter over her kingdom when she had tried so desperately to avoid them from her danger. But due to the influence of her magic, Elsa does not like to confront things she had caused, for she has always believed she can only create winter, not remove it. Though due to her determination to keep her sister safe, it is shown in the deleted song "Life's Too Short", Anna considered her cold.
However, during "Let it Go", Elsa reveals a liberated side to her personality. Without stress or fear of hurting others, Elsa is strong and unafraid, yet with an air of elegance still surrounding her. Armed with a sense of freedom, she is confident in her abilities, letting them roam free with grace and beauty, all the while no longer worried or daunted by her restraints. It is also apparent that Elsa had tried her best to suppress her abilities for her parents' sake in order not to hurt others and to be a good ruler for Arendelle when her time came. This is indicated in the segment, which was entirely about letting go of her fears and being herself, when she stated that she was done being the perfect princess that others had wanted out of her, including her parents, and being free to be herself. During this time, Elsa proves herself to be a daring young woman willing to remain far from what she was destined to be, and rejects her own fate as Arendelle's queen for the choice of her own freedom.
Although she had avoided Anna for most of her life, Elsa was willing to share some words with her, even sneakily tricking the Duke of Weselton into dancing with Anna, showing more of her mischievous and playful side.
However, Elsa's strongest part of herself is her love for her sister, a trait that gives Elsa the ultimate motivation to save Anna. Although she feels responsible for the chaos she has caused, the bond Elsa shares with Anna is stronger than she knows, as the feeling itself is her reminder that she is not truly alone when there is someone else who cares for her as well. With love, Elsa finds a stronger control over her abilities in order to save those she cares about. From this, Elsa confronts her fear, and learns how to use her powers for good instead of imbalance, and in doing so, gains the will to control it.
Adding on, Elsa narrates the storybook "A Sister More Like Me", where she describes Anna's room as an explosion, with hers being extremely neat and tidy. Elsa enjoys being tidy and gaining elegance, instead of being scruffy and unorganized. Elsa also gets looked up to by others, describing her as fancy as can be, and a "picture of perfection". Elsa shows that she is extremely intelligent, but can be quite prickly at times.
As she conquers her fear, Elsa's personality becomes warm and playful once again, as she happily attends ice skating with Anna and the others, and even helps Anna to ice skate without fear of freezing her as well as creating a snow cloud to help Olaf remain during summer.
Elsa is a strikingly beautiful young woman with a tall, slender figure, platinum blonde hair, blue eyes, and pale skin with a light dusting of freckles (a trait she shares with her sister, Anna). She has the face of her mother, as during her coronation, she bore a striking resemblance to the Queen, albeit with a different hair color. When she was a princess she had shorter hair and wore a blue dress. In her pre-Snow Queen state, she wore a teal dress with a sweetheart bodice with bronze lacing, black sleeves and magenta cape, and her hair was kept back in a French braid elaborate bun with blue ribbon woven into it. Ever since the accident with Anna at age 8, Elsa wore white gloves to contain her powers, but at her coronation, she wore longer, light teal gloves that go with her outfit which later, she only has one, for Anna took the other. In her Snow Queen state, Elsa wears her hair in a side braid woven with snowflake incrustation, and wisps of her bangs slicked back on top of her head. She wears a crystal-blue, off-the-shoulder dress made out of ice with a crystallized bodice, powder blue sleeves and ice shoes. At the back of her bodice is a long, transparent cape of sheer material draped down from her sleeves and decorated with big snowflakes.
Powers and abilities
“Listen to me, Elsa. Your power will only grow. There is beauty in it... but also great danger! You must learn to control it. Fear will be your enemy.”
Elsa is most iconic being the Snow Queen, and as such, she has complete control over the element of ice and snow (also known as cryokinesis and frigokinesis). With her abilities (that she was apparently born with), Elsa can conjure up and shape various things from snow flurries to blizzards. Most of her powers are unleashed via her hands and her feet, and controlled by her emotions. If she's happy and at peace, her powers would be under her complete control, but if she's stressed or fearful, she will lose control and cause great harm to those around her. Near the end of Frozen, she has gained more control over her powers.
Some of what her powers can do are seen throughout the film. In the beginning, she was able to turn the castle's ballroom into a winter wonderland. She is also able to create enchanted snowmen (both large and small), ice structures such as her ice castle, deadly blizzards as mentioned above, and more. She's also been seen being able to move ice structures at will. It also appears that she can can control transitional forms of snow, as she was not only able to create solid forms such as ice, but gaseous forms as well; for instance, she created a snow cloud for Olaf at the end of the film. Interestingly, it would seem that nearly her entire being can conjure ice and snow, as seen when she stepped onto the river water at the coronation fjord, immediately freezing it the moment her foot touched the liquid.
Her powers are most prominently featured during "Let It Go" in which Elsa frees herself from the fear and stress she held, allowing her abilities to run wild. In the sequence she created her ice castle, a stairway for entrance, Olaf, as well as her ice gown. During the song she even points out that she is immune to the cold.
It is also shown that despite not having any formal training, she is capable of being a fierce fighter with her magic. At one point in the story when her ice castle is raided, the Duke of Weselton's henchmen attacked her and she was able to hold them both off on her own.
It's also interesting to note that in times when Elsa is truly frightened, her powers might act on their own in order to protect her. As mentioned before when she was initially attacked, an arrow was shot at her from a cross bow. Elsa's powers reacted to this instantly, forming a wall of ice in front of her to block the incoming arrow. So it's possible her ice powers may have a will of their own to some extent, where they respond to whatever Elsa feels. This possibility explains why she was able to create Olaf and Marshmallow. Theoretically, in having a mind of its own, it would make sense if the ice powers split part of its sentience off into these external shells created by Elsa, each of whom represent a certain aspect of Elsa's personality. It also appears that her powers depend on which emotion she feels; if she is in sorrow, all the snow particles in the air stand still as if time has stopped, while anger creates a similar effect to fear but with an offensive direction instead of chaotic versatility.
The only way thought to conceal her powers was by wearing gloves on her hands, which appeared to negate her icy touch on other objects. However, it's possible this is nothing but a psychological mindset that helped to keep her anxiety and any icy outbursts under control all her life. Because it was her father, one of the few people she trusted, that claimed that wearing them would stop her abilities, Elsa believed it to be true, so by wearing gloves she thought truly stopped her powers, as a result of said belief, they did. This is supported by the fact she was able to freeze through the hand shackles in Arendelle’s prison cell, in her desperation to get away, proving that covering her hands does not actually stop her power, but rather, sheer force of will and belief. It is shown that if she casts her magic on a living being, the victim will not only freeze to death, but slowly transform into an ice statue, and the process only hastens if they are in cold conditions. While the curse can be removed if the magic affects the mind, the heart is the most vulnerable and if this is the case, the victim can only be cured by an act of true love. While Elsa had thought she cannot undo the frosty effects she creates, it is revealed that that she is capable of removing such curses through her love for others, as it is the warmest feeling of all.
Role in the Film
A Saddened Past
At a young age, Elsa realized that she has a magical ability to produce ice and snow, and often used her abilities to play with her younger sister, Anna. Elsa shared a close bond with her free-spirited younger sibling, and the two were the best of friends. At night they would often make it snow in the royal ballroom. However, one night while the two were playing in the ballroom, Anna fell down from one of the high snow slopes Elsa had created. Elsa tries to save her by using her magic, but accidentally strikes her sister instead. Their parents, the King and Queen of Arendelle, immediately seek aid for Anna by visiting the legendary trolls, whose leader, a shaman named Pabbie, is able to stabilize Anna's condition since it had only affected the head, not the heart, which would have been fatal. To be safe, Pabbie then removes Anna's knowledge and memories of magic, much to Elsa's despair. Pabbie takes the time to explain the true strength of Elsa's abilities, telling her there's not only beauty in it, but danger, and that she must learn to control them at all cost, but that fear will be her enemy. While the King promises to help Elsa control her powers, the incident leaves Elsa traumatized by them. As a result, the King and Queen order the gates to be locked for Elsa and Anna's safety. From then on, Elsa forcibly spent the rest of her life distanced from the kingdom, including Anna, trying to keep her powers from growing out of control and harming those she cares about. Even so, the persistent Anna tried time and time again to spend some quality time with her sister, but failed at every turn, leading her to eventually believe Elsa despised her.
The Death of the RoyalsThroughout the years, Elsa's only true human contact was with her parents, who calmly helped their daughter control her abilities, teaching her to remain calm for fear and stress would only cause chaos. To help further, the king bestowed upon Elsa a pair of gloves, which were able to suppress her powers (teaching her to conceal it, don't feel it, don't let it show), making life much easier, though still heavily fearful. And despite better control, Elsa still refused to contact Anna, truly terrified of harming her yet again. One day, during Anna and Elsa's teenage years, the king and queen left for a trip, and though Elsa was torn about their parting, she bid them farewell as they were off. However, this would be her last time with them, as the royals would die at sea during a powerful storm. A funeral was held, though Anna was the only one of the sisters to attend. Elsa, instead, too afraid to even go to the funeral out of fear of hurting someone with her powers, stayed within her bedroom, mourning for the loss of her parents, alone. Because of her devastated emotions, her powers corrupted the bedroom, freezing everything inside and reflecting the sorrow of the event. With the passing of her beloved parents and contact with Anna still deemed too dangerous, Elsa was now truly alone.
Three years later, Elsa is chosen to be crowned the new queen regnant. To celebrate the momentous occasion, Arendelle invites royalty from far and wide to join in the festivities, such as the dashing Prince Hans and the pompous Duke of Weselton among others. Whilst Anna, the citizens of Arendelle, and the visiting royals couldn't be more excited, Elsa is beyond reluctant, fearful the major contact with the world will lead to the discovery of her powers. Even so, she accepts that it's all merely for a day, and tries her best to conceal her emotions, though the task proves to be difficult. At the cathedral, Elsa's crowning takes place, but because she must wield the traditional sceptre and globus cruciger without her gloves on, her abilities are nearly revealed. Fortunately, she's able to withstand the near exposure, and the festivities commence with a nightly ball. There, Elsa and Anna are reunited for the first time in years, and they share their very first conversation for quite some time, with Elsa leading the way. Both sisters appear to be very joyous to finally share some time together, and although Elsa's enjoying herself and quality time with Anna, Anna's open desire to have moments like the occasion at hand frequently causes Elsa to become reserved once again, reluctantly telling Anna her wish simply cannot be, and without any further explanations as to why, breaking the younger princess' heart and prompting her to leave.
- “Look it's snowing, it's snowing! The queen has cursed this land!”
- ―The Duke of Weselton
Meanwhile, Elsa continues on with the party, meeting visiting dignitaries for a while before Anna returns, but with Prince Hans by her side. After a small introduction, the two announce their newfound engagement and asks for Elsa's blessing upon the marriage. Elsa's baffled by the shocking news, but Anna and Hans couldn't appear more excited, going on to ramble about the wedding arrangements. Elsa ceases the sudden rambling by denying the marriage, much to Anna's heartbreak. The queen asks to speak to Anna alone, likely to finally confess her abilities, but the younger princess refuses any private conversation, stating whatever Elsa has to say can be said to both her and Hans. Becoming frustrated, Elsa outright forbids Anna of marrying someone she just met, indirectly telling the princess she knows nothing about true love, causing Anna to hiss back, telling Elsa all she knows is how to shut people out. Although Elsa is visibly hurt by this, Elsa continues to refuse, and the argument only worsens when Elsa orders the guards to end the party and close the gates. But the heartbroken Anna confronts her sister, completely terrified of living life imprisoned within the castle again. With that, Elsa suggests that she leaves the castle so she can be happy. Things take an ultimate turn for the worst when, out of blind fury, Elsa's powers are finally revealed, causing ice shards to rise from the ground, nearly striking Anna and the other guests. Terrified by what she's done and the reactions it receives, Elsa flees, though Anna, Hans, and the Duke of Weselton chase after her.
Elsa retreats into the fjords, successfully escaping her pursuers, and as she does, everything in the land begins to freeze, beginning with the entire body of water in the fjord, trapping all the ships before spreading throughout the rest of the kingdom. Having fail to retrieve her, Anna and Hans returns to the castle courtyard, where the guests have gathered. The Duke of Weselton begins to panic as it eerily begins snowing, declaring they must take action and put an end to Elsa's curse, but Anna refuses and volunteers to seek out Elsa herself and make things right, feeling its her fault for pushing her. With Hans being left in charge of the kingdom, Anna heads off on her horse to begin her quest.
The Snow Queen
- “I'm never going back, the past is in the past!”
- ―Elsa as she refuses her title as Arendelle's queen regnant
Meanwhile, that same night, Elsa has since arrived at the Northern Mountain, miles upon miles away from Arendelle. At first, she's still dreadfully downhearted by all that's just happened. The loss of her sister, the abandoning of her kingdom, the pain of her past consuming her. However, oblivious to the storm she caused, she starts to embrace her powers now that she is alone, letting them roam free and finally unleashing the beauty aspect that Pabbie told her about years ago, and in turn, this makes the new queen happier than she's ever been in years. Now that she's living without fear of harming those she cares about, Elsa has ultimate control over her abilities and creates herself an ice palace and a stunning gown out of her magic, establishing herself as the Snow Queen and officially abandoning her place as queen of Arendelle, declaring she's never returning to her kingdom now that she's finally happy and completely free to be who she is.
During her spectacle, Elsa also recreates Olaf, the snowman she built with Anna as a child, but unknowingly imbues him with life. And with his new enchantment, Olaf heads off into the world, eventually stumbling upon Anna and leading her to Elsa's castle sometime afterwards.
Elsa and Anna/The creation of MarshmallowFrom that day forth, Elsa lives peacefully in solitude, until one day when Anna enters her castle. While Elsa becomes slightly elated that Anna had come to visit her, she is still hesitant to return to Arendelle, as well as rekindle her bond with Anna, still fearful of harming her. Elsa then advises Anna to return home where she's safe, wanting her to be happy in Arendelle, but Anna refuses to do so just as Olaf rushes in, reminding Elsa of the whimsical childhood the sisters shared. It was enough to bring a smile to the queen's face until the memory of nearly killing Anna haunts her again, prompting Elsa to turn away, bidding farewell to her sister. Anna accidentally increases the discomfort and stress upon mentioning the kingdom's in danger, Elsa being horrified to learn that she had placed a curse upon it. Overcome by fear and guilt, Elsa unleashes her powers by accident once again, but this time, she inadvertently hits Anna in her heart. As Olaf and Kristoff (Anna's companion who offered to help guide her through the mountains to find Elsa) run to try and aid Anna, Elsa demands for them to leave her, as Anna belongs in Arendelle and she, however, does not. While Anna still insists she come back with them, telling her she won't leave any other way, Elsa is forced to create a gruesome snow beast known as Marshmallow, who throws the trio out of the castle.
Afterwards, Marshmallow becomes Elsa's official bodyguard, given that Elsa truly wants nothing more than to be alone, and disguises himself as snowy rocks outside of the castle to keep away any and all visitors who may harm her majesty in any way. Meanwhile, within the walls of the once beautiful ice castle, Elsa has shown to have, despite desperately trying to conceal her emotions, lost control over her powers once again, as the fear of endangering Arendelle has completely overcome her, causing ice shards to fill her castle, giving it a darker and fearful design, matching the monster Elsa fears she has become. Meanwhile, Anna becomes weak, with Kristoff correctly believing it's due to Elsa striking her. To find a cure, Kristoff leads Anna and their companions to the Valley of the Living Rocks, where Pabbie returns and informs them that unless Anna is able to perform an act of true love, Elsa's icy curse would eventually freeze her, killing her. To save herself, Anna and the others rush back to Arendelle to find and receive a kiss from Hans before it's too late, believing true love's kiss is the act that would break the spell.
Meanwhile, back in the mountains, Hans and a group of soldiers arrive to arrest Elsa after believing she had killed Anna. Marshmallow immediately leaps into action, and Elsa, upon hearing the commotion, flees inside and tries to hide. As Marshmallow defends against the attack, two soldiers sneak past him and enter, searching for Elsa in an attempt to kill her as per the Duke's orders. They soon corner her, and Elsa is fearful at first, but eventually, after becoming very provoked, uses her abilities against the two, willingly, and comes close to killing them, completely furious at the harm they've brought upon her and her home, as well as destroying her vow to keep her powers from harming others. Outside, Marshmallow continues to battle, but Hans brutally injures him and causes him to go plummeting into a chasm to his apparent death, leaving Elsa devoid of protection and allowing Hans and his henchmen access into the castle, where Elsa has gained the upper hand against the Duke's goons. Just as Elsa was about to murder the two, Hans appears and stops her, telling her not to prove she's the monster they believe she is. Elsa settles down a bit at Hans' words, realizing the demon she was becoming and halts her magic. However, one of the soldiers aims his arrow at Elsa, still following the Duke's orders, and just as he is about to shoot her, Hans intervenes, causing the arrow to cut through Elsa's chandelier which then plummets towards the ground. Elsa tries to escape the collision, but is knocked out in the process. Hans and the soldiers then capture her and head back to the kingdom.
Elsa soon awakens to find herself within the castle dungeon. Chained down in shackles, the snow queen finds herself trapped as she looks out the cell's only window, finally witnessing the disaster she's brought upon her former kingdom. Just then, Hans arrives to speak with her. Elsa asks for Anna's whereabouts, but Hans explains she hasn't returned, much to Elsa's concern. The prince then pleads for the queen to end the curse, telling her it'd make things better. However, she regretfully denies, telling Hans that she's unable to. With that, Hans takes his leave, just before Elsa begs for freedom, to which Hans claims he'll do what he can. Once he's gone, Elsa's powers suddenly get the better of her chains and are able to destroy the cell, allowing her to escape. Elsa flees the castle and heads back into the fjords to return home, but her fearful emotions cause a deadly blizzard to consume Arendelle, making her retreat that much more difficult, just as Hans learns of her escape. Needing to put an end to the winter, Hans heads out to kill Elsa, believing her death would not only free the kingdom, but earn him praise and admiration, selfishly wanting to rule the land as a beloved king.
The Deadly Blizzard
- “Your sister is dead! Because of you.”
- ―Hans to Elsa
The Great Thaw
Elsa is overwhelmingly joyous at the turn of events, shocked by the fact that Anna risked her life to save her. Anna responds by telling Elsa she loves her, and Olaf explains the act of true love was Anna's sacrifice, and that's what thawed her heart. These words from the snowman give Elsa the realization that the curse can be lifted, and that love is the key to doing so. Realizing that love enables her to control her powers, Elsa is able to use this and focuses herself, removing the icy curse from Arendelle and bringing summer back to the kingdom. With peace restored, Elsa rekindles her bond with Anna and is praised by her people for freeing them from the curse, having learned she's far from a monster.
Elsa then resumes her position as queen, uses her abilities to give Olaf an ice cloud to prevent him from melting, cuts off trade with Weselton, deports Hans, the Duke and his men for their attempted assassinations, names Kristoff the Official Arendelle Ice Master and Deliverer, and creates a rink in the castle courtyard for the people of Arendelle to enjoy. Elsa declares they'll never close the castle gates again now that she's finally accepted and makes a pair of ice skates for Anna, the two sisters then joining the celebration of harmony, having the fun they used to share together at long last.
Relationship with other characters
Although she had little interaction with Kristoff (including after she struck Anna in the heart with her powers, and at the ending), it is enough to show that although she is scared and wary to see him at first, as she is with pretty much everyone, she soon comes to accept him after knowing what he did for her sister. When Kristoff attempted to confront Hans for trying to kill the two sisters, Elsa seems touched by Kristoff's protectiveness over her and Anna. She even gives him the title "Official Arendelle Ice Master and Deliverer," so he can be with Anna.
Although Elsa had little interaction with either Kristoff or Sven in the film, she soon comes to accept them both after knowing what they did for her sister. She even gives Kristoff the title "Official Arendelle Ice Master and Deliverer" as a reward and Sven is appointed royalty by Elsa. They are then welcomed into the castle along with Olaf.
After he was finished healing Anna, Pabbie told Elsa about how her powers would only grow and that even though they were beautiful, they were also very dangerous and so she had to learn to control them. Unfortunately, Pabbie was rather vague when he stated that fear would be Elsa's greatest enemy; her parents interpreted this as others' fearing Elsa and so they sought to hide her powers by keeping her isolated from the world as a way of keeping her safe from the cruelty of the outside world. Unfortunately, in doing this, a rift was created in Elsa and Anna's relationship, one that would not heal for many years.
Initially, it was Hans' plan to marry the soon-to-be queen of Arendelle so he could rule the kingdom with her by his side. However, he gave up on the idea when he got word of her dislike of being near people. It was unknown to him that she was doing this to keep her subjects safe from her unstable winter magic. He did not learn of her abilities until she and Anna got into an argument about Anna and Hans' engagement. The instability of her emotions caused her to inadvertently reveal her powers to everyone at the ball. From then on, as each event unfolded, he had to constantly change his plan to become King of Arendelle. From making the Queen seem like a monster in the eyes of the public then killing her to end her accidental winter curse and become a hero of the people. His pursuit of the crown would be complete without having to marry Anna. This also required getting into Queen Elsa's good graces by stopping her from killing the Duke of Weselton's thugs after they provoked her into an angered state and appearing to show mercy towards her, when it was ultimately to get her to let her guard down for a chance to kill her with the chandelier, then again after he lied to her about Anna already being killed by her accidental curse when chasing her out to the frozen fjords. However, Elsa was saved from his treachery by Anna and the plot for usurpation was foiled.
The Duke of Weselton
Initially the Duke of Weselton was polite to Elsa even offering her a dance at the coronation, but this was all to exploit Arendelle's riches in trade. When her powers are revealed to everyone, he is the first to call her a monster and continued to believe so, even though Anna and Hans tried to reassure him that she was not and was just scared. When Hans goes off to find Anna, the Duke volunteers his henchmen and tells them that if they encounter Queen Elsa, they are to kill her, which they failed to do so. When Hans told him and the other Dignitaries (as one of his lies) that Anna had died from Elsa's magic, the Duke showed some sadness over Anna's alleged death and was the first to say that there was no doubt that Elsa was a monster and that they were all in danger. At the end of the film, Elsa cuts off all ties with Arendelle and Weselton due to the Duke's persecution of her.
Travis Bean of Cedar Falls Times suggested that Elsa's ice powers, a "personal oddity" that made her self-conscious, as well as her selflessness in withdrawing into isolation in order to avoid hurting others allowed children to connect more with the plot of Frozen. Laurie Levy from Chicago Now wrote that her young grandchildren "admired Elsa for being smart, strong, magical, and powerful" and did not care that she had no romantic subplot. Magdalena Lachowicz, a film critic for The Heights, opinionated that Elsa's relationship with Anna was the most important part of the movie, and Stephen Holden of The New York Times liked that, in departure from traditional Disney formula, it was a sibling's love rather than romantic love that was able to "thaw the icy heart of the frightened Elsa". Tony Hicks of San Jose Mercury News wrote, "[Anna's] confusion and Elsa's anguish as she shuts herself away from the world — and her sister — is palatable. Emma Koonse of Christian Post opined that together the sisters were Disney's "most lovable and charismatic characters yet", and Debbie Lynn Elias of Culver City Observer commented, "Elsa and Anna are like two sides of a coin, both strong, albeit one through power and confidence and the other through clumsy sticktuitiveness and love." The character of Elsa was widely praised by reviewers for her multifaceted, evolving personality. Matt Goldberg of Collider.com commented that she was "an incredibly sympathetic character" while Deepanjana Pal of First Post (India) praised the decision to rewrite her as a protagonist and said, "Elsa is no evil, frosty vision of twisted and toxic maternity like the original Snow Queen. She's a young woman in difficult circumstances, frightened, trying to understand her abilities and burdened by expectation and convention. It's easy to sympathise with her and marvel at her ability when she builds her spectacular palace in the mountains. Next to her, Anna is very much a child who needs to grow up and she does in the course of the film. Stuff.co.nz's James Croot compared her "humiliation and exile" to that of Simba in The Lion King. Katherine Webb, a reviewer for Wall St. Cheat Sheet, said that the scenes depicting Elsa gaining confidence and individuality delivered "an exciting message to send to young girls looking for a new princess role model".
Several reviewers commented that Elsa was more interesting than Anna, Frozen's primary protagonist. ABS-CBN writer Fred Hawson described Elsa as "an incredible character with a unique and interesting predicament because of the powers she possessed" and expressed the opinion thatFrozen should have focused more on her rather than Anna. Samra Muslim of The Express Tribune wrote that it was her presence that kept viewers "hooked" throughout the movie, elaborating, "Her character is complex and sympathetic and deserved to be explored even further. Instead the story revolves more around the relationship of the two sisters and Anna who is the typical, feisty, charming Disney heroine and her love trysts — instead of the alluring Elsa.
The character was not void of criticism. Charlotte O'Sullivan from the London Evening Standard gave a more negative assessment of Elsa, saying that she "resembles one of those brittle mentors on The X Factor. Purple eyeshadow, tiny waist, kitten heels". Anna Smith of The Guardian disliked that both Elsa and Anna were drawn with slender figures and large eyes which is typical of Disney princesses. Slate's Dana Stevens wrote that "it's impossible not to thrill to Elsa's surging sense of power" but criticized the choice to illustrate her growing confidence by changing her appearance; Stevens further expressed concern that the switch from the character's modest coronation gown to "a slinky, slit-to-the-thigh dress with a transparent snowflake-patterned train and a pair of silver-white high heels" and a hairstyle that suggested "come-hither bad-girl seduction" was overly sexual.
"Let it Go"
Idina Menzel also received praise for her singing, with Amon Warmann of Cine Vue saying her voice "positively soars in these musical ballads". Reviewers frequently focused on her performance of "Let It Go", described by Entertainment Weekly's Marc Snetiker as "an incredible anthem of liberation" in which Elsa decides to no longer fear her powers. Various critics said that Menzel had been a "powerhouse" during the scene; Linda Barnard from The Star commented that Menzel "can shatter icicles with her powerful voice".
Matt DeTruck of The Rochester City Newspaper wrote, "Menzel should be credited for providing as much power and passion to this performance as she did in her most famous role. Donald Clark of Irish Times added, "Elsa's flight to the glaciers triggers a song that, in its defiant paean to self-reliance, could play comfortably beside camp showtune anthems such as I Am What I Am and Don't Rain on My Parade. The opening and closing choruses of Let It Go end with a sly, spat-out refrain: 'The cold never bothered me anyway!' You go, girl. Nasim Asl of The Oxford Student continued, "Menzel, especially, steals the show with her performance of 'Let It Go'. Her Wicked-esque belting out works perfectly with such an incredible animated sequence – the building of the ice castle really demonstrates the prowess of Disney animation, and results in, arguably, one of the most spectacular power ballads seen by any animated character, ever."
- Elsa's name (a variant of Elizabeth) is Germanic for "noble".
- By the time of the coronation, Elsa is 21 years old, according Jennifer Lee, which is also the age of Kristoff.
- When Elsa joined the Disney Princess line-up, she not only replaced Cinderella (19) as the oldest Disney Princess, but she also became the only Disney Princess to not be a teenager.
- Contrary to how most adaptations portray her, this version of the Snow Queen is not a villain, since the Snow Queen in the original fairy tale was not intended to be evil. Because of this, the real villain of the film is Hans.
- Elsa may have been based on Kai, from the original "Snow Queen" fairy tale, who after ends up being kidnapped by the title Queen after he is unexpectedly stabbed by one of the broken shards of a magic mirror created by an evil troll which he was supposed to use to corrupt people, therefore prompting Gerda to try and rescue him, combined with the Snow Queen herself. In some adaptations, Kai and Gerda are actually siblings.
- At one point, Elsa was going to be the main character, where she is the cold-hearted queen of her own kingdom who despised anyone around her, freezing anyone who crosses her path, and just wanted to be alone until she was softened by a kind-hearted man.
- Elsa's design is much similar to Rapunzel's design in Tangled.
- Elsa and Anna are the third and fourth Disney princesses to be orphaned, after Snow White and Cinderella.
- Elsa is the fourth official Disney princess to be a queen and stay in the lineup.
- Elsa is mostly seen wearing blue, which represents her powers over snow and ice and her sorrow when she is isolated.
- Elsa appears to be the ultimate inversion of the evil queen stereotype. While she shows some antagonistic traits and behavior, such as the ability to produce dangerous magic spells, having an unusually voluptuous design, and having her song "Let it Go" sound like a typical villain song despite her not singing about anything with malicious intent, she is actually good-hearted but misunderstood, and such behavior was most likely out of self-defense, and has not malicious intentions whatsoever. In fact, the only negative traits applied to her is fear and isolation, which in comparison to most traits of the stereotype, are the least malicious. She is even going to be the 13th Disney Princess, which is appropriate since 13 is often considered unlucky, (this also includes how many years she has isolated herself from the public and Anna), and the film was released in 2013.
- Elsa bears some similarities to Merida.
- Both feel bad for their actions they made (Merida in turning her mother into a bear and Elsa in trapping Arendelle in an eternal winter).
- Neither had a boyfriend or husband at the end of their films.
- Both know how to defend themselves if attacked.
- Both have younger biological siblings (Merida with her triplet brothers and Elsa with Anna).
- Both spent much of their time in their castles (though Elsa did so by choice to keep her powers hidden).
- Both wore capes.
- Elsa may also be similar to Wreck-It Ralph as the two are both misunderstood "villains" who were cast out by their own kind causing them to abandon their roles, and a sibling figure to go and bring them back (Felix to Ralph, Anna to Elsa), to prevent a bigger catastrophe from threatening their home, and even feeling bad for it upon returning for the first time.
- Interestingly enough, Frozen writer, Jennifer Lee once made a tweet jokingly, suggesting that Elsa and Wreck-It Ralph would make a good couple during the 2013 D23 Expo.
- Elsa is also similar to Vanellope, since they have been cast out from their kingdoms and made a temporary home in the mountains. Their unique ability is the reason why they were initially shunned, and both longed to lose this ability in Vanellope's case, and to control it in Elsa's case. Finally, the villains both attempted to kill them.
- Elsa also bears some resemblance to Rosalina from the video game Super Mario Galaxy, and later games that featured her as well, such as Super Mario 3D Land, which was released the same day Frozen was released in a single theater. Rosalina bears similarities to Elsa in design; platinum blonde hair, blue eyes, an off-the-shoulder, light blue gown and pale skin.
- Frozen creators say that Elsa has 420,000 strands of hair, incredibly dense and thick.
- She has the face of her mother.
- Elsa's dress is her coronation outfit laced with crystallized snowflakes and frost.
- Elsa is the fourth Disney Princess to possess magical abilities, the first being Ariel, the second being Pocahontas and the third being Rapunzel. However Ariel and Pocahontas seem to use their magic unknowingly while both Rapunzel and Elsa have control over their magic.
- Also like Rapunzel, both were locked away because of their magic powers. Although Rapunzel was taken by her main antagonist and locked away for Gothel's own purposes, while Elsa locked away herself for her sister's and the kingdom's safety. It should also be noted that the two have power over elemental opposites; Rapunzel representing summer and warmth, Elsa representing winter and cold.
- In the Disney universe, Elsa and Anna artistically and thematically coincide with an aspect of nature, as did Rapunzel: Elsa (the cold moon) which stands alone and half in darkness, and Anna (the warm sun) which spreads over everyone (hence her optimism and positive outlook, enabling her to make friends easily). This can also be noted, for in the beginning of the film, Anna explains how the sky is awake when there was a bright moon, therefore she is. Even though the two are different, they complete each other, hence the film's ending of sisterly love saving the day instead of romantic love.
- Also like Rapunzel, both were locked away because of their magic powers. Although Rapunzel was taken by her main antagonist and locked away for Gothel's own purposes, while Elsa locked away herself for her sister's and the kingdom's safety. It should also be noted that the two have power over elemental opposites; Rapunzel representing summer and warmth, Elsa representing winter and cold.
- Elsa is the second deuteragonist in 22 years to join the franchise, the first being Jasmine.
- Elsa is the third official Disney Princess to become a Queen, the first being Ariel, the second being Belle.
- Elsa is the second princess created by Disney to ever inherit her parents' throne and become a (ruling) queen, since she lost both of her parents over the course of the film (hers and Anna's parents are both killed in an accident at sea). Snow White, Aurora, Jasmine and Rapunzel would inherit the throne, as they are the only children of their parents and thus the only heirs. These four Princesses would then become active rulers of their homelands. Additionally, since Snow White's family is dead, she does inherit her father's kingdom despite the fact there is no coronation. The other Disney Princesses are likely to become queen consort (Cinderella, and Ariel) or are not in line for any throne at all (Belle's Prince Adam seemed not to be in charge of anything but his castle, Pocahontas' father was chosen, Mulan had no royal ties at all and it seems unlikely Naveen would be King of Maldonia considering he happily settled down in New Orleans). Also, Merida after being given the choice of either marrying Young MacGuffin, Young MacIntosh and/or Wee Dingwall (originally she ended up with the first above) eventually decided that she didn't want to marry any of them since she realized that she doesn't need a husband anyway. Anna, of course, is unlikely to become a queen as mentioned above.
- A queen consort (also empress consort), by contrast, is the wife of a reigning king (or emperor). A queen consort usually shares her husband’s rank and holds the feminine equivalent of the king’s monarchical titles. Historically, queens consort do not share the king regnant’s political and military powers unless he or a law grants them to her. A queen regnant is a queen in her own right with all the powers of a monarch, usually becoming queen by inheriting the throne on the death of the previous monarch (i.e. Elsa and Anna's parents); they have been far fewer in number than queens consort.
- Ironically, her and Anna's film was released during an unusually cold winter, causing fans to joke about Elsa causing that winter.
- Because of her abilities, Elsa is considerably one of the most powerful Disney characters; arguably equal in power to Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty.
- In the trailer, Elsa's outlook seemed rather destructive and villainous.
- The Frozen creators had many versions of Frozen, including when there was such a thing of a "prophecy" as the trolls foretold, mention in the deleted song "Life's Too Short" and "Spring Pageant", Elsa was suspected to be the prophecy. Putting the prophecy aside, the Frozen creators also had trouble deciding which hair would suit her. The first hairstyle they wanted to try out was a Periwinkle-based hairstyle, besides the fact that Elsa's hair would be a dark color unlike her current hair color, Elsa and Periwinkle would bear a resemblance. However, this did not make the final cut and the Frozen creators started from scratch and in the end, Elsa's hair was a messy side braid.
- Elsa had leaked early art back in the 1900's when the producers were planning to name it "The Snow Queen" with her the main character, however when the producers finally got a confirmation of the making of the movie back in 2011, the crew started off "Evil Elsa" who had a cranky, sassy attitude, and her outfit wasn't primarily blue crystallized ice but faux fur and regal swirls. Still, they were certain that Elsa was meant to play out to be evil until the song producers introduced "Let It Go".
- (as a child) "Ready?"
- "Watch this!"
- "Hi, I'm Olaf! And I love warm hugs!
- "You're okay, Anna. I got you."
- "...don't feel it, don't let it show."
- "Go away Anna."
- "I'm scared... It's getting stronger!"
- "You look beautiful."
- "Thank you, only I don't dance...But my sister does."
- "You can't marry a man you just met."
- "Anna, what do you know about true love?"
- "You asked for my blessing, but my answer is no. Now, excuse me."
- "No, you may not, and I think you should leave."
- "The party's over, close the gates."
- "Give me my glove!"
- "Then leave."
- "Enough, Anna."
- "Please, just stay away from me! Stay away!"
- "I never knew what I was capable of."
- "You don't have to apologize."
- "I'm just trying to protect you."
- "No, Anna, I belong here. Alone. Where I can be who I am, without hurting anybody."
- "No I can't, I... I don't know how!"
- "How?! What power do you have to stop this winter? To stop me?!"
- "Don't feel, don't feel... don't feel!"
- "Get it together... Control it!"
- "But I'm a danger to Arendelle. Get Anna!"
- "Don't you see? I can't."
- "You sacrificed yourself for me?"
- "Love will thaw. Love... Of course! Love."
- "Oh Olaf, hang on little guy."
- "Are you ready?"
- "We are never closing them again."
| To view the Elsa gallery, click here.