Three Fiefs in a Kingdom: A Guide to Arendelle’s Newspaper Empires

As you might have heard from the local gossip, there was a bit of a verbal confrontation at the Nokk Club. The kingdom’s only private ladies’ and gentlemen’s haunt, the Club isn’t a place for the stuffy jarldom or even the royal family. This is where Arendelle’s ascendant captains of industry, managerial and professional classes, and politicians and journalists congregate.

It was our usual inter-outlet meeting, where we debate and negotiate how we’ll frame the news and stake out our territory. My fellow press barons and I got a bit more heated than usual about Queen Anna, probably due to her recent political accomplishments. It climaxed with the owner of the Snow Herald throwing a bottle of fine aged wine against the wall, screaming an obscenity against Her Majesty. Meanwhile, the proprietor of the Fjord Times threatened to sic thugs on me to rough me up a bit. I guess I also floated the idea of sending reporters to rummage through her garbage. Not exactly our most noble moment of journalism.

You might be surprised at how high the stakes are in our small kingdom. In this editorial, I want to come clean and tell you all about Arendelle’s newspapers, from our constituents and readership to our power base and beliefs.

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Anna’s First Encounter: The Nokk Club

The Nokk Club is a private establishment where even Queen Anna needs a table reservation. Built almost immediately after the Great Thawing, the Nokk Club rapidly became a social haunt of the rising professional classes whose captains of industry surpassed the aristocracy and old Viking families in importance: traders, bankers, importers and managers, and senior politicians and journalists. It is the only other concentrated power centre to truly rival the Great Assembly (Arendelle’s parliament) or the monarchy itself. It is certainly the most modern among the three, where high society gathers to glimpse a future of an increasingly connected world

Mutters arose from multiple tables as Princess Anna stormed past luxuriant leather chairs, tables of the finest oak, and mahogany walls framed with oil paintings of clipper ships and Arendellian landscapes. She ignored the sideways glances of the professional elites who spent their leisure time here over a gin and tonic or imported wine and whisky. There was an unspoken rule among members that the Nokk Club was really for the masters of the new world: ladies and gentlemen of ambition and industry rather than the increasingly suffocated circles of nobility. Crucially, the Arendellian royal family had their palace. These accidents of royal birth weren’t supposed to show up at this den of achievement and drive, of personal empires built on studiousness and ingenuity.

Anna didn’t care. She strode straight up to a corner table, glaring down at its occupant. That happened to be yours truly, and I quickly disengaged my piece of steak when I recognized those aquamarine eyes, red hair, and unmistakable pink shawl. “Princess Anna,” I said, dropping my knife and fork. “I didn’t expect to see you here.”

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The Snow Queen in the Newsroom

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): 

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Dinner with Arendelle’s Editors

Photography. Steam. Heavy industry. Celebrity. The modern world is crashing upon Arendelle like a fjord storm, and riding the waves are the high priests of the press – a new class of professionals and proprietors of the media pulling the levers of public opinion and national destiny, to bend governments to their will and ideology.

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