Guys, I’m worried we’re being too judgmental. I know it’s a lark hearing that come from me, of all people. I love judging people… and things… and situations… But today I implore you to keep an open mind as we take a walk in someone else’s shoes. After all, things aren’t always what they seem and you should never judge a book by its cover (and other clichés). As someone who is basically living the villain life (Villains Gotta Vil, Yo!) I feel I have a unique perspective on people (and characters… mostly characters; I’m not good at people) and their motives. So I stand before you today to say:
Hans really isn’t so bad… except for the murder-y bits.
Gifs from PunzelAnna
I mean, he’s charming and attractive. Great on horseback. He has a lovely singing voice and an affinity for sock-sliding down hallways! Not to mention his superb fashion sense. He’s everything Prince Charming should be… except for the murder-y bits. Yes, Hans got a bit overzealous in his attempts to find a kingdom to call his own; I recognize that. But who’s to say that’s his fault? We still like Anna, despite that fact that she’s pretty much insane, with basically zero people skills. Not only does she want to marry a man she just met, she also leaves the fate of her kingdom in that same man’s hands while running off to almost certain death in the icy wilderness. She’s careless, gullible and lacks all forethought. Yet we all love her, calling her spunky & fun-loving and blaming everything on her guarded & sheltered upbringing. So why are we putting all of the blame on Hans?
Gifs from arendelle.co.vu
Instead of prosecuting him in Arendelle, Anna & Elsa ship Hans off to the Southern Isles for his 12 brothers to “deal with him”. That would be fine if they knew anything about the Southern Isles and the people who run it. Based on their sheltered lives, where they don’t even know about the people of their own kingdom, I somehow doubt these sisters are up on Southern Isles politics. For all we know it was the 12 brothers who sent Hans to Elsa’s coronation in the first place. This whole elaborate scheme could have been concocted in the grand dining room of a southern palace while eating dinner with all of his brothers, and even his mother and father, the King & Queen. Although, let’s get real here, Hans’ parents are most definitely dead. This is a Disney movie after all and there is nothing Disney loves more than an orphan.
So poor parentless Hans is either lacking direction & guidance or is being manipulated by his multiple older siblings, including one who is the ruler of his homeland. This leads me to 3 distinct scenarios, one of which must be the correct reason for why Hans acted the way he did:
- It was a plan created for him by his family.
We are never explicitly told whether Hans hatched this plan alone or if he had co-conspirators. He stays pretty tight lipped about the whole business. And why wouldn’t he be? First, there is no reason to implicate his country if he is caught. That could start a war. And second, keeping his family out of it meant he was sent back to them punishment-free. Sweet deal! He doesn’t state it but the most influential members of the Southern Isles’ court were probably behind the plan to get Hans on the throne of Arendelle.
I know what you’re thinking: “Arendelle’s a pretty big prize for the youngest brother”. You weren’t thinking that? Ok… well, let me explain. Most countries have princesses, but you’ll likely only find a non-ruling princess to wed. In Arendelle there is an attractive young woman, with many childbearing years ahead of her, who is about to be named Queen. That is an epic catch. But perhaps Hans is the best bait the Southern Isles has. The same way the Tyrells dangle Margaery, their pristine flower, in front of every king in Westeros and the Boleyns presented Anne, their witty beauty, to Henry VIII’s court, the Southern Isles puts forth Hans, a strapping young stallion of a man. And like these real life & literary beauties, they trusted in not only his looks & charm to attract a mate, but also in his ruthless intelligence to get the job done… by any means necessary. Hans’ brothers may have sent him out on this mission with the instructions to not come back unless he had the throne. He was probably taught the art of seduction and murder to prepare him. Some families will do anything for power.
Gifs from Disney Is My Escape
- It was a plan created for him by his family that he took too far.
Ok so maybe the people of the Southern Isles aren’t all murderous schemers, but that doesn’t mean Hans did everything on his own. Royal marriages weren’t always done Game of Thrones style, where no one survives to the wedding night. European history is full of Kings & Queens who traded their children for land, wealth and allegiances. Daughters work best for this, as monarchs strive to have male heirs that will need wives to rule alongside them. It is much rarer to find a Princess who will inherit the throne and need a man at her side. In England’s case the Queen’s husband doesn’t even get the King title unless he is a King in his own right. Queen Elizabeth II’s husband Prince George has been a Prince for 68 years because he didn’t enter the relationship with his own sovereign nation. With 12 ‘back-up’ heirs the leader of the Southern Isles has a lot of potential to make alliances through marriage, possibly even getting his sons into the position to rule in foreign lands.
I can just imagine Hans and his brothers standing in a council room with a map spread out on the ‘war room’ table, the King systematically pointing out which kingdoms have a princess and assigning the most appropriate brother to sweep that fair maiden off her feet. The Southern Isles could be bent on world domination, achieved purely by marrying off their sons. Perhaps Hans was assigned Arendelle and Elsa (with Anna as a solid back-up whom he could marry should Elsa reject him or set-up with another brother/nephew/cousin/etc should he be successful with the new Queen). Hans was just so desperate to please his brothers that he took things a bit too far. Bringing us into my last scenario:
Image from Walt Disney Confessions
- Hans acted on his own volition, but with proper baggage to back his actions up.
I talk above about trying to make strategic alliances through marriage, but maybe Hans is so far down the list that his ruler isn’t even trying to find him an advantageous match. Hans has to be pretty distant in the line of succession at this point! As the youngest brother he is at least 13th. But being as he is an adult himself, his eldest brothers likely have children of their own. If even half of his brothers have 2 children each (which is a pretty low number for the times) that puts Hans at 25th. If each of his brothers has 3 children he would be 49th. There is no way he is going to rule the Southern Isles, barring any mass murders happening while he’s away in Arendelle… but even then, that is a lot of murder.
So maybe Hans took matters into his own hands. He headed off to Arendelle of his own volition. He hatched the plan to marry Elsa, then Anna as a back-up. Perhaps it was totally innocent at first. He had high hopes for the romantic potential he and Elsa could have. But things didn’t work out as planned and he switched to a more drastic scheme. Hans straight up admits that some of his brothers pretended he didn’t exist for years; that’s got to create a complex of some sort. Hans acts irrationally within a rational plan because he cannot continue to be the forgotten youngest brother. No one pays attention to him. No one plans for his future. He’s probably worth less to his eldest brothers than their servants, because at least their servants bring them things. Hans is just dead weight. An extra mouth to feed in a nation that could be facing serious troubles… we don’t know. No one updates us on the status of the Southern Isles in the film.
Moral of the Story: Don’t go hating on someone just because they made one mistake… ok, maybe 2 murderous mistakes… but still. In the words of Princess Taylor Swift, “You are not what you did”. The next time you are watching Disney’s Frozen, or any Disney movie (or anything at all, even just living your regular life) think of Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent or Elphaba in Wicked or Once Upon a Time‘s Regina and re-evaluate your point of view. Remember: Hans really isn’t so bad…except for the murder-y bits.
Image from Walt Disney Confessions
What do you think? Is Hans redeemable or a lost cause? Let me know in the comments! I’d also love to see what villains you think are ‘actually not so bad’. Maybe I’ll feature them next!
Love & Luck,