“Love will thaw. Of course!” ~Queen Elsa

“Wanna build a snowman?” ~Princess Anna

INTRODUCTION

Frozen is a wonderfully constructed animated movie that I believe speaks at surprisingly great depth about the relationship between fear and love. As is true in real life, all of the characters in Frozen—except for, maybe, Olaf the snowman—have unique challenges in dealing with fear and loving others in a healthy manner. After having watched the movie a few times, I believe that the movie’s screenwriters developed the characters to possess personalities that would accurately reflect their behaviors in the story–grounding this fantasy tale with a realistic human element. Within this writing, I share my thoughts about how fear affects the ability and manner in which the movie’s major characters exhibit love towards one another—as well as its likely effects on their self-perceptions. With each character’s fears being different in scope and focus, these fears influence their ability and manner in which they love others to varying degrees. Character examinations will begin with Hans of the Southern Isles–who very well may not be capable of anything other than self-love. Concluding these examinations shall be Queen Elsa of Arendelle, who in my opinion is the most complex–and in many respects, the most realistic–character within Frozen. If you are curious as to how I can justify a woman whose magical powers can control winter’s elements as the most realistic character in the movie…you will just need to read onward.

Thoughts from my Limited Christian Perspective

As a professed follower of Christ, I see this relationship between fear and love from my personal Christian lens. It would be unlikely that any two people are completely the same in their axiology (values) and beliefs; therefore, some professed Christians may disagree with some of the positions that I present herein. Though, as believers who seek Truth from the same source, my hope is that such discrepancies are few. It is my intention to write thoughts that are a strong reflection of biblical teaching on these matters, and I will attempt to support the thoughts I share with relevant scripture where applicable. I pray that if there are positions where I fail the heavenly intentions of His Word, that the Holy Spirit moves you to disregard those thoughts. Likewise, if there is something shared that is relevant within your own personal circumstances or in the circumstances of those with whom you live life, may the Holy Spirit convict your heart to act on such things.

Framing the terms “Love” and “Fear” from a Christian Lens

Thus, with consideration given to the stated Christian context of this writing, it is important to first clarify the terms of love and fear, as best as possible, to align with that context. I would hesitate, however, to claim anything as definitive in an absolute sense regarding these concepts. Therefore, rather than claim complete and inerrant definitions for love and fear–as they are both extremely complex biblical concepts–I only attempt at establishing reasonable definitions for framing these concepts within a Christian context. We can be certain, however, that the biblical understanding of the word “love” fails to entirely align with its various secular uses. A popular biblical description of love from the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians provides a foundation for understanding what it is to love others:

 4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:4-13, NASB).

With this description, however, comes a caution. In numerous conversations with others over the years, the description captured by these verses has often been used selectively—pointing out the specific attributes that these individuals felt were inadequately met by those who claimed to love them. Unfortunately, when individuals utilize this description of love towards others in a piecemeal fashion, it becomes a stumbling block (Matthew 23:13; Romans 14:13; 1 John 2:10) for those that—while loving imperfectly—do love them. Jesus came to fulfill the Law because no person can perfectly meet the law:

17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-20).

Why then, do people take what cannot be fully encapsulated with words—the meaning of “love”—and discredit the heartfelt, thoughtful, well-intended, and often committed efforts of others trying to love them as best as possible? Maybe some of us are fearful of accepting a gift as meaningful as someone’s love. Others may fear being incapable of reciprocating love in any similar manner. Further, others may be unwilling to trust the sincerity of the person’s love. The challenge is that–if loving or being loved by others–accepting an imperfect love. For, I would argue that—just as our God is the only One capable of fulfilling the Law—only God can love any of us perfectly.

What is my rationale for the above statement? Reflecting back on the verses shared above from 1 Corinthians 13, let us consider why “love” is greater than faith and hope (vs. 13). My thought is because scripture tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:8), and what could be greater than God? While faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains (Matthew 21:21; Mark 11:23), nothing is greater than God.

Further, we are warned (1 Corinthians 13:12) that we cannot know love fully, because we are unable to know fully while in this world—it is as if we are looking “in a mirror dimly.” Therefore, I contend that a biblical understanding of love is infinitely complex and incapable of being fully encapsulated with any definition we could propose. Subsequently, we use that provided within scripture as a guide for loving others. And since “God is love,” the better we “know God” (1 John 4:8) the better we can follow the greatest commandment of loving both Him and others (Joshua 1:8; Mark 12:30-31). Is it no wonder that, in our inability to love perfectly, we are warned not to condemn others, and to practice forgiveness and mercy (Matthew 5:7, 6:12, 18:21-34; Ephesians 4:32)?

As this writing begins to elaborate on how Frozen’s major characters deal with fear and exhibit (or fail to exhibit) love, a combination of characters’ behaviors and related scriptures will be shared so that we can continue to refine our framing of what constitutes a biblical understanding of “love.”

Now, how shall we frame “Fear” in context of this writing? Well, there are two kinds of fear referenced in scripture:

1) Fear of God

2) Fear of everything else

The first of these fears, the fear of the Lord, is beneficial. We are encouraged to fear the Lord. The second of these fears is detrimental—it can create an idol out of what you fear. Though, what can be strong enough to overcome God’s love for us? The answer is nothing (Psalm 56:11).

Fear of the Lord is best described as a reverential awe of God—demonstrating reverence to His power and glory. It does, however, also mean a proper respect for His wrath and anger. Scripture only tells of one instance where Jesus visibly exhibits fear (agony)—when He was preparing to incur the full wrath of God:

41b…He knelt down and began to pray, 42 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” 43 Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground (Luke 22:41-44, NASB).

Jesus, the son of God, was so fearful of incurring God’s wrath that He asked for–if possible–another way to save our souls. Yet, being perfect—obedient to the Father—He willingly sacrificed Himself for us (an example of God’s love).

Fear of the Lord provides blessings. Wisdom and understanding originates from a fear of the Lord (Psalm 111:10), and only a fool despises wisdom and discipline (Proverbs 1:7). Fear of the Lord provides us with a “strong confidence,” and refuge for our children (Proverbs 14:26 NASB). Further, it is a “fountain of life” that keeps us from fearing “the snares of death (Proverbs 14:27 ESV),” allowing us to rest in contentment, “untouched by evil (Proverbs 19:23).”

A friend once told me that “Fear is not from God.” She assuredly was referring to the second fear identified above: the fear of everything else. Scripture supports her assertion when it speaks to a “spirit of fear” or “spirit of timidity”:

7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV).

7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline (2 Timothy 1:7 NASB).

This second type of fear is the one I would consider as the one most commonly held by secular society. Capable of being used in language as a noun or a verb, below are definitions for each (as pertaining to this type of fear):

Fear /fi(ə)r/

noun

  • an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

“drivers are threatening to quit their jobs in fear after a cabby’s murder”

synonyms: terror, fright, fearfulness, horror, alarm, panic, agitation, trepidation, dread, consternation, dismay, distress

verb

  • be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or threatening.

“he said he didn’t care about life so why should he fear death?”

synonyms: be afraid of, be fearful of, be scared of, be apprehensive of, dread, live in fear of, be terrified of;

As we are not Christ, we all succumb to the “spirit of fear” on occasion. To overcome it, we must trust and love God completely. Referring to 1 John 4:18, “there is no fear in love”; therefore, “perfect love casts out fear” (NASB). Trust is something that I believe comes from an outflow of love—trust and love are highly correlated. For instance, if we love God, then we must know God (1 John 4:8); and knowing God allows us to trust Him to guide us in our actions. This logic is confirmed with the following scripture:

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord [the “good” fear] and turn away from evil (Proverbs 3:5-7, NASB).

Our Lord understands that we are imperfect. Otherwise, why would He have sent us Jesus, and provided us encouragement throughout scripture to “fear not.” In Isaiah 41:10 (NASB), our Lord lets us know He is with us and will help us and strengthen us:

10 “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

We are encouraged to not fear speaking out (Acts 18:9), suffering as result of righteous action (1 Peter 3:14), receiving bad news (Psalm 112:7), succumbing to disease (Psalm 91:4-8), or even death at man’s hand (Matthew 10:28)! Even during the darkest times of our lives, we are encouraged not to fear:

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me (Proverbs 23:4).

And for those of us who believe our circumstances are outside the ordinary, consider the words of Job while experiencing some of the most difficult trials recorded in the bible:

15 “Though he slay me, I will hope in Him; yet I will argue my ways to His face” (Job 13:15, NASB).

Lastly, let us conclude by resting in the wisdom shared in Psalm 56:11 (NASB):

11“In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

Taking to Task the Fear Found in Frozen: The Conflict between Fear and Love

The framing of love and fear presented above was done to help readers understand the “Christian lens” with which this work was written. Ultimately, anyone reading what has been written herein will incorporate their own axiology (values) towards its interpretation.

While I may be reviewing Frozen through my Christian lens, the movie itself was presented with secular positioning. Therefore, the assumption is that the fears expressed throughout the movie represent the second type of fear identified earlier within this writing: “the unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.”

Another assumption being made while reviewing the element of fear within Frozen is that such fear negatively affects one’s ability to love or be loved. This assumption is based on the logic that if perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:8), then the presence of such fear prohibits perfect love.

In the following sections, this writing will consider the “someone or something” that is creating fear within the characters presented below. Then, it will attempt to identify how that fear affects the character’s ability to love or be loved, and the resultant behaviors that manifest. Where it is applicable, relevant scripture will be used to support assertions made.

When intentions surrounding character behaviors psychologically (individual) and sociologically (group or society level) are not explicitly communicated within the movie, any assumptions made are done so with consideration to applicable psycho-social research theories. Many times these assumptions are made applying the theory of planned behavior (Azjen, 1991), stimulus-response theory (Hall & Gardner, 1957), reinforcement theory of motivation (Skinner, 1938), or some variant of social interactionism (Blumer, 1969), such as dramaturgy—whichever theory is deemed most appropriate within any particular circumstance. For purposes of length—and not to convolute this writing any further—I will not be going into each of these theories. You are encouraged to research these theories on Google Scholar or some other online research engine if you are interested in knowing more about the theories used. In a prior post, I did discuss how beliefs transition into action using the theory of planned behavior—and you are welcome to view that post as well.

Not all characters are examined with the same depth. The two characters that were followed the most within the movie—Elsa and Anna—are examined at much greater depth than the other characters. Moreover, the relationship (or lack thereof) between Elsa and Anna throughout the movie will receive significant attention when examining each character, as their relationship is metaphorically a prism that can be viewed from two sides (perspectives).

Now to start examinations with my least favorite character and conclude with my favorite 🙂

(Please note: At this point, if you have not watched the movie, you will encounter spoilers…though who hasn’t seen this movie by now?)

 
HANS OF THE SOUTHERN ISLES

Hans of the Southern Isles is thirteenth in line for the throne of his kingdom. Otherwise, little background is given as to the development of his personality—we never see a “young” Hans in the movie as we do Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff (and Olaf too…sort of). Based on what we learn during the movie, his lust for power—and intense fear of never obtaining it—motivates him to manipulate anyone who is in a position of advancing his cause.

Hans, being a shrewd and deceptive fellow, immediately identifies Anna’s need for love and affection—Anna having been both physically and emotionally shut out by Elsa. With intentions of ruling his own kingdom, and Elsa’s emotional detachment (as he says later, “no one was getting anywhere with her”), Hans plays to Anna’s desperation for having her emotional needs met. As Frozen animator Lino DiSalvo says about the character of Hans, “He’s a chameleon who adapts to any environment to make the other characters comfortable.” Anna relates to what little Hans share with her about his background (presumably true), having been neglected by his twelve older brothers. Shortly thereafter, they are singing to one another like songbirds, and get engaged on the same day they meet!

[Quotes below are sung as part of “love is an open door”]
Anna: All my life has been a series of doors in my face and then suddenly I bump into you
Hans: I’ve been searching my whole life to find my own place and maybe it’s the party talking or the chocolate fondue…
Anna: But with you.
Hans: But with you, I found my place.
Anna: I see your face.
Both (Anna and Hans): And it’s nothing like I’ve ever known before. Love is an open door. Love is an open door. Love is an open door…

Anna: Say goodbye.
Hans: Say goodbye.
Both: To the pain of the past. We don’t have to feel it anymore. Love is an open door. Love is an open door. Life can be so much more.
… [Song concludes]
Hans: Can I say something crazy? Will you marry me?
Anna: Can I say something even crazier? Yes!

It seems likely that the abuse at the hands of his brothers reinforced his belief that those in positions of power oppress those in whom they possess that power—hence, explaining his lack of compassion and disregard for Anna’s well-being once he realizes that she is in the process of freezing to death. What is more despicable is the way that he tells Anna that his relationship with her was never about love; sharing his plans to kill her sister, Elsa, as Anna is helpless to stop him from carrying it out.

[Hans and a weakened Anna lean in to kiss. But then Hans stops and smiles evilly]
Hans: Oh, Anna. If only there was someone out there who loved you.
[Gets up and leaves]
Anna: What…?
[Shocked, she turns to see him walking to a window]
Anna: Y-you said you did.
Hans: [Closing the curtains] As thirteenth in line in my own kingdom, I didn’t stand a chance. I knew I’d have to marry into the throne somewhere.
Anna: What are you talking about?
Hans: [Puts out a candle] As heir, Elsa was preferable, of course, but no one was getting anywhere with her. But you…
Anna: Hans?
Hans: You were so desperate for love, you were willing to marry me just like that. I figured after we married, I’d have to stage a little accident for Elsa.
Anna: Hans! No, stop!
Hans: But then she doomed herself, and you were dumb enough to go after her.
Anna: Please…
Hans: [Chuckles] All that’s left now is to… kill Elsa and bring back summer.
Anna: [Bravely] You’re no match for Elsa.
Hans: No, YOU’RE no match for Elsa. I, on the other hand, am the hero who’s going to save Arendelle from destruction.
[Hans walks to the door]
Anna: [Angrily] You won’t get away with this…!
Hans: Oh… I already have.
[Hans leaves, locking the door behind him]

Hans’ behavior is far from loving, for he desires a power and control reserved for God alone. Later in the movie, Anna, after placing herself between Hans’ sword and her mourning sister—saving Elsa’s life—turns into a human icicle. However, her act of true love warms her heart, and fully restores her health. Following her physical restoration, Anna confronts Hans, stating an ironic difference between her heart and his:

Hans: Anna? But she froze your heart.
Anna: The only frozen heart around here is yours!

While Hans’ heart is not literally ice, it may as well be. His inability to love suggests that he “does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8). The evil intentions and actions—both committed and intended—by Hans, demonstrates how deprived man can be when they do not know, and have not experienced, God’s love. In short, Hans is a wicked man:

12 A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, 13 winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger, 14 with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; 15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing. 16 There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, 19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers (Proverbs 6:12-19).

When epitomizing a deceitful and absolute evil, how can love be present in one’s heart?

34 And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers [in this case, most likely, his twelve brothers] until he should repay all that was owed him (Matthew 18:34).

 
OLAF THE SNOWMAN

“I like to consider myself a love expert.” ~Olaf the snowman

On the opposite end of the spectrum [from Hans], there is Olaf the snowman. Olaf exhibits little fear—if any at all—about anything. His ignorance towards fear in some situations is comedic. Olaf is able to exhibit love for others openly, easily, and frequently. He is willing to love those deserving of being loved at personal risk and sacrifice:

Anna: Olaf, you’re melting!
Olaf the Snowman: Some people are worth melting for.

A thought for why Olaf exhibits such demonstrative characteristics of love is that having originally been a childhood creation of Elsa’s for Anna, this snowman was “born” with the innocent love of a child:

13 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” 16 And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them (Mark 10:13-16, NASB).

In many ways, the character of Olaf symbolically represents the healthy and loving relationship held between Elsa and Anna as children. Early in the movie, Anna wakes Elsa from her sleep, asking her, “Wanna build a snowman?” Elsa, being the loving, elder sister, goes with Anna to play in a large room within the castle. The snowman Elsa builds for Anna is Olaf. Even after the accident later that evening—where Anna’s memories involving Elsa’s magical powers are removed—Anna fondly remembers building a snowman with her sister—and the fun they had together. Throughout their remaining childhood—after Elsa had placed herself in seclusion—Anna would often knock on the door of Elsa’s bed chamber and ask her through the door, “Wanna build a snowman?”

Elsa’s desire for a healthy, loving relationship with Anna seems evident; though, she does not feel that she is capable of having such a relationship with her sister (or she would). When meeting the living Olaf for the first time, she was unaware that she had created him.

[Anna is in Elsa’s ice palace when Olaf suddenly comes running in]
Olaf: [Off-Screen] 58, 59, 60!
Elsa: Wait. What is that?
Olaf: Hi! I’m Olaf and I like warm hugs.
Elsa: [shocked] Olaf?
Olaf: You built me. Remember that?
Elsa: And you’re alive?
Olaf: Um, I think so?
[Elsa looks at her hands in surprise and wonder]
Anna: [kneels down beside Olaf] He’s just like the one we built as kids.
Elsa: [amazed] Yeah.
Anna: We were so close. We can be like that again.
[Elsa smiles, but then has a flashback of when she hit Anna with her powers when they were children; she turns away]
Elsa: No, we can’t. Goodbye, Anna. [heads upstairs]

Thus, Elsa’s creation of Olaf was a subconscious action—signaling a repressed desire to have her relationship with her sister restored. When meeting Anna for the first time, Olaf says to her, “I’m Olaf, and I like warm hugs.” He is directly quoting the words Elsa mimicked saying as him for Anna all those years prior as children. And in the way Olaf expresses words of a young Elsa to Anna, so too, do I believe, that Olaf expresses the emotions of love that Elsa has for her sister. In other words, Olaf is to Anna what Elsa desires to be for her sister…

…and being a loving sister, if Elsa hadn’t secluded herself, she would have assuredly been the go-to girl for Anna to discuss her love interests. Though, serving as a surrogate of sorts for Elsa, acting as a “sibling” for Anna, Olaf is the character that provides her with an insight about love:

Anna: I don’t even know what love is.
Olaf the Snowman: That’s okay. I do. Love is putting someone else’s needs before yours.

While oversimplifying the complexity of biblical love, this element of expressing love is supported within scripture:

3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4, NASB).

Near the movie’s conclusion, as summer is restored, Olaf is provide his “very own flurry”:

Anna: [After Elsa brings back summer] I knew you could do it.
Olaf: [As he begins to melt] Hands down, this is the best day of my life! And quite possibly the last…
Elsa: Oh, Olaf! Hang on, little guy. [Uses her magic to recreate Olaf and gives him a cloud that produces flurries]
Olaf: [Gasps] My own personal FLURRY! [Giggles]

Olaf, again, being the symbolic representation of the relationship between the girls—having once been separated and distant for a long winter—is now restored, able to endure all seasons.

No wonder it was the best day of his [and their] life.

KRISTOFF BJORGMAN THE ICE HARVESTER 

“So he’s a bit of a fixer upper, but this we’re certain of…you can fix this fixer upper with a little bit of love!” ~ The Trolls to Anna

We are first introduced to Kristoff while he is a young lad, learning the ice harvester trade with his reindeer buddy, Sven. As a youth, he and Sven are caught eavesdropping while watching Grand Pabbie troll heal a young Anna from Elsa’s accidental magic strike to her head. The trolls adopt him—and become his family. Kristoff grows up into a rugged and independent mountain man—living the lifestyle of a loner. His only companion as he works his trade is Sven. Having matured into a man while outside of society, and working in relative solitude, he becomes passionate about his career. As his below correspondence with Anna suggests, his career is likely an idol in his life (Luke 12:34; Matthew 6:21).

[They reach the ice staircase Elsa had built; they look up in amazement at Elsa’s ice palace]
Anna: Whoa.
Kristoff: Now that’s ice. I might cry.
Anna: Go ahead. I won’t judge.

[After the ice palace doors opens, but before she takes a step inside, she looks at Olaf and Kristoff]
Anna: Oh, you should probably wait out here.
Kristoff: What?
Anna: Last time I introduced her to a guy, she froze everything.
Kristoff: But…but…oh, come on! It’s a palace made of ice! Ice is my life!

Kristoff exhibits a noticeable fear of depending on others, which has led him to take something good (his career) and treat it as something more. The resultant, self-reliant nature he develops from this fear leaves Sven—his pet reindeer—as his sole companion. This relationship only furthers Kristoff’s independent nature, as Sven loyally follows Kristoff’s lead—he is, as it were, Kristoff’s dependent (Genesis 1:26-28). His lack of trust for other humans is so founded in his psyche that he habitually does voice-overs for Sven; acting as if he and his reindeer are speaking to one another as would people. During a lullaby “duet” with Sven, Kristoff openly sings about his distrust for others:

[Singing]
Kristoff: Reindeers are better than people. Sven, don’t you think that’s true?
Kristoff (As Sven): “Yeah, people will beat you and curse you and cheat you. Every one of ’em’s bad except you.”
Kristoff: Aww, thanks buddy. But people smell better than reindeers Sven, don’t you think I’m right?
Kristoff (As Sven): “That’s once again true, for all except you.”
Kristoff: You got me. Let’s call it a night.
Kristoff (As Sven): “Good night.”
Kristoff: Don’t let the frostbite bite.

Talking to reindeers with a voice-over? Uh, yeah. This boy needs help. No wonder our Lord warns us that it is not healthy for man [or (implied) woman] to be alone:

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18, NASB).

Now, Kristoff is not a malicious man. If anything, we learn that he is actually a kind-hearted person, protective of those he loves. While not explicitly stated within Frozen, it is implied that he was abandoned as a youth—his parents are never present. Having likely experienced intense feelings of rejection during his formative years from such abandonment, it is understandable why he has reservations in trusting other human beings. The trolls and Sven are dear to him. As we can observe through the following interaction with the trolls; he considers them his loving family—and they accept him as such:

Kristoff: So, uh…about my friends. Well, I say friends, they’re more like family. Anyway, when I was a kid, it was just me and Sven until they, you know, kind of took us in.
Anna: They did?
Kristoff: Yeah. I don’t want to scare you; they can be a little bit inappropriate. And loud, very loud. They’re also stubborn at times, and a little overbearing, and heavy. Really, really heavy. Which you’ll…but you know, you’ll get it. They’re fine. They mean well.
[Anna touches his arm to reassure him]
Anna: Kristoff, they sound wonderful.
Kristoff: Okay then.
[Kristoff steps forward, turns to face Anna, Olaf and Sven and opens his arm out]
Kristoff: Meet my family.
[They are standing in a field full of what looks like rocks. Kristoff turns to the rocks and waves]
Kristoff: Hey, guys!

Kristoff: You are a sight for sore eyes.
[Kristoff kneels down in front of one of the rocks]

Kristoff: Hey, whoa… I didn’t even recognize you. You’ve lost so much weight!

[Suddenly the rocks start rolling]

[The rocks roll towards Kristoff and unroll revealing themselves as the trolls]
Bulda: Kristoff’s home!
[The trolls jump around with excitement shouting Kristoff’s name…]

[One of the trolls grabs Kristoff’s hand and yanks him down]
Troll #1: Ah, let me look at you.
[Another troll lifts up his jacket]
Troll #2: Take off your clothes! I’ll wash them…
Kristoff: No! I’m…I’m gonna keep my clothes on. Look, it’s great to see you all, but where is Grand Pabbie?
Kid Troll #1: He’s napping. But look, I grew a mushroom.
[He turns and shows the mushroom growing on his back, then another kid troll steps forward]
Kid Troll #2: I earned my fire crystal.
[An adult troll holds a small stone in his hand]
Troll #3: I passed a kidney stone.
Kid Troll #3: Kristoff, pick me up!
[The kid troll jumps up on Kristoff’s arm]
Kristoff: You’re getting big. Good for you.
[Another kid troll jumps on his back]

And Kristoff dearly loves Sven. As his sleigh is about to plummet off a cliff to its destruction, Kristoff saves Sven’s carrots rather than other much needed equipment aboard—valuing Sven’s happiness and health more (Philippians 23-4).

In summary, Kristoff’s life is lonely, but simple and uncomplicated. He harvests ice; has conversations, sings songs, and eats carrots with Sven; visiting the trolls from time-to-time. Then, as is the case for many men, his life becomes complicated when a woman is introduced into his life 😛

At first, not trusting people, Kristoff is disinterested in helping Anna; however, she shows resolve and exhibits a compassionate thoughtfulness. She secures the supplies—and the carrots—he had intended to buy from Oaken. While visibly flummoxed, he reluctantly helps her.

[After Kristoff finishes singing, Anna suddenly opens the barn door and enters; making Kristoff and Sven sit up with a start
Anna: Nice duet.
Kristoff: Oh, it’s just you. What do you want?
Anna: I want you to take me up the North Mountain.
[Kristoff lays back on the hay and puts his hat over his eyes]
Kristoff: I don’t take people places.
Anna: Let me rephrase that…
[She throws a sack of supplies into Kristoff’s lap making him sit up]
Kristoff: Ooph!
Anna: Take me up the North Mountain. Please.
[Kristoff opens the bag and finds the rope and axe he’d wanted to buy from Oaken]
Anna: Look, I know how to stop this winter.
[Kristoff sighs not believing her; he lies back down on the hay and puts his hat over his eyes]
Kristoff: We leave at dawn…and you forgot the carrots for Sven.
[A bag containing the carrots hits Kristoff in the face]
Anna: Oops. Sorry. Sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t…
[She clears her throat and catches herself]
Anna: We leave now. Right now.
[She steps outside and waits. Kristoff watches Anna walk out, then offers Sven a carrot who takes a bite. Then Kristoff has a bite]

The relationship between Kristoff and Anna commences in a mildly quarrelsome fashion, as Anna openly shares the experiences of her past day, with Kristoff questioning both her plan for saving Arendelle…

[As they make their way on the North Mountain]
Kristoff: So how exactly are you planning to stop this weather?
Anna: Oh, I am gonna talk to my sister.
Kristoff: That’s your plan? My ice business is riding on you talking to your sister?
Anna: Yup.
[Distracted by Anna’s reply suddenly Kristoff walks into the end of an icicle which hits his nose, he carefully moves around the spike]
Kristoff: So you’re not at all afraid of her?
Anna: Why would I be?

…and her judgment once realizing she got engaged to a man she met that day:

Anna: But I wanna help!
Kristoff: No!
Anna: Why not?
Kristoff: Because I don’t trust your judgment.
Anna: Excuse me?!
Kristoff: Who marries a man she just met?
Anna: It’s true love!

However, Anna’s fearless persistence and compassionate heart—so focused on saving Arendelle from a permanent freeze, while restoring her relationship with Elsa—slowly warms this ice harvester’s cold demeanor towards her. Moreover, trust often begets trust with men, and she demonstrates her trust in Kristoff multiple times during their adventure—asking him to guide her up the mountain, leaping into his arms as a “crazy trust exercise,” and providing him reassurance that she will be accepting of his family [the trolls]. Ultimately, it is my belief that her integrity—something in which scripture encourages all of us to walk—wins Kristoff’s trust, and his heart:

3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them (Proverbs 11:3).

1 Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering. 2 Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my heart and my mind. 3 For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness (Psalm 26:1-3).

While with the trolls, Anna’s condition seriously regresses. Without hesitation, Kristoff–with the help of Sven—hurries Anna back to Arendelle, so that her life may be saved with a true love’s kiss from Hans. Later, after Hans admits his deception to Anna, Olaf finds her locked in one of the castle’s rooms—left to freeze to death by her fiancé. At the same time, Kristoff becomes aware that Elsa is conjuring up a storm around Arendelle and rushes back to the kingdom over the frozen Fjord, concerned for Anna’s well-being…

These two coinciding scenarios lead to some interesting commentary by Olaf about love—with the obvious intentions of being comedic:

Olaf: I am not leaving here until we find some other act of true love to save you.
[Olaf sits behind her to shield himself from the fire]
Olaf: Do you happen to have any ideas?
Anna: I don’t even know what love is.
Olaf: That’s okay, I do. Love is putting someone else’s needs before yours, like, you know, how Kristoff brought you back here to Hans and left you forever.
[A realization comes over Anna]
Anna: Kristoff loves me?
[Olaf moves around to face her]
Olaf: Wow, you really don’t know anything about love, do you?

[Suddenly the blizzard outside blows the windows open]
Olaf: Don’t worry, I’ve got it!
[Olaf rushes over to the window and starts to close the windows]
Olaf: We’re going to get through…
[Suddenly he notices something]
Olaf: Oh, wait. Hang on. I’m getting something.
[He breaks an icicle off the window and uses it as a telescope]
Olaf: It’s Kristoff and Sven! They’re coming back this way.
Anna: They…they are?
Olaf: Wow, he’s really moving fast. I guess I was wrong. I guess Kristoff doesn’t love you enough to leave you behind.

Olaf brings up an interesting aspect about how people often view love, and it warrants clarification—at least from my perspective. While love is sacrificial (John 3:16, 13:34, 15:13; Philippians 4:2-3; Colossians 3:14), why would two people who knowingly love one another not pursue relationship—whether as friends or in marriage? According to Jesus, the greatest commandment is the following:

37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 “This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40, NASB).

As a Christian who believes in the Trinity, God’s being exhibits relationship. Throughout scripture, relationship is encouraged (John 13:34-35; Romans 12:9-10; 1 John 4:7; Philippians 4:2-3).Therefore, if one does love his or her neighbor as himself or herself—or even more so—would not the rational action be to work diligently in pursuing and fostering a genuine, loving relationship?

9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good (Romans 12:9).

9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).

7 [Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:7)

In such situations where only one person loves in a sacrificial, biblical sense; knowing that the other person does not love them, then it is understandable why that loving person would abscond from the relationship.

3 Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet (Amos 3:3, ESV)?

What love can be brought into a loved one’s life, if that loved one is not willing to receive it? Now, I personally believe that in such situations, if loving someone, we should be available or willing to allow this person into our lives if their hearts change; though, we cannot make them receive our love—nor, can we make them love us. And when we love someone, regardless of whether they reciprocate our love, it seems scripture would support us carrying their burdens if the opportunity presents itself:

2Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. 3 If you think you are too important to do this, you are only fooling yourself. 4 Don’t compare yourself with others (Galatians 6:2-4).

When Kristoff left Arendelle, it was his understanding that Anna was in love with Hans, and Hans with her—that his “true love’s kiss” would restore her, and that she would experience a life full of love with him. He was placing her needs above his own (Philippians 2:3-4). He is unaware of Hans’ betrayal when he hurries back to Arendelle, or that Anna loves him too. He raced back to Arendelle simply because he loved Anna and felt she may need protection. Her safety came first, because he loves her. Her trust in him opens his heart to her, and helps him overcome his fear of depending on others—though, he still needs to battle the urge to accept her kindness later—but he does, and finally expresses his love for her openly:

[Anna leads a blindfolded Kristoff—first into a pole—but then in front of a brand new, top-of-the-line sled]
Anna: Okay. Okay. Here we are.
[Takes off Kristoff’s blindfold]
Anna: I owe you a sled.
Kristoff: [Blown away] Are you serious?
Anna: And it’s the latest model.
Kristoff: No. I can’t accept this…
Anna: You have to. No returns. No exchanges. Queen’s orders. She’s named you the official Arendelle Ice Master and Deliverer.
Kristoff: What? That’s not a thing.
Anna: Sure it is. And it even has a cup holder…do you like it?
Kristoff: Like it? I love it!
[Spins her around]
Kristoff: I could kiss you!
[Puts her down]
Kristoff: I could. I mean, I’d like to. I – may I? We me? I mean, may we? Wait, what?
Anna: [Kisses him on the cheek] We may.
[Kristoff kisses Anna]

An interesting aspect about the relationship between Anna and Kristoff, is that Anna is a princess, while Kristoff is a mountain man. The relationship suggests that establishing healthy, loving relationship is less about status and circumstances (John 7:24), than it is a willingness for both people to trust one another, make sacrifices for one another (Philippians 4:2-3), and exhibit compassion for one another (Matthew 5:9; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:12). In short, healthy relationships involve simply loving one another (1 Corinthians 13:4-13). And for this to occur in Kristoff’s life, he first had to surrender some of his independence, and adopt a more selfless lifestyle.

 

PRINCESS ANNA OF ARENDELLE

Anna is the younger of Arendelle’s two princesses. She is highly energetic, relational, and has a joyful appreciation for life. She does, however, also possess both an impulsiveness for rash action and an inclination for naïveté. Her fear of remaining alone drives such impulses. A central character in Frozen, she speaks more than any other character in the movie; therefore, many of the quotes provided in supporting assertions made about prior characters (Hans, Olaf, and Kristoff) include some of Anna’s conversations with them. Further, most of the dialogue in the move involving Elsa revolves around her discussions with Anna. Subsequently, while some of these quotes and conversations will be shared as excerpts once more within this examination, others will only be referenced in an effort to minimize unnecessary length in this writing.

Anna is introduced in the movie as a child, eager for some evening playtime with her sister Elsa. As she tries to convince her sister to get out of bed and play, she exhibits excessive amounts of energy. Knowing her sister well, Anna is able to persuade Elsa to join her in some nighttime play:

Young Anna: [Climbs into Elsa’s bed] Elsa. Psst. Elsa! Wake up, wake up, wake up!
Young Elsa: [Half-asleep] Anna, go back to sleep.
Young Anna: I just can’t. [Dramatically] The sky’s awake, so I’m awake, so we have to play!
Young Elsa: [Smiling] Go play by yourself! [Nudges Anna off the bed]
[Anna hits the floor with a thud, but smiles and climbs back up on the bed. She opens one of Elsa’s eyes]
Young Anna: [Mischievously] Do you wanna build a snowman?

At this juncture in the movie, Anna is aware of Elsa’s magical powers—obviously viewing her sister’s powers as a gift. Based on how Elsa responds to Anna’s request, she too sees her powers as a gift at this time. However, everything changes with one accidental “slip-up”:

[The girls sneak into the ballroom and Elsa shuts the door, they start laughing]
Young Anna: Do the magic! Do the magic!
[Elsa starts waving her hands together and suddenly snowflakes appear forming a snowball]
Young Elsa: Ready?
Young Anna: Yeah.
[Elsa throws the snowball into the air and it bursts out creating flakes around the room]
Young Anna: This is amazing!
[Anna runs around in excitement]
Young Elsa: Watch this!
[Elsa stomps her foot and suddenly a layer of ice coats the floor, Anna slides off, laughing. Then Elsa and Anna build a snowman. After they finish building him, Elsa moves his stick arms around]
Young Elsa: Hi, I’m Olaf and I like warm hugs.
[Anna rushes over and hugs him]
Young Anna: I love you, Olaf.
[Then using her power, Elsa helps Anna and Olaf to slide across the dance floor as if they are dancing. They then slide down snow hills together]
Young Anna: Ah-huh! Tickle bumps!
[Then Anna jumps off the snow peaks]
Young Anna: Alright. Catch me!
[Elsa makes another snow peak to catch Anna]
Young Elsa: Gotcha!
Young Anna: Again!
[Elsa makes another peak to catch Anna as she jumps]
Young Elsa: Wait!
[Anna keeps jumping and Elsa quickly tries to make peaks to catch her]
Young Elsa: Slow down!
[Suddenly Elsa slips on the ice floor, as she sits up she sees Anna about to jump again]
Young Elsa: Anna!
[Elsa quickly uses her power to catch Anna as she jumps but it accidentally strikes her head and Anna falls down unconscious, Elsa rushes towards her and takes her into her arms]
Young Elsa: Anna?
[Suddenly a streak of Anna’s hair where she was struck turns white, Elsa cries out in anguish]
Young Elsa: Mama! Papa!
[As Elsa cries the room fills with more ice]

Her parents gather their daughters, and hurry to the woods to seek help from the leader of the trolls, Grand Pabbie:

King: Please, help! My daughter!
[Suddenly a bunch of rocks tumble down the valley toward them and surround them, then they rocks unfold and turn into trolls]
Troll: It’s the king!

[The head troll approaches the King and Queen]
Grand Pabbie: Your Majesty!
[Pabbie takes Elsa’s hand]
Grand Pabbie: Born with the powers or cursed?
King: Uh…born. And they’re getting stronger.
[To the Queen who is holding Anna in her arms]
Grand Pabbie: Here, here.
[She kneels in front of him and holds out Anna, he places his hand on Anna’s head]
Grand Pabbie: You are lucky it wasn’t her heart. The heart is not so easily changed, but the head can be persuaded.
King: Do what you must.
Grand Pabbie: I recommend we remove all magic, even memories of magic to be safe.
[Pabbie pulls out from Anna’s head memories of Elsa and Anna playing, which floats above them]
Grand Pabbie: But don’t worry, I’ll leave the fun.
[He changes all of her memories of Elsa’s magic to show ordinary memories of the girls playing out in the winter snow and puts them back in her head]
Grand Pabbie: She will be okay.

[The castle doors and windows are closed and the two sisters are separated from each other. Anna watches as Elsa goes into her room and closes the door. Anna looks sad and confused]

This accident is a seminal event that significantly influences the formative years of both princesses. Sleeping arrangements are changed. Elsa now has her own bed chamber, which she never leaves—her powers now a “curse.” Anna, having had all experiences involving her sister’s magic removed from her memory, still assumes that Elsa is her loving sister and best friend—and initially expects her to act in such manner when she knocks on her door to play. Eventually, the non-responses she receives each time she knocks on the closed door of Elsa’s bed chamber affects her effort in trying to pursue relationship with her sister:

[On snowy days, Anna, feeling excited and wanting to play, rushes over to Elsa’s room and calls out to her]
Young Anna: Elsa?
[Anna knocks on Elsa’s door and starts singing “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”]
Young Anna: Do you want to build a snowman? Come on let’s go and play. I never see you anymore. Come out the door.
[Anna peeks under the door]
Young Anna: It’s like you’ve gone away.
[Anna plays alone with her dolls in the ball room]
Young Anna: We used to be best buddies, and now we’re not. I wish you would tell me why.
[back at Elsa’s door, Anna peeks through the keyhole]
Young Anna: Do you want to build a snowman?
[She then sings through the keyhole]
Young Anna: It doesn’t have to be a snowman.
[She hears Elsa through the closed door]
Young Elsa: Go away, Anna.
[Anna looks heartbroken]
Young Anna: Okay, bye.
[Dejected Anna turns and walks away…]

[…a couple of years later a slightly older looking Anna knocks excitedly on Elsa’s door and carries on singing]
Young Anna: Do you want to build a snowman? Or ride our bike around the halls? I think some company is overdue…
[Anna runs around the portrait room]
Young Anna: I’ve started talking to the pictures on the walls.
[She flips over the arm of a couch and lands on the cushion and she looks up at the painting of Joan of Arc]
Young Anna: Hang in there, Joan.
[In the library Anna is lying at the base of a grandfather clock]
Young Anna: It gets a little lonely, all these empty rooms. Just watching the hours tick by.
[Her eyes follow the grandfather clock’s pendulum and she emulates the tick-tock with her tongue…]

[…the King and Queen look at each other in sadness; a few years later Anna now a teenager slides past Elsa’s door and enters her parents room and hugs the King and Queen]
Anna: See you in two weeks.
[Down the hallway, Elsa curtsies formally in front of her parents]
Elsa: Do you have to go?
King: You’ll be fine, Elsa.
[During a storm the King and Queen are killed when a wave crashes onto their ship, after their funeral Anna knocks on Elsa’s door]
Anna: Elsa?
[She sings]
Anna: Please, I know you’re in there. People are asking where you’ve been. They say have courage and I’m trying to, I’m right out here for you. Just let me in. We only have each other. It’s just you and me. What are we gonna do?
[Anna slides down the door and sits against it, looking sad]
Anna: Do you want to build a snowman?
[In her room Elsa is sitting in the exact same position as Anna, her room is now frozen with ice and snowflakes float in the air, Elsa begins to cry as does Anna sat outside her door]

Now Anna lives in a world of unmade snowmen and closed doors. For someone with Anna’s natural energy and zest for life, her childhood of solitude drives her desperate for companionship. Moreover, the refusal of her sister to have relationship with her—not understanding the reason for Elsa’s change of heart towards her—leads her to believe Elsa’s actions are a personal reflection upon her in some manner. It is obvious that this emotional abandonment—especially following the death of their parents—impacts Anna’s perceptions of herself.

While her experiences of rejection from her sister during her formative years are painful; rather than turn her feelings of rejection into spite towards others, she instead develops a strong sense of humility and concern for others (Philippians 2:3; Romans 12:16). At different points in the movie, she refers to herself as “ordinary,” and “just me.” And while she is a princess, she is hesitant to stand beside her sister in a position of honor as the coronation ball commences. However, the constant encounters of relational rejection, and subsequent feeling of inadequacy motivates Anna to find “true” companionship—someone that will value her—as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

Anna’s opportunity arrives as the castle’s gates open for coronation day, as Elsa comes of age and is to become queen. She bumps into Hans, a prince from the Southern Isles, while on her way to the coronation. During the coronation, she gets to spend some time talking to her sister, which starts well, but saddens Anna as Elsa once again distances herself:

Elsa: Are you okay?
Anna: I’ve never been better. This is so nice. I wish it could be like this all the time.
Elsa: Me too…
[Then Elsa catches herself, stiffens and looks away]
Elsa: But it can’t.
Anna: Why not? I mean, if we…
[Anna goes to grab Elsa but she pulls away]
Elsa: It just can’t.
Anna: Excuse me for a minute.
[Anna turns and walks away sadly, as she walks through the crowd a man bows and bumps Anna making her fall. Just before she hits the ground Hans catches her]

As the evening progresses, she and her dream prince spend it gallivanting about the castle. After the most overplayed song in the history of music concludes—emphasizing that the love between Hans and her is an “open” door—she rashly accepts to marry Hans:

Hans: Can I say something crazy? Will you marry me?
Anna: Can I say something even crazier? Yes!

Her fear of ending up alone and without love in her life drives her to attach herself to the first person that accepts her love. Yet, she knows nothing about Hans, other than he is a prince with “dreamy eyes,” and was picked on by his twelve brothers while growing up. Excited to share the news of her engagement to Hans with Elsa and receive her blessing—thrilled to have met her “one true love”—she rushes back to the ballroom with Hans:

Anna and Hans: We would like…
Hans: Uh…your blessing…
[They laugh again as they say together]
Anna and Hans: Of…our marriage!
[Elsa looks shocked and confused]
Elsa: Marriage?
Anna: Yes!
Elsa: I’m sorry, I’m confused.
Anna: Well, We haven’t worked out all the details ourselves. We’ll need a few days to plan the ceremony. Of course, we’ll have soup, roast, and ice cream. And then…
[Turning to Hans]
Anna: Wait. Would we live here?
Elsa: Here?
Hans: Absolutely!
Elsa: Anna…
Anna: Oh, we can invite all twelve of your brothers to stay with us.
Elsa: What? No. No, no, no, no.
Anna: Of course we have the room. I don’t know, some of them must…
Elsa: Just wait. Slow down. No one’s brothers are staying here. No one is getting married.
Anna: Wait, what?
Elsa: May I talk to you, please? Alone.
Anna: No. Whatever you have to say, you…you can say to both of us.
Elsa: Fine. You can’t marry a man you just met.
Anna: You can if it’s true love.
Elsa: Anna, what do you know about true love?
Anna: More than you. All you know is how to shut people out.
Elsa: You asked for my blessing, but my answer is no. Now…excuse me.
[Elsa starts to walk away]
Hans: Your Majesty, if I may ease your…
Elsa: No, you may not. And I…I think you should go. The party is over.
[To the guard as she walks off]
Elsa: Close the gates.
Guard: Yes, your Majesty.
Anna: What?

While part of Elsa’s reaction is likely due to her self-perceived need for seclusion, she is providing wise counsel to Anna regarding her plans to marry Hans. Anna is being impulsive on a major life decision, making the decision primarily out of her fear of ending up alone. Once introduced to Kristoff, he too will question her judgment as a result of her immediate engagement to Hans. Ultimately, she is unreceptive to both of their rebukes. She is hasty in her decision making (Proverbs 21:5), and unwilling to heed rebuke from wise counsel (Proverbs 10:17, 19:20):

5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty (Proverbs 21:5, NASB).

20 Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days (Proverbs 19:20, NASB).

17 He is on the path of life who heeds instruction, but he who ignores reproof goes astray (Proverbs 10:17, NASB).

In frustration, taking this rejection personal—as she has all of Elsa’s rebuffs—she unleashes years of repressed emotional anguish. While she has the right to confront her sister about the way she has been treated during their formative years, she is doing it at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. She is playing the fool (Proverbs 29:29; Acts 19:36a). Her confrontational outburst upsets her sister, who likewise responds with an unhealthy emotion of fear—visibly manifested by her unplanned use of magic:

[Anna goes after Elsa]
Anna: Elsa, no. No, wait!
[Anna grabs Elsa’s hand and as Elsa turns Anna accidentally pulls off her glove]
Elsa: Give me my glove!
[Elsa goes to grab the glove by Anna takes a step back]
Anna: Elsa, please! Please! I can’t live like this anymore.
Elsa: Then leave.
[Anna looks shocked and close to tears. Elsa turns to walk away]
Anna: What did I ever do to you?!
Elsa: Enough, Anna.
Anna: No! Why? Why do you shut me out? Why do you shut the world out? What are you so afraid of?!
Elsa: I said, enough!
[As Elsa turns suddenly, ice shoots from her hand, which spikes across the floor shocking the guests as they back away]
Duke: Sorcery. I knew there was something dubious going on here.
Anna: Elsa?
[Elsa opens the door and rushes out]

Once Anna realizes and understands that Elsa’s seclusion from her was to keep her magic powers secret from her, she exhibits a sense of guilt and responsibility for instigating the outburst—and revealing her sister’s secret. She heads off after Elsa—who ran across the Fjord (it freezing with her every step), away from Arendelle; towards the North Mountains. As she races after her sister, again doing so hastily (see a trend), she realizes it would behoove her to get supplies and a guide.

While securing supplies, she is introduced to Kristoff as he is getting (literally) thrown out of Oaken’s store. Like Anna, Kristoff was hasty with his words—when speaking to Oaken—leading to his aerial departure from Oaken’s establishment. Needing a guide, and overhearing Kristoff speak of the weather emanating from North Mountain, she secures his assistance with an act of kindness—demonstrating her kindness and thoughtfulness—though she tries imparting a commanding and authoritative image upon her new colleagues:

[After Kristoff finishes singing, Anna suddenly opens the barn door and enters; making Kristoff and Sven sit up with a start
Anna: Nice duet.
Kristoff: Oh, it’s just you. What do you want?
Anna: I want you to take me up the North Mountain.
[Kristoff lays back on the hay and puts his hat over his eyes]
Kristoff: I don’t take people places.
Anna: Let me rephrase that…
[She throws a sack of supplies into Kristoff’s lap making him sit up]
Kristoff: Ooph!
Anna: Take me up the North Mountain. Please.
[Kristoff opens the bag and finds the rope and axe he’d wanted to buy from Oaken]
Anna: Look, I know how to stop this winter.
[Kristoff sighs not believing her; he lays back down on the hay and puts his hat over his eyes]
Kristoff: We leave at dawn…and you forgot the carrots for Sven.
[A bag containing the carrots hits Kristoff in the face]
Anna: Oops. Sorry. Sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t…
[She clears her throat and catches herself]
Anna: We leave now. Right now.
[She steps outside and waits. Kristoff watches Anna walk out then offers Sven a carrot, who takes a bite. Then Kristoff has a bite]

In many circumstances, with her desire to be accepted and loved, Anna functions as a people pleaser. However, while some of her motives may be self-serving, this action seems to also reflect the humility and compassion she has for others; treating others with the same kind of love and care that she would want others to exhibit towards her:

12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12, NASB).

Being a princess, she could have offered compensation much more significant in value. Instead, she places herself in Kristoff’s perspective, sees his need, and meets it. Metaphorically, she does not hold the recently purchased merchandise as a *ahem* carrot to dangle over their heads. They possess what she purchased for them prior to her actually securing their (Kristoff and Sven) services as guide. Anna, Kristoff, and Sven leave for the North Mountain immediately that evening per her request—again, a rash an unwise decision:

28 Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man [ or woman] who has no control over his [or her] spirit (Proverbs 25:28, NASB).

5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty (Proverbs 21:5, NASB).

Her desire to quickly restore her relationship with Elsa and bring summer to Arendelle is a healthy, loving decision. However, while action is necessary, and should be considered urgent (1 Samuel 21:8b), her fear of failing in both endeavors emboldens her to ignore avoidable and unnecessary risks. It is hard for me to believe that a kingdom intended to resemble Norway is not capable of handling a day or two of winter. Sledding through a forest in the dark of night when a short reprieve would allow for rest and the safety of daylight demonstrates a reckless haste to solve these issues. They nearly fall victim to a pack of vicious wolves, with their escape leading to the destruction of both Kristoff’s sled and lute—left demolished at the bottom of a ravine (Proverbs 21:5). There is also question as to whether she even invests time to consider her words to Elsa when she does confront her at the ice palace:

[As they make their way on the North Mountain]
Kristoff: So how exactly are you planning to stop this weather?
Anna: Oh, I am gonna talk to my sister.
Kristoff: That’s your plan? My ice business is riding on you talking to your sister?
Anna: Yup.

Now, with all this commentary discouraging hasty action, Anna’s decision to pursue Elsa is not unwise—only the fact that she did so without wise counsel or planning. It seems necessary to point out that sometimes an attitude of urgency is necessary—especially for Christians (Matthew 3:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:2):

35 “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. 36 Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.” 37 For in this case the saying is true, ‘One sows and another reaps’ (John 4:35-37, NASB).

Based on my understanding of scripture, maintaining healthy relationships should be one such area where we should act with a sense of urgency. As has already been noted in this writing, we (Christians) are commanded to love God and others. While our Lord shows patience with us, we are still admonished throughout scripture to immediately repent (e.g. restore relationship) with Him (Matthew 3:2; Mark 1:15; Luke 13:3; Acts 3:19; Revelation 22:20), for we know not our day of judgment (Matthew 25:1-13). Should this not be the same with all our relationships? There can still be conflict with silence—this in some instances may be a sin of omission. We are repeatedly encouraged to lovingly confront one another with urgent care (gently, wisely)—allowing for repentance and restoration with both God and others:

3 Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him (Luke 17:3).

15 If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother (Matthew 18:15).

5 Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed (Psalm 27:5).

1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted (Galatians 6:1)

25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity (Ephesians 4:25-27).

2 Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction (2 Timothy 4:2).

This can be confusing for us as Christians, however, because many of the scriptures identify patience as an aspect of love, to which I absolutely agree. Based on its context, the definition of patience often used in scriptures involving relationships refers to possessing “a state of endurance under difficult circumstances.” Many times, people emphasize the “waiting” aspect of patience; however, we must urgently reach out to others when relationships with them are damaged. Where Ephesians 4:27 tells us to “not give the devil an opportunity,” means that our anger can be used by the devil to harm both us and those whom we love. Repressed anger can permanently destroy relationships—create hatred:

9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness (1 John 2:9, ESV).

Therefore, without delay, we need to confront one another in love; ask for forgiveness when we wrong someone; forgive others when we have been wronged. We cannot control the response we receive. Hence, we may be pushed away by loved ones and need to exhibit patience; loving the person in the only way that may be left—prayer—hoping that God mediates for us (1 Samuel 2:25); restoring the relationship.

But rejection and abandonment will still hurt and affect the most loving people. Who desires to knock on a closed door, expecting it to remain shut? Anna needs to once again face a closed door when she and her entourage (Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven) arrive at the ice palace. Her hesitation to knock on the palace door speaks more than any words; but she eventually overcomes her fear of further rejection and knocks:

Olaf: Knock. Just knock.
[Anna just stand motionless holding up her hand]
Olaf: Why isn’t she knocking? Do you think she knows how to knock?
[Anna finally knocks and the ice door opens]
Anna: It opened. That’s a first.

By the time Anna reaches the ice palace, she has an understanding of the struggles her sister had hidden from her for all these years. Anna, as a loving sister, has faith that they can work through the current situation together. For, in addition to being her sister, Anna is also her friend:

17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity (Proverbs 17:17, NIV).

Unfortunately, Elsa’s self-perceived ability to eventually control her powers does not align with Anna’s. After an emotional (and relatively long) conversation between the two sisters, with Anna lovingly confronting Elsa—Elsa lashes out at Anna, unintentionally hurting her with her powers:

[Anna walks into the palace and looks up at the beautiful icy ceiling]
Anna: Whoa.
[She looks around]
Anna: Elsa? It’s me, Anna.
[As she goes to walk she slips but steadies herself]
Elsa: Anna?
[Anna looks up and sees Elsa up the balcony and is struck by her beauty]
Anna: Wow. Elsa, you look different. It’s a good different. And this place…it’s amazing.
Elsa: Thank you. I never knew what I was capable of.
Anna: I’m so sorry about what happened. If I’d have known…
Elsa: No, no. It’s okay. You don’t have to apologize. But you should probably go, please.
Anna: But I just got here.
Elsa: You belong down in Arendelle.
Anna: So do you.
Elsa: No, Anna. I belong here. Alone. Where I can be who I am without hurting anybody.
Anna: Actually, about that…

Anna: Elsa, we were so close. We can be like that again.
[Suddenly Elsa has flashback to the day she accidentally had hurt Anna when they were children]
Young Anna: Catch me!
Young Elsa: Slow down!
[Holding Anna in her arms after striking her unconscious with her power]
Young Elsa: Anna!
[Back to present, Elsa’s face drops]
Elsa: No, we can’t.
[Elsa turns to walk away]
Elsa: Goodbye, Anna.
Anna: Elsa, wait.
Elsa: No, I’m just trying to protect you!
[Anna starts climbing the stairs]
Anna: You don’t have to protect me. I’m not afraid!
[Elsa continues to walk away]
Anna: Please don’t shut me out again. Please don’t slam the door… you don’t have to keep your distance anymore.
[Anna follows Elsa]
Anna: Cause for the first time in forever, I finally understand. For the first time in forever, we can fix this hand in hand. We can head down this mountain together. You don’t have to live in fear. Cause for the first time in forever, I will be right here.
[Anna follows Elsa up to her living quarters; Elsa turns to her and starts singing]
Elsa: Anna, please go back home. Your life awaits. Go enjoy the sun and open up the gates.
Anna: Yeah, but…
Elsa: I know! You mean well, but leave me be.
[Elsa turns and walks out onto the balcony with Anna following her]
Elsa: Yes, I’m alone, but I’m alone and free. Just stay away and you’ll be safe from me.
[Elsa walks back inside]
Anna: Actually, we’re not.
Elsa: What do you mean you’re not?
Anna: I get the feeling you don’t know?
Elsa: What do I not know?
Anna: Arendelle’s in deep, deep, deep, deep snow.
[Elsa looks shocked and they stop singing]
Elsa: What?
Anna: You kind of set off an eternal winter…everywhere.
Elsa: Everywhere?
Anna: Oh, it’s okay. You can just unfreeze it.
Elsa: No, I can’t. I…I don’t know how!
[Suddenly it starts to snow in the palace]
Anna: Sure you can. I know you can! Cause for the first time in forever…
Elsa: Oh, I’m such a fool! I can’t be free!
Anna: You don’t have to be afraid.
Elsa: No escape from the storm inside of me!
Anna: We can work this out together.
[The snow starts to get heavier and faster]
Elsa: I can’t control the curse!
Anna: We’ll reverse the storm you’ve made.
Elsa: Oh, Anna, please. You’ll only make it worse!
Anna: Don’t panic.
Elsa: There’s so much fear!
Anna: We’ll make the sun shine bright.
Elsa: You’re not safe here!
Anna: We can face this thing together.
Elsa: No! I can’t!
[The snow blizzard gets worse. Then suddenly as Elsa gets more agitated, she sucks the blizzard back into herself and then it bursts out and accidentally hits Anna in the heart]

While Anna continues to plead with Elsa, her sister has Marshmallow, a giant snowman, throw her and her companions outside the castle. Anna, obviously emotional after receiving her sister’s “cold shoulder,” and unhappy about being forcefully removed, throws a snowball at Marshmallow. Without getting into details, this was another rash action by Anna, leading to her and Kristoff dropping two hundred feet off a cliff—fortunately, into large snowbanks.

With Anna’s physical condition worsening from Elsa’s magic blast, Kristoff takes her to his adopted family, the trolls, for help. He has seen them help before. After the trolls attempt to help Kristoff and Anna see the feelings they have for each other, Anna physically collapses into Kristoff’s arms—her body becoming colder:

[Just then Grand Pabbie rolls in]
Grand Pabbie: There is strange magic here.
Kristoff: Grand Pabbie!
Grand Pabbie: Come, come. Bring her here to me.
[Kristoff helps Anna over to Grand Pabbie who takes her hands]
Grand Pabbie: Anna, your life is in danger. There is ice in your heart, put there by your sister. If not removed, to solid ice will you freeze, forever.
Anna: What? No.
Kristoff: But you can remove it, right?
Grand Pabbie: I cannot. I’m sorry, Kristoff. If it was her head that would be easy, but only an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart.
Anna: An act of true love?
Bulda: A true love’s kiss, perhaps?
[Bulda kisses the boy troll next to her and the rest of the trolls kiss each other, Anna collapses again into Kristoff’s arms and more of her hair turns white]
Kristoff: Anna, we’ve got to get you back to Hans.
[Anna looking very weak]

Kristoff, loving Anna very much, rushes her back to Hans in Arendelle. Unfortunately, Hans is a heartless man, who had been using Anna to advance his position. He leaves her in the castle library, with the fireplace extinguished and the door locked; leaving her to die. Fortunately, everyone’s favorite snowman, Olaf, comes to her rescue.

As he starts a fire in the fireplace to warm Anna, Olaf provides Anna counsel about true love:

Olaf: I am not leaving here until we find some other act of true love to save you.
[Olaf sits behind her to shield himself from the fire]
Olaf: Do you happen to have any ideas?
Anna: I don’t even know what love is.
Olaf: That’s okay, I do. Love is putting someone else’s needs before yours, like, you know, how Kristoff brought you back here to Hans and left you forever.
[A realization comes over Anna]
Anna: Kristoff loves me?
[Olaf moves around to face her]
Olaf: Wow, you really don’t know anything about love, do you?

This time, Anna heeds wise counsel of her friend (Proverbs 12:15, 19:20-21):

13 Talk hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life (Proverbs 4:13).

With Kristoff riding Sven, hurrying across the frozen fjord to Anna, she makes her way through the blizzard—onto the fjord—to meet him. He shall save her with a true love’s kiss…

…or so the Disney story typically goes. Though, not this time.

Right before Kristoff is able to reach Anna, she sees Hans about to slay Elsa—who is despondent, believing she had killed her sister. With her last breath, Anna throws herself between Elsa and Hans—turning into solid ice. Hans’ sword breaks upon impact on Anna’s frozen hand, and a magic power knocks him backward. Anna had made the ultimate sacrifice for her sister—an act of true love:

13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his [her] friends (John 15:13, NASB).

Anna’s act of true love completely restores her health. And when Elsa asks Anna why she sacrificed herself, Anna’s answer helps Elsa realize that—just as Grand Pabbie warned her all those years before—her enemy had been fear—not Anna or anyone else. Now understanding the power of true love, Elsa is able to restore Arendelle to summer:

[As Elsa holds on to Anna’s frozen body and weeps, Anna’s body suddenly starts to unfreeze and come to life]
Elsa: Anna?
[They hug each other and hold on to each other tightly]
Anna: Oh, Elsa.
Elsa: You sacrificed yourself for me?
Anna: I love you.
[Olaf’s face lights up as he realizes what saved Anna]
Olaf: An act of true love will thaw a frozen heart.
Elsa: Love will thaw…
[She looks at Anna]
Elsa: Love. Of course.
[She looks at her hands]
Anna: Elsa?
Elsa: Love.
[Elsa raises her arms and suddenly the ice on the fjord starts to melt, beneath their feet the bow of a ship thaws and rises as they stand on it, the snow and ice across the kingdom melts bringing back the warm summer; to Elsa]
Anna: I knew you could do it.

A lesson we can learn from Anna—and her Christ-alluding sacrifice—is to not be discouraged or afraid in times of adversity—we (as Christians) should be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9), trusting in our Lord to guide us (Proverbs 3:5-6) as we continually strive to glorify Him by doing good (Galatians 6:9).

QUEEN ELSA OF ARENDELLE

Elsa is a beautiful soul, a paradox of strength and fragility, and extremely misunderstood. In many respects, during the majority of Frozen, she struggles to understand herself. When speaking about the movie with others, there are those that do not like Elsa as a character. Personally, I was indifferent towards Elsa at first, feeling a closer affinity with Anna. However, having now watched Frozen a few times, Elsa may be my favorite character. She is powerful but meek; working hard to represent the kingdom as she believes her parents would want—trying to meet the expectations they set for her. She has a great propensity to love, though after the accident involving Anna, Elsa adopts a warped perspective on how she can demonstrate that love towards her sister. Outside of those moments when she feels confronted by loved ones (Anna) or trapped by circumstances, she exhibits a stately reserve, and a gentle demeanor. While Anna is a catalyst for love; changing the perspectives of both Elsa and Kristoff on the matter [of love]—Elsa’s story is a beautiful depiction of love’s redemption.

We are introduced to Elsa while she is young and sleeping. Her younger sister, Anna, is trying to wake her up for some evening playtime. Eventually, Anna is able to persuade Elsa to partake in some fun by asking her, “Wanna build a snowman?”

They start playing in the great ballroom, Elsa using her powers to create Olaf the snowman—not the living version that we meet later in the movie—and mounds of snow. They role play with Olaf, and Anna jumps from one mound of snow to the next, each mound higher off the ground from the previous. Elsa is creating each of the mounds for Anna with her every leap—Anna showing faith and trust in her older sister.

 [They slide down snow hills together]
Young Anna: Ah-huh! Tickle bumps!
[Then Anna jumps off the snow peaks]
Young Anna: Alright. Catch me!
[Elsa makes another snow peak to catch Anna]
Young Elsa: Gotcha!
Young Anna: Again!
[Elsa makes another peak to catch Anna as she jumps]
Young Elsa: Wait!
[Anna keeps jumping and Elsa quickly tries to make peaks to catch her]
Young Elsa: Slow down!

Then Elsa slips on some ice, and Anna’s enthusiasm and propensity for reckless abandon has her oblivious to her sister’s inability to accommodate her need for more snow mounds. Now panicking to catch up with her sister’s leaps, Elsa accidently hits Anna in the head with one of her magic blasts. Anna is knocked unconscious to the ground.

[Suddenly Elsa slips on the ice floor. As she sits up, she sees Anna about to jump again]
Young Elsa: Anna!
[Elsa quickly uses her power to catch Anna as she jumps but it accidentally strikes her head. Anna falls down unconscious. Elsa rushes towards her and takes her into her arms]
Young Elsa: Anna?
[Suddenly a streak of Anna’s hair where she was struck turns white. Elsa cries out in anguish]
Young Elsa: Mama! Papa!
[As Elsa cries, the room fills with more ice]

Based on her father’s reaction as they enter into the ballroom, he has been critical about her use of magic prior to this event:

[Suddenly their parents burst through the frozen door]
King: Elsa, what have you done? This is getting out of hand!
[They rush towards them]
Young Elsa: It was an accident.
[Looking down at Anna in her arms]
Young Elsa: I’m sorry, Anna.
[The King and Queen take Anna into their arms]
Queen: She’s ice cold.

The king and queen take Elsa and Anna to the forest trolls, so that their leader, Grand Pabbie, can heal Anna. He successfully heals Anna, but in the process removes any memory of Elsa’s powers.

Grand Pabbie: Your Majesty!
[Pabbie takes Elsa’s hand]
Grand Pabbie: Born with the powers or cursed?
King: Uh…born. And they’re getting stronger.

Grand Pabbie: She [Anna] will be okay.
Young Elsa: But she won’t remember I have powers?
Grand Pabbie: It’s for the best. Listen to me, Elsa, your power will grow. There’s a beauty in it and also a danger. Fear will be your enemy.
King: No. We’ll protect her. She can learn to control it. I’m sure. Until then, we’ll lock the gates. We’ll reduce the staff. We will limit her contact with people, and keep her powers hidden from everyone. Including Anna.
[The castle doors and windows are closed and the two sisters separated from each other. Anna watches as Elsa goes into her room and close the door. Anna looks sad and confused]

The effect of that accident lingered throughout the formative years of both girls. Anna was isolated, and struggled with loneliness; confused as to why her sister and best friend no longer wanted to build snowmen with her. Elsa became reclusive, and had to hide an aspect of herself from others. In trying to protect both of their girls, the King and Queen may have caused more harm than good. Unintentionally, we see the king reinforcing negative attitudes (though I doubt he meant to—he seems kind and gentle—and most of the quotes he has in the movie are kind and thoughtful) about her powers to Elsa, which—based on her behaviors later in the movie—she adopts as personal reflections regarding herself:

King Agdar: Conceal it. Don’t feel it.
King Agdar and Elsa: Don’t let it show.

Per his recommendation, Elsa begins wearing gloves at all times. It appears as though her emphasis on concealing her magic influences her personality as she ages. She tries to portray a calm and reserved demeanor—though she references her “storm inside of her” later. Loving Anna deeply, we can repeatedly see the agony (and likely guilt) felt by Elsa every time her sister knocks on her door, asking her if she wants to build a snowman. On one occasion, Elsa responds, then goes silent—hurting her sister in an effort to lovingly protect her:

Young Anna: Elsa?
[Anna knocks on Elsa’s door and starts singing “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”]
Young Anna: Do you want to build a snowman? Come on let’s go and play. I never see you anymore. Come out the door.
[Anna peeks under the door]
Young Anna: It’s like you’ve gone away.
[Anna plays alone with her dolls in the ball room]
Young Anna: We used to be best buddies, and now we’re not. I wish you would tell me why.
[Back at Elsa’s door, Anna peeks through the keyhole]
Young Anna: Do you want to build a snowman?
[She then sings through the keyhole]
Young Anna: It doesn’t have to be a snowman.
[She hears Elsa through the closed door]
Young Elsa: Go away, Anna.
[Anna looks heartbroken]
Young Anna: Okay, bye.
[Dejected Anna turns and walks away]

Before leaving on a voyage, King Agdar and Queen Idun say farewell to their two daughters—at different times. While Anna gives them a hug and tells them that she’ll see them in two weeks; Elsa curtsies before her parents, not wanting to touch them, fearful of harming them. She expresses concerns about their trip. While assuredly concerned about their safety, she may also have concerns of being without their guidance (she is next in line for the throne). The last words she ever hears from her father provide loving reassurance:

Elsa: Do you have to go?
King Agdar: You’ll be fine, Elsa.

The voyage ends in a shipwreck at sea, the king and queen dead. Anna, with no one in her life now, reaches out to Elsa once more through the closed door of Elsa’s bed chamber. Elsa had not been at their parent’s funeral:

[After their parent’s funeral, Anna knocks on Elsa’s door]
Anna: Elsa?
[She sings]
Anna: Please, I know you’re in there. People are asking where you’ve been. They say have courage and I’m trying to, I’m right out here for you. Just let me in. We only have each other. It’s just you and me. What are we gonna do?
[Anna slides down the door and sits against it, looking sad]
Anna: Do you want to build a snowman?
[In her room Elsa is sitting in the exact same position as Anna, her room is now frozen with ice and snowflakes float in the air. Elsa begins to cry as does Anna sat outside her door]

Where the kingdom’s subjects are likely gossiping about Elsa’s absence at her parent’s funeral, and Anna is left alone without answers as to why Elsa will not allow her access into her life—Elsa is probably viewed negatively. Though, Elsa is as much a victim as Anna—and deserves sympathy.

Elsa loves Anna, and her parents. To believe that she must not allow Anna into her life, or risk hurting her, must be agonizing. Her guilt must be severe. And to not feel it safe for others if you attend your parent’s funeral—the only two people that had presence in your life for years—must have only expounded that guilt. While born with this gift to control snow and ice, there is no question that Elsa perceives it as a curse. She is completely alone, no longer having her parents present, and unable to accept Anna into her life—afraid to harm her. The reality is that Elsa’s fear has been harming Anna for years.

And for years that fear controls the lives of both princesses: Elsa lives in self-imposed seclusion, while Anna has isolation imposed upon her. Though, as is the case with all fears, they cannot be ignored forever. Eventually everyone is forced to come face-to-face with their fears. For Elsa, that day was Coronation day—the day she would become Queen of Arendelle. The gates must be opened, and the people must see their new queen!

[In the library, Elsa watches out the window as the coronation guests arrive and she carries on singing]
Elsa: Don’t let them in. Don’t let them see. Be the good girl you always have to be.
[She turns and walks over to look at the painting of her father on the wall]
Elsa: Conceal. Don’t feel.
[She takes off her gloves and picks up a candlestick and an ornament]
Elsa: Put on a show. Make one wrong move and everyone will know.
[Her powers freeze the candlestick and ornament. In distress she puts them down on the table]
Elsa: But it’s only for today.

Elsa: Conceal. Don’t feel. Don’t let them know.

The damage caused between Elsa and Anna because of Elsa’s fear leads to a public confrontation during the coronation ball. Anna foolishly accepts Prince Hans’ proposal of marriage—though they had only met that day—and seeks her sister’s blessing. Instead, Elsa, exhibiting wisdom and having her sister’s best interests at heart, will not give it. Matters escalate when Elsa allows fear to consumer her with the idea of additional people roaming the castle. She reacts out of fear, commanding the gates to be closed, and the ball concluded. Anna begins to emotionally question why Elsa will not bless the marriage. While Elsa wisely first seeks to speak about the matter in private—and offers her sister the opportunity to speak with her face-to-face (rather than behind a door)—Anna demands that she share her thoughts in public. Elsa accommodates her request.

Anna and Hans: We would like…
Hans: Uh…your blessing…
[They laugh again as they say together]
Anna and Hans: Of…our marriage!
[Elsa looks shocked and confused]
Elsa: Marriage?
Anna: Yes!
Elsa: I’m sorry, I’m confused.
Anna: Well, We haven’t worked out all the details ourselves. We’ll need a few days to plan the ceremony. Of course, we’ll have soup, roast, and ice cream. And then…
[Turning to Hans]
Anna: Wait. Would we live here?
Elsa: Here?
Hans: Absolutely!
Elsa: Anna…
Anna: Oh, we can invite all twelve of your brothers to stay with us.
Elsa: What? No. No, no, no, no.
Anna: Of course we have the room. I don’t know, some of them must…
Elsa: Just wait. Slow down. No one’s brothers are staying here. No one is getting married.
Anna: Wait, what?
Elsa: May I talk to you, please? Alone.
Anna: No. Whatever you have to say, you…you can say to both of us.
Elsa: Fine. You can’t marry a man you just met.
Anna: You can if it’s true love.
Elsa: Anna, what do you know about true love?
Anna: More than you. All you know is how to shut people out.
Elsa: You asked for my blessing, but my answer is no. Now…excuse me.
[Elsa starts to walk away]
Hans: Your Majesty, if I may ease your…
Elsa: No, you may not. And I…I think you should go. The party is over.
[To the guard as she walks off]
Elsa: Close the gates.
Guard: Yes, your Majesty.

Anna, not aware of Elsa’s powers—taking her sister’s actions as personal—continues to confront her in public; unleashing a childhood of pent up frustration. While I would call Elsa’s behavior sinful—acting as much from her fear (by closing the gates and sending everyone away) than love for her sister in this instance—Anna, again, acts foolishly:

15 If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother (Matthew 18:15, NASB).

During Anna’s emotional plea for Elsa to not close the gates—not wanting to live as she has for all those years—Elsa turns emotionally inward; trying to hide the storm she cannot control inside of her. Just as Anna is visibly hurt during this confrontation, there is no question Elsa must be feeling hurt—she lives with the guilt and shame of denying her sister access into her life daily. With both sisters feeling attacked and misunderstood, and allowing their frustrations to control their words and actions, matters continue to escalate. And as cliché as it sounds, hurt people tend to hurt people.

When hurt people turn inward, the situation becomes all about them. They are unable to see what their self-destructive behavior does to others who love them, and when confronted by those same loved ones about their behavior, they lash out. For a hurt person to acknowledge the harm her or she is causing to a loved one only leads them further into grief—and they continue to recess further into themselves; succumbing to dread and guilt.

Anna: What? Elsa, no! No, wait!
[She tries to grab Elsa’s hand, but instead yanks off her glove. Elsa gasps in horror.]
Elsa: [Desperately] Give me my glove!
Anna: [Also desperate] Elsa, please! Please! I can’t live like this anymore!
Elsa: [Pauses] Then leave.
[Anna looks at her with a hurt expression. Elsa then turns to leave.]
Anna: [Calling after her] What did I ever do to you?!
Elsa: [Impatiently] Enough, Anna.
Anna: No! Why? Why do you shut me out? Why-Why do you shut the world out? WHAT ARE YOU SO AFRAID OF?!
Elsa: I SAID ENOUGH!
[In her fury, Elsa conjures up an icicle wall around herself. Everyone –including Anna—stares at her in fright. Elsa shrinks back at what she’s done.]
Duke of Weselton: Sorcery. [Hides behind one of his bodyguards] I knew there was something dubious going on here.
Anna: [Shocked] Elsa…
[Devastated, Elsa flees the ballroom.]
[Anna looks at her with a hurt expression]

She had tried to avoid fearful situations, rather than confront and overcome her inclination to fear. Knowing that people could be harmed by her magic, she avoided people. She didn’t want to be portrayed as harmful; therefore, she had made every effort that others would never be able to see her “as she saw herself.”

However, with her “curse” out in public, Elsa no longer feels safe in the castle. She runs across the fjord—the water beneath her freezing with her every step—towards North Mountain. Once at North Mountain, she feels a sense of relief. She lets down her hair [literally], and allows herself to use her powers openly.

Once deciding to take residence on the mountain, she creates for herself a beautiful ice palace. It will serve as her new sanctuary—or prison, depending on one’s perspective:

[Elsa climbs up a mountain, through the snow storm. She starts singing “Let It Go”]
Elsa: The snow glows white on the mountain tonight, not a footprint to be seen. A kingdom of isolation and it looks like I’m the Queen. The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside. Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried. Don’t let them in, don’t let them see, Be the good girl you always have to be. Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.
[She looks at her one gloved hand suddenly takes off her glove and throws it into the air]
Elsa: Well, now they know. Let it go. Let it go. Can’t hold it back anymore.
[She creates a snowman]
Elsa: Let it go. Let it go. Turn away and slam the door. I don’t care what they’re going to say. Let the storm rage on. The cold never bothered me anyway.
[She takes off her cape which flies off into the wind]
Elsa: It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small. And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all. It’s time to see what I can do, to test the limits
and break through.
[With her powers she creates an ice staircase]
Elsa: No right, no wrong, no rules for me. I’m free!
[She climbs up the ice staircase]
Elsa: Let it go! Let it go! I am one with the wind and sky. Let it go! Let it go! You’ll never see me cry. Here I stand and here I’ll stay.
[She slams her foot down, forming a giant snowflake]
Elsa: Let the storm rage on.
[She creates an ice castle with her powers]
Elsa: My power flurries through the air into the ground. My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around.
[She makes an ice chandelier for her ice castle]
Elsa: And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast. I’m never going back, the past is in the past!
[She removes her crown and throws it away]
Elsa: Let it go! Let it go!
[She lets down her hair and makes herself and ice dress]
Elsa: And I’ll rise like the break of dawn. Let it go! Let it go! That perfect girl is gone.
[She walks through her ice castle and onto the balcony]
Elsa: Here I stand in the light of day. Let the storm rage on! The cold never bothered me anyway.
[She walks back inside, closing the icy doors]

But rather than possessing freedom, Elsa is actually being controlled by her fear. She has abandoned Anna and her kingdom. As mentioned earlier, the subconscious creation of Olaf the snowman suggests a repressed desire to reestablish relationship with her sister. Yet, her all-consuming fear is not allowing her to openly love. She is creating a skewed perception of reality to address the disconfirmation—inconsistencies between her beliefs and her actions—that exist within her life.

Anna, now understanding why Elsa had stayed away from her all those years, pursues her sister. Realizing she foolishly created a situation which led to Elsa revealing her magical powers, she is intent on making things right—including her relationship with her sister.

After securing Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf to help guide her to the ice palace, Anna enters alone (wisely looking to speak privately with her sister this time). In speaking to her sister, this time from a place of love, Anna tries to persuade her sister to return with her to Arendelle. However, Elsa has a flashback to the night when she had hurt Anna as a child. Never having forgiven herself—nor having made peace with the past—she is unwilling to move forward into a future where she and her sister can enjoy relationship with one another. She is a prisoner to her fear, resigned to living a cold and secluded life within the ice palace.

It is her fear, guilt, and shame that prevents Elsa from seeing that she is harming Anna more by keeping her away. Her actions are creating a slowly progressing, relational death between her and her sister. This relational death is symbolized through another accidental magic blast—striking Anna’s heart.

Anna: Elsa, we were so close. We can be like that again.
[Suddenly, Elsa has flashback to the day she accidentally had hurt Anna when they were children]
Young Anna: Catch me!
Young Elsa: Slow down!
[Holding Anna in her arms after striking her unconscious with her power]
Young Elsa: Anna!
[Back to present, Elsa’s face drops]
Elsa: No, we can’t.
[Elsa turns to walk away]
Elsa: Goodbye, Anna.
Anna: Elsa, wait.
Elsa: No, I’m just trying to protect you!
[Anna starts climbing the stairs]
Anna: You don’t have to protect me. I’m not afraid!
[Elsa continues to walk away]
Anna: Please don’t shut me out again. Please don’t slam the door… you don’t have to keep your distance anymore.
[Anna follows Elsa]
Anna: Cause for the first time in forever, I finally understand. For the first time in forever, we can fix this hand in hand. We can head down this mountain together. You don’t have to live in fear. Cause for the first time in forever, I will be right here.
[Anna follows Elsa up to her living quarters; Elsa turns to her and starts singing]
Elsa: Anna, please go back home. Your life awaits. Go enjoy the sun and open up the gates.
Anna: Yeah, but…
Elsa: I know! You mean well, but leave me be.
[Elsa turns and walks out onto the balcony with Anna following her]
Elsa: Yes, I’m alone, but I’m alone and free. Just stay away and you’ll be safe from me.
[Elsa walks back inside]
Anna: Actually, we’re not.
Elsa: What do you mean you’re not?
Anna: I get the feeling you don’t know?
Elsa: What do I not know?
Anna: Arendelle’s in deep, deep, deep, deep snow.
[Elsa looks shocked and they stop singing]
Elsa: What?
Anna: You kind of set off an eternal winter…everywhere.
Elsa: Everywhere?
Anna: Oh, it’s okay. You can just unfreeze it.
Elsa: No, I can’t. I…I don’t know how!
[Suddenly it starts to snow in the palace]
Anna: Sure you can. I know you can! Cause for the first time in forever…
Elsa: Oh, I’m such a fool! I can’t be free!
Anna: You don’t have to be afraid.
Elsa: No escape from the storm inside of me!
Anna: We can work this out together.
[The snow starts to get heavier and faster]
Elsa: I can’t control the curse!
Anna: We’ll reverse the storm you’ve made.
Elsa: Oh, Anna, please. You’ll only make it worse!
Anna: Don’t panic.
Elsa: There’s so much fear!
Anna: We’ll make the sun shine bright.
Elsa: You’re not safe here!
Anna: We can face this thing together.
Elsa: No! I can’t!
[The snow blizzard gets worse. Then suddenly, as Elsa gets more agitated, she sucks the blizzard back into herself. Then it bursts out and accidentally hits Anna in the heart]

Knowing she had harmed her sister—but not likely realizing that she had struck a “heart” blow—Elsa has Anna and her friends forcefully removed from the ice palace by Marshmallow. Shortly thereafter, Hans and the guards come for Elsa. During the scuffle—where she almost kills two of the guards in rage—she is knocked unconscious; awakening in one of the castle’s prison cells. As she is about to be tried for treason, allegedly “murdering” her sister, Elsa escapes the prison and begins running across the frozen fjord.

Elsa progresses slowly across the fjord this time, because the “storm” within her is manifesting itself into an actual blizzard! Hans catches up to her, and leads her to believe that she has killed Anna:

[As Elsa struggles through the storm, she notices Hans approaching her]
Hans: Elsa! You can’t run from this!
[She turns to face him]
Elsa: Just take care of my sister.
Hans: Your sister? She returned from the mountain weak and cold. She said that you froze her heart.
Elsa: No.
Hans: I tried to save her, but it was too late. Her skin was ice, her hair turned white.
[Elsa suddenly realizes what she’s done]
Hans: Your sister is dead…because of you.
Elsa: No.
[Totally distraught, Elsa turns and falls to her knees, instantly the blizzard stops]

That which Elsa feared most—causing the death of her sister—became a reality in her heart with Hans’ words. Fear not only kept her from living a life of love and relationship—ultimately, her relational sacrifice led to the harm it had intended to prevent. The blizzard stopped, as her emotions were decimated with the news. Despondent, she is unaware of Hans unsheathing his sword, or his intentions to strike her down. But Anna throws herself between Elsa and Hans at the moment he strikes—turning into a human popsicle in the process. As mentioned earlier, Hans’ sword shatters as it touches the frozen statue that was once Anna, and he is knocked backwards.

For the first time since they were young children, Elsa embraces her sister. As Elsa’s arms are wrapped around her, Anna begins to warm and is restored to health—her sacrifice being an act of true love. Elsa, not knowing how Anna came to be restored, is perplexed. Then, once Olaf mentions the words from Grand Pabbie, Elsa finally realizes how she can overcome her fears:

[As Elsa holds on to Anna’s frozen body and weeps. Suddenly, Anna’s body starts to unfreeze and come to life]
Elsa: Anna?
[They hug each other and hold on to each other tightly]
Anna: Oh, Elsa.
Elsa: You sacrificed yourself for me?
Anna: I love you.
[Olaf’s face lights up as he realizes what saved Anna]
Olaf: An act of true love will thaw a frozen heart.
Elsa: Love will thaw…
[She looks at Anna]
Elsa: Love. Of course.
[She looks at her hands]
Anna: Elsa?
Elsa: Love.
[Elsa raises her arms and suddenly the ice on the fjord starts to melt. Beneath their feet, the bow of a ship thaws and rises as they stand on it, the snow and ice across the kingdom melts bringing back the warm summer; Anna says to Elsa]
Anna: I knew you could do it.

Anna’s loving sacrifice at the end of the movie shows Elsa that love is stronger than fear:

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love (1 John 4:18).

Elsa embraces love. She believes in herself, and it is reflected in her ability to control her powers. What was once considered a curse now becomes her blessing. The beautiful spirit that was always residing inside Elsa becomes visible to everyone once she loses her fear of hurting others with her powers. She is finally at peace—the storm inside her is calm. She uses her power to benefit others. Olaf is given his own personal flurry—now a snowman for every season; the people of Arendelle get to enjoy outdoor skating during the summer time (which, in my opinion, is quite awesome); and Anna gets to have relationship with her sister.

Not only is Elsa able to have relational intimacy with her loved ones (Anna), but she no longer seeks seclusion. She now desires community—an outgrowth of love.

Anna: I like the open gates.
Elsa: We are never closing them again.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

These examinations are a reflection of my thoughts as a Christian, regarding how I perceive each Frozen character struggles with their fear(s), and how those struggles influence their ability to love. There are a few places where scripture is slightly “stretched” to fit the context of the movie for inclusion. However, this “stretching” would be regarding the movie context—given its secular nature—not the actual scripture. If applying the “lens” that I outlined early in this writing, one should understand the contextually correct interpretation of such scripture, as the message being communicated by the scripture should align with its actual intention.

Biblical Allusions can be Found Wherever Love Overcomes Fear

While a secular movie, it is easy for me—and likely many Christians—to see biblical allusions throughout. Personally, I believe that anything that depicts real love should point back towards Christ, given that God (Christ) is love (1 John 4:8). I see Anna as a type of Christ, carrying the weight of Elsa’s burdens; taking them upon herself—unreservedly loving her sister. Her sacrifice serves to free Elsa from her fears (sins), and allows her to once again to openly love and have relationship (with Christ). And sometimes we need people, such as Anna (Christ) to love us first—before we are capable of reciprocating that love.

Elsa’s freezing can be viewed as a symbolic representation of how we freeze others (and Christ) out of our lives when acting in fear—often leading to a slow relational death with others. Yet, the Holy Spirit (represented by Olaf) can guide us on the path of restoration, and can inspire us to courageously take the necessary actions to reestablish relationship with others.

While Elsa’s transformation is the most prominent in the movie, every character that came in contact with Anna’s (Christ’s) love tells a story about how love can overcome fear. Hans (Satan) has no interest in biblical love—only power. He is deceiving and tries to use Anna’s (Christ’s) love against her (Him). Ultimately, love overcomes Hans’ (Satan’s) plans, and he is sent away (loses control to have influence). Kristoff is afraid of depending on others. Over time, upon experiencing Anna’s (Christ’s) loving nature, he desires her presence and influence within his life—willing to surrender his independence. Olaf (Holy Spirit) is actually a manifestation of Elsa and Anna (being within Christ and His believers).

Explaining Where I See Elsa’s Realism

Elsa reflects that many of us struggle with serious fears, and live in denial about the control they have in our lives. All of us have fears, and all of us exhibit love to others poorly at times as a result. We are still capable of moments of perfect love–at least that is my belief, or I don’t think the bible would encourage us to strive for it. God does it all the time, and I believe we are capable of such love for brief moments. Where is this belief of mine founded? I reason that if we are 1) called to serve as God’s hands and feet, and 2) indwelt with the Holy Spirit, 3) then we—through the Holy Spirit and His sovereignty—are capable of  expressing pure love to bring Him glory and us joy.

But intense joy can be as difficult for some of us to allow into our lives as intense dread—bringing us to relapse into detrimental behaviors. Brene Brown, an expert on shame, provides these insights from her research:

Joy is as thorny and sharp as any of the dark emotions. To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees—these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. When we lose our tolerance for discomfort, we lose joy. In fact, addiction research shows us that an intensely positive experience is as likely to cause relapse as an intensely painful experience (p. 73).”

While I am not able to confirm it, it would not surprise me if the character of Elsa is modeled after a person suffering with post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder. It can occur after you have gone through an extreme emotional trauma. Having a family member who suffers from PTSD, I see many commonalities with Elsa’s struggles and PTSD symptoms. For instance, like Elsa, those who suffer from PTSD often experience:

  • Reliving the event (Elsa’s flashbacks)
  • Avoidance (Elsa’s seclusion, avoiding Anna—reminds her of the accident)
  • Hyperarousal (Elsa is not comfortable around others—sees danger everywhere)
  • Negative thoughts and feelings (Elsa’s uncontrollable “storm inside her”)
  • Agitation (Though normally calm, when confronted, Elsa gets emotional)

Elsa’s plight resonates with me. It is something that I have seen and experienced (as a family member). I sympathize with Elsa and empathize with Anna. Elsa is often misunderstood; though, she typically is coming from an unhealthy perspective of the situation. If anything, she deserves intentional love—not avoidance. Love is a healing power (e.g. exposure therapy/behavioral therapy) in the lives of those affected with PTSD and similar disorders. Fear (through their anxiety) can be a struggle, but openly loving these people will eventually help them overcome the control of lasting fear after a traumatic event.

18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment [trauma]. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:18).

And this is the challenge for those who love people such as Elsa—like Anna. If Anna did not confront Elsa, maybe her sister would not have had an “episode.” However, if not for Anna pursuing her out of love, Elsa would still be living an existence void of relationship and intimate love. Those who suffer from PTSD are not deserving of their “curse”—reliving recurrences of a severe trauma.  For anyone to act towards these individuals as though they are not deserving of love is 1) promoting a fallacy, and 2) encourages them to continue thinking of themselves negatively—seeing others distancing themselves as a result of their behaviors in those times of anxiety. When someone is diagnosed with some “disorder,” like PTSD, too often others place a stigma upon that person. We all have some “disorder,” whether or not it is clinically diagnosed. We all need help in some way or form to get past our failings. And we need to see the person (their soul), and not their circumstances. I am not any more or less deserving of love than those with such afflictions. How can I not be willing to first love those with similar emotional needs as I possess, considering that my Savior does it for me?

19 We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).

31 Do onto others as you would have them do onto you (Luke 6:31).

Elsa has a beautiful soul that begins to flourish at the end of Frozen. She was always worth loving, which Anna always knew. Anna saw what Elsa refused to see in herself, because she had a skewed perspective; warped by the traumatic event of harming Anna when they are children. While she has overcome her fears at this time, it does not mean that she will not encounter relapses into fear—allowing her fears to control her once more. But the more love that she receives from Anna and others, the less likely and often I believe those recurrences will occur. With love comes trust. And as they build that relationship, they also allow her to build a community of multiple strands. This community keeps one another warm from fear’s freezing nature; reinforcing one another in love—a resilient cord of Godly love.

9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. 10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. 11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NASB).

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3 thoughts on “FROZEN in Fear and its Relationship to Love

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