Sunday, February 15, 2015

Love According to Frozen

Valentine's Day is officially behind us, but since the holiday came and went so quickly, I'm still thinking about it. I confess, I'm rather relieved my news feed won't be clogged by pictures of couples and their various flowery or chocolaty gifts anymore. I also won't have to hear phrases like "Single's Awareness Day" until next February.
All of this did get me thinking, though. Valentine's Day is supposed to be about love, yet we typically view it as a couple's holiday exclusively. And while romantic love is certainly wonderful and important, it's not the only kind of love. In fact, it may not even be the strongest. To help illustrate this, I'm looking to none other than Disney. True, Disney has given us some of the sweetest and most iconic couples of all time. We discussed that earlier this month here on the Fangirl Initiative.
But Disney also gives us the stories of everlasting love found in families and friendships. I could cite examples from countless films, but for this post, I'll focus on one of the most recent releases: Frozen.

It's been talked about a lot, but I'd like to share my own little insights on the love in this movie. Frozen reminded me that love is so much more than romance. Love is...

1. Friendship. Anna and Elsa are sisters by birth, but friends by choice. As kids, they are inseparable. They have matching dolls, enjoy each other's company, and are always there for one another. After an accident divides them, both grow up missing this friendship. It never fully fades, though, and by the end of the movie, they're back to having fun together as both sisters and friends.

2. Having things in common. From building snowmen, loving warm hugs and chocolate and giggling at the same jokes, Elsa and Anna share a lot. A great part of love is about what we share.

3. Having and accepting differences. This is perhaps an even greater part of love than sharing likenesses. Anna and Elsa are similar in some ways, but also opposites. Anna is bubbly, extroverted, trusting, and a bit clumsy; Elsa is quieter, introverted, cautious and elegant. Anna is "completely ordinary (in the best way!)" and Elsa has magical ice powers. Yet they never try to change each other. Even when Elsa has frozen the summer, Anna tries to change the situation not her sister. Although I'm trying to avoid discussing romance, I have to point out that Anna and Kristoff are also very different. Instead of judging those differences, though, they're drawn to them and balance one another out.

4. Being honest, even when it's hard. Elsa tells Anna she can't marry a man she just met, although it means Elsa is risking her newly regained friendship with Anna. Elsa isn't trying to dash her sister's hopes; she's telling her the truth because she genuinely cares about Anna's future. Imagine if Elsa had gone along with idea of Anna marrying Hans! Frozen would have been a far different film.

5. Protecting the person you care about. In the song "Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?" I always feel sorry for Anna when Elsa tells her to go away. But it must have been hard for Elsa to send her little sister away, too. Since Elsa couldn't control her powers, she did what seemed like the only alternative: Locking herself away to keep Anna safe. I've heard people call Elsa's parents abusive for keeping her in her room, but I disagree. They didn't know how to help her, so they thought keeping her away from people who wouldn't understand was the solution. Elsa was already terrified of hurting others, so they assumed that protecting her from people would limit her anxiety. They were trying to protect both of their daughters out of love.

6. Forgiving. Elsa and Anna each have reasons they could stay angry with one another, but instead, they let it go. Love can't exist alongside grudges, and both Anna and Elsa know this. Anna, especially, forgives Elsa over and over. This isn't simply a trait of Anna's personality, since she isn't as generous towards Hans. It's a choice she makes out of love for her sister.

7. Putting someone else's needs before your own. For a somewhat clueless but adorable snowman, Olaf defines love with true insight.

I love that in Frozen, love isn't a feeling. It isn't reserved for first sight, couples or duets. Love is a verb. It's a choice that characters make over and over, as they put each other first. In some way or other, just about every character (except Hans) does this throughout the story. Elsa is willing to live in isolation to keep her sister safe. Anna will literally climb mountains to find Elsa, even when everyone else believes she's a monster. Kristoff is willing to let Anna go to her "true love," even though it means he's giving up his own true love. Olaf is so determined to save Anna, he nearly melts himself.

And at the end, Anna sacrifices herself to save Elsa. Love is sacrifice, and Frozen reminds us of that over and over.

Love is indeed a force that's powerful and strange. And true love exists in many forms: In romance, yes, or being "in love", but also in parents protecting their children, friends sticking together, sisters forgiving one another, and making sacrifices for the people we care about most. Even the most anti-Valentine's-day person has to admit, true love really does thaw a frozen heart.

And that's the kind of love worth melting for, even after Valentine's Day.


  1. awww...this is so sweet! I really enjoyed this movie and I love that you focused on the sister-love aspect instead of the romantic love. :)

    1. Thanks, Olivia! I think I had a little too much romance over Valentine's Day, lol. I'm so glad you liked the post! :)

  2. Yes, I agree. While Frozen has kind of become my least favorite Disney film out of pure annoyance (aka constantly hearing the songs and people over-hyping it) I do adore that the film portrays love in a different way, especially in relation to sisters. I think that's something the world needs more of and also having an older sister, it's something I needed to learn. :)

    Great post. Thorough and cute. :D

    1. I can totally understand that, Jaime! What I don't understand is why Tangled didn't have so much hype. Because it deserved it. But I digress. ;)
      I'm so happy to hear you liked the post! I don't have sisters, so I'm also really glad to hear it was thorough. :)

    2. My thoughts exactly about Tangled. But whatever, all the Disney movies I think are best are usually underrated and all the ones everybody freaks out about aren't usually high on my list. :)

      But Tangled deserves more. If only for Zachary Levi's Flynn Rider... but there are many other good reasons. :D