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Magic makes people feel too powerful, too entitled. It makes them think they can defy the will of a king.
―Runeard voicing his disapproval of magic[src]


King Runeard is the main antagonist of Disney's 2019 animated feature film Frozen II. He was the ruler of Arendelle, and the father of King Agnarr. In his lifetime, Runeard was revered as a noble and generous leader. In truth, however, he was a ruthless tyrant who believed magic to be a threat to his kingship. In his attempt to eliminate the Northuldra, Runeard sparked a decades-long catastrophe that was then left to his granddaughters, Anna and Elsa, to rectify.

Background

Runeard is the oldest known monarch of Arendelle. His only son and heir was Prince Agnarr. Queen Rita, who was queen at that time, died of a terminal illness when Agnarr was very young.

During Runeard‘s reign, the people of Arendelle made peace with the Northuldra, a northern tribe in the Enchanted Forest with a special connection to the elemental spirits of earth, wind, water, and fire. This allegiance was a ploy, however, as Runeard secretly feared the Northuldra due to their association with magic. He declared that they could not be trusted, and orchestrated a plot to eliminate the tribe.

Runeard commissioned the construction of a dam, which was gifted to the Northuldra as a peace offering designed to bring prosperity to their land. In truth, the dam would weaken the Northuldra’s resources and—in their desperation—force them to be susceptible to Runeard. Upon realizing the damage being brought upon by the dam, the leader of the Northuldra consulted Runeard, who offered to heed the leader’s pleas in private. Once alone, Runeard murdered the Northuldran leader. This sparked a war between Arendelle and the Northuldra, during which Runeard falls off a cliff to his death while fighting a tribe member. The conflict between Arendelle and the Northuldra angered the spirits, who turned against humanity. In their wrath, the Enchanted Forest was encapsulated within an impenetrable mist that prevented anyone from leaving or entering.

In the decades following Runeard's death, conflicting information spread regarding the origins of the war. The citizens of Arendelle believed that the Northuldra were the enemy and that Runeard was brutally killed in cold blood. The truth would not be discovered until over thirty-four years later, by Runeard's granddaughters, Elsa and Anna, under the guide of the spirits.

Personality

At first glance, Runeard presents himself as a calm, collected, and upright person who cares about his people and family, and was willing to treat the neighboring Northuldrans as equals. Unbeknownst to the rest of the Arendellians (including Mattias and Agnarr), Runeard is selfish, xenophobic, racist, cold-hearted and merciless to anyone who wasn't within his power. These traits ultimately became his undoing as well as negatively affecting his kingdom and his entire bloodline.

The junior novelization expands on this. Runeard did not seem to have a close and loving relationship with his son Agnarr, as he instead frequently assigned him to Lieutenant Mattias to keep him out of his way. Runeard only saw his son as a means of indoctrination, as evident in the prologue where he constantly groomed his son in hopes of Agnarr becoming the same cold and pragmatic man that he himself was. Runeard is also intelligent and cunning, plotting subtle ways of weakening the Northuldran people and assassinating the Northuldran leader when he catches on about the true purpose of the dam, simultaneously hiding dark designs and creating a pretext to wage war on the Northuldran people.

Runeard successfully managed to instill some of his xenophobia in the mind of Agnarr, who would grow up to see the Northuldrans as a hostile people, and who wanted to keep Elsa's magic subdued and hidden from the populace at all costs. Runeard serves as a darker reflection of his older granddaughter Elsa as she would had let her fear consume her had it not been for her younger sister Anna and Olaf during the eternal winter.

Appearances

Frozen II

You see, the dam will weaken their lands, so they will have to turn to me.
―King Runeard plotting against the Northuldra[src]

Runeard first appears during the prologue, when Agnarr recounts the war that cursed the Enchanted Forest. Agnarr recalls watching his father fall to his death, unaware that Runeard was the cause of the conflict.

Thirty-four years later, Runeard's granddaughters, Elsa and Anna, accompanied by Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven, journey to the Enchanted Forest after Elsa accidentally awakens the spirits, who then wreak havoc on Arendelle. While fighting the wind spirit (later named Gale) with her icy magic, Elsa sees vague, misty glimpses of the past including Runeard's arm swinging his sword (with Runeard roaring in rage) followed by Runeard himself stating: "For Arendelle."

Elsa and her party encounter the trapped Northuldra and Arendellians who, like Agnarr, are unaware of what truly caused the war that doomed their land. Elsa is eventually driven to seek out the fabled river Ahtohallan for answers. While traversing its caverns, Elsa is able to analyze numerous visions of Arendelle's past, including those involving Runeard. She discovers his fearful dislike of magic, as well as his plot to control the Northuldra.

With these findings and nothing but outrage towards her late grandfather for his treacherous actions, Elsa sends a message to Anna in the form of an ice statue, which sculpts Runeard sneaking up behind the unarmed Northuldra leader and murdering him in cold blood. Deducing that Runeard was the culprit behind the war and also seeing what a heinous scoundrel their grandfather was, Anna realizes that she must destroy the dam to restore peace to Arendelle. By provoking the Earth Giants, Anna is attacked by staggering boulders. She lures the giants to the dam, where their boulders successfully destroy the structure. This causes a massive wave to hurl towards Arendelle, but Elsa is able to block the waters before it could destroy the kingdom. With the dam destroyed, and the truth revealed, peace is restored between Arendelle and the Northuldra, and among the spirits, thus putting an end to Runeard's legacy, forever ruined by his act of betrayal, for good.

Gallery

Trivia

  • According to the Junior Novelization Runeard is the founder of Arendelle[2]. However in other books such as Forest of Shadows and Elsa's Icy Rescue Arendelle is implied to be far older.
  • According to Frozen: Forest of Shadows, Runeard oversaw the construction of Arendelle Castle.
  • Runeard is the first villain to die in the Disney animated feature canon since King Candy in Wreck-It Ralph, seven years prior.
  • He is the first main antagonist in the Disney Animated Canon to be a completely posthumous character, since he had been long dead by the time the film's events take place.
  • He is the second Disney villain to die before the events of a film take place, the first being the Pixar villain, Ernesto de la Cruz.
  • He is the third Disney villain to be related to the main characters, after Scar and Hades.
  • King Runeard is the only Frozen character with a body count as his battle caused several casualties for both Northuldra and Arendellians, while he himself on-screen killed the Northuldra leader and dragged another Northuldra with him off a steep cliff to his death.
  • King Runeard was entirely omitted from pre-release merchandise (except for the Junior novelization, which came out a week before the movie).
  • Despite being the main antagonist, King Runeard only had four minutes of screentime. In fact, out of all the main antagonists in the Disney Animated Canon, he has the smallest amount of screentime.

External links

References

  1. Disney Frozen: Unlocking Arendelle: My Treasured Memories
  2. Frozen 2 Deluxe Junior Novelization Page 1


v - e - d
Frozen Logo
Media
Films: FrozenFrozen FeverOlaf's Frozen AdventureFrozen IIAt Home With OlafOnce Upon a Snowman

Video games: Frozen: Olaf's QuestFrozen Free FallDisney InfinityDisney Infinity: 2.0 EditionDisney Infinity: 3.0 EditionDisney Enchanted TalesDisney Emoji BlitzKingdom Hearts IIIFrozen Adventures
Music: Frozen soundtrackFrozen musical soundtrackDisney Karaoke: FrozenFrozen II soundtrack
Books: The Art of FrozenA Sister More Like MePhantoms of ArendelleA Frozen HeartAnna and Elsa's Secret PlaytimeAcross the SeaFrozen Spring FeverMelting HeartsComic BooksElsa's Perfect PlanAnna & Elsa: Sisterhood is the Strongest Magic:Disney Princess BeginningsThe Art of Frozen II

Disney Parks
Arendelle: World of FrozenFantasy SpringsAnna and Elsa's Frozen FantasyCastle of Magical DreamsDisney Animation BuildingFrozen Ever AfterIt's a Small WorldRoyal Princess GardenStorybook Land Canal BoatsWandering Oaken's Sliding Sleighs

Entertainment: Disney Dreams: An Enchanted ClassicFor the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along CelebrationFrozen: Live at the HyperionGolden Fairytale FanfareMickey's Royal Friendship FaireMickey and the MagicianMickey and the Wondrous BookRoyal Theatre
Shops: Anna & Elsa's Boutique
Parade: Disney Magic on ParadeDisney Stars on ParadeFestival of Fantasy ParadeFrozen Royal Welcome ParadeMagic HappensMickey's Storybook ExpressPaint the Night ParadeTokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights
Firework: Celebrate the MagicDisney Dreams!Disneyland ForeverFrozen ForeverHappily Ever AfterHarmonioUSIgnite the Dream: A Nighttime Spectacular of Magic and LightMickey's Mix MagicOnce Upon a TimeWonderful World of AnimationWorld of Color: Celebrate!
Summer: Frozen Summer Fun!
Christmas: A Frozen Holiday WishDisney Christmas StoriesDisney Dreams! of Christmas“Frozen” Christmas Tree Lighting CeremonyWorld of Color: Winter Dreams

Characters
Frozen: AnnaElsaKristoffHansOlafSvenThe Duke of WeseltonGrand PabbieMarshmallowKing AgnarrQueen IdunaErik and FrancisTrollsBuldaOakenSitronWolvesKaiCastle GuardsHans' Brothers

Frozen Fever: Snowgies
Frozen II: Lieutenant MattiasNorthuldraYelanaHoneymarenRyderThe NokkBruniGaleEarth GiantsKing Runeard

Locations
ArendelleElsa's Ice PalaceThe Southern IslesWeseltonArendelle CastleValley of the Living RockArendelle ChapelWandering Oaken's Trading Post and SaunaThe North MountainThe Enchanted ForestAhtohallan
Songs
Frozen: VuelieFrozen HeartDo You Want to Build a Snowman?For the First Time in ForeverLove is an Open DoorLet It GoReindeer(s) Are Better Than PeopleIn SummerFixer Upper

Frozen Fever: Making Today a Perfect Day
Olaf's Frozen Adventure: Ring in the SeasonThe Ballad of FlemmingradThat Time of YearWhen We're Together
Frozen II: All Is FoundSome Things Never ChangeInto the UnknownWhen I Am OlderLost in the WoodsShow YourselfThe Next Right Thing
Musical: Let the Sun Shine OnA Little Bit of YouHidden FolkHans of the Southern IslesQueen AnointedDangerous to DreamWhat Do You Know About Love?HyggeI Can't Lose YouKristoff LullabyMonsterTrue LoveColder by the Minute
At Home with Olaf: I Am with You
Deleted: Love Can't Be DeniedWe Know BetterSpring PageantMore Than Just the SpareYou're YouLife's Too ShortReindeer(s) RemixWhen Everything Falls ApartResolutionHomeI Seek the TruthUnmeltable MeGet This RightSee the Sky

See Also
Kristoff's SledSpirits of the Enchanted ForestIce HotelMusicalThe Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated ClassicFrozen: The Official MagazineDisney On IceAs Told by EmojiFrozen: Northern Lights


v - e - d
Disney Villains Logo
Members
The Evil QueenLady TremaineQueen of HeartsCaptain HookMaleficentCruella de VilUrsulaGastonJafarScarHadesDr. Facilier

Other Members: PeteBig Bad WolfLonesome GhostsMortimer MouseHonest JohnGideonStromboliThe CoachmanMonstroChernabogPink ElephantsRingmasterThe Headless HorsemanAnastasia TremaineDrizella TremaineLuciferCheshire CatMr. SmeeSi and AmAunt SarahDiabloJasper and HoraceMadam MimKaaShere KhanEdgar BalthazarPrince JohnSir HissSheriff of NottinghamHeffalumpsWoozlesMadame MedusaAmos SladeHorned KingProfessor RatiganFeliciaSykesFlotsam and JetsamPercival C. McLeachIagoShenzi, Banzai, and EdGovernor RatcliffeClaude FrolloPain and PanicFatesShan YuClaytonSaborYzmaKronkCaptain GantuBowler Hat GuyDorisLawrenceMother GothelThe Stabbington BrothersKing CandySour BillHansDuke of WeseltonYokaiBellwetherTamatoaBr'er FoxBr'er BearOogie BoogieDr. HämstervielQueen NarissaHitchhiking Ghosts
Pixar Villains: Sid PhillipsHopperEmperor ZurgRandall BoggsHenry J. Waternoose IIISyndromeLotsoMor'duErnesto de la Cruz
Guest Villains: Sarah SandersonWinifred SandersonMary Sanderson

Disney Parks
Celebrate A Dreams Come True ParadeCelebrate the MagicCinderella Castle Mystery TourClub VillainDisney's FantillusionDisney's Maleficious Halloween PartyDisney's Not-So-Scary Halloween ShowDisney's Once Upon a Dream ParadeDisney Dreams!Disney's Stars 'n' Cars... As Never Seen BeforeFantasmic!Feel the MagicFrightfully Fun ParadeGlow in the Park Halloween ParadeHappy HallowishesHocus Pocus Villain SpelltacularInferno Dance PartyIt's Good To Be Bad With The Disney VillainsIt's Good to Be Bad Villainous CelebrationIt's Party Time... with Mickey and Friends... and the Disney VillainsMickey's Boo-to-You Halloween ParadeMickey and his Magic Halloween NightRe-Villains! Halloween ParadeSorcerers of the Magic KingdomThe Disney Villains Halloween ShowtimeThe Nightmare ExperimentThe Villains WorldUnleash the VillainsVillains GardensVillainy in the SkyVillains Mix and MingleVillains Night Out!Villains Tonight!WishesWorld of Color
Media
Mickey's House of VillainsOnce Upon a HalloweenDescendantsDescendants 3Disney Villains: Simply Sinister Songs

Video Games: Disney Villains ChallengeDisney's Villains' Revenge
Books: Disney Villains: The Essential GuideDisney Villains: Delightfully Evil: The Creation • The Inspiration • The Fascination

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