Anna: “I don’t even know what love is.” This is the most complicated, broken, and profound line in the entire movie that was said by an equally complicated, broken, and profound character. Wait, What?
I know people will most likely agree or notice that Elsa is more glorified and magnified than Anna. Elsa is widely celebrated that she has become a whole franchise on her own singlehandedly. In Disney stores and in other stores carrying the “Frozen” merchandise, I notice that everything with Elsa’s face in it are always sold out whereas Anna’s…you can see that there are always a lot floating around. That she’s only just a spare. If a kid asks for Elsa, and her dolls are out of stock, she settles for Anna. Anna, the princess, not the Queen. Anna, the klutz, not the elegant and graceful character. Anna, the underrated character in her own movie.
What’s my point here? I’m not talking about sales statistics. I’m merely stating the obvious. We see more of Elsa’s story get more notes and analyses here on Tumblr. She’s this utterly gorgeous muse with a tragic backstory that makes her so complicated and so enigmatic. She’s the one with the anthemic song with the sexy hips and gorgeous ice dress. She has ice powers, which make her so disarmingly hotter, and way more interesting that Anna, the younger sister who’s unashamedly ordinary compared to her sister.
I’m not trying to push Elsa off the pedestal and make Anna outshine her; wrong. That’s just how it is. Anna is underrated and there’s no denying that. But it makes me quite sad when I see people write about how Anna is just this naïve, gullible, and shallow character who fulfilled Disney’s aesthetics by being the typical princess who is love-starved and seeks romance as her main goal throughout the movie; to find a prince, kiss, and live happily ever after. Anna fulfilled that, yes. There was Kristoff, the kiss, and happily ever after. But that all came with a price. But she’s more than that. Way more than that.
“I don’t even know what love is.” My focus is this line because there are so many layers to it.
Let’s tackle the question with some hypothetical questions and some counter statements that I also thought about, shall we?
1. Anna knows what love is. It’s not like she was locked away like Elsa was. She had her mom and dad. So if anything, Elsa should be the one who would be fitting to say that.
Yes, Anna had more contact with her mom and dad and I’m sure they compensated for Elsa’s absence by being there for her. Anna was free to hug her parents. She was free to play with her mom and dad. They had a good relationship for the most part. Anna loved them and they loved Anna. But honestly, if my sister just stopped talking to me and my parents wouldn’t give me an actual answer as to why, I’d feel pretty devastated.
I’d feel hated by my own sister. I don’t know how much (or if at all) it was emphasized by her parents that Elsa didn’t hate her whenever she asked why Elsa won’t see her anymore, but it still doesn’t excuse the fact that they kept her in the dark. Anna was betrayed from the very beginning by her own parents. All these doors. All these excuses. All these unanswered questions. It was unfair. Although her parents meant well, I’m pretty sure Anna had already formed conflicting thoughts about the concept of what love is. Why is Elsa gone? Why won’t Mama and Papa tell me? Don’t they trust me?
2. If Anna is so desperate for love and the company of people, why didn’t she go with her parents on that ship? That could’ve been her chance to explore the world. Heck, she also has a choice of leaving the castle. It’s not like Elsa told her to be locked in, too.
I’ve seen someone write about this, but I’ve reblogged it a long time ago so I can’t really find it right now. It’s interesting how Anna stayed behind when she could’ve gone with her parents. She was fifteen years old and during that time period, hell yeah, she’s pretty darn legal. People got married even before fifteen. She didn’t need to go with her parents. She had a choice. And her choice was to stay.
Why? Okay, so Mama and Papa will be gone for two weeks. TWO WEEKS. That’s enough time for me to convince Elsa to come out of her room. Hopefully. I’ll even camp out by her door! I’ll bribe her with chocolates! Wait, what? It’s been way too long. I’ll use this time to come up with a plan to make her talk to me without Mama and Papa telling me not to go near her door. Elsa doesn’t hate me. I think. I mean, she’s my sister! Maybe, even for just a few days, Elsa and I can finally have some time for ourselves without anyone telling me not to bother her. I need to stay behind. I need to talk to her. Joan doesn’t say much. I miss Elsa.
I think that’s how it went down in Anna’s mind. Or close to it. I mean, if she went on that ship, she would’ve died and uhh…there will be no movie. But two weeks became forever. And the door remained shut for another three years although the plan to have it opened did not waver.
She never opened those gates and left Elsa alone because where Elsa is, there she will be, too. Who will embrace Elsa with open arms when she finally opens that door? Anna won’t miss it for the world.
I think this is the part where Anna’s faith in her sister wavered. God, she was so excited, so nervous, and so desperate to keep her sister’s attention. She standing so close next to Elsa. And Elsa is finally talking to her. They had, max, three minutes of screen time together. Three minutes or so of finally reconnecting. But Elsa and her own version of unconditional love for Anna, pushes her away once again and breaks her own heart again in the process. Everything was going well….what did I ever do to her?
It’s just so absolutely brilliant how Hans comes in the picture a second after this scene to catch her as she tripped and about to fall. As if he was the one who will save her metaphorically. Hans, who echoes Anna’s pain (or pretends to) captures Anna’s heart immediately. He talks to her, makes her feel important, he…TALKS to her. It wasn’t a painting. It wasn’t her face against a door talking to a voiceless human being that was inside that room somewhere. It was someone finally talking to her and listening to her. Anna could not just let this pass. At this rate, Anna just wanted out. Marriage, whatever it may be, she needed an out. Not necessarily to leave Elsa because she did offer that Hans and her brothers live in their castle. But just…an escape from this gaping hole she was left with in so long. So much void. So much loneliness. Yeah, Anna was pretty naive to just say “YES” to marriage after four minutes of having a duet with a complete stranger. How gullible. But really, how much more loneliness and rejection can a person stomach? She saw an opportunity and took it. She wanted an out. She wanted to be loved. And that’s perfectly human nature. Maybe this is her chance. Anna has been questioning what love is since that day that door slammed shut on her face. Maybe Hans will prove her wrong. He did, in the most sadistic and unexpected way.
“I don’t even know what love is.”
This is the face of complete defeat. Elsa throws her out of her ice palace after literally getting a near death experience and trekking that mountain for days. She dropped everything for Elsa just to be rejected again. Elsa physically built a monster to throw her out. Seriously, that blows more than anything even though we all know Elsa means well. And then, Hans betrays her. She’s dying and she doesn’t know what love is. She really doesn’t. She has this epiphany and realization that maybe she was just an idiot all this time. Anna, here, is convinced that whatever image of love she has in her mind is nothing more but demented wishful thinking and lies. Her parents kept secrets from her and allowed her relationship with her sister to fester. Plus, they leave her, too. They died with those secrets and those hugs Anna had looked forward to everyday growing up and wishing Elsa can hug her, too. Her own sister who was her best friend and someone she looks up to suddenly stopped being there for her unannounced; kicks her out after she goes on this suicide mission to find her, and accidentally freezes her heart. The one person that she confided in and trusted with her heart leaves her for dead after telling her she was a rebound because “no one was getting anywhere with Queen Elsa” that’s why he picked her. All of this seem to be undermined because of Anna’s radiant personality. But did anyone really actually consider that it may have been a fascade to mask the fact that she’s been crapped on all her life and everyday she wishes someone can make all of that stop?
So yeah, don’t tell me that Anna is shallow.
Anna screams “NO!” and blocks Hans’ sword from killing Elsa. By the time this happens, it’s already been established that Anna thinks Elsa doesn’t want to see her again. STILL, she literally defies that. NO, I will not let you touch my sister. YES, it’s probably true that she doesn’t love me enough or trust me enough to make it work, ice powers and all, BUT I will not let you kill her. This is not how it’s going to end. YES, I may have given up on trying to mend our relationship, but I CHOOSE HER. I may not know what love is,
I may not know how it feels like to be loved. BUT I KNOW HOW TO LOVE. AND I LOVE MY SISTER. I CHOOSE HER OVER MY LIFE EVEN THOUGH IT MEANS I MAY NEVER SEE HER AGAIN.
Guys, Anna died loving Elsa. Anna died forgiving Elsa completely…but she died not really and truly grasping how much Elsa loves her. She died thrown out, rejected, and betrayed.
Anna does not exist to fulfill Disney’s aesthetics to maintain a certain standard of being a Disney princess and a damsel in distress. Anna is none of that. Whatever happy ending she got, she deserves it, in all of its cliche and cheesiness. She has suffered just as much. She has cried just as much. And she deserves happiness and love just as much. She’s been a complicated character since her first screen time and for the next to follow. Sure, she made some really stupid mistakes. But that’s what makes her so relatable and so scarily human. Anna is the epitome of stubborn love. And that’s what makes her so beautiful.