- “Hi everyone. I'm Olaf. And I like warm hugs!”
Official Disney Bio
- He's Olaf and he likes warm hugs. Sprung from Elsa's magical powers, Olaf is by far the friendliest snowman to walk the mountains above Arendelle. His innocence, outgoing personality and uncanny ability to disassemble himself at good and not-so-good times lead to some awkward, albeit laughable moments. He may also have the world's most impossible dream, but what he doesn't know won't melt him—or will it?
In very early versions of the movie, Olaf was supposed to be one of the first guards of Elsa's castle. Chris Buck compared that version of the character to a trial run or someone's first pancake where the cook throws out the pancake when the cook finds out that it is burnt on the bottom.
In order to keep him from getting too complex, Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee wanted Olaf to have a childlike innocence. For example, when a child makes a snowman for the first time where the heads are never perfect and the body is disproportionate. That was the idea for the directors when they were thinking what kids would think of a snowman.
Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf, did plenty of improvisation during the course of the recording sessions. But the directors were very careful not to have him in too many of them or risk him taking over the story. He is there to interject levity to the scenes. But they also gave him proper screen time. One of his major scenes will be when he sings his musical number "In Summer".
Olaf had to earn his place in the film. Jennifer Lee says that he couldn't just be thrown in; he had to have a purpose, and one of his purposes is that he is the embodiment of the love between Elsa and Anna.
Olaf looks like the typical snowman - his small body is divided into three balls of snow, and two small snowballs as feet. Three black rocks are on his body; one on his midsection and two on the bottom snowball. Also like a snowman, he has two sticks as arms. Unlike a snowman, he has four small branches branching out from his two stick arms. On his head, he has three twigs that resembles hair.
This is where the similarity between the typical snowman and Olaf ends. His head is about one-third of his body, and his head is stretched out. The snow inside his mouth resembles a buck tooth. He has a carrot nose, given to him by Anna, between his two cartoony eyes. When he was inanimate, his eyes were rocks. He has eyebrows above each eye.
Olaf's body is special. The three snowballs that make up his body can be disassembled easily, with no harm done at all. He also cannot feel pain, as in one scene of the movie, he walks right through an ice spike. He looks down, laughs, and says, "Oh look at that. I've been impaled."
Because Olaf was built during Elsa and Anna's childhood, he retains the childlike personalities of the two sisters. He is extremely lovable and innocent, which plays into his humor. He also laughs and giggles often. Though he is childish and sometimes oblivious, he is completely loyal to his friends. He has an unusual fascination of summer, probably because when Elsa first created him, she created him as a snowman who loves warm hugs. He often fantasizes what it'll be like in summer for him, oblivious to the fact that he will melt in the summer heat, as shown in his song sequence, "In Summer."
Though Olaf can be childish and playful most of the time, he has intelligence too, which is seen while he and Anna are in the library. After lighting a fire to keep the princess warm, whose heart is frozen, he teaches her what true love is - putting someone else's needs before your own. He uses Kristoff as a perfect example, and Anna finally learns the true meaning of love. Later on, after Anna sacrifices herself for Elsa, thus breaking the icy curse, Olaf is the first to realize that an act of true love, whether it be a romantic love or a sisterly love, will save the kingdom from the eternal winter. Anna's sacrifice is the perfect demonstration of an act of true love.
Another example of Olaf's intelligence is when he and Anna met the trolls for the first time. At first, the two thought that the trolls were rocks, and Olaf uses himself as a distraction, telling Anna to run because he loves her. This shows that he cares deeply for the safety of his friends.
Olaf and Sven are the main characters in the teaser trailer of Frozen. The trailer begins with Olaf walking through the snowy landscape, and he stops to sniff a Saffron Crocus flower. When he sniffs the flower, he sneezes his carrot nose onto the center the frozen lake beside him. Sven, who is on the other side of the lake, spots the carrot and runs toward the carrot. At first, Olaf is alarmed that Sven will get to his carrot nose first and devour it, but he is relived when Sven slips on the ice several times, which slows him down. However, he soon discovers that he will have a hard time crossing the frozen lake as well.A race for the carrot ensues. Both characters humorously try to get to the carrot first. Olaf rearranges his body parts several times, even using himself as a catapult to fling his head and arm out. Sven tries to gallop on the ice, but slips awkwardly every time.
When Sven and Olaf finally reach the carrot, they play a small game of tug of war with the carrot when Sven loses his grip on the carrot. A surprised Olaf accidentally flings the carrot behind him on the lake's bank. Sven gets up and easily gallops to the edge of the lake, with Olaf hanging desperately onto the reindeer's tail. However, instead of eating the carrot like Olaf expected Sven to do, Sven puts the carrot back on Olaf's face. Olaf praises Sven and pats his head, but sneezes when Sven sheds. This time, he prepares himself by holding onto his nose, but instead of sneezing his nose off, he sneezes his head off.
- “Do you wanna build a snowman...?”
- ―Anna to Elsa
After being recreated by Elsa, Olaf wanders around the snowy mountains alone and lost, talking to himself. When Olaf met Anna, Kristoff, and Sven, a reindeer, he asked for their opinion on the color yellow and snow. At the sight of Olaf, an alive and talking snowman, Anna panics and kicks his head off and tossed it between herself and Kristoff. Olaf eventually gets his head back, but it was upside down. After Anna fixes Olaf's head, she pushes a carrot into Olaf's face for a nose, accidentally pushing it too far. Then, Olaf admires the short stub of his nose, claiming it as "a little baby unicorn," before Anna pushes it back to its proper length. Anna introduces herself and Kristoff and Sven (Olaf mistakes both of their names for being the same name, "Sven"), and after Olaf introduces himself, Anna recognizes him as the snowman Elsa built when they were children. Anna asks Olaf if Elsa built him, and he confirms it. Kristoff tells Olaf of the plan to bring back summer, which is why they need to find Elsa. At the mention of summer, Olaf dreams about being in the season, comically oblivious to the fact that he'll melt in summer. Kristoff tries to tell Olaf the truth about him and summer, but Anna stops him from doing so. After his song sequence, "In Summer" is sung, Olaf happily guides them to the North Mountain, where Elsa's Ice Palace is.
Return to Elsa
After a short journey, Olaf and the others find Elsa's ice castle. Anna decides to enter the castle alone, but Olaf takes her advice to wait for a minute to count until a minute had passed, at which he excitedly rushes into the castle, overjoyed to see Elsa again. His presence proves there's love and beauty in her powers, and reminds her of the joyful moments she spent with Anna. However, their childhood memories also remind Elsa of the haunting night she nearly killed her sister, prompting her to leave the scene, asking Anna to leave once again. Anna refuses to leave without her sister, but the stubbornness only makes Elsa uncomfortable, causing her to lose control over her powers once again and accidentally freezes Anna's heart. She then orders them to leave once more, and once again, Anna refuses.
In order to keep them away, Elsa creates a personal bodyguard named Marshmallow, a giant snowman. Olaf is thrilled to see another enchanted snowman, but is immediately kicked out along with Anna and Kristoff. The harming of Olaf angers Anna, and the princess fiercely (or as fierce as she can seem) throws a snowball at the snow beast, provoking him and leading to a chase. Olaf tells the gang to move ahead as he'll distract him, but with his body dismembered, that immediately proves to be difficult. Anna and Kristoff reach the cliff of a mountain and begin making a snow anchor to lower themselves down safely. Olaf meets up with them seconds before Marshmallow, and tries his luck again in taming the monster, but to no avail. Marshmallow continues his pursuit for Anna and Kristoff, but Olaf tries to battle him, leading the smaller snowman to be kicked over the cliff edge, leaving Anna and Kristoff to be captured by Marshmallow, only to escape due to Anna's quick thinking, causing them both to plummet down alongside Olaf, though they all survive.
Once they recover their energy, Kristoff notices Anna's hair turning white, rather alarmingly. To help, he takes the gang to a valley filled with mystical trolls. Along the way there, Olaf and Sven bond, forming a friendship, as does Kristoff and Anna, though in a romantic light. Upon arriving in the valley, Anna and Olaf only see what seem to be inanimate rocks. Judging Kristoff to be insane, Olaf urges Anna to run while he distracts him by pretending to acknowledge one of the rocks, just before the trolls awaken and welcome back Kristoff. Kristoff's adoptive mother, Bulda, believes Anna and Kristoff are a couple and the trolls gather to begin forming a wedding for the two, not realizing Anna's in danger. During it all, the two actually begin harboring affection towards one another, though Kristoff won't admit it in the least, and while that may be, Olaf and Sven are aware of the matter. However, before the wedding is complete, Anna nearly faints due to the powerful curse, and the king of the trolls, Pabbie, arrives upon sensing the magic, informing Anna that if she doesn't perform an act of true love, she'll freeze to death. The friends immediately rush back to Arendelle, believing a kiss from Hans, a prince Anna's engaged to, will break the curse.
Some People Are Worth Melting For
- “Some people are worth melting for.”
- ―Olaf to Anna.
Along the way, Olaf is accidentally separated from the group, and informs them that he'll meet with them at the castle. When he arrives, he finds Anna in the library, on the ground and quickly dying. She tells him Hans betrayed her, and Olaf doesn't hesitate to start a fire to keep the princess warm. Fearing he'll melt, Anna tells Olaf to leave, but not wanting to abandon his friend, the snowman stays by her side, nearly melting during this time. Olaf then asks what happened with the true love's kiss from Hans, to which Anna reveals his treachery, telling Olaf she doesn't even know what love is anymore. Olaf replies by telling Anna love is putting someone else's needs before your own, using Kristoff as an example, thus revealing his true feelings to Anna, much to the princess' surprise. Suddenly, the library's window bursts open due to the strong winter winds, and Olaf rushes to close it. Before he does, he notices Kristoff and Sven rushing back to the castle. Knowing Kristoff is truly the one that loves Anna, the two try to head out to meet him. Olaf then aids the dying princess out of the castle and into the fjords.
However, the powerful storm blows Olaf away, and once he reunites with everyone, he finds Elsa mourning for Anna, who unfortunately froze to death sacrificing her life to save Elsa from Hans. But then, Anna is miraculously restored to life, and Olaf exclaims that her sacrifice was an act of true love. His words help Elsa realize that love is the key to controlling her power as she thaws Arendelle, bringing back summer. Overjoyed, Olaf smiles with glee, but quickly melts due to the summer heat. Elsa restores him and gives him a small little cloud to hover over his body and keep him completely cool (which Olaf calls, "my own personal flurry!"), finally allowing the snowman to live his dream of experiencing summer and all its wonders. During the kingdom celebration, Olaf is seen throughout the village enjoying the sights and sounds of the warm season, taking a whiff of some flowers. The pollen causes him to sneeze, however, and his carrot nose lands directly into Sven's mouth. The reindeer doesn't hesitate to suck it up, saddening the snowman. However, this was only a playful trick, and Sven immediately places the carrot back onto Olaf's face, where it belongs, prompting the overjoyed snowman to hug his friend affectionately. Olaf is last seen in the castle courtyard, enjoying the newly made ice skating rink created by Elsa for the kingdom's enjoyment.
Relationships with Other Characters
Olaf was based on a snowman Anna and Elsa created when they were young and Elsa appears to have created him as a reminder of her happy childhood memories. When Anna first meets Olaf, she is initially creeped out by the talking snowman but then quickly realizes he is the same Olaf from her childhood when he introduces his name and becomes good friends with him. This is shown as she supports Olaf's dreams of summer and insists Kristoff not ruin it for him and when she was angered when Marshmallow threw him and was willing to confront Marshmallow over the matter.
Olaf returned her friendship as he tried to stall Marshmallow so Anna and Kristoff could escape and again demonstrated when he told Anna to run from Kristoff when he brought them to his family of "rocks" (who were actually the trolls disguised as rocks) and he thought Kristoff was crazy, telling Anna "I love you Anna, so I insist you run! I'll distract them!" He was even willing to melt to death in order to create a fire to warm up Anna to slow the freezing curse placed on her by Elsa, while comforting her over Hans' betrayal. He also was the one to teach Anna what love was after she felt disillusioned due to Hans' treachery and was the one to inform everyone how it was Anna's act of true love that saved her from dying.
Elsa created Olaf when she and Anna were children and later, when she had exiled herself from Arendelle. Despite the fact their relations aren't explored thoroughly, Olaf seems to care for her deeply.
When Elsa first saw Olaf alive, she was surprised, but smiled when she saw how much he represented the fun that she and Anna once had. When Olaf started to melt, due to the return of summer, Elsa saved his life by rebuilding him and giving him his own flurry to keep him cool. In the end, he enjoys summer and helps Anna to skate with Elsa, showing that he loves both the sisters.
Kristoff and Olaf have somewhat of a good friendship and are friendly towards each other. At first, Kristoff calls him creepy and is confused by the fact that Olaf (being a living, breathing frozen substance) would dream about summer and being in heat itself. He wants to break the ice and tell the happy snowman that his dream might not be all what he thinks it's cracked up to be, but Anna stops him by smacking him in the arm and scolding him. Kristoff still believes somebody has to tell Olaf the truth about his dream eventually, but doesn't try to proceed to do it himself.
Olaf immediately grew to like Sven, calling him cute and constantly snuggling his muzzle. Sven kept trying to take a bite out of Olaf's nose, though Olaf thought he was merely playing and continued to act friendly towards him. At the end of the film, Sven succeeded, but immediately returned it, revealing he was merely teasing, and accepted Olaf's friendship. Their friendship is easily explained by their common traits, being their whimsically childish natures. In spin-off material of the film, Olaf and Sven are featured as a duo, appearing, more often than not, side by side as best friends, sometimes finding themselves in comical mishaps.
- In the movie, Olaf's elbows were animated to never move, except in his dream scene "In Summer".
- Olaf represents the happiness Elsa and Anna shared as young children and his desire to experience summer is symbolic of how Elsa wants to return to the old days of her childhood with her sister as her best friend.
- Olaf is similar to Stitch (in Lilo and Stitch) as he is a non-human sidekick who is trying to rekindle the friendship of two sisters who've been orphaned by their parents being killed in a vehicle-related accident.
- Olaf smiles a lot when Anna talks about when she and Elsa were kids. It is possible that he subconsciously remembers the sisters' childhood.
- "Hi! I'm Olaf and I like warm hugs!"
- "Oh, look at that—I've been impaled."
- "Knock. Just knock. Why isn't she knocking? Do you think she knows how to knock?"
- "Um, I think so?"
- "I can't feel my legs, I CAN'T FEEL MY LEGS!"
- "That's okay. I do. Love is... putting someone else’s needs before yours. Like, you know, how Kristoff brought you back here to Hans and left you forever."
- "Some people are worth melting for."
- "It's so cute! It's Like a little baby Unicorn!
- "And who's the funky looking donkey over there?"
- "Let's go bring back SUMMER!!"
- "Let's go kiss Hans! Who is this Hans?"
- "Hang in there, guys!"
- "Look Sven, The sky's awake!"
- "Look at him, trying to kiss me. I like you, too!!"
- "He's crazy!"
- "Man, I'm out of shape...."
- "Because I love you Anna, I insist you run."
- "Oh, I don't know why, but I've always loved the idea of summer and sun and all things hot."
- "Winter's a good time to stay in and cuddle, but put me in summer and I'll be a... HAPPY SNOWMAN!"
- "My own personal flurry!"
- "Kristoff's home! Wait...Kristoff?"
| To view the Olaf gallery, click here.