|“||That's no blizzard. That's my sister!||„|
|~ Anna describing her sister.|
Elsa the Snow Queen, or Queen Elsa of Arendelle, is the deuteragonist and anti-hero of the 2013 Disney animated film, Frozen. She is voiced by Broadway veteran Idina Menzel, famous for playing Elphaba in the musical titled Wicked, based off The Wizard of Oz.
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.
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 strikingly beautiful young woman, 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. In her pre-Snow Queen state, her hair is platinum blonde. 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.
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 falls 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|
Throughout the years, Elsa's only true human contact is with her parents, who calmly try to help their daughter control her abilities, teaching her to remain calm for fear and stress would only cause chaos. To help further, the king bestows upon Elsa a pair of gloves, which are temporarily 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 refuses to contact Anna, truly terrified of harming her yet again. One day, during Anna and Elsa's teenage years, their parents depart on a two week trip (to an unknown location), and though Elsa is torn about their parting, she bids them farewell as they were off. However, this is her last encounter with them, as the parents die when a massive wave capsizes their ship, causing them 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"|
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 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's 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 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 palace.
A Queen's Monstrous Dread
|“||I'm such a fool, I can't be free...||„|
|~ Elsa, talking to herself|
Afterwards, Marshmallow becomes Elsa's official bodyguard, given that Elsa truly wants nothing more than to be alone, and disguises himself as snow-covered rocks outside of the palace to keep away any and all visitors who may harm her majesty in any way. Meanwhile, within the walls of the once beautiful ice palace, 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 palace, 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 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|
Elsa soon awakens to find herself within the castle dungeon. 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 takes his leave, just after 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.
By Ice be Shattered
Queen Elsa mourning the icy death of her beloved younger sister Meanwhile, with Hans having betrayed Anna and revealing himself to be a ruthless murderer, 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 decapitate 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 realizes the fate that befallen her sister, and desperately pleaded for her return. However, with all hope seeming 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 unfreezing Arendelle after realizing that love will 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Elsa bears a striking resemblance to Rosalina.
- Elsa is a perfect example of an antagonist hero, since she is most definitely a heroine but behaves with antagonistic behavior in order to keep Anna away for her protection.
- Elsa also categorizes under both Anti-Villain and Anti-Hero (though more so with the latter) as she does villainous things but for a noble cause (Anti-Villain) but also acts as a hero who lacks certain aspects of traditional heroes.
- She is portrayed by Georgina Haig on the ABC fantasy drama Once Upon a Time.
- "The party is over, close the gates."
- "Give me my glove!"
- "Then leave!"
- "Enough, Anna!"
- "I SAID ENOUGH!!!"
- "Please, just stay away from me! Stay away!"
- "No, I belong here. Alone. Where I can be who I am without hurting anybody."
- "Don't you see? I can't."
- "The cold never bothered me anyway."
- "Love will thaw."
- "Let the storm rage on!!"