Queen Elsa of Arendelle (also known as the Snow Queen) is the deuteragonist of Frozen. She is the older sister of Princess Anna, and the ruler of Arendelle. Her powers over ice and snow ultimately led her to become the famous Snow Queen. She is voiced by Idina Menzel.
Elsa is loosely based on the title character of "The Snow Queen", a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, and to a much lesser extent, Kai from the same story. While the character from the original fairy tale was neutral and, to some degree, villainous, Elsa was rewritten as the deuteragonist.
- 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.
Elsa was originally portrayed as a dramatic, theatrical villain in early drafts of the film, akin to villains of Disney's past such as Cruella De Vil in One Hundred and One Dalmatians, and Ursula in The Little Mermaid, in addition to being unrelated to Anna. However, as the film's development went into several problems, story-wise, two major changes were made; the alteration of Elsa's moral role in the story, and her relationship with Anna. Once the two became sisters, the filmmakers felt it would open new possibilities for story elements, making the process of finalizing the completion of the Disney adaptation of The Snow Queen all the more accessible.
Elsa's original portrayal as a villain (her original intended villain role is shown in a deleted scene made early in development) depicted her as being a ruthless, cold-hearted tyrant who had an entire army of giant snowmen as henchmen (who would eventually be replaced by one giant snowman, Marshmallow). Designs for this version of Elsa included one that resembled Bette Midler (Georgette the poodle's voice actress), as well as one that was modeled after the late singer Amy Winehouse. These designs depicted her with spiky black or dark blue hair (and even blue-gray skin), a more angular body (as opposed to the final, heroic Elsa's curvaceous body) and constantly malicious smile. Some concept art depicted her with a group of pet ermines who scurried up and down her body and formed themselves into a cloak for her.
Instead of being fearful and insecure about not wanting to reveal her powers, Elsa would've been very hostile and bitter toward others and simply resented everyone, especially Anna, whom she was incredibly jealous of because of the royal status she held. Songwriter Kristen Anderson-Lopez stated in a 2014 interview, that Elsa's original motivation throughout the film was to freeze Anna's heart. Will and Grace actress Megan Mullally was to have voiced the villainous Elsa. (Mullally likely voiced "Evil Elsa" in aforementioned deleted scene, since her voice sounded nothing like that of Menzel's.)
However, this did not work out very well, as it would've been difficult for her to reform if she was an outright evil villain, and after listening to the song "Let It Go", intended to be Elsa's villain song when it was written, the writers realized that her motivations of self-empowerment and wanting to be herself were too positive to be expressed by a villain and did not fit the villain role, and as a result, instead of changing the lyrics they ended up changing the plot, and therefore the character was changed from a villainous role to an anti-heroic role seen in the actual film (this may have also led to the creation of the film's real villain, Hans).
Actress and singer Megan Mullally was originally cast to voice Elsa, but was replaced by Broadway actress Idina Menzel, best known for performing Elphaba from Wicked when the story changed. Menzel already knew Kristen Bell, who voiced Anna, and had previously auditioned for a lead role in the 2010 Disney animated feature film, Tangled. She was not cast for the part, but the casting director recorded her singing and later showed the recording to Frozen's film executives. Menzel was surprised when she was subsequently asked to audition, and she received the role after reading the script out loud.
Director Chris Buck believed that Menzel's vocals would help in the portrayal of the character, saying, "Idina has a sense of vulnerability in her voice. She plays a very strong character, but someone who lives in fear—so we needed someone who could portray both sides of the character, and Idina was just amazing."
In an interview with Menzel, she acknowledged the similarities between Elsa and Elphaba. She mentioned they were both very powerful and misunderstood individuals, and she herself could relate to the characters, having hidden her singing talent from her peers at school. "I didn't want to alienate anyone," she explained. "If everyone was singing along in the car to a Madonna song, I didn't join in because when we're younger we're afraid of sticking out or showing off, when in fact we should own those things that make us really unique."
Following the casting of Idina Menzel, Elsa's characterization underwent several alterations. According to Menzel, she was originally scripted as a one-dimensional antagonist but was gradually revised as a more vulnerable, multifaceted figure. Menzel further described her character as "extremely complicated and misunderstood".
Director Jennifer Lee stated that Elsa is largely driven by fear throughout the film. Producers identified the scene in which Elsa sings "Let It Go" as a pivotal point in the character's development, as the scene depicts her choice to "let go" of her fear of using her powers and be herself. Character design supervisor Bill Schwab said, "Before 'Let It Go', Elsa is really buttoned up, her hair is up—everything is perfect. During the song, she gives herself permission to be who she is and everything changes — her hair is more wild, her gown is magical. She's finally free — even if she is all alone."
Lead writer Paul Briggs explained that Anna's support is what Elsa needs most when her secret is exposed. "The strength of the family bond is what makes this story so powerful because it's her sibling who's willing to look beyond her powers and stand between her and the world if that's what it takes."
As the queen regnant of the kingdom of Arendelle, Elsa appears calm, reserved, regal and--unlike her sister--experienced in grace and poise. Beneath this elegant appearance, however, Elsa is quite complex; in truth, the Snow Queen was, for a majority of her young life, troubled with her abilities, a trait that stems from a traumatic incident as a child. When she was younger, she had cared strongly for Anna and, despite being the more mature and cautious of the two sisters, Elsa was still quite playful and used her magic to have fun and goof off. However, after witnessing her magic nearly cause her sister's death, Elsa had lived in fear and trauma for a great amount of her life; she became too terrified to let her powers overdevelop. She consequently and willingly chose isolation from everyone she cared for, including Anna, out of fear that she could hurt them. This would eventually result in years of loneliness, misery, bitterness and grief. Regret would gradually take its toll on her as well when tragedies struck throughout her life from the accident with her sister to the death of her parents.
Elsa's damaging experience through the crucial stages from childhood to adulthood caused her personality to shift. She became reclusive, insecure, emotionally unstable, and genuinely depressed. For Elsa, her powers and nature grew more restrained as the years passed, molding her into the cold queen others saw her to be. When given the chance to rest and relent, however, as seen on the night of her coronation, Elsa's true persona, one that is warm, loving, and innocently mischievous, came about - but only briefly, and with restriction.
However, during "Let It Go", Elsa reveals a liberated side to her personality. Without stress or fear of hurting others, the queen is strong and unafraid, yet with an air of elegance still surrounding her. Armed with a sense of freedom, she is confident in her abilities and accepts them as a part of her, letting them roam free with grace and beauty. All the while, she becomes no longer worried or daunted by her restraints. In the segment, which was entirely about letting go of her fears and embracing herself, Elsa abandons what others had wanted out of her, including her parents, so that she can be free to be herself. During this time, Elsa proves to be an incredibly artistic, and daring young woman, willing to remain far from what she was destined to be and rejects her own fate as Arendelle's queen for the choice of her own freedom.
And despite her fear, Elsa shows to truly care about her family and her kingdom as more than just a position quite selflessly, as she was evidently frightened when she realizes that she had created a winter over her kingdom when she had tried so desperately to avoid them from the peril her powers could potentially bring. But due to the influence of her magic, Elsa does not like to confront things she had caused, for she has always believed she can only create winter, not remove it.
However, Elsa's strongest part of herself is her love for her dear sister, a trait that gives Elsa the ultimate motivation to save Anna. Although she feels responsible for the chaos that she has caused, the bond that Elsa shares with Anna is stronger than she knows, as the feeling itself is her reminder that she is not truly alone in the world when there is someone else who cares for her as well. With love, Elsa finds a stronger grip over her abilities in order to save those she cares about. From this, Elsa confronts her fears and learns how to use her powers for good instead of imbalance and, in doing so, gains the will to control them.
Following her return to power as Arendelle's reigning monarch, Elsa's original personality, not dominate since childhood, makes a return. With a warm, welcoming aura, Elsa rules her kingdom with a genuine smile, and spends most of her spare time using her abilities for the pleasure of herself, her sister, and the entire kingdom. As seen in Frozen Fever, this aspect of Elsa's personality has not only remained, but strengthened, as the short heavily showcased Elsa's lighter side as fun-loving, and extremely devoted to her sister, yet retained her sense of elegance, vibrancy, and compassion.
At 21 years old, Elsa has a tall, slender build, with long platinum blonde hair, blue eyes, a small nose, and very pale skin with a light dusting of freckles (a trait she shares with her sister Anna, though less prominent). Her face is the mirror image of her mother, as during her coronation, she bore a striking resemblance to her mother, albeit with a different hair color (her mother is a brunette). In her pre-Snow Queen state, she wears a teal dress with a sweetheart bodice with bronze trim, black long-sleeved turtleneck blouse with red and teal crystals, magenta cape, dark brown flats with gold outlines and teal stockings (which disappear after her transformation) underneath, and her hair woven in a French braided crown twist bun. Ever since the accident with Anna at age 8, Elsa wears white gloves to contain her powers, but at her coronation, she wears longer, cyan gloves that go with her outfit. Her eyelids have a dusting of lavender eye shadow and magenta lipstick.
In her Snow Queen state, Elsa wears her hair in a loose French braid that is swept over her left shoulder, tied with a hair-band with a crystal-like snowflake on it. It is woven with snowflake incrustations, and wisps of her bangs slicked back on top of her head with a smaller piece resting down on her forehead. Her hair appears to be thick, although this may be so because she has much more hair (400,000 strands) than the average human (100,000 strands). She wears a crystal-blue, off-the-shoulder dress made out of ice with a right knee-high slit, a crystallized bodice and translucent, powder blue sleeves. She also wears ice-made kitten heels and, attached to the back of her bodice, wears a long, transparent floor-sweeping cape of sheer ice which is decorated with large snowflakes. Elsa wears dark pink lipstick, and shiny, purplish-pink eye shadow, although it's likely this is the same lipstick and eye shadow she wears at the coronation (with the colors looking much darker in the natural light as opposed to artificial light).
In Frozen Fever, she wears her hair in her signature French braid (tied witha hair-band with a pink flower on it) woven with small pink flowers and a larger pink flower on the right side of her head. She wears an emerald-green, off-the-shoulder dress made out of ice with a right knee-high slit like her Snow Queen dress. The dress has a sweetheart bodice which is covered in teal ice crystals that resemble leaves and light green, translucent, short sleeves. Her sleeves and top of her bodice are decorated with pink flowers. She also wears emerald-green ice kitten heels and a long, transparent floor-sweeping emerald-green cape of sheer ice decorated with flower and leaf design (with pink flowers stuck on) is attached to the back of her bodice. Her eye shadow is now a light pink and she wears dark pink lipstick.
Powers and Abilities
- “Listen to me, Elsa. Your power will only grow. There is beauty in it... But also great danger! You must learn to control it. Fear will be your enemy.”
Elsa is most iconic being the Snow Queen, and as such, she has complete and total control over cold temperatures and the element of ice and snow (also known as cryokinesis and frigokinesis). With her abilities (that she was apparently born with), Elsa can conjure up and shape various things from snow flurries to blizzards. Most of her powers are unleashed via her hands, and controlled by her emotions. If she's happy and at peace, her powers would be under her complete control, but if she's stressed or fearful, she will lose control and cause great harm to those around her. Near the end of Frozen, it appears that she has gained more control over her powers.
Some of what her powers can do are seen throughout the film. In the beginning, she was able to turn the entire castle's ball room into a winter wonderland. She is also able to create enchanted snowmen (both large and small), ice structures such as her ice palace, deadly blizzards as mentioned above, and more. She's also been seen being able to move ice structures at will. It also appears that her control extends to almost all forms of winter weather, as she was able to create a snow cloud for Olaf at the end of the film, and manipulate windstreams to some degree. Interestingly, it would seem that nearly her entire being can conjure ice and snow, as seen when she flees across the fjord - the water immediately freezes the moment her foot touches it.
Her powers are most prominently featured during "Let It Go" in which Elsa frees herself from the fear and stress she held, allowing her abilities to run wild. In the sequence she created her ice palace, a stairway for entrance, Olaf, as well as her ice gown. During the song, she even points out that her powers protect her from the effects of cold.
It is also shown that despite not having any formal training, she is capable of being a fierce fighter with her magic. When the Duke's thugs attack her midway through the movie, she is able to hold them both off on her own.
It's also interesting to note that in times when Elsa is truly frightened, her powers might act on their own in order to protect her. In the attack by the Duke's men, an arrow is shot at her from a crossbow. Almost instantly, a wall of ice forms as a shield to intercept the arrow before it would otherwise lodge itself in Elsa's head. So it's possible her ice powers may have a will of their own to some extent, where they respond to whatever Elsa feels. This possibility could explain why she is able to create Olaf, Marshmallow and the Snowgies. Theoretically, in having a mind of its own, it would make sense if the ice powers split part of its sentience off into these external shells created by Elsa, each of whom represent a certain aspect of Elsa's personality. It also appears that her powers depend on which emotion she feels; if she is in sorrow, all the snow particles in the air stand still as if in a state of suspended animation, while anger creates a similar effect to fear but with an offensive direction instead of chaotic versatility.
The only way thought to conceal her powers is initially by wearing gloves on her hands, which appeared to negate her icy touch on other objects. However, it's possible this is nothing but a psychological mindset that helps to keep her anxiety and any icy outbursts under control all her life. Because it is her father, one of the few people she trusted, that claims that wearing them will stop her abilities, Elsa believes it to be true, so by wearing gloves she thinks truly stop her powers, as a result of said belief, they do. This is supported by the fact she is able to freeze through the hand shackles in Arendelle's prison cell, in her desperation to get away, proving that covering her hands does not actually stop her power, but rather, sheer force of will and belief.
It is shown that if she casts her magic on a living being directly, the victim will not only freeze to death, but slowly transform into an ice statue, and the process only hastens if they are in cold conditions. While the curse can be removed if the magic affects the mind, the heart is the most vulnerable and if this is the case, the victim can only be cured by an act of true love. While Elsa had thought she cannot undo the frosty effects she creates, it is revealed that that she is capable of removing such curses through her love for others, as it is the warmest emotion of all.
One interesting thing to note is that when the animators were creating her character, and coming up with ways for her to use her abilities, they came up with a Signature Snowflake for her. This snowflake can be seen multiple times through out the film on almost everything she creates. Such instances are when she slams her foot into the ground to create the floor of her ice palace in "Let It Go", the pattern on the doors that led to the balcony of her ice palace, and it is the snowflake shown within the "O" in the in-movie logo.
In Frozen Fever, she can use her powers to create precise effects other than manifesting ice and snow, as she made several color changes to her and Anna's dresses, using flowers that were in the room at the time, and integrated them into their gowns using crystalline ice. She was also shown to create ice sculptures out of thin air and reshape them in any way she wanted.
My Disney Experience
- Queen Elsa can magically create snow and ice. But the love she shares with her sister Anna is the greatest magic of all.
A Saddened Past
- “Do the magic! Do the magic!”
- ―Anna to Elsa
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 jumps 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.
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 and miserable.
- “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, 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, and although Elsa's enjoying herself and quality time with Anna, the latter'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.
- “Look, it's snowing! It's snowing! The queen has cursed this land!”
- ―The Duke of Weselton
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, everyone fearing her, 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
- “Elsa, we were so close. We can be like that again.”
- ―Anna to Elsa
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.
- “Queen Elsa! Don't be the monster they fear you are!”
- ―Hans to Elsa
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, the Duke's men sneak past him and enter, searching for Elsa in an attempt to kill her, which were 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 snowy 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 easily gained the upper hand against the Duke's goons.
Just as Elsa was about to murder the two via a barrage of sharp ice spikes, Hans appears and stops her, telling her not to prove that she is the monster they believe she is. Elsa settles down a bit at Hans' words, realizing the frosty demon she was gradually 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 unconscious in the process. Hans and the soldiers then capture her and head back to Arendelle.
- “Oh, no. What have I done?”
- ―Elsa, as she lays eyes on the frozen disaster that she has inadvertantly 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
- “Your sister is dead! Because of you!”
- ―Hans to Elsa
Meanwhile, with Hans having betrayed Anna and revealing himself to be a ruthless murderer out for the throne, 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 her sister, claiming 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, 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 her last, dying breath is lost.
Elsa quickly realizes the fate that has befallen her dearest younger sister, and desperately pleads for her return to her. 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 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 slowly begins to thaw, resulting in her warm resurrection.
The Great Thaw
- “You sacrificed yourself for me?
I love you.”
- ―Elsa and Anna
Elsa is overwhelmingly joyous and relieved to see Anna alive and well, and is touched at how she 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 the warmth of love is the key to doing so. With this revelation, 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, and additionally uses her abilities to give Olaf a snow cloud to prevent him from melting away. 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.
In the animated short taking place nearly a year after the events of the original feature film, Elsa is planning Anna's nineteenth birthday. Because of the years spent in forced isolation, Elsa hopes to use the special day to rectify the sorrowful years prior and bestow upon Anna the birthday she deserves. With the help of Kristoff, Sven and Olaf, Elsa makes preparations in the castle courtyard, though she is notably nervous about the affairs, and struggles to suppress her perfectionist nature. 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, 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, Anna picks up a bottle of cold remedy from Oaken, though it causes the queen to fall into intoxication, thus manipulating her actions. The hectic day leads to the city's clock tower, and a delirious Elsa nearly falls off the ledge until she's 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 retorts 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 slightly intoxicated, 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 the conniving Prince Hans.
That night, Anna assists Elsa in 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.
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.
Elsa debuts in the last episode of the series' third season and she is portrayed by Australian actress Georgina Haig. The flashbacks of Arendelle are set about two years after the events of the film, and approximately a year before the first Dark Curse.
In the midst of preparations surrounding Anna and Kristoff's wedding, Elsa discovers that her parents set off on a mysterious mission in regards to her abilities. Elsa and Anna learn from Grand Pabbie that they were traveling to a land known as Misthaven; better known as the 'Enchanted Forest'. Determined to learn why, Anna travels to Misthaven, without Elsa's consent, and much to the latter's dismay. Meanwhile, Elsa and Kristoff defend the kingdom from an invading Hans, who concocted a scheme to trap Arendelle's queen within an enchanted urn. When opened to capture the queen, however, a mysterious being is released, instead, and freezes Hans as punishment for his cruel ways. The being is soon revealed to be Elsa's supposedly deceased aunt, Ingrid. Like Elsa, Ingrid holds power over ice and snow, and is universally known as the Snow Queen. Elsa welcomes Ingrid back into Arendelle, and is soon greeted by Anna-returned from her adventures. However, it is soon discovered that Ingrid has villainous intentions. Years before Anna and Elsa, Ingrid was the elder sister of Gerda (Anna and Elsa's mother) and Helga. One day, Ingrid accidentally killed Helga, resulting in Gerda, in grief, trapping Ingrid in the magical urn to prevent her from causing more harm. From there, Gerda asked Grand Pabbie to erase Helga and Ingrid from the records and minds of Arendelle. When Ingrid returned, she wanted a new family to fill the void her sisters left, but one where they are equally empowered with Magic, thus decidedly plotting to eliminate Anna. In hopes of turning Elsa against her sister, as well, Ingrid entrances Anna, forcing the latter to confront a confused and frightful Elsa. Anna threatens to imprison Elsa within the same urn that trapped Ingrid, and although Ingrid intended for Elsa to kill her sister before she had the chance, Elsa is imprisoned and locked away in the stash of Rumpelstiltskin.
Though initially frightened by her surroundings, causing great chaos as a result, Elsa manages to retreat the chaos, and stumbles upon Anna's necklace in Mr. Gold's (Rumplestiltskin) shop. As time would pass, Elsa meets and befriends Emma, as well as the other members of the town. No longer seeing Elsa as a threat at this point, Emma and the others decide to join their new companion in the search for her sister. The group would eventually encounter Ingrid; though Elsa fails to remember her as her memory was wiped by the Snow Queen to prevent confrontations. Like before, Ingrid plots to recreate her family, and selects Elsa and Emma (who also has magical powers) as her victims. Convinced that she could only gain their love when she was the only one left, Ingrid obtained a mirror capable of bringing out the worst in people. If a piece of the mirror were to get in someones eye, they would see nothing but hatred in the world. Ingrid had planned to use this on everyone in Storybrooke (dubbed the Spell of Shattered Sight), forcing all of its citizens to turn against one another, and battle to the death, while her, Emma and Elsa remained immune.
Back in Arendelle, Anna tried to track down a device known as a wishing star, which will have the power to bring her and Kristoff to wherever Elsa is. It was apparently the necklace Elsa had given her long ago, Elsa using it to bring Anna and Kristoff to Storybrooke. However, the Spell of Shattered Sight had already begun, and the only ones immune to it were Elsa, Emma, and Anna. Tracking down a note written by Elsa and Anna's mother right before her death, the three bring it to Ingrid. It reads that Gerda forgave Ingrid for all that had transpired and still loved her. Restoring her broken heart, an elated Ingrid, realizing there is no point in killing the town now, kills herself using the mirror, which deactivates the curse, though a bit of it remained in Storybrooke, reinstating the town line, making it impossible to return to town if you are to leave it.
With the help of Rumplestiltskin, Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff are able to discover a door that will lead back to Arendelle, though they will not be able to return, as the door will disappear after its use. Anna and Kristoff depart, while Elsa and Emma share a tearful goodbye before returning to Arendelle with her sister. Back in their home kingdom, Anna's wedding is underway, and the two sisters share a brief chat before heading to the chapel, hand-in-hand.
Elsa regularly appears in printed media in the form of books, novels, and a few comics. The stories taking place after the film shows she has gained practically full control over her abilities and uses them for both amusement and useful, problem-solving purposes.
The story, A Sister More Like Me, also gives an expanded look at her character. She's revealed to be intelligent, a lover of academics and has a fondness for tea.
In the continuation of the film, Elsa is featured as the warm ruler of Arendelle struggling to both rekindle with her sister and care for her kingdom, which regularly requests her attention. This aspect is largely the focus of All Hail the Queen.
In Memory and Magic, Elsa encounters a young troll who claims to have the power to restore the memories of Anna that Pabbie erased years ago. However, a reluctant Elsa goes against the idea and chooses to create new memories, instead.
Elsa plays a more of a heroic role in A Warm Welcome where Olaf informs her of a summer queen with power over fire and heat. But when the snowman also mentions her land is trapped in eternal summer, the Snow Queen and Anna take action and launches a rescue mission.
Elsa is mentioned in the seventh book "The Insider", where she was asked to slow the storm approaching the park that the Overtakers were going to use to ignite natural gas flooding it.
Elsa makes several appearances in a few video game titles, since her debut. While her major appearances are listed below, some other roles include Club Penguin, where she is exclusively featured in the episode "Frozen Party", in both her Snow Queen wear, and Coronation Day dress.
An add-on costume of Elsa is also featured in LittleBigPlanet, as part of the "Frozen Costume Pack".
Elsa is included as a playable character in Disney INFINITY and its subsequent 2.0 and 3.0 editions, playable in the Toy Box Mode of all games. She was released both as a singular figure and with her sister Anna in a dual Frozen Toy Box pack with two customization Power Discs.
Quests themed around Elsa (and her sister) include:
- Frozen Hunt - Do you want to build a Snowman? Find and step on 4 buttons hidden around Arendelle to do just that. Watch out for thin ice!
- Frozen Adventure - Experience an interactive adventure from various scenes of Disney's Frozen movie.
- Anna's Quest - Arendelle has frozen solid! Go to the mountains and bring Elsa back to her throne so she can undo the spell.
- Let it Go! - It's the anniversary of Queen Elsa's coronation, but she's missing and the Weselton thugs are causing a ruckus. Help!
- Olaf's Race - Zoom around a racetrack featuring everybody's favorite snowman, Olaf.
Elsa also has her own exclusive adventure called "Elsa's Slingshot Gallery". The aim of it is to hit targets with your slingshot to get as much points as you can within a certain time limit. Yellow targets yield 1 point, while red targets yield 3 points.
Elsa appears in Frozen Free Fall both as a child and adult on various levels along with Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, Sven, Hans and Grand Pabbie. Her special ability is her ice magic, known as 'glacier' in the game.
In Disneyland, Elsa and Anna originally greeted guests at a location near Pinocchio's Daring Journey in Fantasyland. The two moved their meet-and-greets to Disney California Adventure on January 7, 2015 as part of the Disneyland Resort's Frozen Fun events. Their new meet-and-greet spot is at "Anna and Elsa's Royal Welcome", which is inside the Disney Animation attraction at Disney California Adventure. They're also featured in a Frozen pre-parade before Mickey's Soundsational Parade.
At Disney California Adventure, Elsa makes a special appearance in Winter Dreams, the winter-themed rendition of the nighttime spectacular World of Color. During her appearance, she performs "Let It Go".
As of April 2014, the sisters are currently doing daily meet-and-greets at Magic Kingdom's Princess Fairytale Hall with FastPass services available, due to their popularity. The two also appear in the Festival of Fantasy Parade. Elsa is also featured in Celebrate the Magic, where she performs "Let It Go". Also at Magic Kingdom, beginning in November of 2014, Elsa took part in Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party and hosted the nightly ceremony of transforming Cinderella Castle into a shimmering ice castle.
Elsa is also prominently featured as the hostess of Frozen: Summer Fun! at Disney's Hollywood Studios along with Anna and takes part in nearly every event (including the morning parade, sing-along show and nightly fireworks spectacular)
Since the two were young, Elsa and Anna have always been the best of friends and loved each other dearly. The two enjoyed playing together, and Anna loved it when Elsa used her magic to create a winter wonderland. However, after Elsa accidentally hit Anna with her ice magic and almost killed her, Elsa became too scared to go near Anna out of fear her powers could harm her again, even when she later became all the family she had left when their parents died. While Elsa's desire to stay away from Anna was out of her love for her, Anna felt distanced from her and constantly tried to reconnect with Elsa without understanding or knowing about Elsa's powers, as the troll king removed all magic including memories of magic to revive her. During the coronation party, the two seemed to temporarily reconnect as they enjoyed themselves and Anna expressed her wish that they could always be close like this. Elsa, caught up in the moment, sincerely agrees but knows why they must keep their distance and closes herself off again, which they are both saddened by, though Anna was not aware of Elsa's feelings. They also seemed to reconnect by their love of chocolate, after Elsa saying what is that amazing smell and they both sniffed the air to the delight of finding it was chocolate.
When Elsa's powers are revealed to the kingdom after the two got into an argument about Anna's engagement to Hans and how Elsa always shuts everybody out, Elsa runs away and Anna, knowing it wasn't Elsa's fault as she was the one who pushed Elsa, volunteered to get her back, saying "She's my sister. She would never hurt me." When she got to Elsa's palace, she tried to get Elsa to come back home with her and fix the eternal winter Elsa had cast on the kingdom together, but couldn't persuade her as Elsa didn't know how to fix what she had done and was too afraid of, and distressed at, hurting others. Elsa's negative emotions explode unwillingly, striking Anna's heart. Nonetheless, Anna's love for Elsa prevailed and proved to be the thing Anna held most dear to her, shown best when she chose to not get saved by Kristoff but instead ran in front of Elsa to protect her from Hans' killing strike, freezing to solid ice and sacrificing her own life in the process.
This demonstrates just how deep Anna's love for Elsa is and that no matter what happens, their sisterly bond is the most important thing to her. This act of true love is also ultimately what saves Anna from Elsa's curse, as Olaf makes the connection that Anna's actions were an act of true love, which teaches Elsa how to finally thaw winter and control her powers, allowing her to restore her bond with Anna. Elsa and Anna truly care and love each other and while Elsa was too scared of hurting Anna to get close to her and Anna was at times somewhat pushy and insistent on helping Elsa (which could at times make things worse) the two will always love each other and do anything for the sake of the other's happiness.
Olaf was based on a snowman Anna and Elsa created when they were young and has a powerful connection with Elsa, as he is not only her living creation, but also the physical representation of Elsa's happiness and desire to be with her sister again like they were when they were children. Thus, Olaf's desire for summer is Elsa's desire to rekindle the warmth between her and Anna. Olaf describe her as the most nicest, gentlest and warmest person ever. When Elsa first saw Olaf alive, she was surprised, as she did not know she had imbued her beloved snowman with life. At first Elsa was happy, as he reminded her of the fun that her powers once brought the two sisters, but this also brought back the painful memory of how the fun times came to a tragic end when Anna was hurt by Elsa's powers. As a result, she tried to isolate herself from Olaf and Anna again to keep them away from her and her powers, but due to the latter's persistence, she had to use force by creating Olaf's younger "brother" Marshmallow to throw them out of her palace.
However, Elsa saw the error of her ways when she realized how powerful her bond with Anna was, as Olaf was the one to realize that Anna's act of true love for Elsa thawed her frozen heart. Thus, Elsa learned that love was the answer to ending Arendelle's winter. When Olaf started to melt, due to the return of summer, Elsa saved his life by rebuilding the almost-puddle snowman and giving him his own flurry to keep him cold. In the end, he enjoys summer and helps Anna to skate with Elsa, much like when the three skated together in their earlier years, showing that Olaf loves both the sisters.
Although she had little interaction with Kristoff (including after she struck Anna in the heart with her powers, and at the ending), it is enough to show that although she was scared and wary to see him at first, as she was with pretty much everyone else, she soon comes to accept him after knowing what he did for her sister. When Kristoff attempted to confront Hans for trying to kill the two sisters, Elsa seems touched by Kristoff's protectiveness over her and Anna. She even gives him the title "Official Arendelle Ice Master and Deliverer," so he can be with Anna. In the storybook app of the film, it is revealed that Elsa approved of Anna and Kristoff's love for each other.
And in the storybooks taking place after the film, it is shown that Elsa and Kristoff have a very good friendship, which is made stronger by their love for Anna and also for ice.
In the short Frozen Fever, Elsa and Kristoff are shown to have a bond following the events of the film, with Kristoff partially acting as the Snow Queen's confidant.
Although Elsa and Pabbie's interaction was brief, the wise troll's words of wisdom stayed with Elsa for the years leading up to her adulthood and coronation. The encounter between the two proved to be some of the most influential of Elsa's life, eventually leading to her isolation and understanding that, while her powers are indeed a beautiful gift, it can be very powerful and dangerous, should her control over them be lacking in any way. However, like the King and Queen, Pabbie's words weren't completely understood, as the troll stated fear would be Elsa's enemy. Whilst Elsa and her family believed it was the fear others would have, Pabbie truly meant Elsa's fear, as her emotions control her abilities. Being somewhat ancient, and highly mystical, Pabbie also holds the most knowledge and understanding over Elsa's mysterious powers, more so than any other character in the film.
Unlike Olaf, who was created by Elsa's happiness, Marshmallow was born out of Elsa's desire to be alone for Anna's safety, and his existence exhibits a hostile side to Elsa's nature. Elsa, fearing confrontation, had reluctantly created him when Anna refused to leave her even after she was accidentally harmed by Elsa. Although Marshmallow had excessively forced Anna and her friends out, he returned to Elsa's side loyally and took his role as her defender quite seriously. He had even tried his best to defend her when the palace, and by extension Elsa within it, came under attack. Elsa had watched Marshmallow fight the invaders, possibly out of concern that Marshmallow would not be able to keep them away from the palace. However, as other guards had swarmed into the palace and forced her to retreat, Marshmallow risked his own life to prevent other soldiers from getting in, but had fallen into the gorge in the process. Marshmallow survived this and returned to find Elsa's palace empty (after the events of the film had taken place), yet also found Elsa's tiara and donned it, which had a calming and positive effect upon him.
- “As heir, Elsa was preferable, of course. But no one was getting anywhere with her.”
- ―Hans explaining his original plans to Anna during the betrayal scene
Inadvertently and without knowing it, Elsa and her nature as a winter elemental has been a major obstacle to Hans' pursuit of becoming Arendelle's sole monarch. Originally, it was Hans' plan to marry the soon-to-be queen regnant of Arendelle so he could rule the kingdom with her by his side. However, he gave up on the idea when he got word of her dislike of being near people. It was unknown to him that she was doing this to keep her subjects safe from her unstable winter magic. He did not learn of her abilities until she and Anna got into an argument about Anna and Hans' engagement. The instability of her emotions, caused her to inadvertently reveal her powers to everyone at the ball. From then on, as each event unfolded unintentionally thanks to the Snow Queen, Hans had to constantly change his plan to become King of Arendelle. This includes making the Queen seem like a monster in the eyes of the public, then killing her to end her accidental winter curse and become a hero of the people. His pursuit of the crown would be complete without having to marry Anna. This is also how he backed up Anna's claim about Elsa's innocence and dismissed the Duke's about the queen being a monster when she ran away and accidentally unleashed a winter curse on the kingdom, when her powers were revealed, this was done to further get into Anna's good graces.
This also required getting into Queen Elsa's good graces by stopping her from killing the Duke of Weselton's thugs after they provoked her into an angered state and appearing to show mercy towards her, when it was ultimately to get her to let her guard down for a chance to kill her with the chandelier, and locked her up in the castle dungeon and chained her down in shackles, then again after he lied to her about Anna already being killed by her accidental curse when chasing her out to the frozen fjords. However, Elsa was saved from his treachery by Anna and his plot for usurpation was foiled.
Originally, the Duke of Weselton was polite to Elsa, even offering her a dance at the coronation, but this was all to exploit Arendelle's riches in trade. When her powers are revealed to everyone, he is the first to call her a monster and continued to believe so, even though Anna and Hans tried to reassure him that she was not and was just scared. When Hans goes off to find Anna, the Duke volunteers his henchmen and tells them that if they encounter Queen Elsa, they are to kill her, which they try (and fail) to do so. When Hans told him and the other Dignitaries (as one of his lies) that Anna had died from Elsa's magic, the Duke showed some sadness over Anna's alleged death and was the first to say that there was no doubt that Elsa was a monster and that they were all in danger. At the end of the film, Elsa cuts off all ties with Weselton due to the Duke's persecution of her.
- For the First Time in Forever
- Let It Go
- For the First Time in Forever (Reprise)
- Making Today a Perfect Day
ABS-CBN writer Fred Hawson described Elsa as "an incredible character with a unique and interesting predicament because of the powers she possessed" and expressed the opinion that Frozen should have focused more on her rather than Anna. Deepanjana Pal of First Post (India) praised the decision to rewrite Elsa as a protagonist and said, "Elsa is no evil, frosty vision of twisted and toxic maternity like the original Snow Queen. She's a young woman in difficult circumstances, frightened, trying to understand her abilities and burdened by expectation and convention. It's easy to sympathize with her and marvel at her ability when she builds her spectacular palace in the mountains. Next to her, Anna is very much a child who needs to grow up and she does in the course of the film." Charlotte O'Sullivan from the London Evening Standard was more critical of the character, saying that she "resembles one of those brittle mentors on The X Factor. Purple eye shadow, tiny waist, kitten heels".
Magdalena Lachowicz, a film critic for The Heights, opinionated that Elsa's relationship with Anna was the most important part of the movie, and Stephen Holden of The New York Times liked that, in departure from traditional Disney formula, it was a sibling's love rather than romantic love that was able to "thaw the icy heart of the frightened Elsa". Tony Hicks of San Jose Mercury News wrote, "[Anna's] confusion and Elsa's anguish as she shuts herself away from the world — and her sister — is palatable."
Idina Menzel also received praise for her singing, and Amon Warmann of Cine Vue said her voice "positively soars in these musical ballads". Reviewers frequently focused on her performance of "Let It Go", described by Entertainment Weekly's Marc Snetiker as "an incredible anthem of liberation" in which Elsa decides to no longer fear her powers. Matt DeTruck of The Rochester City Newspaper wrote, "Menzel should be credited for providing as much power and passion to this performance as she did in her most famous role."
- Every time Elsa says "Let it go", her fists open, representing that she's releasing her powers.
- Elsa is the only playable character in Disney INFINITY who can't execute close combat.
- In all the songs she sings in, her powers are present too.
- "For the First Time in Forever" - freezing jewelry box and candle-stick.
- "Let It Go" - creating her ice palace and Olaf.
- "For the First Time in Forever (Reprise)" - accidentally freezing Anna's heart.
- Ironically, Elsa appears to be associated with the number 13: hers and Anna's ages in the prologue were 8 and 5, respectively (8+5=13), that the two were both isolated from each other for 13 years, and her film was released in 2013.
- Elsa is 21 years old by the time of her coronation, according to Jennifer Lee, the Junior Novelization, and the age difference between her and Anna is more than 3 years (Anna is 18 years old during the coronation).
- According to Jennifer Lee, Elsa was born on the Winter Solstice. Given that the film takes place around the summer, Elsa would have likely turned 22 by winter.
- Also, Frozen Fever confirms Anna's birthday to be a year after the film, and the potential year it takes place (1840), suggesting that Elsa was born on December 22, and should have turned 23 that year.
- Elsa's name (a variant of Elizabeth) is Germanic for "noble". It could also be a reference to Eliza, the heroine of another one of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales, The Wild Swans.
- Walt Disney had plans to adapt The Snow Queen in the 1940's, but after the character of the Snow Queen proved to be too hard to bring down to earth, the project was shelved. Oddly enough, during the 1950s, Disney films often used larger-than-life villainesses such as Lady Tremaine and Maleficent.
- Elsa was alluded to in the Sofia the First episode "Winter's Gift" by Winter when she talks about a princess who makes ice.
- As the oldest sister, Elsa has one braid in her hair, while her younger sister Anna, has two.
- Elsa has the same hairstyle of her mother during her coronation.
- Elsa is very fond of chocolate, a trait she shares with her younger sister, Anna.
- 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 make anything appear evil in the eyes of the beholders, only to accidentally smash it in the process, and one of the shards ending up hitting Kai (much like Elsa's frost shards hit Anna in the film). The Queen was based on a woman Hans Christian Andersen personally hated for being shrewd and distant.
- Elsa may have been partially based on Kai from the original "Snow Queen" fairy tale, who after ends up being kidnapped by the title Queen after he is unexpectedly stabbed by two 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 actually blood-related siblings with quite a genuinely strong and close brother-sister relationship; as do Elsa and Anna. Moreover, much like Anna, Kai was hit by two shards: one in the head (eye in some versions) and one in the heart, so in fact, both sisters share attributes of Kai and Gerda combined.
- 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's design resembles that of Queen Jadis the White Witch, as they are both females with ice-based powers. However, unlike Jadis, Elsa is not really evil, just misguided.
- Based on the lyrics of the deleted songs "Life's Too Short" and "Spring Pageant", originally, Elsa's decision to flee the kingdom was because of an ancient prophecy claiming that Arendelle could one day be destroyed by an evil queen with a literal heart of ice, and since Elsa, who can control ice and snow, who was the queen in question, did not want to associate herself with this prophecy, ends up running away on her coronation day after revealing her powers, only to end up fulfilling it instead due to her being hostile and vindictive to anyone who knows about it.
- Another early draft made Elsa the "heir" while Anna was the "spare".
- 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 the Disney universe, Elsa and Anna artistically and thematically coincide with an aspect of nature, as did Rapunzel: Elsa (the cold moon) which stands alone and half in darkness, and Anna (the warm sun) which spreads over everyone (hence her optimism and positive outlook, enabling her to make friends easily). This can also be noted, for in the beginning of the film, Anna explains how the sky is awake when there was a bright moon, therefore she is. Even though the two are different, they complete each other, hence the film's ending of sisterly love saving the day instead of romantic love.
- Like Persephone from Classical Mythology, Elsa's absence from her home had led to the coming of winter, and her return resulting in the return of summer.
- The scene where Anna and Elsa get into an argument during Elsa's coronation party due to Anna's attempt to propose to Hans causing her to accidentally expose her ice powers to the public as a result of Anna pulling off one of her gloves and running away appears to be very analogous to the scene in the original Snow Queen fairy tale where Kai is enchanted by the Devil's mirror (with Hans as a stand-in) and becoming very jaded with Gerda resulting in him becoming more resentful with her and subsequently being found and kidnapped by the title Snow Queen. Since Elsa is also Kai, this would essentially mean that the Snow Queen kidnapped herself.
- "Let It Go" is very unique for a Disney Princess for a general I Want song for them represents the Princess wanting a new life, or meeting new people, sometimes seeing new places. Elsa's song "Let It Go" is about her wanting to just to able to be herself and never have to worry about others (as she doesn't want to hurt them).
- During the song "Let It Go", Elsa discards the three accessories worn during her coronation that she views as restraints: her gloves (what holds her magic back), her cape (her authority over others), and her tiara (her queenly title), which is ultimately found by Marshmallow at the end of the film.
- Elsa, along with Daisy Duck and Megara, is one of few Disney heroines to sport eye shadow.
- It is also stated in the book A Sister More Like Me that Elsa loves geometry. This is shown when she uses her knowledge of geometry to create her ice palace.
- Elsa originally wore her hair with a braid as a child, symbolizing her carefree and innocent personality. While growing up, Elsa wears her hair in a bun, showing her confinement and isolation. When she embraces her powers again after running away, she wears her hair with a braid again.
- According to Jennifer Lee, even though the reason for Elsa's ice magic is never explained except for a mention that she was simply born with it, it's been hinted that the source of her magic may have been caused by a 1000-year alignment between Saturn and other distant planets like Uranus, Neptune, dwarf planets like Pluto, etc.; much like how Rapunzel got her blonde hair from the Sun's light.
- Originally, Elsa was planned to be the actual villain, and her song "Let It Go", while still indicating some tragic aspects, was initially done in a mocking tone to symbolize this. This concept survived long enough for a planned scene being animated where she used snow monsters to attack the heroes. However, midway through development, her alignment was changed because the production staff realized that Elsa never actually did anything villainous or evil and just wanting to be herself was far too positive to be expressed by a villain, and thus would not have fit one.
- Idina Menzel had previously auditioned for the role of Rapunzel in Tangled. Although she did not get the part, a Disney casting director recorded her voice, and it got her the part of Elsa two years later. Kristen Bell, who voices Anna, also auditioned for the role of Rapunzel.
- In the trailer (especially in the Japanese version), there are some scenes that did not appear in the movie that were meant to give audiences the illusion that Elsa was the villain. For example, the scene where she fires her magic from the top of the mountain at the camera does not appear in the film, in order to make it look like Elsa was cursing the kingdom, and the scene where Anna is in a monstrous blizzard yelling to Kristoff, "That's no blizzard, that's my sister!" pointing at Elsa, who is using her magic in order to make it seem like she was trying to harm Anna. These two scenes actually come from test animation of the scene where Anna and Kristoff jump off the cliff to escape Marshmallow, in which Anna was depicted as scared to jump off the cliff, and Marshmallow was actively trying to kill Anna and Kristoff instead of simply trying to scare them off.
- Originally when Anna wanted to marry Hans, Elsa scolds her and says "I may not be your mother, but I am still your queen.", at which Anna responds, "You're a mean queen!" This line was removed as it would've defeated the purpose of Elsa's inner vulnerability as she was not afraid of pulling rank on others.
- While Anna's clothes remain brightly colored even into adulthood, Elsa's clothes noticeably become darker, duller, and more restraining as she gradually becomes an adult (possibly to exploit her isolation from her subjects and especially Anna), but starts wearing lighter-colored clothing after singing "Let It Go".
- "Evil Elsa's" pre-Snow Queen outfit was colored like the one worn by Hans.
- Elsa is the second Disney protagonist to have a sibling die (though Anna was revived), after Kenai, but before Hiro Hamada.
- At the beginning, Elsa wears gloves to hide her powers, but when she embraces her powers, she removes them. This is indicative of the symbolism of "the gloves coming off" - a person shows their true colors when they aren't wearing gloves.
- Hans also wears gloves throughout the move, only taking them off near the end when he's telling his plans to a freezing Anna, then puts them back on when he leaves her to die.
- The gloves represents the real personality they are having. If the gloves are off, they reveal their real personality, and if they put on the gloves, they hide their real personality.
- Hans also wears gloves throughout the move, only taking them off near the end when he's telling his plans to a freezing Anna, then puts them back on when he leaves her to die.
- Elsa the Snow Queen on Wikipedia
- Frozen Wiki: Elsa
- Hero Wiki: Queen Elsa
- Once Upon a Time Wiki: Elsa
Future Disney Princesses: Moana | Anna | Elsa
Other Princesses: Maid Marian | Leia Organa | Eilonwy | Calla | Kiara | Melody | Kida Nedakh | Ting-Ting, Su and Mei | Giselle | Kilala Reno | Atta | Dot | Kairi | Princess of Gentlehaven | Charlotte La Bouff | Vanellope von Schweetz | Sofia | Star Butterfly | Elena
Home Video: Disney Princess Sing Along Songs - Once Upon a Dream | Disney Princess Sing Along Songs Vol. 2 - Enchanted Tea Party | Disney Princess Sing Along Songs Vol. 3 - Perfectly Princess | Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams