Queen Elsa of Arendelle (also known as The Snow Queen) is the deuteragonist of Disney's Academy Award-winning 2013 animated feature film Frozen. She is the older sister of Princess Anna and was next in line for Arendelle's throne, until her powers over ice and snow 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 short story 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, Elsa was rewritten as the deuteragonist. She will join the Disney Princess line-up, along with her sister making her the 13th Disney Princess.
Official Disney Bio
From the outside, Elsa looks poised, regal and reserved, but in reality, she lives in fear as she wrestles with a mighty secret—she was born with the power to create ice and snow. It's a beautiful ability, but also extremely dangerous. Haunted by the moment her magic nearly killed her younger sister Anna, Elsa has isolated herself, spending every waking minute trying to suppress her growing powers. Her mounting emotions trigger the magic, accidentally setting off an eternal winter that she can't stop. She fears she's becoming a monster and that no one, not even her sister, can help her.
Elsa was originally portrayed as a dramatic, evil, heartless, 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, as well as being unrelated to Anna. However, as the film's development went into several problems story-wise, two major changes were made; the altercation 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 adaption of The Snow Queen all the more accessible. Elsa's original portrayal as a villain depicted her as being a rogue cold-hearted tyrant who had an entire army of giant snowmen as henchmen (who would eventually be turned into one giant snowman, Marshmallow), and was designed to resemble either Bette Midler (Georgette the poodle's voice actress) or the late singer Amy Winehouse, where she was depicted with spiky black or dark blue hair (and even blue-gray skin), a more angular body (as opposed to the final, heroic Elsa's rounder body) and constantly malicious smile, and wearing a clearly sinister-looking outfit made from live ermines; as opposed to having an innocent, angelic appearance and personality seen in the final film, and was originally going to be very hostile and bitter toward others about not wanting to contain her powers instead of being fearful and insecure about not wanting to appreciate her powers. 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 a heroic role seen in the actual film (this may have also led to the creation of the film's real villain, Hans ).
Broadway actress Idina Menzel, best known for performing Elphaba from Wicked, was cast to voice Elsa. 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, is experienced in grace, energy, and poise. Beneath this elegant appearance, however, Elsa is quite complex; in truth, Elsa is 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, although she was the more mature and reserved of the two sisters, Elsa was still quite playful. However, ever since her magic nearly caused her sister's death, Elsa had lived in fear and trauma for a great amount of her life, too nervous to let her powers overdevelop. As a result, she chose isolation from everyone she cared about, including Anna, out of fear that she could hurt them and kept things to herself rather than communicate or be around anyone.
From said concern, Elsa is sensitive towards other people and their well-being, as Elsa always felt that she had to be far away from people as much as possible in order to keep them as safe as possible. As such, she felt that she could not truly rule a kingdom because of this flaw, although she tried her hardest to repress her abilities for the sake of the kingdom and to be a good ruler for Arendelle when her time came, thus gaining a great sense of responsibility at an early age. Often, although Elsa demonstrates her willingness to sacrifice her own happiness for everyone else's, she herself feels irritated from the restraints that she is forced into, most evidently on her coronation day when she was to become queen, even though she was very apprehensive from the threat of her wintry powers and simply be accepted for who she is.
Growing up believing that her powers were unstable caused Elsa to cut off interaction with Anna, fearing that she could not control her powerful emotions with Anna around to spur them further. Despite her moral reasoning, she came off as aloof and cold towards anyone who wished to see her. Because Anna had to have the memories of Elsa's magic removed from her memory in order to stop Elsa's curse from damaging her mind and body beyond repair, Anna did not understand why Elsa's isolation was so dire and simply believed Elsa was uncaring. However, Elsa truly loved Anna and always wished to be with her whenever Anna asked — a chance Elsa greatly regretted refusing and was left in deep despair when Anna became the only family she had left. She also believes that she thinks she does not belong in Arendelle as she sees herself only as a force of destruction, implying that Elsa has low self-esteem towards herself in an extreme case, as she constantly blames herself to be the sole cause for most of her life's misfortunes, despite others stating that she is not, to the point that she deliberately forces everyone away because she is a hazard towards them.
However, during "Let It Go", Elsa reveals a liberated side to her personality. Without stress or fear of hurting others, Elsa 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 no longer worried or daunted by her restraints. In the segment, which was entirely about letting go of her fears and being 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 herself to be incredibly artistic and a 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.
Although she has a reclusive demeanor towards people, Elsa does possess a softer side; Elsa was more than willing to share some words with Anna as a form of comfort between the two and was seen speaking with dignitaries, hinting that she is not afraid to socialize with others but is at least open to it. She also displays a playful side to her personality several times, such as having a snowball fight with Anna in one of the promotional ads and sneakily tricking the Duke of Weselton (who was a terrible dancer) into dancing with Anna during the ball.
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 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.
After she conquers her fear and gains recognition from the kingdom, Elsa's personality becomes warm and playful once again, although still possessing her serene nature, as she happily attends ice-skating with Anna and the others, even helping Anna to ice skate without fear of freezing her as well as creating a snow cloud to help Olaf remain alive during summer.
Interestingly enough, although she is passive compared to Anna, it is implied that she ironically enjoys more thrilling activities than her sister. Immediately after thawing Arendelle, she creates an ice rink for everyone to enjoy without hesitation. While Anna is somewhat hesitant, she skates without fear, even encouraging her to join in.
Elsa is a strikingly beautiful young woman with a tall, slender figure, long platinum blonde hair , blue eyes, small nose and 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 Queen, albeit with a different hair color. In her pre-Snow Queen state, she wore a teal dress with a sweetheart bodice with bronze lacing, black sleeves and magenta cape, with dark brown shoes with gold outlines and teal stockings (which disappear after her transformation) underneath, and her hair was kept back in a French braided crown twist bun. Ever since the accident with Anna at age 8, Elsa wore white gloves to contain her powers, but at her coronation, she wore longer, cyan gloves that go with her outfit.
In her Snow Queen state, Elsa wears her hair in a left side braid woven with snowflake incrustations, and wisps of her bangs slicked back on top of her head. 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. Covering her feet are kitten heels made entirely from ice and, attached to the back of her bodice is a long, transparent cape of sheer ice which is decorated with large snowflakes and sweeps the floor.
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 she can control transitional forms of snow, as she was not only able to create solid forms such as ice, but gaseous forms as well; for instance, she created a snow cloud for Olaf at the end of the film. Interestingly, it would seem that nearly her entire being can conjure ice and snow, as seen when she stepped onto the river water at the coronation fjord, immediately freezing it the moment her foot touched the liquid.
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. At one point in the story when her ice palace is raided, the Duke's thugs attacked her and she was 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. As mentioned before when she was initially attacked, an arrow was shot at her from a cross bow. Elsa's powers reacted to this instantly, forming a wall of ice in front of her to block the incoming arrow. 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 was able to create Olaf and Marshmallow. 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 time has stopped, 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 was 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 helped to keep her anxiety and any icy outbursts under control all her life. Because it was her father, one of the few people she trusted, that claimed that wearing them would stop her abilities, Elsa believed it to be true, so by wearing gloves she thought truly stopped her powers, as a result of said belief, they did. This is supported by the fact she was 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, the pattern on the doors that led to the balcony of her ice palace, and it is the snowflake shown within the film's logo.
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 falls down from the high snow slopes Elsa had created. Elsa tries to save her by using her magic, but accidentally strikes her sister instead. Their parents, the King and Queen, immediately seek aid for Anna by visiting the legendary trolls, whose leader, a shaman named Pabbie, is able to stabilize Anna's condition since it had only affected the head, not the heart, which would have been fatal. To be safe, Pabbie then removes Anna's knowledge and memories of magic, much to Elsa's despair. Pabbie takes the time to explain the true strength of Elsa's abilities, telling her that her power will only grow and there's not only beauty in it, but danger, and that she must learn to control them at all cost, or fear will be her enemy. While the King promises to help Elsa control her powers, the incident leaves Elsa traumatized by them. As a result, the King and Queen order the gates to be locked for Elsa and Anna's safety.
From then on, Elsa forcibly and willingly spent the rest of her life distanced from the kingdom, including Anna, trying to keep her powers from growing out of control and harming those she cares 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.
The Death of the Royals
- “Do you have to go?”
- ―Elsa's last words to her parents
Throughout the years, Elsa's only true human contact 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 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, the king and queen left for a trip, and though Elsa was torn about their parting, she bid them farewell as they were off. However, this would be her last time with them, as the royal parents would die during a powerful storm. A funeral was held, though Anna was the only one of the sisters to attend. Elsa, instead, too afraid to even go to the funeral out of fear of hurting someone with her powers, stayed within her bedroom, mourning for the loss of her parents, alone. Because of her devastated emotions, her powers corrupted 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 was now truly alone.
- “Make one wrong move and everyone will know...”
- ―One of Elsa's lines in the song "For the First Time in Forever"
Three years later, Elsa is chosen to be crowned the new queen regnant. To celebrate the momentous occasion, Arendelle invites royalty from far and wide to join in the festivities, such as the dashing Prince Hans and the pompous Duke of Weselton among others. Whilst Anna, the citizens of Arendelle, and the visiting royals couldn't be more excited, Elsa is beyond reluctant, fearful the major contact with the world will lead to the discovery of her powers. Even so, she accepts that it's all merely for a day, and tries her best to conceal her emotions, though the task proves to be difficult. At the cathedral, Elsa's crowning takes place, but because she must wield the traditional scepter and globus cruciger without her gloves, her abilities are nearly revealed. Fortunately, she's able to withstand the near exposure, 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. Both sisters appear to be very joyous to finally share some time together, even smelling the scent of chocolate, and although Elsa's enjoying herself and quality time with Anna, Anna's open desire to have moments like the occasion at hand frequently causes Elsa to become reserved once again, reluctantly telling Anna her wish simply cannot be, and without any further explanations as to why, breaking the younger princess' heart and prompting her to leave.
- “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, 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
From that day forth,lost from her kingdom,Elsa lives peacefully in solitude, until one day when Anna enters her palace. 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 snowy 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, two soldiers sneak past him and enter, searching for Elsa in an attempt to kill her as per the Duke's orders, defying Hans' orders to not harm her. They soon corner her, and Elsa is fearful at first, but eventually, after becoming very provoked, uses her abilities against the two, willingly, and comes close to killing them, completely furious at the harm they've brought upon her and her home, as well as destroying her vow to keep her powers from harming others. Outside, Marshmallow continues to battle, but Hans brutally injures him and causes him to go plummeting into a chasm to his apparent death, leaving Elsa devoid of protection and allowing Hans and his henchmen access into the palace, where Elsa has gained the upper hand against the Duke's goons. Just as Elsa was about to murder the two, Hans appears and stops her, telling her not to prove she's the monster they believe she is. Elsa settles down a bit at Hans' words, realizing the demon she was becoming and halts her magic. However, one of the soldiers aims his arrow at Elsa, still following the Duke's orders, and just as he is about to shoot her, Hans intervenes, causing the arrow to cut through Elsa's chandelier which then plummets towards the ground. Elsa tries to escape the collision, but is knocked out in the process. Hans and the soldiers then capture her and head back to the kingdom.
- “Oh, no. What have... What have I done?”
- ―Elsa, as she looks at the disaster that she has brought to Arendelle
Elsa soon awakens to find herself within the castle dungeon. When she tries to see outside, she finds herself chained with limited availability of movement. Using the limited ability to move, she finally witnesses the disaster she's brought upon her former kingdom. Just then, Hans arrives to speak with her. Elsa asks for Anna's whereabouts, but Hans explains she hasn't returned, much to Elsa's concern. The prince then pleads for the queen to end the curse, but she tearfully denies, telling Hans that she's unable to. With that, Hans takes his leave, just after Elsa begs for freedom, to which Hans claims he'll do what he can. Once he's gone, Elsa's powers suddenly get the better of her chains and are able to destroy the cell, allowing her to escape. Elsa flees the castle and heads back into the fjords to return home, but her fearful emotions cause a deadly blizzard to consume Arendelle, making her retreat that much more difficult, just as Hans learns of her escape. Needing to put an end to the winter, Hans heads out to kill Elsa, believing her death would not only free the kingdom, but earn him praise and admiration, selfishly wanting to rule the land as a beloved king.
By Ice be Shattered
- “Your sister is dead! Because of you!”
- ―Hans to Elsa
Meanwhile, with Hans having betrayed Anna and revealing himself to be a ruthless murderer, her curse becomes stronger and her death process is nearly complete. Olaf, however, informs her that Kristoff is the one that truly loves her, and that he's the one she must kiss to save herself. Anna and Olaf retreat to find the mountain man, just as Hans confronts Elsa not too far away. Elsa pleads to be left alone, and asks Hans to take care of Anna for her, to which Hans responds by telling her about the curse she accidentally put upon Anna, and that she died from it despite his efforts to save her. Devastated by the heart wrenching news, Elsa collapses and mourns the death of her sister, ceasing the blizzard and giving Hans the chance to finally eliminate her, as she's now vulnerable. Hans slowly approaches the Snow Queen from behind and draws his sword, ready to decapitate her. However, Anna sees this, as she went out with Olaf's help to get to Kristoff, and although she was freezing to death quicker and quicker, she jumps in front of Elsa as her curse takes full effect, turning into an ice statue the second Hans' sword hits, causing him to fall back unconscious just before Anna's last, dying breath is lost.
Elsa quickly realizes the fate that befallen her sister, and desperately pleaded for her return. However, with all hope seeming lost, the Snow Queen breaks down in tears, mourning the loss of her deceased sister. Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven sadly look on, as does some of Arendelle's citizens, who realize Elsa's purity from the heartbreaking scene before them. However, Anna's sacrifice to save Elsa qualifies as an act of true love, and before long, the princess' frozen body begins to thaw, resulting in her revival.
The Great Thaw
- “I love you.”
- ―Anna to Elsa
Elsa is overwhelmingly joyous and relieved to see Anna alive and well, and is touched at how Anna has risked her life to save her. Anna responds by telling Elsa she loves her, and Olaf figures out that the act of true love was Anna's sacrifice, and that's what thawed her heart. These words from the snowman give Elsa the realization that the curse can be lifted, and that love is the key to doing so. Realizing that love enables her to thaw her powers, Elsa is able to use this and focuses herself, removing the icy curse from Arendelle and bringing summer back to the kingdom. With peace restored, Elsa rekindles her bond with Anna and is praised by her people for freeing them from the curse, having learned she's far from a monster. She uses her abilities to give Olaf a snow cloud to prevent him from melting away. As Hans struggles to his feet, Kristoff tries to attack Hans, but Anna confronts him instead for his betrayal by berating him for his frozen heart and punching him in the face, so hard that Hans falls off the ship they were standing on, into the water below. Anna and Elsa share another hug again, rekindling their sisterly bond.
After returning to her rightful position as queen of Arendelle, Elsa cuts off trade with Weselton, deports Hans, the Duke and his men for their attempted assassinations, and names Kristoff the Official Arendelle Ice Master and Deliverer. Later, she creates an ice rink in the castle courtyard for the people of Arendelle to enjoy. Elsa declares to Anna that they will never close the castle gates again now that she is finally accepted and makes a pair of ice skates for Anna, and the two sisters join in the celebration of harmony, having the fun they used to share together at long last.
Elsa and Anna make a small cameo in the animated mini-series in the episode "Little Birds, Frost and Pine", happily playing in the winter snow together, building Olaf.
Elsa is set to appear in the upcoming animated short, as the one of the primary protagonists. Here, she and Kristoff are in the mix of planning a birthday bash for Anna, but her abilities causes trouble for the two.
Elsa debuts in the last episode of the series' third season and she is portrayed by guest star Georgina Haig. The flashbacks of Arendelle are set about two years after the events of the film.
Anna and Kristoff are engaged to be married, and in honor of the occasion, Elsa bestows a dress owned by their mother and a newly made necklace onto her sister. Humorously, though Elsa is happy for her sister, she isn't too sure about the groom; Kristoff. While discussing her hesitation, Elsa stumbles upon the diary of their mother. According to the text, the sisters learn their parents, the king and queen, were not going on a voyage on account of diplomatic duties, but for a mysterious reason revolving around Elsa. With this new knowledge, Elsa immediately blames herself for the death of her parents and flees the castle in despair. Confused, Anna follows behind and comforts her sister, but her efforts are futile. Not believing their parents would flee Arendelle out of fear of Elsa, Anna takes the ice queen to Grand Pabbie in hopes of finding the truth. Unfortunately, while the king and queen spoke to Pabbie on where they were truly heading, he failed to learn the intentions. According to the wise troll, King Agdar and Queen Idun were heading to a place known as Mist Haven. Anna suggests the two should head there to find answers, but Elsa refuses. Sometime later, after interrogating Kristoff on Anna's whereabouts, Elsa learns Anna has rushed off to Mist Haven, alone. While the ice queen begins to worry, Kristoff reassures Anna's capabilities, claiming she'll be fine as long as they continue to have faith in her.
After Anna has left for The Enchanted Forest, Elsa frantically worries about her sister. To her distress, she finds out Prince Hans and his twelve brothers are planning to attack Arendelle. Elsa wants to avoid war and tries to think of a way around fighting the princes from The Southern Isles. While Elsa and her guards are talking, Kristoff interrupts and tells her he has learned of Hans' plan. Hans plans to find an urn that can trap magical people and once Elsa is trapped, he plans to become king of Arendelle. Elsa and Kristoff then set out on a journey to find the urn before Hans does and though successful, Hans and three of his brothers ambush them. Elsa is able to fend off Hans' brothers but Hans himself puts a sword to Kristoff and demands Elsa give him the urn unless she wants Kristoff to die. To ensure Kristoff's safety, Elsa gives Hans the urn; at this, Hans smiles and tells her a monster shouldn't rule Arendelle and removes the lid from the urn, and pours out a white liquid. Everyone believes the liquid will trap Elsa; however as it approaches her feet ,it backs away and takes the form of a woman, the Snow Queen. As punishment, the Snow Queen turns Hans into an ice statue. Elsa, Kristoff, and the newly released Snow Queen return to the castle.
At the castle, the Snow Queen tells Elsa she is her maternal aunt and the Snow Queen promises Elsa she will help her find Anna.
While trapped in the past, Hook, Emma and Marian are sealed in Rumplestiltskin's vault, which is full of dark magic artifacts. A vessel in a cabinet catches Hook's eye, and he casually pulls it out. When Emma regains her magic and re-opens the time portal to return to present time, the vessel is also pulled through. The trio arrive back in Storybrooke inside Zelena's barn and depart. The remaining vessel opens and releases a blue liquid that changes into the form of the Ice Queen, Elsa. Breaking free out of the vessel, she then destroys it and walks out of the barn while creating a walkway of frost.
She arrives in a town called Storybrooke, home to dozens of fairy tale characters from the Enchanted Forest, a neighboring land of Arendelle. Scared and confused, Elsa enters the town, accidentally causing havoc in the process, such as freezing the car of Grumpy and Sleepy, and recreating the fearsome Marshmallow for protection after her arrival causes a panic in the town and summons Emma and Killian. With Marhsmallow's attack having the citizens distracted, Elsa is able to flee the scene. In the mix of the chaos, she finds a news article highlighting Rumple. This leads Elsa to his gift shop within the town, where she recovers the necklace given to Anna as a wedding gift. A determined Elsa then vows she'll find a way to find and reunite with her sister and, out of fury, imprisons the town by blocking off all borders with a giant blockade of solid ice. The curse cuts the power in the town, as well, resulting in Emma, Killian, and David heading out to find the source of the shortage. They eventually find the wall, as well as Elsa. Emma tries reasoning with the Ice Queen, but the latter becomes far too fearful, and the two are accidentally trapped within the icy caverns.
Inside, Emma learns Elsa's actions weren't out of malice, and the only reason they were trapped within the caverns is due to the Ice Queen's lack of control over her powers. After apologizing for the trouble she's caused, Elsa explains Anna is the source of her control, and without her, she's practically hopeless. Because of this, Elsa urges David and Killian to find her sister, but she's nowhere to be found within Storybrooke. However, they are able to recover the magical staff of a sorceress by the name of Bo Peep, planning to use it to track down Anna. After finally calming down upon learning there's hope of actually reuniting with her beloved sister, Elsa is able to free herself and Emma. David then promises he'll assist the Ice Queen in finding her sister.
Elsa along with Emma and Hook go to Mr. Gold's shop and ask him why Elsa was trapped in his vault in the Enchanted Forest of the past. Gold responds he came into many objects and that they should ask Elsa herself and she said she doesn't remember as something happened to her memories. After Maid Marian has collapsed due to the freezing curse cast by the Snow Queen, Emma, Elsa and Hook go the mayor's office were they meet up with Mary Margret, David, Regina and Robin Hood. Regina accuses right on the spot of cursing Marian to which Elsa replies "This isn't my magic. Someone else did this". Emma tells Regina they can trust Elsa and Elsa, Hook and Emma leave to find who caused the curse on Marian.
Emma had told Hook to take Elsa to the Sheriff's station, but Elsa and Hook decide that is not the best course of action to take and head to Mr. Gold's shop so he can help them find the person who cast the freezing curse. Mr. Gold is able to help them by returning a piece of Marian's hair that was turned white back into its original form of small snow flakes. He then blows on the flakes which form a trail that Elsa and Hook follow. Elsa and Hook follow the snow flakes and as they walk through the woods they start to talk. They mostly talk about Emma and how Elsa feels she and Emma are a lot a like and Hook needs to see things from Emma's perspective. Elsa and Hook find the source of the magic and it is the Snow Queen who is staring at a miniature ice palace. Elsa looks at the Queen and claims she doesn't look evil but Hook tells her other wise. The two agree to leave but Hook's feet are frozen to the ground. Elsa demands the Snow Queen releases him, but she says no and that they have so much catching up to do. Both Elsa and Hook are shocked to hear the Snow Queen say this, as Elsa claims she has never met the Snow Queen before. The Snow Queen tells Elsa she had forgotten due to the magic of the Rock Trolls and how they pull memories.
The Snow Queen then tells Elsa that Anna is the reason she was trapped in the urn. Elsa doesn't believe the Snow Queen and the Snow Queen says everyone will turn on people like them even friends and family. The Snow Queen creates several icicles over Hook's head and tells Elsa she is going to kill him and the whole town will blame her for his death and that Elsa will see everyone fears people with ice magic. As the Snow Queen starts to lower the icicles Emma and David come and Emma blast the Snow Queen with her magic and saves Hook. The Snow Queen vanishes and Elsa stares off into the distance wondering where she could have gone. After the Snow Queen departs Elsa tells Emma she knows the Snow Queen is lying but she wished she knows the truth about the past to which Emma replies the past has a way of revealing itself.
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 encounter 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 will play 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 is included as a playable character in Disney INFINITY. 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 and she is voiced by Idina Menzel.
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 Pabbie. Her special ability is her ice magic, known as 'glacier' in the game.
In 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 in the 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 in the Magic Kingdom, beginning in November of 2014, Elsa will take part in Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party and host 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 Frozen Fever, the friendship between Elsa and Kristoff will be heavily focused as they work together to help celebrate Anna's birthday.
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, 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.
- “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, he 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. There 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 accidently 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.
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."
All and all, she is considered to be one of the best Disney characters ever.
- 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.
- Originally, Elsa was to be the main villain of the film. But the writers felt that her song, Let it Go, rather made her sound like a sympathetic person who was well-meaning. This ended up turning her into a heroine.
- According to Jennifer Lee, Elsa was born on the Winter Solstice, meaning her birthday is around December 21 assuming the film takes place in the Northern Hemisphere.
- 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.
- 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 3 years (Anna is 18 years old).
- Elsa may have been inspired by classic actress and the former Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly. It should also be noted that director Alfred Hitchcock once described the cool and composed actress as a "snow-covered volcano." This comment may very well have inspired Elsa's passion, as seen in her 11 o'clock number.
- Walt Disney had plans to adapt The Snow Queen in the 1940s, 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 is the first Disney Princess who is the deuteragonist to have a solo of her own. Jasmine, however, did have a solo that was cut from her feature film.
- As the oldest sister, Elsa has one braid in her hair, while her younger sister Anna, has two.
- Elsa has the same hairstyle like her mother, during her coronation.
- Contrary to that, it is noted that Elsa's mother is actually a recolored and customized design of Elsa's coronation model. You can notice the similarities between Elsa and her mother from eyes, to cheeks and overall facial features (including their hairstyle) is the same. However, few differences are Queen Idun's hair color and her thinner face.
- Elsa is very fond of chocolate, a trait she shares with her sister, Anna.
- She is the second Disney Princess so far to wear transparent footwear, after Cinderella.
- Contrary to how most adaptations (particularly the 1995 and 2012 versions) portray her, this version of the Snow Queen is not a villain, since the Snow Queen in the original fairy tale, though still the main antagonist was not intended to be evil. Also, the fairy tale involved an evil troll (implied to represent Satan) building a mirror which he will use to turn everyone evil, only to accidentally smash it in the process, and one of the shards ending up hitting Kai. The Queen was based on a woman Hans Christian Andersen personally hated for being shrewd and distant.
- Elsa may have been 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 one of the broken shards of a magic mirror created by an evil troll which he was supposed to use to corrupt people and becoming cold and resentful, therefore prompting Gerda to try and rescue him, combined with the Snow Queen herself. In some adaptations, Kai and Gerda are actually siblings.
- If that is the case, Elsa is the first Disney Princess to be based on a female antagonist and a male protagonist from the source material, and the first false antagonist in the lineup.
- 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.
- The show Once Upon a Time has shown that an evil Snow Queen exists, which would mean that the Elsa in the aforementioned show acts as its version of Kai, though ironically being a queen of ice and snow.
- Elsa appears to be Disney's ultimate subversion of the evil queen (and to a much lesser extent, Disney villainesses in general). While Elsa's behavior and powers would possibly normally be possessed by villainous characters, Elsa on the other hand is extremely good-natured but misunderstood, and the only malicious traits she had appear to be her inner fears. Adding to this is the fact that she is associated with the number 13: she will be the 13th Princess, 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'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. Since Elsa was still a villain (albeit a misguided villain) in this draft, this would have made the movie be about sibling rivalry (and possibly redemption) instead of sibling friendship (a similar premise was used as a subplot for Brother Bear, where even though that movie was also about sibling friendship between the protagonist, who was turned into a bear, and his adoptive younger bear "brother" (his transformation was the consequence of him killing said cub's mother); said protagonist at the same time gets involved in a rivalry with his own brother as well). This subplot was dropped after Elsa was rewritten into a heroine.
- 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."
- Elsa also bears some resemblance to Rosalina from the Mario series video games as both are magical female characters who primarily wear an off-the-shoulder light blue dress, and sporting blue eyes, blonde hair and pale skin.
- Elsa is the second Disney Princess to have powers, with the first being Rapunzel, who has healing powers.
- 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.
- Since the Disney Princesses were designed to have all the Princesses unaware of each other's presence (however this is debatable given their interactions and scenes together in House of Mouse, at the Walt Disney World Resort and in the first Kingdom Hearts game), Elsa and Anna are the first and second to know of each other, however this could be since childhood. Ariel and Jasmine were seen together talking in The House of Mouse. Snow White was seen talking to Jasmine and Alice (even though she isn't a princess), along with Aurora talking with Cinderella in Kingdom Hearts. Additionally, Rapunzel has a cameo in the beginning of Frozen meaning she knows about both Elsa and Anna.
- Anna and Elsa are the sixth and seventh Disney Princesses to be seen inside a holy building.
- Anna and Elsa are the first two of all the Disney Princesses to be siblings and come from the same film, although Ariel has 6 older sisters (Ariel's sisters aren't included in the Disney Princess franchise).
- Elsa is the second deuteragonist in 22 years to join the Disney Princess franchise, with the first being Jasmine.
- Elsa is the first Disney Princess to actually become a queen, and the second heroine after Kida from Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
- A queen consort (also empress consort), by contrast, is the wife of a reigning king (or emperor). A queen consort usually shares her husband’s rank and holds the feminine equivalent of the king's monarchical titles. Historically, queens consort do not share the king regnant’s political and military powers unless he or a law grants them to her. A queen regnant is a queen in her own right with all the powers of a monarch, usually becoming queen by inheriting the throne on the death of the previous monarch (i.e. Elsa and Anna's parents); they have been far fewer in number than queen consorts.
- Rapunzel, Anna and Elsa are the only Princesses that are playable characters in Disney INFINITY. Coincidentally, all three also appear in Frozen (Rapunzel as a cameo for Elsa's coronation ceremony in the beginning of the film).
- Elsa and Anna are the third and fourth of all the Disney Princesses to be orphans, the first two being Snow White and Cinderella, however, Elsa and her sister lost their parents in their teens as opposed to childhood. They are also the first not to have stepmothers.
- Anna and Elsa are the 5th and 6th Disney Princesses to be seen as kids in their feature films, the first four being Cinderella, Tiana, Rapunzel and Merida.
- Originally, Elsa (then a villain) was going to have dark hair prior to her transformation into the Snow Queen. Her hair was also going to be shorter and pointing upward, making her resemble Periwinkle.
- The accident with Anna strongly implies Elsa's hair is platinum blonde because of her powers. It can be assumed if she never had them, she would have brunette hair like her mother's. This is also heavily evidenced by the fact that if you look closely, you'll notice that Elsa's eyebrows are dark as opposed to light, which is naturally impossible, as eyebrows are always the same color as the hair. Although this theory has yet to be confirmed.
- Elsa is the second Disney Princess who does not have a love interest, after Merida.
- Elsa is the second Disney Princess to be rescued by her family member, the first being Merida. Merida was rescued by her mother from Mor'du and Elsa was rescued by Anna from Hans. The other Princesses, except for Pocahontas, Mulan and Tiana; were rescued by either their love interest or their friends.
- Elsa is the fourth Princess to run away from home, after Snow White, Ariel, and Jasmine.
- Elsa is the third Disney heroine to be formally sentenced to death, after Esmeralda and Mulan.
- Elsa is the fifth Princess to have her hair braided, with the first being Cinderella, the second being Pocahontas, the third being Rapunzel, and the fourth being Anna, although Cinderella, Pocahontas and Rapunzel only wear their hair braided for a brief time.
- Elsa is the third Disney character to be portrayed by Idina Menzel. The first was Circe, and the second was Nancy Tremaine.
- Ironically, Elsa says that you can't marry a man you just met, but Nancy, who was also portrayed by Idina Menzel like Elsa, did marry a man she just met.
- 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.
- Thought in original myth, Persephone's mother Demeter didn't cause winter when her daughter was kidnapped, but summer (Greece having a warm climate tend to have hot and unbearable summers that used to ruin all plant life and cause almost or more starvation than winter). When other Europeans started translating, they changed it to winter since it made more sense given their climate.
- 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 fairytale 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.
- Elsa's I Want song 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).
- Elsa is one of the few Disney Princesses who has not been seen barefoot. She shares this trait with Snow White, Belle and Merida. However despite the fact she is never seen barefoot several times during the film there are direct shots of her feet. She shares this trait with Rapunzel.
- 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.
- The scene where Elsa and Anna were playing in the Great Hall, which was made into a winter wonderland with Elsa's winter magic, may also be a hint towards the ending, when after being accepted by the citizens and visitors for her magical nature, she turns the courtyard into an ice rink, even asking if they are ready, being only slightly different between the two times: "Ready?" as a child, and "Are you ready?" as an adult.
- The Great Hall is also where Anna learns about Elsa's winter magical nature once again, along with the citizens and the visitors. While as children it would be a happy experience, as adults it would be a terrifying experience for the citizens, visitors, Anna and more importantly for Elsa.
- 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.
- Many fans wonder how Elsa received her ice powers, especially since her family doesn't seem to have them. While it is known she was born with them (mentioned by the king) it remains unknown how she was born with them but it could be presumed that either magical abilities run in the family and merely skipped previous generations (suggesting that it's genetic, but in earlier generations it was a recessive trait) or that something happened to the queen when she was pregnant with Elsa.
- 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.
- 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 "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 harm Anna.
- Elsa's voice actress Idina Menzel 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.
- 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 being an unkind ruler.
- 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 and looser 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 by her act of true love), after Kenai, but before Hiro Hamada.
- She's the fifth Disney Princess to have blue eyes but the first blue-eyed Disney Princess to not have red or reddish hair.
- The other four Disney Princesses with blue eyes (Cinderella, Ariel, Merida and Anna) all have red or reddish hair. Ariel and Merida are the only true redheads while Cinderella and Anna both have strawberry-blonde hair.
Similarities to Disney characters
- Elsa is similar to Simba from The Lion King, because they were young monarchs who have been blamed by their villains for threatening their kingdoms and running away only to let said villain take over because of their absence. Also, after abandoning their kingdoms, they both start to care less of ruling their kingdoms until one of their allies warns them about something terrible occurring to said kingdom, and their villains blame them for allegedly killing one of their family members they were very close to (Anna and Mufasa). Their absence has also led to severe weather conditions (a drought in an African savanna, an endless winter in Arendelle) to threaten their kingdoms, which worsen toward the end (said drought leading to a fire, said winter leading to a blizzard). Furthermore, when they return to their kingdom to take their rightful place, they end up fixing the weather, Elsa with "the Great Thaw", and Simba with rain.
- Elsa is very similar to the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, as they are both cursed royalty who were given fierce abilities (though in this case, the Beast was turned hideous and animalistic; Elsa was born with uncontrolled power) and both are misunderstood by the townspeople and referred to as a monster, so they try to avoid the people in fear of their strengths. Both of their film's villains also attempted to kill them (Gaston stabs the Beast and almost killed him if he did not revive while Hans almost killed Elsa if Anna did not throw herself in his way) as they both have inadvertently been a major obstacle in their respective antagonists' plans (Gaston's plan to have Belle and Hans' plan to rule Arendelle). Ironically, Anna's sacrifice depicts Elsa clutching around her sister's body in a manner similar to Belle's when the Beast died.
- Elsa bears some similarities to Merida.
- Both feel bad for their actions they made from an attempt to be free (Merida in turning her mom into a bear and Elsa in trapping Arendelle in an eternal winter).
- Neither had a boyfriend or husband at the end of their films.
- Both know how to defend themselves if attacked.
- Both have younger biological sibilings (Merida with her triplet brothers and Elsa with Anna).
- Both wore capes.
- Both have blue eyes.
- The "Act of True Love" scene is similar to the "Second Sunrise" scene, as both heroines are tearfully hugging their loved persons (Elsa for Anna when she is frozen and Merida for Elinor when she is a bear) while the curse is being removed from them.
- Elsa is similar to Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Both are accused of sorcery/witchcraft (Elsa by the Duke, Esmeralda by Frollo). Both seek refuge in a magnificent structure (Elsa in her palace, Esmeralda in Notre Dame). The structure also serves as a prison, with Elsa being trapped by her emotions and powers, and Esmeralda being trapped by Frollo's forces. Both are formally sentenced to death by a villain (Esmeralda by Frollo, Elsa by Hans). When they escape this fate, they further pursued by the sword wielding villains. Frollo attempts to strike Esmeralda multiple times with his sword, and Hans attempts to behead Elsa with his. Both Elsa and Esmeralda display their powers to villagers (although Esmeralda's are more tricks and illusions). Both are accused of being monsters by villains who are the true monsters.
- Elsa is similar to Periwinkle, not just by sharing winter-related magic, but also similar styles of fair hair and both having a sister (Anna and Tinker Bell) that live in and represent the opposite season. Their sisters are the main protagonists of both movies respectively.
- Elsa's hairdo bears a strong resemblance to Helga Sinclair's.
- Elsa is very similar to Kida from Atlantis: Aside from being young queens with light blonde hair and blue eyes, Kida and Elsa both have water and crystal-based magic powers, both are queens of kingdoms whose names begin with the letter "A" (Atlantis and Arendelle, respectively), and both once used large monsters to impede the protagonists' journey (Kida had the Leviathan, while Elsa had Marshmallow). The only difference is that Elsa is Caucasian while Kida isn't, that Kida was a princess for most of her film but becomes queen at the end, and Elsa only being a princess at the start of her film and is queen for the rest of her film, and that Kida ended up getting her own king (Milo Thatch), while Elsa remained single.
- Elsa is very similar to Wreck-It Ralph, as both are misunderstood "villains" who were ostracized by other inhabitants of their homes, causing them both to run away to find a better life (Ralph wanted to get a medal, while Elsa wanted to avoid harming her subjects), only to cause bigger problems in the process (Ralph causing his game to go out of order, while Elsa's magic plunges her kingdom into an eternal winter). Both eventually realize the errors of their own ways as soon as they return to their homes for the very first time.
- She is also similar to Vanellope von Schweetz from the same film, as both are female monarchs that were former princesses who were ostracized by their subjects for their unique abilities (Vanellope being a glitch, while Elsa had ice magic), causing them to both run away and make a temporary home in the mountains. Both were later locked up in a dungeon by their respective villains (King Candy/Turbo to Vanellope, Hans to Elsa), and finally their villains tried to kill them.
- Both of their films feature villainous characters voiced by Alan Tudyk (King Candy and the Duke of Weselton).
- Elsa is very similar to Mirana the White Queen from Alice in Wonderland (2010) as, much like Anne Hathaway's depiction of that character is, she is a pale-skinned, fair-haired queen who wishes not to harm her subjects.
| Snow White | Cinderella | Aurora | Ariel | Belle | Jasmine | Pocahontas | Mulan | Tiana | Rapunzel | Merida
Future Disney Princesses: Anna | Elsa
Other Princesses: Maid Marian | Leia | Eilonwy | Calla | Kiara | Melody | Kida Nedakh | Ting-Ting, Su and Mei | Giselle | Kilala Reno | Atta | Dot | Kairi | Charlotte La Bouff | Vanellope von Schweetz | Sofia the First
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
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