Saturday, April 5, 2014

Frozen: You do realize Elsa's not the hero, right?

Anna is.

Don't get me wrong, Elsa's pretty fabulous. Who wouldn't admire some snazzy ice powers, a fractal palace, and Idina Menzel's singing voice?

But people have gotten the idea that Elsa is the to-be-idolized superhero. These are the top 24 image results if you google "frozen". 23 are actually about the disney movie, and 18 have people in them. Of those 18, 14 have Elsa in it, and 9 feature only Elsa, or have her as the central figure. (10 if you count that one where her and Anna are both central) Only 4 (5 if you count that one) feature Anna centrally or alone.
People have been going crazy with cosplays of Elsa. 
It's impossible to even count the number of blogs and statuses and tweets about letting it go, and not hiding "who we really are". You get the idea. 

All good things. She's pretty cool. But while the story does revolve around her and her gifts, she's not the hero. As a matter of fact, she causes half the problems in the story, albeit unintentionally.

With all the explosions of "Let it Go", people seem to have drastically and tragically undermined Anna, who is the actual hero. Why is she the hero?

1) Her courage

 Well, it's not because her courageous sacrifice was the one that saved the day. Don't be silly.

But seriously...

Sure, she was silly about some charming guy. But let's all be honest, who here hasn't been, at least once? (You may replace "guy" with "girl" if applicable.)

Anyone who says "no" is either lying or a severe sociopath. Anyway, yes, she made some bad choices. But so did Elsa. So does everyone. There's no such thing as a good story hero who makes all the right choices all the time.


she made the brave choices when they really mattered. Anna was the one who ran after her sister, even when everyone else was afraid. She had enough guts to try to make things right, even though she nearly died multiple times. All of the choices that took real courage were made by Anna.

All Elsa did was push people away, hide away, and run away when the going got tough.

Not saying I blame her. She had good intentions, and many of us would have done the same thing. But if we're going to idolize someone, let it be the brave girl. Let it be the one who chose to sacrifice true love, and her own life, in order to save her sister.

2) The "Let it Go" Message

People talk about Elsa and Let it Go in "inspiring" ways. And I don't quotation inspiring because I'm being sarcastic. Their message is that we should have courage to like the music we like, or wear the clothes we want, or go into the career that we love without fear of silly people who would make fun of us for it. As if it actually matters that someone likes some music that isn't popular. And that's a fine message. Worthy. Excellent. Etc.

But I honestly think that this message is conveyed by Anna a whole heck of a lot better than it is by Elsa. Elsa just happens to be the one who sang the song.

Elsa's example tells us that running away and hiding from the world is the way to solve our problems. But Anna chased after her sister, and loved her anyway, whatever had already happened. And it was that love that ultimately saved the day, both for the kingdom, and for Elsa's ice-queen problems. She's the one that tells us that we should love people, even when they're different.

And that's the message that we should be getting.

3) Anna is better to relate to

While this is not necessarily a technical aspect of what makes someone the MC, as opposed to just an important side character, I think it's something that most of us don't realize about this movie.

Part of why people idolize Elsa is because she was different than the others, and then broke away from it all in an attempt at understanding who she really was. We look up to that because every one of us, at some time or another, feels like we're so different, and no one gets us, and blah blah blah.

But let's be brutally honest here. Is any one of you really different in the ice-queen way?

(If the answer is yes, message me immediately. Because I need to see the cool awesome element powers.)

But for most of you, (read: all) the answer is no. I'm not. But I do still feel different all the time. Judged. alone. But whatever your differences are, they are human differences. They may seem hard at the time. It may seem like no one else gets it. You may feel very, very alone.

 But you aren't a magical queen. You aren't a monster or a demigod or an alien. You're human just like we all are.

And, surprise surprise, everyone one of us feels like that sometimes. The best thing about Anna is that she shows that in a human way. She's a girl that hates being alone, but is a lot. She wants to love and just enjoy life, and she's locked in this empty, dreary castle. Her sister shuts her out. Her parents die. Things aren't totally rosy for her. But she handles it in an optimistic, exuberant, positive way. A way that we really could take a lesson from.

So yeah, I've never felt what it's like to have to hide secret magic powers from my subjects, and I never will. Pretending like my problems are even a little bit similar to that is... well, pretty silly. But I have felt alone. I have felt sad. I have felt neglected or shut out. And I'd like to hope that I can face all of it with as rosy a demeanor as Anna did.

4) Screen time

Let's just get silly and technical for a moment. But usually the main protagonist of a story has the majority of the screen time in a movie/page time in a book. Same is true here. Anna is shown at least twice as often as Elsa is. Maybe more. But I'm not going to go time it.

All in all

Yeah, they are both important. And I'm not trying to diminish Elsa or anything, because she is cool. But I just wanted people to realize how cool Anna was, and let her get a little of her share of the limelight.

I liked the movie as a whole. Especially the sisterly cuteness. It's not a relationship aspect that gets much attention, and it really should.

In conclusion, I'll just leave this here. Ciao.