- “We are called Northuldra. We are the people of the sun.”
The Northuldra are an indigenous group who live within the Enchanted Forest, north of Arendelle, and are known as the "people of the sun". Though they possess no magic of their own, they are deeply connected to the magic of the forest and its elemental spirits - the wind spirit Gale, the fire spirit Bruni, the water spirit Nokk and the Earth Giants. The Northuldra were on friendly terms with the people of Arendelle, but a shocking betrayal led to conflict between the two peoples, which led to a contingent of both being trapped in the forest for thirty-four years, and all outside relations being cut off.
Thirty-four years prior to the events of Frozen II, the Arendellian King Runeard led a contingent of Arendellians into the Enchanted Forest. His stated purpose was to maintain good relations between the two peoples and to present the Northuldrans with a gift - a dam which would strengthen their lands.
Secretly, however, King Runeard was fearful of all magic. He believed, quite wrongly, that any access to magic made people feel they are too powerful and led them to believe that they could defy the will of a king. The dam, in fact, was secretly a ploy to weaken their lands and, by extension, the people.
He instigated a conflict with the Northuldra, but conducted his actions in stealth, leading those of the royal guards, including Lieutenant Mattias, to believe that it was, in fact, the Northuldra who were responsible for the conflict. During the conflict, King Runeard murders the Northuldran leader and falls to his death during the fighting. The conflict angers the spirits of the forest, who run rampant and then a magical mist appears, creating a barrier that allows nobody to enter or leave the forest. However, a young Northuldran girl Iduna rescues the Arendellian Prince Agnarr, and the two later become friends upon returning to Arendelle. As adults, the couple fall in love, marry, and become King and Queen of Arendelle, then eventually give birth to two daughters, Elsa and Anna, with Elsa possessing magic as a gift from the forest.
Role in the film
Growing up, Elsa and Anna were told a tale of the Enchanted Forest and a mysterious river by their mother and father and the song "All Is Found." After becoming the Queen of Arendelle, Elsa begins hearing a mysterious voice calling to her. When she tries to follow the voice, the spirits of the forest invade Arendelle, draining its resources. Elsa leads a contingent of herself, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven to the Enchanted Forest, where she uses her magic to get them past the magical mist. There, the group discovers the contingent from Arendelle and the Northuldra, who have been locked in a sort of stalemate for over 30 years, distrustful of each other, but not openly combative. They reveal who they are and eventually gain the trust of both groups. In honor of them, the Northuldra sing the song "Vuelie" and offer their aid. Through a long and perilous journey, the group discovers the truth behind the conflict of thirty-four years before. The forest is freed and Elsa remains behind with the Northuldra as the forest's fifth spirit.
- The mythology of the Northuldra draws heavily upon the culture of the real-life Sámi people. For the creation of Frozen II, Disney signed a contract with the Sámi people to respectfully portray Sámi culture. The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, along with the Saami Council reached out to collaborate with the film's producers. The contract also included an agreement that Disney would produce a dubbed version of Frozen II in one Sámi language and participate in cross-learning initiatives that contribute to Indigenous communities in Scandinavia. The Sámi people and those worked with by the filmmakers appear in the film's credits.
- The name of the Northuldra is derived from "huldra" or "hulder", a Norse root word meaning "covered" or "secret", reflecting their status as a hidden people living in the Enchanted Forest. In Scandinavian folklore, Huldra is used as the name for a magical race of forest dwelling women with tails that would seduce men traveling in their woods. These Huldra would become associated with tales of the "hidden folk" in general, turning the word into a common toponym for locations associated with those stories.
- They are experts at hiding themselves within the Enchanted Forest and keep huge herds of reindeer.
- Simonpillai, Radheyan (November 19, 2019). "Disney signed a contract with Indigenous people before making Frozen II" (Article). Now Toronto.
- Frozen II: The Magical Guide, p. 56