Olaf is the enchanted snowman and a major character in Disney's 2013 animated feature film Frozen.
Olaf is a small snowman divided into three balls of snow (five, if one counts his feet), though he has the ability to rearrange his appearance at will. Three black rocks modeled as buttons are on his body, one on his midsection and two on his bottom. Underneath his bottom are two stubs of snow that serve as his legs to move around. He has two sticks as arms and three twigs on his head that resemble small strands of hair. Each arm has four points acting as fingers. His head takes up a third of his body, and is oval-shaped with a stretched face. The snow around the top of his mouth is shaped to resemble buck teeth. In between his eyes and mouth is a carrot nose. When he was inanimate, his eyes were also made of rock. However, when living, his eyes are cartoony with black pupils. He also has eyebrows above them. Olaf's body parts are also capable of autonomy, and can be rearranged or separated from Olaf without any harm happening to him. He cannot feel pain either - when he walks onto an ice spike, resulting in the spike passing through his mid-section, he merely looks down and says "Oh, look at that. I've been impaled." and giggles. He seems to be ticklish when Kristoff pushed him away from Sven.
Olaf is goofy and naive, but extremely lovable and caring towards his friends, especially Anna and Elsa. Because he was built during their childhood, Olaf retains the childlike personality that filled Anna and Elsa during those years, appearing to be very whimsical and playful when he returns as an enchanted snowman years later. He takes on aspects of both of the girls as well; he is artistic like Elsa, because when he first speaks, he thinks about what colors would go well with snow and said to Sven that "the sky's awake" when they arrived at Kristoff's home, just as Anna said to Elsa years ago. He has an odd fascination for summer, possibly because young Elsa made him a snowman who loves warm hugs, and according to Olaf, he sometimes fantasizes about what summer would be like for a snowman, completely unaware of the tad consequences of his ambitious dream, making the poor snowman hapless. Olaf is also very giggly and tends to laugh a lot. Aside from his dominantly goofy side, Olaf is shown to have some intelligence to him, seen during his time with Anna in the library. Here, he teaches Anna what true love is, and that it's putting someone else before yourself, using Kristoff as the perfect example, finally giving Anna the true meaning of love. And after the climax, when Anna sacrifices herself for Elsa, thus breaking the icy curse, Olaf was the first to realize Anna's sacrifice was an act of true love (it didn't have to be romantic), and that act is what saved the kingdom. He is also not as oblivious as he seems, as he was quite skeptical about the Trolls at first when he thought they were just rocks, and even warns Anna to run because he cares for her and thought Kristoff was delusional. Olaf can also be rather wise-cracking, and is prone to making considerably sassy remarks in several scenes; the most notable example arguably being his jab at Kristoff, calling the mountain man a "funky looking donkey" upon their first meeting. It should be noted that, due to his innocence, Olaf likely makes such remarks without any realization of the slight impudence, meaning he's merely speaking his mind and giving a genuine thought.
- In Norway, Olav is a popular male name. The writers likely changed it to Olaf.
- In the film, Olaf represents the happiness Elsa and Anna shared as young children. And, his desire to experience summer is symbolic of how Elsa wants to return to the old days of her childhood with her sister as her best friend.
- Olaf's very creation is an expression of how hard Elsa's self-imposed isolation from Anna was on her. The first voluntary act she performs with her power (as soon she decides to "let it go"), is to build the snowman that Anna spent those long years begging her to make with her. As she creates him, she sings the words "Can't hold it back any more," revealing how dearly she always wanted to go play with her sister whenever she asked her to. It's possible that the sheer intensity of this long held desire was what brought Olaf to life, and if so, Elsa's later surprise when she discovers Olaf is alive may indicate that she never even admitted to herself how just badly she wanted to rekindle her friendship with Anna.
- The destruction of the original Olaf marked the precise moment that Elsa and Anna's happy childhood friendship came to an
end. Also, original Olaf, much like Anna and Elsa's friendship, was destroyed by Elsa's power running amok due to her personal distress.
- If you look closely when Elsa was making Marshmallow, Olaf was the only one who was thrilled to see him.
- Olaf may have been inspired by "The Snowman", another Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, where the eponymous snowman falls in love with a warm stove but cannot be with it because he would melt from it. As a result, he does not enjoy the cold weather. Eventually, the weather changes, causing the snowman to melt away.
- As another coincidence, Olaf –– a living snowman who desires to experience summer –– is similar to the title character of a German animated short-film from 1944, "Der Schneemann" ("The Snowman"), about a snowman that comes to life and then wishes so much to experience the summer, that he puts himself into a refrigerator until July. The Snowman then melts away when he goes outside, but does so happily, having had his brief moment to enjoy summer.
- In the film, Olaf's elbows were specifically animated to never move with the exception of his fantasy sequence during "In Summer".
- Olaf was specially designed to appear as if a child had created him, with an uneven shape and such, which is a reference to how Elsa models him at the beginning of Frozen when she and Anna are young.
- Olaf unintentionally showed Elsa how strong her powers are when he sees her at her ice palace. While she created him earlier, she had no idea he had come to life. This evidently was the inspiration for Marshmallow.
- Olaf thinks of Marshmallow as his brother, since they were both created by Elsa, but for different reasons (Marshmallow to get rid of intruders, and Olaf to remind Anna and Elsa to remember their childhood bonds).
- When Elsa created Olaf, during the "Let It Go" sequence, she was still letting loose her reigns and didn't have complete control yet, which explains why she was surprised to find that Olaf was alive.
- Once again, symbolizing her yearning for happier times with her sister. Marshmallow, on the other hand was created for precisely the opposite reason; to keep Anna, and other citizens of Arendelle out. Which is why Olaf is small, kind, and delicate; while Marshmallow is big, monstrous, and tough.
- Olaf plays a similar role to Lumière from Beauty and the Beast. They are both an object which is impossible to be alive (Lumiere is a candelabra, while Olaf is a snowman) and are very close to the protagonist(s). They are both sidekicks to the main protagonist and teach them important lessons about true love. Both almost get melted, but survive. However, they are opposites in one way since Lumiere is a candelabra and therefore can withstand fire, while Olaf is a snowman and needs to stay in the cold.
- As said by critics, Olaf is very similar to Genie from Aladdin in the sense that both are the main comic relief and are the most popular characters from their films.
- Also, they both help the protagonist with achieving their goal, save them from death (Genie saved Aladdin from drowning and Olaf saved Anna from freezing to death by creating a fire), they both have a dream (Genie, freedom; Olaf, experiencing summer), and both are granted their wish by their masters at the end of their films (Aladdin wished for Genie's freedom as his last wish, and Elsa gave Olaf a cloud of flurries that kept him from melting in the summer heat).
- In the Brazilian voice casting, Olaf is dubbed by a Stand-up comedian called Fábio Porchat.
- The animation and staging of the scene between Olaf and Sven during the epilogue of the film is similar to the teaser trailer's animation and staging, right down to Olaf's exclaiming, "Hello!"
- In the original storyboard of Frozen, Olaf was meant to be one of Elsa's soldiers, but ended up as a failed attempt, so she casted him off, and he found Anna and Kristoff. But the idea ended up being scrapped.
- Before being portrayed as a snowman, he was originally going to be a penguin.
- In the blizzard scene, Olaf is blown away into the sky by a strong gale, similar to Scuttle in the storm scene in The Little Mermaid.
- Early on in the film, when Anna and Elsa were seen as kids, Anna tells Elsa "the sky's awake." Olaf would later said this to Sven when they enter the Valley of the Living Rock. Also, as kids, Elsa helped Anna ice-skating with Olaf. Then by the end of the film, Olaf helps Anna ice-skating with Elsa. These are likely to reflect the childhood Anna and Elsa once shared.
- His role resembles that of the sparrows that assist Gerda in The Snow Queen.
- Olaf's name came from an Old Norse name "Aleifr," which means "ancestor's descendent" (refering to the fact that Olaf is Elsa's "descendent"), and is Nordic for "treasure". It is also pronounced "oh, laugh", referring to his role as comic relief.
- Olaf makes a cameo in Homer Simpson's video for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.