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Queen Elsa of Arendelle

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/elsa_transparent.png
"The cold never bothered me anyway..."

Voiced by: Idina Menzel (adult), Eva Bella (child), Spencer Lacey Ganus (12-year old)
Appearances: Frozen | Frozen Fever | Olaf's Frozen Adventure | Frozen II
Appearances in alternate continuities: Frozen: Northern Lights | Once Upon a Time | Frozen Free Fall | Disney Infinity | Ralph Breaks the Internet | Kingdom Hearts III
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Elsa is the Snow Queen and the Queen of Arendelle. Elsa is the oldest child and the first-born daughter of King Agnarr and Queen Iduna of Arendelle. She is the older sister of the heiress apparent Princess Anna of Arendelle. Elsa has had the ability to conjure up ice from birth, but has tried to suppress and hide it.note 


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    A-F 
  • 0% Approval Rating: Downplayed, exploited, and zig-zagged. It starts and ends well, and doesn't reach absolute zero, but it comes close for much of the story. She starts off well liked by the people, who are excited to see her crowned, but during the coronation ball, Elsa loses her temper and shoots ice spikes at her sister, then flees the castle. When she enters the crowded courtyard, she starts to lose control of her powers, which turns a fountain's water into spiky ice, and accidentally shoots a blast into the crowd. She then flees the kingdom as, unbeknownst to her, her Power Incontinence sends the country into an Endless Winter. Pretty much everyone begins to fear her and believe that the new queen intentionally doomed them to freeze and starve, with the exception of her sister and, once she creates him, her snowlem Olaf. After it looks as if she murdered said sister, Hans is able to convince people to accept him as their new ruler and even comply with his orders to sentence the former queen to death without fuss. Once she is able to end the Endless Winter and the prince's deceptions are exposed, though, her popularity returns.
  • Above Good and Evil: Played with. After running away to be alone, she resolves to discard concepts like "right" and "wrong" and simply live by her own rules, no longer caring what the rest of the world will think of her actions. Nonetheless, when she finds out she has unknowingly frozen the entire kingdom of Arendelle, she is deeply horrified.
  • Action Girl: Elsa uses her powers to fight back against the Duke's soldiers, who try to end the Endless Winter by attacking her.
  • Adaptational Name Change: Is a Composite Character of the nameless Snow Queen and a boy named Kai from the source material, The Snow Queen, but is called "Elsa".
  • Adaptational Heroism: The Snow Queen was a neutral entity in the original tale, open to interpretation as either good or evil. While Elsa fears she's the latter, she's really the former, especially in later installments.
  • Adorkable: Although often reserved, Elsa definitely has her moments. For instance, in Frozen Fever, she's so excited about Anna's birthday celebration that she squeals with excitement at several points.
  • Afraid of Their Own Strength: Ever since she was a child, she has obsessively tried to suppress her ice powers and stay as far away from people as possible and is afraid that she will hurt others like she did Anna.
  • Aloof Big Sister: Justified. Elsa acts distant and aloof to Anna because she's afraid of losing control of her powers. The trope ends when she finally controls her powers.
  • The Atoner:
    • Played with. When she learns that she caused an Endless Winter in Arendelle, she would like to fix it, but ends up panicking over not knowing how.
    • Her desire to make Anna happy in Frozen Fever is driven by guilt over how much her sister suffered because of her powers. "For everything you are to me, and all you've been through..."
  • Badass Adorable: Her cryokinetic powers are a force to be reckoned with, and she is quite cute, especially when she lets her emotions show.
  • Badass Boast:
    • "Here I'll stand, and here I'll stay" from "Let It Go" is a boast to the world that it won't be making any more demands of her.
    • In the same song: "I am one with the wind and sky."
  • Badass Bookworm: Her powers make her considerably badass. It is also stated in the book A Sister More Like Me that Elsa loves geometry. Note her mention of fractals during "Let it Go".
  • Badass in Distress: Although extremely powerful, she's vulnerable whenever her state of mind is affected (in the original movie) or when she's sick (in Frozen Fever).
  • Beneath the Mask: Anna has only seen her distant attitude for years on end, so she's both surprised and a little relieved to see Elsa having fun talking about chocolate and teasing her by making her dance with the Duke of Weselton, and also surprised to see Elsa grinning when she shows up at the ice palace. It turns out that Elsa really hated having to always repress her emotions, and she shows a playful and creative side with a lot of artistic sense. Unfortunately, there's also a lot of anxiety bubbling away beneath the surface.
  • Benevolent Mage Ruler: The first movie is basically the story of how she becomes one, and the hard road to mastering both her magical talent and the responsibilities of a Queen.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Elsa doesn't want to hurt anyone intentionally, even two guys clearly sent to kill her. But when it's clear that it's her or them, she becomes brutal.
  • Beware the Superman: Played with. Elsa is generally good at heart, but she is so afraid of accidentally hurting someone that she feels she has to shut everyone out of her life, including Anna. The show of her powers makes her someone to fear. Once she runs away, she decides "screw this, I'm going to run away and let loose", yet it causes an Endless Winter. Hans exploits this trope to justify killing Elsa.
  • Big Sister Instinct: After Anna informs Elsa about the Endless Winter, Elsa panics and accidentally shoots Anna in the heart. Worrying that Anna isn't safe near her, she conjures a giant snowlem to throw Anna out of her ice palace, believing this will help protect her.
  • Blessed with Suck: She was born with magical ice powers, but started to fear them after her accident with Anna. She actually loves making ice and snow, but could never do so for fear of hurting others or them hurting her. Then the powers start operating out of control, exposing her to the fear of other people, plunging the kingdom into an Endless Winter, and killing Anna.
  • Blue Is Heroic: Elsa's primary color scheme is blue and despite her aloof nature, she's quite kind-hearted.
  • Blue Means Cold: Her outfits tend to be blue and she has ice powers.
  • Born Winner: Elsa was born with her extremely powerful ice powers, and she's the only human character in the movie to have any magic. It's zigzagged; her powers aren't always predictable and can be both dangerous as well as beautiful. At the end of the first movie, ironically, it is "completely ordinary" Anna who helps Elsa reach her inborn potential and reconcile the complicated nature of her powers.
  • Braids of Action: Elsa wears a French braid over her left shoulder for the majority of her screentime after "Let It Go", including her fight with two of the Duke of Weselton's guys.
  • Breakout Character: Despite Anna being the protagonist of the first film and Olaf initially receiving most of the marketing before the movie's release, Elsa became the most popular character in the film by far, eclipsing not just Anna and the rest of the cast but pretty much the whole Disney Princess line. Countless articles have been written that analyze her character and her behavior, and most fanwork tends to focus on her. As a result of her popularity, the rest of the franchise, and most marketing and press, often gives Elsa a more prominent role.
  • Break the Cutie: Starts off rather cheerful, but after accidentally striking Anna with a misaimed ice bolt and being shown an image of her future self being attacked by a mob as Pabbie warns her there's danger in not controlling her power, she becomes haunted and repressed. She reaches the Despair Event Horizon when Hans tells her that her magic killed her sister.
  • Broken Ace: Brilliant, beautiful, artistic, intense magical power, excels at everything, graceful, and even a very kind person. However, she has a lot of emotional issues because the graceful perfect act is a misguided attempt to keep her magic in check.
  • Broken Bird: After many years of isolation in fear, Elsa has become more detached.
  • Byronic Heroine: She is an Ice Queen who not only is brooding about her powers, but also exiles herself after her powers are exposed at the coronation. Her inner conflicts over her powers end up driving many central elements of the plot. In fact, "Let It Go", with its extolling of rejecting the conventions of society — not to mention her responsibilities as monarch — is essentially an anthem to a kind of Romantic Existentialism.
  • Celibate Heroine: Not clear if it's a direct result of her not wanting to get close to anyone out of fear of losing control of her powers, or if she's asexual, or if it's something else entirely, but regardless of the reason, Elsa never shows romantic interest in anyone. When Hans is explaining his plans to Anna, he notes that his original plan to take the throne of Arendelle was simply to woo and marry Elsa, but he had to abandon that plan since "nobody was getting anywhere with her".
  • The Chains of Commanding: Between becoming queen and keeping her ice magic in check at the beginning of the film, Elsa certainly suffers from this, at least until she gleefully breaks those chains in "Let it Go".
  • Character Development: Following her return to power as Arendelle's reigning monarch, Elsa's original personality, not dominant since childhood, makes a return. With a warm aura, Elsa rules her kingdom with a genuine smile, and spends most of her spare time using her abilities for the pleasure of herself, her sister, and the entire kingdom. As seen in Frozen Fever, this aspect of Elsa's personality has not only remained, but strengthened, as the short heavily showcased Elsa's lighter side as fun-loving and devoted to her sister.
  • Character Tics: Notably, a lot of them are variants on hiding or containing her emotion, which in her case is often expressed through ice powers that she associates with her hands.
    • She tends to cross her arms when she feels stressed. Moments include when she is confronted by Anna during the coronation just before she cuts loose with her powers (especially since it's to hide her uncovered left hand), when she's alone on the North Mountain during the first lines of "Let It Go", and twice in her ice palace when she realizes that her powers have plunged Arendelle into Endless Winter.
    • When she laughs (once when she and Anna are kids and sneak off into the ballroom to play, and a couple of times during the coronation), she tends to place her fingers over her lipsnote .
    • She also wrings her hands a lot.
    • She rolls her eyes when she's impatient (when Anna keeps stalling to tell her what happened in Arendelle).
    • Elsa often clasps her hands in front of her when she is anxious.
  • Cheerful Child: In the beginning of the film, before she accidentally hurts Anna, she's gleeful about playing with her powers.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Most of the time, she is an anxiety-ridden Stoic, but when she lets her emotions loose during "Let It Go", she makes dramatic gestures and relishes in Badass Boasts.
  • Classical Anti-Hero: She is very unsure of herself and often afraid of hurting others.
  • Clothing Reflects Personality:
    • At the start of the film, Elsa and Anna wear light-colored clothes, which symbolizes their relationship with each other going well. After they are separated and grow apart (especially during the "Do You Want To Build A Snowman" sequence), their clothes become progressively darker, with Elsa regaining lighter clothes after fleeing the kingdom and feeling less restricted.
    • See Conspicuous Gloves entry.
  • Color Motifs:
    • Blue — The main color choice for her clothing (including her ice dress); represents her melancholy and her ice powers, and later her happiness with said powers.
    • Green — In Frozen Fever, Elsa magically changes her signature light blue dress into bright green which has several levels of meaning. 1) Elsa changing her clothing into Anna's color represents her efforts in this short to open up her heart to Anna and let her in (after all, it is all about her giving Anna a perfect birthday to make up for the previous birthdays she missed out on). Plus, if you're familiar with the symbolism of the Chakras: green stands for the Heart Chakra or love - in this case sisterly love. 2) Green being the color of spring or summer more than winter represents Elsa not being overpowered by her ice powers (which can be represented as blue) anymore, but being in control of them and NOT being in danger of changing it into a winter anymore.
  • Composite Character: Elsa takes the role of both the Snow Queen and Kai from the source material, The Snow Queen.
  • Conspicuous Gloves: Hoping to constrain her powers, Elsa is never without her gloves. Anna later comments that she thought the gloves were due to Elsa being Terrified of Germs.
  • Cool Big Sis: Pun intended, but she used to be this for Anna when they were younger. In the ending, she becomes it again. In Frozen Fever, this trope is definitely on her mind as she forces herself to go through Anna's birthday celebrations, even while suffering a bad cold.
  • Cool Crown: She initially wears a small tiara, but she discards it when she abandons Arendelle. The Stinger reveals that her minion Marshmallow found it.
  • Cope by Creating: After Elsa escapes Arendelle, she creates a beautiful ice palace both to test her Elemental Powers and to release her pent-up emotions. She is singing "Let It Go" as it forms around her.
  • Costume Evolution: Though she changes her coronation dress to something she's more comfortable with, she's willing to wear other clothes, as long as they also fit the general form of the ice dress.
    • In Frozen Fever, she gives her ice dress a spring look, but still keeps the general shape.
    • In Olaf's Frozen Adventure, her winter dress is a fabric dress that looks like her ice dress, but darker blue, a more obvious snowflake motif on the ice train, and a fur collar.
  • Costume Porn: Par for the course for Disney, but Elsa's sky-blue snow queen dress deserves a special mention. It's breathtaking, and detailed to the stitch. Her revamped ice outfit in Frozen II promotional material is even more detailed and elegant.
  • Covers Always Lie: A lot of promotional art depicts her as confidently smug, while in the movie proper she only appears this way briefly, but spends much of the film anxious.
  • Creating Life Is Unforeseen: When she recreates Olaf during "Let It Go", she has no idea that he's alive until he shows up with Anna. Taken Up to Eleven in Frozen Fever, where she spawns the Snowgies by just sneezing and it takes a while for her to realize what she's doing.
  • Cultured Badass: The "cultured" part is more prominent in A Sister More Like Me, which shows her many talents. The "badass" part comes from her powers. "Let It Go" unites them when she uses math to create her ice palace.
  • Damsel out of Distress: When captured at the castle she uses her powers to free herself.
  • Daddy's Girl: During the growing up montage, it's implied that she is closer to her father than to her mother, as she interacts with him more.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: As a child, hit Anna in the head with her powers. This essentially drives the entire plot and is the reason why Elsa is so detached from her sister.
  • Dark Magical Girl: She's a good person at heart who was isolated from everyone due to her powers, leading to her becoming an (unintentional) antagonist. As with most Dark Magical Girls, she's eventually saved through the Power of Love by her heroic Foil.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: She has to keep her emotions and feelings in check, because if she doesn't, she loses control of her magic, and it can do terrible things to the people. It is Anna's love for her that ultimately frees her from her fears and unlocks the ability to thaw out the winter.
  • Demoted to Extra: The story of the first movie is adapted for a section of Kingdom Hearts III, but the player gets to see little of the plot or the Frozen characters, so despite being the deuteragonist of the movie, Elsa only appears to interact with Sora exactly once before being relegated to a background character as the plot of the movie goes on without Sora's further input.
  • Deuteragonist: The story starts from her perspective and we see what she's doing almost as much as Anna. She's also the one actually driving the plot.
  • Dreamworks Face: She not only does this in the posters, but also In-Universe at the final line in "Let it Go".
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Finally conquers her crippling fear and reconnects with her sister.
  • Easily Forgiven: Once she returns to the kingdom and undoes the Endless Winter she caused on Arendelle, the citizens welcome her with open arms without any hint of resentment despite the casualties it could have caused.
  • Emotional Powers: Her powers are connected to her emotions. When she's feeling better she creates happier things like Olaf, but when she wants to hide away from the world she creates the massive Marshmallow. Negative emotions like fear or worry tend to give her Power Incontinence, while positive ones allow her more control of her powers. Embracing her love for others is what allows her to lift the Endless Winter from Arendelle.
  • Emotionless Girl: Comes off like this, but is actually a subversion. Elsa spends years constantly suppressing her emotions in fear she would lose control of her powers, but she's actually quite emotional.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: Her ice dress is pretty glittery, which becomes particularly evident when she steps into the sunlight at the end of "Let It Go". There are also sparkles in her hair, as her braid is adorned with tiny sparkling snowflakes.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: In the brief shots of her as a child at various ages, Elsa wears her hair in a French braid until her parents die; then she wears it in a bun note . Fast-forward to Coronation Day and it's again in a bun, symbolizing it's a moment she needs to restrain her emotions. Then at the end of "Let it Go", Elsa drops her Prim and Proper Bun in favor of the French braid she originally wore, symbolizing she isn't as constrained anymore.
  • Fisher King: The weather changes according to her mood.
  • Foil: She is serious in contrast to her energetic sister, Anna.
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Her coronation dress, and especially her ice dress, are tailored enough to perfectly highlight her curves.
  • Friendless Background: She was raised in seclusion and she doesn't have any friends her age.
  • Full-Contact Magic: Whenever she uses her powers intentionally, she always makes grand gestures with her hands or dancing. When she creates her ice palace, it's more like she's actually lifting it out of the mountain than anything.
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    G-M 
  • Glass Cannon: She's very powerful, but still ultimately a young woman susceptible to conventional harm if one bypasses her icy defenses. When a crossbow knocks down the ice chandelier, it knocks her out.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Inverted. Instead of involuntary isolation giving someone mental/emotional issues, she isolates herself on purpose because of her emotional issues.
  • Good with Numbers: It is stated in A Sister More Like Me that Elsa loves geometry. This is shown in the film when she uses her knowledge of geometry to create her ice palace and describes her snow designs as "fractals", an advanced geometry concept for the time period.
  • Gorgeous Garment Generation: Her powers can conjure clothing made of ice.
    • Her sparkly blue Snow Queen dress is woven from ice and snow.
    • In Fever she updates it to green, with flower decorations, to fit with Anna's birthday.
  • Guilt Complex: Almost killing Anna when they were kids hit Elsa hard, and even though it was an accident, she sees herself as a monster because of it and seems to blame herself for all the grief it caused her family. In the shorts, Elsa blames herself for things out of her control, like catching a cold and therefore "ruining" Anna's birthday or lacking a family tradition.
  • Hair Decorations: Elsa's hair is subtly adorned with snowflakes. As a kid, she had a blue headband.
  • Hairstyle Inertia: After "Let It Go", Elsa goes back to wearing the same single French braid she had as a child, and sticks to this for the rest of the first movie, plus both animated shorts, and in part of Frozen II.
  • Hand Blast: She shoots her magic primarily from her hands.
  • Happy Holidays Dress: In Olaf's Frozen Adventure, Elsa has a dark blue dress with a snowflake motif visible on the train, and the neckline is trimmed with white fur, giving her a festive snow queen look.
  • Hates Being Touched: She won't let other people touch her, out of fear of losing control of her powers. Once Elsa has her powers in check, she's freer with physical contact.
  • Hero Antagonist: She unintentionally drives the conflict, creating an Endless Winter in the middle of summer when she runs away to the mountains to isolate herself. Her sister, Anna, has to seek her out so that they can find a way to stop the winter she unknowingly caused.
  • Heroic Albino: Has extremely pale skin, white hair, and is a good person.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • When Hans tells her that Anna's dead, she collapses in horror and despair. When Elsa goes through these, the snow tends to freeze outside (also happens when she learns that her parents have died).
    • She goes through one in Olaf's Frozen Adventure when she believes she and Anna don't have any traditions.
  • The Hermit: She tries this lifestyle for a while, as she thinks she can escape her problems by living alone in an ice castle on the side of a mountain. She ultimately learns otherwise, however.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • She demonstrates a sly sense of humor during the coronation, when she tricks Anna into dancing with the Duke of Weselton and barely suppresses a laugh at her sister's expense.
    • Although she is passive compared to Anna, it is implied that she ironically enjoys more thrilling activities than her sister. When she creates a public ice rink in the first film's epilogue, she also creates a pair of ice skates for Anna. While Anna is somewhat hesitant at first, claiming she doesn't skate, Elsa grabs her arms and spins her around on the ice.
    • In Frozen Fever, she's game enough to dance at the top of a clock tower.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Although Elsa may seem aloof towards Anna, this is only her repressing her emotions in order to keep her powers in check, and she really does deeply care for her sister and her well-being, but thinks she has to push her away.
  • High Class Gloves: Though her gloves are to contain her power, they are still items fit for royalty. Even her coronation gloves match her dress.
  • The High Queen: She tries to be a good ruler for her kingdom. She continues to do so while being herself after she returns, and her people love her in the follow-up shorts and Extended Universe material.
  • Hot Witch: Once she's finally able to be herself and embrace her powers, her beauty really shines.
  • Hypocrite: Elsa is right that Anna is too sheltered to understand what love is. But Elsa herself is just as sheltered, having never set foot outside the castle for the same amount of time. Anna even calls her out on this.
    Elsa: Anna, what do you know about true love?
    Anna: More than you! All you know how to do is shut people out!
  • I Can't Dance:
    • Elsa politely turns down the Duke of Weselton's offer of a "first dance" on the excuse she doesn't dance.
    • In one of the tie-in comics, Elsa doesn't know how to dance, so Anna teaches her in preparation for a group of princes she's scheduled to dance with... who it turns out can't dance either.
  • An Ice Person: Has the ability to create ice and snow, which also extends to creating sentient snowmen and even a dress made of ice for herself. The origin of these powers is a case of All There in the Manual from Jennifer Lee (about a third down the page): a child is born with ice magic "like when Saturn is in this alignment with such-and-such on the thousandth year". This makes sense because, you know, Saturn has both rings of ice and rock and a moon covered in ice note . It was left out of the final film because the more you explain about magic, the more you want to know about its rules, and it would have detracted from the plot, seeing as planetary alignment is not a major point unlike another Disney film. See also When the Planets Align below.
  • Ice Queen: Both literally and figuratively! At first she feels a need to tightly control her emotions so that no one will find out about her secret ice powers, which are affected by her emotions, or be hurt. In particular, Anna feels shut out and disliked by her sister for no reason she can understand. When, in a moment of anger during an argument, Elsa unleashes her powers in public, she just gives up entirely on controlling it, leading into her song "Let It Go".
  • An Ice Suit: A variation; her slinky blue gown seems much better suited for warm weather. The cold never bothered her anyway (presumably because being one who can make ice makes it possible for her to tolerate subzero temperatures more easily).
  • Iconic Outfit: Her silky blue gown + gauzy cape is her most recognizable outfit, and is printed on more merchandise than her others.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Not evil, but since her element is ice, this fits.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Cutting off Anna when they were kids.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: While she was going to kill the Weselton guards attacking her, Hans pleads with Elsa not to do it, telling her "Don't be the monster they fear you are."
  • Imagination-Based Superpower: She can make ice constructs of anything, including clothes woven from ice, a whole palace, and even sentient snowmen.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Her new outfit was woven from ice crystals.
  • Impossible Hourglass Figure: Downplayed, as her figure is still unrealistic, but not to the proportions typical of the trope.
  • Inexplicably Awesome: It's never explained how or why Elsa has ice powers. The only reason given is that she was simply born with them. Word of God explains that Elsa is the first person in over 1,000 years to have been born with ice powers, possibly as a case of When the Planets Align.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Downplayed example, with the shape of her eyes and mouth and the way her mouth forms words being based on Idina Menzel's natural speaking voice.
  • Instant Expert: During the course of "Let it Go", she gains increasing control of her powers, going from creating a few wisps of cold, to constructing a crude snowman, to a fairly large bridge, which becomes crystalline and intricate as she crosses it, to an entire palace made of ice. Also downplayed in that while she knows how to direct it, she doesn't know how to turn it off.
  • Internalized Categorism: Thanks to some childhood trauma, she grows up fearing her own powers. This is especially bad for her since her powers can be triggered by her own emotions, so this made them even harder to control.
  • It's All My Fault:
    • In Frozen Fever, she thinks she's "ruined" Anna's birthday because her cold interferes with her regimented plan for how she wanted them to spend the day.
    • In Olaf's Frozen Adventure, she says it's her fault she and Anna don't seem to have any Christmastime traditions.note 
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While she isn't being particularly understanding, she's right you shouldn't marry a man you just met, a sentiment Kristoff agrees with. She's proven right upon the reveal that Hans was Evil All Along.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Best displayed when the Duke's guards try to kill her. She's in her ice outfit, as in the slinky dress, cape, and heels, and her powers still make her formidable against them. The only reason they even stood a chance at first was because she didn't want to hurt anyone. Their relentless attacks drove her to fight back, and they were clearly no match.
  • Kubrick Stare: She does it in the end of "Let It Go" and while fighting the Duke's guards.
  • Lady of Black Magic: Ice-oriented variant. Downplayed, as her magic can be destructive but is certainly not evil.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: After tossing away the crown, she knocks off her bun in favour of a French braid.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: She's a princess whose parents isolate her for most of her childhood to avoid potential mobs attacking her while she's dealing with Power Incontinence. Even after they're gone, she isolates herself from everyone, including Anna, even though they live in the same house.
  • Love Redeems: A downplayed example. She spends much of the film aloof because she's trying to keep her emotions in check and she can be a bit of jerk when she's stressed, but in the end, the love between her and her sister helps Elsa warm up.
  • Mad God: Technically she's a Neurotic Overpowered-Mage, but the results are surprisingly similar: She sets off an eternal winter by having an anxiety attack, and accidentally creates life while in a good mood.
  • Madness Mantra: "Don't feel, don't feel, don't feel, don't feel!" She says this after Anna tells her that she caused an endless winter in Arendelle. To make it creepier, the icy room around her turns red and ice spikes jut forth from the walls as she says this, springing from the dread she is unable to suppress.
  • The Makeover: With no one left to worry about once she leaves Arendelle, she quickly drops her restraint, lets down her hair, and puts on something way more flattering. Even when gaining control over her powers, Elsa still keeps the look. It's just too cool to lose.
  • Malfunction Malady: In the Frozen Fever short she has a cold that gets progressively worse. Every time she sneezes, she creates a few tiny armless "snowgies". At the end, Olaf and Kristoff herd hundreds of them up to the ice palace. She also sneezes right as she tries to blow on the ceremonial horn which through sheer coincidence happens to launch a massive snowball that knocks Hans into a pile of manure all the way over in the Southern Isles.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Elsa and Anna's strained relationship is not helped by Elsa acting happy to see Anna (such as her coronation party and when Anna first enters her ice palace), which gets Anna's hopes up, only to turn around and abruptly tell her they can't see each other anymore.
  • Meaningful Name: "Elsa" is German for "noble", which alludes to her high status as a princess, her ascent as queen of Arendelle, and the fact that deep down she really has a good heart and spirit. Also, the name Elsa comes from Elizabeth, which stems from the Hebrew name Elisheva, which means "God is my oath", reflecting her sense of duty.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: When fleeing across the fjord. she doesn't realize that behind her the steps across the water are expanding, causing the entire area to freeze solid. The rest of Arendelle freezes over within hours, before she manages to figure out how to actually thaw the ice she creates.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: During "Let It Go", she makes a lot of grand gestures, some for Full-Contact Magic, some for kicks.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Fairly Downplayed, but after transforming into her ice dress, she is the most scantily-clad character in the film (relatively speaking).
  • Most Common Superpower: Downplayed. Though it's hard to tell given the animation style, Elsa's figure qualifies as a downplayed version of the Impossible Hourglass Figure (see above). It's easy to see what contributes for Elsa's top half and she does have powers, completing the trope. Also, looking at the sisters side by side, one notices that Elsa's bust is considerably larger than Anna's.
  • Mundane Utility: At the end of the film, Elsa uses her ice powers to entertain her subjects, making an ice-skating rink in summer. She also can use magic to redesign clothing and decorate Anna's birthday cake. For Christmastime, she makes a giant ice Christmas tree.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: She suffers this a couple of times in the film:
    • When she and Anna are first playing with snow in the beginning, Elsa hitting her sister accidentally with her ice spell is what first causes her to hate her powers.
    • She's horrified when she learns that her powers have caused an endless winter, and utters the line word-for-word when she sees it firsthand.
  • My Greatest Failure: She deeply regrets how she almost killed Anna by accident when they were kids, and still worries it might happen again (in a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, she does almost kill her again). This is the main reason she refuses to get close to her sister.
  • Mystical White Hair: It's strongly implied that Elsa's platinum-blonde hair (a shade of blonde that is a few shades away from perfect white) is somehow connected to her ice magic, since she clearly couldn't have inherited the gene for platinum blonde hair from her parents. This is evident when she accidentally hits Anna with her ice magic and Anna gains a platinum blonde streak as a result.

    N-Y 
  • Neat Freak: More prominent in A Sister More Like Me, in which Elsa keeps a neat and tidy room. Downplayed in the film itself, in which Anna admits that she always assumed that this was why Elsa wore gloves so much, implying that Elsa isn't one to get messy often.
  • Named by the Adaptation: In Andersen's original tale, the Snow Queen character is only referred to by that title. When Disney transformed the story into Frozen, she was given a name.
  • Nervous Wreck: Underneath her calm and aloof façade she's this. Word of God states that she suffers from depression and anxiety.
  • Nice Girl: She is caring, protective, and benevolent. Even before her Character Development, her (metaphorical) Ice Queen tendencies were really an act to keep her powers in control.
  • Nice Shoes: Her signature ice dress includes a pair of kitten heels made of ice. In Frozen II, she gets a pair of ice-themed boots.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Acts aloof and secretive, attempting to be an Emotionless Girl, for thirteen years in order to keep her powers as a literal ice queen controlled and hidden, both to avoid the reactions of others and to avoid hurting them, but it makes her look like a metaphorical one. And then she opens up the castle for her coronation day, during which a stressed Elsa lashes out, shooting ice spikes and revealing her powers, in an argument with her neglected sister Anna, who doesn't know why her family's been keeping her and the rest of them so isolated or why Elsa appears to not care about her. She flees as, unbeknownst to her, the kingdom plunges into an Endless Winter - which doesn't help her image. For all the other characters know, it looks as if Elsa cursed the land on purpose. Despite the argument, Anna's the only one to believe that Elsa is not the stereotypical evil witch-queen she appears to be and to realize that she's just scared.
  • Not So Above It All: Despite her Emotionless Girl facade early in the film, she still has a (good-natured) Gadfly moment during the coronation when she manages to rope Anna into dancing with the Duke, who is a horrible dancer.
  • Odd Name Out: All the main characters follow a trend of filling in parts of the original novel's author's name (Hans, Kristoff, Anna, Sven = "Hans Christian Andersen"), except for her.
  • One-Woman Army: Elsa is able to handle herself against both of the Duke of Weselton's bodyguards simultaneously.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: She's the queennote  and Anna's older sister, so Anna goes to her to ask for her blessing to her engagement with Hans, assuming it's a done deal. She says no because Anna has just met Hans and definitely has known him for no more than twelve hours.
  • The Perfectionist: She always tried her best to be "the perfect girl" so could keep her powers under control. Even after opening up and learning to use her powers, she still keeps this trait, as seen in Frozen Fever where Elsa is fixated on giving Anna a perfect birthday despite her cold.
  • Person of Mass Construction: She can use ice powers to construct an ice castle for herself filled with giant doors and a spiral staircase, all in the course of a single song!
  • Person of Mass Destruction: She accidentally causes a country-wide Endless Winter.
  • Personality Powers: Justified Trope. The dangerously uncontrollable nature of Elsa's ice powers strongly influenced her personality. Elsa hides from the world by acting emotionally detached because she's afraid of what might happen to her or what she herself might end up doing if she doesn't control her powers.
  • Pimped-Out Dress:
    • Her coronation dress has gold trimming on the waist and neckline, and floral motifs on the skirt and bodice.
    • The dress she makes is loaded with small wintry things that make it glitter, and an attached cape with subtle snowflakes all over it.
    • She creates another one with her powers in Frozen Fever, and a holiday-themed one in Olaf's Frozen Adventure.
  • Poor Communication Kills: A lot of her stoicism stems from corrupting her father's "conceal it, don't feel it, don't let it show" mantra and dropping the "it"s to "conceal, don't feel".
  • Power Dyes Your Hair: Elsa has a platinum-blonde hair color not shared with any other members of her family, which is presumably related to her ice powers.
  • Power Incontinence: Her powers can manifest involuntarily, such as freezing things she touches. When running away after the coronation ceremony, she accidentally freezes the entire harbor and fjord and creates an Endless Winter without even realizing it. When Anna tells her what she's done and asks her to lift the winter, a horrified Elsa tells her she doesn't know how. The secret turns out to be love.
  • Power Limiter: Her gloves allow her to touch things without freezing them and keep her from blasting anything around her with ice on accident. The plot is kicked off when she loses one while arguing with Anna. It's implied that their effect is mainly psychological, as later on, hand-covering manacles can't keep her powers at bay, and it repeatedly shown that her powers don't usually come directly from her hand. Ice can appear from beneath her feet, or not even near any body part, such as when her powers make it snow from the sky all over the kingdom.
  • The Power of Love: How she gains control of her powers. "Love will thaw" indeed.
  • Pretty in Mink: In Olaf's Frozen Adventure, her holiday dress has an extra festive touch with a white fur collar.
  • Prim and Proper Bun: Elsa's coronation appearance is with her hair woven in a French-braided crown twist bun. When she realizes she can cut loose with her emotions, she tears out the braid and allows her hair to hang in relative freedom.
  • Proper Lady: After learning to control her powers, she's collected and poised enough to eventually be The High Queen. In A Sister More Like Me, she enjoys keeping things clean and neat, and intellectual pursuits such as geometry.
  • Properly Paranoid: Played with in an interesting way, with a hint of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. As a child, Elsa is told to never reveal her powers in case people attack her for it, and is told this shortly after an accident involving said powers nearly kills her little sister. She ends up refusing any physical contact with her parents as well as Anna, so as not to hurt them. This seems to be justified when she appears publicly for the first time on her coronation day, and, by the end of it, she's set off an eternal winter. Later, Anna gets too close to her during a moment of panic, resulting in her accidentally freezing her sister's heart. However, since her powers are affected by emotion, her fear of what might happen if she gets near someone is actually a big reason things go wrong. Once she overcomes her fears, she gains enough control over her powers to not need to be afraid.
  • Psychoactive Powers: When Elsa feels agitated or fearful, her power tends to manifest as an untamed explosion of ice and snow. When she feels good about herself, it becomes much more controlled and even artistic, such as when she creates her own castle out of ice, gives a makeover to the Arendelle castle, and creates a giant Christmas tree from ice.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Her coronation cape is purple. Her room is also decorated in shades of lilac and violet, which is more obvious in A Sister More Like Me and concept art.
  • Rage Breaking Point:
    • She does a fairly good job at keeping her powers in check by "concealing, not feeling" her fears... until Anna asks her a few Armor Piercing Questions and causes Elsa to snap, showing her powers.
    • When the Weselton guards try to assassinate her, she tries to reason with them, but is forced to defend herself when she realizes they won't stop. So she goes into Tranquil Fury mode, and on the offensive.
  • Randomly Gifted: She was born with powerful ice magic, despite being born into a family of ordinary, mundane human beings. Exactly how that works isn't elaborated upon, but it's not that important to the story anyway. We do have an All There in the Manual explanation outside the film itself (relating to her Significant Birth Date), but it was left out of the film for raising too many questions.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue to Anna's more openly-emotional Red given her stoicism.
  • Required Secondary Powers: As An Ice Person, not only does she not get cold, even on top of a frozen mountain wearing a dress made out of ice, she doesn't even have visible breath like everyone else in the cold. Subverted in Frozen Fever, where she tries to argue that she doesn't catch colds either, but unfortunately that's not how colds work.
    Elsa: The cold never bothered me anyway.
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: She has a Cool Crown, a Staff of Authority and an orb, a Pimped-Out Dress, a pair of High Class Gloves, and a Pimped-Out Cape. She abandons most of it and changes what she does keep after reinventing her image.
  • Royal Blood: Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Elsa is the Queen of Arendelle and the plot kicks off at her coronation.
  • Safety in Indifference: After an incident in her childhood when she accidentally hit her little sister in the head with her ice powers and is warned about the need for control, Elsa detaches herself from others, convinced that she should "conceal, don't feel" and is better off alone.
  • She's Got Legs: The skirt of her ice gown has a slit in it.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: Elsa didn't leave the castle grounds for 13 years and her parents tried to protect her by keeping her isolated for much of her childhood. As a result, she doesn't really know how to handle problems when she grows up.
  • Significant Birth Date: It's All There in the Manual, but according to scriptwriter/codirector Jennifer Lee, she was born on the winter solstice.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: In the middle of her song "Let It Go", Elsa magically changes her clothes from stately royal robes to a slinky gown, symbolizing her decision to stop hiding her powers and letting others determine how she will live her life.
  • Simple, yet Opulent:
    • Her coronation dress has very few decorations, but is still made of high-quality materials, and she wears a simple but grand purple cape. Purple is such a "royal" colour because the dye was made of sea snails, and according to The Other Wiki, twelve thousand snails yield no more than 1.4 g of pure dye, enough to colour only the trim of a single garment. Elsa's cape is at least 3 meters long.
    • Her ice dress is not complicated, but it shows just how beautiful and versatile her magic is.
  • Snowlems: Elsa has the power to create these.
  • Solitary Sorceress: Elsa runs off to the mountains after exposing her powers.
  • The Southpaw: Whenever seen shooting ice magic with her hands, she is doing it with her left one. She also uses it to undo her braid in "Let It Go".
  • Squishy Wizard: God-like ice powers, but human-like constitution. She's almost killed by a crossbow bolt to the face and then a falling chandelier.
  • The Stoic: Her attempt to shut down her Emotional Powers leads to her often trying to repress her emotions.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Elsa and her sister look similar to their mother, save for subtle differences in the shapes of their eyes, nose, chin, etc.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: She's reserved and tries to control her emotions, but she genuinely cares for her sister and the people of Arendelle. She reacts with "What have I done?" when she sees the frozen fjord. In this case, the "ice" part mostly results from her self-discipline, but she noticeably lightens up after she's ultimately able to control her powers and undo the Endless Winter.
  • Survival Mantra: "Conceal, don't feel." She casts this off later.
  • Swiss-Army Superpower: Her ice magic covers a wide range of possibilities, from dress-making to the creation of sentient life, so long as it's in snow form.
  • Symbol Motif Clothing: Her coronation dress has the crocus of Arendelle on it, while her ice dress has snowflakes all over the cape. Her holiday dress in Olaf's Frozen Adventure has an even larger snowflake motif.
  • Take Care of the Kids: When Elsa escapes the castle, she tells Hans to take care of Anna.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Elsa has a pretty good control of her powers as a child, and can cover a room in snow. She then spends some years repressing them, and when she finally lets go again when she's older, she ends up - not just accidentally, but unknowingly - freezing the entire kingdom and creating sentient life.
  • Took a Level in Cheerfulness: Elsa grew up highly reserved, because she was afraid being emotional would cause her ice powers to flare. The first time she opens up is when she sings her iconic "Let It Go" solo. She's still very anxious in "For The First Time In Forever (Reprise)", but at the end seems to have opened up more thanks to The Power of Love, and has gained greater control over her ice powers.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After letting go, she uses the Power of Love to end the eternal winter; creates a small storm over Olaf so he'll never melt; makes Kristoff the official Ice Master and Deliverer; creates an ice skating rink open to the public; and, in the final scene, she helps Anna learn how to ice skate.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Elsa has a liking towards chocolate.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Elsa goes through one traumatic experience after another:
    • She accidentally knocks out her little sister with her ice powers, which makes her Afraid of Their Own Strength.
    • When the trolls try to warn her how important it is that she learn control and that "fear will be your enemy," they show a vision of a mob to illustrate the danger, which makes her fear for her life.
    • Then her father tries to protect her from such a fate by locking her up in the castle.
    • Then her parents are lost at sea.
    • She's crowned queen but her powers are exposed to the entire kingdom, so she runs away and accidentally freezes Arendelle in the process.
    • She's tricked by Hans into thinking that Anna is dead (and because of her, too!).
    • She's heartbroken when Anna sacrifices herself to save her and sees her frozen body.
  • Troubled, but Cute: She's shown to be rather aloof and brooding.
  • True Blue Femininity: With a couple of exceptions, almost every outfit Elsa wears is mostly made of blue, up to and including non-fabric items she wears (like the headbands she wears in her single-digit years). Her coronation cape is purple, but it's still over a mostly blue/cyan dress. This continues in the holiday special Olaf's Frozen Adventure, where her Happy Holidays Dress is mostly dark blue. Her main outfit in Frozen II is a light blue ensemble.
  • Truly Single Parent: Is an accidental one of the magical variety to snowlems Olaf and Marshmallow, since she created them with her magic, and she does seem to regard Olaf at least with some kind of maternal affection. Furthermore, in Frozen Fever Olaf calls the small snowmen that Elsa's cold creates his "little brothers", suggesting that he does view Elsa as a parent and other snow creations as his siblings.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Her main problem for most of the movie. She can freeze hearts and make a harsh winter in the middle of summer, and she does all that by accident, because she has little control over her powers.
  • Used to Be More Social: Before the accident with Anna, Elsa was perfectly willing to play around with her sister and happily participated in the Yule Bell ceremony every Christmas.
  • Vapor Wear: Implied, as her stockings disappear after she forms her ice dress.
  • Villain Song: Her big song "Let It Go", during which she builds her ice kingdom after running away and gleefully allows herself to express her emotions and show off her powers, is a subversion. It was initially written as a Villain Songnote , and sounds like one, with lines like "No right, no wrong, no rules for me" and "The cold never bothered me anyway" (sung in the middle of Elsa unleashing her ice magic, enveloping the kingdom in an Endless Winter in the middle of July). But it's revealed later that the Endless Winter part is actually an accident - Elsa didn't even realize her powers went that far.
  • Voice for the Voiceless: When Elsa and Anna first build Olaf as children, Elsa provides a funny voice for the inanimate snowman Olaf ("Hi, I'm Olaf and I love warm hugs!") to make Anna laugh.
  • "Well Done, Daughter!" Girl: Implied during "For the First Time In Forever", by the way she looks up at the painting of her father while she is mentally preparing herself for her coronation.
  • We Used to Be Friends: She and Anna were close as children. Then, the accident happens, and their parents decide it's best to keep Elsa's powers secret while she's still learning control and isolate her in order to do so, and Elsa grows up to be reclusive.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Anna calls hers out on her hypocrisy in mocking Anna's ideas about love when the equally-isolated Elsa doesn't have any more knowledge than her.
  • When the Planets Align: The circumstances of Elsa's birth, according to Jennifer Lee. A child is born with ice magic "when Saturn is in this alignment with such-and-such on the thousandth year". It was meant to be explained in the film but was left out due to in part to raising too many more questions about the rules of magic.
  • Willfully Weak: After nearly killing Anna with her powers, she spends a good chunk of her life doing everything she can to keep her powers in check.
  • Winter Royal Lady: This is Averted, as she never actually adopts the moniker of "Snow Queen" (at least, not in the final version of the movie).
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Tries to be this, but cannot keep it up; when Anna confronts her at her coronation afterparty, she loses her composure. It's abandoned completely by the end, as she entertains her subjects with a skating rink in summer, skating amongst them as well.
  • Youthful Freckles: They're not as prominent on Elsa as they are on Anna (which can be partially explained as Elsa is a bit older than Anna), but if you look close enough, they are there.

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