By Kris Neumann, Senior Staff Writer for The Arendelle Guardian
In this exclusive interview, The Arendelle Guardian spoke to three sovereign leaders: Colisa the queen of Chatho, Princess Mari of Vesterland, and Her Majesty herself. In light of new developments concerning Russo-Arendellian relations and the expansion of Arendellian interests around the world, the Entente of Small Kingdoms is forming a coordinated front to protect each other’s interests. In this interview they gave a comprehensive picture of their alliance’s present situation, plans about their geopolitical strategy, and fond insights about how they see and relate to each other.
The Arendelle Guardian: Thank you, Your Majesties Anna and Colisa and Your Highness Mari, for sitting down with us in our printing press room by Arendelle’s beautiful dockside. Let’s start with the fallout from, if you’ll pardon the word, failure of Anna’s talks with Katina Romanov of Russia. What has been the response from Arendelle’s allies, and are there fears of tsarist aggression or reprisals?
Colisa: It’s a nervous and volatile international environment, but the Kingdom of Chatho stands resolutely and uncompromisingly behind our Anna. She’s been a beacon of warmth, kindness, and fearless initiative. In a way, it’s not surprising that major powers are converging on Arendelle, with powerful monarchs eyeing ways to leverage the kingdom’s geopolitical and economic position. Anna, building on Elsa’s legacy, is shaping her kingdom into a very important presence in Northern Europe.
Anna: You flatter me, Colisa. In our royal family, Elsa and I uphold Colisa as our unofficial mentor, the most senior among our friendship circle. It was her information that helped me immensely against Will Harrison, and her Ten Tigresses inflicted a serious defeat on his and Skau-Krogh’s privateer force. Without her presence in the Entente, Arendelle wouldn’t be able to withstand the incredible pressure that we’ve been enduring from this merchant prince.
Colisa: While we in the Entente have neither the means nor desire to subjugate or occupy any state, our unity ensures that it’s much harder for large empires or great powers to do the same to us.
The AG: And what about you, Princess Mari? What do you see as your role in the Entente?
Anna: Methinks her amazing new hairdo has something to do with it!
Mari: You’re not wrong, Anna! I used to have a much stuffier hairstyle, but as I eased into my diplomat’s career, I went for a kind of neutral cut – I hope it doesn’t look awkward or weird.
Anna: You look absolutely dashing, darl. Very handsome!
Colisa: I concur with Anna, Mari. You’re beautiful.
Mari: Anna, Colisa – thank you! I don’t know what to say.
Colisa: By the way, Mr. Neumann, I’m drawing up new treaties with Vesterland to cement our friendship and coordinate our allied efforts better with Arendelle.
The AG: Wonderful. A question for you, Mari: you worked together briefly during Anna’s time as princess of Arendelle, isn’t that right?
Mari: Yes, and I want to take this chance today to say how much of a mentor Anna’s felt like to me. We’re hearing Anna go on about how she sees Elsa and Colisa as her guiding lights, well, Anna’s been mine. She stood up for me before my father, King Jonas, and helped him see how his love was suffocating me and my ambitions. She accompanied me on my search for purpose and a proper role in the family, going so far as to put herself out there as someone who was also uncertain of her own place.
The AG: Excellent point, Mari. The popular perception, even in Arendelle’s political and press circles, was that Anna was in Elsa’s shadow. No offence, Your Majesty.
Anna: Not that I minded being so, by the way. I hope the paper can keep that on the record, Mr. Neumann. I never, ever resented being the sidekick to my sister for a moment. In fact, the real problem was kind of the reverse: I feared what would happen to me, to my very place in the world, if Elsa were to disappear or I were to lose her.
Colisa: I believe Elsa had thought deeply about your fears, Anna, and indeed, such fears were realized when she died for a few moments in Ahtohallan, no? Before you broke the curse by drawing the Earth Spirit to King Runeard’s dam in Northuldra?
Anna: Exactly. That was a really nasty scare. And I think when Elsa came back and saved Arendelle, it was as good a time as any for her to give me that push that I needed, to help me take up the responsibilities that I craved while still reassuring me that she’d always be around. Everyone talks about her abdication like she was giving up the throne, but that’s not really accurate. She was gifting it to me. The Snow Queen knew that I, her little sister, needed the Crown.
The AG: That was the moment Anna truly became our queen, well before any formal coronation.
The AG: A question for three all of you: Colisa mentioned that she hopes to coordinate allied efforts better with Arendelle. Put bluntly, many influential sovereigns, including every member of the Exalted clique, see Arendelle as a critical choke point in Scandinavia. This necessitates a strategic policy towards our kingdom on part of interested parties. Arendelle is in real danger of being caught between powerful empires, a pawn in a Great Game. How should Arendelle and the Entente “play the game,” so to speak?
Anna: That’s a really fantastic but difficult question. Forming the Entente was my first big step, and so far it’s working well. And then you have my military reforms, which are being spearheaded by General Mattias and Commander Hilde. But as you pointed out, becoming a plaything of great powers is my worst nightmare, and I came close to that in my tussle with Harrison. That’s why our Entente is looking beyond simply working together, and forming a kind of “outer ring” of alliances.
Colisa: As you can guess, an outer ring indicates relationships of a more contingent and transactionary nature: there’ll be fewer obligations on either party’s side and there’s no guarantee allies won’t become foes, or vice versa. But we know that approaching states like Prussia, the Ottomans, or the Shogunate are essential to forcing back the Russian timetable for invasion as far into the future as possible.
The AG: But you also acknowledge tacitly that such a broad base of alliances aren’t likely to last for long. Hence the more transactionary attitude.
Anna: Cynical, but that’s exactly it. Colisa’s, Mari’s, and my diplomats are forming a team to talk to these countries as we speak.
Mari: With this new strategy, the Entente’s resource base and connections can expand, while also keeping our most reliable allies insured against changing winds.
The AG: It sounds like there’s much work to be done, Your Majesties and Your Highness.
Anna: That’s why I’m up before the crack of dawn and in bed only after a night of games and relaxing – well past after the witching hour. I guess what I’d say as a final point is that our more adversarial relations seem to see us as a piece on their chessboard, when they could equally be a piece on my own chessboard. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and all that.
But as Peony Sinclair and Lord Yixin himself have indicated to Elsa and me, Arendelle isn’t like any other state, and so we shouldn’t do things conventionally either. Our special situation is the whole reason why Elsa and I feel that we’ve got to find a different path globally – just like we’re doing with Northuldra’s integration and eventual reunification with Arendelle. I think our whole Entente has a chance to show the world that we can do things differently. Different from the same of cycle of violence, colonization, and vengeance.
The AG: Was there anything you wanted to add to Anna’s words, Colisa? Mari?
Colisa: She took the words out of my mouth. Mari?
Mari: I think she spoke for us all just now.
The AG: Thank you for a most insightful interview, Your Majesties and Your Highness. Our exchange will be published verbatim in our morning edition and it’s bound to influence many journalists and ministers in your own government, Anna.
Mari, Anna, and Colisa: Thank you so much!