The Crazy Connection Between The Little Mermaid & Frozen

No, this is not just a fan theory from Reddit. Nor is it a Where's Waldo hunt for barely visible Easter eggs in the backgrounds of scenes. This is a literary connection between two of the most iconic animated movies of all time: The Little Mermaid and Frozen. They were both originally written by the same guy: Hans Christian Andersen. Yep, these two stories have been connected long before they ever received their Disney makeovers.

If Andersen were alive today, he would be turning 211 on April 2. In his honor, we are revisiting the original plotlines that inspired the mind-blowing (and kind of tragic) events that connect Queen Elsa and Princess Anna to their underwater counterpart, Princess Ariel.

In 1836, the Danish children's storyteller first told the tale of a brave mermaid who yearned to be on land in "The Little Mermaid." The story was published in the third volume of Fairy Tales Told for Children along with another classic you might be familiar with: "The Emperor's New Clothes."

Eight years later, in 1844, he published his longest work, about an icy snow queen set on revenge, titled, "The Snow Queen." The tale was supposedly written about a real woman in Andersen's life, Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind, who rejected his romantic pursuits a year prior to the release of the story. Her coldness toward him became the inspiration for the queen and her heart of ice.

Andersen's tales were full of death, destruction, and diabolical villains that make Ursula look like a saint. Luckily, for the sake of the kids, both Disney versions have significantly happier endings.

Image: via Tumblr.
"The Little Mermaid" (1836) — The Original Story
Andersen's short story about an unnamed mermaid who would eventually become Ariel is quite dark. In his tale, the mermaid desires to become a human not just for the thing-a-ma-bobs aplenty, but because she wants an everlasting soul.

In Andersen's imagined underwater kingdom, mermaids had no souls and simply turned into sea foam the moment they died. Humans, on the other hand, had souls that were able to live on after death. This, and yes, a prince, but getting a soul was the mermaid's main wish. Spoiler alert: In the end, the mermaid neither marries a prince, nor gets a soul.
The Little Mermaid (1989) — The Movie
In the Disney version of Andersen's grim children's story, Ariel has a much happier fate. But along the way, some of Andersen's original plot points stayed true: the mermaid still makes a deal with a wretched Sea Witch who gives her human legs in exchange for her intoxicatingly beautiful siren voice.

But other than that, Ariel leads a much more charmed life. Her sisters don't lure sailors to their death, and walking on dry land doesn't feel like she is walking on a knives. Oh, and she gets the prince in the end without turning into sea foam, because #truelove.
Image: via Giphy.
"The Snow Queen" (1844) — The Original Story
Five years after "The Little Mermaid," Andersen released this short story. Told in seven parts, this was one of Andersen's longest stories, and one of his most acclaimed.

The core of the tale is the struggle between good and evil, as seen by young Gerda, and her efforts to rescue her childhood boyfriend, Kay, from the cruel and villainous Snow Queen. The Snow Queen keeps Kay as her pawn (sound familiar, C.S Lewis fans — The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe?) In the story, Gerda does end up rescuing Kay by saving him with a kiss that melts his icy heart. Her strength comes from her innocent, warm, and childlike heart which she maintained even as an adult. The Snow Queen, who used her icy touch purely for malice, is banished, and Kay and Gerda return home just in time for summer. A far happier ending than the mermaid's.
Frozen (2013) — The Movie
The princess spin immediately changes the entire premise of the original Snow Queen story, but, at times, Princess Elsa does conjure up a spiteful ice princess vibe similar to the wicked Snow Queen's.

Princess Anna also seems to represent Gerda for her childlike naiveté, and warm compassion for the one she loves — in Disney's case, her sister, and in Andersen's, her childhood friend and adult love interest.
The Little Mermaid (1989) & Frozen (2013) The Theory
The wrecked ship is where the two stories overlap outside of their Danish fairy-tale roots. Andersen's stories had no mention of such a boat, but the connection has some geographical legitimacy if you think about it.

Here are the logistics: In Frozen, Princess Elsa and Princess Anna's parents leave to attend a wedding. Whose? That is unclear. Some people think it could be Rapunzel's since the movie Tangled came out three years prior to Frozen, and the parents leave the kingdom when Anna is 3 years old.

But say it was Rapunzel's. The Frozen kingdom is in Arendelle, a fictional town in Scandinavia, paying homage to the region where Andersen lived. If the parents left on the ship, and were traveling to the land of Tangled, which many believe is modern-day Germany, then a shipwreck in the middle of their route would place them right outside of Denmark. Coincidentally, that is where a statue dedicated to Andersen's little mermaid stands today. In a Reddit Ask Me Anything, one filmmaker threw a wrench in that theory, implying Frozen is related to Tarzan, not The Little Mermaid.

But either way, the true connection lies in Andersen's original, albeit twisted, fairy tales.