Conceal it, don’t feel it. Don’t let it show. For the rest of her childhood, those were the only words Elsa knew. On the night of the accident, Elsa and her parents learned that her powers were directly tied to her emotions. Agnarr was certain that if Elsa could learn to master her emotions she could master her powers. There is a logic behind this line of thinking, yet magic and emotion are never bound to logic. Agnarr suggested gloves to dampen Elsa’s powers. They helped Elsa early on and they became a source of comfort and security for her. Elsa rarely saw anyone besides her parents or her infrequent tutors. She was practically a ghost to everyone, including Anna. Despite her best efforts, Elsa never felt comfortable with herself or her powers.
What she once loved about herself she now feared and hated. Elsa’s relationship with her parents slowly deteriorated as the years went by. Agnarr always cringed whenever he saw Elsa’s magic, which filled her with shame. Near the end, he stopped cringing and simply gave up. In the beginning, Iduna would visit Elsa frequently but by the time she was a teenager, those visits became less and less frequent. It was too much for Iduna to bear. It soon became too much for Elsa to find a balance between controlling her powers and living a normal life. She could not laugh, she could not cry, she could not dream, she could not live without her magic bursting around her. Every time she felt anything Elsa felt like a failure. A disappointment. She refused being touched by anyone, even her parents, for fear of hurting them.
Nightmares of the monster she saw herself as haunted her constantly. She concluded that it was selfish to want anything. Even joy, being with her sister, or a good night’s sleep. From the very beginning, Elsa could never spend a week without crying herself to sleep for years at a time.
Over time she began to feel cold. She felt numb. She felt lonely. She felt nothing. Do you want to build a snowman? The greatest source of joy and pain for Elsa during her thirteen years of isolation was the one she hurt. Anna would come by her door every day and always ask her the same question. Of course, Elsa wanted to build a snowman with her little sister. More than anything in the world, but she could not. Her fear and self-hatred were too great to open the door. Yet Anna never stopped and was the one ray of sunshine of Elsa’s dark and lonely world. Olaf was not forgotten and played a vital role in being the sister’s only Christmas tradition. That one perfect memory of a simpler time kept Anna and Elsa connected despite it all.
Near the end, Iduna realized that enough was enough. Elsa was hurting and needed healing but to get that she needed answers. When the king and queen went on their voyage many believed they were going on a business trip, possibly to Corona for the wedding of its lost princess.
However, that was not the case. By this point, Iduna had revealed her Northuldra lineage to Agnar and was now ready to search for her people’s greatest legend. He agreed for the sake of his daughter and so they went on a voyage to Ahtohallan, the source of all knowledge. Misfortune was not finished with the family yet though. A terrible storm struck their ship and everyone on board perished. Elsa did not come to the funeral for fear of hurting anyone so Anna was forced to go alone. Elsa and Anna now only had each other. When Anna asked her sister one last time if she wanted to build a snowman it took everything Elsa had to not freeze her window and jump. Thankfully she did not, for Anna’s sake of course, but also to not disappoint her parents.
Even in death, Elsa feared that’s how her parents would feel about her. Not grief, not sadness… but disappointment. During the darkest time of her life, only one thing kept Elsa going. Conceal, don’t feel.
Conceal, don’t feel.
Conceal, don’t feel.