Gale is one of the four elemental spirits in the Enchanted Forest, the others being the fire spirit Bruni, the Earth Giants, and the water spirit the Nokk. Gale—who gets her name from Olaf—is identified by leaves and other debris that sway through the air. When not in this neutral state, she can transform into a powerful tornado or summon extreme winds. Gale and the other spirits were once on peaceful terms with the Northuldra tribe, who made their home in the Enchanted Forest. Gale was particularly fond of a young girl named Iduna. The two would often play together in the forest. Iduna also had a special call that would summon Gale to her side.
Thirty-four years in the past, a war broke out between the Northuldra and neighboring Arendellians. The violence angered the spirits, including Gale, who turned against humanity. In the midst of the chaos, the young Arendellian prince named Agnarr was injured and left unconscious. He was recovered by Iduna, who called for Gale’s assistance in rescuing him. Despite their anger caused by the fighting, Gale aided Iduna with getting Agnarr safely on a wagon, and then covered her up so she could travel safely back to Arendelle with Agnarr and keep him safe, concealing her true Northuldra roots from him until they were older and married. However, the damage between the spirits and humans was still present. A curse was unleashed amongst the Enchanted Forest, which was encapsulated in an impenetrable mist. Only by rectifying the source of the conflict—a dam built by King Runeard—would the curse be broken.
Gale proved to be one of the more difficult characters to visualize for the animators, as the wind does not have a physicality to it. Early visual development portrayed Gale as an ethereal being. Eventually, it was decided that Gale would interact with leaves, sticks, and debris to identify itself. A new software titled "Swoop" was created to make this possible. Swoop allowed animators to create a path that Gale would travel along, which would then be used to add leaves and other objects to identify the character's presence.
Role in the film
Gale is the first elemental spirit encountered by Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf, all of whom have traveled from Arendelle into the Enchanted Forest. She sweeps up Olaf in a tornado, badly scaring him, and soon has the others in her grip as well. Elsa, however, is able to tame her and she ends up becoming quite playful, appearing as a swirl of leaves from her more hostile tornado form. It was during as she had everyone trapped in her tornado form, when Elsa used her powers to try and protect them, Gale recognized Elsa as her primary target due to her powers and released everyone else to focus on her. Gale leads Elsa and Anna to an icy sculpture of their father Agnarr being saved by their mother Iduna, allowing the sisters to eventually realize their heritage. Later, while Elsa and Anna are on their way north to find the source of a mysterious voice Elsa has been hearing, Gale reappears and leads the sisters to the wreckage of their parents' ship.
After Elsa is discovered to be the fifth spirit, she ventures further through Ahtohallan and discovers the truth behind the conflict between Arendelle and the Northuldra: King Runeard detested magic and constructed a dam to weaken the forest. She also learns that Runeard assassinated the Northuldra leader to instigate war between the Northuldra and Aredellians. Because she ventures too deep into the glacier for this information, she begins to freeze, but manages to send this information to Anna before she is completely frozen, entombing her in Ahtohallan as her grave.
Upon receiving Elsa’s message, Anna has the dam destroyed by the Earth Giants. This not only lifts the curse over the forest, but it also revives Elsa from her frozen state, and she saves Arendelle from the floodwaters resulting from the dam being destroyed. Gale helps Elsa recover Olaf's remains to revive him, as Elsa’s freezing had resulted in Olaf fading away due to her magic being rendered defunct until she was resuscitated. Of course, before asking Gale to bring her Olaf's remains, Elsa asked Anna one simple question: Do You Want to Build a Snowman?
At the end of the film, Gale visits Queen Anna in Arendelle, amusing her and the newly-promoted General Mattias with her wind. Anna gives Gale a letter to deliver to Elsa in the Enchanted Forest and Gale happily delivers it. After Elsa reads it with Bruni, she asks Gale if she wants to come with her for a ride, and Gale happily obliges, summoning the Nokk for Elsa to ride to Ahtohallan.
- In real-world Elemental theology, the element of air and the wind is represented through magical beings known as Sylphs (or alternatively Sylphids or Sylvestrids). These are nymph/fairy-like invisible spirits who have true forms resembling beautiful women.
- In the storybook, Anna, Elsa, and the Secret River, Gale uses her wind to lift young Anna into the air, before bringing young Elsa and Anna back to the castle and in their beds before dawn. Gale leaves a few leaves lying around, making Elsa wonder if their late-night adventure really happened or was just a dream.
- In the real world, a gale is the name of a very strong force of the wind.
- Unlocking Arendelle: My Treasured Memories, p. 28
- Knight, Rosie (November 5, 2019). "Frozen 2: Breaking Down the New Characters" (Article). IGN.
- Spirits of Nature
- Lee, Michael Jay (September 30, 2019). "‘Frozen 2’ Adding Elements and Creatures To Enchanted Forests and Dark Seas" (Blog). Geeks of Doom.