Monday, 9 December 2013

Disney's Frozen - the closest we will get to having a Viking Princess? *spoilers in reasoning*

Yes that's right - I have used the words DISNEY and VIKING and PRINCESS in the same sentence and here are the reasons why 
* WARNING THERE ARE SPOILERS OF THE FILM MENTIONED TO SUPPORT MY ARGUMENT - SO DON'T READ IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN FROZEN YET*
http://jetsettimes.com/2013/10/26/disney-frozen-norway/
http://www.visitnorway.com/uk/Media--press/Tools-and-assistance/Press-releases/VISITNORWAY-by-INNOVATION-NORWAY-JOINS-FORCES-WITH-DISNEY/
First off - location, location, location of Arendelle?
Looking at the two photos above how can you not think of Scandinavia, or in this case Norway, the fjords where their Viking ancestors set sail for foreign lands, adventure and riches. Although sadly the timezone for this film isn't that far back. Visit the links for actual official evidence of how closesly the animation team sought inspiration for characters, setting, music and designs by ACTUALLY VISITING NORWAY!

 Secondly - a nod to Denmark, King Gorm and King Harald Bluetooth?
Not long into the film the parents, as they often do in Disney films, have a tragic death and we get a glimpse of a burial scene which distinctly involved two large stones featuring a series of runic, yes atcual runes, lines engraved into them. As an avid nordic fan of culture, mythology and history I could only recognise the use of such grave markers as a nod to Denmark and the famous Jelling Runestones pictured above. The first (smaller one) by King Gorm in dedication of his beloved Queen Thyra and the other by his most famous son Harald Bluetooth (larger stone) in dedication to both his parents and praises himself for converting everyone to Christianity.

There were more runes before the parents died as they raided a bookshelf in search for the details to some surprisingly friendly trolls and the books all had runic writing in them and along the spines. So although the time for this particular film is 18th-19th century judging by the Tsar like royal uniforms  (see next reason) and the use of musket guns as well as swords (sadly not an axe or shield in sight) in some scenes it seems they had adopted runic letters completely.

Three - a Disney 'aka kid friendly' version of Eric Bloodaxe?
Yes I know this may seem far fetched but for those of you who have seen Frozen remember how Hans mentioned he had 13 brothers? Well in some books and other sources I've read about the infamous Eric Bloodaxe there were some claims he did have so many siblings through his father Harald Fairhair but I believe that's if you count all the bastard-sons too. And Eric was famous for killing several if not most of his brothers in a variety of disagreements and ways. And it does seem that Hans is Disney's re-incarnation of him, after all it is a kids film so they cound't have him going blood-lust crazy, especially in the theoretical timezone of 18th-19th century they have set up. So they have Hans do what any civilised-ish Viking son might do who is hungry for power - go to a kingdom and steal someone elses - in this case Hans admitts he was going to legally marry in then knock of the wife etc. Kind of a multiple heart-breaker slash wanna-be-woman-killer compared to having an invading army at his back.

 Fourthly - the MUSIC! Particularly Nordic! 
Just listen to the track in the YouTube vid above and read it's 'about' section to get what I mean and this was just the Intro piece too! Loooooooved it! Also a sign for how the Scandinavians traded and established cultural links to the people in the far north such as the Sami.
And Lastly - an Ice Queen/Princess - a embodiment of the power of the Ice Giants from norse myth?
In Norse Mythology the great god of Thunder, Thor is always having a fight with giants, in particular Ice Giants who kind of represent the harshness of the winter elements when you live in Scandinavia.
With Elsa having such powers and loosing control over them IN MID SUMMER and casting a near-permenant blizzard over Arendelle -  I say forget the hair thin link to the folklore tale of the Snow Queen, look to norse mythology instead to see why the locals would fear such elemental power.

Yes this really is Mickey Mouse the Viking complete with historically wrong horned helmet.

Soooo what do you think? Did you recognise or 'get' the nordic influence and references in Disney's Frozen? Did you see others that I haven't mentioned? 
Could Elsa/Anna be the closest we will get to having a Viking Princess? Do you disagree and if so why? Or should Disney do a more historically close nordic princess film? Or has Brave taken up the 'medieval period' position as everyone else seems 14th century-ish onwards?

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