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The story of Queen Elsa from the Frozen franchise.
A Saddened Past
At a young age, Elsa realized that she holds an ancient ability over 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. They often at night would make it snow in the royal ballroom.
However, one night while the two were playing in the ballroom, Anna fell down from 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, 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 that her power will only grow and there's not only beauty in it, but danger, and that she must learn to control them at all cost, or 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 and willingly spends the rest of her life distanced from other people, including Anna, trying to keep her powers from growing out of control and harming those she cares about. Even so, the persistent Anna tries time and time again to spend some quality time with her sister, but fails at every turn, leading her to eventually believe Elsa despises her.
The Death of the Royals
|“||Do you have to go?||„|
|~ Elsa's last words to her parents|
However, this was her last encounter with them, as the parents die when a massive wave capsizes their ship during a storm at sea, causing them and all other hands-on board to drown. A funeral is held, though Anna is the only one of the sisters to attend. Elsa, instead, is too afraid to even go to the funeral out of fear of hurting someone with her powers and stays within her bedroom, mourning for the loss of her parents, alone.
Because of her devastated emotions, her powers corrupt the bedroom, freezing everything inside and reflecting the sorrow of the event. With the passing of her beloved parents and contact with Anna, her only family left, still deemed too dangerous, Elsa is now truly alone.
|“||Make one wrong move and everyone will know...||„|
|~ One of Elsa's lines in the song "For the First Time in Forever"|
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 scepter and globus cruciger without her gloves, her abilities are nearly revealed. Fortunately, she's able to withstand the near exposure (presumably dismissed as nervous sweat), 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, although the conversation seems somewhat stilted. Both sisters appear to be very joyous to finally share some time together, even smelling the scent of chocolate, 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.
Meanwhile, Elsa continues on with the party, meeting the visiting dignitaries and talking with them for a while before Anna returns, but with Prince Hans by her side. After a small introduction, the two announce their newfound engagement and ask for Elsa's blessing upon the marriage. Elsa is 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 such marriage, much to Anna's disappointment. The queen asks to speak with Anna alone and in private, likely to finally confess her abilities and why it's not wise to marry a man she just met without causing a scene that would surely get her true magical nature exposed, 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 and saddened by this, Elsa continues to deny her blessing for the marriage, 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 from Anna's constant questioning, 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 fjord, 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 failed to retrieve her, Anna and Hans return 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 it's her fault for pushing her. With Hans being left in charge of the kingdom, Anna heads off on her horse to begin her search for her sister.
The Snow Queen
|“||I'm never going back, the past is in the past!||„|
|~ Elsa, as she throws her crown|
Meanwhile, that same night, Elsa has since arrived at the North 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 and subjects, and the pain of her past consuming her now that the public saw her as a demon for her winter magic.
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 her signature ice 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 palace sometime afterwards.
Elsa and Anna/The Creation of Marshmallow
A few days later, Elsa lives peacefully in solitude, until Anna shows up, transported by Kristoff. 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.
His presence proves there are love and beauty in her powers and remind her of the joyful moments she spent with Anna. 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 them to leave her, as Anna belongs in Arendelle and she, however, doesn't. 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 palace.
A Queen's Monstrous Dread
|“||I'm such a fool, I can't be free...||„|
|~ Elsa, talking to herself|
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 Rock. Pabbie comes forward and informs them that if not removed, Anna will freeze to solid ice, unless Anna is able to perform an act of true love. 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 find Anna and arrest Elsa after believing the Snow Queen had Anna captive. 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, defying Hans' orders to not harm her. 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 palace, 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.
|“||Oh, no. What have... What have I done?||„|
|~ Elsa, as she looks at the disaster that she has brought to Arendelle|
When she tries to see outside, she finds herself chained with limited availability of movement. Using the limited ability to move, she finally witnesses 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, but she tearfully denies, telling Hans that she's unable to.
With that, Hans took his leave, just after Elsa begged for freedom, to which Hans claims he'd 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, wanting to rule the land as a beloved king.
By Ice be Shattered
Meanwhile, with Hans having betrayed Anna and revealing himself to be a sociopathic usurper, her curse becomes stronger and her death process is nearly complete. Olaf, however, informs her that Kristoff is the one that truly loves her and that he's the one she must kiss to save herself. Anna and Olaf retreat to find the mountain man, just as Hans confronts Elsa not too far away.
Elsa pleads to be left alone, and asks Hans to take care of Anna for her, to which Hans responds by telling her about the curse she accidentally put upon Anna, and that she died from it despite his efforts to save her. Devastated by the heart-wrenching news, Elsa collapses and mourns the death of her sister, ceasing the blizzard and giving Hans the chance to finally eliminate her, as she's now vulnerable. Hans slowly approaches the Snow Queen from behind and draws his sword, ready to strike her. However, Anna sees this, as she went out with Olaf's help to get to Kristoff, and although she was freezing to death quicker and quicker, she jumps in front of Elsa as her curse takes full effect, turning into an ice statue the second Hans' sword hits, causing him to fall back unconscious just before Anna's last, dying breath is lost.
Elsa quickly sees the fate that has befallen her sister and desperately pleads for her return. However, with all hope seems lost, the Snow Queen breaks down in tears, mourning the loss of her deceased sister. Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven sadly look on, as does some of Arendelle's citizens, who realize Elsa's purity from the heartbreaking scene before them. However, Anna's sacrifice to save Elsa qualifies as an act of true love, and before long, the princess' frozen body begins to thaw, resulting in her revival.
The Great Thaw
Elsa is overwhelmingly joyous and relieved to see Anna alive and well, and is touched at how Anna has risked her life to save her. Anna responds by telling Elsa she loves her, and Olaf figures out that 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 thaw 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. She uses her abilities to give Olaf a snow cloud to prevent him from melting away. As Hans struggles to his feet, Kristoff tries to attack Hans, but Anna confronts him instead for his betrayal by berating him for his frozen heart and punching him in the face, so hard that Hans falls off the ship they were standing on, into the water below. Anna and Elsa share another hug again, rekindling their sisterly bond.
After returning to her rightful position as queen of Arendelle, Elsa cuts off trade with Weselton, deports Hans, the Duke and his men for their attempted assassinations, and names Kristoff the Official Arendelle Ice Master and Deliverer. Later, she creates an ice rink in the castle courtyard for the people of Arendelle to enjoy. Elsa declares to Anna that they will never close the castle gates again now that she is finally accepted and makes a pair of ice skates for Anna, and the two sisters join in the celebration of harmony, having the fun they used to share together at long last.
|“||Come on, Elsa, this is for Anna. You can do this.||„|
|~ Elsa planning for Anna's 19th birthday.|
Nevertheless, the time comes to begin the day, and the Snow Queen heads inside to wake her sister. Following a trail of string throughout the castle and city, Elsa and Anna begin their day of sisterly bonding while presenting the latter with her gifts, but throughout, Elsa constantly sneezes and sniffles to the point where it's clear that a cold has consumed the queen. Whenever she sneezes, miniature snow-babies known as Snowgies are born, and they immediately rush to the castle courtyard and cause a mess as Kristoff, Olaf and Sven struggle to suppress them.
Meanwhile, Elsa's fever worsens to the point where she becomes delirious, thus manipulating her actions. The hectic day leads to the city's clock tower, and a delirious Elsa nearly falls off the ledge, only to be saved by Anna. Finally coming down from her high, a comforting Anna manages to have Elsa admit the presence of her fever, and the sisters return to the castle. Guilty over the trouble she's caused, Elsa apologizes to her sister for ruining another birthday, though the latter assures her by claiming what's most important is the health of her sister, and takes her into the castle gates, only to find Kristoff, Sven, Olaf and the Snowgies having managed to successfully keep the party intact. A celebration follows, and Elsa, still delirious, insists on blowing the celebratory horn, which shoots out a massive snowball as a result of a sneeze, and lands in the Southern Isles on top of the conniving Prince Hans.
That night, Anna assists Elsa is preparing for bed, and as the short comes to an end, Anna admits that her favorite part of the day was having the opportunity to care for her big sister, whom she loves so dearly.
Olaf's Frozen Adventure
|“||Anna's right; Our surprise holiday party doesn't star until after the Yule Bell rings.||„|
|~ Elsa to Olaf for Anna on Christmas in Arendelle.|
Ralph Breaks the Internet
|“||Yeah. And any friend of Vanellope's is a friend of ours.||„|
|~ Elsa with the other princesses meeting Ralph.|
In Ralph Breaks the Internet, Elsa appears as a netizen resident of Oh My Disney. She and the other Disney princesses work as cast members that meet-and-greet net users. When Vanellope von Schweetz is confronted by First Order Stormtroopers, she glitches into the princesses' backstage room to evade them. Upon arriving, Elsa is seen conversing with Moana and Anna. The princesses mistake Vanellope for a threat and charge at her with various weapons; Elsa is about to use her ice powers. Vanellope explains that she's actually a princess as well, prompting Pocahontas to ask to what kind of princess she is. Elsa questions if Vanellope has "magic hands" while demonstrating her magic, but Vanellope denies. When Jasmine asks if Vanellope has "daddy issues", she notes that she doesn't even have a mom, to which Elsa and Anna relate.
Shortly after declaring Vanellope a princess, Elsa and the others princesses admire Vanellope's casual modern clothes, thinking that her attire is "so cool". They then change into more comfy modern outfits to match, made by Cinderella's mice. Elsa wears an ice blue sweater with a graphic that reads "JUST LET IT GO" in bold white letters, black sparkly sweatpants, and ice blue ballet flats. During the rest of Vanellope's visit, Elsa is seen lounging on a cushion on the floor while sipping a milkshake.
During the climax of the film, Elsa and the princesses spot Ralph about to plummet to his doom from the air. The princesses rally together to rescue the bad guy, using their individual abilities to do so. Moana summons the ocean, which Ariel dives into to swim upward and create a spiral. Jasmine and Elsa fly towards the top using Carpet, from which they are able to join with Ariel. Elsa then uses her powers to create an ice slide for Ralph. After he is saved, the princesses introduce themselves as friends of Vanellope, with Elsa adding that anyone who is Vanellope's friend is their friend as well.
Elsa returns in the sequel. She is haunted by a strange voice which keeps calling her and wonders if it can perhaps show her where her magical powers came from. Despite her concerns and fears, she decides to follow the voice, believing that it has something important to tell her. In doing so, she unleashes the forces of the elemental spirits of the Enchanted Forest upon Arendelle, forcing the entire village to take refuge. Despite her desire to go alone, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven insist upon accompanying her on her journey. In the forest, they discover that a delegation from Arendelle and the people of the Northuldra have been trapped in the forest for over 30 years. They also discover that their mother, Queen Iduna, was herself a member of the Northuldra. Elsa tames the spirits of the forest and continues to follow the voice, which leads her to the Dark Sea, the dangers of which were warned about in her mother Queen Iduna's lullaby "All Is Found."
Here, she again tries to part with Anna, but Anna again insists on coming, saying that she does not want to see Elsa die. Elsa tells her that she doesn't want to see her die either and uses her magic to conjure an ice boat, which sends away Anna and the accompanying Olaf. She then tames another of the spirits, the water spirit known as the Nokk and travels across the sea. There, she encounters the memory of the water, showing that her parents traveled to the Dark Sea to discover the secret of her magic. She also learns a dark secret - that the dam supposedly built by the people of Arendelle as a gift for the Northuldra was actually a ploy by her grandfather King Runeard to drain their magic and ruin them. The journey drains her and causes her to become frozen as an ice statue, but she is able to get off a message to Anna, revealing this truth.
Anna is bereft, and more so when Olaf disappears due to the loss of Elsa's magic. Nevertheless, she moves forward and with the aid of the Earth Giants destroys the dam, even though destroying it will cause Arendelle to be flooded. Destroying the dam releases the curse upon the forest and un-freezes Elsa. Elsa rides the Nokk to the waters of Arendelle and freezes the approaching wave, protecting the kingdom. She then returns to the forest, reveals to everyone that she is alive, and uses her magic to restore Olaf, as water has memory. She witnesses Kristoff proposing marriage to Anna and Anna's acceptance. She then tells Anna that she is the fifth spirit of the forest and she knows what she must do. She leaves Arendelle in Anna's hands, and Anna is crowned Queen of Arendelle. Elsa remains behind in the enchanted forest as its protector, but makes regular return visits to Arendelle to spend time with and have fun with those she knows and loves.
Elsa and Anna make a small cameo appearance in the animated mini-series It's a Small World: The Animated Series, in the episode "Little Birds, Frost and Pine", happily playing in the winter snow together, building Olaf.
Elsa also makes a small appearance alongside Anna, Sven, and Olaf in an advertisement promoting Sky Movies.
An emoticon version of Elsa appeared in the Frozen, Frozen Fever and Olaf's Frozen Adventure entries of the As Told by Emoji short series.
An otter version of Elsa appeared on the cover of Duke Weaselton's bootleg copy of Frozen II dubbed Floatzen 2 in the film Zootopia.
In LEGO Frozen Northern Lights, Elsa and Anna embark on a journey to uncover the mystery behind the northern lights' disappearance. As an exaggerated version of herself, Elsa is portrayed as an overdramatic pessimist, though this stress also cripples her abilities, which adds difficulty to the adventure. A running gag includes Elsa preparing to sing "Let it Go", only to be interrupted before she can.