Voiced by: Kristen Bell
Films: Frozen I and II
Frozen is a story about two sisters and female empowerment, but through Anna of Arendelle, it’s also about the imperfections within us and the detail that our efforts determine who we are more than a crown. While most of us find something to relate to in various princesses depending on our experiences, in Anna, we watch barriers break around traditional behaviors as we witness a woman’s growth through two seasons as she holds onto hope even when life keeps knocking her down.
Anna of Arendelle is the nerd inside all of us whose desire to do the next right thing stands as one of Disney’s most notable moments. Where most Disney princesses are selfless, Anna’s growth is beautifully transparent because of how much she learns, as she goes from a doe-eyed girl whose vision is clouded by fairytales to a woman capable of ruling a kingdom. Anna’s heart beats for every person she loves—gone or alive; she carries them with her like an anchor for strength, willing to give every part of her to ensure that they lack nothing.
Anna of Arendelle and The Endless Hope in True Love
No matter how much time passes and how many uncertainties stand in her path, Anna never stops loving her sister. She keeps her curiosity alive, and, more importantly, she holds onto the memories she and Elsa share, chasing after her despite all that passes, wanting nothing more than to bask in the glory of their shared joy continuously. And though things don’t change in her loneliness, when it comes to coronation day, her excitement is proof of the hope inside of her. Anna’s desires to see her sister rule and to hold on to all the pieces of her that Elsa’s hidden away showcase her immense capacity to love without harboring ill will.
And when everything turns to ice—when snowstorms cover her path, and she stumbles upon wolves on her journey in bringing Elsa back home, Anna still does not give up believing that this is worth whatever pain she must endure.
To take a deep dive into where Anna of Arendelle’s beliefs stem from, we have to look into her desire for adventures. There’s a great big world out there even though she’s never ventured outside of Arendelle. That hunger for adventure and the moments she shared with her sister are the anchors that keep Anna grounded, allowing her to reach further every time she’s stuck. It’s why it’s easy for her to fall hard and fall fast for Hans because when he falsely shows her his joy, she takes it in entirely, responding to all his incentives with the belief that he, too, is worth fighting for. And that belief in people, the desire to look at someone and immediately see the good in them, makes Anna the firecracker she is because she has the spirit of an empath.
She makes reckless decisions and is significantly less graceful than most princesses, but none of them carry their hearts on their sleeves the way she does, fighting for what she believes in with a zeal that could harness a thousand snowstorms if magical powers came out of her too.
If Elsa is the ice queen, then Anna of Arendelle is fire and warmth, exuding every bit of her passion from beneath onto the surface while spreading her nurturing characteristics far and wide. Elsa might be the eldest, but Anna is the caretaker. She might make careless decisions, but she makes it her own when it comes to helping someone through their pain. It’s why she never gives up on Elsa, and it’s why she looks after Olaf—the memories of their child are one thing, but her immense capacity to love is another.
And sure, Frozen is a fairytale where happy endings happen much more quickly than they do in the real world, but Anna’s ability to believe in Kristoff after Hans breaks her heart is a direct result of her choice to believe in people despite how much pain she endures. Where most people give up, Anna stubbornly keeps believing—she keeps fighting and trusting, wanting more than anything to see the world with the same wonder that she did as a child.
The Next Right Thing
Frozen II takes both Anna anRelationship Deep Dive: Anna and Elsa of Arendelled Elsa through the most perilous journey, and in the end, the new Queen of Arendelle comes out stronger than ever before. In order to understand Anna’s strength in a world where she doesn’t have powers, it’s imperative to recognize that the love she carries is her greatest asset. For a brief moment in the film, Anna gives up. “I’ve seen dark before, but not like this—this is cold, this is empty now. The life I knew is over,” she sings at the beginning of the song once she realizes that Elsa’s gone too far this time, and she cannot follow. It’s when she understands that much of what she knew isn’t enough to keep her going, and for the first time, frozen hearts and broken hearts aside, she’s stuck.
And the truth is, there’s no feeling quite as agonizing as feeling stuck with no way out, no path that’s easy to follow towards the end goal you’re not even sure is worth reaching anymore. In Frozen II, Anna of Arendelle symbolizes every woman who’s ever felt that nothing they’ve done is enough. When everything you’ve done backfires or when there’s no place left to go and nothing feels big enough to change the outcome, it boils down to the next right thing, no matter how big or small.
When Anna sings these words aloud, she shows us that beyond her bubbly spirit and the joy she constantly exhibits, there’s a heart that’s breaking and a soul that’s lost in the corridors of troubles. She represents the fact that despite how much light a person radiates, there’s still pain living inside of them. They’re choosing the next right thing, day after day, waking up with their hair messy, drool on their face, pushing forward even when giving up is easier.
Grief doesn’t take a person through a linear path—no two people share the same journey despite how closely related. Thus, Anna’s optimism and her desires to protect those around her grow exponentially after losing her parents, prompting her to hold on for dear life. When hope is gone, you must go on; that’s what the voice inside of Anna continues to tell her even when she’s ready to succumb. Despite no sense of direction and her unceasing belief in people continuously falling apart, she rises for the sake of everyone she loves, and then finally, she rises for herself, understanding the steps necessary to make the next right thing a reality.
She knows what a tremendous loss death equates to, so Anna holds on tighter. She loves deeper, ceaselessly spreading her light far and wide to ensure that people know she is beside them. Anna’s light results from the loneliness she lived through, wanting nothing more than to ensure that the world continues to see the beauty in their beings—the people they are meant to be and the places they’re meant to go. She might grumble, threaten, and not always listen carefully, but her intentions are always profoundly selfless.
Anna of Arendelle awakens a different kind of magic by choosing to believe even when it’s difficult to, and if that’s the definition of a beautifully strong character with eons of compassion, then I don’t know what is.