On Sunday our copy boys were delighted by a surprise drop-in from Elsa herself, who was visiting Her Majesty at the palace. The Fifth Spirit met with me first, and as we lounged in my newsroom’s oaken chairs, we reminisced over Earl Grey tea about old times under her reign. There were plenty of amusing moments, like when I approached her on her coronation night, bowing and introducing myself, before Anna distracted her (to put it mildly) with her engagement to Hans. Then there was the time when I tried to compile a list of jarls and ministers who were blocking her proposals from passing the Great Assembly – “My reporters will rummage through their bins if that’s what it takes to find their skeletons,” I remembered saying – only for her to confess that she didn’t even know who most members in the House of Jarls were.
Elsa blushed at this memory: she wasn’t exactly a political operator. I was never able to support her in a worldly manner, but as I was at pains to reassure her, that was never her fault. No one, not even her, realized the extent of her otherworldliness until the Diarchy’s journey to Northuldra.
As the day passed, Elsa even learned a bit about reporting under our editors, writing a couple of short articles that we proudly tagged with her byline. What an honour! We were keener to get her opinions in the paper, however, so we encouraged her to abandon pretensions to objectivity and write frankly about how she felt Anna was doing. A fun challenge indeed! I have reprinted her full article below (only after it appeared exclusively in our morning edition, of course):
Guest Report: How Things Look from the North
By Elsa, Queen Emerita of Arendelle
I visit the palace regularly (which some ministers don’t like), so I think I have some idea of what the sovereign is dealing with. My sister faces problems on all fronts, domestic and foreign. She must negotiate with Britain, a much larger nation than ours with a vast empire, over the recent attack on Bjorgman House trade ships by the East India Company.
She also has to work with ministers who apparently hate her plans for Northuldran integration as much as they hated me when I was queen. Indeed, some of these same ministers claim that my visits to Anna are of a more sinister nature, intended to wield influence over her policymaking.
What do they call me? The Northuldran witch? The Phantom Puppeteer?
It’s certainly true that Anna seeks my counsel and comfort. And I intend to give both to her. But her decisions are made for Arendelle’s sake, the kingdom entrusted to her care. I speak only as a protector of Northuldra now, so Anna and I might not even always agree on what’s best for both regions. So let’s settle this silliness once and for all.
Now on to how I think Anna is doing: I’m no good at writing, and I hope I’m expressing myself clearly enough in this column for The AG, but I want to use my day at this paper to say: I fully believe in her. Why? She’s built a large, wide base of support that I was incompetent at doing – across Parliament, the public, and the press. She has the support of the military through General Mattias. I would even dare say that the position of the legacy ministers that support Runeard’s old ways is weaker than thought.
Our new queen deploys a range of strategies to get her way. She makes speeches in Parliament that capture public interest, and regularly leaks news to this paper, The AG. Her personal column here is one of her best channels through which to reach the public. All thanks to our family’s close ties to the editor. Anna likes to know what makes people tick in a way that doesn’t click with me.
Yes, her agenda is radical as far as monarchs go. But after what the kingdom nearly experienced – total destruction due to the necessary action Anna took to right our grandfather’s colonial sin against Northuldra – did we think that everything could just be business as usual?
Power is always shifting. I was never able to truly put my finger on the pulse of politics. But looking back, I was never able to put my finger on the pulse of Arendelle, full stop. Because I was never truly, completely, part of the kingdom. I am still me and I love my sister with all my heart, but I’m a Northuldran spirit. That is why I know Anna is already doing a much better job than me! Long live Her Majesty!
Honestly, Elsa would make a fine journo. I never knew she liked glasses, and I must confess she looked exquisitely attractive and endearing with them (as if she didn’t already look supremely enchanting in her new Fifth Spirit outfit).