- “Ah, Arendelle, our most mysterious trade partner. Open those gates so I may unlock your secrets and exploit your riches! Did I say that out loud?”
- ―The Duke
Duke of Weselton (commonly mispronounced as "Weasel Town") is the secondary antagonist of Disney's 2013 animated feature film, Frozen. He is a supercilious and avaricious dignitary with a fear of magic. The Duke visits Arendelle in honor of Queen Elsa's coronation, with plans to exploit the kingdom's riches. When Elsa is revealed to have magical powers, however, the Duke deems her a monster and becomes determined to have her killed.
- 1 Background
- 2 Appearances
- 3 Live-action appearances
- 4 Musical
- 5 Disney Parks
- 6 Relationships
- 7 Gallery
- 8 Trivia
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The Duke of Weselton is a dignitary from Arendelle's neighboring duchy Weselton. His formal wear is highly decorated with badges and medals, indicating a history of significant accomplishment despite his rather meek demeanor. He is regularly accompanied by two burly bodyguards, who are tasked with protecting the Duke from harm and carrying out his bidding. Despite their loyalty, they are often perplexed by the Duke's eccentricity.
Weselton was, for many years, Arendelle's closest partner in trade—thanks in no small part to the Duke, who maintained a healthy business relationship with Arendelle for the purpose of exploiting the kingdom's riches.
- What the Duke of Weselton lacks in stature, he makes up for in arrogance and showboating. He’s determined to get close to the new queen—that is, until Elsa’s magical secret is revealed. Then he’s the first to call her a monster and try to turn her own kingdom against her—anything that might help him exploit Arendelle’s tradable goods.
Initially, the Duke's design was intended for a benign royal handler for Anna and Elsa after the deaths of their parents. The design eventually fell to the wayside, but was revived and reworked when a design was needed for a villainous character that served as a red herring to the plot. Visual development artist Shiyoon Kim expressed that he wanted to portray a fussy royal when conceiving the Duke, hence the wide thick circular glasses, the extraordinary amount of medals, the strait "proper" posture of his torso, and his small stature compared to Anna and Elsa.
The Duke of Weselton presents himself as a friendly and courteous figure—in truth, he is a scheming, conniving, and short-tempered miser that gains the trust of royals solely to exploit their kingdom's riches—as was the case with Queen Elsa of Arendelle.
The Duke is strikingly arrogant and pompous. He carries himself with an air of grand importance, while having low opinions of everyone else around him. He believes himself to be attractive and talented; his favorite method of winning over a royal appears to be offering them a dance and flaunting his dance skills. Contrary to his beliefs, however, the Duke is an extremely poor dancer. For all his confidence, he does not take criticism lightly, as evidenced by his hostility and harshness towards those that mispronounce Weselton as "Weasel Town".
Beneath the grandiosity of his character, the Duke is a coward. When trouble occurs, he will always hide behind his bodyguards and rely on them to subdue the situation—rather than jumping into action himself. The Duke is also mistrusting, as he had preconceived suspicions that Queen Elsa's reclusion was an attempt to hide something dubious. The Duke possesses a deep fear of magic, believing it to be dangerous. He also believes that anyone affiliated with "sorcery" is untrustworthy (if not outright evil), deeming them a blight on society that must be destroyed.
Despite his flaws, the Duke does have a heart to some degree. When Prince Hans announced that Princess Anna was killed by Elsa, the Duke was visibly distraught by the news and expressed sincere sympathy.
The Duke is a short and slender man with pink skin, a large pointed nose, blue eyes, small circular glasses, a gray mustache above his lips, gray hair on the sides and back of his head, and a gray toupee on the top of his head.
The Duke's attire is a dignitary uniform, consisting of a dark blue coat with gold lining, wavy patterns on the collar, a red shirt underneath, medals on the right side of his coat, a red sash hanging diagonally from his left shoulder, epaulets with tassels, red cuffs at the end of his coat's sleeves, white gloves, gray pants, and black boots.
The Duke of Weselton is first seen with his bodyguards entering Arendelle and nearing the castle gates. Along with the other dignitaries, the Duke attends Elsa's crowning coronation as well as the ball thrown in honor of her first night as queen. Anna and Elsa's steward, Kai, introduces the duke, mispronouncing the name of his kingdom, to which the Duke responds by harshly correcting Kai. The Duke then offers Elsa her first dance as queen, claiming he should have the honor as her closest partner in trade. Elsa rejects the offer politely, but volunteers Anna, and the Duke agrees nonetheless. Though he believes otherwise, he's a terrible dancer, as he constantly steps on Anna's toes and makes a complete fool out of himself. The entire event is merely a chance for him to become closer to the two princesses, hoping a close relationship will enhance his trading business with Arendelle. In the middle of his routine, he questions Anna about the closure of the castle gates, to which she nervously claims ignorance.
Later that night, Anna and Elsa get into an argument, and the drama results in Elsa's secret power over ice and snow to be revealed. The fearful Duke calls her out, claiming it to be sorcery, and orders his men to capture her (forgetting that he's in Arendelle, where he is not the one in charge). In doing so, the Duke and his goons are nearly killed by an accidental blast caused by the queen. In response, the Duke deems Elsa a monster. Despite Anna's protests, Elsa escapes into the mountains, accidentally casting a powerful curse over Arendelle, plunging the land in an eternal winter. The Duke immediately panics and calls for Elsa's arrest. Anna intervenes, leading the Duke to suspect that she is a "monster", too. To free Arendelle from the curse, Anna volunteers to go after Elsa and return her home. The Duke immediately agrees with Anna's decision. With Prince Hans put in charge of Arendelle by Anna before her departure, the Duke and other dignitaries are left at the castle to await the monarchs' return.
Over time, the living conditions in Arendelle worsen steadily. In response, Hans and the royal guards hand out free cloaks and other necessities for the kingdom's inhabitants, much to the Duke's dismay. The Duke scolds Hans for "giving away all of Arendelle's tradable goods", believing it to be a waste of resources and time. He instead expresses his concern that Elsa and Anna are conspiring against the kingdom, and stresses that action should be taken before they can attack. Hans takes offense and threatens to charge the Duke with treason. Disgusted by Hans's accusation, the Duke is left in cold silence. Suddenly, Anna's horse rushes into the square, but without the princess. Hans believes her to be in peril and assembles an army to embark on a search-and-rescue mission. The Duke volunteers his two bodyguards to accompany Hans; before they depart, he gives them the confidential orders to assassinate Elsa under the assumption that her death will end the winter.
Under Hans's command, Erik and Francis journey to Elsa's ice palace. Upon seeing Elsa, they immediately take action and attack. Elsa soon gains the upper hand and uses her abilities to battle the duo, nearly killing them until Hans intervenes. The Snow Queen is later captured and imprisoned in Arendelle's dungeon. The Duke's involvement in the planned assassination goes unspoken. Inside the castle, the Duke overlooks the kingdom and notes the dropping temperature. He stresses that he and the dignitaries must take action before everyone in Arendelle freezes to death. Suddenly, Hans arrives and announces that Anna was killed by Queen Elsa. Stunned, the Duke mourns her loss before declaring Elsa to be, without further doubt, a threat to their lives. He looks to Hans, Arendelle's new ruler, for guidance, and it is declared that Elsa will be charged with treason and sentenced to death.
While escaping her cell, Elsa accidentally causes a powerful blizzard to break through and consume the castle. The Duke of Weselton joins the other dignitaries, servants, and guards in evacuating to the castle's balcony for safety. From there, they are able to witness Anna (still alive) sacrificing herself to save Elsa from the murderous Hans, who is in turn revealed to be a liar and a traitor. Elsa, meanwhile, mourns the loss of her sister, proving that she's not a heartless monster. Soon enough, however, Anna is revived, while Elsa learns that the key to breaking the curse is love. Much to the Duke's shock, the entire kingdom is thawed.
The Duke tries to make amends with the queen, but due to his assassination attempts, he is forcibly escorted back to his ship to be deported. As he tries to bypass the guards, Kai returns with a message from Elsa, declaring that she has severed all business relations between Arendelle and Weselton forevermore, and he mispronounces Weselton as "Weasel Town" again, this time intentionally, which infuriates the Duke.
The Duke’s likeness briefly appears in Ahtohallan. While traversing the caverns, Elsa encounters snowy manifestations of various figures from her past, including the Duke. One vision recreates the Duke’s first meeting with Anna and Elsa, in which his toupee almost falls off when he bows to them. The other vision depicts the Duke dancing “like a chicken with the face of a monkey”, much to Elsa’s amusement.
The Duke of Weselton appears in live-action form in the seventh episode of the fourth season of the series, portrayed by Jonathan Runyon. The flashbacks of the episode are set before the events equivalent to the events of the film in the general Once timeline.
During the King of Arendelle's 70th birthday celebration, the Duke of Weselton visits and becomes enamored with Helga, one of the three Arendelle princesses. Helga presents him to her father, and afterwards, the Duke shares a dance with her. When they begin a courtship, he comes across Helga's eldest sister, Ingrid, who is heir to the throne. After the Duke introduces himself, she moves to find Helga. However, he stops Ingrid and remarks on her incredible beauty. As he makes advances on her, Ingrid rebuffs him, and out of panic, she blasts him away with ice magic. While he is sprawled on the ground, an unsuspecting Helga arrives. To cover up his failed seduction, the Duke explains to Helga that Ingrid attempted to win his romantic affection, but when he refused her, she used magic on him. However plausible the lie is, an unamused Helga rejects him as she knows the kind of man he is. Enraged, the Duke threatens to expose Ingrid to everyone in Arendelle because he believes the people deserve to know their future queen is a monster. At this, an angered Ingrid attempts to blast him, but Helga intervenes and takes the magical hit while the Duke escapes.
Later, his mind is wiped out of the incident and of both sisters' existence due to Grand Pabbie, who casts a memory spell on behalf of Gerda, the only remaining princess and heir to the throne following Ingrid's imprisonment.
In the stage adaptation, the Duke's role in the story essentially plays out the same, with some differences. When he first meets Elsa and Anna, the Duke shows some attraction toward the former, and tries to "tempt" her with his tango. However, this is only skin-deep, as this version of the Duke is also sexist—when advocating for Elsa's arrest after her powers are revealed, the Duke proclaims that no good can come from magic, "especially in the hands of a woman." When Hans rallies together his army to find and rescue Anna, the Duke actually joins the expedition (unlike the film, where he only sends his bodyguards).
Unlike most of the cast, the Duke rarely sings in the show. The only notable instance is during "Hans of the Southern Isles", where he offers his assistance in rescuing Anna, though he merely uses this as a coverup to kill Elsa. The Duke does have a tango dance number with an ensemble, however, which is performed just before "Love is an Open Door".
The most significance difference with the Duke's role occurs at the end of the show. After Elsa reclaims her position as queen, the Duke—having had a change of heart—pledges his loyalty to Elsa and pays his respects by bowing alongside the rest of Arendelle's populace. He then takes part in the finale reprise of "Let It Go".
In the Fantasyland Faire production of Frozen, the Duke is portrayed by Mr. Jones.
The Duke appears in Frozen: Live at the Hyperion at Disney California Adventure, playing a role similar to that in the film. He is portrayed as widely eccentric and comedic, and also takes part of the ensemble during "Love is an Open Door". In the end, once the guards are ordered to arrest Hans, the Duke sleazily kisses up to the queen by agreeing with her decision, only to cause a huff upon hearing he has been ordered for arrest, as well. The Duke and Hans are later seen chained together during the finale.
In the Frozen Ever After attraction in Epcot, the Duke is referenced in the ride's queue. A poster is plastered on a wall declaring that the Duke of Weselton has been banned from all commercial activity within Arendelle, and his presence within the kingdom is to be considered trespassing.
In Wonderful World of Animation, the Duke briefly appears during the Disney Villains segment of the show.
- The Duke's real name is currently unknown. In the closing credits, he is referred to as "the Duke". In the Broadway adaptation, he is credited as "Weselton".
- However, in early concept art where he was the royal handler for Anna and Elsa, he is called Lord Ragnar.
- The Duke of Weselton is Alan Tudyk's second consecutive role in the Disney animated canon.
- An overarching theme in Frozen is love versus fear. In regards to this, the Duke of Weselton is a representation of fear.
- Duke Weaselton, a character from Zootopia, is named after the Duke of Weselton; referencing the mutual voice actor of the two characters, and the mispronunciation of Weselton.
- In the book Across the Sea, Anna and Elsa actually encounter the Duke again while visiting the kingdom of Vekretta. Though the Duke is still untrusting of Elsa, they end up on somewhat friendlier terms after Elsa relieves the city of a massive heat wave.
- The Duke is also a recurring character in the comics where he, Anna and Elsa interact better with each other, but they are still not necessarily friends.
- In Unlocking Arendelle: My Treasured Memories, it's revealed that Elsa amended her proclamation to no longer do business with Weselton to no longer doing business with Weselton through just the Duke specifically.
- Alan Tudyk later voiced the Northuldra leader in Frozen II.
- The Art of Frozen, p. 71
- August, John (February 1, 2014). "Scriptnotes, Ep 128: Frozen with Jennifer Lee" (Transcript). JohnAugust.com.
- Unlocking Arendelle: My Treasured Memories, p. 5