The Journey Within, The Parables of the Frozen Movies: Part II

Symbolism of the First Frozen Movie (2013)

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Pixabay from Pexels

The Frozen movies are really about the journey within. What hints can we get from the first one to aid us on our way?

Liliana Owen, Guest Writer

In the first article of this series, we reviewed the plot of Frozen I. If you haven’t read that already, you might want to go check it out HERE to get a little refresher before reading this.

The Frozen movies are really about the journey within. Of finding yourself and loving/hating/fearing yourself. Coming to terms with yourself. It’s amazing how deep those movies go when you’re really looking. This also means that this is going to be a fairly long article. Sorry, I’ll do my best to keep it short.

SPOILER ALERT: This series contains LOTS of SPOILERS. Continue at YOUR OWN risk.

Childhood Innocence

At the beginning of the movie, Anna and Elsa are innocent little girls who love each other. Elsa is not afraid of her powers but rather uses it to have fun and make people happy. I would like to note a very important piece of this: as a child, Elsa does not fear her powers. She learns to fear them. Likewise, we are who we are as a child, but as we age, that changes. To rephrase that, we learn to fear ourselves as we grow older.

Powers

Let me just quickly point out that Elsa’s powers can represent our talents, abilities, etc. Elsa’s powers represent our genius. This is a fundamental idea in this article, and you will see it pop up in almost every section.

Frozen Heads And Frozen Mindsets

Then, one day, as Elsa and Anna were playing, Elsa tried to save Anna but accidentally sent ice into her head. This is the cause of their parent’s “helicopter parenting.” A frozen head can represent many things, but here are a few: refusal to look at new ideas, refusal to see the truth, refusal to accept, stuck in the same way of thinking, can’t see clearly.

All of those things cause us to become overprotective of ourselves, sheltering and hiding our talents, much the same way that a frozen head caused Elsa and Anna’s parents to become overprotective of Elsa, sheltering and hiding her talents.

But then again, here is another symbol that a frozen head could represent. It could be that failure, as we know it, is invented by our minds, and then we get stuck thinking in that mode.

The Trolls

The trolls take the ice out of Anna’s head but do little to change the parent’s mindset. In fact, they make it worse. Grand Pabbie, the eldest troll, warns Elsa that fear is her enemy and as she grows, her power will grow as well. This scares her parents, who then reduce the staff and shut the castle. Fear is our enemy, but we do not need to fear fear. We should not let our fears change our life. We need to have courage, to act despite our fears instead of letting our fears control our life.

Overprotective Parents

Anna and Elsa’s parents may not have realized it, but they kind of messed Elsa’s life up. To protect Elsa and people from Elsa, they shut down the castle. They try to take the easy way. The easy way is not always the best, though.

Their parents also acted out of fear. Acting out of fear messes stuff up, as you can see in the movie. A quote from Richard Gerber explains this well: “In fear we are acting on fiction and in love we are acting on truth.”

And the worst part is, when Elsa’s parents died, they left her totally unprepared for her role in life because they sheltered her too much.

But what do they symbolize? They symbolize you and me and everyone else in the world when they act in fear.

Queenship

Elsa is finally crowned queen, after three long years of waiting. A queen symbolizes a strong woman, who is capable and beautiful. Elsa’s crowning can be seen as her coming of age. Interestingly enough, it is also one event in a series that launches her into accepting her powers and loving herself –a true coming of age act.

As Elsa holds the scepter and orb in the crowning ceremony, her fear gets the better of her, and she accidentally frosts them. Ice and frost can symbolize repression or withholding of emotions. It can also mean being frozen in fear or guilt. Yeah, totally. Elsa is frozen in her fear of her powers so she represses this natural part of herself to be secure and protected.

Hans

Hans is one villain in the movie. Admittedly, the lesser one. But still. What does he represent? In my opinion, he represents our inner critic.

Hans at first pretends to be Anna’s friend. Then he reveals that he is the bad guy who is taking over the throne in a way that will make everyone think he is the hero (“and bring back summer”). In the end, he tries to kill Elsa, but fails and is thrown overboard by Anna after Elsa melts everything, and then is sent back to the Southern Isles in a ship.

Yeah, there’s a lot of very rich symbolism there.

The little critic in our head pretends first to be our friend. However, it soon becomes apparent that the little critic does not love us, does not want the best for us, and is taking over and ruining our lives. In the end, it’s a battle where we either succumb to him or ship him off. I like that he is sent back in a ship. Water can mean many things, depending on how it looks. The water at the end is so beautiful. Still, beautiful waters often mean clarity. We gain clarity as we ship off the little critic.

Let It Go

Let it Go, Elsa’s song of her coming into her powers could easily be the power-spot of the movie. It’s also an amazing parable.

Elsa has tried her best to repress her abilities, but it burst out in a sudden explosion. She runs away to a mountain –a place where ancient prophets and people have gone to commune with God and seek revelation.

She sings, “Be the good girl you always have to be/ Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.” She’s lived her whole life trying to be someone else, trying to be the perfect little girl. But whose definition of perfect is she trying to live? Not hers, for sure.

“I don’t care/ What they’re going to say/ Let the storm rage on/ The cold never bothered me anyway,” she sings. Before we can truly be ourselves, we have to learn first not to care what others say. Gossip may rage on, but we need to ignore it.

This song, you could say, is her debut. She finally gives up trying to be someone else, and her new self is “born.”

However, she carried it to an extreme. There is a fine balance: trying to live as someone else is on one end. On the other end, there is abandoning civilization and being contrary, just for the sake of being different. In the middle, there is the perfect ground. Living with people, working with people, being yourself and living true to your abilities. One extreme is letting your fears and other people’s opinions control you, ON the other end, is letting your abilities control you. This is where Elsa goes during this song.

By the end of the movie, however, she is a little closer to finding that center ground.

The Ice Castle

The ice castle is a reflection of Elsa’s mind. At the start of the song, it’s a beautiful, crystal clear structure that reaches for the sky. At that point in time, Elsa’s mind is clear and reaching for the sky. She is confident and happy, and that confidence lends her a beauty that is beyond make-up.

However, when she learns that she accidentally froze the fjord and made an eternal winter, her mind is now ugly and full of fear and terror and guilt. Those emotions are reflected in her castle, which turns dark, red and dangerous.

At the end of the movie, when Elsa is once again happy and fine, the castle is beautiful again, perhaps more so than it was when it was first created.

Frozen Heart

Anna travels to the North Mountain, where she finds her sister’s castle and talks to her. She begs her to return home, telling her that they can figure it out together. Elsa learns that she has made a perpetual winter and tells Anna she can’t go home. Anna persists, Elsa refuses and accidentally sends ice into Anna’s heart.

And of course, only an act of true love can thaw Anna’s heart and save her from becoming ice for the rest of forever.

Again, this is rich in symbolism. A frozen heart can be interpreted in many ways, but I see it as a representation of an inability to love and the ability to love thaws the heart. That is why it couldn’t be a true love’s kiss that saved her, but Anna’s putting her sister’s life before her own.

A frozen heart would freeze the body and would turn Anna into ice. Likewise, when we lose our ability to love, we lose our humanity.

Hans Tries To Kill Elsa

As I said earlier, Hans represents the little inner critic. At this point, Elsa has basically given up and is surrendering to that little voice in her head saying, “You failed. It’s all your fault.” Those thoughts are reflected in what Hans tells Elsa as he prepares to kill her.

If we succumb to the little critic and live our lives under it, we are in a way, giving up our life. Or, at least the life that could be.

However, Hans’ attempted murder is foiled as Anna gives her life to save Elsa. That sacrifice lets Elsa know that she IS good enough and so she ships that little critic out.

Ice Skating Party

At the end of the movie, Elsa freezes the castle courtyard and the kingdom has an ice skating party. This is when you see Elsa’s soft, happy side for, like, the first time in the movie. Elsa has come a lot closer to finding the middle ground in two ways: one, her powers; and two, how she interacts with people.

The End Of Part II

Wow, that was long! I’m half tempted to not do a conclusion, just to make it shorter! 🙂 But really, Frozen I is a really deep movie. Next time you watch it, look for even more symbolism and hidden meanings. Remember, your genius was not given to you so you could hide it. But you also don’t need to let your abilities control you.

There is a balance, and it is find-able. The key to finding it is acting in love, not in fear.

Anyways, thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in part III soon!