"Magic makes people feel too powerful ... too entitled. It makes them think they can defy the will of a king!"
Runeard was a king of Arendelle, father of Agnarr, and the paternal grandfather of Elsa and Anna. During his reign he attempted to improve the relationship between Arendelle and the Northuldra of the Enchanted Forest. Part of this involved constructing a large dam for the Northuldra, ostensibly as a gift of peace to strengthen their waters. The dam was in fact part of a ruse to weaken the Enchanted Forest and the Northuldra. The meeting after the dam's construction saw the Runeard initiate a battle with the Northuldra, during which, while wrestling with a Northuldran, he fell off a cliff to his death.
He had Agnarr with his wife, Rita, who hailed from another kingdom. Their marriage had been politically arranged and did not bring joy to Rita, who would soon grow homesick. Runeard made an attempt to satisfy her by offering her royal gifts and exuberances, but what Rita really wanted was a loving and free relationship, which Runeard was indisposed to provide. After years of inertia Rita fled the kingdom and found the the trolls whom she asked to erase her memories. She left Agnarr behind in fear of Runeard waging war against her kingdom should she escape with his heir.
Runeard locked away Rita's possessions and outlawed the mentioning of her name under penalty of banishment. He publicly blamed spirits for taking Rita away, fostering a stigma towards magic and its users.
He initially attempted to build a strong relationship with the Northuldra, inviting them to Arendelle and the castle. At some point an agreement was reached where Runeard was allowed to build a large dam on the fjord in the Enchanted Forest, supposedly to strengthen its waters for the Northuldra.
A meeting was planned at the dam to celebrate its construction. Before the occasion Runeard ordered for Arendelle's full guard to be brought. Despite an aide's reservations about Runeard's motives, the king explained that he had built the dam to weaken the Northuldrans' lands, so they would be more susceptible to him. He was suspicious of the Northuldra's relationship with magic, believing it would cause them to defy his authority as king. Additionally, Runeard saw the gathering as an opportunity to enumerate the Northuldrans' population to anticipate their total strength.
Runeard brought Agnarr along with the to the gathering. After meeting at the dam and gathering in the forest to celebrate, the Northuldra leader complained to Runeard of the dam hurting the forest. The king suggested they discuss matters further down by the fjord. The leader had gone down first, and while crouched drinking from a bowl, Runeard came from behind and struck him down with his sword.
This caused the battle to commence, during which, as he fought with a Northuldran, Runeard fell off a cliff to his death.
Runeard caused a curse to fall on the forest which trapped his men inside, where the survivors stayed for over 34 years until the curse was lifted.
Agnarr never learned the truth about his father, being left uncertain as to the cause of the battle.
In Ahtohallan, Elsa found out the truth about her grandfather and passed it on to Anna before freezing. Anna then broke Runeard's dam to free the Enchanted Forest and break the curse.
Runeard was distrustful of those who used magic, and feared that it would undermine his authority as king. He was quick to take the initiative and strike at the Northuldra, killing their leader while he was unarmed and unaware of Runeard standing behind him. Runeard had a strong conviction that he was doing the right thing for Arendelle, doing so without hesitation.
His fault lay in being fearful of magic through his ignorance of it, which is what ultimately led to his death and the curse being placed on the Enchanted Forest.
|Films and Shorts|
|Frozen||Absent||Olaf's Frozen Adventure||Absent|
|Frozen Fever||Absent||Frozen II||Appears|
|Ruler of Arendelle
Agnarr and Iduna
- Unlocking Arendelle: My Treasured Memories, p. 11