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Olaf is a fictional snowman character from the Disney film Frozen. He is voiced by Josh Gad.

Background

Personality

Olaf is goofy and naive, but extremely lovable and caring towards his friends, especially Anna and Elsa. Because he was built during their childhood, Olaf retains the childlike personality that filled Anna and Elsa during those years, appearing to be very whimsical and playful when he returns as an enchanted snowman years later. He takes on aspects of both of the girls as well; he is artistic like Elsa, because when he first speaks, he thinks about what colors would go well with snow and said to Sven that "the sky's awake" when they arrived at Kristoff's home, just as Anna said to Elsa years ago. He has an odd fascination for summer, possibly because young Elsa made him a snowman who loves warm hugs, and according to Olaf, he sometimes fantasizes about what summer would be like for a snowman, completely unaware of the tad consequences of his ambitious dream, making the poor snowman hapless. Olaf is also very giggly and tends to laugh a lot.

Aside from his dominantly goofy side, Olaf is shown to have some intelligence to him, seen during his time with Anna in the library. Here, he teaches Anna what true love is, and that it's putting someone else before yourself, using Kristoff as the perfect example, finally giving Anna the true meaning of love. And after the climax, when Anna sacrifices herself for Elsa, thus breaking the icy curse, Olaf was the first to realize Anna's sacrifice was an act of true love (it didn't have to be romantic), and that act is what saved the kingdom. He is also not as oblivious as he seems, as he was quite skeptical about the Trolls at first when he thought they were just rocks, and even warns Anna to run because he cares for her and thought Kristoff was delusional.

Olaf can also be rather wise-cracking, and is prone to making considerably sassy remarks in several scenes; the most notable example arguably being his jab at Kristoff, calling the mountain man a "funky looking donkey" upon their first meeting. It should be noted that, due to his innocence, Olaf likely makes such remarks without any realization of the slight impudence, meaning he's merely speaking his mind and giving a genuine thought.

Physical Appearance

Olaf is a small snowman divided into three balls of snow (five, if one counts his feet), though he has the ability to rearrange his appearance at will. Three black rocks modeled as buttons are on his body, one on his midsection and two on his butt. Underneath his butt are two stubs of snow that serve as his legs to move around. He has two sticks as arms and three twigs on his head that resemble small strands of hair. Each arm has four points acting as fingers. His head takes up a third of his body, and is oval-shaped with a stretched face. The snow around the top of his mouth is shaped to resemble buck teeth. In between his eyes and mouth is a carrot nose. When he was inanimate, his eyes were also made of rock. However, when living, his eyes are cartoony with black pupils. He also has eyebrows above them. Olaf's body parts are also capable of autonomy, and can be rearranged or separated from Olaf without any harm happening to him. He cannot feel pain either - when he walks onto an ice spike, resulting in the spike passing through his mid-section, he merely looks down and says "Oh, look at that. I've been impaled." and giggles. He seems to be ticklish when Kristoff pushed him away from Sven.

Disney History

Frozen

His first appearance in Frozen is during Anna and Elsa's childhood as an inanimate snowman. Later, when Elsa becomes the ice queen, she creates him once more and unknowingly gives him life. While looking for Elsa, Anna finds the live version of Olaf and gives him the carrot nose that he had been missing, before he imagines himself in the summer without being melted. Olaf then helps Anna reach the top of the North Mountain to find her sister. After being expelled by Marshmallow, Olaf follows Anna (struck by Elsa's magic in the castle), Kristoff and Sven to the Valley of Living Rocks, where the trolls live, to seek help for saving Anna. There, the trolls try to marry Anna and Kristoff (Fixer Upper) and Olaf sings a sentence in the sequence. The group thinks a "True Love's Kiss" can save Anna, and so head back to Arendelle. Olaf gets separated from the group on the way, and only appears again in the library after Hans' betrayal. Olaf comforts Anna, telling her the real meaning of love. Then they head out to the fjord to find Kristoff, but Olaf is blown away on the way. In the end, when Elsa brings back summer, she creates him a snow cloud to stand directly above him so he could enjoy the summer that he wanted to see without melting.

In the Movie

When Anna and Elsa were children, Elsa would use her snow magic to play with Anna. A favorite pastime activity for the two sisters was building snowmen. On one such occasion, Elsa helped Anna build their own snowman who Elsa named Olaf to play with. At this point, Olaf isn't alive, but Elsa does voice him, saying, "Hi, I'm Olaf, and I like warm hugs!", to which little Anna says, "I love you, Olaf!" Many years later, Elsa would exile herself from Arendelle after her snow/ice magic was discovered and deemed dangerous. In the midst of embracing her abilities at her new ice palace home, Elsa recreates Olaf, but because of her greatly strengthened cryokinesis and frigiokinesis, he is enchanted and given a mind and will of his very own, though Elsa was completely oblivious of her newfound creation. However, the enchanted Olaf has no memory of the moments spent with Anna and Elsa as a lifeless snowman years ago.

Olaf then wanders around the mountains alone and blissfully lost, until he bumps into Anna, Kristoff and Sven the reindeer, who seek to bring Elsa back to Arendelle so that she can bring back summer after she accidentally caused an eternal winter. Anna initially panics upon seeing him, incidentally accidentally kicking his head off and tossing it between herself and Kristoff, before throwing his head lopsided onto his body. After putting it up right, Anna decides to add a carrot nose to the snowman, only to accidentally push it into too far. Olaf begins to admire the short end of his new body part, before Anna pushed it out properly on his face. After making introductions to each other (and Olaf mistakes Kristoff and Sven to have the same name as the latter), Anna soon recognizes Olaf and quickly assumes it was Elsa who built him, to which he confirms. Kristoff then tells Olaf of their mission to bring back summer after Olaf constantly asked what their intentions on finding Elsa were. Extremely giddy with the idea of summer and its warmth, Olaf decides to happily guide the group to Elsa's castle, though Anna refrains from telling him about the dangers of summer for a snowman, leaving Olaf comically in the dark.

After a short journey, Olaf and the others find Elsa's ice palace, and the little snowman couldn't have been more eager, rushing up the icy staircase and to the main entrance door. However, Anna decides it may be best to enter alone, without Olaf and Kristoff, and request they remain outside for a minute. Olaf does just that, sitting outside beside Kristoff and counts to sixty, rushing inside once he does, completely overjoyed to see Elsa again. His presence proves there's love and beauty in her powers, and remind her of the joyful moments she spent with Anna. However, their childhood memories also remind Elsa of the haunting night when she nearly killed her sister, prompting her to leave the scene, asking Anna to leave once again. Anna refuses to leave without her sister, but the stubbornness only makes Elsa uncomfortable, causing her to lose control over her powers once again and accidentally freezes Anna's heart. Olaf and Kristoff run to her aid, but Anna claims all's well. She tries once again to get Elsa home, but the Snow Queen refuses yet again, forcefully prompting her next action due to Anna's stubbornness.

In order to keep them away, Elsa creates a personal bodyguard named Marshmallow, a giant snowman. Olaf is thrilled to see another enchanted snowman, but is immediately kicked out along with Anna and Kristoff. The harming of Olaf angers Anna, and the princess fiercely (or as fierce as she can seem) throws a snowball at the snow beast, provoking him and leading to a chase. Olaf tells the gang to move ahead as he'll distract him, but with his body dismembered, that immediately proves to be difficult. Anna and Kristoff reach the cliff of a mountain and begin making a snow anchor to lower themselves down safely. Olaf meets up with them seconds before Marshmallow, and tries his luck again in taming the monster, but to no avail. Marshmallow continues his pursuit for Anna and Kristoff, but Olaf tries to battle him, leading the smaller snowman to be kicked over the cliff edge, leaving Anna and Kristoff to be captured by Marshmallow, only to escape due to Anna's quick thinking, causing them both to plummet down alongside Olaf, though they all survive.

Once they recover their energy, Kristoff notices Anna'a hair turning white, rather alarmingly. To help, he takes the gang to a valley filled with mystical trolls. Along the way there, Olaf and Sven bond, forming a friendship, as does Kristoff and Anna, though in a romantic light. Upon arriving in the valley, Anna and Olaf only see what seem to be inanimate rocks. Judging Kristoff to be insane, Olaf urges Anna to run while he distracts him by pretending to acknowledge one of the rocks, just before the trolls awaken and welcome back Kristoff. Olaf joins in the trolls' cheer before realizing he was mistaken about Kristoff's name. Kristoff's adoptive mother, Bulda, believes Anna and Kristoff are a couple and the trolls gather to begin forming a wedding for the two, not realizing Anna's in danger. During it all, the two actually begin harboring affection towards one another, though Kristoff won't admit it in the least, and while that may be, Olaf and Sven are aware of the matter. However, before the wedding is complete, Anna nearly faints due to the powerful curse, and Pabbie, the king of the trolls, arrives upon sensing the magic, informing Anna that if she doesn't perform an act of true love, she'll freeze to death. The friends immediately rush back to Arendelle, believing a kiss from Hans, a prince Anna's engaged to, will break the curse.

Along the way, Olaf is accidentally separated from the group, and informs them that he'll meet with them at the castle. When he arrives, he finds Anna in the library, on the ground and quickly dying. She tells him Hans betrayed her and was never really her true love, and Olaf doesn't hesitate to start a fire to keep the princess warm. Fearing he'll melt, Anna tells Olaf to leave, but not wanting to abandon his friend, the snowman stays by her side, nearly melting during this time. Still heartbroken by the betrayal, Anna tells Olaf she doesn't even know what love is anymore, upon hearing his inquiry as to whether or not she has any ideas on an act of true love that can save her. Olaf then replies by telling Anna love is putting someone else's need before your own, using Kristoff as an example, thus revealing his true feelings to Anna, much to the princess' surprise. Suddenly, the library's window bursts open due to the strong winter winds, and Olaf rushes to close it. Before he does, he notices Kristoff and Sven rushing back to the castle. Knowing Kristoff is truly the one that loves Anna, the two try to head out to meet him, with Olaf aiding the dying princess out of the castle and into the fjords.

However, the powerful storm blows Olaf away, and once he reunites with everyone, he finds Elsa mourning for Anna, who unfortunately froze to death sacrificing her life to save Elsa from Hans. Just as Olaf mourns to this, Anna is miraculously returned to life, and Olaf exclaims that her self-sacrifice for her elder sister was an act of true love. His words help Elsa realize that love is the key to controlling her ability as she thaws Arendelle, bringing back summer. Overjoyed, Olaf smiles with glee, but quickly melts due to the summer heat. Elsa restores him and gives him a small flurry cloud to hover over his body and keep him completely cool, finally allowing the snowman to live his dream of experiencing summer and all its warm wonders.

During the kingdom celebration, Olaf is seen throughout the village enjoying the sights and sounds of the warm season, taking a whiff of some flowers. The pollen causes him to sneeze, however, and his carrot nose lands directly into Sven's mouth. The reindeer doesn't hesitate to suck it up, saddening the snowman. However, this was only a playful trick, and Sven immediately places the carrot back onto Olaf's face, where it belongs, prompting the overjoyed snowman to hug his friend affectionately. Olaf is last seen in the castle courtyard, enjoying the newly made ice skating rink created by Elsa for the kingdom's enjoyment.

Relationships

Anna

Olaf was based on a snowman Anna and Elsa created when they were young and Elsa appears to have created him as a reminder of her happy childhood memories. When Anna first meets Olaf, she is initially creeped out by the talking snowman but then quickly realizes he is the same Olaf from her childhood when he introduces his name and becomes good friends with him. This is shown as she supports Olaf's dreams of summer and insists Kristoff not ruin it for him and when she was angered when Marshmallow threw him and was willing to confront Marshmallow over the matter.

Olaf returned her friendship as he tried to stall Marshmallow so Anna and Kristoff could escape and again demonstrated when he told Anna to run from Kristoff when he brought them to his family of "rocks" (who were actually the trolls disguised as rocks) and he thought Kristoff was crazy, telling Anna "Because I love you, Anna, I insist you run!" He was even willing to melt to death in order to create a fire to warm up Anna to slow the freezing curse placed on her by Elsa, while comforting her over Hans' betrayal even stroking her shoulders. He also was the one to teach Anna what love was after she felt disillusioned due to Hans' treachery and was the one to inform everyone how it was Anna's act of true love that saved her from dying.

Elsa

Elsa created Olaf when she and Anna were children, and when she had later exiled herself from Arendelle. Despite the fact their relations aren't explored thoroughly, Olaf seems to care for her deeply and holds admiration towards due to her ability.

When Elsa first saw Olaf alive, she was surprised, but smiled when she saw how much he represented the fun that she and Anna once had. When Olaf started to melt, due to the return of summer, Elsa saved his life by rebuilding him and giving him his own flurry to keep him cool. In the end, he enjoys summer and helps Anna to skate with Elsa, showing that he loves both the sisters.

Sven

Olaf immediately grew to like Sven, calling him cute and constantly snuggling his mug. Sven kept trying to take a bite out of Olaf's nose, though Olaf thought he was merely playing and continued to act friendly towards him. At the end of the film, Sven succeeded, but immediately returned it, revealing he was merely teasing, and accepted Olaf's friendship. Their friendship is easily explained by their common traits, being their whimsically childish natures. In spin-off material of the film, Olaf and Sven are featured as a duo, appearing, more often than not, side by side as best friends, sometimes finding themselves in comical mishaps.

Kristoff

Kristoff and Olaf have somewhat of a good friendship and are friendly towards each other. Olaf calls Kristoff as "Sven" before he knew about his new name, and describes him as "funky looking donkey". At first, Kristoff calls him creepy and is confused by the fact that Olaf (being a living, breathing frozen substance) would dream about Summer and being in heat itself. He wants to break the ice and tell the happy snowman that his dream might not be all what he thinks it's cracked up to be, but Anna stops him by smacking him in the arm and scolding him. Kristoff still believes somebody has to to tell Olaf the truth about his dream eventually, but doesn't try to proceed to do it himself.

Songs

  • In Summer

Trivia

  • In Norway, Olav is a popular male name. The writers likely changed it to Olaf.
  • In the film, Olaf represents the happiness Elsa and Anna shared as young children. And, his desire to experience summer is symbolic of how Elsa wants to return to the old days of her childhood with her sister as her best friend.
    • Olaf's very creation is an expression of how hard Elsa's self-imposed isolation from Anna was on her. The first voluntary act she performs with her power (as soon she decides to "let it go"), is to build the snowman that Anna spent those long years begging her to make with her. As she creates him, she sings the words "Can't hold it back any more," revealing how dearly she always wanted to go play with her sister whenever she asked her to. It's possible that the sheer intensity of this long held desire was what brought Olaf to life, and if so, Elsa's later surprise when she discovers Olaf is alive may indicate that she never even admitted to herself how just badly she wanted to rekindle her friendship with Anna.
    • The destruction of the original Olaf marked the precise moment that Elsa and Anna's happy childhood friendship came to an end. Also, original Olaf, much like Anna and Elsa's friendship, was destroyed by Elsa's power running amok due to her personal distress.
  • If you look closely when Elsa was making Marshmallow, Olaf was the only one who was thrilled to see him.

Gallery


Frozen
Frozen Logo

Films: Frozen

Characters: Anna | Kristoff | Elsa | Sven | Olaf | Hans

Actors: Idina Menzel | Kristen Bell | Jonathan Groff | Josh Gad

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