Bruni is a character in Disney's 2019 animated feature film, Frozen II. A salamander of innocuous appearance, Bruni is an inhabitant of the Enchanted Forest and the elemental spirit of fire. Though shy at first, Bruni quickly bonds to those with the patience to understand him, as Elsa does.
Bruni is one of four elemental spirits in the Enchanted Forest, the others being the Water Spirit the Nokk, the Earth Giants, and the Wind Spirit Gale. To the Northuldra, he is known as simply the Fire Spirit. When set loose, he sets the entire forest ablaze, creating beautiful but violent fires all throughout his path. But when in a passive state, he can create small flickers of flame to help the Northuldra tribe.
Thirty-four years before the events of the film, the then-monarch of Arendelle, King Runeard, secretly murdered the leader of the Northuldra while their respective followers were celebrating their alliance together in the forest. Following his treacherous deed, Runeard instigated a war against the Northuldra to cover his tracks. Bruni, along with the other spirits, was so consumed with rage by the fighting that they turned against all the humans. A curse of a mist was placed over the Enchanted Forest and trapped everyone involved in the fight within it, and the elementals entered dormancy. The only way to undo the curse and sate the spirits was to destroy Runeard's dam—the object that sparked the conflict.
Role in the film
Bruni is the second elemental spirit encountered by Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf. After meeting Gale, the Northuldra tribe, Lieutenant Mattias, and the other Arendelliansoldiers trapped in the Enchanted Forest, Bruni appears as a flame that descends and spreads on to the trees and grounds of the forest. Using her ice magic, Elsa puts out the flames Bruni generates and chases him into a small hole. A cornered Bruni simmers down and tries to hiss at Elsa. Elsa gestures to the salamander that she means no harm, extending her hand to as a sign of goodwill. Though cautious, Bruni reluctantly crawls up Elsa's hand, accidentally burning Elsa's hand due to his heat, but she manages to calm him down, and when he calms down, so do the forest fires. Elsa then offers Bruni some snowflakes that he happily gulps down, establishing a newfound bond with Elsa. Once calm, Elsa realizes that Bruni can also hear the mysterious voice that has been calling her. When she lets him go, he tilts his head in a certain direction, telling her that she must keep going north to find the voice.
When the Earth Giants, having sensed Elsa, descend upon the Northuldra encampment, where the entire party has gathered for the night, Olaf hides behind a rock and meets Bruni. Bruni sets his body aflame, causing Olaf to panic and think that the Giants will find them, so he tries to blow out the flames, which doesn't work. Olaf then takes Bruni in his hands, but just as quickly sets him back down upon getting his twig hands burned. As he attempts to put out the flames using his permafrost body, Bruni jumps on Olaf's head, extinguishing the flames. The snowman briefly scolds the salamander, saying that this is the reason why people don't play with fire, but Olaf quickly realizes that he finds Bruni too cute to stay mad at him.
Bruni accompanies Elsa, Anna, and Olaf as they continue heading the north to find the voice. As Elsa vocalizes the call to try to get the voice to respond, Olaf attempts to vocalize the same melody, but does it in a very off-key wailing, which Bruni doesn't like. Each time Olaf "vocalizes", he scares Bruni and causes him to briefly burst into flames.
Bruni is later seen watching Olaf's remains floating away from a cave he had been in with Anna after being separated intentionally for their own safety from Elsa. Looking upon them despondently, he realizes that Elsa has died from having ventured too deep into Ahtohallan, falling victim to its curse and being turned to solid ice as a result. Bruni can only curl up and mourn Elsa quietly, putting his faith in Anna to finish what Elsa started.
Having discovered the truth and to mend the unity between the Enchanted Forest and Arendelle, Anna destroys King Runeard's dam. The spirits make peace with the humans and welcome Elsa, who is revived after the falling of the dam and returns to the forest, as the fifth elemental spirit and guardian of the forest. Elsa tells Honeymaren and Yelana about her trip to Ahtohallan moments before Bruni appears and jumps into her hands, relieved to see she's alright after he thought she was gone forever. She holds and pets him as Honeymaren tells Elsa that she belongs in the forest.
Bruni is last seen in the forest, sitting on Elsa's shoulder when she receives a letter from Gale, sent by Anna, and he listens and inspects the paper as Elsa reads it. Afterwards, Elsa decides to go for a ride on the Nokk, and Bruni follows. During the ride, Elsa provides him a pile of snowflakes into which he lands and upon which he happily feasts while she and the Nokk continue towards Ahtohallan.
According to the junior novelization, Olaf is the one who christens the Fire Spirit "Bruni", and the rest of the group call him by this name, though Bruni is never addressed by name in the finished film.
In European mythology, specifically in the works of Paracelsus, the element of fire was represented by a mythological creature called a "salamander", which roughly resembled its namesake, but often varied in depiction (sometimes depicted as a dragon or lizard rather than an amphibian). Some scholars believe that the myth began as the result of people burning logs that salamanders were sleeping in and believing that their escape attempts were the salamanders being brought into existence by the flames. In some works, the creature was attributed as a symbol of poison in addition to or instead of fire.
This might also refer to the fire salamander.
This part of European folklore is a part of the official coat of arms for Clan Douglas and Charmander from the Pokémon franchise.
Out of the four spirits, Bruni is the only one that is technically a living creature.
In one of the interviews, Idina Menzel who voiced Elsa jokingly misnamed Bruni as Bruno.
He and the Nokk are considered to be Elsa's most prominent animal companions.
Like Elsa, despite being a spirit, Bruni is still a living creature, so it is unknown if he is mortal like her.
Prior to his name being changed to Bruni in the final version of the film, his name was originally "Sally", which is derived from "salamander", the aforementioned creature on which Bruni is based.
Bruni's name is an anagram for "I burn", which most likely references the fact that, as the Fire Spirit, he can set his body aflame.