Queens and Press Barons

I’ve travelled the world and was a global citizen long before I settled in the peaceful, small kingdom of Arendelle. As a journalist and eventual owner-editor of this paper, I never cared much for the monarchy; I believe in working hard for one’s status and power.

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I therefore paid little interest in the royal family until the young daughters, Elsa and Anna, suddenly vanished. They always used to appear in public events with King Agnarr and Queen Iduna. I hired a royal reporter to find out why the palace had gone silent, but neither my journalists nor I ever saw the princesses for 14 years.

Then we learned the true horror: that two girls, now grown women, had been imprisoned by their own father.

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It was a courtier who leaked the palace’s rotten secret to my paper. I remember nearly destroying the office in a rage at having been misled for over ten years at the princesses’ fates. I was even more infuriated when the palace placed an indefinite embargo on this scandal, forbidding the kingdom’s papers from publishing the news on pain of exile or imprisonment. I, along with my fellow editors at The Snow Herald and Fjord Times, acquiesced, but my decision to keep my newsroom running would haunt my conscience for years. Iduna and Agnarr were already dead, but the criminal damage to Elsa and Anna was done. Their trauma would be Arendelle’s royal shame.

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Perhaps it was my guilt that intensified my protective feelings towards the sisters. I’d never seen a lonelier queen than Elsa on coronation day. Poor Anna, desperately hoping to reconnect for some warmth, anything, as Elsa pushed her away in panic. That was the only way she knew how to protect her little sister. As I watched them, I wondered how these lost souls could survive the forces waiting to control the throne. I approached Elsa and offered our paper’s loyalty the night she fled north. Not exactly good timing.

Later on, I realized that it was Anna who truly understood the need to win hearts and influence minds. Years after Elsa’s coronation, at the younger of the Diarchy’s own coronation, Anna asked if we’d guide her through her coming political struggles. I swore I would, for by that time our politics were aligned: we both wanted to sweep away the evil legacies of her father and grandfather, Runeard. 

I wouldn’t advise Elsa on any political matters until after the Great Thawing, when she and Anna saved each other and began rebuilding their lives. Elsa did her best as queen, but the kingdom’s jarls and ministers only saw two girls to control. I couldn’t accept that. Yet Elsa had unwittingly done me a great boon by promoting Kristoff to Ice Master. Thanks to this royal warrant, he was soon one of the most well-connected traders in the kingdom. I called him to my haunt, the Nokk Club, for lunch and after some negotiations, he invested a tidy sum in our paper. My promise to him was that I’d use his funds to hire a team of reporters and editors to shape public opinion for Elsa.

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My mistake was not including Anna in this new circle. She heard of my work with Elsa and Kristoff and ambushed me at one of my Nokk Club lunches. I still remember her barging into the Reindeer Room and looking down at me crossly, hands on her hips as I stared up at her from my table. Her eyes were aflame. She indignantly dragged me out. It was an embarrassing start to our friendship (you can read about my first meeting with her here). 

Soon I was laying out for her how the press could serve her over afternoon tea at the palace. It was an embarrassing start, but from my chagrin grew a shared chemistry. I realised we had a unique leader-in-waiting, who enjoyed people and by definition, politics (for politics is nothing more than the art of managing people). 

By the time Anna and her friends set off for Northuldra I had already set my reporters like attack dogs on Runeard’s legacy ministers and nobles. So began my paper’s monstering of those who Anna knew opposed Elsa. Exposing dirty secrets, digging up skeletons, threatening career destruction: our joint war on the monarchy’s enemies, especially in the Great Assembly (Arendelle’s parliament), had begun in earnest.

When Elsa gave her throne to Anna, the new queen began her reign swearing never to be isolated again, to surround herself with friends, talent, and power. She wanted to be tapped in with our paper’s network of sources, and for us to support her three-point plan for government (which she had devised with Elsa’s counsel): integration with Northuldra and a complete union between Arendellian humans and magic, a grand alliance with nations and kingdoms in preparation for the coming storms against much larger, maritime empires like Britain and France, and strengthening the kingdom’s military and economy. 

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The strategic balance shifted with Anna’s ascension. Many in government liked her, some didn’t. Newspaper proprietors are also split about her. Our paper backed her policies, advising her to stick to her and Elsa’s true goal: Arendelle’s full union with Northuldra’s spirits. It was deeply controversial even with the revelations of Runeard’s colonial sin, and a proposition hated by the old guard of ministers, who think Anna’s ideas childish and revolutionary. 

The Diarchy has come so far, from isolated and abused girls to co-queens of the magical and the Arendellian. Anna now has her throne, a loving husband, and the Snow Queen’s guidance. But as a citizen of the world I recognize her lasting trauma and attachment complexes. It haunts my nights. She’ll spend the rest of her life fighting ghosts, no less the ghost of Runeard himself, a toxic imperial family legacy that she’s sworn to topple. I only hope my footsoldiers can help Anna succeed.

I’m not young. I’ve been there since the beginning, when two future monarchs were imprisoned in their own home. When Elsa and Anna emerged from 14 years of isolation that night, they were lonely, abused sisters with no political allies or capital. Now they have eyes and ears across the kingdom and powerful allies. They’ve come far. But their path will be a long one.

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