Hans from Disney's Frozen is one of the best Disney villains in recent memory. He's handsome, charming and nobody sees him coming, but how does he pull it off? Is he just a master manipulator? Maybe, but I have another theory, that Hans is actually a MIRROR!
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In case you didn’t know, Frozen, like many Disney movies, is based on a fairy tale. The fairy tale in question is, “The Snow Queen,” by Hans Christian Anderson.
If you are just learning of this fairy tale right now and are thinking, "OMG I want to go read it!" Let me save you some time: Don’t. Personally I found it a little boring. Frozen is waaaay more entertaining and honestly barely even resembles the original story. (But if you're still interested you can check it out here.)
These differences should come as no surprise since Disney takes a TON of creative liberties when ever they bring a fairy tale to life, but for however much they change they normally still include important plot elements or devices. In the case of Frozen though they left out maybe the MOST important thing: A mirror.
In the original story a troll, creatively called “THE DEVIL,” makes a mirror that reflects and magnifies the worst aspects of you when you look into it.
He tries to bring the mirror to heaven to make fools of the angels, but the mirror falls to earth and shatters into a million pieces, some as small as a grain of sand.
One such piece of glass gets in the eye of one of the main characters, who starts seeing the world as a terrible place and solving this problem ends up being the MAIN OBJECTIVE of the entire story.
The mirror sets the entire plot in motion and Frozen leaving it out is like Cinderella leaving out the glass slipper, or Beauty and the Beast leaving out the rose, or Snow White leaving out the… uh.. mirror.
How could they leave this object out of the movie?! Unless.. maybe they didn't, maybe instead of having a literal mirror they turned the mirror into a character!
A characters that features many different personalities that don’t seem to match up… Hmm now do we remember any character like that?
Hans literally acts like a mirror to everyone he comes into contact with.
He never has any scenes by himself and no matter who he is talking to he immediately assumes all of their mannerisms, motivations, fears, characteristics and feelings and then mirrors them back to the other person.
This is why Hans comes across as so convincingly genuine, because he is mirroring genuine people and it happens in every scene.
For example when he meets Anna, she has just finished singing about meeting someone and boom she walks into someone who is exactly herself in prince form.
They have a funny exchange, both are a little bit awkward and nice, and both seem to have just walked out a day dream about meeting someone.
Anna leaves looking dreamy eyed and Hans, in an otherwise unexplainable moment, lifts up the boat and gives a warm smile.
Seriously, Hans smiling here makes no sense! Nobody can see him, but HE know he's evil at the point right? Why the genuine smile? Because it's not genuine, he is just mirroring Anna!
Here’s the thing though: Anna remains awkward and silly and nice for the rest of the movie. Hans does not, his personality morphs with each new person he encounters.
Before he meets anyone new though he has another Anna encounter and sings a song with her that is just littered with mirror imagery.
Look how symmetrical the shot is in each scene, walking in the garden, on the balcony, in the hallway, on the the clock tower, on the bridge, (where there is quite literally a reflection in the water) and finally ending with two waterfalls on either side of them!
Even before the song starts how does he relate to Anna? By telling her about how he’s been ignored by siblings.
\Mirroring exactly what he just witnessed Elsa doing to her at the bal\
Ana hopes for a deep meaningful relationship with her sister and Hans is ready to offer her exactly that. An "Open Door” relationship - exactly the opposite of the closed door Ana has faced for years.
The first big shift in Hans' personality comes after Ana leaves him in charge of Arendelle awhile she looks for Elsa.
At first he acts as a mirror of Ana being warm and helpful to the people offering them blankets and Hot Glog!
The people are grateful to him so he is grateful back,
Then the Duke enters who is assertive and tries to take command. Hans reflects him by asserting himself as the leader and demonstrating his own authority.
Later, up at the ice palace he shifts again to mirror Elsa. While she is scared and afraid he literally repeat her worst fears back to her out loud:
Then, when she is in chains he does it again, saying aloud what she must actually be thinking “Stop the winter.” At this point he seems gentle, like Elsa, and like he really wants to help.
Do you see how he changes in every scene? It's not unusual for characters to change over the course of a movie, but Hans changes in every scene!
Right up until he’s with Anna in the library and he finally reveals his true self. What makes this scene so interesting is that as he is revealing everything we have this moment where he walks over to the window and what is looking back at him?
The other interesting plot device in this scene is when Hans removes his gloves, this was mirrored earlier in the movie when Elsa removes her gloves as she’s “Letting it Go” so to speak.
Now Obviously hans wasn’t there to see Elsa do it but i think as he is taking off his own gloves he is also, "letting it go." Which is to say he is embracing his true self.
I think we have made a pretty good case for this so far but if you still think we are just reading into things don’t worry, the movie gets pretty blatant about it, like when Hans literally repeats words back to characters:
Its almost like Hans has no emotions of his own, he appears to be empathetic, but ultimately only mirrors feelings rather then having them himself
He’s very unfeeling or cold hearted..
OMG… the opening song isn’t a warning for Anna.. its a warning about Hans.. the guy who literally doesn’t feel anything!