If you’ve seen Frozen, you probably know that Queen Elsa and Princess Anna are total opposites. Elsa is Arendelle’s mature and poised snow queen with magical ice powers. Anna is her quirky and adorable younger sister who believes in true love and happy endings — and she doesn’t have magical powers at all.
But even though Anna (Kristin Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) are so different, their similarities allow them to work together and their differences make them even stronger. And after attending an early press day for Frozen 2, Inside the Magic learned that the dichotomy of fairy tale and myth plays a big role in the Frozen sequel (and an even bigger role in Anna and Elsa’s lives).
Anna, the perfect fairy tale character
Anna is pretty much the definition of a fairy tale character. She is optimistic, sees the best in everyone, and truly believes that the hero can always beat the villain. Anna believes in happily ever after — it’s just who she is. It was Anna who saved Elsa in Frozen, and from what we can tell from the Frozen 2 trailers and information we’ve learned so far, Anna might be wanting to save Elsa again in the sequel.
“One of the writers here at this studio had a saying. ‘Fairy tales don’t tell us that dragons don’t exist. Fairy tales tell us that we can slay the dragon,'” said Marc Smith, head of story for Frozen 2. He continued, “That’s Anna! She’s the ultimate optimist; she believes in the happy ending. It was really nice little connection there.”
Anna is a Disney Princess, pretty much through and through. She believes that good is worth fighting for, she has an adorable sidekick in Olaf, and she winds up with her “prince charming” in the form of Kristoff the ice man. But her sister, on the other hand, isn’t like any Disney Princess we had ever met.
Elsa, the definition of a myth
Elsa, on the other hand, is a mythic character. She isn’t a fairy tale at all. If Anna’s fairy tale-like persona tells the audience that the villain can be beat, Elsa’s mythic persona conveys the idea that sometimes good doesn’t always win.
Plus, Anna is a human without any superpowers, and Elsa has these magical ice powers that she’s still learning how to control. If the ability to create entire castles out of ice doesn’t sound like a mythical power, we don’t know what does.
Elsa, being the older sister in the family, takes on a lot of responsibility. It’s clear in the second film that she feels called to leave her family in Arendelle behind and doesn’t feel like she belongs in this world when she has so much magic inside her. In continuing the discussion of the fairy tale and myth themes in Frozen 2, Smith shared how the idea of the mythic hero aligns so truly with who Elsa is.
“The mythological hero usually has to take on the weight of the world and to fulfill some sort of fate, or some sort of destiny,” Smith said. “And that really felt like it lined up nicely with Elsa’s story. ‘Why do I have these big, awesome powers of nature, and what am I supposed to do with that?’ And so that was a really pivotal discovery for us, because now we have our two main characters who have world views that are really completely opposite.”
How the sisters’ differences make them stronger
But even though Anna and Elsa clearly differ in their personalities and approaches to life, their differences make them a stronger duo, especially in this second film. Yes, they have opposite worldviews, but they balance each other out. If Elsa didn’t have Anna, she might have stayed forever in her ice castle far away from Arendelle — or maybe that voice that is calling her to the Enchanted Forest in Frozen 2 would have called her sooner. And if Anna didn’t have Elsa, who knows? She could be off married to Hans of the Southern Isles…and we all know how that would turn out.
Anna and Elsa’s love for each other was made very clear in Frozen, but from what we can tell so far, their strength will be brought to the forefront of the story in Frozen 2. “I believe in you Elsa, more than anyone or anything,” Anna tells Elsa in one scene in a recent trailer. The two, along with our other favorite Frozen characters, embark on a remarkable journey in this Disney animated film. And while it looks like their relationship may be tested, we can also tell that their personas as fairy tale and myth will play a huge role in not only their dynamic but in the story as a whole.
We’re excited to find out what’s to come for our fairy tale Disney Princess and mythic Snow Queen. Frozen 2 hits theaters on November 22.