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Friday, May 16, 2014

In Defense of Anna



As I've said before, I'm a Disney nerd. I've been loving Disney since before I was capable of expressing my own opinions (which is pretty darn early). After 'Lord of the Rings', my next favorite movie is 'Beauty and the Beast'. My dog's middle name is 'Flynn' after my favorite Disney guy. I seriously love Disney. So of course I went to the theater to see Disney's 'Frozen'...twice.

I never wrote a review on it because I would simply be repeating what everyone else was saying. Fantastic animation, amazing story, IT'S ABOUT SISTERS, as good as 'Lion King', evil prince charming YES, blah blah blah.

But after reading so many of those reviews, I feel like I need to write something on the subject because these peasants people clearly don't understand anything about fully appreciate Anna. These people praise Elsa for being so "deep and emotional". They love her because she "doesn't need a guy to save her! Yay!". They cheer and applaud her "independent spirit" and "bravery". At the same time, they hate on Anna calling her a "typical Disney princess" (what the heck is that supposed to mean anyway?) and "weak" and "reliant on men" and "sappy". I am graciously not going to share links to these blogs, but search for Frozen reviews and I'm sure you'll find them.

Okay, maybe I should first explain why this bothers me so much. Re-reading the above paragraph has made me realize that I sound overly passionate about an animated fictional character. I'll explain.

I like Anna way more than Elsa. Anna is everything I wish I could be: friendly, outgoing, carefree, personable, courageous, optimistic, fun-loving, extroverted. Anna is also everything my sister is. I've code-named my sissies Merry and Pippin for the Internet. Merry acts EXACTLY like Anna. She's fun-loving and adventurous and makes friends easily. She loves to laugh with people and at herself. She's not afraid of her own awkwardness which just makes her seem less awkward and more fun, while I am so afraid of making a mistake I become impersonal and awkward. She's kind and patient with people, even when she gets picked on or irritated.

She's also a romantic. While I do like some romances if they meet some stipulations and help me learn more about characters and writing, Merry will jump on any ship and make herself the captain immediately. Thirteen-year old me cringed and groaned at even the mention of dating, while thirteen-year old Merry proudly shouts to the world that she is on Team Percabeth, and Captain Swan, and "Oh my stars, Peeta and Katniss had better end up together or I'm gonna be so mad!".

I used to make fun of people who liked romances, thinking they were not as intelligent or strong. But I see now that I was terribly wrong. Merry has confronted bullies who were picking on new girls at church, Merry has stood up to her own best friends when they were treating her wrongly and questioned them about it, she talks to strangers and adults without a problem and even volunteers to order at fast-food restaurants because she knows her shy big sister would rather not but is too proud to say so. Merry is braver than I am and she likes romances. I used to think that was an impossible contradiction, but it isn't, and I accept that now.

So basically, when people call Anna "shallow", "weak", and "dependent", I get angry because if Merry were an animated character, she would be Anna and I will not stand for people picking on my little sister.



In 'Frozen', the first thing that made me truly respect Anna was the fact that she never grew bitter. Even after being shut out by her sister for seemingly no reason, even after being constantly rejected by her older sister, after growing up lonely and friendless in a castle, and after her parents dying in a storm and receiving no comfort from Elsa she remains optimistic and strong. Think about it from her point-of-view. Elsa looks like a grade-A jerk now, doesn't she? How many nights would Anna have spent wondering what she did to make Elsa hate her? How many times did she gather the courage to knock on Elsa's door, knowing rejection would be coming? Yet, Anna still consistently thought about her sister. She tells Kristoff, "See, she wore the gloves all the time. So I just thought she had a thing about dirt!". She was watching Elsa, trying to figure out how to know her.



The main thing everybody brings up against Anna is that she agreed to get married after knowing Hans for half a day. How was she supposed to know any better? She probably spent a lot of time reading books and looking at those pictures on the wall. All of those would have portrayed love as an overly romantic, at-first-sight kinda thing. She didn't have any friends to talk to, who would have "fallen in love" with the most perfect guy and then would have been dumped. Her parents died when she was fifteen, which would have probably been around the time she started thinking about crushes and boys so they never explained it to her. Her more rational big sister never spoke to her. And then here comes this guy who seems to be just like her, he looks like a prince charming, and he can sing a romantic duet with her. What else was she supposed to assume?



I don't know how people can accuse Anna of being "weak" and "shallow". Anna portrays extreme maturity when she says "tonight was my fault. I pushed her...". It wasn't her fault that Elsa freaked out, yet Anna was willing to accept that, even though she doesn't agree with Elsa concerning Hans. Anna then courageously sets out into the blizzard to try to save Elsa and Arendelle. Anna repeatedly risks herself to save those she loves. She tries to reason with Elsa at the ice castle even when a snowstorm is swirling around her, she cuts the rope that Marshmallow was holding to save Kristoff. She tells Olaf to leave her so that he won't melt. And finally, she throws herself in the way of a sword swinging towards her head to save Elsa. Anybody who says Anna is weak clearly did not pay much attention to the movie.



Some people make fun of Anna for enlisting Kristoff and Sven's help. "Oh look, she needs a guy to help. How independent of her". Of course she needed help! This girl had never left her castle before, and now she was about to trek up a snow and blizzard covered mountain that clearly would be hard for anyone, even Kristoff. Anna knew her limitations and weaknesses. She knew she would need help to find Elsa, and she found someone who she guessed would be able to help her, a mountain man. She didn't ask Oaken to help, she asked Kristoff. And later, she listens to advice from the trolls and is willing to admit that she was wrong about Hans. That shows a level of maturity and intelligence that I find impressive.



Along with that, people don't like it that Anna and Kristoff end up together at the end. Again, they think it is just because she needs a man to save her. I believe it is mostly feminists who say these things. And here's what I think. I think it is extremely hypocritical and derogatory to condemn someone else just because their happy ending is different from yours. Feminists say that women need to "be independent!" but then when a woman falls in love and gets married (only when it's to a man, I might add), feminists cry foul and accuse the woman of being dependent. If Anna's happy ending came in the form of falling in love and getting married, so what? Why is that such a bad thing? Anna has already proven that she is fully capable of being brave, mature, and selfless, why can't she fall in love? Why does the idea of marriage cause feminists to cringe when, in general and from what I've seen, it takes a whole lot more strength and fortitude to remain married than to remain single? (I'm NOT saying everyone should be married, or that people who are married are stronger than single people. God calls people to both. I'm simply saying that getting married doesn't necessarily make you weak or dependent, as society would have everyone believe).



To me personally, Anna is way more admirable than Elsa. Yes, Elsa shut herself away to protect her little sister, and she ran away to live alone to try and protect everyone, but then when Anna comes to try and offer some hope, Elsa doesn't listen. She panics and ends up hurting her sister. She then forcibly makes Anna and Kristoff leave out of stress, still refusing to listen to them. To me, Elsa doesn't really become likable until the very end of the movie, when she finally has learned to control her powers and begins to mend the bond that was torn between her and Anna (Brave reference for my fellow Disnerds! XD).

Anna is likable from the very moment she appears on screen, shaking her sister awake and whispering "Do you wanna build a snowmaaaan?" Her exuberance and her relateable awkwardness make her endearing. Her bravery and hidden maturity make her admirable. Her sacrifice and undying love for her friends and family make her a hero. Anyone who says otherwise needs to stop watching endless replays of 'Let it Go' and instead try paying attention to the words in 'For the First Time in Forever reprise'. Or better yet, watch the movie again and this time pay close attention to Anna. The dramticness of Elsa steals the show the first time you watch it, and that's okay, but the subtlety of Anna is truly what makes 'Frozen' as good as 'Lion King'.

So what do y'all think? I would love to hear from Elsa fans why she is so popular. I hope I didn't sound like I was hating on Elsa. I like her. I just don't understand why people find her so spectacular. Thanks for reading!

8 comments:

  1. I believe I've been more of a Elsa fan, but I absolutely adore Anna for who she is! =) (you didn't sound like you hated Elsa at all!!)

    TW Wright
    ravensandwriting.blogspot.com

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  2. I have always liked Anna better (but I think I identify more with Elsa, as she like cold weather and snow, and seems to be less outgoing in social situations).

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  3. I agree 100%! Those are some really good points about Anna. (I especially liked your comments about feminists!) I love Elsa too, I guess because I feel like she is an easily understandable picture of someone who shuts people out and hurts them, even though they love them - all because of fear. I feel like her fear, insecurity, and unwillingness to let people in is relatable, and I think that seeing it from the perspective in the movie helps people to see what that looks like from the outside and that it is ok to let people in. I think that she is an encouragement to people who struggle with those things. One of my favorite parts of the movie is at the end when Elsa is creating the ice rink for the townspeople - just before she asks "Are you ready?" She has this expression of awe and amazement on her face, like she can't believe that the people love and accept her for who she really is, after all these years of thinking they wouldn't. You can see the freedom and joy on her face from opening up her heart and letting in love. I guess I just love the picture that Elsa and her struggles are. <3

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  4. This is the best review about Anna that I have ever seen! Thank you so much for putting this into the world!!!

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  5. This post cracks me up because I have finally found someone who puts as much thought into analyzing movie characters as I do. I find Anna adorable, though I love Elsa too. The whole idea of being "dependent upon someone" is really a sign of immaturity, after all, a strong person recognizes when they need help and they seek it out, they don't muddle their way through it. Fun post.

    http://alivemasterpiece.blogspot.com/

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  6. My feelings EXACTLY. Wonderful wonderful job, Kaycee!! :)

    (Incidentally, I linked to this on my post here: http://ladyofanorien.blogspot.com/2015/07/june-happenings-and-delights.html.) So enjoyed it!

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  7. I found this post through Heidi's link (above. ;)) and I LOVED it. I really appreciated your in-depth defense of Anna. I always liked her, but you pointed out some things I never even noticed before. Now I like her even better!
    And I too understand how you feel....I really wish I could be more confident and outgoing like Anna-or your sister!- is. :)

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  8. I also like Anna way more than Elsa. I identify with her. She's like me. Idealistic and courageous. I love her so much that I treat her to be the main character in this story. I think Elsa is more of a villain until the end. I love how the story is crafted and its unique twists and turns.

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