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Sven is a major character in Disney's 2013 animated feature film Frozen and its 2019sequel. He is Kristoff's reindeer and best friend. Being a deer, Sven does not talk, and instead communicates through grunt-like vocals. However, Kristoff occasionally voices Sven's thoughts using a goofy "reindeer voice".
Sven was orphaned as a calf and nearly died before being rescued by Kristoff. The two remained by each other's side ever since as best friends. As adults, Sven works alongside Kristoff in harvesting and selling ice throughout Arendelle. Sven's role in the operation is typically that of a sled-puller with Kristoff in command.
Though Sven cannot speak, Kristoff understands his physical gestures and expressions, even going as far as to voice Sven's thoughts aloud (to a surprisingly accurate degree) so that they may have "conversations." As seen in Olaf's Frozen Adventure, however, Kristoff's understanding of Sven is not guaranteed, specifically when Kristoff is too preoccupied to pay Sven much attention.
A reindeer with the heart of a Labrador, Sven is Kristoff's loyal friend, sleigh-puller, and conscience. He makes sure his mountain-man companion is the stand-up guy Sven knows and loves, and does so without saying a word. A few emphatic snorts usually get his point across. Life would be perfect if only Kristoff would lose that ridiculous reindeer voice he likes to use when speaking for Sven (as if reindeer really talk that way).
In spite of being a reindeer, Sven has the personality and heart of a dog, namely a Labrador. As such, he serves as a loyal and playful companion to Kristoff. To the mountain man, Sven doubles as a supportive best friend and conscience, often advising Kristoff to do the right thing whenever the latter acts selfishly or refuse to follow his heart. To talk Kristoff into doing the right thing, Sven's usual method is a dramatic look of pity ("the puppy dog face"). When Kristoff's stubbornness gets the better of him, however, Sven can be rather stern and no-nonsense, and will defiantly stand his ground until Kristoff comes to his senses. This can sometimes cause a bit of tension between Sven and Kristoff, but their loving bond continues to prevail, as does Sven's advisement.
While far from dim-witted, Sven is rather clumsy at times, and can be easily distracted by simple things, such as frozen vines and snowflakes. This often leads to minor mishaps, such as getting his antlers tangled or getting his tongue stuck on Elsa's icy staircase (but managed to extricate and get it unstuck while Anna throws a snowball at Marshmallow, and meeting up with them at the bottom of a cliff.) With a childlike outlook on life, he makes a perfect companion to Olaf the snowman. This side of Sven's personality also allows a close kinship with Anna, to whom he immediately takes a shine, foreshadowing Kristoff's eventual affection for her. Because of Sven's childlike innocence and spirit, Kristoff sometimes acts along the lines; he will not abide to anyone giving Sven orders or commands (aside from himself), and was visibly annoyed when Olaf seemingly talked down to the reindeer with "baby talk".
However, as mentioned above, Sven can be serious when he needs to be, and is quite the hero in his own right. During the climax of Frozen, he rushed into Elsa's blinding whiteout fearlessly, and battled powerful winds, freezing temperatures, and the hazards of crumbling ice, among other life-threatening obstacles—all without hesitation. He is also easily annoyed by incompetence, as seen in Olaf's Frozen Adventure, where foolish comments made by Olaf and Kristoff earned a disapproving look from an unamused Sven.
Sven and Kristoff are first seen as children, joining a group of ice harvesters during their work. Together, the two manage to harvest their own small block of ice, and trail behind the harvesters as the workday comes to an end. Along the way, Sven and Kristoff come across the royal family, and follow behind them out of curiosity. They are led to the Valley of the Living Rock, where they meet a female troll named Bulda, who happily decides to adopt the pair. From then on, Sven and Kristoff live amongst the trolls. Upon entering adulthood, the two live on their own and start their own ice business.
On the night of Queen Elsa's coronation, Elsa's power over ice and snow is revealed, and she flees her kingdom in order to protect her subjects. While doing so, Elsa accidentally curses the land, plunging the entirety of Arendelle into an eternal winter. Sven and Kristoff are present when Elsa claims the North Mountain as her new domain, and travel to Wandering Oaken's Trading Post and Sauna to buy carrots and supplies. Sven waits outside for Kristoff, who returns empty-handed, much to the reindeer's chagrin. Fortunately, Princess Anna—Anna's sister who is searching for her—buys both Kristoff's supplies and Sven's carrots to coerce them into guiding her to the North Mountain to confront Elsa and end the never-ending winter. The trio set off that night, and along the way, they are attacked by a pack of wolves. This motivates Kristoff to abandon Anna, but Sven is able to "talk" him into pushing forth for Anna's sake.
Under the guidance of an enchanted snowman named Olaf (to whom Sven takes a liking because of his carrot nose), they find Elsa's palace, though Sven is unable to make it up its icy stairs. After Anna is cursed by Elsa's magic, the former and Kristoff consult Grand Pabbie for help. Needing an "act of true love", Kristoff returns Anna to Arendelle to receive a kiss from her fiancé, Hans. As Anna is taken into Hans's care, Kristoff reluctantly takes his leave. Sven—knowing Kristoff is Anna's true love—refuses to leave the kingdom, and urges Kristoff to turn back. Though Kristoff denies having any feelings, he quickly changes his mind upon seeing the castle being consumed by a blizzard. Sven and Kristoff brave the storm to rescue Anna, but a ship causes the icy ground beneath them to crack, unleashing freezing waters. Sven tries to avoid them, but only manages to get Kristoff to safety before falling head-first into the freezing waters, apparently drowning. Sven survives and pulls himself onto a drifting iceberg, telling a relieved Kristoff to keep moving without him.
When Sven reunites with Kristoff, he finds him mourning over the death of Anna, whose body has been consumed by the curse. Fortunately, her body begins to thaw as she had performed an "act of true love" by sacrificing herself to save Elsa. Elsa then finds a means to restore summer, with Sven eagerly licking at the snowflakes as they lift from the ground. With the kingdom thawed and summer revived, Elsa reclaims the throne as queen. Kristoff is appointed "Official Arendelle Ice Master and Deliver", whilst Sven is given a Medal of Honor from the Snow Queen in gratitude for his heroic deeds. Anna, meanwhile, proclaims her mutual love for Kristoff, and presents him with a brand new sled, with Sven's help. Meanwhile, Olaf is given a snow flurry to enjoy the summer weather. After taking a whiff of some flowers in the marketplace, the snowman sneezes, and his carrot nose lands directly into Sven's mouth. Sven teasingly gobbles the carrot up, but quickly returns it to a relieved Olaf. Sven is last seen with Kristoff in an ice-skating rink built by Elsa, for the kingdom's enjoyment.
In Frozen Fever, Sven is assisting Kristoff, Olaf, and Elsa in making the final preparations for Anna's birthday. On the day of the event, Sven, Kristoff, and Olaf encounter tiny snow-babies known as Snowgies, mischievous toddlers bent on eating Anna's birthday cake. A playful Sven is immediately taken by the adorable creatures. Before long, however, their trouble gets out of hand, and during the chase, Sven's tongue gets stuck onto an enormous ice sculpture. By the time Anna and Elsa arrive, however, the courtyard is in one piece. Sven, Kristoff, Olaf, and the Snowgies create a spectacular formation, and this earns a delightfully surprised gasp from the birthday princess. With the party a success, Sven distributes the cake and the day comes to an end. Sometime later, Sven joins Kristoff and Olaf in delivering the Snowgies to live with Marshmallow, up on the North Mountain in Elsa's Ice Palace.
When the holidays arrive in Arendelle, Anna and Elsa open the castle gates to "ring in the season". Sven and Kristoff are in charge of presenting and ringing the Yule bell and once they do, the kingdom-wide festivities officially begin. Unfortunately, none of Arendelle's populace stays to partake in Anna and Elsa's Christmas party, as they have their own family traditions in which to engage at their homes. Kristoff tries to lift the sisters' spirits by presenting a tradition that he and Sven share with the trolls, in which they honor a fallen fungus troll known as Flemmy.
Later on, Olaf bursts into the royal stables to enlist Sven on helping him save Anna and Elsa's Christmas by finding a tradition for them. Sven enthusiastically agrees, and the two set out on Kristoff's sleigh to visit Arendelle's populace to gather research and information. While journeying back to the castle, Olaf's negligence causes the sleigh to run loose toward the cliff of a mountain, dragging both him and Sven along with it. The two narrowly survive, but the research gathered in the form of holiday-related keepsakes are taken down the cliff and are destroyed, along with Kristoff's sleigh.
Sven and Olaf are separated, leaving Olaf to take a "shortcut" through the woods, which happens to be wolf territory. Sven hurries back to Arendelle to warn Kristoff, but the mountain man is too distracted by his "Flemmy stew" to comprehend the danger. Anna and Elsa, however, catch on immediately. Sven leads a search party into the woods to find Olaf and manages to sniff him out. Though initially downhearted because of his failure, Olaf comes to learn that he is the tradition that Anna and Elsa share.
Sven goes on a journey to the Enchanted Forest with the rest of the team. During the journey, they are able to restore peace between Arendelle and the Northuldra after they went to war many years ago. Having discovered she is the fifth of the elemental spirits, Elsa decided to stay behind and passes her crown onto Anna. At the end of the film, he joins Olaf and Kristoff with attending the unveiling of a new statue of King Agnarr and Queen Iduna by Queen Anna and newly-promoted General Mattias to symbolize the new unity between Arendelle and the Enchanted Forest.
Along with Olaf, Sven appeared in an animated short that played in theaters as Frozen's first teaser trailer. In the short, Sven and Olaf compete for the latter's carrot nose. Though Sven ends the day victorious, it's revealed that he was only trying to help Olaf retrieve the carrot after losing it. The two set aside their supposed differences and become friends, much to Sven's delight.
Sven also makes a small appearance alongside Anna, Elsa, and Olaf in an advertisement promoting Sky Movies.
An emoticon version of Sven appeared in the Frozen entries of the As Told by Emoji short series.
In LEGO Frozen Northern Lights, Sven accompanies Kristoff, Anna, Elsa, and Olaf on a quest to find the northern lights. In this parody version of the Frozen world, there are some instances where it appears that Sven is actually speaking (being voiced by Jonathan Groff in Kristoff's "reindeer voice"), while others show Sven mouthing the dialogue Kristoff provides for him in perfect sync.
Sven plays a small role in the fourth season of the ABC series, appearing in the episode "A Tale of Two Sisters". After Anna embarks on a journey against Elsa's wishes, Kristoff and Sven are left to distract the Queen of Arendelle to prevent her from pulling her younger sister back. Elsa soon arrives and confronts Kristoff and Sven on Anna's whereabouts. Throughout the scene, a sassy Sven responds to the banter between Kristoff and the Queen through snorts. After Elsa gathers the truth and rushes out to the docks to stop Anna, Sven urges Kristoff to go after her, which the mountain man does. After he leaves the barn, Sven sighs out of annoyance. Notably, according to Kristoff, Sven finds an uptight Elsa to be bossy. It was also mentioned that Sven would be formally attending the wedding of Anna and Kristoff, who were recently engaged.
Sven was then seen alongside Kristoff when they're hiking up the Southern Mountain to intercept Hans and his invading army heading for Arendelle. Kristoff orders Sven to stay put while he spies on the evil prince and his brothers.
Prior to Anna returning from her trip in the Enchanted Forest, Sven feels moody and uninterested in eating his carrots, even Kristoff offered him some. When an exasperated Kristoff commented out loud what's wrong with him, Anna appears in the stable's doorway, having returned from her trip thanks to her temporary controlling Rumpelstiltskin with his dagger, and suggest that Sven probably missed her.
For the stage adaptation of Frozen, Sven no longer has the broad, cartoony design of the animated film, instead appearing as a real reindeer. He is brought to the stage through a unique form of puppetry; still portrayed as a quadruped, actor Andrew Pirozzi dons prosthetics that completely covers his body to give off the illusion of a real reindeer.
Like the animated counterpart, Sven does not speak, though he and Kristoff do engage in conversation via Kristoff's voiceovers (slightly more so than they do in the movie). After Elsa's curse overtakes Arendelle, Sven—according to Kristoff—is frustrated by the sudden change of climate, and more so the fact that no one will provide shelter for him and Kristoff because of a strict "no reindeer" policy. To cheer Sven up, Kristoff performs "Reindeer(s) Are Better Than People", before suddenly coming into contact with Anna in the midst of her journey to find Elsa. Sven believes Anna will die on her own and suggests that the more equipped and experienced Kristoff assist her, to which Kristoff agrees for the sake of money. During "What Do You Know About Love?", Kristoff and Anna call each other out for their personal shortcomings; one of which, for Kristoff, being the fact that his only friend is a deer.
In the deleted song "When Everything Falls Apart", Kristoff notes that he found and rescued Sven after the latter was left to die. They stuck together ever since, with Kristoff crediting their friendship for making him a better person.
An audio-animatronic of Sven appears in Frozen Ever After in Epcot. He is first seen greeting guests alongside Olaf during the ride's first scene and can be spotted later during Anna and Kristoff's duet, seen with his tongue stuck to an ice fixture.
Sven was originally going to be a one-antlered reindeer.
Sven's favorite snacks are carrots and lichen.
He also likes pies, as seen in the "In Summer" song.
The Frozen filmmakers invited a real reindeer into the Walt Disney Animation Studios, observing the animal's physical makeup and mannerism, which were later caricatured in the design of Sven.
Whilst the filmmakers have noted Sven's behavior being based off that of a dog (a Labrador, to be more precise), real reindeer actually do pant much like canines. Real reindeer also scratch the back of their ears with their legs, much like dogs, and that was also incorporated into Sven's character.
For an animal that is not a horse, Sven is an incredibly fast reindeer (even as a calf), which is actually a big reference to his species, as reindeer are fast enough for Inuit and many other cultures to use them in sled races in the Northern hemisphere.
Sven has the antlers of a female reindeer.
Sven's antlers appear to be sturdy enough to support Kristoff's weight.
As Olaf symbolizes Anna and Elsa's bond, Sven symbolizes the bond between Anna and Kristoff.
Well adapted to snow and cold, reindeer can lower the temperature in their legs to near freezing levels, to keep their core body heat consistent in extreme weather. They are also surprisingly fast; a new reindeer calf can easily outrun a man, which explains why Kristoff relies on Sven when he needs to get to Anna quickly.
By the time of Frozen II, Sven's antlers are covered in velvet, which implies that he has shed his old antlers from the time of the original film and grew new ones within three years.