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Love is putting someone else's needs before yours.
Change mocks us with her beauty.
~ Olaf in Frozen II.
Olaf is the overall tritagonist of the Frozen franchise. He is a major character in Frozen, one of the two tritagonists (alongside Kristoff) of its first short video Frozen Fever, the titular main protagonist of its second short video Olaf's Frozen Adventure, and one of the two tetartagonists (alongside Sven) of its sequel Frozen 2. He is a wisecracking and benevolent snowman who guides Anna and Kristoff on their quest and an outcast from Queen Elsa's kingdom. His dream is to experience summer, which he eventually gets with the help of Elsa's magic.
He is voiced by Josh Gad, who also played Louis in Ice Age: Continental Drift, Ludlow Lamonsoff in Pixels: The Movie, and Chuck in The Angry Birds Movie.
Olaf is an excessively benevolent snowman—optimistic, outgoing, and welcoming to all of whom he meets. The living embodiment of the bond between Anna and Elsa, and the memories of their youth, Olaf retains the childlike whimsy that surrounded the girls during their earliest days together, prior to their enforced separation. As such, he is childlike, far from a deep intellectual, innocent, and a hint too naive for his own good at times. Nevertheless, his imbued nature and devotion to the two sisters play an instrumental role in rekindling their broken relationship. The circumstances of his creation also result in the snowman harboring aspects and traits both sisters give off. Like Elsa, Olaf is selfless, constantly putting his safety at risk for the sake of those he cares about; most notably Anna, whom he immediately attaches himself to, upon their first meeting. Like the younger sister, Olaf is an extreme optimist, often remaining relatively calm in perilous situations, or giving words of encouragement during the darkest hours.
He has an odd fascination for summer, possibly because young Elsa made him a snowman who loves warm hugs, and according to Olaf, he sometimes fantasizes about what summer would be like for a snowman, completely unaware of the consequences of his ambitious dream, making the poor snowman hapless.
Aside from his dominantly goofy side, Olaf is shown to have some intelligence to him, seen during his time with Anna in the third act. Here, it is he who teaches Anna the true meaning of love, stating it is the act of putting someone else's needs before your own. After the climax, when Anna sacrifices herself for Elsa, thus breaking the icy curse, Olaf was the first to realize Anna's sacrifice was an act of true love (as it did not have to be romantic), and that act is what saved the kingdom. He is also not as oblivious as he seems, as he was quite skeptical about the trolls at first, when he thought they were mere rocks, even, out of love, urging Anna to run, believing Kristoff was delusional and potentially dangerous.
Olaf is also prone to making considerably sassy remarks in several scenes; the most notable example arguably being his jab at Kristoff, calling the mountain man a "funky-looking donkey" upon their first meeting. It should be noted that, due to his innocence, Olaf likely makes such remarks without any realization of the slight impudence, meaning he's merely speaking his mind and giving a genuine thought.
When Anna and Elsa were children, Elsa would use her snow magic to play with Anna. A favorite pastime activity for the two sisters was building snowmen. On one such occasion, Elsa helped Anna build their own snowman they named Olaf to play with. Many years later, Elsa would exile herself from Arendelle after her magic was discovered and deemed dangerous. In the midst of embracing her abilities at her new ice castle home, Elsa recreates Olaf, but because of her magic, he is enchanted and given life. Olaf then wanders around the mountains alone and blissfully lost, until he bumps into Anna, Kristoff, and Sven the reindeer, who seek to bring Elsa back to Arendelle so that she can bring back summer after she accidentally caused an eternal winter. Anna soon recognizes Olaf and quickly assumes it was Elsa who built him, to which he confirms. Kristoff then tells Olaf of their mission to bring back summer after Olaf constantly asked what their intentions on finding Elsa were. Extremely giddy with the idea of summer and its warmth, Olaf decides to happily guide the group to Elsa's castle, though Anna refrains from telling him about the dangers of summer for a snowman, leaving Olaf comically in the dark.
After a short journey, Olaf and the others find Elsa's ice castle, but the Snow Queen isn't too thrilled about the idea of returning to Arendelle, telling Anna to leave and enjoy her life where she belongs. Just then, Olaf arrives, overjoyed to see Elsa again. His presence proves there's love and beauty in her powers, as well as 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 freeze 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. After Anna tries his patience, Marshmallow chases after the group. Olaf tries to stop him, but is easily no match for the beast and is thrown over a cliff, which Anna and Kristoff fall over, as well, 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. The king of the trolls, Pabbie, informs 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.
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 parlor, 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 before yourself, using Kristoff as an example, thus revealing his true feelings to Anna, much to the princess' surprise. Suddenly, the parlor'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. Fortunately, that was an act of true love, and the ice is thawed, restoring Anna's life, as well as saving the entire kingdom, 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, 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.