Name Meaning: “Noble”
Domain: Arendelle, Norway (1780’s or 1840’s)
Premiered in: Frozen (2013)
Voiced By: Idina Menzel
The thirteenth of the Disney Princesses and arguably one of the most popular ones to date, Elsa is by far the most distinct amongst them for she is in actuality a queen and not a princess. In point of fact, a common title she bares is the title of “the Snow Queen” for her magical prowess over cold, ice, and snow. Powers that no one bothers to explain how she got these abilities aside from the simple, and rather lame, excuse that she had been born with them. If they could give a feasible reason as to why Rapunzel had her hair grown to such ridiculous lengths but also an extremely valid reason as to why she didn’t just chop it all off at the first chance, why couldn’t they have done the same for Elsa?
Whether by pure misfortune being the thirteenth Princess or just for narrative’s sake, Elsa’s life is by far one of the most dismal of the royals. She and Anna had a close relationship with one another and would have still as they got older if not for the accident that was Elsa accidentally striking a blast of wintry cold at Anna’s head. The blow left a streak of white in Anna’s hair for years to come but otherwise did not lasting damage beyond perhaps her strange eccentricity… Still, despite this and the warnings of the troll elder Pabbie that fear would be Elsa’s undoing, what do her parents do?
“Conceal it. Don’t feel it. Don’t let it show.”
No. Seriously. WHAT?
It was told to them with overly dramatic illusions that fear would only lead to Elsa losing control over her powers further and what is it that her parents decide is a good idea? They all but lock Elsa and Anna up in the castle, keeping the two of them isolated from each other for years on end whilst they all but demand Elsa to stop being afraid when they are the ones making her so afraid in the first place! While I do not doubt that some of the isolation was of Elsa’s own choosing, this being demonstrated when she flinched away from her parents’ touch lest she hurt them too, her parents only enforced it with their own actions. Using the same scene, instead of showing that they loved Elsa enough to risk her touch, instead of showing that they well and truly believed she could get control over her powers, they stood back and let Elsa’s anxiety rise to mountainous heights!
This is made even more obvious in the case of Elsa’s snowmen, Olaf and Marshmallow. In the case of the tinier Olaf, his is a far more tragic origin if one truly considers what he is. He is a being of cold and ice, who wants to be warm, to be friends with everyone he meets, and to give and receive warm hugs to all whom he adores. That is what Olaf is, ladies and gentlemen. He is Elsa’s desire made manifest just as his younger but far larger brother Marshmallow is her fear and loneliness given physical form.
Taking a severe turn out of this abysmally depressing topic, does anyone else find it hilarious that Elsa can create a literal work of art in the form of a palace made of ice but she can’t even make a snowman that actually looks somewhat like a normal snowman?
Elsa’s kingdom of Arendelle is never fully explored beyond its capital with the palace proper at its fjord but even so, we can surmise that it is a wealthy country if nothing else. Aside from the Duke of Weselton whose desire for its treasures were vocalized upon introduction, we see quite a few visiting dignitaries from Spain, France, Germany, and even two surprising guest from the kingdom of Corona, arriving as guests to Elsa’s coronation ceremony. Given the proximity of the trolls, one could speculate that there’s some jewels to be had in the nearby hills but otherwise, you’re guess is as good as my own as far as what makes Arendelle rich enough to trade with so many different countries, neighbors or not.
While I’ll admit that Elsa’s power over ice and snow is second to none save perhaps for the Old Man Winter himself, there is one other aspect of Elsa that’s far more powerful than her magic and that is her love for her sister, Anna. Elsa endured Hell for years and when she ran away, she ran away to rule a kingdom of isolation knowing full well that she had no means of sustaining herself for long. She made that castle to die in and even relaxed as she was with her “letting it go,” every step Anna took towards her, Elsa took as many steps back to avoid harming her further. There is also one particular quirk of Elsa’s powers that prove how much of her heart controls them and that’s when she feels true and utter despair. When she feels this, snow hangs frozen in midair with nary a sound but a strangely reverent silence in the wake of her soul-shattering sobs. Elsa felt this twice in the film. Once upon the day of her parents’ funeral and the second when she had been tricked into believing that her sister was dead because of her.
Elsa might not be a Princess of Heart, but she certainly is a Queen in my book.
As I’m sure many are well aware by this point, Frozen has done so remarkably well that Disney has declared a sequel is in the works alongside a Broadway production. While I can’t help but wonder whether Elsa’s original voice actress will reprise the role for the stage performance, I’m more concerned for the sequel. If it is one made for theaters with the same staff as before then I’ve little to concern myself with but if it’s to be released straight to DVD… I’d rather there be no sequel at all then run the risk of seeing something so beloved as Disney’s Snow Queen be turned into a moneymaking franchise.
Well, even more than she has already.
With that, we draw a temporary close to the Disney Princesses at least until such a time as the next fairy tale, but as before this doesn’t mean an end to my bi-daily reviews. In point of fact, I’ve already selected my next “theme” of characters but I’ll save the big reveal until the next review. Still, a hint isn’t asking too much I suppose…
My firsts in adventure but isn’t in trip,
My seconds in river but isn’t in ship,
My third is in chalice but isn’t in cup,
My fourths in ascending but isn’t in up,
My fifth is in error but isn’t in flaw,
My last is in talon but isn’t in claw,
What am I?