Disney’s Frozen became immensely popular when it came out, and for good reason. It has a wonderful plot, great music and fantastic graphics. It also stars one of my personal favorite actresses from Broadway, Idina Menzel, as Queen Elsa. Despite all these great elements, it shows little similarity to the original fairytale by Hans Christian Anderson. Yes, they have a snow queen; yes, a main character has the threat of being turned into ice, and yes, a person with a reindeer goes on journey to find a sibling. However, in the fairy tale, the snow queen is not good. The plot is so incredibly different. Let me tell you the real story.
Once upon a time, a troll had a mirror. When someone looked in this mirror, it reflected the worst of that person and shook with glee at his or her reaction. I guess it had some state of consciousness. Anyway, the troll took immense delight in this and showed this mirror to everyone he encountered. The mirror shook so badly that it finally broke and its pieces were scattered to the wind. One might think, “Yay! This horrible evil has been done away with!” (or “What on earth does this have to do with Frozen?”) Not quite -- if someone got a piece of this mirror stuck in them, for instance their eye or hand, they always saw everything as if it were being reflected in the mirror, for one piece held the power of the whole mirror. Now, keep that in the back of your mind as we travel to a distant village.
Kai and Gerda were siblings. Some versions say that they were non-related neighbors, but for our purposes, we’re going to go with siblings. They were also the best of friends. They did everything they could together. One day, when the clock struck, a piece of the mirror got into Kai’s eye and another into his heart. He changed and started to see the worst in everything, which distressed many. When winter came, he tied his sled to the Snow Queen’s carriage for a ride and went missing. Though everyone else thought Kai drowned in the river, Gerda thought he was still alive and embarked on a journey to find him. Along the way, she was captured by robbers, one of whom she befriended. The friend, a female thief, wanted Gerda to continue looking for Kai, so she set Gerda free and gave her a reindeer named Bae. They continued on their journey, making a few more stops, and Gerda found out that her sweet, childlike heart gave her the power she needed to accomplish her task. When she arrived at the Snow Queen’s home, she found it guarded by snowflakes. Inside, Kai was starting to freeze as he tried to free himself from the Snow Queen’s power by completing a special task. All he had to do was arrange pieces of ice to spell “Evigheden,” which means “eternity.” This apparently was easier said than done. Garda managed to pass the snowflakes by praying the Lord’s prayer, only to find Kai almost frozen. She wept on him, and her love for him melted his frozen heart and removed the mirror's slivers. They rejoiced and danced around, making the pieces bounce around and form Evigheden. The children returned home and all was well.
So now for the comparisons. Elsa is based on Kai and the Snow Queen. She runs away and has ice powers. Anna is based on Kai and Gerda. She goes to find her sibling, and her heart is frozen along the way. Sven is based on Bae. Kristoff represents those who helped Gerda.Hans has no basis, nor does the Duke of Wesselton. Normally, I’d be very upset with Disney for ruining the story so much, but the fact that Disney gave the movie a separate name makes me happy. In addition, I do want to give Disney kudos for a couple things. First of all, I like how they concealed the villain. Looking back, Hans’ actions earlier in the movie make more sense, but Disney succeeded with a shocking twist for the audience. And did you notice that the villain’s name is the same as the author? Secondly, I enjoyed the fact that the act of true love was a sisterly bond, not romantic love, which would be Disney’s typical scenario. Thirdly, I enjoyed the opening song, a Danish version of Fairest Lord Jesus named “Eatnemen Vuelie.” Lastly, I love Olaf. So, voila! Now you know the story of the Snow Queen and how it relates to Frozen. You’re welcome!