Queen Elsa of Arendelle (also known as the Snow Queen) is the deuteragonist of Disney's 2013 animated feature film Frozen. She is the firstborn daughter of former monarchs Agnarr and Iduna, older sister of Princess Anna, and the contemporary ruler of Arendelle. Her powers over ice and snow ultimately led her to become the Snow Queen at adulthood.
Elsa is loosely based on the titular 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 encountered 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 the film's development) depicted her as being a ruthless, bitter, 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, 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 a 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 have 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 to take over the kingdom.
However, this did not work out very well, as it would have 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.
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 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 - graceful and poised. Beneath this cool and collected appearance, however, Elsa is quite turbulent; in truth, the Snow Queen was, for a majority of her young life, troubled by her abilities, a feeling which 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 lived in fear and trauma for a great amount of her life as she became too terrified to let her powers overdevelop. She consequently chose isolation from everyone she cared for, including Anna, out of the presumption that her isolation would protect them from her power. 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, leaving them both to mourn and grieve alone.
Elsa's damaging experience through the crucial stages from childhood to adulthood caused her personality to shift. She became reclusive, lonely, insecure, emotionally unstable, and genuinely depressed. For Elsa, her powers and nature grew more restrained as the years passed, slowly molding her into the cold-hearted 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, kind, fun loving, and innocently mischievous, came about - but only briefly, and with restriction.
Elsa also has an altruistic disposition that contributes to the compassion towards her people. Throughout the entirety of the film, the Snow Queen's actions are driven by the desire to protect her kingdom, and more importantly, her sister, Anna. Unfortunately, that comes with a price, as Elsa's upbringing would lead her to believe that, for the safety of her loved ones, and for the sake of remaining true to who she is as a gifted person, she is a living disaster that must be removed from society. Even with Anna's persistence to help end the curse, Elsa's method of solving the problem - enforced isolation - would remain prevalent. Her determination to solve her problems through singularity is Elsa's greatest flaw, driven by her anxiety and traumatic childhood experiences.
Though a benevolent and giving person, Elsa suffers with emotional instability due to years of keeping her emotions bottled up. When her strong emotions are triggered, Elsa often loses control over her emotions which can create dangerous situations for herself and others around her. An example of this is when Anna informed her that she had unknowingly plunged Arendelle into an "eternal winter", she began panicking as she realized she had brought harm upon her kingdom, which made her lose control of both her emotions and powers, resulting in ice bursting from her chest and striking Anna in the heart. But perhaps the prime example of this was when the Duke of Westleton's guards attempted to assassinate her and Elsa realizes she has no choice to fight back, and, unable to control her fury, goes from self-defense to fighting back more aggressively, nearly pushing a man off the edge of her ice palace and pinning another to the wall with icicles.
During "Let It Go", however, Elsa reveals a liberated side to her personality. Without stress or the fear of hurting others, the queen is strong and unafraid, yet with an air of elegance still surrounding her. Based on this facet, she has confidence in her abilities and accepts them as a part of her, no longer worried or daunted by her restraints. In the segment, which was entirely about letting go of her fears and embracing herself, Elsa decides to abandon what she was made to be so that she can be free to be herself. While expressing this, Elsa proves that she is notably creative and strong in geometry (her ice castle is made entirely out of geometric figures), and a daring young woman willing to reject her own fate as Arendelle's queen for the choice of her own freedom as well as to protect the people in Arendelle from her powers.
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. However, she has also become a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to planning events.
At 21 years of age, Elsa has a tall, slender built, 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 the previous queen, albeit with a different hair color (her mother is a brunette).
For the coronation, Elsa wears a teal dress with a sweetheart bodice with bronze trim and dark teal, maroon and purple rosemaling on the skirt and bodice, black long-sleeved turtleneck blouse with red and teal crystal-shaped prints on, magenta cape, a gold tiara, 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 held together with a blue ribbon. 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 with teal prints on, 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 hairband 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 still wears the same makeup as at the coronation, however, due to the change in lighting, the magenta lipstick becomes a dark pink, and her lavender eye shadow becomes a shiny, purplish-pink.
In Frozen Fever, Elsa wears her hair in her signature French braid (tied with a hairband with a pink flower on it in place of a snowflake) woven with small pink flowers and a larger pink flower on the right side of her head. She also wears an emerald green, off-the-shoulder dress made out of ice with a right knee-high slit, just like her Snow Queen dress. Unlike Elsa's ice dress, her Frozen Fever dress has a sweetheart bodice which is covered in teal ice crystals that are patterned to 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 for 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 is happy and at peace, her powers would be under her complete control, but if she is 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 starts to freeze 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. When confronted by the Duke of Weselton on the night that her powers were revealed, Elsa made attempt to avoid conflict, but her powers were unleashed upon the Duke and his men as the feeling of threat grew, nearly killing him. In the attack by the Duke's men, a bolt is shot at her from a crossbow. Almost instantly, a wall of ice forms as a shield to intercept the bolt before it would otherwise lodge itself in Elsa's head. So it is 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, 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 throughout 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.
It is also shown that Elsa's ice can change colors in accord with her emotions, as shown with her ice palace: it is blue when she is happy, red when she is frightened, purple when she is sad and amber when she is angry. Also, in Frozen Fever, she is shown to be able to create emerald green ice.
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.
A Saddened Past
- “Do the magic! Do the magic!”
- ―Anna to Elsa
At a young age, Elsa realized that she held an ancient ability over ice and snow, and often used her amazing 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 jumped down from the high snow slopes Elsa had created. Elsa tried to save her by using her magic, but accidentally struck her sister in the head instead, giving her a platinum blonde streak of hair. Their parents, the King and Queen, immediately sought aid for Anna by visiting the legendary trolls, whose leader, a shaman named Pabbie, was 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 removed Anna's knowledge and memories of magic, much to Elsa's despair, until Pabbie explained the true strength of Elsa's abilities, telling her that her power would only grow and there was not only beauty in it, but danger, and that she must learn to control them at all cost, or fear would be her enemy. While the King promised to help Elsa control her powers, the incident left Elsa traumatized by them. As a result, the King and Queen ordered the gates to be locked for Elsa and Anna's safety in the meantime.
From then on, Elsa forcibly and willingly spent 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 cared about. Even so, the persistent Anna tried time and time again to spend some quality time with her sister, but failed at every turn, leading her to eventually believe Elsa despised her and didn't want her around.
Throughout the years, Elsa's only true human contact was with her parents, who calmly tried 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 bestowed upon Elsa a pair of gloves, which were 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 refused to contact Anna, truly terrified of harming her yet again. One day, during Anna and Elsa's teenage years, their parents departed on a two week trip (to an unknown location), and though Elsa was torn about their parting, she bade them farewell as they were off. However, this was her last encounter with them, as the parents died when a massive wave capsized their ship, causing them to drown. A funeral was held, though Anna was the only one of the sisters to attend. Elsa, instead, stayed within her bedroom, where her powers had lost control, 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 was now truly alone, bitter 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, Princess Elsa has come of age and is now eligible 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 is 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 is 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 is 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, Queen Elsa continues on with the party, mingling with the visiting dignitaries 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, but the latter refuses any private conversation, stating whatever Elsa has to say, can be said to both her and Hans. Becoming frustrated, Elsa outright forbids Anna from 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 by this, she 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. 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, though it comes off with unintentional coldness.
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
- “No right, no wrong, no rules for me—I'm free!”
- ―Elsa, after leaving Arendelle
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 has 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 monster. Oblivious to the storm she has caused, Elsa soon realizes that being alone banishes the possibility of harming her family and subjects, allowing her to abandon her restrictions, both physically and emotionally, and finally embrace her abilities. With this, the young queen begins experimenting with her powers, her confidence and excitement building each moment, until she reaches higher up the mountain, claiming it as her own with the creation of a massive palace made of ice gleaming in the night and her signature gown. Declaring she will never return to Arendelle, Elsa discards her crown and establishes herself as the Snow Queen, marking the start of her life of freedom.
During her spectacle, Elsa also recreated Olaf, the snowman she built with Anna as a child. However, she unknowingly imbues him with life. With his new enchantment, Olaf heads down the mountain, and into the world, eventually stumbling upon Anna, and leading her to her elder sister's palace sometime afterwards.
Elsa and Anna
- “Elsa, we were so close. We can be like that again.”
- ―Anna to Elsa
A few days later, Elsa continues to live peacefully in solitude, until Anna arrives at her doorstep. Though initially touched to see Anna had visited her, Elsa refuses to make close contact, as well as return to Arendelle, believing a life of isolation is the best thing for her kingdom, Anna, and herself. Anna continues to speak against this, just as Olaf rushes in. Amazed by the enchanted snowman, Olaf's presence proves to Elsa that there is love and beauty in her powers, and reminds her of the joyful moments she spent with Anna during childhood. 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 is 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 strikes 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 for their safety. While Anna still insists Elsa returns with them, 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
- “Oh, I'm such a fool, I can't be free...”
- ―Elsa, talking to herself
Later that night, within the walls of the once beautiful ice palace, Elsa's mind scatters in thought as she desperately makes attempts to seize control over her powers and the curse that has been unleashed by concealing her emotions. Unfortunately, she has lost control over her powers once again, as the guilt 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 assuming 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 Anna will freeze to solid ice, unless she 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 is 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 apprehend Elsa, whom they presume is holding the princess captive. Though Hans distinctly commands his soldiers to refrain from harming the queen, the Duke of Weselton's bodyguards were given the confidential assignment to assassinate the queen in hopes that her death would end the eternal winter. As they approach the palace entry staircase, Marshmallow leaps into action, immediately sparking a fierce battle. Elsa, upon hearing the commotion, flees inside; not only for her own safety, but to also keep from using her powers for potentially fatal combat. However, the Duke's goons are able to bypass Marshmallow, and immediately assault the Snow Queen. Though reluctant at first, Elsa is quickly forced to use her powers to defend herself, eventually engaging in a fight against the two. Outside, Marshmallow continues to battle, but Hans brutally injures the snow beast 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 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. Hans' words are able to reach Elsa, who halts her magic upon realizing the demon she was gradually becoming. However, one of the goons manage to aim his crossbow at Elsa, and just as he is about to shoot her, Hans intervenes and alters the bolt's path, causing it 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 inadvertently brought to Arendelle
Some time later, Elsa awakens within the castle dungeon, where she finds herself shackled, with a limited ability to move. Using this limited ability, Elsa is able to witness the disaster she hass brought upon her former kingdom; looking through the dungeon's only window. As she takes in the sight, Hans arrives, claiming he brought the Snow Queen to Arendelle in hopes of preventing the Duke's men from killing her. Nevertheless, Elsa declares she must be released, to prevent further destruction upon Arendelle, and subsequently asks for Anna's whereabouts. Hans explains she has not returned, much to Elsa's concern. The prince then pleads for the queen to end the curse, but she denies with deep remorse, telling Hans that she is unable to, and the only apparent solution is for her to leave the kingdom and never return. In regards to her freedom, Hans merely claims he will "do what he can", before leaving the cell.
After his departure, Elsa's abilities begin to override the strength of her chains, as well as the cell, eventually destroying them both and allowing her to escape. Unfortunately, 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 is 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 is 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, shattering the blade, causing him to fall back unconscious just before her last, dying breath is lost.
Elsa quickly realizes the fate that has befallen her sister, and desperately pleads for her return to her, though to no response. With all hope seemingly lost, the Snow Queen breaks down in tears, mourning her loss. Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven sadly look on, as do 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
- “Love will thaw.”
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 professing her love for Elsa. Olaf deduced 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 focus 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. 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". Additionally, she is shown to have become a generous, loving ruler towards her people; allowing the castle gates to remain open, while also creating an ice skating rink during a celebration for the kingdom's enjoyment. All the while, Anna expresses her happiness over the newfound way of life, much to Elsa's satisfaction, and the two sisters finally embrace their restored relationship.
Taking place nearly a year after the events of the original film, Frozen Fever centers the celebration surrounding Anna's 19th birthday. As a means to compensate for the years spent in forced isolation, resulting in lackluster and lonely birthdays, Elsa puts every ounce of her power into organizing a meaningful day to be spent between herself and Anna. After gathering a number of gifts based on Anna's personal interests, Elsa spreads them across the castle and kingdom, and lastly puts her efforts into preparing the castle's courtyard, where the special cake is to be served. Assisting the Snow Queen are Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven, and although things seem to be going well, Elsa's perfectionist nature keeps her anxious. She is nevertheless assured by Kristoff that all will be well on his watch, and with that, Elsa departs to awaken Anna and officially start the day.
Following a trail of string throughout the castle and the village, Elsa and Anna begin their day of sisterly bonding while presenting the latter with her gifts, but throughout, Elsa constantly sneezes and sniffles as it becomes clear that a cold has consumed the queen. Whenever she sneezes, miniature snow-babies known as Snowgies are born, and they immediately rush to the castle courtyard and cause a mess as Kristoff, Olaf and Sven struggle to suppress them.
Meanwhile, Elsa's fever worsens to the point where she becomes delirious, thus affecting her actions. The hectic day leads to the city's clock tower, and a delirious Elsa nearly falls off the ledge, only to be saved by Anna. Finally coming down from her high, a comforting Anna manages to have Elsa admit the presence of her fever, and the sisters return to the castle. Guilty over the trouble she's caused, Elsa apologizes to her sister for ruining another birthday, though the latter assures her by claiming what's most important is the health of her sister.
Anna takes her sister back into the castle gates, only to find Kristoff, Sven, Olaf and the Snowgies having managed to successfully keep the party intact. A celebration follows, and Elsa, still delirious, insists on blowing the celebratory horn, which shoots out a massive snowball as a result of a sneeze, and flies all the way to the Southern Isles where it smacks into the conniving Prince Hans, causing the prince to be knocked into a wagon of horse manure.
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 take care of her big sister, whom she loves so dearly.
Elsa and Anna make a small cameo appearance in the animated mini-series It's a Small World: The Animated Series, in the episode "Little Birds, Frost and Pine", happily playing in the winter snow together, building Olaf.
Elsa also makes a small appearance alongside Anna, Sven and Olaf in an advertisement promoting Sky Movies.
An emoticon version of Elsa appeared in the Frozen and Frozen Fever entries of the As Told by Emoji short series.
Elsa debuts in the season finale of the show's third season and she is portrayed by Australian actress Georgina Haig. The flashbacks of Arendelle are set about three years after the events of the film, and approximately a year before the first Dark Curse is cast.
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 the Ice Queen within an enchanted urn. Kristoff and Elsa get to the urn first, but are cornered by Hans and three of his brothers. Elsa and Kristoff are able to defend themselves until Hans puts a sword to Kristoff's back, and threatens his life. Hans tells Elsa he will spare Kristoff if Elsa gives him the urn, which she does. When Hans opened the urn 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 maternal 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 refused to hurt Anna and Anna unseals the urn in which Elsa is then imprisoned. Ingrid in a rage takes the urn from Anna and freezes over all of Arendelle, Ingrid then erases Elsa's memories of ever meeting her so the two could have a fresh start after Ingrid released Elsa from the urn. However, before Ingrid could release Elsa, Rumplestiltskin appears and takes the urn from Ingrid and tells Ingrid he will give it back if she gives him the magical hat. Ingrid does not oblige to the Dark One's request and Elsa is stored in Rumple's vault.
Years later, Emma Swan and Captain Hook are transported back in time and after correcting their mistakes they are imprisoned in the vault of the Dark One by Rumple who believes the two of them can not return to the future. Hook attempts to search the vault for a way out and finds the urn that contains Elsa, Emma tells him to put it down which he does. Moments later Emma is able to recover her magic and open a time portal to the future in which Elsa's urn is accidentally sucked into. After Hook and Emma have returned to Storybrooke they leave the area, after they have departed Elsa breaks free from her urn, shatters it with her magic, and proceeds to walk out of the barn hastily creating a trail a frost in her wake.
Though initially frightened by her surroundings, causing great chaos as a result, such as creating a giant snowman that turns wild until it is destroyed by Regina. Elsa manages to retreat the chaos, and stumbles upon Anna's necklace in Mr. Gold's (Rumplestiltskin) shop. Elsa after finding Anna's necklace creates an ice wall the surrounds the entire town. Emma meets Elsa who was hiding behind the wall, and Emma nearly dies due a cave in but Elsa saves her. Later that night Emma and Elsa go to the ice wall so Elsa can take it down but for some reason her magic is unable to melt it.
As time passes Elsa and Emma form a strong friendship, and the other members of the town no longer see Elsa as a threat. Emma and the others decide to join their new companion in the search for her sister. The group would eventually encounter Ingrid who is using her magic to keep the ice wall up; though Elsa fails to remember her as her memory was wiped by the Snow Queen to prevent confrontations. Elsa and Captain Hook confront Ingrid after the latter has frozen Maid Marian but Ingrid tells Elsa everyone fears people with magic and tries to kill Hook to prove to Elsa that the town will turn on her. Emma is able to stop Ingrid but she gets away. Later Ingrid creates a false Anna to lure Elsa away from Emma and she traps her niece. Ingrid needs Elsa out of her way so she can obtain Regina's mirror. Elsa is able to break free from her bond's and stops Ingrid who was using her magic to choke Emma and Regina. Elsa tells Ingrid to fight her but Ingrid again flees.
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. The mirror was missing one piece which was a shard from Regina's mirror which Ingrid had just stolen. 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, Anna brings it to Ingrid. It reads that Gerda requests that Ingrid be freed from the urn and states she truly loved her sister and regretted trapping her away. Realizing she always had her sisters' love, Ingrid destroys herself to ensure the curse is lifted.
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.
Sometimes after, Arendelle would be under siege again; this time by the pirate Blackbeard. Having learned and mastered some new magic, Elsa managed to defeat him. As punishment for how he mistreated her sister and her brother-in-law, including his collaboration with Hans, Elsa shrinks the pirate and his crew, and turn their ship, the Jolly Roger, into a ship in a bottle, unaware that she also trapped the mermaid Ariel as well.
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.
In The Secret Admirer, Elsa receives a message from an anonymous lover, prompting Anna and Olaf to uncover the sender in hopes of pairing Elsa up. The book hints that Elsa may be aromantic, as she explains to Anna that she has no interest in romance, preferring to put her focus on caring for her sister.
In Return to the Ice Palace, Elsa's relationship with the Snowgies is briefly explored; she treats them very much in the vein of her own toddlers, as she warmly allows them to play along her dress during her visit to their home, in the ice palace.
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.
The story, A Sister More Like Me, gives an expanded look at her character. She's revealed to be intelligent, a lover of academics and has a fondness for tea.
A Year with Elsa & Anna (and Olaf, too!) describes Elsa's birth as having occurred at night, and in during which, the aurora borealis phenomenon took place.
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.
An add-on costume of Elsa is also featured in LittleBigPlanet, as part of the "Frozen Costume Pack".
In Club Penguin, she is exclusively featured in the episode "Frozen Party", in both her Snow Queen wear, and Coronation Day dress.
In Disney Tsum Tsum, Elsa's special power is to freeze the bottom of the screen, so the player can tap to clear it.
In Disneyland, Elsa and Anna meet-and-greet at "Anna and Elsa's Royal Welcome", which is inside the Disney Animation attraction at Disney California Adventure. She and Anna also appear in the float of the Frozen pre-parade of Mickey's Soundsational Parade.
Also at Disney California Adventure, Elsa makes a special appearance in Winter Dreams, the winter-themed rendition of the nighttime spectacular World of Color.
During the Disneyland Resort: Diamond Celebration, Elsa was prominently featured in the event's rendition of World of Color and Disneyland Forever. She also appeared on a float modeled after her ice palace in the Paint the Night parade.
Elsa also stars in the Frozen: Live at the Hyperion musical, at Disney California Adventure.
Elsa appears in the Festival of Fantasy Parade. She is also featured in Celebrate the Magic, where she performs "Let It Go". Also at Magic Kingdom, beginning in November 2014, Elsa took part in Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party and hosted the nightly ceremony, A Frozen Holiday Wish of transforming Cinderella Castle into a shimmering ice castle.
Elsa was also prominently featured as the hostess of Frozen Summer Fun! at Disney's Hollywood Studios and took part in nearly every event (including the morning parade, sing-along show For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration and nightly fireworks show).
As of July 2015, Elsa makes a cameo during the bubble montage scene in Fantasmic!, alongside Anna and Olaf.
Elsa also appears as an audio animatronic in Frozen Ever After in Epcot. During the attraction, she performs "Let It Go" in her ice palace, and is later seen dressed in her Frozen Fever attire performing "In Summer" alongside Anna and Olaf. In addition, Elsa currently makes meet-and-greet appearances near the attraction in the Norway Pavilion.
In Tokyo Disneyland, Elsa is heavily featured during Anna and Elsa's Frozen Fantasy.
Elsa and Olaf also appear during the finale of the nighttime spectacular Once Upon a Time. During the Winter overlay, she appears in a much larger capacity, with the addition of a Frozen segment.
She and Anna will appear on the ice castle float as part of the Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: Dreamlights starting on July 11, 2017.
In Disneyland Paris, Although Elsa no longer meets, she appears in Disney Magic on Parade and the nighttime spectacular Disney Dreams!. She is also the final character to encounter Mickey in Mickey and the Magician at the Walt Disney Studios Park. Every summer, she and her friends perform in For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration.
In Christmas of 2014, Elsa and Anna began making appearances at Hong Kong Disneyland's Fantasyland. She also appears in Mickey and the Wondrous Book where sings "Let It Go" in the Frozen segment where Mickey and Goofy bring Olaf back.
Elsa's likeness can be found on the Frozen mosaic mural inside of the Enchanted Storybook Castle. She also appears in the Frozen Sing-Along Celebration show in the Fantasyland theater, the Golden Fairytale Fanfare castle show, as well as the Mickey’s Storybook Express parade.
She is also prominently featured in the fireworks show, Ignite the Dream, where she performs "Let It Go" and the "For the First Time in Forever" reprise.
Anna and Elsa were originally slated to join the Disney Princess franchise as the twelfth and thirteenth Princesses, respectfully. The two were even given two-dimensional art, similar to those of Rapunzel and Merida. However, with the financial and critical success of their movie, the two are currently the stars of the Frozen franchise, rendering it unnecessary to include the two in another major franchise.
Despite this, the two have been commonly featured alongside members of the franchise in merchandise and media. They were referenced in the show Sofia the First. In "The Secret Library", a cold wind and ice droplets are shown in the secret tunnel, alongside other references to all the other Disney Princesses. Later, in "The Secret Library: Olaf and the Tale of Miss Nettle", Olaf is summoned by the Amulet of Avalor, due to the powers of Miss Nettle. It is implied by Olaf, however, that without Miss Nettle's intervention, Anna would have been summoned, as aside only Disney princesses have been summoned by the amulet.
The two were also included in the updated version of "The Glow", a Disney Princess song.
- Elsa is the only playable character in Disney INFINITY who cannot execute close combat.
- In all the songs she sings, her powers are present too.
- "For the First Time in Forever" - freezing a 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.
- "Making Today a Perfect Day" - changing the look of her and Anna's dresses and creating the Snowgies every time she sneezed.
- 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 at least 3 years (Anna is 18 years old during the coronation).
- According to Jennifer Lee and Disney, Elsa was born on the Winter Solstice. Given that the film takes place in July, Elsa would have turned 22 by winter. The map briefly shown in Frozen Fever suggests that it took place in 1840, ergo Frozen took place during July of 1839 (hence Oaken's statement, "A real howler in July, yes?") If Elsa was 21 years old during Frozen, then her birth year must have been 1817. And since she was born on the Winter Solstice, then she was born on the 21st of December, 1817. Her birthday is not celebrated on the Winter Solstice every year, necessarily, as that date differs. But she was born on the day that the Winter Solstice happened for that specific year. A one-day-late post on Disney's Tumblr page has caused some confusion with Elsa's true birthday.
- Also, Frozen Fever confirms Anna's birthday to be a year after the film, and the potential year it takes place (1840), indicating that Elsa should have turned 23 that December, and been 22 during the events of Frozen Fever.
- 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.
- Elsa was alluded to in the Sofia the First episode "Winter's Gift" by Winter when she talks about a princess who makes ice. She is also directly mentioned by Olaf in "The Secret Library: Olaf and the Tale of Miss Nettle".
- Elsa has the same hairstyle of her mother during her coronation.
- Elsa is very fond of chocolate, a trait she shares with 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, Deidre from the Once Upon a Time series novel Winter's Child, and the Snow Queen from the 2005 anime of the same name are the only three 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's 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 note of Elsa being the "heir" and Anna the "spare". ("More Than Just 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's "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.
- 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 does not 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 Meg, 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, and describing her snow designs as 'fractals'; an advanced geometry concept for the time period.
- 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 has 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. Coincidentally, 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 our mother, but I am still the queen", to 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".
- 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.
- According to the book Across the Sea, one of Elsa's recurring sources of amusement are Anna's condescending imitations of the Duke of Weselton.
- In Zootopia, a little elephant girl wearing an outfit resembling Elsa's 'Snow Queen' gown can be seen wandering around in Tundratown.
- In fact, there are several Frozen references in the film.
- Elsa weighed in at seven pounds when she was born.
- During renovations of the Walt Disney Animation Studios building, beginning in 2014, Elsa was one of the character silhouettes featured on the wall mural.
- Elsa's hair is never seen loose.
- Elsa the Snow Queen on Wikipedia
- Frozen Wiki: Elsa
- Hero Wiki: Queen Elsa
- Once Upon a Time Wiki: Elsa
- ↑ Peterson, Tyler (April 20, 2016). "Broadway's FROZEN Crowns its Fearless Queen - Meet Betsy Wolfe!". BroadwayWorld.com.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Acuna, Kristen (September 3, 2014). "Business Insider: One Huge Change In The 'Frozen' Storyline Helped Make It A Billion-Dollar Movie". Business Insider.
- ↑ Hill, Jim (December 2, 2013). "How Josh Gad Almost Missed Out on the Chance to Voice Olaf the Snowman for Disney’s Frozen". (Blog) Huffington Post.
- ↑ World Entertainment News Network (November 1, 2013). "Secret Phone Recording Helped Idina Menzel Land New Disney Role". Contactmusic.com.
- ↑ Sofka, Samantha (April 6, 2016). "Frozen Epcot attraction details". Oh My Disney. Disney.
- ↑ Lee, Jennifer (November 27, 2013). "@KellanJudy for the main part of the story, Anna is 18 and Elsa is 21.". (Tweet) Twitter.
- ↑ Lee, Jennifer (September 2, 2014). "@MarianaDeLama For all who've asked, here's an exclusive: Elsa was born on the Winter Solstice & Anna on the Summer Solstice. #AskFrozen". (Tweet) Twitter.
- ↑ Disney (December 22, 2015). "An ice day to celebrate the Snow Queen.". Tumblr.
- ↑ "Scriptnotes, Ep 128: Frozen with Jennifer Lee". (Transcript) Johnaugust.com (February 1, 2014).
- ↑ "Kristen Bell Isn’t Disney’s ‘Zootopia’s Only ‘Frozen’ Easter Egg". StitchKingdom (February 17, 2016).
- ↑ Foreman, Matthew Sinclair; David, Erica (March 2016). A Year with Elsa & Anna (and Olaf, too!). Disney Press.