- “But only an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart.”
- ―Grand Pabbie
Grand Pabbie, also known simply as Pabbie, is a supporting character from Disney's 2013 animated film, Frozen. He is the wise and elderly ruler of the trolls, residing in the Valley of the Living Rock.
Pabbie is a wise, elderly troll, said to be as old as the Earth, 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 of his grandfather, explaining how he adopted the nickname "Grand Pabbie".
Unfortunately, despite his wisdom, Pabbie's metaphors and riddles can be taken literally. 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 could 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 riddles, explaining them to Anna prior to her saving Elsa's life at the cost of her own.
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.
Powers and abilities
Pabbie's most notable talent is the ability to heal the weak and injured, including injuries caused by magical elements, such as Elsa's power over ice and snow; revealing himself to be a shaman. However, his powers have some limitation, an example being his inability to cure a "frozen heart" curse, which can only be remedied by an act of true love. In addition to this, Pabbie can also erase and/or alter the minds and memories of others, as he did with Anna early on in the film. Grand Pabbie can also influence the aurora borealis (or the northern lights) that reign over Norway, to conjure images and create visions; a talent he demonstrated during his first meeting with Elsa, and the royal family.
Pabbie also appears to have a spiritual connection to elements of magic and the supernatural. Without word or physical evidence, he is able to sense when magic has entered his valley. Through physical contact, such as placing his palm upon an individual's forehead, or the connecting of hands, Pabbie can also garner a full understanding of a magical curse that has befallen one's body, such as its source, properties, and remedy.
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 Elsa's powers, but he leaves the fun that the sisters had. Afterwards, Pabbie informs Elsa that it's crucial for her to learn to control her magical abilities, telling her that, while they are beautiful, they 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 amok 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 knows 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.
Grand Pabbie listens to the plight of one of the royal princesses, Gerda, as she expresses sorrow at losing her sisters, Ingrid and Helga. He consoles her and asks how it happened, but she refuses to speak of it out of grief. Due to the unknown tragedy, Gerda requests a memory potion powerful enough to wipe everyone's memories of her sisters. Pabbie agrees to help her, but he warns the truth has a way of coming out one way or the other and that there will be a magical price extracted at her expense. Nonetheless, Gerda consents, and soon after, all of Arendelle forgets Ingrid and Helga.
Years later, Gerda becomes Queen of Arendelle and has two daughters, Elsa and Anna. When Elsa exhibits icy powers, she and her husband decide to visit Mist Haven to find a solution. They take the voyage under the guise of a diplomatic mission to the Northern Isles, but the royals reveal to Pabbie of where they are actually headed. On their homebound trip, Gerda and her husband die in a storm as Elsa becomes the next Queen. While planning Anna's wedding to Kristoff, the sisters discover their mother's diary ambiguously referencing their reason for traveling out of Arendelle was due to their eldest daughter's magic. Anna and Elsa then consult Pabbie for answers, and he admits their parents were going to Mist Haven, though their reason for it is not known to him.
When Anna visits Pabbie again, she brings a companion, Belle, who wishes to reclaim lost memories of her mother's death. Using magic, he extracts them from Belle's mind and transforms it into a stone. Pabbie instructs her to return to the place where she lost her memories, boil the stone in a tea and drink it to remember what was lost. With Belle's matter settled, Anna privately asks him about a woman, Ingrid, claiming to be her deceased mother's sister. Anna is in disbelief, as she believes her mother has no sisters, but he reveals Ingrid is not lying. Pabbie explains that her mother, Gerda, is the youngest of her two other sisters, Ingrid and Helga, and the three often played together as children. To his knowledge, he doesn't know how Ingrid and Helga disappeared, but it was a tragedy that prompted the two sisters to be erased from everyone's memories. Pabbie informs Anna of this, but he obscures that it was Gerda who requested her sisters' existences to be wiped clean. Worried for Elsa's safety and suspecting Ingrid is up to no good, Anna abruptly leaves with Belle.
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.
Pabbie's likeness is also featured during the Anna and Elsa's Frozen Fantasy event at Tokyo Disneyland, where a decorative statue of Pabbie can be seen near the main gate of the park. In the 2016 rendition, Pabbie's statue appears in front of Cinderella Castle. In the Frozen-themed stage play at the Royal Theater in Disneyland, Pabbie is theatrically represented by one of the show's hosts.
- 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.
- 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 her as a monster, and then some will even try to kill her or have her killed (Hans, the Duke of Weselton and his thugs).
- 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.
- Grand Pabbie has arthritis.
- Originally, Pabbie served as the film's narrator, and spoke with a Brooklyn accent. He also had a song, which was ultimately replaced by "Fixer Upper".