Frozen and Frozen II takes place in the kingdom of Arendelle, which has a surprisingly complex history of events that occur before the first film. Unlike many other Disney movies, the Frozen series has heavily delved into the lore of its magical world, explaining how the kingdom comes to be, the relationship between magic and humans, and even how Elsa gets her ice powers. Frozen II doubles down on this, with the film’s main plot revolving around Elsa’s journey to uncover the mystery of what happened in Arendelle before she was born.
The first Frozen movie tells the arcs of two princesses, Anna and Elsa, as Anna attempts to find the recently crowned Snow Queen who runs away from the kingdom of Arendelle after realizing she can’t contain her icy powers. Frozen II continues Anna and Elsa’s stories, with Elsa again leaving Arendelle, this time to track down a mystical voice calling out to her. After accidentally awakening the elemental spirits, Elsa travels far beyond her kingdom of Arendelle and arrives at the Enchanted Forest. There, Elsa discovers the dark history of Arendelle that is covered up before the events of Frozen.
Lord Aren Founds Arendelle
Although Elsa is the Queen of Arendelle in Frozen and Frozen II, she is actually at least the fifth generation of the Arendellian monarchy. According to the canonical book Frozen II: Forest of Shadows, Arendelle’s founder and first King is Lord Aren. The book Frozen II: Dangerous Secrets reveals that King Eric and Queen Else are the descendants of Aren, with Frozen II‘s King Runeard being his successor. Runeard then marries Queen Rita and has a son, who eventually becomes King Agnarr.
King Agnarr unknowingly marries a Northuldran woman named Iduna, who then becomes Queen. King Agnarr and Queen Iduna are the monarchs seen in the first Frozen movie, with them giving birth to two daughters, Anna and Elsa. After their tragic deaths due to a shipwreck, Elsa becomes Queen of Arendelle, leading to the events of Frozen and Frozen II. It isn’t known if this is an exact line of succession or if there are other successors between Aren, Eric, and Runeard. However, it is known that there is an unbroken line of succession between Runeard, Agnarr, and Elsa.
Arendelle Builds A Dam In The Enchanted Forest
Little is known about Arendelle before King Runeard’s reign, but Frozen II reveals some of Runeard’s actions. The earliest major event in Arendelle’s history covers the relationship between Arendelle and Frozen II‘s Northuldra tribe. King Runeard and a group of Arendellians travel to the Enchanted Forest and build a dam, proposing it as a gift to the Northuldrans. Although the Northuldrans and the Arendellians believe this story, King Runeard has more sinister motives, although the dam continues to stand throughout Frozen and until the climax of Frozen II.
King Runeard Goes To War With The Northuldran Tribe
King Runeard fears the Northuldrans because of their ties to magic and is hatching a scheme to eliminate them. The Arendellian dam in the Enchanted Forest is part of this plan, as it cuts off the Northuldrans from the Enchanted Forest’s natural resources, weakening the tribe. While the plan is successful for a while, the leader of the Northuldran tribe eventually understands Runeard’s real motives and confronts him. The villainous King Runeard offers to hear out the tribe leader’s concerns in private, and the two travel to a fjord during an Arendellian celebration in the Enchanted Forest.
While the two are in private, King Runeard murders the tribe leader to hide his motives. Then, to cover up the crime, Runeard starts an Arendellian war with the Northuldran, with the kingdom’s soldiers slaughtering the Northuldrans in the Enchanted Forest. Although Runeard dies during the battle, the war angers the four spirits of the Enchanted Forest (earth, wind, water, and fire), who use their magic to create an impenetrable cloud of mist around the forest, preventing anyone from ever leaving or entering. That is until Elsa enters in Frozen II.
Nature Makes Elsa The Fifth Spirit
Two key figures are at the battle in the Enchanted Forest: the Arendellian Prince Agnarr and the Northuldan soon-to-be Queen of Arendelle Iduna. A young Iduna helps Agnarr escape the forest before the wall of mist encapsulates it, with the two moving to Arendelle and getting married several years later. When Queen Iduna becomes pregnant with Elsa, she discovers that the four spirits gave her a gift for her bravery in saving Agnarr, that her daughter would be given ice powers and become the fifth spirit of the Enchanted Forest. The Frozen series includes dark moments in the history of Arendelle, much of which isn’t revealed until Frozen II.