Is it ever explained where Elsa got her powers?

  • I recently saw the movie Frozen, and got to wondering about Elsa's amazing Ice Powers.

    Where exactly did they come from? It's apparent that there's some type of curse from the dialogue between her parents and the Trolls, and possibly that it's an inherited curse from her father's knowledge of how to control it by wearing gloves, but does anything beyond that indicate how Elsa (and possibly the whole family) came to be cursed this way?

    The X-Gene, obviously.

    It's inborn, not cursed.

    @MichałPolitowski Disney doesn't have the rights for that. It was from exposure to the Terrigen Mist.

    Elsa's powers are a way of nature compensating for her innate hotness.

    Well, Jack Frosts had a sister. As for she grew up and the fill the emptyness in her heart, the sisters first daughter received powers to resemble Jack's. Or how Pixar drops eggs all the time ...

    I was going to say Terrigenesis but @MichałPolitowski got there first :)

  • Valorum

    Valorum Correct answer

    7 years ago

    In-universe answer:

    It seems quite plausible that Elsa is descended from someone who was cursed by ice magic. That power may have then transferred down the family line.

    As you can see from the image below, the King's library has a book detailing the risks of being hit by ice powers. In this book we see a picture of a man being cured by trolls. The runes next to the picture state that his condition was caused by being...

    " stone brought forth (by) powers of the moon sky"

    presumably in much the same way that Rapunzel's powers relate to a drop of sunlight falling from the sky.

    Ice Powers

    Given the fine clothes he's wearing and the royal crest on his tunic, it's quite possible that he is of noble birth and hence, an ancestor of Elsa's. Assuming some of the residual 'ice magic' was left in this man's system after he was cured it would explain why one of his descendants was born with those same ice powers.

    Out-of-Universe answer:

    Screenwriter Jennifer Lee specifically spoke to this point in an interview with Scriptnotes. The origins of Elsa's powers (planetary alignment, predestination, etc) were intentionally obscured in order to simplify the story.

    In a nutshell, she has powers because the plotline requires her to have powers.

    Jennifer: And that there’s a connection between them, but yet it’s not in your face, but it’s just something that… — Because what I always loved about, particularly Pixar films for me, was that everything just added up. And everything had a special little, “Oh my god, oh my god, wait, and that, and that!” And it was my favorite thing and we wanted to make kind of every time we had a scene trying to say what is that that’s maximum, why is it here. If there’s anything extraneous we got to get rid of it.

    But yet adding all that flavor, so that’s why. But to move onto Elsa, it was an exhausting process coming to the simplicity of her powers. At times we had a narration by a troll, who used to have a Brooklyn accent for no reason other than I miss Brooklyn. You know, no reason. But, we had this whole explanation like when Saturn is in this alignment with such-and-such on the thousandth year a child will be born and blah, blah, blah. And then –

    John: Ultimately you almost throw it away with one line. So, the line is just like, “Was she born with the powers or was she cursed?. And it’s born with it and that’s the last piece of it.

    Aline: It’s so great.

    Jennifer: And that’s it. But I think part of what it was is if anything about us felt like it was like, “Oh, god, like okay, we have to say this,” then we didn’t want to say it. And then also we found the more you explained the more questions you had about magic and the rules. It was like, argh. You know?

    The out of universe detail is nice. Your in-universe answer suggesting remnants of a curse leading to a descendant being born with it is a stretch and doesn't add anything (In fact seems to be debunked by the interview excerpts.) I don't think Tangled serves as precedence, as Rapunzel was actually in-utero when Queen Primrose was treated with the flower and absorbed it's powers directly.

    The patient in the picture does appear to have Arendelle's crest on his tunic, but is wearing an unadorned helmet not a crown. Seems as likely to just be a soldier or guard as a descendant. Just as plausible explanation to the quick and ready access to the book... King: 'Hey, my daughter has these strange ice powers, maybe I should research them...'

    @Mr.Mindor - Ah, but we do see the powers transferred, suggesting it's at least a possibility.

    When do we see the powers transferred from one person to another? Other than by birth, which is a supposition by evidence that I allow for. Also, while this lends credence to it being an inherited trait, we can't realy determine that they 'cured' the fellow in the picture by this image alone. For all we know, that's an evil Troll who *created* the curse, and the other trolls are helping his decendents out of a need to atone for their wicked 'cousin''s behavior.

    @zibbobz - the out of universe answer clearly contradicts the in universe one. I'm merely pointing out that the powers of magic seem to be transferable. It's a possible answer, not a definitive one.

    @Richard Fair enough. It IS a good answer.

    That the King immediately knows what to do suggests personal or family experience with someone getting zapped by frosty magic—I'm putting my money on it being a family trait that's skipped a few generations :-)

    _"It was like, argh. You know?"_ Nobody can bloody speak any more.

    @LightnessRacesinOrbit - "*such-and-such on the thousandth year a child will be born and blah, blah, blah*"

    @Richard I'm glad you were able to decipher that interview. I don't understand it at all.

    If the picture shows someone being cured of the curse, why didn't the trolls cure Elsa? It could be that it shows someone injured by the powers being healed, like Anna. Also, idk about you but being born with ice powers would be a blessing, not a curse

    In-Universe states in the movie she was born with her powers. Past that is pure speculation. Towards other "lore" there is one other with the exact same power, but does not take the warm inside and fear thing the same as Elsa. Again, pure speculation since there is no connection past Repunzel and Nose guy joining the Coronation.

    It just occurred to me that, out of universe, the answer all along was to *let it go*.

    Of course, the REAL reason they didn't explain it is because now they have a plot for Frozen 2.

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