A Frozen Heart includes some disturbing things about Hans and his world (note that this has not been confirmed as canon):
open/close all folders
Note that many of these below also double as Tear Jerker
- For starters, he had glassware and food thrown at him, not to mention being the victim of many pranks and subjected to extensive abuse over the years.
- His father is a Social Darwinist, so in his view, Hans being beaten up by his older sons is a sign of strength. Hans' relative meekness at the beginning of the story has made him The Unfavorite of 13 sons.
- By the time he's a young adult, Hans not only suffers from clinical depression and possible Self-Harm, he believes that abuse is normal. He practically gives up fighting back, but it only makes things worse. No wonder he's got so many issues, as being the proverbial Black Sheep and laughing stock of his family, and growing up the youngest but most forgettable of his clan wound up becoming his Freudian Excuse.
- As Hans grows up, the abuse corrupts him into an emotionally detached, remorseless and bitter man who sees people as expendable objects, thinks it's a Crapsack World out there with only the fittest surviving, and views love as an exploitable flaw that's relegated to the weak-willed, and it also really shows how warped his mind has become over the years, rendering him unable to understand or even experience love thanks to the harsh upbringing that encouraged violence and manipulation over genuine care.
- His thoughts after being ordered by the king to beat up dissenters or delinquent taxpayers imply he secretly hates his job and despised his father for being unnecessarily cruel towards their subjects. But he also fears what could happen if he ignores the king's orders.
Notably, anything involving the royal family of the Southern Isles isn't funny
. Anytime they're mentioned, the humor level drops.
- The king of the Southern Isles is a walking Nightmare Fuel in many ways:
- He believes in Social Darwinism, and often encourages his 13 sons to gang up on each other for the sake of politics. From his twisted perspective, any deviations from his beliefs must be corrected forcefully. As they grow up, his toxic influence slowly poisons them into becoming sycophantic enforcers for him and drives them to dehumanize others by brainwashing them into his beliefs. He demands them to follow his orders and emulate him, and it's implied he even physically abused them when they were younger. Having been born into a family that believed in Virtue Is Weakness, Might Makes Right, Misery Builds Character, and Meekness Is Weakness, Hans Used to Be a Sweet Kid who abhorred his family's violence towards others, but slowly becomes a power-hungry Manipulative Bastard over time.
- At one point while fighting Marshmallow during the assault on Elsa's ice castle, Hans notes the Snowlem looks tame compared to his father, who is implied to have an explosive temper. Judging by his interactions with his family, it's safe to say that Hans is clearly terrified of his father's wrath as he's being deported back home at the end of the book. Plus, when Hans thinks of becoming his father's gofer, he briefly thinks of turning back, but he then shakes his head, believing that if he wants to earn his father's trust in going to Arendelle, then he must follow whatever orders the king may give, even if it involves violence. It ultimately causes Hans to compromise his own morals over the years and do things he once despised in the first place.
- He's also shown to be a petty and cruel dictator who strong-arms his subjects for more money and favors like a mob extortionist, and reacts violently when they don't do so or when they criticize him.
- Except for Lars, most of Hans' brothers are brutish thugs who take sadistic joy and cruelty in punishing Hans in whatever methods they can, ranging from practical jokes and painful "accidents," to downright physical abuse. For example:
- He's lost countless fistfights and shouting matches, been thrown off moving carts, and repeatedly shoved in the mud numerous times despite trying to find a peaceful way out.
- Three of his brothers pretended he was "invisible" for two straight years.
- The fake "ransom note" from a certain "King Gotya," who had supposedly "kidnapped" one of his brothers and would return him, but only if Hans ran around the entire castle three times in just his underwear. He was only four years at the time.
- He also fell for the old "present in that oddly scary room down in the catacombs" prank.
- At one point, he even woke up with ink all over his face after one of his brothers quietly dipped his hands in an inkpot while he slept.
- Hans hates attending events involving his entire family, as they always end with him being humiliated in some manner. For example, before reluctantly attending his mother's birthday, he's nervous, knowing that he'll end up being the family's laughing stock. As such, he stands outside the door for 20 minutes, and when he finally appears, his father scolds him for being late, while his brothers mock him for being a Momma's Boy. Rudi and Runo even toss glassware at him when he starts daydreaming. Plus, one of the scenes shows Hans blatantly self-injuring himself by running his fingers along the rough wood splinters of an old table but feeling the physical pain to be oddly better than the constant emotional turmoil his family puts him through.
- It's implied that most of his brothers don't get along with each other as well, as the king encourages violence within his big family so they'll be forced into accepting his Social Darwinist mindset. Plus, he psychologically abused them to the point that they're emotionally dependent on him, and even their abuse of Hans or their wives stems from a desire to make their father favor them for showing no "weakness" or mercy. For example:
- Due to being heir to the throne and the king's favorite son, Caleb becomes a Royally Spoiled Brat. Both Lars and Hans think he would be The Slacker when their father kicks the bucket, doesn't care much about his job, and whenever the king asks him for advice, he behaves as if he was brawling with his brothers at the stables.
- Most male members of the family have generally all the traits of abusers, including superficial charm and All Take and No Give.
- It's implied the queen wants to stop her sons from hurting each other, but after years of living with her tyrannical spouse, who encourages the behavior, she can barely acknowledge Hans with weak smiles. The king even makes a rude jab about Hans's status as a Momma's Boy, stating that "she'll be the only one who would have even noticed that [he] were missing," Also, after Hans is hit in the head with an object, Rudi and Runo tease him, asking if he's going to "run to Mommy" so that she can "kiss his boo-boo to make it all better."
- Hans is ridiculed by his father and brothers for his unwillingness to murder people. But having had enough of their abuse, Hans decides that if he wants to earn their respect, then he'll have to accept whatever tasks he gets, even if it involves violence against their subjects. Fast forward three years later, he's shown to be desensitized, having no qualms murdering Elsa or Anna in a bid to take over Arendelle. As with Hans, it's implied his older brothers didn't start out as mean jerks, but the king raised them to be ruthless, and they now have no problems hurting others. But because of the Social Darwinist behavior constantly espoused by the king, the 13 brothers do not get along with each other and the Westergaard clan becomes totally dysfunctional.
- Being that they married only for politics, 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, how Lars' wife Helga hates living in the Isles, and how his mother has been used to being ignored, Hans notes that most of his own family is absolutely miserable with each other. Given the betrayal scene at the climax, one can only think how Hans' relationship with either Elsa or Anna would have developed had they married.
- Hans' resentment over being last in line indicates that his relationship with his family is strained at best and non-existent at worst. Not only that, Hans' brothers do not get along with each other and use dubious means to out-compete and obtain their father's respect, mainly because the king despises compassion as part of his Social Darwinist beliefs.
The Southern Isles
- The king's Big Fancy Castle. Generally mistaken for a giant, black Sea Monster by outsiders, most people think it is beautiful and jaw-dropping, but Hans sees every nook and cranny of his home as an ugly prison, with his father and brothers as corrupt jail wardens.
- At the end of the novel, Hans is shown panicking when the guards drag him to be deported home without even seeing Anna and Elsa one last time. He's begging to be spared, not wanting to return to the hellhole he was desperately trying to escape from in the first place, knowing what kind of punishment his family will dish out on him when they get wind of his actions. As shown in Frozen Fever, he's now in a worse situation than before, as his father condemned him to hard labor, and part of it involves shoveling horse manure. From the brief look at his condition back home, he's in a bleak and unfriendly environment compared to the lively atmosphere in Arendelle, with the royal stables alone looking dark and uninviting.
- From the looks of it, the kingdom is an incredibly brutal and unpleasant place to live in, with the government being a corrupt dictatorship. The Evil Overlord king reacts to any problem, even if it's minor, with Disproportionate Retribution. The princes (including Hans himself) also basically act as the king's musclemen. For example:
- At one point, Hans is sent to reluctantly "talk" to a peasant who insulted the king, and it's implied violence was involved.
- The king's "solution" to a farmer having a problem he didn't like? He has their farm burned down to the ground. In another case, he had their livestock confiscated.
- God help those that are behind on their taxes they're collected through strong-arm tactics. Even Hans is unnerved while giving a detailed account of the tax collection he conducted to the king.