Tag Archives: frozen

The Doors of “Frozen”: Subconscious Storytelling At Its Best

You know that song from the opening third of Frozen? Princess Anna has just met Prince Hans (who she doesn’t yet know is a scheming sharknadobag) and starts singing. And because it’s a Disney musical, of course Prince Hans is ready to start singing right along with her. And dancing. Okay, I’m not here to kvetch about the willful suspension of disbelief; we’re talking about a fantasy story with talking snowmen and ice-casting princesses. (And don’t forget about the rock turds. I mean trolls. Even though they’re turds. For some reason I hate those things.)

Nope, today it’s the extended metaphor of doors. “Love is an open door,” Anna and Hans sing, and somehow I didn’t catch it on first viewing, but the movie is shot through with the door metaphor.

After Anna is injured, the parents separate the sisters by giving them separate rooms; and Elsa’s door is locked. After the parents die and Anna and Elsa are left alone, the door remains closed and Anna lingers outside it. She could just open it and talk to her sister, but she doesn’t — the door has become its own barrier, symbolic of the growing divide between them. In her very next song, Anna sings about opening up the gates of the castle, and how long it’s been since that happened.

Then, of course, it’s “love is an open door”, and we’re on to the second half of the movie, where Anna follows her sister into the wilderness only to find she’s built herself a totally badass ice castle, but she hesitates right on the threshold of — the giant ice door. (Quoth the snowman: “why doesn’t she knock? Do you think she knows how to knock?”) The doors in the ice castle are massive, but Elsa can open them with just a thought — they really are simply barriers of the mind, not the impenetrable barriers Anna takes them for.

The final third of the movie finds both the sisters trapped by the now-evil Prince Hans: Elsa in a dungeon, Anna in a sumptuous castle bedroom. Of course, both cells feature locked doors the princesses cannot escape. How will they overcome their captivity? Elsa channels a bit of power and counters the locked door with an exploded window, while Anna gets rescued by her childhood snowman, who picks the lock with his disembodied nose. It’s a funny moment, but viewed another way, Olaf the snowman seems like the purest manifestation of love in the story, so of course he can open any door he encounters. (Think back: “why doesn’t she just knock?” Doors are not a problem for him.)

The movie ends with the sisters reunited and committed to tearing down the barriers between them (blah blah an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart blah). And how does the movie end? With Elsa vowing that the gates will forever remain open. Probably not the greatest policy in terms of security, but for symbolic significance between the sisters, it’s as rich as it gets.

So I guess it should shock nobody that Disney knows how to give good story, but the extended metaphor of the door in Frozen shows how story elements can function behind the scenes to do subconscious work on an audience.


This mini-essay is a part of Stream-of-Consciousness Saturday. This week’s prompt: “door”.

Do You Wanna Go To Target? (A Frozen Tribute)

If you love Frozen, like my wife and I do — and you love Target, like my wife and I do — then this is for you.

Inspired by randomly changing the lyrics to every song our kids like — because how else can you make it through listening to them 100+ times over the course of a few weeks?

To the tune of Do You Wanna Build a Snowman.

Do You Wanna Go To Target?

Do you wanna go to Target?

Come on, I just got paid

You never take me anymore

but I get off at four: Today could be the day!

Their clothes are all on clearance

and their movies, too

It’s all fifty percent off!

Do you wanna go to Target?

Come on, we’ll put it on the red card.

I just paid it off.


I’m so happy we’re at Target

did you see the dollar aisle?

I’ll get an Icee and a popcorn too

And I’ll get some for you, cause we’ll be here a while

I’ve gotta get some dish soap, and some undies too

Then stop by the pharmacy

Hey, go find a price on gym socks

I’m gonna go and find a bike lock


Shopping interlude


Honey, hey, I’m at the checkout

and I’m just wondering where you are

I saw you checking out that camping gear, but

I kinda need you here: my wallet’s in the car

I’ve spent a hundred dollars, but that’s just my stuff

We still have to ring up yours

I think we emptied out the checking

but I’m so glad we went to Target



Yeah, I maybe spent waaaay too much time on this.

Cold Fury

This week’s Flash Fiction Challenge: Literary Mash-Up.

There’s no sense pretending on this one. I loved (no, let’s not even hide it, love, present tense) Frozen. So when my random selection gave me a mash-up of The Avengers and Frozen, it felt like Christmas coming around again.

I took the mash-up a little bit more literally than perhaps the challenge is meant to be taken, but I don’t care. I had more fun writing this than anything I’ve written in recent months.

Here’s Cold Fury, in 960 words.




Cold Fury

Get out of the ice business, they said. Market’s crashing, they said.

But what the hell was I supposed to do? I’m just an ice jockey from the sticks. No formal education, no particular skillset to speak of, outside of chopping ice, shaping it, transporting it, preserving it. Who am I kidding? It’s not like you couldn’t teach a rock troll to do what I do. The reindeer can practically do the job without me; he just can’t hold the icepick with his hooves. But that’s hardly the point.

Point is, the world is getting way too strange for somebody like me to make sense of it. I mean, one day I’m hauling a load of prime-cut crystal down from the peaks, and BANG, like magic, there’s this freak snowstorm out of nowhere. To say it’s a few months early is to overstate the obvious. Granted, weather can get weird up in the mountains, but this stuff settles in. Goes on thick, like marshmallow paste, and heavy, like reindeer dung; it’s not going anywhere anytime soon, and I might as well be dragging a sledful of sunlight in the summer behind me for all the good this ice is gonna do me. Pity, too. It’s a beautiful haul, but off it goes down the mountainside; no sense tiring out the reindeer. And I’m wondering what I’m going to do with myself for the foreseeable future when I remember there’s this shack back down the mountainside a stitch. Maybe I can ponder my troubles with a mug in my hand, away from the cackling of the jerks back in town.

I’m within sight of the shack when this guy steps out from behind a tree. Out-of-towner. Whatever he was doing out there is anybody’s guess, but I wasn’t gonna ask him. He’s got this leathery coat flapping like mad around his knees in the mountain wind, and a gleaming bald black head atop these massive, don’t-mess-with-me shoulders, and he’s staring hard at me like I stole his lunch money twenty years ago and he’s here to pay me back. Or maybe he’s just looking at me, and it’s the eyepatch that makes him look all ominous.

He tells me he needs me. That there’s this girl coming up the mountain, and she’s in trouble. That I should look out for her, help her find her sister. That he needs me to help “bring the sister in,” whatever that means. I ask him what’s in it for me, and he asks if I’ve ever wanted to be a prince. And I’m about to tell him to take a flying leap off the bluffs over there — seven hundred feet straight down. Then I stop. It’s not like I have anything better going on. Endless blizzard and all.

Looking back on it now, I don’t even know if he was real. All I know is, I turned to ask what he was gonna do for my reindeer, you know, to sweeten the deal, and when I looked back, he was gone… and behind him, in the distance, I see this girl lurching up the mountainside toward the shack. Tiny. Frail. Freezing. Then it gets worse. I follow her in, and she turns out to be gorgeous. Weird thing going on with her hair, this pale streak mixed in with all the red, but a face that’s cute like about a dozen baby reindeer and… well. I try to play it cool, but my brain is doing backflips trying to figure out how that angry eyepatch guy knew about her.

We talk. She needs a ride; I could use the money she offers me for giving her a ride. Next thing I know, it’s talking snowmen and imperial guards and a chase back down the same damn mountain we just climbed up. Oh, and her sister? Yeah, turns out she’s some sort of witch or something, and she’s all icicles and snow and eternal cold and… look, I’m not the guy to ask about everything that went down, all right? To be honest, the talking snowman gave me the screaming willies, and now he’s got his own room in the castle and he’s somehow still a snowman despite the fact that summer has come and gone six or seven times now. Ice Witch, right? Anyway. Sister and I get married, do the happily-ever-after thing, and the Snow Queen or whatever you call her rules in grace and splendor and all that good stuff. And then it hits me like an avalanche.

Eyepatch was right. I’m a prince now.

It’s too good to be true, right? Me, the ice-chucker from nowhere marries into the royal family. For years I don’t say anything — don’t look a gift reindeer in the mouth, right? — until one day I’m heading down for breakfast in the lower dining hall and I hear that voice. I go running in and see the guy, eyepatch and shiny head and all, sitting down talking with the queen. And he’s spouting all this stuff about parallel dimensions and ancient artifacts of untold power and how the world — no, the universe — needs her. Before I can even get my wife out of bed (she sleeps like a yeti, that one) the queen goes and gets on this — what can I call it? Like a boat, but made of steel, and flying, just floating over the ground like a hummingbird, if you can believe that — and leaves with the guy. And I try to explain, but my girl just goes into this… this FURY, you know?

Anyway, my wife and I rule the kingdom now while her sister, the Frost Fairy or whatever, is off fighting the evils of the universe, or something. And that’s how I became King of Arendelle.



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