"As thirteenth in line in my own kingdom, I didn't stand a chance. I knew I'd have to marry into the throne somewhere."
Hans Westergaard is the youngest of thirteen sons and prince of the Southern Isles. He had a difficult past, neglected by his brothers and raised without love. As a result of his upbringing, Hans grew to be manipulative and was obsessed with obtaining power for himself, setting his sights on Arendelle.
Hans was born to unknown parents in the Southern Isles, the youngest of thirteen sons. He had a difficult childhood, having suffered neglect at the hands of his family, including an incident in which three of his brothers pretended he was invisible for two years. As Hans grew older, his upbringing would have a toll on him. He came to realize that as the youngest child, he would not inherit anything from his own kingdom, and thus, he focused on assuming the throne through the act of marriage. During this time, Hans also developed skills in swordsmanship.
Arriving in Arendelle
At the age of twenty-three, Hans arrived in Arendelle with his horse, Sitron, to witness Elsa's coronation and carry out his plan for usurpation. He was startled to run into a young woman who stumbled into the path of his horse and nearly fell from the docks. However, Sitron managed to stabilize the boat that the girl had landed in, preventing her from falling into the water.
Acting regal and polite, Hans apologized to the girl, asked if she was all right, helped her up, and introduced himself. After hearing the girl introduce herself as "Princess Anna of Arendelle", Hans dropped to one knee, bowing in respect. But this prompted Sitron to bow as well, lifting his hoof and causing the boat to tip again, sending Hans landing on top of Anna. Realizing his mistake, Sitron stabilized the boat once more, sending Anna landing awkwardly on top of Hans. As the two got to their feet, Hans apologized to Anna for colliding with her. However, Anna did not appear to mind at all, stating that she was different from her sister, Elsa. Having heard that Elsa mostly kept to herself, Hans began to formulate a plan to get close to Anna instead. As the princess sped off, due to the ringing coronation bells, both Hans and Sitron bid her farewell, but the lack of Sitron's weight on the boat caused Hans to fall from the docks and into the water.
Developing a Romance
Later, Hans made his way into the chapel to witness Elsa being crowned queen. Anna spotted him in the crowd, and despite supporting a sleeping attendee on his shoulder, Hans gave a friendly wave, which the princess returned. Along with the other attendees, Hans stood as Elsa grasped the orb and scepter and watched while the bishop ordained her as queen.
Following the ceremony, everyone headed into the Great Hall for the post-coronation festivities, where they danced and ate. Hans ran into Anna once more, this time saving her from falling after she bumped into a party guest. Remarking that he was glad to have caught her, Hans proceeded to dance with Anna.
After their dance, the two spent some time together reflecting on their pasts, realizing they had similar experiences. When Hans revealed that he had twelve older brothers and that three of them had pretended that he was invisible for two years, Anna revealed that her relationship with Elsa was once close but that they had drifted apart for reasons unknown to her. After Hans stated that he would never "shut [her] out", Anna expressed her belief that she had finally found someone to connect to and could forget her lonely past. At this, Hans proceeded to propose to Anna, to which she said, "yes."
The couple hurried back to the party to receive Elsa's blessing for their marriage. However, Elsa was shocked that Anna had agreed to such a sudden proposal and refused to allow her to marry Hans. Hans tried to reassure Elsa, but the queen declined to hear him, suggesting that he leave. She then told a nearby guard that the party was over and that the gates were to be shut. Anna rushed forward in an effort to make Elsa reconsider, saying that she could not "live like this anymore." But when Elsa responded by telling her to leave, Anna verbally attacked Elsa, demanding that she reveal what she was afraid of. Incensed, Elsa whirled around while gesturing with her hand, causing ice spikes to erupt across the floor. As Hans and the other party-goers stared at her in shock, Elsa broke away and headed out into the courtyard.
Though Anna gave chase and begged her to stop, Elsa fled across the fjord by freezing the water beneath her feet. Anna reached the frozen water but slipped and could only watch despairingly as Elsa covered more ground. As Hans helped her up, he noticed that the fjord was completely freezing over. The two returned to the courtyard, where the citizens of Arendelle were expressing their concerns over the sudden falling snow.
Noticing Anna's shock, Hans asked Anna if she was all right and if she had known about Elsa's powers, both of which she replied to with "no". As the Duke of Weselton descended into fearful hysterics over the snow, Hans and Anna attempted to reassure him, but the diminutive man was not content until Anna volunteered to retrieve Elsa. Though Hans tried to convince her that it was too dangerous and offered to accompany her, Anna brushed aside his concerns and stated she needed him to stay to watch over Arendelle in her absence. Relenting, Hans asked Anna if she was certain that Elsa could be trusted. Anna assured him that Elsa "would never hurt [her]" before galloping off in pursuit of her sister.
Per Anna's orders, Hans was placed in charge of Arendelle. Under his command, he ensured that warm clothes were distributed to the citizens and had the castle made open to them to provide food and shelter. However, Hans' efforts were challenged by the Duke of Weselton, who angrily remarked that the prince was giving away all of Arendelle's tradable goods.
Despite Hans citing Anna's orders, the Duke remained obstinate and suggested the princess was conspiring with Elsa to the detriment of the kingdom. His eyes narrowing, Hans regarded the Duke with menace, stating he would not hesitate to defend Arendelle from treason. But before they could discuss the matter further, Anna's horse returned riderless. Noting Anna's absence, the villagers grew worried, but Hans remained collected and asked for volunteers to go with him to find her. Accompanied by a host of royal guards and the Duke of Weselton's bodyguards, Hans set off into the mountains.
By dawn, Hans and his troop reached the North Mountain and caught sight of Elsa's ice palace; turning to the men, Hans reminded them of their mission to find Anna. He also warned them to be on guard but that no harm was to come to the queen. But as the prince made his way towards the ice staircase leading to the entrance of the palace, Marshmallow suddenly sprung forward, having been disguised as an innocuous pile of snow. Hans drew his sword, and the guards engaged the threat, though their spears and arrows had no effect. Angered at the assault, Marshmallow roared, causing a multitude of spikes to erupt from his body, and proceeded to retaliate against the intruders.
After diving to avoid a swipe from Marshmallow, Hans noticed the Duke's men slipping away from the battle and climbing the ice staircase. But before Hans could give chase, Marshmallow attempted to crush him with his foot, though the prince managed to deftly avoid it. Grabbing his sword, Hans avoided another strike from Marshmallow before leaping forward and severing the snowman's left leg. As the snowman lost his balance, Hans beckoned for the rest of the men to follow him up the ice staircase. But before Marshmallow fell into a chasm, he struck out at Hans, nearly bringing the prince down with him. However, Hans managed to grab hold of the railing, and the guards helped him up. With Elsa's guard defeated, Hans and the royal guards raced up the staircase into the palace and ascended to the top floor.
When Hans and his men arrived at the top floor, they were met by the sight of Elsa unleashing a magical assault on the Duke's thugs, with one trapped against a wall by ice spikes, and the other forced to the edge of a balcony by an ice wall. Before Elsa gave in to her rage, Hans called out, pleading for her not to be the "monster they [feared]" she was. Hans' words visibly rattled the queen, and she ceased her attempts to kill the two men. However, the thug pinned to the wall took advantage of Elsa's mercy and attempted to fire a bolt at her. Hans caught sight of this and briefly glanced upwards before rushing over to disrupt the thug's aim. The prince managed to seize hold of the crossbow just before the thug fired and pointed it up at the ceiling, causing the arrow to pierce through the chandelier hanging above Elsa. As the chandelier came crashing down, Elsa managed to get clear, but the force of the collision caused her to fall and faint.
Hans and his men brought the incapacitated Elsa back to Arendelle and had her locked in the castle dungeons. Hans went to visit the incarcerated queen, who demanded to know why he had brought her back to Arendelle. Acting sympathetic, Hans stated that he could not allow her to be killed. However, Elsa was certain that her presence endangered the kingdom and demanded to see Anna. With a pause, Hans informed the queen that Anna had not yet returned, prompting her to look out to the frozen fjord in worry. He then pleaded with Elsa to stop the winter weather and bring back summer, but Elsa desperately told him that she had no control over her powers and asked to be set free. Sensing her sincerity, Hans simply told Elsa he would do what he could and left the cell.
In the library, Hans gathered with the Duke of Weselton and dignitaries, informing them of his decision to resume the search for Princess Anna; however, this decision was met by the opposition of the French dignitary, who stated it was too risky. When Hans protested, the Spanish dignitary responded that without Anna, Hans was "all Arendelle [had] left". At these words, Hans began to express hesitation, but suddenly, Kai and Gerda entered the room with Anna. As Hans rushed over, Anna fell into his arms, and he remarked at how cold she was. Weak, but desperate, Anna told Hans to kiss her; deciding to give the couple some privacy, Kai, Gerda, the Duke, and the dignitaries left the room.
Alone with Anna, Hans asked her what had happened; Anna recounted that she had been struck by Elsa's magic, freezing her heart. She went on to explain that only an act of true love could save her; understanding that this meant "a true love's kiss", Hans took Anna's chin, and smiling tenderly, he prepared to kiss her. However, he came to sudden stop and grinned with malice, saying, "Oh, Anna. If only there was someone out there who loved you."
Hans began to close the curtains and extinguish the heat sources in the room. He explained that as last in line, he would not inherit anything from his own kingdom and needed to marry into the throne elsewhere. Hans went on to say that since Elsa was heir, she would have been preferable, but her distant demeanor meant that courting her was a poor prospect. But Hans remarked that Anna's desperation for love was just what he required, saying that after they had married, he would have arranged an accident for Elsa. However, this proved unnecessary, as Elsa had "doomed herself" when she fled, and Anna had gotten herself hurt in the pursuit.
Satisfied, Hans informed Anna of his intention to kill Elsa to restore summer, rising to Arendelle's throne as its hero. Despite her shock, Anna tried to project strength, telling Hans that he was no match for Elsa. But Hans merely mocked Anna, saying that she was no match for Elsa, and with complete conviction in the success of his plans, he departed the room and locked the door, leaving Anna to freeze to death.
As a blizzard formed around the castle, Hans went to see the dignitaries. Feigning sorrow, he announced that Anna was dead and that Elsa was responsible. He pretended to take slight comfort in that they had managed to say their vows before she perished. As the dignitaries expressed their horror at the turn of events, the Duke of Weselton called Elsa a "monster" and stated that they were all "in grave danger". With this, the Spanish dignitary turned to Hans, saying that Arendelle looked to him. Continuing his deception, Hans appeared remorseful as he sentenced Elsa to death for treason.
Hans then gathered a group of royal guards to accompany him to Elsa's prison, but the door was frozen shut. The guards managed to break through, but after barging past them, the prince saw a gaping hole in the cell's wall, and Elsa was nowhere to be seen. Scowling with displeasure, Hans decided to venture into the storm to personally pursue the escaped queen.
Into the Storm
Hans managed to locate Elsa within the whiteout, and though the queen tried to run, Hans stalled her by saying that she could not run from the situation. Elsa whirled around, simply asking Hans to take care of Anna. But Hans told Elsa that she had froze Anna's heart, and pretending to lament over the fact that he was unable to save her, he revealed that Anna had died. As Hans' words sank in, Elsa fell to her knees, stopping the blizzard with her despair.
With Elsa absorbed in her grief, Hans pressed his advantage and unsheathed his blade. Within striking distance, Hans smiled savagely as he brought his sword down on Elsa. However, before the sword made contact, Anna suddenly rushed forward and intercepted the blow just as she transformed into solid ice, shattering the blade. The force of the breaking blade produced a shock wave that sent Hans flying backwards, where he landed unconscious.
When Hans regained consciousness a while later on a ship, summer had been restored to Arendelle. However, Hans appeared not to notice, fixating instead on the fact that Anna was alive and well. Dazedly getting to his feet, Hans wondered aloud at how Anna could have overcome her frozen heart. Keeping her voice cool, Anna informed Hans that he was the only one with a frozen heart. Bewildered, Hans barely had time to register these words, for Anna suddenly whirled around and punched him in the face, sending him falling into the waters of the fjord below.
Return to the Southern Isles
With Hans' plan for usurpation thwarted, a royal guard brought the prince onto a departing ship and violently threw him into its brig. At the docks, the French dignitary informed Kai that he would return Hans to the Southern Isles, where the prince would await the judgment of his twelve older brothers.
Relegated to stable-cleaning duties, Hans was knocked into a pile of horse manure after being hit by a giant snowball created by Elsa during the celebration of Anna's nineteenth birthday. After the prince fell into the manure, the nearby horses turned and laughed at him.
Both Olaf and Kristoff referred back to Hans: Olaf the former during his dramatic rendition of Elsa and Anna's story; and Kristoff when the group were playing charades. Elsa also referred to him as an "unredeemable monster". While in Ahtohallan, Elsa encountered a snow figure representing the memory of Hans introducing himself to Anna. Elsa turned her back to the figure and disintegrated it with a wave of her hand.
Outwardly benevolent and charismatic, Hans is secretly a false-hearted and relentless individual who displayed both a lack of empathy for others and a brutal lust for power. In striving to make his goal of seizing power a reality, Hans proved himself to be a skilled phony baloney, having been capable of concealing his motives from not only Anna, but also Elsa, the Duke of Weselton, and the dignitaries. In addition, Hans displayed a willingness to use any means necessary, as he calmly stated his intent to propose to Anna and murder Elsa afterwards.
What's more, Hans excels at staying level-headed in the face of unexpected events, a trait seen during the revelation of Elsa's powers and when Anna's steed came back without her. However, as his plot to usurp the throne grew closer to fruition, Hans became less even-tempered and was more open to exposing his true personality. He showed contentment at Anna's affliction and took great pleasure in how straightforward it was to expolit her before departing to let her to freeze to death. Hans grinned bitterly as he made ready to strike Elsa with his sword as well, revealing a more pitiless side to his personality.
The prince appears to be self-absorbed to some extent, expressing disrespect when the Duke of Weselton questioned his actions as the stand-in ruler of Arendelle. Also, he came to envision himself in a more grandiose light, saying he would not merely assume the throne, but become "the hero who [saved] Arendelle from destruction" in addition.
Hans possesses intelligence and charisma, attributes that made it extremely easy for him to manipulate others. He was able to feign sympathy for Anna's loneliness by recalling his own past, successfully weaving elements of truth into his deception. Hans also gained favor amongst the citizens of Arendelle and dignitaries by leading the effort to survive the winter and placing himself at the head of the mission to find Anna. He even managed to stop Elsa from succumbing to her rage and killing the Duke's men.
The prince proved himself capable of seamlessly switching tactics when required; though Hans had not expected Elsa to possess magical abilities, he remained devoted to his plan and continued his masquerade. While he mostly presented himself as a kind and charming individual, Hans knew to exercise force when the Duke of Weselton openly questioned his decisions, silencing the diminutive man with a display of authority. And when Anna returned from the mountains hurt, Hans realized he could dispose of both the princess and the queen at once by allowing Anna to expire from Elsa's curse so as to depict Elsa as a monster who needed to be stopped.
Swordsmanship and other skills
Hans displayed considerable skill in the use of a sword, having single-handedly defeated Marshmallow by severing the snow monster's left leg with one precise cut. He is also incredibly swift and agile, able to evade Marshmallow's attempts to crush him despite being directly under the snowman. His speed is such that he was able to traverse a considerable distance to stop one of the Duke of Weselton's men from shooting Elsa.
Hans possesses a fair amount of physical strength, as he was able to support his entire weight through one arm while dangling precariously over a chasm.
- Main article: Hans' relationships
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- Elements of Hans' character parallel the evil mirror from The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, upon which Frozen is loosely based. Hans establishes this connection by mirroring the actions of others.
- Head of Animation Lino Di Salvo likened Hans to a chameleon, saying that he "adapts to any environment to make the other characters comfortable".
- The character of Admiral Westergard from "Never Underestimate The Power of Elsa" ultimately became Hans.
- The gesture that Hans makes during his high note towards the end of "Love Is an Open Door" while he and Anna danced under a waterfall was meant to be an homage to Donny Osmond. It was animated by Donny Osmond's nephew, Hyrum Osmond.
- In Frozen: Book of the Film, Hans was knocked out by Kristoff, as opposed to the shockwave resulting from the impact of his sword upon Anna's frozen hand.
- Hans and some of his brothers appear in the fourth season of the ABC show, Once Upon a Time. Hans is portrayed by Tyler Jacob Moore.
- Hans appears on a wanted poster and as a statue in Walt Disney Animation Studios' Big Hero 6.
- A Frozen Heart, page 30.
- Lee, Jennifer (November 28, 2013). I think he's 23, but has a very good moisturizing routine. Twitter. Retrieved on November 8, 2014.
- Lee, Jennifer (February 10, 2014). Reddit Q&A on Frozen. Reddit. Retrieved on November 8, 2014.
- August, John (Janurary 28, 2014). Scriptnotes, Episode 128: Frozen with Jennifer Lee. Retrieved on November 8, 2014.
- The Art of Frozen, page 66.
- KittenSoftpaws and Lee, Jennifer (25 February 2014). Wait, "Admiral Westerguard"... IS THAT HANS?????. Twitter. Archived from the original on 30 January 2015.
- Condon, Jeanmarie, Harding, Megan, Thompson Victoria (writers), and Bednar, Rudy (director). (September 2, 2014). The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic. American Broadcasting Company.
- Frozen: Book of the Film, page 136.