Theme: The Frozen Heart
Once again the animators of Walt Disney Studios have worked their magic by adapting the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale The Snow Queen and turning it into the smash hit Frozen. Just as they did with Andersen’s The Little Mermaid the Disney crew rewrote the story, added a memorable musical soundtrack and did some of their best animation in years. The result is a movie which is beautiful to the eyes, delightful to the ears, and touching to the heart.
G.K. Chesterton wrote; “In fairy tale an incomprehensible happiness rests upon an incomprehensible condition. A box is opened, and all evils fly out. A word is forgotten, and cities perish. A lamp is lit and love flies away. A flower is plucked and human lives are forfeited. An apple is eaten and hope of God is lost.” 1
The “incomprehensible happiness “in Frozen is the beauty and life of the Kingdom of Arendelle. The “incomprehensible condition” is the accident in the opening scenes which brings winter and death to the fairytale kingdom.
Two little princesses are joyfully playing together. Elsa, born with the unique gift to create snow and ice delights her younger sister Anna by creating snowscapes. The exuberant Anna gets carried away and suddenly Elsa’s ice bolt hits her in the head. The King and Queen rush Anna to the Trolls who heal Anna’s wound and memory with their magic. But they solemnly warn the royals, if Anna’s heart had been hit with the ice; their magic would not have worked; for only an act of true love can melt a frozen heart.
The Frozen Heart
Whose heart is really frozen? Anna’s or Elsa’s? Or both? It is not only Elsa’s ice bolt which freezes a heart….. it is also fear. Fear captures the heart of Elsa. Fear of the gift leads to concealing the gift and shutting down the emotions which trigger its release. Fear leads to isolation and separation from loved ones. Fear leads to perfectionism and life by rules.
Anna was healed by the Trolls and is her old exuberant self. Elsa was not. She too was wounded by the accident and now fear imprisons her in its icy grip.
When the apple was eaten in Eden there was a progression of ills which followed: fear…..hiding and concealing…… separation….exile and eventual death. The same progression of ills follows the accident: fear and concealing…..death of the parents….separation of the sisters…..exile of Elsa…..and the kingdom falls into eternal winter.
Anna has no memory of the accident, therefore she has no fear of Elsa; she loves her. She does not understand her sister’s actions nor what has happened to the kingdom but what she does believe with all her heart is only Elsa can end the eternal winter over Arendelle.
Anna (which means grace) and the mountain man Kristoff (which means Christ bearer) pursue Elsa on the rugged North Mountain. It should be understood that Elsa’s ice palace and the ice monster guarding it are simply symbols of her frozen heart and the fear which imprisons and isolates her.
"Perfect Love Casts Out Fear"
The climatic scene comes in blizzard conditions on a sea of ice. Two men are pursuing two women; one is driven by love, the other by hate. Both of the women are dying from frozen hearts.
Elsa collapses, which momentarily halts the blizzard her emotions have been creating. In a moment of clearing Anna sees the choice which is hers to make. Move toward Kristoff and save herself; move to rescue Anna and sacrifice herself. She chooses the latter which only proves her love to be a true love; thus her “one act of true love” thaws both of their hearts and saves the Kingdom.
“Perfect love casts out fear”2 teaching Elsa her gift is not something to be feared and concealed but rather something to be used to love and bless her people.
1. G. K. Chesterton Orthodoxy
2. 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. KJV