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Elsa the Snow Queen (simply known as Elsa before her coronation), is the queen of the kingdom of Arendelle and the older sister of Anna and one of the two main protagonists of Frozen franchise (along with her sister Anna). She is the deuteragonist of Disney's 53rd full-length animated feature film Frozen and the main protagonist of the sequel Frozen II.
She is voiced by Broadway veteran Idina Menzel, who is famous for playing Elphaba in the musical Wicked, based off The Wizard of Oz, Shelby Corcoran from Glee, Carmelita Fox from the Sly Cooper franchise, and the role of Maureen Johnson from the musical RENT. Eva Bella and Spencer L. Ganus voiced Elsa as a child.
In live-action, Elsa was portrayed by Georgina Haig in the television series Once Upon a Time.
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.
At a young age, Elsa realizes that she holds an ancient power over ice and snow which she keeps hidden from her family, even her sister, Anna. Elsa shares a close bond with her free-spirited younger sibling, however, this is shattered when the two fall out. During Elsa's royal coronation, her abilities over ice are exposed to the citizens of the kingdom, causing Elsa to accidentally place a frozen curse on it, trapping it in an eternal winter. This leaves everyone utterly shocked because of a prophecy that someone will leave the kingdom in an eternal winter. Because of this disaster, Elsa goes into self-imposed exile, hiding away in an Ice Palace conjured up through her power. To protect herself and her new home, Elsa creates a fierce snowman warrior.
Meanwhile, to save her kingdom, Anna journeys off to find Elsa to restore their bond and break the curse.
Elsa is a 21-year-old girl, as the Snow Queen, she has platinum-blonde hair and blue eyes, very pale skin with a light dusting of freckles (a trait she shares with her sister, Anna) and a tall slender figure. She wore a cape and dress similar to her sister's, but the dress was colored dak-turquoise with gold lacing and a black top with sleeves. Her hair was kept back in a bun. She also wore gloves all the time to contain her powers.
In her Snow Queen state, Elsa wears her hair in a side braid woven with ice incrustations. She wears a cyan, off-the-shoulder dress with slightly transparent sleeves. And underneath the sleeves of her dress is a transparent cape of sheer material draped down and covered with big snowflakes.
Powers and Abilities
Magic Cryokinesis: Elsa has a very powerful magical gift from birth, that of generating and controlling ice, cold and snow at will. With this power, Elsa is capable of many versatile applications: she has demonstrated both immense power (by creating a gigantic ice palace) and subtle use (by generating an ice path to walk on water or by creating many geometric shapes by combining her magic with her creative spirit). She has also demonstrated the ability to generate freezing rays from her hands or to create stalactites. As the years go by, Elsa's power grows immensely and she becomes more powerful when she gains her status as the fifth elemental spirit. One example is when venturing into Ahtohallan, Elsa was able to move pillars through the air with just simple hand gestures.
Atmokinesis: Elsa also has the ability to create terribly powerful storms over an entire country, as demonstrated in the song Let It Go and especially towards the end of the film.
Life-Giving: Elsa has demonstrated the ability to create life by magic, as she demonstrates with Olaf and Marshmallow.
Immunity: Elsa is immune to even the lowest temperature. However, she did temporarily freeze when venturing too far into Ahtohallan.
High Intelligence: Although implicit in the film, Elsa has demonstrated remarkable intelligence, especially with regard to art. Indeed, by creating her ice palace, she was able to generate many flakes with complex geometric shapes.
Leadership: Elsa has proven to be an excellent queen loved by her people. This capability extends to her tendency to want the good of Arendelle's good at all costs; even going so far as to exile herself.
Contrary to how most adaptations (particularly the 1995 and 2012 versions) portray her, this version of the Snow Queen is not a villain, since the Snow Queen in the original fairy tale, though still the main antagonist was not intended to be evil. Also, the fairy tale involved an evil troll (implied to represent Satan) building a mirror which he will use to turn everyone evil, only to accidentally smash it in the process, and one of the shards ending up hitting Kai. The Queen was based on a woman Hans Christian Andersen personally hated for being shrewd and distant.
Interestingly, Elsa was originally going to be the main antagonist in the early drafts of Frozen, which were more faithful to their original source material. However, Elsa was going to be even darker than the original Snow Queen to the point of freezing Queen Anna's heart purposely to take over Arendelle, as they weren't sisters in these drafts. She was also intended to be voiced by Megan Mullally before Idina Menzel got the role.
Elsa, and the Snow Queen from the 2005 anime of the same name are the only two incarnations of the character to be portrayed as heroic characters.
Elsa is also similar to 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 and becoming cold and resentful, therefore prompting Gerda to try and rescue him, combined with the Snow Queen herself. In some adaptations, Kai and Gerda are an interesting case in the Snow Queen's life and interests.
If that is the case, Elsa is the first Disney Heroine to be based on a female antagonist and a male protagonist from the source material, and the first false antagonist in the lineup.
As some elements of Elsa's character simultaneously inspired by both Ice Queen and Kai simultaneously, the moment where Elsa runaway after her powers accidentally exposed which followed by winter that enveloped Arendelle was a reference of when Snow Queen kidnapped Kai. In Ross's case, she actually kidnapped herself.
Elsa bears a striking resemblance to Rosalina when she assumes her Snow Queen Form.
Wreck-It Ralph and 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. As a nod to that, in Disney INFINITY, if Ralph and Elsa are introduced to one another, Ralph will tell Elsa that she is "really pretty", and Elsa will reply "And you have a warm heart."
In Ralph Breaks The Internet, Ralph actually gets to meet Elsa, as well as the other Disney Princesses, near the climax when Elsa and the other Princesses save Ralph from falling to his death after he defeats the Wreck-It Ralph virus, and he strikes up a friendship with all of the Princesses. Although Ralph and Elsa don't develop a romantic relationship in the film, it is possible that they will in either a possible future sequel or a possible future spin-off series.
In the Japanese dub from the movie, she is voiced by Takako Matsu.