- “But only an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart.”
- ―Grand Pabbie
Pabbie is a wise, elderly troll who rules the mystical area known as the Valley of the Living Rock, a land inhabited by dozens of trolls. These trolls have the ability to morph into rocks to hide themselves from those they wish to keep away from, an ability Pabbie shares. Most of his background is shrouded in mystery, though some things are revealed and explained. He is the father of Bulda, though his relations to the other trolls is unknown. Once Bulda adopted the orphan ice harvester, Kristoff and raised him among the troll community, Pabbie officially welcomed him into the family as well, taking the role as his grandfather, explaining how he adopted the nickname Grand Pabbie.
Pabbie is also the only troll shown to have magical abilities. He's shown being able to conjure up images through rays of light, but more importantly shown to have healing abilities, which he uses on young Anna after Elsa accidentally struck her with magic, revealing Pabbie to be a shaman. Though powerful, Pabbie is unable to heal and/or undo every magic spell or curse. He does, however, have knowledge of a source that can.
Pabbie is also shown to have the ability to wipe/alter memories, as well as look into the future to some extent. The troll is also able to sense magical elements nearby, seen when Anna (as an adult) arrived in the Valley of the Living Rock, with Pabbie sensing her frozen heart curse not too long after her arrival. This is seen previously when the royal family visited the valley years before Anna and Elsa's adulthood, Pabbie knowing Elsa held magical abilities within her the moment she entered his land.
Unfortunately, despite his wisdom, Pabbie's words of the wise can be taken the wrong way. For instance, when Pabbie told the king and queen fear will be Elsa's enemy, they believed he meant the fear of those around her. However, what he truly meant was Elsa's very own fear, as her emotions control her abilities, and when she's afraid, it causes chaos. Another instance is when the cure for Anna's frozen heart was revealed. Anna, Kristoff, and even the other trolls believed a true love's kiss would be an act of true love, but a real act of true love is performing a selfless act for someone you love; true love meaning putting someone else's needs before yours. Ironically, it was Olaf who understood the meaning behind Pabbie's words, explaining them to Anna after leaving the valley.
Being the king, and quite possibly the oldest member of the troll community, Pabbie has notable differences when it comes to physical features. For instance, he has a mane, much like a lion, making him stand out for the others and symbolizing his position as ruler of the valley. He also dons a flowing green cloak, which appears to be made primarily of moss. And though this is a minor feature, he is the only troll with noticeable eyebrows, that are on the rather bushy side that match the color of his mane. And if you look closely, you can see that Pabbie is the only troll with hair in his ears that also match the color of his mane. Interestingly enough, an outfit greatly similar to Pabbie's was given to Kristoff during the wedding ceremony created by the trolls, indicating, for the troll community at least, Pabbie's outfit is completely royal attire. He is also the only troll who wears yellow crystals, in contrast to the other trolls who wear blue and green crystals for males, and red and pink crystals for females. This likely signifies his leadership role within the community.
Pabbie is first seen when the King and Queen of Arendelle visit the Valley of the Living Rock, seeking the assistance of the mystical creatures after their daughter, Princess Elsa (who was born with powers over ice and snow) accidentally strikes her younger sister, Princess Anna, in the head with her magic. The trolls part for Pabbie to come onto the scene, and the wise troll inspects the unconscious Anna. Meanwhile, Pabbie's daughter, Bulda, discovers and adopts a young boy and his reindeer calf (Kristoff and Sven) and welcomes them into the family. After he examines her injury, he informs the king and queen that they're lucky she wasn't shot in the heart, as that would be much more difficult to cure, though the head would be a simple task.
Pabbie immediately begins curing the princess, needing to cleanse out every ounce of magic within her to do so, including her memories of magic. Afterwards, Pabbie informs Elsa that it's crucial she learns to control her magical abilities, telling her that, while it is beautiful, it can be very dangerous, and her emotions are what keep the balance moving. For instance, if she's happy and at peace, her powers would be simple to control, but should fear consume her, things can run amuck and threaten those around her instantly, telling Elsa fear will be her enemy. The king assures Pabbie that he and the queen will do whatever they can to keep Elsa's powers from harming those around her, as well as the precautions they plan to take, such as keeping Elsa from any unnecessary human contact, supplying her with gloves that suppress her powers so long as they're worn, and keep her within the castle walls at all times.
Years later, Elsa's powers were revealed to the world, including Anna, having her flee the kingdom and accidentally causing an eternal winter. Anna trust Elsa means no real harm and goes out to find her, with the help of Kristoff. When she does, however, Elsa accidentally strikes Anna in the heart with her magic, causing her to slowly freeze to death. Noticing this, Kristoff believes Pabbie can heal her, and quickly guides her to the Valley of the Living Rock. When they arrive, Pabbie is said to be asleep, but eventually awakens and rushes to the scene when he senses strange magic in the area, just as Anna was beginning to faint due to her dying curse increasing by the minute. Kristoff explains what happened, but Pabbie explains that he's unable to save her, unfortunately. However, he's able to tell them what would. Only the act of true love could break the frozen curse, but if they fail to do so in time, Anna will become frozen solid forever, killing her. With these heavy thoughts in mind, Kristoff and Anna rush back to Arendelle to break the curse.
While not making any live appearances at the Disney theme parks, Grand Pabbie is featured during the Frozen: Summer Fun event at Disney's Hollywood Studios, prominently appearing, onscreen, during the live, sing-along show.
When Anna was accidentally struck by Elsa's powers the King and Queen went to the Valley of the Living Rock cause they know he would be able to help them heal Anna. After he healed Anna Pabbie informed them that should Elsa allow fear to take over her powers will bring great danger which leads to the King and Queen closing the gates, reduce the staff, reduce Elsa's contact with people and separating the two sisters.
Though Pabbie is far from the most recurring figure in Anna's life, he's been extremely prominent for years, going all the way back to her childhood. Pabbie's responsible for saving the princess' life not once, but twice. Those instances being the night he healed the princess' injury due to Elsa's prowess, and again during Anna's adulthood, where he revealed the remedy that would thaw her infamous frozen heart. Though their interactions were brief, Pabbie seems to pose as a grandfatherly figure to Anna, with both moments he's on screen showing a sense of pure care and love, as if she was his own family. This could also tie-in to the fact that the wise, old troll is the adoptive grandfather of Kristoff.
Whilst Elsa and Pabbie's interaction was brief, the wise troll's words of wisdom stayed with the Snow Queen 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.
- "Born with the powers, or cursed?"
- "I recommend we remove all magic. Even memories of magic, to be safe. But don't worry. I'll leave the fun. She will be okay."
- "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."
- Pabbie and the trolls appear to represent the Troll from the original Snow Queen tale. Contrary to the fairy tale, the trolls are actually benevolent and instead of causing one of the protagonist's curse, Pabbie is ironically the one who heals the protagonist from the curse.
- It should also be noted that the Troll was implied to represent the Devil himself; Pabbie, on the other hand, appears as a wise, holy figure with a sense of harmony and peace.
- However, although he has good intentions, his actions, like the Troll's, create conflict for the protagonists, with Elsa becoming cold and barricaded from Anna due to having to hide her powers by gloves (similar to Kai's hatred towards Gerda due to the Troll's mirror forcing Kai to see the bad in people).
- However, he also gives the protagonists the solution to the conflict, with him telling that only an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart. This would eventually lead to Anna and Elsa reconciling and thawing Arendelle.
- According to the book Frozen: The Essential Guide, Pabbie can be rather sensitive, as it states he refuses to tell his age.
- Pabbie is the only key character in the film that doesn't appear physically in any of the three trailers, though his narration is featured.
- His name is a play on the nickname Grand Pappy.
- The vision he shows Elsa about her abilities, even though it was supposed to mean what could happen if she lets her fear take control of her, hints to what happens in the future. The blue image of the adult Elsa is a silhouette of when she turns the courtyard into an ice rink after being accepted by the people for her magic. But in the red image, when her magic and the people attacking Elsa, it hints that once her powers, controlled by fear, are revealed to the public, they will become afraid of her, see as a monster, and then some will even try to kill her or have her killed (Hans, The Duke of Weselton and his thugs).
- Oddly, the Valley of the Living Rock is the only location in the film not affected by Elsa's curse. The reasons why are officially unknown, but it is possible Pabbie's magic prevented the valley from being consumed in the eternal winter. Interestingly, Pabbie's narration in the first official trailer for the film goes as followed: "The land is covered in eternal snow...". This could mean Pabbie had a larger role in the film with an inclusion of Elsa's crises but was cut out, though it could also merely be a line meant for the trailer.
- Pabbie acts like a grandfather to Kristoff and Sven, since they're his family, but also acts like one to Anna when she accidentally gets a frozen heart. He was shown to have great care for the princess, and was saddened when he couldn't undo the curse.
- Pabbie never smiles at any point in the film. He does, however, smile in the app game Frozen: Free Fall, as well as in promotional material and tie-in media.
- Pabbie bears a slight resemblance to Yoda from the Star Wars series films, particularly his large ears.