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Crowbar argues: Elsa in Frozen is a true Disney villain

August 9th, 2014 by Crowbar 4 Comments

Caution: Contains spoilers and controversial opinion. You have been warned.

While Frozen continues to dominate the whole, entire planet – come on seriously, that song is everywhere! Including below – we at FTN were taken by the fact that it was a near perfect blend of classic Disney and modern animation. We all loved it. Well, I say all, but our man Crowbar – we don’t know where we found him, honestly – has been pushing forward his opinion that Elsa is, in fact, an evil character who ultimately is revealed to be the villain.

Of course we laughed. And teased. And created hurtful memes. But eventually he wore us down…

So, here it is, Crowbar’s argument that the world is wrong about Elsa. Read it and let us know your thoughts… but mostly, enjoy.

The movie Frozen is about two sisters and their journey to acceptance and love after a near fatal incident that happens when they are children. Anna is a sheltered woman with aspirations of marrying a prince and leaving the castle she has been confined to for years. Elsa is the older sister who is very different from not only her sister, but everyone else. She has the ability to create and manipulate snow and ice. Additionally, she’s a queen who turns her kingdom into a frozen wasteland halting everyone from leaving and putting everyone’s life in danger.

Anna must find a way to save the kingdom and find a man she loves.

As I watched the movie Frozen a few things came to mind. Many of them where about the character Elsa.

Through many social networks and discussions I noticed that many people related to the Snow Queen due to her most defining personality traits being linked to anxiety, shyness and depression. However, when I saw the character Elsa unfold through the movie I began to think she was actually the villain of the film. Disney movies such as Tarzan or Tangled all have defining villains of the film that were established early. Frozen’s villain doesn’t show up until the end of the movie.

As I began to look deeper into the character that is Elsa I have determined she is by far one of the most selfish characters Disney has created due to four actions she made prior to Hans being revealed as the bad guy. I understand that this is a stretch and my viewpoint of the character is very unorthodox, but nonetheless I find the character Elsa to be a terrible role model for young people due to her actions. I will make my case in a simple format heading in chronological order from when they were children through adulthood. This is spoiler heavy, so fair warning.

Bad thing one:

Elsa has magical ice powers that are seemingly limitless. She decides to play with her sister in the middle of the night, because they are just kids, why not? Elsa’s powers are not hidden and Anna is full aware of what she can do. After a time of them playing in the snow, Elsa almost kills her sister while playing. The parents understand that Elsa meant no harm and whisk Anna away into the forest so the trolls can heal her. Unfortunately, Anna’s memory is wiped and Elsa must not mention the event or her powers (which is bull#”@t due to events that happen later in the movie).

After the tragic near death experience, Elsa is forced to hide herself form her sister and she cannot tell her why. As a result, Elsa is locked away in her room for years.

During this time Elsa makes almost no effort to control her powers during the montage of growing up. There were many ways to still be a sister and not have them contain powerful ice magic. What Elsa did wrong during the growing up montage was this, she refused to be a sister to Anna. She would rather lock herself away than attempt to control her powers and be a role model to her younger sister. You know she makes no attempt to control her powers because her room is just teeming with ice. Her parent’s didn’t help her much as well, nor did they help Anna. Anna never actually had a sister while growing up, she had no one to teach her about life or love. The worst part is, their parents die. So Elsa is supposed to take care of Anna. But does she? No she leaves her locked in a castle, sheltered away from society. Why? Because of Elsa almost killed Anna and this is enough reason to keep her locked up years later. She refused to be a comforting supporting sister despite the near death experience. Anna is locked away because of Elsa’s actions and Elsa’s actions only. This is Elsa’s first selfish act in the film.

Bad thing two:

It is Coronation Day and Elsa is to be crowned Queen. A party is being held in her honor and the people of the kingdom are allowed to enter the castle. Despite one shady character, everyone is rather happy to see the new queen since they were locked inside the castle ever since their parents died.

Anna finally leaves the castle and a musical number breaks out. She soon meets a dashing young prince and in typical Disney fashion they fall in love and want to get married. They rush to Elsa and tell her about the engagement. Elsa chooses this moment to actually be a good sister and tells Anna that she cannot marry a man after knowing him for one day. This is the first piece of sisterly advice she has given Anna EVER. As expected, Anna doesn’t understand and I can’t blame her. Her parents died, so there was no elderly advice, then her sister locked herself in her room refusing to speak to Anna. This young woman has had no lessons in love or life for as long as she can remember, so why should she take her sister’s word at this time? Elsa expects Anna to accept her wisdom, despite having next to no interaction with her younger sister growing up. The result of the fight they have is catastrophic. This is selfish act number 2.

Bad thing three

Elsa flips out and her powers are let loose due to Anna taking one of her gloves. Since Elsa has seemingly made no effort to control her powers while in isolation, she becomes scared of her power and almost murders a variety of guests in her castle. As she flees the scene she throws the entire city into chaos and freezes the fjord and city so no one can leave. The town is stunted and every resident and guest is in danger, this includes Anna. For a sister that threw herself away in her room, Elsa doesn’t care about the welfare of Anna.

This was clearly an accident, HOWEVER, what makes this a selfish act is that she makes no effort to look back at what she has done and attempt to own up to her mistake of freezing the town. As a result people are miserable and she is the sole person to blame. due to her lack of actions taken while growing up. Not only has she put the town in danger of crippling economic debt, but she also put the people in danger of dying of cold. As the icing on the cake, she yet again puts her sister in danger. Elsa does not intend on going back to the town and refuses to check up on her family or the people in town she was responsible for as queen. This is selfish act number three.

Bad thing four

It only gets better when the song “Let it Go” is sang by Elsa. The song is about self forgiveness and fits perfectly in the film and with the themes of the story. When you look at the story through the looking glass and notice the selfish actions taken by Elsa you see that this song of self forgiveness is incredibly selfish because she has put her sister in danger more than once and hundreds of innocent bystanders. She literally almost killed a number of people, but, hey, she just has to “Let it Go” and move on. This is screwed up. You put people in danger and show no remorse for it and your only solution is to run away, then forgive yourself, then not own up to your mistakes and void all your responsibilities? At this point Anna has seen Elsa’s powers so the troll was wrong about Anna after she was healed as a child. So now Elsa has no intention of returning to her kingdom and she lives in isolation in a big ice castle she made for herself (shocking, she has been selfish up to this point, let us has a massive ego ice castle to really show her true colors). That is selfish act number four.

Bad thing five

After Anna journies into the mountain and finds her sister, their fight unleashes Elsa’s powers again, except Anna is in REAL danger this time. Ice hit her heart and only true love can melt a freezing heart. So Anna and her new friend race down the mountain to her love, Hans. This is where it is revealed that Hans is a bad guy who never loved Anna and only wanted to marry her so he could become a king. There is roughly 30 minutes left in the film when this is revealed. But why did Elsa and Anna fight? Oh yeah, because Anna wanted Elsa to return the city to normal and fix the mistake she made. Here comes the selfish act, Elsa still has made no effort to control or learn about her powers, so Elsa refuses to return to the town because she doesn’t know how to reverse the ice. Oh man, REALLY ELSA? You are so self-centered that you refuse to fix your mistake and keep people in danger of dying from the cold? Why? Because you know nothing about your powers? Because people don’t like you? Well I can’t blame the townspeople for not liking her. She lived in isolation for years, then when she finally shows her face, she almost kills people and sends the city into chaos. No wonder they didn’t want her around anymore. Good thing Elsa sang that song about self forgiveness because now she can do whatever she wants since she forgave herself for nearly murdering her sister and the people she was supposed to protect as queen. At this point, all of Elsa’s actions have been for herself and that is the only person whom they benefit. Selfish action number five.

I see so many people glorifying Elsa in this movie and it is difficult to see people love this selfish almost villainous person. The movie Frozen is great, but it is a highly misunderstood film because people are so desperate for a character to relate to. They find themselves latching onto a character that is essentially villainous and they don’t even know it. How do these actions make Elsa the villain of the movie? You take these selfish actions (since I consider selfishness to be a trait most villains share in Disney movies) with the systematic endangerment of Anna’s life as well as the people in the kingdom you have a character that can be considered a villain.

But what about Hans?

Oh yes, Hans is quite an interesting character. Not because of his actions, but because of his inclusion. Hans was included into Frozen just to make Elsa a good guy. At the end of the film, Anna becomes ice right as Hans is about to kill Elsa. This is the moment where Elsa FINALLY learns about her powers and she lifts the ice from the town, returning everything to normal. Of course this never would have happened if Hans wasn’t in the film. The villain in every other Disney movie was established very early and, without that character, the movie has no bad guy. Hans was just thrown into the mix as the last second to make Elsa a good guy. If Hans was just a guy Anna wanted to marry and nothing more, Elsa would have been the main villain in the film. You take a look at other Disney movies like 101 Dalmations you have Cruella DeVille, without her, there would be no villain. The Little Mermaid and Ursula, without the Sea Witch, there would be no bad guy. Aladdin and Jafar, without Jafar there would be no bad guy. Frozen and Hans? Without Hans you have a woman with ice powers that nearly kills a town full of people including her family because of her refusal to learn how to control her powers.

PS: Don’t get me wrong, I do understand the message of Frozen and the themes Elsa represents. However, when I looked into Elsa’s actions and see how selfish she is, I couldn’t help but see someone who shares a trait with other villains. Without Hans, there is no doubt that Elsa would have been the bad guy of Frozen. I understand how the end of the film destroys this point I am trying to make but let us have a bit of out of the box thinking shall we?

(Ed’s note – mate, just Let It Go…)


Crowbar is an angry young man, but he knows his games. We all have our passions and his come alive when his digital self is hammering baddies, solving puzzles or flying. He also has a penchant for dressing like giant penguins, but we promised him we wouldn't mention it.