Meta Monday: What the hell is up with the political structure of Arendelle?
If you have a kid under ten, especially a girl, odds are you’ve been subjected to Frozen, the most artificially constructed Disney movie in history. I swear every character has been optimized by their marketing department for peek saleability. And each song is more earwormy than the next. And after repeated viewings I have some serious question about the political structure of Arendelle.
At the start, there is a king*, queen, and two princesses**. The king and queen die but princess Elsa is not yet old enough to take the throne. Who is running the country? Due to crappy parenting Elsa is in seclusion and Anna has been left to her own devices. It’s stated that Arendelle is wealthy and an in-demand trading partner. Who is negotiating these trade deals? One would assume a regent or steward. Makes sense, except we never see or hear about one, there’s no exchange of power. Just a priest looking guy handing Elsa some stuff when she turns eighteen. When things go bad no one says ‘hey, where’s the regent?’
And when things do go bad, Elsa is accused of being a monster by foreign diplomats and sent running into the hills, alone. Even in a stripped-down household there has to be a palace guard somewhere. You know, someone whose job it is to protect the royal family? Instead Anna goes running off after Elsa, alone, leaving Hans in charge. This is some bad leadership but considering her upbringing or lack thereof you can sort of forgive it. But leaving a prince who has never set foot in Arendelle before, even if he is a half assed fiancé, is still a poor excuse of a power shift. Regent? Captain of the guard? General? Chief of Staff? Anyone who is actually in the Arendelle chain of command?***
Then Hans takes some of the palace guards, as well as Weselton guards, to go capture Elsa. Yes, Hans says the Queen isn’t to be hurt but who the hell is he to be giving any orders? It’s one thing to hand out blankets, it’s another thing to brandish weapons at the Queen. And again, the Arendelle guards don’t comment on foreign soldiers taking shots at their Queen.
Then Hans pulls the whole ‘Anna is dead but we said our vows first’ thing. First rule of a coup (because that’s what it is) is make sure your opponent is actually dead. No one asks for a witness to this marriage. If they do believe Anna is dead they leave her ‘body’ in the living room. And then backed by foreign diplomats, mostly the Weselton representative, the Arendelle guards accept Hans handing down a death sentence on their Queen. Regent? Captain of the Guard? Head of the Army? Head of the State Church? Housekeeper? The person who sewed their dresses? Anyone? Seriously why is no one questioning this nonsense? Even the ordinary citizens of Arendelle should be asking ‘who the hell is this’?
Once it all ends nice and happy the first thing Elsa needs to do is fire half her military for backing this mess. And Hans needs something worse than getting sent home to his brothers. He staged a coup and tried to kill a head of state. It’s established that Arendelle has some pretty nasty looking cells and if it is legal for royalty to hand down criminal sentences without any form a trial then Elsa should be on the throne making a public example. It’s obvious her position isn’t secure and there is something to be said for a show of strength in this situation, but that wouldn’t be very princessey now would it?
* Voiced by Maurice LaMarche who also voiced The Brain. Once you hear it you can’t unhear it.
** Because why have one princess you can use to sell crap to little girls when you can have two?
*** We’re working on the theory that Arendelle is an Absolute Monarchy instead of a constitutional one.
P.S. I now I have quarterly newsletter. Find out about it here.