Olaf is a snowman and is the secondary tritagonist in the 2013 film Frozen. He is voiced by Josh Gad.
Official Disney Bio
He's Olaf and he likes warm hugs. Sprung from Elsa's magical powers, Olaf is by far the friendliest snowman to walk the mountains above Arendelle. His innocence, outgoing personality and uncanny ability to disassemble himself at good and not-so-good times lead to some awkward, albeit laughable moments. He may also have the world's most impossible dream, but what he doesn't know won't melt him—or will it?
In very early versions of the movie, Olaf was supposed to be one of the first guards of Elsa's castle. Chris Buck compared that version of the character to a trial run or someone's first pancake where the cook throws out the pancake when the cook finds out that it is burnt on the bottom.
In order to keep him from getting too complex, Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee wanted Olaf to have a childlike innocence. For example, when a child makes a snowman for the first time where the heads are never perfect and the body is disproportionate. That was the idea for the directors when they were thinking what kids would think of a snowman.
Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf, did plenty of improvisation during the course of the recording sessions. But the directors were very careful not to have him in too many of them or risk him taking over the story. He is there to interject levity to the scenes. But they also gave him proper screen time. One of his major scenes will be when he sings his musical number "In Summer".
Olaf had to earn his place in the film. Jennifer Lee says that he couldn't just be thrown in; he had to have a purpose, and one of his purposes is that he is the embodiment of the love between Elsa and Anna.
Olaf is a small snowman divided into three balls of snow. 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 laughs.
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 personas 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 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 the princess what true love is, and that it's putting someone else's needs before your own, 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 and Sven star in the animated short used as the teaser trailer for the film. It begins with Olaf wandering around the snowy landscapes of the forest when he comes across a Saffron Crocus flower. Intrigued by its beauty, Olaf takes a whiff which causes him to sneeze, his carrot nose flying off into the center of an icy lake, where's it's spotted by Sven, who's on the other side of the lake. The sight of the carrot was enough to get Sven extremely excited and head onto the slippery platform to fetch it, having Olaf believe he's trying to eat it. A race for the carrot then ensues, and the duo finally reach it, but Olaf accidentally flings it back onto the snowy land. Sven's able to escape the lake and retrieve the carrot before Olaf, much to the snowman's sadness. However, Sven returns and places the carrot onto Olaf's face, revealing he was merely trying to help get it back. Overjoyed, Olaf thanks the reindeer, the two forming a new friendship just before Sven's shedding causes Olaf to sneeze once again, though it's his head that goes flying off as opposed to the carrot.
When Anna and Elsa were children, Elsa would use her snow magic to play with Anna. A favorite pastime activity for the two sisters was building snowmen. On one such occasion, Elsa helped Anna build their own snowman they named Olaf to play with. At this point, Olaf is not alive, but Elsa does voice him, saying, "Hi, I'm Olaf, and I like warm hugs!" to which little Anna says, "I love you, Olaf!". Many years later, Elsa would exile herself from Arendelle after her magic was discovered and deemed dangerous. In the midst of embracing her abilities at her new Elsa's Ice Castle, Elsa recreates Olaf, but because of her magic, he is enchanted and given life, though Elsa was completely oblivious of her newfound creation. However, the enchanted Olaf has no memory of the moments spent with Anna and Elsa as a lifeless snowman years ago.
Olaf then wanders around the mountains alone and blissfully lost, until he bumps into Anna, Kristoff and Sven the reindeer, who seek to bring Elsa back to Arendelle so that she can bring back summer after she accidentally caused an eternal winter. Anna initially panics upon seeing him, incidentally kicking his head off and tossing it between herself and Kristoff, before throwing his head lopsided onto his body. After putting it up right, Anna decides to add a carrot nose to the snowman, only to accidentally push it into too far. Olaf begins to admire the short end of his new body part, saying, "It's so cute it's like a little baby unicorn" before Anna pushed it out properly on his face. After making introductions to each other (and Olaf mistakes Kristoff and Sven to have the same name as the latter), Anna soon recognizes Olaf and quickly assumes it was Elsa who built him, to which he confirms. Kristoff then tells Olaf of their mission to bring back summer after Olaf constantly asked what their intentions on finding Elsa were. Extremely giddy with the idea of summer and its warmth, Olaf decides to happily guide the group to Elsa's castle, though Anna refrains from telling him about the dangers of summer for a snowman, leaving Olaf comically in the dark.
Return to Elsa
After a short journey, Olaf and the others find Elsa's ice castle. Anna decides to enter the castle alone, but Olaf takes her advice to wait for a minute to count until a minute had passed, at which he excitedly rushes into the castle, overjoyed to see Elsa again. His presence proves there's love and beauty in her powers, and reminds her of the joyful moments she spent with Anna. However, their childhood memories also remind Elsa of the haunting night she nearly killed her sister, prompting her to leave the scene, asking Anna to leave once again. Anna refuses to leave without her sister, but the stubbornness only makes Elsa uncomfortable, causing her to lose control over her powers once again and accidentally freezes Anna's heart. She then orders them to leave once more, and once again, Anna refuses.
In order to keep them away, Elsa creates a personal bodyguard named Marshmallow, a giant snowman. Olaf is thrilled to see another enchanted snowman, but is immediately kicked out along with Anna and Kristoff. The harming of Olaf angers Anna, and the princess fiercely (or as fierce as she can seem) throws a snowball at the snow beast, provoking him and leading to a chase. Olaf tells the gang to move ahead as he'll distract him, but with his body dismembered, that immediately proves to be difficult. Anna and Kristoff reach the cliff of a mountain and begin making a snow anchor to lower themselves down safely. Olaf meets up with them seconds before Marshmallow, and tries his luck again in taming the monster, but to no avail. Marshmallow continues his pursuit for Anna and Kristoff, but Olaf tries to battle him, leading the smaller snowman to be kicked over the cliff edge, leaving Anna and Kristoff to be captured by Marshmallow, only to escape due to Anna's quick thinking, causing them both to plummet down alongside Olaf, though they all survive.
Once they recover their energy, Kristoff notices Anna's hair turning white, rather alarmingly. To help, he takes the gang to a valley filled with mystical trolls. Along the way there, Olaf and Sven bond, forming a friendship, as does Kristoff and Anna, though in a romantic light. Upon arriving in the valley, Anna and Olaf only see what seem to be inanimate rocks. Judging Kristoff to be insane, Olaf urges Anna to run while he distracts him by pretending to acknowledge one of the rocks, just before the trolls awaken and welcome back Kristoff. Kristoff's adoptive mother, Bulda, believes Anna and Kristoff are a couple and the trolls gather to begin forming a wedding for the two, not realizing Anna's in danger. During it all, the two actually begin harboromg affection towards one another, though Kristoff won't admit it in the least, and while that may be, Olaf and Sven are aware of the matter. However, before the wedding is complete, Anna nearly faints due to the powerful curse, and the king of the trolls, Pabbie, arrives upon sensing the magic, informing Anna that if she doesn't perform an act of true love, she'll freeze to death. The friends immediately rush back to Arendelle, believing a kiss from Hans, a prince Anna's engaged to, will break the curse.
Some People Are Worth Melting For
Along the way, Olaf is accidentally separated from the group, and informs them that he'll meet with them at the castle. When he arrives, he finds Anna in the library, on the ground and quickly dying. She tells him Hans betrayed her, and Olaf doesn't hesitate to start a fire to keep the princess warm. Fearing he'll melt, Anna tells Olaf to leave, but not wanting to abandon his friend, the snowman stays by her side, nearly melting during this time. Olaf then asks what happened with the true love's kiss from Hans, to which Anna reveals his treachery, telling Olaf she doesn't even know what love is anymore. Olaf replies by telling Anna love is putting someone else's needs before your own, using Kristoff as an example, thus revealing his true feelings to Anna, much to the princess' surprise. Suddenly, the library's window bursts open due to the strong winter winds, and Olaf rushes to close it. Before he does, he notices Kristoff and Sven rushing back to the castle. Knowing Kristoff is truly the one that loves Anna, the two try to head out to meet him. Olaf then aids the dying princess out of the castle and into the fjords.
However, the powerful storm blows Olaf away, and once he reunites with everyone, he finds Elsa mourning for Anna, who unfortunately froze to death sacrificing her life to save Elsa from Hans. But then, Anna is miraculously restored to life, and Olaf exclaims that her sacrifice was an act of true love. His words help Elsa realize that love is the key to controlling her power as she thaws Arendelle, bringing back summer. Overjoyed, Olaf smiles with glee, but quickly melts due to the summer heat. Elsa restores him and gives him a small little cloud to hover over his body and keep him completely cool (which Olaf calls, "my own personal flurry!"), finally allowing the snowman to live his dream of experiencing summer and all its wonders. During the kingdom celebration, Olaf is seen throughout the village enjoying the sights and sounds of the warm season, taking a whiff of some flowers. The pollen causes him to sneeze, however, and his carrot nose lands directly into Sven's mouth. The reindeer doesn't hesitate to suck it up, saddening the snowman. However, this was only a playful trick, and Sven immediately places the carrot back onto Olaf's face, where it belongs, prompting the overjoyed snowman to hug his friend affectionately. Olaf is last seen in the castle courtyard, enjoying the newly made ice skating rink created by Elsa for the kingdom's enjoyment.
Olaf was based on a snowman Anna and Elsa created when they were young and Elsa appears to have created him as a reminder of her happy childhood memories. When Anna first meets Olaf, she is initially creeped out by the talking snowman but then quickly realizes he is the same Olaf from her childhood when he introduces his name and becomes good friends with him. This is shown as she supports Olaf's dreams of summer and insists Kristoff not ruin it for him and when she was angered when Marshmallow threw him and was willing to confront Marshmallow over the matter.
Olaf returned her friendship as he tried to stall Marshmallow so Anna and Kristoff could escape and again demonstrated when he told Anna to run from Kristoff when he brought them to his family of "rocks" (who were actually the trolls disguised as rocks) and he thought Kristoff was crazy, telling Anna "I love you Anna, so I insist you run! I'll distract them!" He was even willing to melt to death in order to create a fire to warm up Anna to slow the freezing curse placed on her by Elsa, while comforting her over Hans' betrayal. He also was the one to teach Anna what love was after she felt disillusioned due to Hans' treachery and was the one to inform everyone how it was Anna's act of true love that saved her from dying.
Elsa created Olaf when she and Anna were children and later, when she had exiled herself from Arendelle. Despite the fact their relations aren't explored thoroughly, Olaf seems to care for her deeply.
When Elsa first saw Olaf alive, she was surprised, but smiled when she saw how much he represented the fun that she and Anna once had. When Olaf started to melt, due to the return of summer, Elsa saved his life by rebuilding him and giving him his own flurry to keep him cool. In the end, he enjoys summer and helps Anna to skate with Elsa, showing that he loves both the sisters.
Kristoff and Olaf have somewhat of a good friendship and are friendly towards each other. At first, Kristoff calls him creepy and is confused by the fact that Olaf (being a living, breathing frozen substance) would dream about summer and being in heat itself. He wants to break the ice and tell the happy snowman that his dream might not be all what he thinks it's cracked up to be, but Anna stops him by smacking him in the arm and scolding him. Kristoff still believes somebody has to tell Olaf the truth about his dream eventually, but doesn't try to proceed to do it himself.
Olaf immediately grew to like Sven, calling him cute and constantly snuggling his mug. Sven kept trying to take a bite out of Olaf's nose, though Olaf thought he was merely playing and continued to act friendly towards him. At the end of the film, Sven succeeded, but immediately returned it, revealing he was merely teasing, and accepted Olaf's friendship. Their friendship is easily explained by their common traits, being their whimsically childish natures. In spin-off material of the film, Olaf and Sven are featured as a duo, appearing, more often than not, side by side as best friends, sometimes finding themselves in comical mishaps.
In the movie, Olaf's elbows were animated to never move, except in his dream scene "In Summer".
Others are debating on whether Olaf shouldn't have been in the movie or not and if he was a last minute thing.
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 is similar to Stitch (in Lilo and Stitch) as he is a nonhuman sidekick who is trying to reunite the friendship of two sisters who've been orphaned by their parents being killed in a vehicle-related accident.
"Hi! I'm Olaf and I like warm hugs!"
"Oh, look at that—I’ve been impaled."
"Knock. Just knock. Why isn’t she knocking? Do you think she knows how to knock?"
"I can't feel my legs, I CAN'T FEEL MY LEGS!"
"That's okay. I do. Love is... putting someone else’s needs before your's. Like, you know, how Kristoff brought you back here to Hans and left you forever."
"Some people are worth melting for."
"It's so cute! It's Like a little baby Unicorn!
"And who's the funny looking donkey over there?"
"Let's go bring back SUMMER!!"
"Let's go kiss Hans! Who is this Hans?"
"Hang in there guys!"
"Look Sven, The sky is awake!"
"Look at him, trying to kiss me. I like you, too!!"