I was excited when Disney announced the release of their new animation, Frozen, in November of last year. It was the first Disney animation to be set in Norway; a stunning big-screen comedy adventure. It features the fearless optimist Anna as she sets off on an epic journey — teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven — to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls, and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom.
Frozen is inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s classic The Snow Queen, about a young girl who saves her friend from a magic mirror and wicked snow spirit. To adapt the story to the screen, Disney needed a suitable setting to match. After traveling to several Nordic locations, the art direction team settled on Norway as the perfect backdrop for the fictional ice kingdom of Arendelle. The Norwegian influence is reflected not just in the wintery landscape with snow-capped mountain tops and deep fjords but also in characteristic Norwegian elements like the ancient stave churches, the traditional Norwegian folk costume the bunad, and even in the typical Scandinavian hairstyle with braided plaits.
Art director Mike Giaimo explains, “Norway offered a cultural backdrop we’d never explored before and we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to blend its dramatic environment, architecture and folk costume aesthetic?’ It feels like a world from a classic Disney film, but it’s completely new.”
My kids and I have been singing the theme song of the film since we first saw it in theaters months ago. We have enjoyed the film so much (my daughter is not into Disney princesses – so this is saying a lot) that I thought it the perfect opportunity to learn a little Norwegian with our Barnesklubb friends – Norwegian Lyrics to “Let it Go!”
La den gå
Det glitrer hvitt over fjellet i natt,
det er vakkert vintervær.
I riket jeg bor alene,
og som dronning står jeg her.
Og vinden hyler lik som
stormen i mitt bryst.
Holdt det ikke ut, himlen så min dyst.
Slip ingen inn, la ingen se,
slik er plikten, jeg er jo født til det.
Jeg dekket til. Det ingen så,
det vet de nå!
La den gå, La den gå.
Den kraften jeg skjulte før.
La den gå, La den gå.
Jeg har snudd og stengt en dør.
Jeg er lei, alt de tror de har sett.
La det strome nå,
litt frost gjør meg ingenting unasett.
We focused on learning only the first verse in Norwegian but the kids thought it would be fun to learn another verse in Chinese and then sing it in three languages. I would love to see them follow through.
To accompany this language activity, the kids enjoyed creating snowflakes using Disney snowflake templates as well as their own designs.