I promised this the other night, and here it is. A peek behind the curtain…
( Part 2 )
The opening chapter of First, “First Night”, takes place immediately following the end of the film Frozen, as all the characters we have come to know during the movie (and a few from my previous shorts) revel in The Great Thaw and enjoy a proper celebration of the beginning of Queen Elsa’s reign. It’s the start of a new era in Arendelle, and it’s also the first day of the rest of Elsa’s life. As relieved and excited as she is, it’s a daunting prospect imagining a totally different life than she ever expected that she might have. And in its own way, it’s a bit terrifying…
The bulk of First however - chapters two through nine - unfolds during the following summer. Over the course of those weeks, Elsa must come to terms with mixed feelings about the relationship between Princess Anna and Ice Master Kristoff, and then confront an even deeper fear: whether the sister Elsa loves so much still has room in her life for her, and what Elsa will do if she doesn’t. After thirteen years alone and a year of familial bliss, Elsa fears returning loneliness, and yet fears opening up to someone new just as much…
Queen Elsa of Arendelle
A year after the events of Frozen, Elsa has enjoyed the reunion with her sister Anna more than she can express. She has spent a winter of holidays and festivals, snowball (& snowman) fights and iced chocolates, followed by the most beautiful spring either can remember. And yet, Elsa is uneasy. She admires and respects Kristoff, and is deeply grateful for the help he gave Anna during the crisis the previous year. But the ever-deepening love between her sister and the kingdom’s Ice Master leaves Elsa feeling - left out. It’s not that Anna is distancing herself from her sister, just that there is part of her life with Kristoff that Elsa cannot share. In addition, Elsa has delved deeper into the powers of ice and snow that she no longer has to conceal, but as she explores the creations she conjures with but a thought, her inability to explain how any of this happens frustrates her more and more. Elsa wants to share the joy of her artistry with those around her, but no one, not even Anna, can understand how it makes her feel. More and more, Elsa feels isolated from those around her.
When Anna and Kristoff leave the castle for several days in the mountains, Elsa must face the fact that she is lonely, and it is a different sort of loneliness than she was comfortable with all those years she spent hidden away. Before Elsa was alone because she felt she had to be. Now she is alone because - because she isn’t with someone else. Elsa could live that way all her life - but she doesn’t necessarily want to.
Princess Anna of Arendelle
The queen’s younger sister has never in her life been happier. She has Elsa back. She has the gruff mountain man Kristoff’s heart, and he has hers. A year after The Great Thaw, Anna’s world is better and broader than she ever dreamed it could be. The long summer days are filled with love, laughter and light, and are ideal for adventure. Anna is eager to collect on a promise Kristoff made months earlier - a promise to share the mountains with her and teach her to climb. But she worries about Elsa, who reacts to the news that her sister will be away with the unease. And when she returns, and discovers Elsa has a new and very unexpected interest, Anna’s memories of the previous year, of the prince who broke her heart, make her wary. She wants to believe that Elsa might not be alone forever, but she won’t let anyone - anyone - hurt her sister.
Ice Master Kristoff of Arendelle
It’s been a year of hard transition for Kristoff - from someone who shunned the company of others to someone wholly welcoming of the love he has found with Anna, and the trust he has been given by the queen. He loves Anna more than he can ever express, and that difficulty to find words for his feelings has deepened his friendship with Elsa, who also struggles to share the amazing creativity of her magic. After a week in the mountains, filled with climbing, hot springs, and unexpectedly, Olaf, Kristoff is suddenly dragged into a mess not of his own making as sometimes-too-headstrong Anna seeks to find out all she can about the mysterious stranger who Elsa has become friendly with.
Olaf is - Olaf. He may be a product of Elsa’s magic, but he and Anna share a special bond that is stronger than any ice.
Sven loves carrots. And Anna.
Kai, Chamberlain of Arendelle
Having been in the service of Arendelle’s royal family for decades, Kai has been elevated to the role of Chamberlain by Queen Elsa. He does much of the day-to-day work of running the kingdom’s government. His trust in Elsa after The Thaw cemented the trust of the citizenry, allowing the first year of her reign to be bright and hopeful.
Gerda, Mistress of the Household
In charge of all aspects of the running of Castle Arendelle, Gerda has known Elsa and Anna since the days they were born. She is of the old Nordic tradition, and occasionally looks askance at the public affection shown by Anna and Kristoff, but her place is with the Royal Family, and always will be.
Hilde, Mistress of the Kitchens
Hilde has been in the service of Castle Arendelle for longer than Gerda, but has become close friends with Kristoff as he has learned from her the mysteries of cooking and ways to impress a princess.
Jens, Sergeant of the Guard
Once he helped the traitor prince bring the Queen home in chains. Now he loyally serves that Queen. Deep down, he still feels shame that he was taken in by Hans and his “heroics”.
When Elsa first notices him, it is not because of his fair visage (although he is not un-handsome, in an unconventional way), or his words (although he is not un-eloquent when he does speak), but his music. Soaring, thrilling, floating, touching, dreaming movements, seemingly conjured from thin air as he plays an heirloom oboe along the waterfront of Arendelle, not for coin or audience, just for the love of playing. He is not from Arendelle. He is alone in the world, perhaps more alone than Elsa ever was. He has had melodies and beautiful sounds running through his head and fingers for as long as he can remember. When younger his family had the means (barely) to send him to a series of prestigious music schools, all of which he was dismissed from for not conforming to the methodologies of the day. The family and the means are gone now, swept away during political turmoil on the mainland, turmoil which has left him in constant physical and emotional pain. But the music remains, and he has roamed for several years, supporting himself via minor tutoring contracts, collecting and mastering a variety of instruments that interest him. Now he has come to Arendelle, a remote and tranquil land far away from the simmering cauldron of the mainland, his music his only companion.
But now he has caught the eye, and ear, of Arendelle’s Queen Elsa, who hears in his music the same song she feels when she spins snowflakes from her fingertips. And neither of them know what will happen next…