There is no question that the hit movie “Frozen” and its sequel have had captured the attention of young and old alike. Why is that? Explore the rich symbolism hidden in the movie and see how it might apply to your own life’s journey.
Author: Kathleen Leppek
Whether you were a parent, teacher, or adult near young children after 2013, you probably heard the ballad Let It Go sung out in dramatic fashion by a hopeful child. Disney stories along with most children movies, fables, and fairy tales are made interesting for the adult to ponder and the movie Frozen, based on the Hans Christian Anderson tale, The Snow Queen, is full of symbolism for the child and adult to consider. As an adult, these movies can provide a point of reference to review your own life, consider the constructive memories you would like to enrich in your life and the memories that are holding you back so that you can let go and move forward in a positive direction.
The fable begins in the village of Arendelle in the winter where men with their team of horses and sleighs cut ice from a frozen fjord to later use in the summer. As they work in unison, their rhythmic song warns of the dangers of ice and the duality of life.
So cut through the heart cold and clear
Strike for love and strike for fear
See the beauty, sharp and sheer
Split the ice apart!
And break the frozen heart
Ice has a magic can’t be controlled
This icy force both foul and fair
There’s beauty and there’s danger
Beware the frozen heart
The castle in Arendelle is home to the King and Queen with their daughters Elsa and Anna. Anna is aware of her older sister’s magic power and they use this to play in the halls of the big castle frolicking in the crystals and snow Elsa creates. Elsa also creates a snowman named Olaf that likes to give warm hugs. Elsa’s magic power is difficult to control and Anna is caught between the surges of Elsa’s swirling energy and Anna is hit in the head freezing her mind with the results leaving Anna unconscious.
The King and Queen are awakened and Anna is taken to the mystical rock trolls and their leader Grand Pabble. Riding to the trolls on horseback, it is noticed that the King also has the magic power as he leaves behind a light trail of snow crystals. The King symbolizes leadership in society and relates with heartfelt feelings. He has matured and manages his emotions by acknowledging them through the day and moving on steady and strong with mental purpose. The best of kings will use their resources of poise, grace, patience, restraint, refinement, and care to make balanced decisions.
Grand Pabbie recommends removing magic from Anna’s memory and brings her back to life. He tells Elsa, born with the special magic, that there is beauty and danger in it and the magic will grow. She has to learn to control her power and that fear will be her enemy. The King decides that the gates will be locked, staff will be reduced, and Elsa will have limited contact with people until she learns to control her powers. Everything Elsa touches turns to ice and the King tells Elsa that she must keep her powers hidden. She will have to learn to use her powers and he gives her gloves to wear. Even though Elsa and Anna love each other, Elsa locks herself in her room and won’t communicate with her sister.
Don’t let them in. Don’t let them see.
Be the good girl you always have to be.
Conceal it, don’t feel, don’t let it show.
The girls are left feeling lonely, unwanted, and as if they did something wrong and Anna has no memory to explain why her sister won’t play or talk with her anymore. Unfortunately, our society has developed taking female voices and their power away as well as their need of discovery and experience.
The parents leave on a ship promising to be back soon, but the ship sinks in a storm and they are lost at sea. Elsa does not get guidance from her father. She is not shepherd into how to use her powers and is lost in the confines of her room.
Coronation day comes for Elsa to be queen and the windows and gates to the castle are opened. Anna is excited to change her lonely world.
Life has been a shut door in my face.
Love is an open door.
Say goodbye to the pain of the past.
We don’t have to feel it anymore.
Love is an open door.
Life can be so much more.
As Elsa stands for her coronation she holds the symbols of authority and sovereignty. The orb held in the left hand reveals the sphere of the organized whole and the scepter in the right hand pointed up to the heavens is to receive information and understanding. Together they can lead Elsa to rule her people in balanced service. She will need to reach for guidance for an empowered choice using the skills of poise, grace, patience, refinement, and restraint knowing her intent in how her personality will express itself.
Anna meets Prince Hans who comes to Arendelle for the coronation. They quickly decide they are meant for each other and ask Elsa to bless their engagement and marriage. Elsa cannot condone a marriage for Anna and Hans when they have just met. Elsa’s frustrated emotions, when pushed by Anna, bring up her uncontrolled power and she leaves the summer of Arendelle frozen in eternal winter. In fear she focuses and climbs the mountain upward, not seeing the state she has left the town and people in. Elsa climbs the mountain in a journey of self-discovery and to understand her powers. She believes the “distance makes everything alright, one with the wind and sky, never go back, the past is the past.” Elsa unfolds with her powers building a beautiful kingdom of ice and snow. “I never knew what I was capable of – be alone so I can be who I am – alone and free.” She stays at the top of North Mountain. True north represents the inner compass to find her true self. Her discovery ends here, feeling her power to express and live in freedom, but alone and not truly free…of her fears in her mountain ice palace that becomes here kingdom of isolation.
Anna begins her search for Elsa to bring summer back to Arendelle. She also meets Kristoff, a rugged iceman and mountaineer, and Sven, his trusted and true reindeer who serves unconditionally in cooperation. She meets Olaf, who Elsa recreated. He is again ready for warm hugs. Olaf knows the way to find Elsa, but on the journey he dreams of summer.
When life gets rough, I like to hold on to my dream
Relaxing in the summer sun, just lettin’ off steam
Oh the sky would be blue, and you guys will be there too
When I finally do what frozen things do in summer
Winter is a good time to stay in and cuddle
But put me in summer and I’ll be a – happy snowman
Olaf avoids the word puddle not knowing what will really happen to him in summer. His friends decide not to tell him, but they know that for dreams to come true, they need to be based in reality with steps to get to where you want to go.
Together the group climbs the mountain and the unknown frontier wilderness in search of themselves and Elsa. The mountain symbolizes the effort of working against resistance and being persistent for the reward of inspiration, self-knowledge, and a higher perspective on the journey.
As Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven arrive at the ice palace, Anna tries to convince Elsa to come back to Arendelle, “and rebirth the storm you made. We can fix this hand and hand. I will be right there with you.” But, Elsa is convinced that she needs to stay where she is so she won’t hurt anybody. “Stay away and you’ll be safe from me.” She feels there is no escape from the storm inside.
Elsa is afraid of her uncontrolled powers and fears society. Even though she loves her sister Anna, Elsa’s ego as the Dweller on the Threshold appears as a snow monster not letting anyone pass up the stairway and through the door to Elsa. The Dweller is a culmination of all the person’s fears. It inserts itself between that fear and the light of an open door. The Dweller puts a veil between the fear based on illusion and a wider grasp of reality and deeper understanding of sharing exceptional skills in a positive way.
Elsa is struggling to see her powers as a gift to share and not knowing how to find the boundaries of control with freedom, restraint and refinement. As Elsa and Anna tussle, Elsa’s uncontrolled power once again hits Anna, this time in the heart with ice and Anna begins to slowly die. The monster chases the group down the mountain asking them never to return.
Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf get Anna to the trolls and Grand Pabbie. Kristoff, being brought up by the trolls, believes that they are experts at love. Grand Pabbie assess’s the situation saying, “Ice is in your heart put there by your sister. An act of true love can thaw a frozen heart.” Another troll adds, “People make bad choices if they’re mad, scared, or stressed.” At this time Anna believes that her true love is with Prince Hans and they hurry back to Aerndelle to find him, but finds out her true love is with her sister Elsa and her new-found true friend Kristoff.
On the frozen fjord back in Aerndelle, Kristoff and Anna run to each other in a swirling storm. At the same time Hans waves his sword searching for Elsa. The double-sided sword is a symbol of the power we have. On one side is our truth, which we stand with and use one percent of the time. We measure our words with harmlessness because truth can bite. Our truth evolves as we progress in life never ending just like the expanding universe. On the other side is service and we work in cooperation ninety-nine percent of the time. Hans is misusing his sword as he swings it toward Elsa. When Anna sees Hans and his sword ready to kill Elsa, Anna chooses to save her sister rather than kiss her true love Kristoff and stands deflecting the sword from Elsa. In the act, Anna turns to ice as Elsa’s heart melts from Anna’s display of love. The true love that the sisters have for each other bring Anna back to life from her frozen state. With the acceptance of love the village melts and comes back to life and Kristoff and Anna eventually get their kiss. Elsa gives Olaf his own flurry cloud so he can enjoy summer and won’t melt.
Only true love can thaw the frozen heart and in this story both Anna’s mind and heart are temporarily frozen from Elsa’s accidental use of power. Elsa’s isolation leaves her with a frozen heart, Anna has a frozen heart feeling lonely from her need for interaction and acceptance, and Hans has the intent to hurt for his own advancement and is cold hearted.
Each of us can find our special skills that the world needs to move forward along with nurturing our own inner peace and need to serve in positive ways. Reviewing our constructive memories can take us to an understanding of events from a thoughtful place using mental power, not emotions. Acknowledge old feelings without getting caught up and drowning in the water of emotion. Sort and organize the major events in your life and discover the cream that rises to the top. Take your strengths and push through with closure forgiving yourself with acceptance and destroy the negative emotion of pain, shame, guilt, and self-pity. Be aware of the past and walk on top of the water letting go of the old emotions that do not serve you anymore. Your strength through experience provides you with a compass. Your compass is a source of light that allows you to look for direction and gives a sense of answers to your questions. Question your choices and direction and you will find your true way.
Watching Frozen could set the mood to find yourself and your inner child with wonderment. See how it may point you in a direction to reveal your inner truth and skills to share with love. Be aware of emotion and past experiences, but let them be in the past not controlling you anymore. Accomplish by accomplishing and gain confidence in your abilities and who you are. With experience and knowledge, move to wisdom to find your inner sense of respect, acceptance, and appreciation for yourself and others. Use your experience and wisdom to navigate forward constructively.