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In Frozen, Anna sings the words

Why have a ballroom with no balls?

I thought this was meant to be humorous and that it was intentional wordplay (or something like that). Anna, who is still essentially a child inside, was excpecting a ball-room, not a ballroom:

expectation vs reality "ball-room"

My wife disagrees; she thinks it's not an attempt at humor or wordplay etc. but rather she thinks it's a straightforward question: "Why have a 'dance-room' if we never have dances in it?"

Is there any official indication as to which kind of "ball" Anna was expecting for the ballroom?

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    I interpreted it as being about dancing. The song is about her being lonely. She wants to be with people. – Caleb Oct 26 '16 at 7:27
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    The wordplay, if there is one, was not carried over into the Norwegian translation. Nor do we see Anna being surprised when they eventually have a real ball in the ball room later in the movie. – Abulafia Oct 26 '16 at 7:41
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    @calccrypto - I disagree. It's clear what the two possible meanings are, the question is what Anna (the fictional character) meant, which places the ball firmly in our court. Also, apologies for the pun. – Valorum Oct 26 '16 at 12:12
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    It takes a lot of balls to post a question like this. (sorry...) – Rand al'Thor Oct 26 '16 at 13:10
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    @Randal'Thor: see above. – Martha Oct 26 '16 at 18:32
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I think the full lyrics of the song answer this question for us. Look at the bold lines below. Ana clearly has an expectation of what is going to be happening and none of it involves a ball pit.

Also consider, from an out-of-universe perspective, that little plastic balls had not yet been invented.

The window is open, so’s that door
I didn’t know they did that any more
Who knew we owned eight thousand salad plates?
For years I’ve roamed these empty halls
Why have a ballroom with no balls?
Finally they’re opening up the gates

There’ll be actual real live people
It’ll be totally strange
But wow, am I so ready for this change!

’Cause for the first time in forever
There’ll be music, there’ll be light
For the first time in forever
I’ll be dancing through the night

Don’t know if I’m elated or gassy
But I’m somewhere in that zone
’Cause for the first time in forever
I won’t be alone

I can’t wait to meet everyone! [gasp]
What if I meet... the one?

Tonight imagine me gowned and all
Fetchingly draped against the wall
The picture of sophisticated grace
Ooh! I suddenly see him standing there
A beautiful stranger, tall and fair
I wanna stuff some chocolate in my face.

Edited to address the concerns about the plastic ball being around in the time period Anna lived in. Yes, balls as we know them were around but made of different materials, and I doubt they would work well as pit materials (try jumping on a pile of soccer balls and let me know how that goes). I also highly doubt that the movie is supposed to set in the 1970's... but probably in 1840's as that is when the story it is based on was written.

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    Dang Skoobie ruining a epicly funny headcanon with facts.... grrr... – kaine Oct 26 '16 at 14:43
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    from an out-of-universe perspective that little plastic balls were not invented yet... actually that's not true... Frozen took place no earlier than 1976 (per Elsa's song about frozen fractals, which were not invented until then) while ball pits were invented in 1973. – user11521 Oct 27 '16 at 4:10
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    @Michael: If we're going to take things seriously... the usage of "fractal" could be just a translation thing, because I seriously doubt Elsa was singing in English (being Nordic/Scandinavian). Thus, "fractal" could just be a modern translation of a concept that's been around for a few hundred years. (also, stupid nitpick, but it was 1975 when Benoît coined "fractal") – Cornstalks Oct 27 '16 at 4:57
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    @Cornstalks - The whole thing takes place in a fantasy secondary world, with only loose resemblances to real life (e.g. Elsa is queen of Arendelle, not any real Nordic country). Even if we take these songs as being part of the story (which they probably aren’t), who’s to say that fractals hadn’t been identified and named by the time it took place? – Adamant Oct 27 '16 at 6:13
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    @Adamant: sure, the setting never tries to depict a certain historical point of time accurately, that’s why they could have playgrounds filled with balls; they don’t even have to be made of plastic. On the other hand, if they had, there was no reason to fill a room with snow to play… – Holger Oct 27 '16 at 9:34
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There are clear indications that Anna has been to "balls" before her 'accident' convinced the King and Queen to shut the castle gates.

“Do you want to build a snowman?”

Elsa’s eyes popped open. That got her attention.

The girls were the daughters of Arendelle’s king and queen, and the best of friends. Elsa couldn’t resist Anna’s begging. The sisters ran down the hallway in their nightgowns, laughing as they hurried along. Entering the Great Hall, where all the royal balls were held, they turned to each other.

Frozen: Junior Novel

As such, Anna would have been well aware of what a ball was, albeit her only direct experience of them would have been as a child.

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    Wait why does Frozen have a Junior novel, its a KID'S MOVIE!? Are you telling me there is an adult novel for the film? :P – Skooba Oct 26 '16 at 14:00
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    @Skooba - It also has no less than nine (!) other novelisations as well as each scene having its own "young reader" book to accompany it – Valorum Oct 26 '16 at 14:27
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    @Skooba The adult novel probably explains why Anna and Hans are so quick to get married in chapter 4. – corsiKa Oct 26 '16 at 16:39
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    @Skooba if there was an adult novel then i feel sorry for the Kings who's royal balls are held in the Great Hall – Memor-X Oct 27 '16 at 1:49
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    @Memor-X - I'm sure the King's balls were most elegant. – Valorum Oct 27 '16 at 8:08
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Trying to answer, through this question could fit better with English.SE. My take is that, depending on how you want to see it, it is a pun or not. The video is on Youtube.

No pun intended explanation:

From the Wiktionary, a ball is also a formal dance. So it may not be a pun at all: litterally "why having a ball room if we never have guests?". This fits with the theme of the song and the beginning of the movie, since Elsa and Anna have been secluded for the most part of their life, and the coronation ball will be the first time Anna meets people since a long time.

It is actually the first time in her life she will witness a ball in the ballroom. The other lyrics are all about her excitement about the incoming party.

Pun intended:

I am not sure that a pun was intended here, but if, by ballroom, Anna really meant a room full of balls, then it shows her innocence and naivety. This foreshadows the second part of the movie, where Anna is shown as a naive girl. Being isolated from the society for so long, her view on people are modeled on what she read and dreamed. That is not a surprise that she falls in love (or believe to be in love) with the first (falsely) charming prince she met. Parts of the lyrics of the song are about the possibility that she will meet "the one" during the party and how she idealize their first meeting.

I didn't look for words of god on the topic. Not sure it would exist anyway.

  • Unreliable sources suggest that at the coronation Anna is 18. "still essentially a child inside" not withstanding, that's pretty old to be expecting a giant ball-pit in a room... – AakashM Oct 26 '16 at 11:11
  • @AakashM depends on your education. – user46509 Oct 26 '16 at 13:40
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    The question did not ask explain the pun, it is looking for evidence if Ana knew what a ballroom dance was. (i.e. she had been to or seen one before) – Skooba Oct 26 '16 at 13:41
  • @AakashM She also had a very, very sheltered existence for the last 12 years. – corsiKa Oct 26 '16 at 16:40
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There is an intentional pun in the material. As described in an interview with the songwriters on NPR: Songwriters Behind 'Frozen' Let Go Of The Princess Mythology

GROSS: That's "For the First Time in Forever" from the soundtrack of "Frozen," which has just come out on DVD. And the songs for this animated movie were written by my guests Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.

So, you know, it's a fun song. There's a line in it that is definitely I think not for children but for adults.

GROSS: And the line is, don't know if I'm elated or gassy. But I'm somewhere in that zone.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: I didn't think you were going to bring up that line. I thought you were going to say, why have a ballroom with no balls?

GROSS: Oh. You know, that never - the double entendre nature of that didn't occur to me. But, anyway, so talk about the line I did mention.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ: Sorry. Don't know if I'm elated or gassy. But I'm somewhere in that zone. Again, we were trying to say this is a Disney Princess who gets gas. This is a Disney princess who is human with a human body and we're going to spend some time with a real girl.

The interview does go on to describe that there are indeed jokes for adults in the score.

Anna is aware of the human body. She may have the basics of the male anatomy down too. In either case, the songwriters wanted to make sure the adults watching the film also had a few jokes too.

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    Surely the songwriter is saying that the double-entendre was unintentional – Valorum Oct 26 '16 at 18:28
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    What Valorum said, and also, that's not the double meaning the OP was asking about. – Martha Oct 26 '16 at 18:36
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    @Valorum I'm not quite sure what brings you to that conclusion. The quote here makes it quite clear that the songwriter is aware of the ballroom double-entendre, and leaves open the question of whether it was intentional or not. – 8bittree Oct 26 '16 at 20:28
  • On reading the full interview, I don't think they've really confirmed it either way. And as @Martha says, as interesting as this is, it doesn't really cover the in-universe part of the question. – Valorum Oct 26 '16 at 20:45
  • Well if it wasn't intended as a pun in real life, then it surely has to be the case that they know what a ball is. If they didn't, then that would mean the pun was intended! – user64742 Oct 26 '16 at 22:52

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