Lessons from “Frozen,” Part 1 of 3: True Love vs. Infatuation

Disney’s most recent animated musical, Frozen, has been almost universally praised by audiences and critics alike, with good reason. It’s a very well-crafted film on many levels, it has great music, the characters are memorable and real, etc. To go further, I’d like to propose that another reason why this film has been so successful is that it teaches wonderful lessons that today’s society is dying to hear. This post will cover one of the three of these lessons that I’ll be talking about, and everyone is more than welcome to add their voices to the discussion! Be sure to leave a comment with your insights!

WARNING: These posts will contain plot spoilers. If you haven’t seen the movie, by golly, see it already! It’s been out for, like, half a year. Come on.

So, this first post is about true love vs. infatuation. If you ask people today what love is, you will find that their answers vary greatly. Some define it as a feeling, some define it as an action. Some will say it is the equivalent of what should actually be called lust. As a more concrete example, here’s the top three definitions that appeared when I did a Yahoo search for “love definition:”

  1. A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.

  2. A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair; the emotion of sex and romance.

  3. Sexual passion.

Hmm. I find it interesting that each of these definitions places love squarely in the realm of emotions and feelings. Certainly there are emotions that come along with love, but are they what love actually is?

Frozen attempts to answer that question. I find that the answer it provides is very much in line with the truth.

In the film, we have Anna, one of two princesses of Arendelle, who has been kept locked up inside the castle with her sister Elsa since her childhood, as the result of the accident caused by Elsa’s wintry powers. Quite understandably, she’s dying to get outside and meet everyone on Coronation Day. “I can’t wait to meet everyone!” she exclaims. Then she goes on to wonder, “What if I meet the one?”

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Anna deeply desires love, which makes sense. She’s human. We all desire to be loved — it’s written in our nature. So when she runs into (literally) the handsome prince from the Southern Isles, Hans, she believes that she has found love at last. She and Hans laugh and talk together, skid down hallways in their socks, and even sing a catchy duet about their supposed love for each other.

“Our mental synchronization / can have but one explanation,”

they sing.

“You and I were just meant to be.”

Anna, she believes, is in love. Hans is handsome, a good dancer, fun, and he cares about her. She accepts Hans’ marriage proposal immediately. After all, they were made for each other. He’s perfect.

A little bit too perfect, wouldn’t you think? Hmm.

So when Anna and Hans ask Elsa to give them her blessing, she rightfully refuses, which greatly offends her sister. Anna simply doesn’t understand why Elsa would refuse. So what if they just met? As she tells Kristoff later on, “It’s true love!” Why should it matter how long they’ve known each other?

This is a problem I see often in today’s society. Why are people so willing to jump into relationships with people they barely know? Why are people so obsessed with famous (and, of course, attractive) actors, musicians, and other celebrities? They are merely skimming the surface — they are looking only with their eyes. They see the attractive body but not the soul. What is the result? In the case of dating, not far into the relationship, they get bored with each other — they “fall out of love” — and decide to split up and find someone new.

Is it any wonder that so many people are unhappy in today’s culture? Is it any wonder why America has a 50% divorce rate, at least last I checked? This culture does not understand true love, just as Anna doesn’t.

Fast-forward to later in the film. Anna has been struck by Elsa’s powers again, this time in the heart rather than the head. She’s in dire need. The trolls tell her that “only an act of true love can melt a frozen heart.” Great! She and Hans are in love! All she needs to do is run to Hans quick as a flash and get a true love’s kiss from him! Problem solved!

Or not.

Anna reaches Hans, thanks to Kristoff and Sven. But it’s then that she discovers the terrible truth: Hans doesn’t love her. His sweet talk, his charm, his marriage proposal… it was all fake. He used her. It was all just part of his selfish plans. He leaves her locked in a cold, dark room, heartbroken and dying. I bet many a person seeing this film who has been used in a similar way can relate very deeply to Anna in this scene.

Soon, the snowman Olaf finds her and decides to stay with her, promising that he won’t leave until they’ve figured out another act of true love that can cure her. Anna doesn’t have a positive outlook on this.

“I don’t even know what love is,” she admits to Olaf.

“Well, I do,” he says. “It’s putting someone else’s needs before yours.”

*applauds Frozen’s screenwriter(s)*

And as it turns out, what Olaf says is true. When Anna realizes that it’s Kristoff who loves her, she goes out to find him so he can give her a true love’s kiss. She calls out for him in the cold, and then sees him running toward her. For a moment, it seems to her that everything will be all right after all.

But then she sees something else. Hans is silently approaching Elsa from behind, sword at the ready.

So what does Anna do?

She throws herself between Hans and Elsa, blocking Hans’ sword and shattering it as she turns into an ice sculpture.

Everyone stares in disbelief as Elsa embraces the statue, crying for her apparently dead sister. But within moments, Anna has returned to her normal self.

Once the initial shock subsides, Elsa asks, “You sacrificed yourself for me?”

“I love you,” Anna says simply.

That is an act of true love. That is what love is. Anna was about to die, but so was her sister. And she decided to save her sister’s life. She put someone else’s needs before her own.  As a result, she saved not only Elsa but her own life as well. Anna has matured and learned what true love is.

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Our culture desperately needs to hear this message. So many people fall into the same trap that Anna did with Hans. They see only the surface value of everyone around them and, as the phrase goes, look for love in all the wrong places. They believe that love is nothing more than feelings or attraction. And, tragically, this most often results in heartbreak and/or the use of others as a means to an end.

Frozen sets out to prove that things like infatuation and emotion do not equal love. It shows that true love is selfless — putting the needs of others above our own.

That is a message I deeply hope that people will take to heart when they see this film.


Stay tuned for Part 2: Conceal, Don’t Feel!

 

My Top 5 Favorite Legend of Zelda Games

So, I think by this point just about everyone knows that I’m a huge fan of the Legend of Zelda video game series by Nintendo. I mean, come on — one look through my past profile pictures on Facebook will tell anyone that. There are many reasons why I enjoy them so much: an excellent balance of combat, exploration, and puzzle-solving; a variety of graphical styles across the series; wonderful music; themes of heroism and courage; etc. So, I thought I’d make my first real post on my blog a list of my top 5 favorite games in the Zelda series.

I’ve played many of the games, but there are still a few titles that I haven’t gotten to yet, and I’m also currently in the middle of one. Thus, this list may change in time. For now, though, my current top five favorite Zelda games!

5. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1992, SNES)

I just recently played and beat this one for the first time not too long ago. It was the third entry in the series, and one that set the groundwork for every Zelda game that would come after it. It’s quite a challenging game in more ways than one, but the difficulty is perfectly balanced, so you almost never feel like throwing your controller down in rage — instead, you grit your teeth and try, try again until you finally succeed, and it makes you feel completely awesometastic. I’m very glad to have had the privilege of playing it, even more than twenty years after its original release. Ah, the wonders of technology.

4. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (2000, N64)

Confession time: I absolutely hated this game when I first started playing it. Well, not immediately — the first couple of hours or so were quite compelling. But after that, I was almost forcing myself to keep playing. In the game, Link’s mission was to save Clock Town from being flattened by the quickly sinking moon within three days. So, for the first time in a Zelda game, the player was under the constraint of a time limit. I was not used to this, and I hadn’t yet discovered every way to manipulate the limit… so I cheated and looked a few things up on the Internet. This helped a lot, though, and once I’d gotten used to the rhythms of the game I was really drawn in. Many consider Majora’s Mask to be the best of the series, and while I don’t agree, it’s pretty high up on my list. Fantastic game.

3. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (2002, Gamecube)

When this game was first released, many criticized it for its bright, cartoony art style which deviated from every Zelda game before it. In doing so, they overlooked one of the very best games in the series. I happen to love the art style, and the game itself is spectacular: the story, the music, the secrets — everything! This time, the kingdom of Hyrule was covered by a vast sea dotted with many islands to explore, and so a sailing element became a big part of the adventure, and quite a welcome one in my book. I look forward to playing the HD re-release of this one once I get a Wii U.

2. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2006, Wii/Gamecube)

I still clearly remember the first time I played this game — it was with a great friend of mine at a sleepover, and it was a completely new game to both of us (it was also my friend’s first Zelda game, while I had already played two or three of the games before). We were hooked from just about the very beginning, drawn into the world that was being covered in the dark curtain of twilight and compelled to do everything in our power to save it. Hyrule is huge in this entry, and packed with things to do and discover. At the same time, the main quest is wonderfully absorbing, fascinating, and challenging. It’s no wonder many people call this one their favorite Zelda game.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (2011, Wii)

This game floored me. The visual style, the 1:1 motion controls, the fully orchestrated music, the amazing dungeon designs, the boss fights, the story — this game was close to perfect in my book. The ending was so exciting that I actually jumped up off the couch and swung the Wii remote and nunchuck down for the final blow to the final boss. While this game is both praised and criticized by the Zelda fanbase pretty equally, it is hands-down my favorite title thus far. I can’t wait to play it again.


 

Well, there you have it! If you haven’t played a Zelda game before or you just haven’t gotten around to some of the titles on this list, I urge you to check them out!

Hey, all! I’ve got a few ideas for different categories of posts, but I wanted to open it up to everyone who reads this. These are the ideas I have thus far:

  • Hodgepodge: for random posts that have nothing to do with any of the other categories.
  • Matthew’s Musings: for the more thoughtful of my entries.
  • Reviews & Recommendations: what it says. Subcategories will include films, books, video games, and hopefully more.
  • Culture & Society: for commentary on the ups and downs of the world we live in today.
  • Tattles & Tales: for stories, both from life and my imagination.
  • Lists: what it says. Lists of basically anything and everything that I decide to make a list of.

What else would you like to see? Comment your ideas, if you please!

*walks in, squinting and blinking*

Well, here I am! I have officially entered the mysterious world of running a personal blog. ‘Tis a strange place indeed. My eyes are still adjusting. o.O

So, to start out, what do all of you out there in Internetland think of how it looks? Too distracting? Should I choose a different theme? Just asking because, you know, I wouldn’t want to scare people off with too much color (or too little). What’s important here is the ability to read and enjoy what I put out, after all.

I’m just getting started here, so please bear with me as I figure out this stuff. I hope to make a new post at least once or twice a week, but if I’m feeling inspired I may do one every other day or so. If you like what you see, please let me know in the comments, and of course click Follow! :D

That is all for now. Until next post, friends!