As I settled in to watch Frozen with my two daughters during the holiday weekend, I looked for Disney to deliver another princess flick replete with a corresponding prince, subtle adult humor and a predictable plot.
We went for a daddy-daughters day while my wife, Kristina, diligently battled the Black Friday shopping brigade.
We left with a lesson in love that Kali, 10, and Kendal, 5, can call upon as they begin to forge their own happily ever after.
Disney has primed us into expecting a prince to save the day and provide us the fairy-tale ending we all crave. But Frozen threw us a slippery, snowy curve ball on its way to raking in $93 million at the box office, second only to The Hunger Games sequel, and I want to thank them.
Here's how they tricked me.
Royal sisters Elsa and Anna, close playmates in their youth, grew apart as teens because Elsa isolated herself to protect Anna from her uncontrollable power to create ice and snow.
After years of lonely boredom in the family castle, Anna falls for the first guy she meets the minute the gates are opened for her older sister's coronation. Hans, the typical GQ royal, charms the younger maiden with the type of fast talking that drives dads of daughters crazy because they know he has a hidden agenda.
Elsa objects when Anna announces she will marry Hans and it sets off a chain of events that leaves Elsa in danger.
I won't spoil the ending, but know that it's not romantic love, or what C.S. Lewis described as Eros that saves the day, it's simple sibling affection — and I jumped at the chance to point it out to Kali and Kendal, my two blond-haired, blue-eyed princesses.
You see, while it might seem funny to polish a rifle in front of the first boy your daughter brings home, or have one of those intimidating macho man-to-man talks with him, there might be a better way to guard your girls from life's inevitable perils.
Frozen teaches that sisters united can prevail. As sisters, they can build enough ramparts to keep evil at bay because their love is true and everlasting.
Eric Vician is a married father of two who lives in Seffner.