When you're an adult man who watches the Frozen movies as often as I do, you begin to pick up on certain subtleties. For example, have you noticed that Olaf is a metaphor for cocaine? Or that the entire cast are going to have their heads lopped off in a couple of years? No, seriously.
As all good Cracked readers know, the Frozen Cinematic Universe is set in the kingdom of Arendelle, which is Norway with magic and spontaneous mass musical numbers. But it's also set in our world, because Norway exists too; it's mentioned in the crime against moviegoers that was Olaf's Frozen Adventure, while Denmark is referenced in Frozen II. And, thanks to the helpful dorks at the Disney Fandom wiki, we know that Frozen II: Arctic Rim takes place in November 1846. But Arendelle isn't on any map today, unless it's a map that accompanies an elaborate fanfic about Kristoff and his reindeer finding a land where their love is legal. What happened to it? History suggests that someone in Arendelle asked "Do you want to build a guillotine?" and was answered with a resounding yes.
In 1848, Europe experienced the Spring of Nations, the largest wave of mass uprisings in the continent's history. France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland, Denmark, Hungary ... all these and more were swept by revolutionary fervor. Now, a full explanation of the complex and multifaceted causes of one of the most important events in European history is slightly beyond the scope of an article where I'm trying to use history to get a snowman's head lopped off. But people were sick of living under absolute rule, and they weren't shy about expressing their displeasure.
A typical revolution would see mass protests by desperate workers, a violent reaction from the government, maybe a few battles, and then some concessions to make up for the thousands of dead peasants. Serfdom would be abolished, or constitutional rights would be expanded, or an unpopular leader would abdicate. In France, the monarchy was overthrown. And while Disney has been frustratingly silent on Arendelle's precise military capabilities, they sure seem to have a lot fewer soldiers than France.
Let's recap the Frozens, but from the perspective of, say, an Arendelle baker. First, the tyrannical king Runeard gets himself killed in a military conflict, leaving his inexperienced 14-year-old son Agnarr in charge. We don't know how Agnarr's early years went, but they probably weren't smooth. And when Elsa is born with magical powers, Agnarr locks the castle gates and isolates the royal family from their subjects, because everyone loves a monarch who rules over them like an aloof vampire. Then Agnarr dies in a shipwreck, leading to another young and inexperienced ruler who's barely even been seen in public.
Elsa's first act as liege is to accidentally cause chaos with the magic powers her subjects had no idea existed. Then she locks Arendelle in eternal winter, leaving her people to fend for themselves in the bitter cold. Yeah, she's eventually convinced to return and solve the problem, but that's not heroism; that's the bare minimum of responsibility. If, on their first day in office, the President revealed they had superpowers, accidentally laser-eyed a few heads off, flooded the coasts, then holed up in remote Wyoming until their VP talked them back to the White House, running for re-election on a "I Eventually Reversed the Flooding!" platform would get them primaried so hard.
Then three years later Elsa mucks about with her magic again, prompting mysterious spirits to attack the capital and force a mass evacuation. Elsa and friends set off on a whimsical adventure to learn the truth about her powers ... while all of her subjects have to camp out in a muddy field until it's safe to return home. How long will that be? No one knows! From the perspective of our baker friend, Frozen II is a movie about sleeping on cold dirt, foraging for berries, and wondering if they'll ever get their life back.
After days of roughing it, they get an update in the form of a tidal wave rushing towards their city. Elsa narrowly saves the day again, but that's twice in three years she almost annihilated her own kingdom while her subjects barely had any idea what was going on. Then she abdicates, placing another 21-year-old ingenue in charge just when she was starting to get some experience.
From the perspective of Arendelle's 19th century peasants -- not a group famous for open-mindedness towards magic -- their royal family spends their time either magically placing them in mortal peril or forcing them into elaborately choreographed mass dances akin to North Korea's, before ditching out whenever running the kingdom is no longer deemed interesting or important enough. Agnarr died running a personal errand, Elsa is ditching Arendelle for the nation they've spent decades thinking was a mortal enemy ... how do they know Anna won't eventually lose interest in running her kingdom too? After all they've been through, would the people of Arendelle be in the mood for more singing and dancing? Or would they be in the mood to demand a new form of government?
Because the knaves at Disney won't answer my question about Arendelle's corvee system, we can only speculate. But the nation is just two years away from getting caught up in violent history, and Frozen II shows us that their army can't win a battle against a handful of foreign peasants armed with sticks. Arendelle has the exact kind of absolute monarchy that inspired revolts across Europe, plus their young Queen almost wiped her own population out twice. I don't know about you, but I'd be a little annoyed.
Perhaps you would argue "it could still be set in an alternate universe" or "it's just a children's movie, move on with your sad life." But, because I'm not a coward, I would argue that Frozen III should be about a figurative spring melt and the glorious years of the Arendelle Commune before it's absorbed by a neighboring country and wiped from the map forever. And maybe, after Olaf is put against the wall, our baker friend can have a little goddamn peace and quiet.
Top image: Walt Disney Pictures