Monday, August 1, 2016

Why Disney's Frozen is Anna's Story, but Elsa became the big star....and why that matters

First let me say, “I loved Frozen.”

Second let me say, "SPOILER ALERT!"

I honestly loved the IDEA of Frozen rather than the reality of it. I’ve got four daughters. The way they showed strength in young women, and love between sisters, almost chokes me up when I talk about it. I never came close to crying when I watched it but talking about it, I came pretty close.

I’ve seen the movie twice and, I’ve seen most of the scenes, especially the songs, many, many times on Youtube videos. Especially I have watched that beautiful video of Let it Go, about a hundred times. The song, the words, the voice, the spectacular animation, all just extraordinary.

But I came away from watching the movie feeling a little unsettled by it and it took me a while to figure out why.

My granddaughter has Elsa pajamas. I’ve given her Elsa stickers, she went as Elsa to at least one Halloween. She LOVES Elsa. And the dress up clothes, Elsa’s are bright and blue and drapey and glittery.

Anna’s…I can’t even remember.

But what’s unsettling about this is, Frozen is Anna’s story.

We’ve talked about ‘Who’s story is this” before, and so often the answer is split between hero and heroine. Because those are the main two characters. Well, in watching Frozen … up until that grand finale, huge production number of Let it Go, frankly, Elsa isn’t even hardly IN this movie.

Seriously, she’s got the opening scene where she accidentally injures Anna in a way that is fatal without the magical intervention of some rock people. (Disney maybe hoping to sell a toy that looks like the love child or a  troll doll and a pet rock?) So that’s the first time Elsa kills Anna. At least it’s an accident.

There’s a second scene where the troll/Pet Rock people magically save Anna. And then…that’s pretty much it. Elsa is gone.

There are maybe two or three scenes where Elsa is mostly just sitting on the opposite side of the door from Anna, but those scenes are all Anna.

The loneliness is Anna’s, the songs are Anna’s, the evil villain aims at Anna, the good guy saves and guides Anna.

I mean c’mon! Elsa doesn’t really reappear until like the last half hour. She and Anna share a scene, again, largely Anna’s scene, then Elsa goes off in a raging temper, sets off eternal winter (these aren’t spoilers I hope) and has her big splashy song.

At which point we go BACK to Anna trying to save the Kingdom, save Elsa, find true love, on and on and on. This is Anna’s story.

Then (look away if you haven’t seen this movie and intend to) Anna finds Elsa who injures her fatally AGAIN and this time deliberately, though not REALLY deliberately, but sort of deliberately…and then in the end….Anna is freezing to death, only to be saved by true loves kiss and Anna turns her back on true love to SAVE ELSA.

Anna gives her LIFE. She turns away from True Love, then Anna throws herself between Elsa and a descending sword. Anna gives her life TWICE.

In the end, Elsa finally sees what’s all gone wrong and saves Anna but not by choice, just by good luck that a hug…given out of a heart full of true love…sisterly love (this is where I choke up) saves Anna.

But seriously, Elsa was just hugging her good-bye, that it saved Anna was as accidental as that original deadly injury.

Anna is killed twice by her sister and gives her life twice for her sister. THIS IS ANNA’S STORY.

Now the Disney movie is wonderful and I read that it’s the highest grossing animated movie of all time. So who can argue with that?

But in our books, so often we want secondary characters to be fun, they’re the quirkiest, they’re the source of comedy or angst, they draw the hero or heroine out and awaken the personalities of the main characters. And sometimes these oh—so—fun—to--write characters can threaten to take over a story.

When that happens we lose our vision of the story we want to tell. It’s a seat-of-the-pants risk for sure but plotters can let this over take a story, too.

The plain fact is, at the end of Frozen you are going to remember two things, maybe only one. One absolutely for sure, is that spectacular song and Elsa transforming herself into an ice blue dress and building a magnificent ice castle. And maybe you’ll remember Elsa catching hold of her frozen-to-death sister and weeping and hugging her and SHAZAAM Anna melts and comes back to life.

Click to Buy
Those two scenes are NOT the story of Frozen. Now imagine if your first thought when you imagined Gone with the Wind was Melanie Wilkes dying (yet another spoiler, yikes!) That is NOT the story of GWTW. And no one does think of her first--because she didn't take over the story!

If you let a secondary character take over your book then you are not telling your story. If you create characters you like that much, then give them their own book, by all means. But the main story needs to be front and center. If it’s not, you risk diluting a reader’s experience and maybe they won’t remember your book at all, at least not the parts you wanted them to remember.

Now, let’s talk about secondary characters you have read about or written about. Who is your favorite? Have you ever seen a secondary character become so important or interesting they take over the story?

And what do you think of my take on Frozen. Am I wrong? Is this Elsa’s story? Do you think I’m right or wrong?

Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for a signed copy of No Way Up.

 PS that's my Grandson in his Halloween Olaf costume from two years ago.


  1. I agree with you on Frozen!! :) Anna is my favorite character! Never seen a secondary character take over in a book that I can think of right now.

  2. I can definitely see where you're coming from but I like to think of Frozen as being about both Anna and Elsa and their relationship as sisters. Elsa seemed to grow as a character by learning how to control her powers which I think is a great way of showing how people grow in controlling their emotions.

    Thank you for the chance!

  3. The Fugitive is Richard Kimble's story, but Samuel Gerard takes over the movie (Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones). I can't think of a book example off the top of my head.

    Loved Frozen. Having such an amazing sister of my own, the thing that stuck with me is the power of a sister's love.

  4. I hadn't thought of it that way, but you're absolutely right! And, having seen the Disney documentary on how they made "Frozen," I know how it happened. The movie was originally going to be a classic "Evil Queen " story, with Anna wanting the queen to freeze her heart so she wouldn't feel how broken it was. Then the amazing composers wrote That Song. "Let It Go" was so wonderful that it forced a complete rewrite of the script. That's where secondary character Elsa suddenly became truly important, not as a villain but as an accidental cause of drastic climate change! I love "Frozen," too, despite its Elsa-centricity. I've had secondary characters try to take over some of my stories, too. I feel for Anna. And (I'm probably the only one,) I think Elsa should have a romance of her own. Thanks,Mary, for putting your finger on what bothered me about the movie!

  5. Hi Mary:

    I may be mixed up but I thought all along that Frozen was Anna's story. But then I think any story belongs to the character the reader thinks the story is about. That character is usually a sympathetic character and the one the reader most closely identifies with. After all, it's been often said that we read fiction so that we can 'live' other people's lives. I identified with Anna and she was the sympathetic character.

    As for a too powerful secondary character, that would be have to be Charity in the first Boston book. In my mind, Charity had two books! And that might be Charity's problem. Those who wanted to be Faith in the first book seemed to keep having their vicarious "Faith" life stepped on -- as far as attention goes. But then Charity is the type of personality who would do just what she did and that's why the series is so real and successful and why Charity is notorious. :)


  6. I have never seen Frozen. Must go do that and THEN come back and discuss.

  7. My first reaction to a secondary character taking over a story is one many probably haven't read, but if anyone reads the Joe Pickett Series by C.J. Box, Nate Romankowski (I thinnk that's his last name!) is taking over that whole series.
    He's doing it to the point I sort of vibe that Box is trying to go in a kind of Jack Reacher direction and Nate fits that but Joe, the ultimate good buy with a lovely family and roots, just can't make work.
    So Nate is taking over a whole SERIES.
    I love the Joe Pickett series and that includes Nate.

  8. I agree with you! This actually makes sense to why I constantly felt bothered by the movie as well, and even though Anna is strong and smart, Elsa however gets the credit for showing how she doesn't need anyone and she can go make an ice castle. I think we forget that she had made an ice castle, cold and void of all warm feelings... Hmm, I don't think a cold cool castle makes you the strong woman, Anna at least shows all the good qualities and more!

    PS we love frozen in my house my daughter loves Sven though the reindeer gets her each time!!
    Thank you for the chance!

  9. Amanda I love Anna, too.
    I guess that's why I'm a little confused about why they marketed Elsa like they did. And why NOT give Anna a spectacular dress. Almost every song she sings is (I think the word is) exposition. Like she's telling the story in a song, moving the plot forward in such a talky way it's almost annoying.
    I do love Do You Want to Build a Snowman though, but Anna sings that song through about fifteen years of growing up, We're young loving sisters zip, I'm a lonely little girl zip, I'm a grieving teenager zip, you're adults.
    So that song isn't really an anthem exactly, just fun and an exercise to move the story through those tedious growing up years....meanwhile Elsa is locked in her room.

  10. Interesting side fact Frozen is a Disney version of an old fairy tale called The Snow Queen.
    And in that tale 'Elsa' is the Snow Queen and she is evil.
    Anna is good.
    This is war
    Good vs evil

    You stop eternal winter by destroying the Snow Queen, not HUGGING HER.

  11. Krh, you know that is so so true. I need to shake myself loose from the always present ROMANCE of a Disney movie and remember this is about two sisters.
    But that moment, when Anna is running toward the reindeer guy, her hair turning white, death from freezing immanent, then she sees Elsa is about to be killed and ANNA TURNS AWAY FROM HER CHANCE AT LIFE AND LOVE TO THROW HERSELF BETWEEN ELSA AND A DESCENDING SWORD, ELSA WHO HAD 'KILLED' ANNA TWICE...ELSA WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ANNA RIGHT NOW SLOWLY FREEZING TO DEATH!!!!! Well, that is as big and bright and noble and courageous of a moment, as self-sacrificing of a moment, as you are ever going to see in a movie.

    And as for Elsa? Well...she loves Anna. She finally remembers that after KILLING HER. And she weeps and hugs her Popsicle of a sister....and that saves Anna.


    You know, I'm a little sister. This might be about more than just a movie.

  12. No you're NOT mixed up Vince. I agree with you absolutely. Frozen in Anna's story. But Elsa was the one they marketed. She got the big splashy anthem.
    The song that got the Oscar.

    WHY DID THEY DO THAT??? Did they just accidentally write that one great song and it somehow became a force they hadn't predicted?


  13. BreAnna, AND Anna is the one fighting to save Arandale. Racing after Elsa to bring her back and drive away eternal winter.
    Anna is the one who cares about her people.
    Elsa is the queen, but Anna is the one who is serving her subjects.

  14. I think I'm the only one in the world who didn't automatically LOVE Frozen! I liked it, and I might watch it again.

    But then, I don't have any girls who are the target age in my life. Baby girls, toddler girls, and grown-up girls. No "I have to be Elsa or I'm going to die!" girls. :)

    On another note, I thought what Disney did with the Frozen story line in Once Upon a Time was interesting. Elsa takes over there, too, even when Anna is the better character, IMHO. After all, even though they try to make Elsa sympathetic, she's still a Disney villain.

    ANYWAY - I have secondary characters who try to take over in my books. The best solution is to write a sequel and make them the star.

    What else can you do? :)

    By the way, I was sorting through my stash of Seeker books to loan to Meg Brummer and discovered that I don't have "No Way Up." It isn't even in my Amazon cart! So stick my name in the drawing!

  15. Hi Jan. I don't know what 'Once Upon a time' is.
    a sequel?
    I am mostly out of the loop, too. I've got grandkids the right age but none of that is MY JOB!
    Back in my mom days, it was lions killing their brothers and madcap singing genies.

  16. Once Upon a Time is an ABC series that reimagines fairy tales. A pretty clever show. And since ABC and Disney are both part of the same family, they use the Disney versions of the fairy tales.

    Don't watch it, though. It can be addicting!

    And my children also did that lion brother thing, and with three boys in the family... Well, let's just say it's a good thing one of the boys was immersed in Batman, instead. :)

  17. Mary,
    I have never thought of the story that way but I whole heartedly agree with you on Frozen! I love the movie too and have seen it many times but that never came to me. I think of Dave Richmond in Dee Hendrson book is the most memorable secondary character and he didn't take over or away from all the books but enriched them and help build them. In fact Dee ended up going back and writing Dave's story!

  18. I liked Frozen but it's not my favorite Disney movie. You are so right Mary, Anna was the star but Elsa was promoted. My thoughts are because of her clothes. They were glitzy and glamorous and something a little girl might want to wear. But Anna was royal too, so why didn't they allow her to have the glitzy as well? I agree with you.

    Hope everyone has a blessed week!
    Cindy W.

  19. This is Anna's story! My daughter-in-law found an Anna costume for my granddaughter before the movie came out. Brooke work it for Halloween, and nobody seemed to know who she was then. Now I think everybody knows Anna!

    Thanks for sharing, Mary.

  20. The Christmas after FROZEN hit the box offices, I bought my young granddaughter, whose name is Anna, a large Anna doll. Come to find out, she loved Elsa, not Anna. Yet Anna was the character who stole my heart. So I'm agreeing, Mary, the Disney movie was flawed.

    What would Michael Hauge say?

    And I've always felt a bit confused about the plot. It didn't work for me.

    BreAnna, thanks for that info about the making of the movie. Not only did Elsa take over, but a song caused a huge change in the story line. I, for one, feel cheated. :)

    But then, Disney made a boatload...or an ice castle...full of money. Go figure. What do we know?

    Maybe we need to just "Let it Go!"

  21. I just spent a week with my two-year-old granddaughters. Frozen isn't on their playlist yet, but Beauty and the Beast is. That will always be my favorite Disney movie. The secondary characters are fabulous in it. No one one takes over at all, and that awful Gaston gets his justice reward in the end.

    I've seen Frozen just once. Aside from the gorgeous animation and "Let it Go," I wasn't a huge fan of it the story. Not sure why . . . except now that you mention it, Elsa really does take over. Maybe that's what confused my sense of "story" for the movie. The ending just felt off to me. Fun analysis, Mary!

  22. I love how they did FROZEN and I'll tell you why.

    Elsa was the tortured soul.

    It's a shared story from the beginning, but I think what people relate to is how tortured Elsa was, then protective and self-hating...

    The distrust, the loneliness, the fear of not being able to control her powers.


    Of course I do, I write them all the time, and I love that sense of hope when tortured souls overcome their guilt and fear and make it back to the green meadows of peace and tranquility.

    Anna is a great role model.

    But Elsa's story is the conflict laid before us.

    BUT having said that, let me just say that our princesses have a lot of Anna stuff, probably more than Elsa, although they all love the scene with "Let it Go" and the ice castle.



  23. Good points, Mary!!! Go you!!!

    I have some secondary characters I love. I don't think I've had one take over yet. I have given a bunch their own stories. I'm also planning an Aunt Dot. Named after my Great-Aunt Dot who we got to see this weekend, but sadly likely isn't long for this world.

    Also...12 hour road trip w a kid who just threw up. Prayers appreciated.

  24. I loved Anna's clothes for the age she was representing.

    I thought they were really cute, and her over-the-top teen antics were precious.

    She wasn't fierce like Mulan or Pocahontas... she was like everybody's favorite kitten, adorable...

    But moreover I think the song blasted Elsa into the stratosphere because it was on every radio station and iPod known to man...

    I love this parody!!! Fathers Parody of FROZEN!!!

    Over 2 million views...

  25. When I was writing THE COLONEL'S DAUGHTER, the mom took over in my first draft. My cp told me I was loving the Mama too much. Of course, I was...she was me! Not really, but I was the Army wife, and I had grown daughters so her part of the story was a piece of cake to write.

    Had to cut that Mama down to size.

    Still laughing about how Mama tried to take over the story! :)

  26. Is it bad that my favorite Frozen character was Sven the reindeer? I love how the animators were able to have him communicate so much just through facial expressions (and Kristoff "talking" for him).

    I preferred Anna as well because I sort of don't like blondes (generically speaking - sort of like Mary's problem with little sisters getting ignored because of older sisters). Anna is a more proactive heroine - while Elsa was that passive heroine kicking and screaming against change.

    Give me Sven (and Kristoff for that matter) anytime.

    p.s. I want to be Anna even though Elsa's magical power is a bit tempting.

    p.p.s. Great post on the danger of allowing secondary character take over a story, Mary. I love the picture of your Grandson. It's wonderful blackmail photo op for when he gets to be a teen.

  27. MARY, this is an interesting post. And I have to say I wondered the same thing. Anna is fun and spunky compared to Elsa who mostly mopes around when she is not turning things into ice. And Anna is a better DISNEY heroine, because most of them are fun and spunky, or at least have become so in recent years.
    JAN DREXLER, I agree. I have a secondary character in my Oregon Trail series who has a strong presence in the first book, a stronger one in the second, and gets her own book in the third.
    Look at it this way, If we have strong secondary characters, we don't have to worry about a plot for the sequel. We can just think, "What happens to so-and-so?"
    I also did that in my Hell's Kitchen series. Julia is a strong secondary character in the first book and the focus of the second.
    Kathy Bailey

  28. RUTHY, that was a really good insight into Elsa as a tortured soul. Of course she was, although that's probably not the part little kids relate to. That gives this story a lot of gravitas. Anna is a simpler soul but who loves deeply and never gives up.
    Wow this is heady stuff for a Monday morning...
    Going to work etc., may be back later.
    Kathy Bailey
    Letting It Go in New Hampshire

  29. Hi Mary,
    I may be the only person in North America who hasn't seen the movie but I agree that the secondary characters can take over.

    Hope to see you this fall at meetings. I haven't gotten to many.

  30. Hi Mary Thanks for reminding us about our secondary characters. They are so important. And I love the way you had your characters end up with their own book. My favorite secondary character of yours was Belle. I was glad she got her own hero. smile

    Loved the photos of you and your hubby and the one of your grandson. So fun.

  31. Jan You aren't alone. I didn't care for Frozen at all. Haven't been very fond of the direction Disney has taken these past years. Glad I don't have to watch them. Was never a fan of cartoons either. Just can't get into them. They don't seem real. I might have liked Nimo but that's been about it.

  32. Now I feel like I need to watch Frozen again! You're so right--the big thing we remember is the huge "Let It Go" production number. As you were describing it, I sort of recalled scenes with Anna and Elsa together when they were kids, and then Anna and the conniving guy who was trying to marry her. Don't even remember much about that storyline.

    Oh, I do think my granddaughter got the right message. After the movie came out, she specifically asked for an Anna doll, NOT an Elsa doll! Her little sister, on the other hand, is ALL about Elsa!

  33. I agree with Vince Charity was one of my favorite secondary characters inJulie Lessman's A PASSION MOST PURE as well and I was delighted with her story in A PASSION REDEEMED.

  34. I think that people like Elsa so much because she's the one they all relate to. After all, we all have something that we dream of someday having the chance to 'let it go.' And we've all hurt someone we loved accidentally (personally, I think both times she hurt Anna were accidents- she wasn't even looking the second time). Anna's the person we all want to know. Elsa is the person we are.

    Also, in my own writing, I've had secondary characters I've been fond of. Hans probably came the closest to taking over the story. He started off as a pop-in character, turned into a subplot bad guy, and then I liked him so much I had him eventually become a good guy and help the other good guys in a battle in which he sacrifices himself for the hero- and even though he didn't die in the sacrifice, it was still really sad what he had to lose, and I was just so sad.... Then I gave him his own short story to be the protagonist of. Still working on it, but he's just such a fun character to write.

  35. Oh, man.


    I love so many of these, I'm a ridiculous fairy tale lover. Or lover of fairy tales. The Little Mermaid, Nemo, The Lion King, Frozen, and (not animated) Enchanted??? Big Hero Six?

    I'm probably certifiable but I do love them.

    Happy endings. Overcoming grief and sorrow. Overcoming obstacles.

    I do love those messages sent to kids... and then I morph right into great sports movies... "Remember the Titans"... For the Love of the Game... "Rudy"... "Brian's Song"....

    I'm a softie inside a hard-hearted Yankee.

    It's a conundrum.

  36. Great post!! I've had two secondary characters who tried to take over. Men. I sat them both down and explained that it would be ok. I promised to write their stories. One turned out to be my all time favorite hero and the other one has his debut sometime next year!! No blue dresses. But a lot of torment!!
    Mary, you shook do your own version of two sisters!! I'd read that!!

  37. I LOVED Frozen. Ran out and bought the DVD and have watched it a couple more times. I think I was confused in the beginning, tihiking it was Elsa's story, which is why the ending surprised me so much. It's rare when I don't see plot points coming. In fact, my family hates to watch movies with me because I'm constantly getting excited and saying, "Oh! Such and such is going to happen!" And then, bam, it happens, and they all look at me in frustration. LOL So I expected a guy would save the day like happens in so many stories and was so surprised and pleased with the way Frozen ended. Mary, I think it's probably because I hadn't realized it was Anna's story.

    Fun post! Tina, yes, you really need to watch this movie!

  38. My favorite line -

    You know, I'm a little sister. This might be about more than just a movie.

    I'm the BIG sister. *grin*

    SO here's where I admit I never actually watched the whole movie. I've seen so many clips and heard the songs sooooooooooo many times, that I feel like I did. Maybe that skews my perspective, but I didn't particularly like Anna.

    Of course, as I'm thinking of it, I might be basing my impressions more on the Once Upon a Time storyline. I really didn't like Anna in that one. In fact, I hated the whole storyline. I think that series lost its steam when they let too many of the minor story characters take over, so it does tie in with this discussion. The Wicked storyline, the Frozen storyline, the PeterPan storyline. Just give me the main characters and HOOK. Always more Hook.

  39. LOL, CATE, Hook is soooooooooo cute!!!

    But I agree--OUAT (wow, that looks weird as an acronym) tends to let those other storylines drag on too long. I thought they'd never get out of the Underworld. Before that, I was sick of Emma being the Dark One.


  40. More thoughts -

    (I'm procrastinating)

    It's all about the glitter.

    I teach 4th grade girls. It's always about the glitter.

    If you think of it, most Disney heroines are the plain girls who are transformed (though generally not frozen!).

    Anna is every girl in that way. But the girls don't want to be that every girl when they play dressup. They already are. They want Belle's gold gown, Cinderella's ballgown, Elsa's glittery gown. I sewed a fair number of those costumes for my daughters when they were young. They never asked for Cinderella's raggedy dress (although Belle's blue dress is okay, but that's because she wore it with BOOKS.)

    In a way, this story takes the traditional Disney transformation story and puts it as two different characters.


    I guess I'd better get to work.

  41. Mary, I read your take and nodded my head, thinking "YES, exactly!" It is a story of self-sacrifice, an act of true love and it mirrors Christ's sacrifice for us. A really beautiful story. Anna's story. I can't tell you how many times I thought the exact same thing while watching this dozens upon dozens of times. (I have a 3 year old daughter!)

    BUT, then I read Ruthy's take thinking "yes, exactly!" So, therein lies the beauty of the story, I think. Depending on who views it, we come away with different impressions.

    I also think it's the nature of being the sacrificial supporter-you end up in the background, allowing the light to shine elsewhere. Supporting characters in movies do it all the time. They support the star, enriching her by their performances.

    Elsa's evolution is gratifying and only made possible through the support, love and sacrifice of her sister.

    I have your book Mary so please don't put me in for it.

  42. Fun, FUN post, Mare -- I LOVED Frozen!!!

    And I totally agree with you that it is ANNA'S story, but it does feeeeeel like Elsa's story, too, like she's the main character. And although I think the story REVOLVES around Elsa, it is definitely Anna's story in my opinion too.

    The moment the movie ended, my first thought was -- can't wait for Elsa's story!! Which I think would be cool if the hero in it was Han's oldest brother, but who knows. All we DO know is they're CRAZY if they don't make a sequel. :)

    You asked: "Now, let’s talk about secondary characters you have read about or written about. Who is your favorite? Have you ever seen a secondary character become so important or interesting they take over the story?"

    Well, I was actually told by a number of people, including my husband, that Cait and Logan (the secondary older hero and heroine) took over the San Francisco series, and I might agree that to me, their story is just as important as the hero's and heroine's in each book because they are the glue that holds it all together.

    But as far as a secondary character taking over a story, the closest I think I have come in my writing would be with Luke McGee, who was originally meant to be nothing more than a one-mention, one-page kid in my third book. But he SO took over my mind (and the book) that he literally forced me to make him the hero of the next book, which I did. GLADLY!!


  43. VINCE SAID: "As for a too powerful secondary character, that would be have to be Charity in the first Boston book. In my mind, Charity had two books! And that might be Charity's problem. Those who wanted to be Faith in the first book seemed to keep having their vicarious "Faith" life stepped on -- as far as attention goes. But then Charity is the type of personality who would do just what she did and that's why the series is so real and successful and why Charity is notorious. :)

    Thank you, Vince, for your support of Charity, whom readers have written to ask me to "slap Charity for them" or wanted to see her "killed or maimed." She is actually my favorite character of all those I have written, along with her counterpart, Emma Malloy. WHICH is why Charity did not take over Emma's book even though she was a crucial part of it and might have given she is my favorite. But what surprised me is Emma evolved SO incredibly strong and beautiful in that book (much to my surprise, I might add), that she carried her own as the heroine even though Charity stole much of the spotlight. :)


  44. Marion I haven't seen the documentary. That's so interesting, they rewrote the whole script? Wow that is LEGIT that she took over!

    There'll be a sequel right?

  45. Interesting post, Mary. I had not thought about that aspect of Frozen before. I love the movie. I first saw it when I was subbing for an elementary music teacher and had to show it to twelve classes. Since the class length ran only 20-30 minutes, I only saw a segment of the movie, mostly with the "Let It Go" song segment. The next day, I had to go to the theater to actually see the whole movie.

    My favorite character in the movie is Olaf! I really wanted an Olaf for my snowman collection and finally found one last Christmas. (How adorable is your grandson in that Olaf costume!)

    Please enter me in the drawing!

  46. Amy the sad fact is I did NOT love Frozen. I found it unmemorable.....UNTIL THAT SONG!
    Let's face it, "Let it Go" is THEE MOMENT in that song.
    It makes the movie.
    IMHO of course.

  47. I always love well done song lyrics and poetry. I mean bright, interesting work that surprises me, and Let it Go, well, I particularly was impressed that they worked the word FRACTALS into that song.
    Not sure why, except it's an unusual word and it seemed to show they made a deep profound effort to write something great.

    My power flurries through the air into the ground
    My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
    And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
    I'm never going back, the past is in the past

  48. See now, Cindy...THAT is the question. I mean this is Elsa's coronation. Why not have Anna also in a beautiful dress????

  49. Jackie There are absolutely Anna costumes and Anna's face is right there on lunch boxes and such things. But it's not PROMOTED it doesn't seem like. Hmmmmmm
    I almost bought my seven year old granddaughter this little figurine of Anna and Elsa as little girls, sitting with their arms around each other. So cute.

    But what's the point of a figurine, huh? Dust catcher!
    Plus I always figure Disney has enough money, they don't need mine!

    My oldest daughter did have her six month old son go as Olaf for Halloween. That was just crazy cute.

  50. Debby it's weird that the SONG drove the movie. I mean why not just write a huge, beautiful song for ANNA, too.

    Did the song...I mean...I'm searching for just the right way to make my point.

    Can a song just get away from you? They wrote the great accident? Or they just wrote the very best songs they knew how and only Let it Go was off the charts brilliant? So instead of buckling down and writing a better song for Anna they just gave up?

    Nope, we can't top that? Who knew we had that in us???

  51. Very interesting Mary. I hadn't thought about it. I watched the movie n bits and pieces and finally got to see it all the way through. I never rally thought about whose story it was. I liked Sven too. I can't remember a book where they secondary character took over but they did get their own books later on. I love your books. I think you wrote a great three sister series and now I wonder if you identified with the youngest. As an only I identified with the oldest. OUAT is a good show and I agree with others that they spent too much time with some of the secondary characters. I liked some of the characters but I agree with some of the others. More Hook. And yet he was a secondary character to begin with. I'm waiting to see how Regina deals with the evil queen twin. You need to see the first season of OUAT to understand it but I think you would like it. It's not Castle but it's good. I loved the picture with your Cowboy. It was nice to see his face clearly. I've read No Way Up and enjoyed it immensely, but I got it from the library. I'd like to own it so please put my name in the pot/hat. I enjoy your writing. I like the humor you use. I need the laughs. I always look at a book with your name on it because I know you have such a great sense of humor. Can't wait to read Justin's and Cole's stories and find out who is behind everything.

  52. MARY, I loved FROZEN. I need to be more like Elsa and ....LET IT GO!

    Please enter me for a signed copy of No Way Up.

  53. Ah Beauty and the Beast.

    So great. I will always remember The beast lay there, dying. Beauty hugs her dying
    beloved and whispers, "I love you."
    The last flower pedal falling.
    Then gradually the zips of light. The beast being lifted up.

    Wow, great, great moment.

    Not as good as Robin Williams/Genie singing "You've Never Had a Friend Like Me" though.

  54. I can definitely see your point of view. I have a secondary character that is evolving and I know now that he needs his own story, but I'm glad you pointed this out. I will need to keep him in his place till it's his time. Thanks for a great post!

  55. Ah, Ruthy, that's so true. Elsa is the one with the conflict and the need to change.
    So maybe it IS Elsa's story.
    Well, fine then, but I hope in the sequel, Elsa's Chill Out (or whatever they title my predicted sequel) Anna gets the big, bad, song.

  56. Great post, Mary. I really enjoyed FROZEN. I confess, I watched it right after having an appendectomy. Being the mom of two boys, bringing a "girl movie" into the house was almost scandalous. And insisting I watch it as part of my convalescence, was maybe a little bit sneaky. I bribed one boy with popcorn if he watched it with us. :)

    That said, I agree. FROZEN is more Anna's story than Elsa's. It's interesting that Disney gave Elsa such memorable songs and a gorgeous wardrobe, even though she had many fewer scenes than Anna. I see this movie as more of a sister story than anything else.

    In my last manuscript, I had a few of my beta readers say they liked my subplot character (a man) more than my hero. That's given me something to think about. :)

    Great post!

  57. Yikes, Carol. 12 hour road trip.

    You definitely have my prayers.

    See, I do have secondary characters I love and I do give them their own books, in fact that's what a LOT of my Seeker novellas and one Bethany House novella...are full of, the children and secondary characters from my longer books who need their own story.

    But take over???? Nope.

  58. Wasn't Tom Linscott supposed to be a one page character? And we all know how I feel about Tom.

    341 miles to go...

  59. Hi Julie:

    I had no problem with Charity in "Emma's Story" -- in fact, as I read the story, I kept thinking that, if it were a movie, Charity would get an Oscar for "Best Supporting Actor".

    In a way, Charity did not really get redeemed: she got burdened (and distracted). Yet even by the novellas, I think Charity was just as conniving as ever.

    Idea: I think Charity would make a great detective when her kids are grown. She would trick suspects into telling what they were most trying to kept secret.

    You could call the Cozy Series: The Charity Cases!
    First Episode: Charity Began at Home.

    Love the image of an elder Charity as a Miss Marple, Agatha Raisin, or Jessica Fletcher character. And the Boston area is perfect!

    Can a murder you write?


  60. Debby that reminds me of a children's story I once wrote and the wise TEACHER was always giving advice to these kids until I realized as a story for KIDS this was BAD. And I think I was that teacher. Her voice was my voice. But that's not what a kid wants to read

  61. Huh! I never thought of it that way. (One of my favorite movies LOLOL)
    And definitely a lot to keep in mind with secondary characters. Actually this post backs up what one critique partner cautioned me about in my WIP! =D

  62. I'd like to braid my hair and be given an Anna dress complete with boots and then sing 'would you like to build a snowman' And if I could get paid for all that...But in a non-imaginary world I hadn't really thought about who's story it actually was. But you're points make sense! And I really like it when a secondary character gets their own book later. :)

  63. Okay I just played Let it Go (ps I'm babysitting so my comments occasionally take a while) and my eleven month old granddaughter was FROZEN during Let it Go, but she danced a little during Do You Want to Build a Snowman.
    And she wandered off during For the First Time in Forever. Also Katherine (the 11 mn old) is now trying to climb the outside of a staircase. Gotta go.

    But she was mesmerized by Let it Go.

  64. I was curious so I went looking. There's an interesting article on how the whole story developed and changed. It reminds me so much of our process as we develop our novels - or at least mine. That Maybe... what if... but then... hmmmm.

    This is one part -
    "It’s very important in all storytelling or in any film, you have to be able to prove your point. If you want her to not be villainous, you have to show us why we should want that if we always thought we were going in a different direction. And ‘Let It Go’ was that. It was the day when we showed everyone ‘Let It Go’ we were able to say, ‘This is the potential.'”

  65. Hi Mary:

    Talk about powerful songs changing movies! Look how the song"White Christmas" took over "Holiday Inn" and how it demanded it's own movie, all its own, with the biggest stars of its time.

    It think it is a very strong marketing approach to name novels and novella collections with great song titles. I think Anna will be back in the saddle soon with her own, very own, movie!

  66. DebH Sven, huh? You know...I love what they do with animation. I'm thinking back to the Robin Williams Genie. Do they write the words first? You know he just HAD to ad lib...didn't he?
    THEN animate? They have to let the characters talk first, at least when they're as improvisational as Williams.
    But I see other 'moments' in the movies that seem so off the cuff and marvel that they wrote that and animated it.

  67. I've had secondary characters who would only step back when I promised them their own story. Eye-opener: their story is often better than the hero's in the first story. Maybe the hero's story was the backstory for the secondary character's story. Hmm.

    I appreciate when writers make a secondary character in Book 1 the heroine/hero in Book 2. It's like meeting a friend and getting to know more about them :-)

    Nancy C

  68. And everyone says Frozen wasn't a romance, it was female empowering. But it WAS a romance between Anna and Kristoff--an unlikely prince. One trouble this big romantic ballad was sung between Anna and THE WRONG MAN! Weird. In the end it was just sort of off for me in several ways.

  69. ps romances can be VERY female empowering.
    If you don't believe that, go read The Husband Tree again.
    And give Julia from Out of Control a close watch and Ruthy from Swept Away and Bailey from Fire and Ice.

    Powerful females there.

  70. Kaybee I always have fun, strong secondary characters often deliberately because I've already pitched them as books 2 and 3.

  71. Interesting take on Frozen. I've seen it twice. It's Okay but not my favorite, but all my great nieces and nephews are mesmerized by it. This post caused me to take another look at my wip. I don't think the secondary characters are taking over. Hopefully they are just enhancing the main character.

    Enjoy your granddaughter

    Please enter me for a copy of your book.

  72. hi Mary
    As an animator, just an FYI - the audio is always recorded BEFORE the drawing of the character. That's why Robin Williams' Genie was so spot on with the visuals of his improv voice-over. So the order is Script written, songs written, voice actors recorded, THEN drawing. Of course, there is a bit of character and set design going on during all the recording so the actors/actresses have a visual of who they are as characters - but the nuts and bolts of audio is all done before the animation begins. No such thing as visual out-takes in animation. Unless a scene gets axed because it's just not working for the story for some weird reason.

    As for the sequel - I've read a couple of places that some special interest groups are pushing for Elsa's true love to be of the same gender. I'm praying Disney won't do that.

  73. p.s.
    I hope you're having fun "herding cats" with your young grand-daughters. I love the toddler age. The developing personalities of children are an amazing thing to watch.

  74. Jewell honestly it's a decent but unremarkable movie...........until Elsa sings Let it Go. That is, I believe, the serious bald truth.

  75. Sandra I only watched Frozen because it was free on some cable channel for a weekend. Not sure which one.
    Otherwise, me too, I'm past the cartoon stage. Mercifully.

  76. Myra, your Anna loving granddaughter is obviously highly refined. Good girl. (My granddaughter loves Elsa, too!!!)

  77. I totally agree about Elsa taking over the movie, but never fear, Anna, you are still my favorite character and always have been! As for other characters taking over the story... well Aragorn from the Lord of the Rings comes to mind. The story is supposed to be of Frodo and the ring, but then BAM! Aragorn sweeps in and steals the show, and you can't blame him because he is awesome. When I was growing up and watching the movies I never wanted to see the scenes with Frodo and Sam. All I wanted was to get back to Legolas, Gimli, and most of all ARAGORN!

    So yeah, sorry Frodo. You too Sam, but know that you were bested by only the best.

  78. Sandra AND Vince AND Julie...I agree about Charity but......she was a naughty girl and I had a hard time seeing her as a heroine. But of course Julie made it work perfectly. I ended up LOVING Charity and Mitch.

  79. Boo I agree the second time was an accident in that she didn't deliberately set out to kill Anna, but she was fighting, angry, flashing her freeze ray to drive people back. What did she EXPECT????
    And you're right about us all having things we need to Let Go.
    In fact it's gotten to be a joke phrase when someone is complaining. LET IT GO!

  80. Lenora, LOL You SAT THEM DOWN???
    Sometimes they get to be almost that real don't they.

    I think Seth from all three Kincaid Brides books tried to take over. I loved him so much. And worried about him and his 'antics' drove so much of each story.
    And he KNEW his book was coming if he would JUST be patient!

  81. Mary, this is such a great way to look at secondary characters! I don't LOVE Frozen, but I thought it was beautifully animated. And I agree about the marketing for Elsa vs. Anna. Anna was such a spunky character, but (personally) I think Disney just wanted TWO princesses to market (more $). And, I will admit, while Anna's costume was pretty, Elsa's sparkly blue dress was spectacular.

    As for secondary characters, I was thinking of The Great Gatsby. Sure, his name is in the title, but when you think about it, the story is told from a first-person narrator (Nick). Usually the narrator is the star of the story, but rather Nick tells the whole tragic tale of Jay Gatsby and his doomed love affair with Daisy Buchanan.

    I'm also remembering a TV show that only lasted half a season called Mad Love. It supposedly revolved around a quartet of friends but it seemed to focus on two in particular, a couple played by Sarah Chalke and Jason Biggs. However, every time I watched it, the secondary friends in the quartet (played by Judy Greer and Tyler Labine) were SO much funnier than the leads! They were the best friends of the leads, but despised each other, which set up a lot of fun shenanigans, as they were secretly attracted to each other. I remember thinking that the show could be so much better if they cut the leads' time by half, and let the secondary ones be the stars! No wonder the show didn't last.

    (Another example of this is The Big Bang Theory. Watch the first season and you'll see that Leonard is the star of the show, but Sheldon, a secondary character, quickly took over as the one everyone loved to watch.)

    Great blog, Mary!

  82. cute costume. order the book on its way as I type this can't wait to read it.

  83. MARY, I haven't seen Frozen so I can't offer an opinion. My granddaughter didn't want to see the movie. No idea why, except teens don't need reasons. :-) Still I want to see it and I'm sure I will. I love animated movies!

    I've never written a secondary character who tried to take over. Perhaps because many of mine are old codgers who'd probably not survive the rigors of a main role. :-)


  84. Great post, Mary! I haven't seen Frozen, but that didn't stop the song from getting lodged into my brain.
    I almost had a secondary character try and take over a story once, but thankfully I realized it before it resulted in major rewrites.

  85. No comments for Frozen as I haven't seen it. It's not even on my bucket list. Sorry ladies, and gentlemen. I love it when secondary characters get their own books. Yeah for more books!

  86. What a spectacular post! I loved the movie. I especially loved that Anna was strong and independent and didn't have to rely on Prince Charming to swoop in and save her. In the end, she and her sister saved each other! Loved your "review" of it and it gives me a whole new way to view "Who's Story is This?"

  87. Missy honestly it reminds me a little of Sleeping Beauty, an ancient Disney Movie....the princess SLEPT THROUGH ALMOST THE WHOLE STINKIN' MOVIE. C'MON!!!

  88. Cate you would, I believe LOVE Anna if you saw the whole story in context. She's a lonely little princess who can't figure out why her best friend, her big sister Elsa, vanished into room.

    "We used to be such buddies, but now we're not...."

  89. Cate the glitter...that reminds me of a very funny Disney princess joke I think of once in a while.

    The fairy godmother shows up and gives Cinderella a beautiful dress while singing bibbity bobbity boo.

    And Cinderella says, "Hey thanks for the dress lady but where were you eight years ago when my family forced me into slavery."

  90. Hi Josee! I have a daughter named Josie so I LOVE the name!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am a sucker for self-sacrifice. If anything's gonna make me cry in a book that's it.

    And Anna...yes, it's Christlike isn't it? She gave up her LIFE for her sister. A sister who's reckless anger (sin?) had set her on the path to death.

  91. Hi Sandy. Yeah my little Lukie made a killer Olaf! LOL
    I think, seriously, if NOT for Let it Go, Frozen would have been a minor hit. That song, I'm sort of 'complaining' that Elsa took over that movie with that song, but she did and the truth is that song is THE MOMENT!!!
    Without it, not much going on.
    I keep thinking of Anna's love song with the WRONG MAN!
    So odd.

  92. LOVED your post, Mary! I think secondary characters take over in many stories - books and movies! I think that's why people like sequels! Look at FINDING DORY!!! People love to connect with certain characters and sometimes that's a secondary characters. I remember reading a book once and I totally connected with a secondary character more than the heroine! I wrote the author and literally BEGGED her to write a book about that character!

    I'd love to be in the drawing for you book!

  93. Connie I never thought of that. Was Kylie ME???
    I know with her ... in Tried and True, I really felt like I wanted her to LOVE girly things and to NOT make that be wrong. Why shouldn't she love bonnets and cities and friends closeby? Why does she have to be a cowboy!?

    So when I list my passive characters (like I did with Cara's post last week) I don't count Kylie.

  94. Hi Caryl. LOL we all have plenty we need to Let It Go!!!!!!!!!

    It's good advice.
    Although honestly with Elsa she's not letting go of old hurts, she's letting go of constraints, going wild, tapping into her power.

    Love that song.

    Let it go, let it go
    Turn away and slam the door
    I don't care
    what they're going to say
    Let the storm rage on.
    The cold never bothered me anyway

  95. Mary, this is a stimulating post! I did watch Frozen...once....a long time ago...but...hmmm...cannot really comment on the movie cause I don't remember enough about it. I've really enjoyed the comments and can see where a good, kind, strong and feisty character might be outshined by a "troubled soul" (Ruthy's words) who is redeemed...even if by accident...and becomes the star.

    Woe to those of us who've lived with these elements in our personal lives wishing we'd been the tormented one who gets the sparkly dress and sings the BEST song! LOL

    Happy Monday, Happy August 1st!!

  96. Jeri WATCH HIM LIKE A HAWK!!!!!!!! :D

  97. Carol, Tom Linscott is definitely a minor character who became VERY major. His appearance and his conflict and relationship with the heroine in Wildflower Bride threatened to take over that book BIG TIME!

  98. Hi Meghan, it can happen. Secondary characters are created to be quirky and charming and to make the hero/heroine more approachable and likeable (at least sometimes they are).

  99. Megan, I'm with you on the boots, but building a snow man is just plain COLD! LOL

  100. Cate thank you for that link. Someone told me there was a story about how the movie changed directions but I couldn't find it.
    I could only find toys for sale with ELSA ON THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!

  101. Vince I have always preferred Holiday Inn to White Christmas (the movies), but when you talk about the movie White Christmas everyone assumes the song originated from there.

  102. Chill N (Nancy C) LOL. I love that. I know just what you mean!

  103. Hi Wilani. Gotta watch those tricky secondary characters. Good for you.
    And my granddaughter is now back with her mama and napping.
    It seems like I oughta get naptime but I fumbled that this time.

  104. DebH thank you for the insider animation info.
    And as for that strange twist on the sequel, I'm shaking my head!

  105. Nicky he takes over the movie but he doesn't really take over the book do you think?

    And what about Liv Tyler's character? She barely existed in the book!

  106. Hi Kim. You ordered my book? Or you ordered Frozen? LOL

  107. Big sigh. I love Tom Linscott. You know that!! He, Travis Archer, and Garr Wulfirth (Tamara Leigh's The Unveiling) are my three favorite heroes ever.

    Now that I think about it, I have a secondary character who is a secondary love interest in book 1, mild kinda sorta potential love interest in book 2, and the losing end of a triangle in book 3 (**I** didn't know who she was going to end up with until 2/3 of the way through). He was very much a background character in the next series (a continuation). I get more questions about him and getting his happy ending than anything else. I don't think he took over as much as he seemed to get the short end of the stick. His book comes out in September... ;)

  108. I agree that Aragorn takes over teh book less than the movie. Actually I would say that Sam probably took over the books, and as for Arwen playing a larger part... well I agree she was in the movie too much, but then again I was always team Eowyn. She was so much better for Aragorn than Arwen!

  109. Janet Old Codgers. I LOVE THEM!
    They can say ANYTHING!

  110. Hi some MAJOR spoilers in this post if you haven't seen it.


  111. Marianne, LOL there you go. As long as the end result is MORE BOOKS!!!

  112. Leanne that is the true gift of Frozen, two girls, saving the day.
    As the mom of four daughters I get a little weepy talking about the theme, the story itself....all I end up with is that song stuck in my head.
    PS Let it go won an Academy Award, and a Grammy Award.
    So way to go let it go!

  113. Hi Valri, I loved an older alpha male big brother in a regency series and was so delighted when he finally got his own love story. He was so tough, so ... almost tyrannical. But he took care of his family...even when it was extreme meddling. Though usually it turned out he was right.

  114. Kathryn when you say you can't really remember...that sort of is my POINT.
    I'll bet you remember that song, huh??? And precious little else!!!!

  115. Carol, I'm glad your guy is getting his own book. Sounds like he's well and truly EARNED IT!!!!!
    Tom Linscott...what a man. He had to be great to deserve (and be able to handle) Mandy McClellen, the Sharpshooter in Petticoats!

  116. Nicky way to go with all the names!
    You're a VAULT of Lord of the Rings knowledge!

  117. THANK YOU!!! It is SO Anna's story! Anna is just adorable! And hilarious, and tenacious, and loyal... For every time my girls insist on listening to Let It Go, I make sure we listen to the other songs on the soundtrack too :) I think the reason I don't mind the movie itself is because of the focus on Anna. It's the merchandising focus on Elsa that is annoying...

    You hit the nail on the head. Elsa is a secondary character. I will be bringing this up in any future Frozen discussions ;)

    Please include me in the drawing for your new book!

  118. I guess I'm the only person who hasn't seen FROZEN! So I'm glad to finally know what it's about! (and yeah, with all the Elsa fans I'd figured SHE would've been the main one).
    LOVE the pic of your grandbaby in the Olaf costume - - so adorable!
    Thanks for this post, Mary. I'll add it to my Keeper file so I won't LET IT GO (cheesy pun of the day). ;)
    Hugs, Patti Jo

  119. Atta girl, Heidi. Let's all fight for Anna.
    Little Sister Mary Connealy


  120. Hi Patti Jo, you are the THIRD (at least) to say on this blog they haven't seen it.

    Including our very own TINA!

    So you have company!

  121. MARY, snickering at the dig at Cinderella's Fairy godmother. LOL Love the skewed way you have of looking at things. Now don't deny it!

    My old codgers return in subsequent books but never demand their own. Thank goodness. Who'd want them?


  122. Oh wow, fascinating reading -- both the blog post and the comments. Shhhh -- I haven't watched Frozen but I've seen snippets and the Let it Go scene, of course. I've been reluctant to embrace it because I'm a fairy tale purist and when I read that this was the Snow Queen and it clearly wasn't well...the kid lit major in me was disillusioned. Anyhow, I loved your recap -- saves me from having to watch the movie all the way through!

    I have to admit that I love secondary characters almost as much as I love main characters -- both in reading and writing. One that stole the show for me and a lot of readers was Mary Kate in Suzanne Woods Fisher's Stoney Ridge Seasons series. Mary Kate was a secondary character in the first two books until she got the starring role in The Lesson. I mean, everyone was talking about Mary Kate -- even in their reviews of the first two books and we were all swoony when MK finally got her turn to shine. It's not that we didn't love the other main characters...but Mary Kate just wrapped herself around our hearts and I would have read those books just for her scenes. Sorry if I'm rambling and not making much sense but it's hot and humid and...pffffffttttt...I don't do hot and humid.

    No need to enter me in the draw -- I have No Way Up in hand and am about to plop in front of a fan and start reading. I'll review later in the week.

  123. I'm a huge Lord of The Rings fan, I mean like full out geek attack (though I have to admit while I have read the books that I am a bigger fan of the movies) so I hope I can get all the names right. You should hear me go on about Pirates of the Caribbean...

  124. Thank you, Mary.

    Songs tend to stick with me forever and I've been uber concerned that I couldn't let it go if I watched/listened.

    Wonderful post today. Hadn't thought of it this way but yeah. Can totally see this. Glad to have you dissect it for us (maybe just me - haven't read thru comments yet).

    As far as secondary characters, back in Beverly Hills Cop days, that gallery director performance was so compelling, he ended up with his own TV series as I recall. Rather different scenario but in the ballpark perhaps (to butcher several metaphors simultaneously)...

    thank you!!! Now I don't need to see the film. HURRAH!

  125. Hi Kav. Seriously do most people watch cartoons if they don't have youngsters around to make them?
    I would think it was the exception not the rule.

  126. One of my fave books of all time is called No Greater Love by Katherine Kingsley and it is NOT Christian fiction. A strange book with a lot of faith references and also some really graphic sex so ... be warned.

    But the BUTLER in that book is just so funny. He almost stole the book.

  127. Mary, what a fun discussion in the comments about Frozen and secondary characters. I think the late Garry Marshall did a great job with secondary characters. Look at the Fonz. Henry Winkler wasn't even supposed to have a big role in Happy Days, but the Fonz became the star of the show. When Happy Days brought on some guest stars in the form of Robin Williams as Mork in one episode and Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams as Laverne and Shirley in another, there were spin-offs with both of those characters.

    But I digressed into TV. As far as books, I think a couple that come to mind are To Kill a Mockingbird, but that is such a rich book that everyone latches on to a different secondary character who has become larger than life to them as well as Rebecca where Mrs. Danvers almost steals the show.

    And I discussed this post with my daughter while I was driving her to work. She always believed it was both Anna and Elsa's story, and it led us into a discussion of the movie, so a huge thank you for a great topic to discuss with her. That alone was worth my gratitude.

  128. I love the Olaf costume. My nephew had one for Halloween that was soo adorable as well.

    Thanks for the giveaway!!!

  129. Secondary character; my first thought on a favorite is Colin McCrae from "A Noble Masquerade" by Kristi Ann Hunter, he then appears with his own story in "An Elegant Facade". He didn't take over the first book, but added a rich layer to it by his personality. He stuck out to me in my own mind and I was very happy that Kristi wrote his story; he was everything plus more in the second story! Sometimes it happens where I fall in love with a secondary character instead of the!

    I never really thought about "Frozen", Mary! You bring some very valid points :-) Your grandson is adorable in his costume! My sister-in-law loves Olaf...haha! Please add my name to the draw for "No Way Up", I simply adore your writing.

  130. KC I think I remember that guy!!!!!!!!!!!!

  131. Tanya...the Fonz is a terrific example! He really did become the star of that show.

  132. Kate thanks. My daughter made that costume. So fun.

  133. Hi Trixi, if you do it right, all characters should be great and three dimensional. Even the villain, right?
    So they OUGHT to vie for a place in a readers memory.

  134. VINCE SAID: "I had no problem with Charity in "Emma's Story" -- in fact, as I read the story, I kept thinking that, if it were a movie, Charity would get an Oscar for "Best Supporting Actor".

    Idea: I think Charity would make a great detective when her kids are grown. She would trick suspects into telling what they were most trying to kept secret. Can a murder you write?

    LOL, VINCE, only you, my friend!! I do agree about Charity winning an Oscar for "Best Supporting Actor," but only because Emma managed to upstage her, which I never expected.

    And, no, I canNOT write murder like Debby or Mary because I am a Hallmark junkie who has nightmares if I watch violence. Saw Three Days of the Condor when I was in my twenties, and couldn't sleep for two weeks!!

    But it's a great idea, as always, just not one I think I could pull off. :|

    SANDRA SAID: "I agree with Vince Charity was one of my favorite secondary characters in Julie Lessman's A PASSION MOST PURE as well and I was delighted with her story in A PASSION REDEEMED."

    AW, thank you, Sandra -- Charity and I both appreciate it greatly! :)

    And, Mare, SO glad you ended up loving Charity and Mitch. I do too! :)


  135. I think the simple answer is that Elsa has the coolest costume, outfit, and song. Also, Anna was quirky and funny, which is usually the sidekick's role. It's really interesting to me that humor is so often downplayed in our heroes. In my opinion, Elsa was the main character- but the action was carried by Anna. I think this shows the freedom allowed when more than one woman is given a central and interesting role.

  136. Nice Reverend Wendy. You know we are conditioned to think in terms of one woman/one man, especially in Disney cartoons that are almost always romances.

    So why NOT two women, huh?

  137. Elsa is the one remembered. I'd say for the song, the gown and her ice magic. Yes, it is Anna's story.

  138. I am so glad to read I am not the only one who has not seen Frozen. And as much as I love snow/winter I'm told I must see it lol. Love this post on secondary characters. Definitely in movies if I don't like a particular movie's main characters, I'll watch it for time with a secondary character. One that comes to mind is Larry Miller. He's in most of Garry Marshall's movies. In Runaway Bride he's the bar tender, in Pretty Woman he's one of the shop owners, in 10 Things I Hate About You he's the dad. He never plays a leading role. I could watch him act for days. His facial expressions are priceless. When I see a movie is directed by Garry I spend the movie looking for Larry to see where he'll pop up. Kind of like Alfred Hitchcock who would show up in his own movies.

  139. I agree with you.. I haven't seen it yet but my grand-daughter loves it..
    Toss me into the hat please..

  140. It doesn't change your point at all but I don't think Elsa saved Anna with a hug. Anna saved herself - the "act of true love to thaw a frozen heart" was when she flung herself in front of the sword, giving her life to save her sister's. It just took a minute for the magic to reverse.

  141. Hi Mary,

    I know it's the day after your post, but just wanted to tell you--you're right. I DO remember the song. ONLY because my Granddaughter is an equestrian vaulter and the music for her performance was "Let it Go!" So, of course, the tune is forever in my head!! LOL

  142. Sally OH MY GOSH I know that guy and he's HILARIOUS. The dad in Ten Things I Hate About you. Making his daughters wear the 'Pregnant Belly' before they'd go out on a date. LOL Madman.
    The snazzy dress shop on Rodeo Drive, Larry Miller flattering Richard Gere.

    He's so so funny. I really do remember him more than anyone from Ten Things I Hate About You. And I've only seen Pretty Woman a couple of times because I fundamentally reject the entire premise of a hooker being so sweet and innocent.
    I mean do they DEAL with her meth addiction?
    It insults all the terrible struggles that lead women to that life.
    But that's another blog, huh? :)
    But I remember Larry Miller vividly and I would not have been able to tell you his name.
    Now I want to search for every movie he's ever been in.

  143. Sparks of Ember, I LOVE THAT. You really think Anna would have been okay?

    That's such a great notion and I sort of wish they'd let that happen and let old Elsa just do NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Still...great song.

  144. See Kathryn? That song is EVERYWHERE!!!!

  145. I so agree, Mary! That's what bothered me about the movie, too. It doesn't seem fair, somehow, that Elsa takes center stage when Anna is the story. And that rankles, leaving that unsettled feeling for what is in so many ways an absolutely wonderful story with a great message. Thank you for your post on this!

  146. Loved your post, Mary - thank you!!

    I'm one of probably very few people who haven't seen the movie Frozen, since I have no small children in my family that live near me and spend an enormous amount of time with books - I don't watch many movies. I have heard, of course, the song a thousand times and read/watched tons of Frozen promo online and on TV. Since I haven't seen the movie and from all I HAVE seen and heard, the song appears to be the star of Frozen to me. Such power a song can have!!

    I have to give some thought to your question about other secondary characters that have taken center stage in the books I've read, however, per the discussions here on Charity from Julie Lessman's books, she is now uppermost in my mind. I must admit her name is probably at least synonymous with Faith's when recalling the books of the 2 series based on her family members. But that's OK with me - she's a larger than life character (not unlike her creator, lol), one of my faves, and I loved "seeing" her transform before my eyes.

    I'd love to read 'No Way Up' - please include my name in the drawing!! Thank you!!

  147. P.S. Loved the pic of you and your "Cowboy"!!

  148. Interesting read. I can see both sides. Loved the photo of your grandson the most <3

    Please enter me in the drawing for a signed copy of "No Way Up".

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

  149. Yes I binge watch Larry Miller lol. I've only seen Pretty Woman once all the way through. I don't like Richard Gere. The Nutty Professor, Mother's Day, The Princess Diary or something where the girl learns she's princess of Genuvia. He is the one who comes in and gives her a make over. He seems to not want the lead role but he adds to the movie in his own way.

  150. I just want to say that when Elsa struck Anna with ice the second time, it wasn't because she was angry. She was scared- freaking out. The point of the story was that Elsa was letting fear take over her life and it was ruining it and everyone around her. But perfect love drives out fear.

  151. Also, talking about all this reminds me of a secondary character who actually did the heroic self-sacrifice for the main character. Spoiler alert- it happens in Charles Dickens' Tale of Two Cities (one of the best books ever) and well, Dickens may have seemed to have kept that character from taking over the story by killing him, but he lives on even more in my memory than the others (then again, the character did get the last scene, so maybe Dickens just let him take over- don't blame him. I love you, Darnay!). Interestingly enough, the family the story follows also takes over the story, which was supposed to be more focused on both London and Paris, not just whichever city (mostly Paris in the end) that the family ends up living in.

  152. Hello,
    I would love to win a copy of No Way Up. So true with Frozen. Never thought of it that way. Something to chew on with secondary characters.
    Becky B.

  153. I have read some books recently where there is a secondary character in one novel, but then he/she gets his/her own novel too. So that is always fun. I don't think I've ever really seen a story where a secondary character becomes so important that he/she takes over the story. Not like in Frozen at least.

    I am going to have to say that I agree with your analysis of Frozen. Even though it is supposed to be a story about Elsa, Anna does play a big role and it actually focuses a lot on her. But I think it is still a good story.

    Thanks for the giveaway too!