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A Frozen Heart is a 300-page novel based on the Disney film Frozen. The book is a young adult retelling of the film's events. It is told from the alternating perspectives of Anna and Hans, expanding the role of the latter and deepening his character.

Compare to Anna & Elsa (a series of children's books based off of Frozen) and A Tale Of... (Perspective Flip retellings of Disney films).

ALL spoilers on this page are UNMARKED.


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A Frozen Heart contains examples of:

  • 0% Approval Rating: The king of the Southern Isles is a greedy dictator who is hated by the populace for abusing his power and is implied to kill and/or torture citizens even for tiny reasons. Despite his sons wanting to please him, it's unknown to what extent they actually support his rule, since it's shown that even Hans secretly hates him despite wanting to earn his admiration.
  • Abusive Parents: Hans' father is quite an abusive man towards most of his 13 sons, manipulating and emotionally coercing them into becoming his sycophantic enforcers from the get-go. He encourages Social Darwinism and violence within his family as a way to indoctrinate them into his twisted beliefs.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: A fair bit is made about Hans' beautiful blue eyes. Problem is, he has green eyes in the film and in most tie-in materials.
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  • Adaptation Expansion: The book is a Broad Strokes retelling of the film that dives deeper into the characters of Hans and Anna. Many of its divergences from the film, although not all, are the addition of more details, such as scenes showing Hans in the Southern Isles and fleshing out his family life.
  • Adorkable: Lars is deeply into history, would spend hours rambling about it, and often loses track of time whenever he ends up off-topic. While others are annoyed by this or find his interest boring, Hans finds it endearing.
  • Adult Fear:
    • When you/your daughter/sister unwittingly falls for a manipulator who becomes willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants, even at the cost of people's lives.
    • Finding out your brother/son who had been mistreated for years attempted to murder innocent people.
    • When you come from an abusive home and you finally leave, only to cause all potential friends to turn on you and you've made your life worse than before.
  • Age Lift: Inverted. Hans is twenty in this book instead of twenty-three.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: With his expanded backstory and Freudian Excuse, Hans' defeat and shipping back to the Southern Isles is painted as tragic and utterly sad at what he's become and how our heroes have no idea what kind of country he's from.
  • The Alcoholic: Hans' mother and one of his sisters-in-law are implied cope with their marriages to neglectful husbands with wine.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Lampshaded when Anna mentions that Sven (a reindeer) reminds her of a puppy.
  • All for Nothing: Hans spends three years working with Lars to be Elsa's suitor and leave the Southern Isles. By the end of the story, he's completely lost the trust of everyone else and those plans are ruined.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Except for Lars, most of Hans' brothers bully him for being too weak to fight back.
  • Aloof Big Brother: While Lars is the only brother whom Hans can feel a little close to, he doesn't get along with the other eleven, as they follow their father's view of preying on the weak, and therefore, see him as their punching bag and make him feel inferior to them.
  • Altar Diplomacy: Implied to be the case for Hans' father and most of his brothers.
  • Always Second Best: While Hans is intelligent, his brothers are far more effective and ruthless than he is in the eyes of their father, something which Hans agrees on, and as a result, he began to feel less than them.
  • Always Someone Better: The king regards his older sons as superior to Hans in many ways, and Hans agrees. It's one of his driving factors for his plans in Arendelle, to prove his family wrong in underestimating his potential.
  • Ambiguous Situation: It's never specified if Hans actually killed anyone while following his father's orders, but he despised doing what his father wanted him to do to the civilians.
  • Animal Motifs: Hans' father believes that the Westergaards should "be lions, not mice", deriding Hans for not fighting back.
  • Animal Metaphor: One of Hans' brothers compares him to a mouse, and the king says the Westergaards should be "lions."
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Most of Hans' older brothers see him as a weakling.
  • Arranged Marriage: Lars' marriage to his wife Helga was arranged. She still isn't pleased with it, despite Lars' attempts to get along with her.
  • Awful Wedded Life: It's implied the king of the Southern Isles sees his wife as a Baby Factory. Caleb blatantly ignores his wife in favor of his father's attention. Even Lars, the nicest brother, doesn't get along with his wife Helga, with whom he had an Arranged Marriage, as she is unhappy in the marriage, and when the two are set to become parents, Lars thinks Helga would want to keep the child to herself.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Discussed. Hans learns that Lars is going to be a father, though his arranged wife, Helga, isn't exactly on friendly terms with him. Hans hopes that the baby will help the two grow closer, although Lars doubts it.
  • Baby Factory: Hans' father and most of his brothers see their wives as objects whose role is to produce more heirs for the kingdom.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The king's influence ultimately gets the better of Hans instead of the support of Lars to find love in Arendelle.
  • Beauty = Goodness: Averted. The Westergaard princes are said to be a handsome bunch, but most of them are obnoxious people.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Hans starts off against the ruthlessness and violence of his family, but by the end of the book, becomes willing to manipulate and try to kill people to further his personal goals.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Because Lars treats him nicely and shows a desire to help him escape their awful home, Hans has genuine respect for him.
  • Beneath the Mask: A Frozen Heart implies that Hans loathes himself and his decision to copy his family's abrasiveness is actually a cover to hide his insecurities and shortcomings.
  • Big Brother Bully: Hans is bullied by his brothers throughout his childhood. Their father encourages it, considering Hans weak for not fighting back and thinking the abuse would make him stronger. The worst of Hans' brothers are his two twin brothers, whose taunts range from standard pranks and jokes to tossing objects such as food or glassware at him.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Lars is the only brother who wants to help Hans, giving him advice and being someone to talk to when things were getting too stressful.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Lars helps Hans prepare to woo Elsa.
  • Big Brother Worship: While it's debatable if Hans wants to earn the respect of his brothers aside from leaving their shadow, he does genuinely admire Lars, the third oldest of his brothers, if just for showing him any humanity.
  • Big Fancy Castle: Visitors often mistake the Southern Isles' castle for a giant, black Sea Monster or serpent, but it's actually a palace made of rocks only found within the kingdom.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Westergaards can be accurately described as a Dysfunctional Family: Hans' parents are too neglectful to spend time with him, while eleven of his older brothers, who are too rowdy and neglectful of their wives, choose to bully him just because he's the youngest of the baker's dozen.
  • Bittersweet Ending: As expected, everything works out between Elsa and Anna, but Hans being sent back to his home takes on a less triumphant tone in this adaption, since his expanded character history makes him more sympathetic and his potential punishment from his family feel more ominous.
  • Bookworm: Lars is the Southern Isles' historian, as he updates the royal family of events occurring in and out of the kingdom, and is an expert on the kingdom's history.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Elsa stayed away from Anna and kept a door and walls between them whenever possible in part because she loved her and didn't want her to get hurt again. Anna, being Locked Out of the Loop, mistakenly believes the opposite for years.
  • Broad Strokes: The book is a Tie-In Novel that generally follows the film with more backstory and details added, but certain aspects still play out differently.
  • Broken Bird: Being married to an apathetic man who's indifferent to her and abuses their sons, Hans' mother is deeply unhappy with her marriage, and copes with it by drinking wine.
  • The Caligula: The King of the Southern Isles is a tyrant who subjects anyone to brutal punishments just for not providing enough favors or money, or insulting him. His violence isn't all Disproportionate Retribution, either. The king's "solution" to a problem one farmer had? He orders the army to burn their farm down to the ground and confiscate their livestock. Hans wonders how someone in charge of such a large kingdom "could be so stupid."
  • Can't Take Criticism: The king of the Southern Isles's reaction to insults against him? Regime critics are subjected to brutal punishments.
  • The Church: Hans wonders if he'll be ordered to take a vow of silence and join the The Brotherhood of the Isles for the rest of his life instead of marrying off.
  • The Confidant:
    • Lars is the only person Hans feels comfortable with when it comes to the nightmare of living in the Southern Isles, the emotional damage he suffered and the fear of never getting to meet someone. Lars knows about how Hans would spend hours at the docks to clear his head, and tries to set Hans up to meet Princess Elsa for a potential marriage.
    • Downplayed for Hans' mother. While she does care for him and wishes her older sons to stop the violence, she can only acknowledge Hans with weak smiles.
  • The Corrupter: Hans' father often micromanages his sons and raises them with a Social Darwinist philosophy.
  • Crapsack World: The Southern Isles is described by the book as a Police State whose Evil Overlord reacts violently through Disproportionate Retribution by whipping the populace in line and beating them into total submission, and it's implied he kills regime critics and delinquent taxpayers.
  • Crushing the Populace: The king of the Southern Isles uses brute force to beat his subjects into total submission, with the support of most of his sons.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: The book gives Hans a more expansive backstory than the film, and explores how it shapes him into what he is at the end of the story. From a young age, he is often mocked by his brothers for failing to meet their father's extremely high but cruel goals. By the time he's an adult, Hans has practically given up fighting back, but his father's emotional abuse only increases, while enabling his older sons to bully him even more.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the movie, it's certainly darker as it goes into more detail on characters' thoughts, and gives Hans a detailed Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Dark Fic: As dark as the original movie is, the book is aimed at a more mature audience, and thus, is allowed more wiggle room. While not that dark, it does allude to Hans having Self-Harm issues and gives him a detailed backstory that is darker than most Frozen material.
  • Dark Is Evil: The Evil Overlord king of the Southern Isles lives in a palace made of gleaming black rock.
  • Debate and Switch: There are several moments where Hans realizes what he's doing is unethical, but his stubborn desire to become The Dutiful Son drives him to continue.
  • The Determinator: Hans is zealously determined to earn his neglectful family's respect. Sadly, he takes it way too far, using underhanded methods for getting what he wants while ignoring the ramifications. At times, he realizes what he's doing is morally wrong and even scolds himself, yet he goes through it. As such, the time he spends prepping up on going to Arendelle is wasted in part because he becomes ruthless in his ambition, and he's back in the same hell he wanted to get out of in the first place.
  • Dinner and a Show: When Hans finally shows up to attend his mother's birthday after standing outside the door for 20 minutes, his father scolds him for being late and daydreaming, while his brothers ridicule him for being a Momma's Boy and toss objects at him as he exits the room.
  • Disappointed in You: Hans' father tells him that he should be more like his brothers and openly considers his youngest son to be a disappointment.
  • Disappointing Older Sibling: Zigzagged. Caleb, the oldest of the Southern Isles princes, is their father's favorite, although his younger siblings Hans and Lars see him as a Manchild. It's implied most of his other younger brothers don't like him, either. Hans is the youngest, but he's treated like he's the Black Sheep rather than Caleb.
  • Dispense with the Pleasantries: The king of the Southern Isles never wastes words and often scolds Hans for not getting to the point.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: It's implied delinquent taxpayers are seriously injured or killed as a warning to others who don't pay.
  • Domestic Abuse: The king and Caleb ignore their wives.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • For most of the novel, Anna has no clue about Hans' true nature, while the audience sees half of the events through his eyes and is privy to his thoughts and feelings.
    • Since Hans lied about so much else, Anna doubts that his family is as bad as he claimed, so she figures it's best if his father sort out his penalty. As such, Kristoff, Anna and Elsa are totally unaware that not only is the one thing he did not lie about, they're actually even worse than he suggested.
  • The Dreaded: Both Hans and the citizens of the Southern Isles are terrified of the scope of the king's wrath, as he uses Disproportionate Retribution to forcibly control the kingdom and brutally suppress any criticism levied on him.
  • Driven by Envy: Hans' drive to become king stems from the jealousy he has towards his father favoring his older brothers over him, causing him to develop self-esteem issues.
  • The Dutiful Son: Hans' ultimate goal and prime motivator is to win the acceptance and respect of his neglectful family, particularly his father, who regards him as an useless spare, regardless of the consequences he has to face or the wrong choices he makes. This goal is shared by his 12 older brothers, as they want to make their father appreciate them.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Deconstructed. The Westergaards are one Big, Screwed-Up Family, with arrogant royals, a king who ill-treats his entire family, and siblings who torment each other out of cruelty. Due to this, the entire clan ends up becoming miserable, as some of the king's 13 sons become borderline sociopaths and develop "Well Done, Son!" Guy tendencies, a Lack of Empathy, and immaturity, courtesy of the king's corrosive influence. With such experiences, Hans comes to develop a sour opinion on all types of love, be it familial or romantic.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas:
    • Hans may be ruthless, but is implied to genuinely care for his mother.
    • Double Subverted in the case of Hans' brothers. When they attend their mother's birthday, it's suggested they only come because their father wanted them to make an appearance. However, they seem to resent Hans for being cared about by their mother, going so far as to rudely mock him for being a Momma's Boy.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Despite his general sociopathy in the movie and by the end of the novel, Hans does have standards here. Aware that his father is an Evil Overlord, Hans is determined to rule a kingdom as a strict but fair and kind ruler, even if he takes unscrupulous methods in gaining control of Arendelle. He also pities his mother and Caleb's wife for being married to men who ignore them.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The abuse Hans suffered over the years has left him unable to understand or even experience love, which he considers as an easily exploitable flaw. Aside from being confused by Anna's Heroic Sacrifice and her Kirk Summation to him about being "frozen-hearted," when he notices Elsa's reaction to believing she's killed her sister, he is genuinely baffled at her grief, and so for a moment, starts to realize he might have gone too far... but he quickly gets over it.
  • Evil Debt Collector: Like a typical Mafia extortionist, the king of the Southern Isles sends down one of his sons to forcibly strong-arm and shake down delinquent taxpayers.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: The king and his more violent sons take sadistic pleasure in their mistreatment of Hans.
  • Evil Is Petty:
  • Eviler Than Thou: The king of the Southern Isles thinks Hans isn't tough enough and needs to learn to be more like his older bullying brothers.
  • Evil Overlord: The king of the Southern Isles is a violent man, prone to Disproportionate Retribution. The cruel manner in which he runs the country is what forces Hans to find a way to escape his homeland for good.
  • Extreme Doormat: The queen is implied to be one. It's implied she loves her children and desires them to stop treating Hans so horribly, years of childbirth and her husband's corrupting influence towards their sons has rendered her unable to do anything but acknowledge Hans with weak smiles.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Surprisingly averted here with the Southern Isles, which, in canon, geographically corresponds to Denmark, as seen in Frozen Fever. In this book, however, the Southern Isles bear no noticeable resemblance to Denmark.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Hans' father believes his youngest son doesn't like following his orders and often fails to exceed the cruel expectations he set for his 13 sons. Because of this, he encourages his older sons to bully Hans until he's in line with his twisted viewpoint.
  • Fatal Flaw: Ambition for Hans. He becomes too desperate in getting what he wants while ignoring the consequences when he decides to take less moral routes. At times, he knew what he's doing is morally wrong and even scolds himself, yet he impulsively goes through it. Being abused by his family slowly becomes the breaking point and ultimately pushes him into pursuing a desperate of winning the respect of his distant father and brothers. Hans corrupts his own morals while serving as his father's gofer, committing things he originally hated. As such, the time he spends prepping up on going to Arendelle is wasted because he can't contain his "Well Done, Son!" Guy issues, and goes to the extreme of attempting regicide. Only at the end does he have a Heel Realization, but by then, he's in damage control mode as he's being sent back to the same hellhole he wanted to escape from.
  • Father, I Don't Want to Fight: Hans' father is a violent man who thinks all of his sons must be forcibly indoctrinated in Social Darwinism from a young age, so any son going soft is unacceptable. Since Hans hated his father treating their subjects like trash, it automatically made him the family's laughing stock. For this reason, Hans' father and most of his older brothers often saw him as a total disappointment.
  • Fictional Earth: Implied to be the case here, as in all Frozen media. All countries named are fictional, the main ones being the Southern Isles and Arendelle. Other countries named are Weselton, Vakretta, Chatho, Zaria, Kongsberg, Blavenia, Seven Islands, Riverland, and Eldora.
  • Foil: Notably, anything related to Hans or his family life seems to be the polar opposite of the sisters.
    • Hans' father is the polar opposite of Agnarr. He only favors sons who are the most loyal and useful to him, while apathetically treating his youngest son as a nuisance, is at best indifferent to his wife, and encourages his sons to torment each other out of contempt and cruelty. And while both fathers are responsible for a child developing depression, Agnarr only wants to keep Elsa and Anna safe, but Hans' father is unfeeling to his sons.
    • As a whole, the Westergaards are this to the trolls. While the trolls are Kristoff's adopted non-human family who treated him with love, Hans' biological human family treat each other horribly.
    • Sibling relations in Arendelle vs. the Southern Isles. While Anna and Elsa cared for each other even when the two were separated, neither Hans nor his brothers get along with each other, and each of them is determined to surpass their achievements by any means possible, as their father encourages violence and Social Darwinism in his big family as a way to whip them in line with his worldview.
    • In a nutshell, Hans is a darker Anna: used to being friendless and feeling inadequate, but unlike Anna, Hans grows up to be a cynical and self-centered man who sees all love as weaknesses, and thinks competition makes them more successful. Sadly, he never gets to reconcile with his own family, and he remains friendless at the end of the movie.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: The king of the Southern Isles wants his sons to emulate him, demanding them to be obedient and perfect, with deviations from his worldview being corrected harshly. His treatment of Hans is because he was the least willing to conform to their shared views.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Since this book is based on a film that was released 2 years earlier, it's known that Hans isn't going to get the happy ending he hopes for.
  • Freudian Excuse: Freud would have a big field day with the Westergaard clan here:
    • Hans' family outright abuses him to the point that he is heavily implied to Self-Harm, thinking to himself that physical pain is easier to deal with than the emotional turmoil they put him through. By the time he goes to Arendelle, he's been abused for so long that he now thinks it's perfectly normal and it seems that he suffers from depression and a big inferiority complex as a result from it, despite attempting to downplay it. His father also forces him to use violence against the Southern Isles population, from beating up critics of the king to killing delinquent taxpayers as a means for Hans to earn his respect, despite his reluctance to harm anybody. And once Hans gets his first taste of real power from controlling Arendelle in Elsa's absence, it goes right to his head and causes him to Jump Off The Slippery Slope, driving him to start dehumanizing everyone else, manipulate others and be desperate to cling onto power at all costs.
    • Inverted with Lars. Lars had been the youngest for a while, and because of this, he is the only one to stand up for Hans.
    • Most of Hans' brothers's behavior is implied to stem from the fact that the king subjected them to psychological manipulation to the point they've become emotionally dependent on him and are now Spoiled Brats. Even their abuse of Hans stems from a desire to make their father favor them for showing no "weakness".
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: At the end of the novelization, Anna wonders how much of what Hans said about his background is true, but thinks regardless of whether he was telling the truth or lying, he's still an adult who should take responsibility for his actions instead of blaming his family.
  • Friendless Background: Before coming to Arendelle, Hans doesn't seem to have anyone except his family, which is not a very loving one. Being neglected and abused all his life wind up being the source of many issues, as he slowly comes to believe Love Is a Weakness.
  • From Bad to Worse: Hans starts out being ridiculed by his unloving family for his ineptitude. He wants to rectify that, but his plot to do so by taking over another kingdom ends up making things worse, and as a result, he ends back where he started with his family and is now hated by another country.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Averted, as usual with Disney. Anna likes drinking glogg (a mulled wine drink) and Hans' mother also likes wine.
  • Good All Along: Downplayed and subverted with Hans. While the book is marketed at readers who already know the plot of Frozen and that Hans is a villain, it starts off with Hans as a rather decent person, especially in comparison to his family. But as the story progresses, his actions become more morally ambiguous, before Jumping Off the Slippery Slope. While his initial plan to seduce either Anna or Elsa so that he could marry up is dishonest and manipulative, it's partly motivated by wanting to escape his awful life in the Southern Isles and he does legitimately want to do good. By the end of the book though, he goes from selfish with some noble desires to becoming unashamedly cruel.
  • The Good King: What Hans wants to be as a ruler, after seeing his own father's cruelty towards their subjects.
  • The Good Kingdom:
    • As in the movie, this is played straight with Arendelle. It has a genuinely loving royal family that cares for its citizens, and the locals are appreciative of the queen and her sister.
    • Inverted with the Southern Isles. Its government is a totalitarian dictatorship that is implied to use disproportionate punishments against citizens for minor reasons.
  • Good Parents: Hans' mother is implied to be loving towards her sons, and wants them to stop abusing each other.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: While Hans is the villain of the main story, it was his father's corrosive influence that led him to become it.
  • Happy Marriage Charade: Deconstructed. Most of the royals don't get along with their spouses, but pretend to be happily married for social reasons. Noting how Caleb's pregnant wife is uncomfortable with how he ignores her and how his mother has been used to being ignored, Hans notes that most of his own family is absolutely miserable with each other.
  • Hate Sink: While Hans is this in the film, this book downplays this for him by showing some sympathetic qualities and by shifting the trope to his father. In the king's first appearance, he throws his wife's birthday party just to show off while ignoring her. He treats his sons as just his enforcers and shows no true love for them, encouraging them to fight each other and places the blame on the youngest for the older ones bullying him, saying it's his fault for not fighting back. He's also a tyrant prone to Disproportionate Retribution.
  • Hates Small Talk: The king frequently rebukes Hans for not "getting straight to the point" and wasting his time.
  • Heel Realization: Subverted repeatedly and deconstructed. There are several moments where Hans knows what he's doing is wrong, but he impulsively goes ahead anyway as he allowed his issues to cloud his mind. As he's being shipped back to the Southern Isles at the end of the book, while Hans finally realizes what he did is wrong, it's way beyond the past of forgiveness as he ends up being hated by an entire country for his actions.
  • Hidden Depths: Implied. Some of Hans' thoughts regarding Caleb's behavior suggests he always knew his father would only see his sons as henchmen and a fan club.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Hans actually meets with Oaken on the way to Elsa's ice castle and makes this observation about how he wants to be seen as this.
  • Hope Spot: When his father gives Hans permission to visit Arendelle, it seems he finally has his father's trust and respect and he has a chance to meet Elsa and potentially be her suitor. But then, his father suddenly tells Hans to return as soon as the gates close so that he can return home and tend to his brothers' kids, showing the king still has little respect for his youngest son.
  • Hypocrite: Hans vows not to be like his brothers and willingly use violence as the chief means to an end. Yet, near the end of the book, Hans is determined to uphold their legacy and murder two innocent women for his own ends. And years of being on the receiving end of cruel pranks, he secretly acknowledges this to himself when he does the same to Anna when she needs him to kiss her.
  • Ignored Epiphany: There are several moments where Hans almost realizes what he's doing is wrong, but goes ahead anyway.
    • When he goes to his father's study room in the hopes of becoming his gofer, he is reluctant to go inside, and ponders on turning back. But he then shakes his head, believing that if he wants to earn his father's respect, then he would have to follow his orders.
    • From his side of the events between where he tells Elsa that Anna died because of her and he's about to kill her with his sword, Hans doesn't take his weapon out because he's seeing what he's done to her. He realizes she's in grief over her dead sister and it seems he realizes he's gone too far... but quickly shakes his head, believing there's no point now that he has a chance to end the winter and be free from the Southern Isles forever.
    • Also, Hans feels slightly hesitant about hastily agreeing to a Fourth Date Marriage with Anna, wondering if he's going way too fast and how his family would react — his father would call him an idiot, while Lars would say that this was done too rashly — and yet these self-doubts are quickly overridden by his stubborn and single-minded goal to seize control of Arendelle.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: The book portrays Hans with massive self-esteem issues and an Inferiority Superiority Complex. He often dreams of his father and brothers appreciating him of who he is, combined with feeling less than them. But his desire to win his family's respect ultimately makes him do morally questionable things.
  • Imagine Spot: Hans often dreams of his family appreciating him of who he is, but they always have a hint of sadness to them. For example:
    • He often fantasizes being the king's heir, and these fantasies always involve his father telling him that he's proud of having such a son, but they often end with him realizing he'll never be accepted by his family.
    • At times, he would also go to the docks to clear his head and think of leaving his horrible excuse for a family so he could settle down some place else for good.
    • When he notices how Arendelle's citizens become deeply concerned with their missing queen and princess when Anna's horse returns without its owner, Hans briefly wonders if his family would even bother rescuing the king's "throwaway" son if he were to be stuck in a similar situation.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Hans and Lars think Caleb has been spoiled too much, seeing him as an irresponsible Manchild who doesn't take his role as heir to the throne seriously and ignores his family for seeking their father's attention. They also agree that he would rule with slackness once their father kicks the bucket.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Hans often feels less than his older brothers, who often mock him for being weak.
  • In the Blood:
  • Intimidating Revenue Service: The King of the Southern Isles frequently uses intimidation tactics to forcibly collect taxes from his subjects.
  • Irony: Meta example. This is one of many books to have an audio version featured on audible.com. Santino Fontana, who voices Hans, is one of many actors to do voice work for the website. However, this is not one of the books he himself does narration for.
  • It's All About Me: It's implied the king only cares for people when they're useful to him, as he only begins treating Hans better when Hans becomes his gofer, and he throws his wife's birthday celebration not for her sake, but to show off.
  • It Gets Easier: Deconstructed. Hans starts off hesitant to engage in violence. But the more time he spends doing his father's dirty work and being taught the king's Social Darwinist philosophy, the more he becomes desensitized. However, he also ends up believing Love Is a Weakness and avoids forming genuine relationships, instead seeing others as disposable tools.
  • I Want Grandkids: Hans' father wants his sons to marry off and produce more heirs to the kingdom.
  • Jerkass: Hans' father and eleven of his brothers are highly violent and brutish thugs, given how they treat their family and subjects like trash, to the point that Hans sees his homeland and family's castle as a prison, with his father and brothers acting as corrupt jail wardens, and himself as a prisoner.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Hans' father throws his wife's birthday party just for political reasons and to show off. And it's implied most of his sons attend just to impress their father and taunt Hans.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: At first, Hans is driven to morally questionable things, including working as an enforcer for his Evil Overlord father, by a desire to earn his father's respect, be free from his brothers' abuse, and prove himself worthy to his family. Once he gets his first taste of real power from controlling Arendelle in Elsa's absence, though, it goes right to his head and clouds his judgment, driving him to start dehumanizing everyone else, manipulate others, and be desperate to cling onto power at all costs.
  • Karma Houdini: Hans' abusive family members go completely unpunished.
  • Kick the Dog: The princes tend to harass each other, especially Hans, for the sake of it, establishing most of them as unsympathetic characters. Aside from taunting or tossing objects at him just for daydreaming when he shows up late to their mother's birthday, some of them even pretended Hans was "invisible" for two straight years. Likewise, the king often sneers at his youngest son.
  • Knight of Cerebus: There's nothing remotely funny or sympathetic about most of Hans' family, including the king. Anytime they appear or are mentioned by Hans demonstrates how cruel and demanding they are towards him.
  • Lady Drunk: It's implied the queen of the Southern Isles uses wine to cope with her Dysfunctional Family.
  • Lack of Empathy: Invoked and deconstructed. The king encourages Social Darwinism, raising his children to be ruthless. The family ends up miserable from tormenting each other, and Hans gets in trouble on what was supposed to be a diplomatic mission to another country because he tried to kill its royal family in an attempt to take over himself.
  • Left Hanging: Potentially due to Broad Strokes, and likely because Anna and Elsa are unlikely to visit the Southern Isles, we never revisit the Westergaards or learn what's occurred since Hans returned in all franchise stories set after the events of Elsa's coronation (outside of Hans' brief appearance in Frozen Fever). We don't see what's become of Hans' relationship with Lars, how his mother reacted to news of his crimes, the gender of Lars' child or if he and Helga ever learned to get along.
  • Lessons in Sophistication: It's mentioned that Anna took etiquette lessons.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: This novel depicts Hans as a more sympathetic character by giving him redeeming qualities and contrasting him with his family, particularly his father, who makes Hans look tame compared to him. His father is a genuine sociopath who doesn't bother hiding how amoral he is, heavily implied to be an abusive husband, gives his sons' bullying of each other and of Hans specifically his approval by claiming Meekness Is Weakness, and manipulates his sons into being his loyal servants while playing favorites with those who are most loyal and useful.
  • Locked Away in a Monastery: Hans briefly mentions the Brotherhood of the Isles while meeting with Lars, wondering if his father will order him to become a monk and live the rest of his life there with a vow of silence instead of marrying off.
  • Love Is a Weakness: Having grown up in an abusive family that believed in Social Darwinism more than anything else, Hans sees love as an easily exploitable flaw, leaving him incapable of understanding love beyond an intellectual level.
  • Make an Example of Them: To whip his subjects in line, Hans' father responds violently with Disproportionate Retribution against regime critics and delinquent taxpayers.
  • Manchild: Most of Hans' brothers are abrasive towards Hans. In particular, both Hans and Lars see Caleb as an irresponsible Royal Brat who treats the idea of running a kingdom like a child's game and like their father, doesn't get along with his family. They also think he'll rule with slackness once their father kicks the bucket. It's implied that their father spoiled him too much.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Hans' father psychologically abuses and manipulates his sons from a young age into becoming his boot-licking flunkies.
  • The Matchmaker: The king sets up marriages for his sons.
  • Meekness Is Weakness: Hans' father believes in Social Darwinism, Misery Builds Character and Might Makes Right when it came to controlling his large family and big kingdom. As such, he thinks his sons should be "lions, not mice", despises weakness, and apathetically mocks Hans for being too docile. He even enables his sons to bully each other for the sake of "good politics."
  • Meet Cute: Invoked. Hans purposely has Sitron knock into Anna, thinking she's Elsa and that it's his best chance to romance her. Sitron causing the boat they stand on to almost fall in the water was not part of that plan, making his embarrassment genuine.
  • Might Makes Right: Hans' father responds to Hans being bullied by telling him that he should be more like them because the Westergaards should be "lions, not mice."
  • Misery Builds Character: The king strongly believes in this as a way of upbringing his 13 sons, and wants them to be obedient and perfect, as they reflect back on him. Any of them going soft is unacceptable. To him, the Westergaards should "be lions, not mice," reprimanding Hans for not fighting back.
  • Momma's Boy: Hans is one of the few people who still cares for his mother, as while his father claims that when Hans was late for her birthday, she'd be the only one to notice his absence. That being said, while she does love Hans, she is too weak-willed to stand up to her husband and older sons, and could only show him a smile in her son's presence. Some of his brothers, especially Rudi and Runo, even ridicule him for being a momma's boy and resent him for being their mother's favorite.
  • Morality Pet: Lars and the Queen seem to be the only people Hans genuinely respects and cares for. And even as he gets desperate in trying to control Arendelle, he still cares for Sitron, his horse.
  • Narcissist: Hans' father is one, demanding his sons to be obedient and perfect (since they reflect back on him), strongly believes in Meekness Is Weakness, Might Makes Right and Misery Builds Character, thinks the Westergaards should be "lions, not mice", and doesn't care for his sons unless they're useful to him. He treats his subjects as a source of income he can abuse to his heart's content. Any son who doesn't live up to his high but extremely cruel expectations must be forcibly toughened up by being physically and emotionally abused from the get-go.
  • Nice Guy: Lars appears to lack anything that made Hans' other brothers awful. He does not appear to be violent, doesn't seem as obsessed with earning their father's admiration, and he actually wanted to help Hans find a wife and leave their abusive home for good.
  • No Name Given: Of the thirteen Southern Isles princes, the only ones named are Caleb (the oldest), Lars (the third born) and the twins Rudi and Runo (their placement is unknown), and Hans (the youngest). Since the king and queen are unnamed as well, anybody can at least assume Hans got his last name from his father. Most of Hans' sisters-in-law are unnamed as well, except for Helga, Lars' wife.
  • Noodle Incident: While comparing the Southern Isles' most recent map with an older one, Lars mentions an 'incident' with Riverland over disputed territory and maritime boundaries.
  • No Sense of Humor: While Lars is the nicest prince, Hans describes him as being unable to share a laugh and being too serious all the time.
  • Parental Favoritism: Most of Hans' brothers resent Hans and Caleb for being their mother's and father's respective favorite sons.
  • Parental Neglect: Hans' father deliberately chooses to be distant and neglectful of him, coldly dismissing him as an incompetent coward who doesn't know how to fight back, and giving him little attention at all while doting on his older sons. Also, Hans being against his family's violent methods of controlling the kingdom made him the proverbial Black Sheep of the family. So in his view, the strong should pick on the weak, and Hans being beaten up by his brothers at a young age is a sign of "good politics and strength," claiming that Hans should "learn a thing or two" from his brothers.
  • Perspective Flip: Retells the story of Frozen with Hans as a co-protagonist. It portrays him with more sympathetic qualities, giving him a more detailed tragic backstory and a conscience, especially in comparison to more horrifically evil characters.
  • Persona Non Grata: Implied. Once Hans' duplicity and actions have been revealed, Elsa, Kristoff and Anna have him deported back to the Southern Isles, doubting that his family is as bad as he claimed, and not realizing the Southern Isles royals are actually even worse.
  • Police State: What the Southern Isles is, in essence. The king is a tyrant who reacts violently when his subjects don't provide favors or if they insult him.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Implied. Hans' father and his brother Caleb neglect their wives, suggesting they only view the women as trophy wives. Given how they rule the Southern Isles, it's implied they look down on the lower classes.
  • Psychopathic Man Child: Eleven of Hans' older brothers are psychotic pricks who continue to torment Hans even into adulthood, often using pranks and taunts that are both sadistic and childish.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Hans' family takes this attitude. Hans initially disagrees, but eventually comes to adopt the same way of thinking.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Hans wonders if his father will have him become a monk for the Brotherhood of the Isles for not meeting his expectations.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • When Hans goes to talk with his father about attending Elsa's coronation, he suddenly realizes that he forgot the king hates him and won't easily allow him to leave for Arendelle. He becomes the king's gofer in order to get into his good graces so that he'll gain some trust to leave for Arendelle.
    • Hans and Anna agree to a Fourth Date Marriage. Despite the commonality of the trope in fiction, it turns out that all the other characters are shocked by how quickly the two are moving. Anna's sister, Queen Elsa, even intervenes.
  • Rousseau Was Right: Hans initially wants to become The Good King and shows no desire to hurt anyone, but his abusive father and brothers gave him a serious and massive inferiority complex and convince him Virtue Is Weakness, and he ends up becoming as ruthless and cruel as them.
  • Royal Brat: Most of the princes of the Southern Isles. For example:
    • Many of them subject Hans to physical and emotional abuse, with three of of them pretending Hans was "invisible" for two straight years.
    • Rudi and Runo, aside from tossing objects such as food or glassware at him, mock Hans for being a Momma's Boy when he attends their mother's birthday.
    • Caleb, the king's favorite son due to being the oldest, is a Spoiled Brat who doesn't take any of his responsibilities seriously.
  • Royally Screwed Up: The Westergaards are basically the royal version of a Dysfunctional Family: none of the 13 sons get along with each other, the men in the royal household ill-treat their spouses, and the king is a Domestic Abuser.
  • The Runt at the End: At times, Hans does know that he's the Black Sheep of his family. To escape from his grimy reality, he fantasizes a world where he's loved and appreciated by his family, but they often end with them scolding him for having such thoughts. Occasionally, he even makes deadpan jokes about his low status in the familial pecking order and tries downplaying it, but only Lars knows the sadness behind his Self-Deprecation humor.
  • Sadist: Most of Hans' brothers see Hans as their punching bag, and share their father's sentiments of him being a weakling. They relish in making his life a living hell, be it physical or psychological, with the twins bullying him the most.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Hans ignores any indication that Elsa is not the monster he imagines her as. Any moment he starts to feel bad for her, he immediately attempts to rationalize why he shouldn't.
  • Self-Deprecation: Hans makes Deadpan Snarker jokes about how he's the Spare to the Throne and tries to brush it off, but only Lars knows the reality behind his Self-Deprecating Humor.
  • Self-Harm: Implied with Hans when, while suffering through a dinner with his abusive family, he passes his hand on an old table, gets hurt by the splinters, but finds the pain of the splinters "oddly pleasant. Physical pain he could handle."
  • Shadow Archetype: Hans represents what Anna can become if she abandoned reconciling with Elsa and focused on getting attention at all costs, including but not limited to assassinating her own sister to elevate herself. Unlike Anna, who reconciles with Elsa at the end, Hans still has nobody to help him in his issues at the end of the story, and over time, it causes him to see love as an exploitable flaw, cling to bitterness, view others as tools and give in to his quest for success, and believe in cut-throat dog-eat-dog-ism. Also, despite being close to his mother and Lars, they weren't of much help to Hans, likely out of fear of facing the king's wrath.
  • Shipper on Deck: Hans hopes Lars and Helga will finally grow close together after they become parents.
  • Shipper with an Agenda: Lars is the one who suggests to Hans that he go to Arendelle, meet Elsa and get her to fall in love with him. His reasoning isn't because he thinks they'd be a good couple (though Hans' disappointment in not meeting a potential wife for him may have played a factor) but so Hans can have a home, and start a new family away from the Southern Isles.
  • The Slacker: Caleb, Hans' oldest brother, is seen by Hans and Lars as an irresponsible manchild who doesn't take his job as heir seriously. Hans and Lars also think he will be a sloppy ruler, as the king has spoiled him too much to the point Caleb is emotionally dependent on him.
  • The Social Darwinist: A ruthless tyrant who admires power and despises weakness, Hans' father is a combination of the Straw Meritocrat, the Struggler and the Weakness Punisher types. To him, any of his sons going soft isn't allowed, so they must be forcibly indoctrinated from a young age to believe that only the fittest survive, that they must be "lions, not mice," and considers Hans to be an useless "spare." He even deliberately encourages his sons to torment each other, while playing favorites with those who are most loyal and useful.
  • The Sociopath:
    • Hans' father seems to care nothing for his family unless they're useful to him. He also treats his subjects like trash, prone to Disproportionate Retribution and even having subjects who come to ask him for help attacked. He also emotionally abuses his sons so they'll be transformed into his sycophantic loyalists.
    • Zig-zagged in Hans' case. While he does show aspects of sociopaths (such as superficial charm, Lack of Empathy, and whatnot), it's debatable if he's truly one, due to a strong Freudian Excuse and establishing the fact that he genuinely cares for Lars and their mother. It's implied his decision to act like one are him mirroring his family's abrasiveness in order to earn their respect.
  • So Proud of You: While his older brothers are praised by their father for being high-achievers, Hans seems to be the only one who could never get this.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Hans' decision to mirror people is actually a veneer for Self-Harm and clinical depression, stemming from the abuse he gets from his family. This, combined with "Well Done, Son!" Guy tendencies and his Inferiority Superiority Complex, is what drives his villainous actions.
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • Agdar's name is spelled "Agnarr" here. Iduns's name here is spelt "Idun".
    • Hans' surname is spelled "Westergaard". Jennifer Lee didn't correct a fan on Twitter when they spelled it "Westerguard", so it was assumed that was the canonical spelling.
  • Spoiled Brat: Some of Hans' brothers are pampered and doted on by their father for their usefulness to him, making them Manchildren. Caleb in particular seems to have been spoiled too much, due to being the oldest and the king's favorite son. Hans and Lars see him as a largely irresponsible man who neglects his duties as heir.
  • Starting a New Life: This is what Hans desires everyday — escape from the family he sees as a prison, and starting a new life away from the tyranny of his homeland for good, with nobody taunting him. Lars, the only one of Hans' brothers who never bullied him and knew his desire of escaping, suggested he go to Arendelle, meet Elsa, and get her to fall in love with him.
  • Stock "Yuck!": Anna hates sandwich crusts. She also hates ärtsoppa (pea soup).
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Out of thirteen sons, Runo is the only blond out of a bunch of redheads. His hair (that sticks straight up), pale eyes and eyebrows make him look as if he's perpetually shocked.
  • Successful Sibling Syndrome: Hans often feels envious of Caleb being 1st in line and fantasizes what it's like being the crown prince. Plus, feeling less than his brothers and being in their shadow for years causes him to develop an obsessive desire to earn the respect of his family.
  • Sweet Tooth: Elsa and Anna inherited theirs from Idun.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Hans has a set of fraternal twins for brothers named "Runo" and "Rudi".
  • Tie-In Novel: A Frozen Heart is almost like a novelization, except that it is from the perspectives of Anna and Hans. It also goes in depth on aspects of their backstories and characters, such as how Hans' Dark and Troubled Past shaped him.
  • Token Good Teammate:
    • Lars and the queen were the only family members Hans had that didn't hurt him or any of the citizens.
    • Deconstructed with Hans. He starts out as a decent guy who genuinely likes his mother and Lars, and abhors his father's violent regime, but he can't do much, as his father and older brothers frequently abuse him for "showing weakness." Eventually, he abandons his morals and tries his best to emulate his family, but it hardens him to the point he's incapable of forming genuine bonds.
  • Tragic Villain: Hans became the very person he never wanted to be, and while people in and out of the Southern Isles see him as an evil jerk, the truth is, he's now the victim of even worse people. There is nothing he can do about it.
  • Training from Hell: Deconstructed. Hans' father subjects his sons to a ruthlessly inhumane training program from a young age so they'll be molded into mirror images of himself, and believe in Social Darwinism over anything else. It causes the royal family to become miserable with each other.
  • Trophy Wife: Implied to be what happened to the queen and most of Hans' sisters-in-law. Both the king and Prince Caleb ignore their wives, and Lars's marriage was arranged.
  • Trophy Child: Hans' father molds his sons into reflections of himself, not for their benefit, but to fuel his selfish ego so they'll be forced to emulate him and regularly demands them to be obedient and perfect.
  • Tyke Bomb: Downplayed, but it's shown that Hans' father has forcibly indoctrinated all of his sons in Social Darwinism from a young age. To him, any son who becomes soft is a sign of weakness, so this must be rectified by allowing his other sons to bully the weakling until he's in shape and forcibly whipped in line with his worldview. Like Hans, all of his brothers want their father to be proud of them, as their abuse of Hans seems to be out of a desire to make their father favor them for showing no mercy or compassion.
  • The Unfavorite: Hans often gets the short end of the stick in his family, as they see him as the big let-down of the family. Their constant belittling causes him to feel less than his more prodigious brothers, develop a desire to get out of their shadow, and win their respect by being the king's gofer.
  • The Unfettered: Before going to Arendelle, Hans averts this. He initially abhors violence, but his stubborn determination to become his father's favorite gets the better of him and halfway into the story, Hans decides he would be a king and free at any cost, even if he has to kill Anna and Elsa.
  • Unnamed Parent: The king and queen of the Southern Isles are unnamed, though it can be assumed that Hans got the surname from his father.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Lars had good intentions in helping to mold Hans into Elsa's suitor, and didn't realize how far Hans would take the plan to become king in Arendelle (to the point of killing two innocent women).
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Hans used to be against all of the cruel and hateful things his father encourages his sons to do. As a child, this made him the target of his father's wrath, causing most of his brothers to bully him to appeal to their father. When the king and queen of Arendelle pass away, Hans is legitimately saddened for their kingdom. But the time he spends becoming his father's errand boy leaves a negative impact on him, as he takes part in the cruel actions he abhorred previously to earn his father's trust to go to Arendelle. During his stay, he lets his sudden engagement to Anna and temporary status as leader go to his head, prompting him to try and take the easy way out of losing his power and going home, and he uses the same tactics he ironically vowed to never use to stay. By the time he and Anna reunite, he's decided to dehumanize everyone around him and do whatever he can to become a king of a country his father had no power over.
  • Useless Bystander Parent: Though Hans' mother cares for her youngest son, acknowledges him with weak smiles, and wishes her older sons to stop bullying each other, she's unable to stand up to her husband.
  • Villain of Another Story: Hans' father is a cruel dictator who abuses his sons into being bullies and sycophantic abusers totally loyal to him, treats his family with complete indifference, and has people killed or imprisoned for either criticizing him or falling behind on taxes. If this were Hans' story, his father would be the Big Bad and Hans would be The Hero rebelling against his abusive family. Unfortunately, Hans' fear of being a disappointment to his father and unwillingness to return to that abusive household made him the villain of Anna and Elsa's story.
  • Virtue Is Weakness: Hans' father and most of his brothers think that showing mercy and compassion to others is unacceptable. In their twisted viewpoint, the Westergaards should be "lions, not mice", have a right to pick on the weak, and believe only the fittest survive. They often coerce Hans into following their extremely cruel orders and expectations.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy:
    • Hans' descent to villainy is born from a stubborn desire to be loved by his father, as he's often ridiculed by his family for not conforming to their views or standing up to their abuse, given that he's gotten used to it by the time he's an adult. To escape from his grim reality, he often fantasized a world where he's loved and appreciated by his family, but they always came crashing down with his family mocking him for daydreaming. He wants to become a king partially as an excuse to leave home, and to prove his family wrong by showing that he's capable of ascending to success and greatness on his own. But his worst actions are brought on by the insecurities he's been harboring for years. Even his method of manipulation by mirroring other people's personalities and actions is something he picked up from his father, who encourages Hans to act this way to get what he wants.
    • Like Hans, all of his brothers are motivated by a desire to make their father proud of them. Even their abuse of Hans is implied to be out of a desire to make their father favor them for showing no tolerance for "weakness".
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Like the film, it's never explained what became of Sitron. In his final chapter, as Hans is being dragged away to be shipped home alone, no mention is ever made of his horse, leaving Sitron's fate still unknown.
  • Where Did We Go Wrong?: Hans' father and most of his brothers hold this view, as they flat out saw Hans as the family's Black Sheep for not following their orders or conforming to their views.
  • White Sheep: With Hans' actions in Arendelle painting him a criminal, Lars is now the only son who doesn't follow his father's desire to hurt people.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: The king claims that Hans should "learn a thing or two" from his older brothers, often berating and emotionally abusing him for not fighting back at their taunts.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Hans' father and his brothers were physically abusive even when he was young. For example, when he fell for the "ransom note from a certain 'King Gotya' who will only 'release' one of his brothers if he ran around the entire castle three times in just his underwear" joke, it's implied his father gave him a harsh beating, even though it was his brothers who pulled the prank and he was just 4 years old at the time.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: After spending time being the king's errand boy, Hans finally gets permission to visit Arendelle for Elsa's coronation and secure a trade deal. At first, it seemed he has finally earned his father's trust and respect, but then, the king immediately tells him to come back home soon so that Hans can babysit his brothers' children. This shows that in spite of what Hans did for him, his father only barely trusts him and still severely restricts his freedom.

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