The Major Plot Hole in Frozen That I Hope the Sequel Finally Resolves


Back in 2017, I wrote about a plot hole in the Disney movie Frozen that no film critics or fan sites seemed to address. A recent post about the upcoming Frozen II premiere on November 22 reminded me that it would be fun to revisit my old article and update the end with a helpful reader’s theory about the plot. Warning: spoilers ahead.

Here we go…


The Disney movie Frozen came out in 2013, and ever since then, I’ve been waiting for someone to call out the biggest plot hole in the movie. While my husband has so supportively told me to “get over it” and the movie reminds me to “let it go,” I can’t. This film is firmly in the viewing rotation in our house, which means this particular plot hole regularly taunts me from the screen. 

Before sitting down to write this, I Googled the topic to double-check whether it had been covered. I found lots of articles talking about unanswered questions from the film, but none of them addressed my burning question. They asked, Who took care of the girls during the time period between the death of their parents and Elsa’s coronation? How come it takes Elsa only a few minutes to walk to the top of the North  Mountain, but it takes Anna all day? Why doesn’t anyone question Hans when he says Anna is dead?

The list goes on, but I’m willing to overlook these leaps of faith, even after the umpteenth viewing with my kids, for the sake of plot development, pacing, and because all movies like this ask us to suspend our disbelief. Then, there’s this: 

Why doesn’t Kristoff confess to Anna that he’s known about Elsa’s powers for years and that he saw the trolls remove her memories? 

I’m going to assume you’ve seen the movie (and, if not, sorry for the spoilers and read the synopsis here), so let’s dive into this really weird and totally unnecessary omission. major plot hole in frozen

At the beginning of the movie, we see Kristoff as a young boy following the king, queen, and princesses, Anna and Elsa, to the trolls. He hides and watches as the trolls unroll themselves from their rock forms and exclaim, “It’s the king!” So, he definitely knows who’s come to visit. 

When the troll nearest Kristoff uncurls herself, she shushes him, so she can hear the conversation between the king and Grand Pabbie (You thought his name was “Pappy,” didn’t you?). She exclaims that she’s going to keep Kristoff and his reindeer pal, Sven, (uh, what?), and then they all turn back to the action down below. plot hole in frozen

The camera doesn’t cut back to Kristoff for the rest of the scene, but it’s safe to assume that he was able to hear the whole discussion of Elsa’s magic powers, the removal of Anna’s memories, and the king’s plan to sequester the entire family. Plus, you know, he went on to live with the trolls, and they surely debriefed the royal visit once King Agnarr (yep, he has a name) and clan exited their ‘hood. 

I’ll put aside the ethical debate of whether Grand Pabbie had a moral obligation to stop the king from inflicting serious psychological damage on both of his daughters with his “conceal it, don’t feel it” plan, so we can fast forward to the eternal winter Elsa sets off after her coronation. 

Let’s give adult Kristoff the benefit of the doubt that he didn’t initially put two and two together that this summertime permafreeze was Elsa’s doing.plot hole in frozen

After all, he lives isolated up on the mountain away from the kingdom, and maybe he doesn’t think much about the life-changing events that led him to be adopted (kidnapped?) by a mystical family of trolls.

But, his aha moment should have come when he meets Anna on the mountainside and learns she’s looking for her sister. Perhaps, on their sleigh ride to the North Mountain, instead of discussing Anna’s ill-advised engagement to Hans, Kristoff could have said, “You know, I have a fairly good idea of why this all happened. Let me fill you in.” plot hole in frozen

The rest of the movie could play out in just the same way, and this plot hole would be filled. Anna, now fully understanding why Elsa shut her out all those years ago, would continue to be accepting and forgiving of her sister. Elsa would have every right to still resist coming back down the mountain—I wouldn’t blame her for not wanting to move back into the place where it all went down, and let’s not underestimate how embarrassing it would be to face the kingdom after such a huge party foul. 

Even if we let Kristoff off the hook on the sleigh ride (How does one tell a princess he watched a troll remove memories from her head?), he’s out of excuses after Elsa accidentally strikes Anna in the heart with her magic.

Anna questions whether the trolls can help her, and Kristoff assures her they can. “Because I’ve seen them do it before,” he says.

To you.

“I’ve seen them do it before to you.”

He had yet another opportunity to close this plot hole by including two simple words to the end of his statement. I remember watching the movie for the first time, thinking, “Wait. What? I can’t believe he didn’t tell her!

plot hole in frozen
See his face? This is the moment it all comes back to him, but he chooses to leave out a key detail.

Here’s my re-write of the scene: 

Kristoff: Because I’ve seen them do it before to you.

Anna: Wait—what?

Kristoff: Come on. I’ll explain on the way.

Two more words added to his original line, and then two more lines added to the scene. Done. 

Instead, as I fold laundry, listening to Frozen in the background, my mind wanders to the epilogue I’ve made up in my head to get closure on this situation:

[Scene: Anna and Kristoff are laying on their backs in bed together, covers pulled modestly up to Anna’s armpits. Kristoff, with an alarming amount of chest hair showing, folds his hands behind his head and starts chuckling.]

Anna:  What? 

Kristoff: It’s nothing.

Anna: [nudges him] Tell me! 

Kristoff: Okay, but you have to promise not to get mad.

[Cut to an external view of the castle]

Anna: You knew?!?

[Blackout. End scene.]


A reader named Carey commented on my original article with the most plausible explanation (in my opinion) for why Kristoff doesn’t tell Anna he saw the trolls erase her memories. Kristoff doesn’t want to accidentally hurt Anna—or potentially kill her—by reminding her of what happened when she was a kid. I went back and looked at the scene with this in mind:  

Grand Pabbie: Here, here. [Queen kneels in front of him and holds out unconscious Anna; he places his hand on Anna’s head] You are lucky it wasn’t her heart. The heart is not so easily changed, but the head can be persuaded.

King: Do what you must.

Grand Pabbie: I recommend we remove all magic, even memories of magic to be safe. [Pabbie pulls out from Anna’s head memories of Elsa and Anna playing, which floats above them] But don’t worry, I’ll leave the fun. [He changes all of her memories of Elsa’s magic to show ordinary memories of the girls playing out in the winter snow and puts them back in her head] She will be okay.

Little Elsa: But she won’t remember I have powers?

Grand Pabbie: It’s for the best. Listen to me, Elsa, your power will only grow….

And then he goes back to warning Elsa about how she has to learn to control her powers.

So, yes, Grand Pabbie removes the memories of magic to be sure that they can’t hurt Anna, and it makes sense that Kristoff had that in mind when he’s with Anna, but I still wish there was a moment in the movie for him to admit that he saw it happen or for him to at least feel more angst for knowing about all of this and not saying anything. It feels like an important piece of information for him to keep to himself, but I get it—editing, timing, momentum, story flow—there are lots of reasons this dialogue didn’t make the cut. Here’s hoping they address it in the sequel.


    • That’s a fair assumption, but Kristof knows it’s the king and his family who comes to see the trolls, since it’s announced. When he meets Anna later, doesn’t he know she’s the princess? He know’s Elsa is her sister and they talk about the coronation and her engagement to Hans, right? How could he not put two-and-two together? Maybe the sequel will clear it up 🙂

  1. LOL I did think about it but I just assumed, based on Kristoff personality, that he thought it was not his place to tell. Or maybe there is further damage if it is revealed. Or maybe he just does not remember clearly since it happened a long time ago and he was a kid at the time? But yes, maybe they give you closure in the sequel hehehehe

  2. how old was he in the original scene? if he was only 4 or 5, he may not remember. you can tell yourself that to close the plot hole, anyway 🙂

    • Ha! I don’t think that’ll make me sleep any better. He remembers it happening. That’s why he takes her to see the trolls after she’s hit in the heart. Biggest hole ever! 🙂

  3. What drives me crazy is that “only an act of true love” can save Anna but Olaf risking his life by lighting the fire doesn’t count I guess. Hahahahaha.

    • That’s true. I always thought of it this way – It wasn’t about someone else performing an act of true love to save Anna, it was that she had to perform one herself. She saved herself. … and now I’ve officially super-overthought this movie.

  4. I figured it was because the older troll said that if she remembered that it could hurt her, and once he figured it out he didn’t want to hurt her by accident and have her die like she almost does when Elsa hits her again.

    • Carey!!! That makes sense. They removed the memories to remove the magic, and if Kristof reminded her of what happened, the old injuries would come back. You are my new hero. Thank you!


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