When you think about Frozen and the moral lessons it contains, what comes to mind? I would say power of love, especially between family (specifically sisters). But the original tale that Frozen is based on contains some surprisingly deep Christian messaging.
An Original Disney Fairy Tale
“The Snow Queen”,first published in 1844, is a fairy tale by acclaimed children’s author Hans Christian Andersen. As far back as 1937, Walt Disney Productions expressed interest in adapting the story into an animated feature. In 1989, another film based on an Andersen fairy tale, The Little Mermaid, sparked a new wave of Disney popularity (“the Disney Renaissance”). By the late 1990s, another attempt was made to make “The Snow Queen” into a movie, but it was still found to be too difficult to adapt.
By the time Frozen finally made it to the big screen, it had little resemblance to Andersen’s original tale. In the end, the writers used the fairy tale as a source of inspiration but crafted their own original story. The film does; however, contain a subtle tribute to Andersen. The names of the main characters: Hans, Kristoff, Anna, Sven (say those 5 times fast!) come from the book.
The Story Behind the Story
Anderson’s original story begins with an evil troll called “the devil.” He crafts a magic mirror that distorts the reflections of the world around it, showing everything and everyone to be evil and ugly. The devil is also the headmaster at a troll school. He delights in taking his pupils and the mirror around the world to distort the beautiful people and landscapes encountered.
Becoming arrogant, the devil and his students attempt to take the mirror into heaven, planning to warp the images of God and his angels. But the mirror begins to laugh harder and harder the further they lift it. Eventually they drop it and it shatters into millions of tiny shards. Some of which are blown across the globe and become embedded in the eyes and hearts of the people.
The story then moves on to two young children, Kay and Gerda, who live next door from one another. Kay’s grandmother tells them of the evil Snow Queen, who rules over the “snow bees” — snowflakes that are shaped like swarms of bees. Gerda learns a song that she often sings to Kay: “Roses flower in the vale; there we hear Child Jesus’ tale!”
When shards of the shattered troll mirror find their way into Kay’s heart and eyes, he becomes cruel. Soon thereafter, he’s abducted by the Snow Queen herself.
The Power of Love
After a long journey, Gerda finds her way to the Snow Queen’s palace. She recites the Lord’s Prayer for protection. This causes her breath to take the form of angels and allows her to enter.
After freeing Kay from his imprisonment and using the power of love to remove the mirror shards from his heart and eyes, Gerda and Kay return home. They discovered that they have grown up and are happy to see that it’s now summertime.
The story ends with Kay’s grandmother reading a passage from the Bible:
“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18:3)
What do you think? Do you wish Disney would have left some of the Christian message in the final film?