Frozen: A Tale of Sorcery or Ability?

Even though I devour fantasy and action novels, I have to admit that every once in a while (okay, more often than I care to admit), I like a good Disney movie filled with romance and great music. I haven’t cared for the newer movies, but then Frozen came along. It surprised me with its humor, awesome twists, and a great moral lesson.

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However enjoyable, it still needs to be evaluated. Is Frozen a movie Christians should be watching? Should we allow our children to be watching it?

This is the first installment of a short series I am doing on Frozen. (If you haven’t seen it, I will be talking about a lot of spoilers, so go away and do some homework by watching the movie and then come back! I don’t want to ruin your surprise.)

Of course, Frozen is a movie with magic in it. That doesn’t mean it’s automatically bad. Even the Bible has magic. Elsa can change ice and snow at will, but is this really magic?

Elsa: Sorcerer or Talented?

The story starts with Elsa having the power to create winter. When they visit the trolls, we find out that Elsa was born with this ability. So, here’s my question.

Is Elsa’s ability to create snow and ice really magic?

Yes, Anna asks her to “do the magic.” But we all say that Disney World is a magical place. When we charm someone, we say that we “worked our magic.”

What is magic?

One definition of magic is “the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.” Webster says that magic is “the use of means (as charms or spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces” or “an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source.”

Magic is a method of using words and items to make a supernatural force do what you want. I believe this is why God finds it so offensive. When we pray, we ask God for His miracles and trust that His plans are better, whether we get our requests or not. The use of magic is essentially saying, “I know best. I know better than God. I want this. Now give it to me.” Magic is rooted back to the very first sin of Adam and Eve.

But let’s go back to Elsa. She was born with this ability. Sure, she had to learn how to use it. However, it was part of her. She’s not asking some spirit to give her the power. Like Beethoven on the piano, Tiger Woods on a golf course, and Einstein in his lab, Elsa is merely doing what comes natural to her.

Is Elsa using magic?

I have to say that she isn’t employing magic. She is using a talent within her. We could argue how she got that talent and we may not understand it, but as far as the story shows, she isn’t commanding evil spirits to get what she wants. The movie never shows any scenes of her with bubbling pots and potions. (I understand this is a bit stereotypical, but you get the point.)

In fact, I would even argue that she doesn’t even want this ability. She never says this, but I believe she just wants to be normal. She’s hurt that she can’t live as others do. She misses Anna but lives in fear that she’ll harm her sister again. She’s upset that Anna wants to get married because she never can. And she flees the castle partly because she knows she could hurt her people or her country.

Yes, we see the joy of Elsa finally free to experiment with what she can do during the song “Let It Go.” But, in her own words, when Anna confronts her in the ice castle, she says, “I’m such a Fool! I can’t be free! No escape from the storm inside of me! I can’t control the curse!” Then her attention turns back to Anna, and she says to her sister, “You’re not safe here.”

Fear of what she could do wraps Elsa up like a thick coat, but it brings no warmth. And yet through this fear, she thinks of the safety of Anna. We read much about the love Anna has for Elsa, but the love is returned just as strongly.

Stick around! I have a little more to say about the magic in Frozen in the next post, but until then…

Do you think Elsa is using magic? Do you think it’s wrong to have magic in a story? Do you think Elsa thinks her ability is horrible or cool? 

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  1. I applaud the parents that are being proactive in teaching there children to reject even subtle things that originate with Satan. As harmless as movies like frozen may seem -they start the thought process that magic is interesting, acceptable —even beautiful , useful even. ..Then as they grow , eventually even full blown demonic /satanic movies become acceptable. Think of all the interest we see in “the afterlife, zombies, witch craft “.. Satan would like nothing better than to lull us into thinking interest in him is safe and desirable —after all that’s how he started , misleading the less experienced Eve to listen to his lies about God ..and look where we are today…many believe God is dead or non existent.

  2. Since Frozen 2 came out I was super CONFLICTED cause of all the environmentalism, paganism and divintation used in that movie, if we are to add Frozen 2 as continuity then her powers would be magic but what if we dont watch it anymore and ONLY focus on the first then that would be ok? I honestly LOVE Frozen and the only thing I didnt like was the trolls magic, I think Elsas powers are more of a superpower like Iceman from X Men or Frozone from Incredibles, I think that the movie was beautiful and filled with so much messages about love, forgiveness etc. And where does it say that the Bible has magic? I’ve also seen people claiming that Elsas powers are of the occult/New Age, I’ve actually researched what is the occult and New Age and that they are more of spiritually derived and Elsas powers are from BIRTH, and I honestly think that the people who claim otherwise are wrong and I dont see anything wrong with fairy tales and fantasy as long as they dont push out false philosophies (which yes sometimes they do that but I think Frozen is different)

  3. Megan Foster says:

    One needs to remember that the Frozen world is not our real world but a Secondary World (thanks, JRRT, for this terminology), and thus what would be an unnatural talent in the real world can be a natural one in the Secondary World. That is the characteristic of fantasy: a Secondary World setting where the laws of nature work differently (e.g. horses fly, people can control the weather, dragons and unicorns exist…). Even in the seemingly realistic Harry Potter ‘verse, being a wizard is something that certain people have naturally; thus what would be forbidden in reality is permissible in the Secondary World.
    How to explain this to children? Simply, it’s the difference between what’s real and what’s made up. Just because something works in a made up story doesn’t mean that you can really do it.

    1. I think children “get” this or step into a secondary world easier than we think. I see mine creating “worlds” at the playground, with the play structures becoming ships that they have to swim to or a thousand other games. However, I think even Lewis was careful not to allow things that are forbidden in this world be acceptable in his second world of Narnia. I think there are some constants that need to hold true in every world, imaginary or not.

  4. rathernotsay says:

    I believe it is magic.
    But let’s just say it’s an ability, this is not a common ability, and it is definitely supernatural.
    This “ability” is either from God or From Satan
    1 John 4:2-3
    Based on the above passage we know it to be of Satan.

    1. Good point, rathernotsay! Too often we believe that all our abilities are natural, and we don’t think about how Satan can twist them. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Rachel Wells says:

    Although I respect your opinion on the movie ‘Frozen’, I do not allow my child to watch it. There are too many compromises made in the church with the world’s culture, and my concern is that if I allow my child to think that the ‘magic’ in Frozen is ok, then how do I tell her later down the track that the ‘magic’ in Harry Potter isn’t. As humans we do not have the ability to change the weather, as Elsa is able too, nor transform our clothing etc by the wave of our hand. I see too many of my Christian friends allowing their children to watch secular movies, and even more so it really does concern me when I walk down the toy aisle and see all the toys related to magic, monsters and truthfully at times demonic/satan practises.

    1. Great response, and thank you for sharing! You raise a question that Christian parents need to carefully consider. I think it’s too easy just to say “Watch this” or “Read this” without actually evaluating the material. I wanted to open this discussion to get people thinking about the issues in some of these stories.

  6. Laurie Penner says:

    I think this is right on! Personally, I wasn’t too sure about the magic in Frozen, but I think you’ve described it well by pointing out that it’s an innate ability, not something worked up to get what you want. Good job!

    1. Thanks! I can’t wait until my next post about when magic is good or bad in a story. 🙂

  7. Interesting thoughts. I’ve got a question though. Many mediums and spiritualists swear that they were born with the gift to speak to the dead. Does that make it okay?

    1. Great question! Of course, since the Bible strictly forbids speaking with the dead, I have to say that it’s not okay. I wonder if they truly had the “gift” from birth, if they were told that they did, or convinced themselves that they did. Even if they were, did they spend any time developing this ability? Could that ability be used in a way to glorify God? It raises an interesting question. Can we be born with some ability that doesn’t please the Lord? Can we use whatever ability we have to glorify Him in some way? For example, a singer must decide to sing for God or for the world. The music can glorify God or go against Him. Then, the harder question becomes… Am I using the abilities I have to glorify God fully?

      1. rathernotsay says:

        I think we can be born with an ability that displeases the Lord, we are born in sin and must be saved out of that, sin is not learned.

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