I have a problem with the King of Arendelle.
(Btw, if you’re gonna use this shitty gif, do so. My gifs suck but they’re enough to convey what I want to be said.)
King: Elsa what have you done? This is getting out of hand!
Elsa: It was an accident! I’m sorry, Anna…
I think this precise scene was the foundation of Elsa’s self-doubt and self-hatred. I know that the King reacted the way he did because he was scared for Anna’s life, but the way that he accused Elsa was just uncalled for. I know that everything was just so sudden and they didn’t expect to see what they have witnessed…but for a person to accuse someone like that, there must have been a brewing frustration targeted towards that person. Instead of asking “Elsa, WHAT happened?” the king was fast to point fingers and angrily stated, “Elsa, what have YOU done?” He didn’t even ask if she was okay. And it also bothered me the way he said, “THIS is getting out of hand” with that hard and almost disgusted tone in his voice. What exactly is “THIS?” Why couldn’t he just say, “Your powers are getting out of hand!” or something remotely close to naming it rather than dismissing it at something that is blatantly offensive?
I know that we can all agree that Elsa and Anna’s parents did what they thought was best. But it doesn’t mean that they did it the right way. How they handled the situation was emotionally detrimental to both of the girls. Although they tried to protect them both, the damage was just as equally devastating. They hid Elsa and Elsa’s powers from Anna without really acknowledging the fact that this would hurt Anna immensely, too. That this would affect her childhood and well-being because there will be so many questions and so much confusion with little to no solace or conclusion. All those years that Anna asked her parents and was given no reason surely took a blow in Anna’s self-worth and confidence with that thinking and belief that her own sister hated her. And Elsa being treated like a ticking time bomb by her own parents and being isolated from the world and from her own sister can make someone truly feel abominable and horrible. And that was Elsa’s assessment of herself in so long.
Elsa hated herself and Anna thought Elsa hated her.
Just look at Elsa’s face here after how her father reprimanded her. She looked so hurt…and so betrayed. As if she wanted to ask, “Really, dad? You really think I did this on purpose? You really think I would harm my sister on purpose? Is this how you really look at me?” She was just a little girl born with these powers that no one in her family has and she was trying to make the best of the situation by using them to play with her sister and have a close relationship with her. As the heir, so much pressure was being unloaded to the next ruler of Arendelle. And it didn’t help the fact that she was different. If you listened to the “Frozen” soundtrack’s outtakes, there is this song called “We Know Better” with Elsa singing to baby Anna in the first verse. The lyrics spoke of Elsa’s reluctance to be a princess because of all the things that she was expected to do. She wasn’t really allowed to make that many mistakes hence echoing her father’s words, “Elsa, what have YOU done? THIS is getting out of hand!”
You’re going to be queen. You need to get your act together. You’re supposed to be the big sister and you should know better. You have these ice powers that could possibly ruin this kingdom if people find out and here you are showing them off—-look at what YOU have done to your sister. THIS is getting out of hand.
Elsa: Hello little baby, you’re princess just like me
Bet you’re thinking maybe it’s a pretty cool thing to be
But soon you’ll see that everyone expects a lot from you
They’ll say that there are things a princess should and shouldn’t do
But you and me, we, we know better
(“We Know Better”) [Frozen OST outtake]
But yeah. No wonder Elsa, as Disney had confirmed, is a metaphor for depression and anxiety. There was no room for mistakes. No room to explain herself. Her every act was governed because..well, she was going to be queen. In a kingdom of isolation where her only friends were self-hatred, loneliness, and anxiety with that gnawing echo of her father’s voice, “Elsa, what have you done?” over and over replaying in her mind. The very same question she asked herself everyday after hearing those little hands knocking on her door and pretending they weren’t heard. The very same desperate question she asked herself after hearing Anna cry against her door begging for her to come out and asking her older sister what she did wrong so she can fix it and never do it again. The very same haunting question that she asked herself when her parents died and she could not go to the funeral nor even open the door to comfort her grieving sister.
The very same broken question she asked herself while touching Anna’s frozen face for the first time in thirteen years.