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Hans

Prince Hans

Prince Hans of the Southern Isles is the hidden main antagonist in Walt Disney's Academy Award winning 53rd animated classic, Frozen and the former love interest of Princess Anna when he reveals his true nature. He is the youngest of his twelve older brothers.

Background

Hans is a prince from the Kingdom of the Southern Isles, a trade partner of Arendelle. Not much is known about the prince's past; however, he is the youngest of the thirteen royal siblings, and felt somewhat neglected amongst his brothers. Knowing he would never rule the throne of the Southern Isles, Hans concocted a scheme to marry into monarchy elsewhere, eventually setting his sights on the kingdom of Arendelle. Hans' plans changed after realizing how reserved the queen-to-be was towards socialization, prompting the prince to instead target her lonely, less mature younger sister Anna, planning to murder Elsa after their marriage, which would result in him becoming king.

Official Description

Hans is a handsome royal from a neighboring kingdom who comes to Arendelle for Elsa's coronation. With 12 older brothers, Hans grew up feeling practically invisible—and Anna can relate. Hans is smart, observant and chivalrous. Unlike Elsa, Hans promises he'll never shut Anna out; he just might be the connection she's been waiting for all these years.

Personality

He's a chameleon who adapts to any environment to make the other characters .
―Animator Lino DiSalvo describing Hans' character in The Art of Frozen

Cold, calculating, sleazy, smug and cruel, Hans is a proud and extremely ambitious prince with a hunger for admiration, power and chivalric honor. Being the youngest sibling of thirteen princes, Hans spent a large portion of his life being ignored and abused at the hands of his older siblings, something he reveals to Anna during their encounter at the coronation banquet. The constant belittling, bullying and neglect from his family and peers when growing up resulted in a breaking point for Hans and lead to his villainous transformation over time as he sought to improve his circumstances. There has been some speculation over whether or not he exaggerated the hardships of his childhood in order to appeal to Anna, but details from the book A Frozen Heart not only confirms his domestic situation as abusive, but reveals it as much worse than described by Hans; he severely understated the way he's treated and seems to think abuse is normal ("That's what brothers do").

Though he appears to be noble to the fullest extent, Hans is actually a master manipulator. Through his charm and charisma, he is able to win over first Anna and then Elsa, as well as the entire kingdom of Arendelle and its visiting ambassadors, providing excellent proof of his dangerous psychology. Like many villains, Hans is power-hungry, visiting Arendelle in order to rule the kingdom by any means, revealing that his only desire is to become king, prepared to anyone necessary in any way he can in his quest for power. He is arrogant, bragging about his plans to Anna as she froze to death before him.

He is also good at seeing other people's weak spots, as is displayed by the way he hurts Anna and Elsa with precise and cutting words after his dark side is revealed. With Anna, he seems to use his words just for the sake of humiliating her, whereas with Elsa, his words serve a purpose. On the fjord during the confrontation with Elsa, Hans aims to shock Elsa into submission so that she can be killed, and succeeds by laying on the guilt. Contrast this with the Ice Palace scene, where his words once again find their mark and snap Elsa out of her bloodlust, preventing her from becoming a killer. His eloquence and sharp wit are thus one of his notable weapons.

It is unclear as to his precise motivation, if it is simple power lust, or if he genuinely craves respect and recognition, which he professes to being denied as a child under the burden of his dozen siblings. A Frozen Heart suggests Hans' power complex to be a combination of all of these, especially the lack of respect he receives from his father, coupled with a sense of selfish entitlement, believing a throne and status as king is something he deserves.

Hans' most powerful trait is quite possibly his vast intelligence and incredible ability to lie, dissemble and manipulate. He's proven to be quick thinking, resourceful and extremely diligent, being able to fool the entire kingdom without fail, even the Duke of Weselton, whom Hans holds a disliking to that only seemed to increase throughout the film. However, unlike many Disney villains, Hans constantly has to change his plot accordingly with the shifting events that take place in the film, without letting loose his villainous nature. This is indeed an interesting challenge for a Disney villain to tackle, thus adding to his apparent level of intelligence, as he comes dangerously  to achieving his goal in spite of unstable circumstances.

Physical appearance

Hans is of moderate stature and generally good looking. Whilst he is well built, he is not as broad-shouldered or as muscular as Kristoff. Though the two are never seen close enough together to properly compare, it is fair to say Hans would probably look relatively slimmer next to Kristoff, though he is definitely physically accomplished, as he was able to defeat the hulking Marshmallow in single combat. He is well versed in horsemanship, and has tremendous sword fighting skills. It is also shown that he is skilled in using crossbows, or at least in capably diverting their fire when needed.

Hans has fair skin and a light dusting of freckles across his nose, auburn hair, sideburns, and "dreamy" green eyes. Throughout the film, he wears navy blue trousers, black boots, a magenta cravat, blue shirt, indigo vest, black epaulettes, gold aiguillette, and a light gray-and-black blazer with patterns. This is reminiscent of a naval uniform, and would be traditionally in keeping with royal siblings of lower birth entering military service.

During the day and night of the coronation, Hans dons a lighter version of his formal wear. It is a cream blazer with a yellow shirt underneath and red sash, with black boots, white stockings, red and golden designs and patterns, gold and red colored epaulettes with golden fringe, and a matching cream ascot. This lighter-colored suit reflects Anna's warmer-colored clothing in turn. It is also worth noting that Hans is seen wearing this lighter-colored suit for a longer time period than his traditional suit, mainly due to him wearing it for the entirety of the coronation day and night, which features him most prominently in the movie.

While he is in control of the kingdom, to protect himself from the harsh winter, Hans dons a cloak resembling the castle guards' uniforms. However, as the patterning differs from the decorations on the Arendelle guardsmens' cloaks and instead resembles the decorations on Hans' own gray tailcoat, and the Arendelle crocus emblem isn't seen anywhere on it, it's likely it's his own coat he brought with him from the Southern Isles. It's a dull, gray cloak with wavy patterns and a purple interior. In Elsa's palace, however, it appeared to have more of a green shade.

Appearances

Frozen

Meeting with Royalty

You're gorgeous.
―Anna to Hans during their first meeting

Once in the Southern Isles is given word of Queen Elsa's coronation, Hans is the royal representative that attends in honor of his kingdom. Along with the other invited royalty, Hans arrives on the day of the event, and is first seen arriving in Arendelle on his horse Sitron, accidentally running into Princess Anna. Using grace and charm, Hans immediately woos the lovesick princess, with Anna almost immediately falling for him due to his wondrous looks and undeniable charisma. Their little flirtation is cut to a close, however, when the bells for the queen's coronation are rung. As Anna runs off, Hans realizes he's found the perfect tool for his plot to domination. Moments later, Hans attends Queen Elsa's crowning, waving to Anna as he watches alongside the other visiting royals and dignitaries. Later on that night, a ball is held in honor of the new queen, and Hans appears at the celebration party, soon finding and inviting Anna for a romantic waltz after "coincidentally" bumping into her once again.

Night of the Coronation

Glad I caught you.
―Hans to Anna upon their reunion

The romantic dance eventually leads to an entire date, with the entire night of the young couple being spent bonding. During their time together, Hans learns of Anna's longing of having someone special in her life, with her sister apparently developing a dislike of her, to which Hans openly relates to, only furthering Anna's connection with him. And with this, Hans promises to never shut Anna out, unlike Elsa, much to the princess's absolute joy. By the end of their tour throughout the kingdom, Hans works up the courage to propose, with Anna agreeing in a heartbeat. The two head back to the royal throne room, where the party is being held, to ask for Queen Elsa's blessing, to which Elsa coldly refuses, stating that Anna should not be marrying someone she just met, ending the party and ordering Hans to leave out of frustration. Heartbroken, Anna confronts her sister, but this causes the queen's powers over ice and snow (the reason she goes so far out of her way to isolate herself from the outside world) to be revealed, much to Hans' surprise.

The Duke of Weselton, one of the neighboring royals, immediately declares Elsa a monster, and orders his men to capture her. Elsa flees, accidentally causing an eternal winter over Arendelle while doing so, having Anna and Hans chase after her until she is out of reach. Hans asks Anna if she had known of Elsa's mysterious abilities, to which the princess denies. In order to save the land, Anna volunteers to go after Elsa, but Hans wasn't too fond of the idea, knowing if something terrible should befall Anna, his quest for domination would be abolished, as they still weren't married just yet. However, Anna insists that Hans stays behind to rule during her absence, to which the prince immediately agrees to.

Hans in Command

Do not question the princess. She left me in charge!
―Hans asserting his authority to the Duke

It wasn't long before Arendelle became an icy wasteland, with citizens becoming weak due to the frigid temperatures, causing mild chaos throughout the land. Hans took advantage of the situation to endear himself to the people, offering blankets and care packages to the villagers. The Duke of Weselton soon arrives and scolds Hans for "wasting time" giving away goods, as opposed to taking action against Elsa, openly expressing his suspicion that she and Anna are conspiring together to doom the kingdom. Hans immediately threatens to punish the Duke for treason for such remarks, ordering the diminutive Duke to refrain from questioning the princess. Just then, Anna's horse returns without the royal rider, making Hans believe Anna is in danger. He needs one of the royal ladies alive for his plan to continue. With the royal guards and the Duke's volunteering two men in tow, Hans leads a rescue mission for Anna. Unbeknowst to him, the Duke has ordered his men to kill Queen Elsa on sight.

Attack on Elsa's Palace

Queen Elsa! Don't be the monster they fear you are!
―Hans confronts Elsa

The army arrives at Elsa's ice palace before long, and are immediately attacked by Elsa's giant snowman, Marshmallow. Hans and his army battle the beast, though he proves to be nearly invincible and completely implacable. Fortunately for the prince, he is able to get a clear path at the snow beast, and slices Marshmallow's left leg clean off, causing the creature to stumble into a chasm to his apparent death. With him out of the way, Hans and the others rush inside to find Anna, but she is nowhere in sight. Instead, they find Elsa seconds away from killing the Duke's two guards who had previously snuck past Marshmallow on orders of the corrupt Weselton representative. Hans is able to stop her from killing them as they intended for her, freeing the two thugs. However, one of the thugs attempts to strike her with their crossbow, but Hans interferes and, with apparent purpose, causes the arrow to shoot upward to Elsa's massive chandelier. The chandelier comes crashing down, and the impact manages to knock Elsa unconscious.

Captured, Elsa is imprisoned in Arendelle's dungeon. With the winter curse spiraling out of all control, Hans knows he must find a way to save his potential kingdom, and decides to pay Elsa a visit, maintaining the ruse that he's out for her best interest. He pleads for her to put an end to the winter and bring back summer, but Elsa confesses that she doesn't know how, and demands to be released in hopes that leaving will draw the storms away with her. Hans claims he will "do what he can", and returns to the Duke of Weselton and the other dignitaries in the library.

Hans' Betrayal

As thirteenth in line in my own kingdom, I didn't stand a chance.

I knew I would have to marry into the throne somewhere.

―Hans revealing his true plan to Anna after betraying her

There, Hans makes the decision to head back into the mountains to search for Anna, still needing her marriage in order to legitimize his hold on the throne. The assembled dignitaries, however, advise against the prince's decision, voicing the fact that, should Anna fail to return, Hans is the only individual eligible to assume control of Arendelle. Realizing the truth behind this, Hans is struck with the revelation that a union with Anna is no longer necessary to his plot, which now hinges on the princesses' deaths. Unfortunately for Hans, Anna is suddenly brought into the room by the castle servants and, much to his shock, is weak, cold and white-haired, desperately begging the prince for a kiss. The two are given privacy as Anna explains that, during her journey, Elsa froze her heart, and only an act of true love can save her from freezing to death, to which Hans presumes to be a "true love's kiss". However, with circumstances having changed dramatically, Hans only smirks and rejects Anna, moving to extinguish any source of heat and warmth within the room to quicken her death, while simultaneously revealing his matured plot to marry Anna and become King of Arendelle through ascension. Subsequently announcing that his next move is to kill Elsa and restore summer, proclaiming a desire to become a triumphant hero in the eyes of Arendelle's citizens, Hans leaves Anna to die, locking the latter within the room to prevent her from escaping and interfering.

Death to Queen Elsa

All that's left now is to kill Elsa, and bring back summer.
―Hans to Anna

Hans then returns to the Duke and the other dignitaries, pretending to be terribly distraught as he declares Princess Anna dead, through murder by Queen Elsa. The prince also adds that he and Anna were able to give their marriage vows before the latter's passing, thus leaving Arendelle in his hands. Horrified and saddened by the news, the assembled dignitaries vocally look to Hans for the next course of action for the kingdom to take, leading Hans to make his first order as ruler by charging Elsa for treason and sentencing her to death. Alongside the royal guards, Hans makes way to the dungeon, where they find Elsa's cell vacated, as she managed to escape. Furious, Hans decides to take matters into his own hands, and goes into the frozen fjord to confront Elsa himself, sword in hand. He eventually does so, immediately telling her that escaping all the damage she's caused is futile. However, Elsa merely pleads for mercy, asking the prince to take care of her sister in her absence, to which Hans responds by informing Elsa of Anna's imminent death as a result of the former's strike to her heart, despite his "efforts" to save her; blaming Elsa for the tragedy. Devastated, Elsa falls onto her knees, with her sorrow freezing the very air around them, and providing Hans the opportunity to end her.

Before Hans is able to give the killing strike, however, Anna arrives and blocks the prince's blow, completely freezing to death just before the sword strikes her, thus freezing and subsequently shattering the blade with her frigid body temperature. The shockwave caused by Anna's freezing curse brutally knocks the evil prince off his feet, upon the ice, and rendering him unconscious.

Defeat and Detainment

I will return this scoundrel to his country.

We shall see what his twelve big brothers think of his behavior.

―The French dignitary about Hans' punishment

Following Hans' downfall, Elsa discovers the means necessary to undo her eternal winter, and immediately does so, leaving Arendelle thawed and peace within the kingdom restored. As Hans finally regains consciousness and struggles to his feet, Anna's traveling companion, Kristoff, moves in to pummel him, though he is stopped in his tracks by the princess, who makes the decision to confront Hans, herself. The sight of Anna alive confuses Hans, prompting him to ask how she had survived the frozen heart curse—the princess responds by declaring Hans is the only individual present with a "frozen heart", and satisfyingly begins to take her leave, before suddenly turning her heel and punching the traitorous prince in the face, causing him to fall off the ship they were aboard, and into the waters of the fjord. Humiliated and defeated, Hans is subsequently apprehended by Arendelle's guards and caged aboard the brig of a French ship. The French dignitary aboard the ship assures Arendelle's government that Hans will be returned to the Southern Isles, where he will face an unspecified punishment at the hands of his brothers.

Memorable Quotes

  • "I'm so sorry. Are you hurt?"
  • "Prince Hans of the Southern Isles."
  • "I'd like to formally apologize for hitting the princess of Arendelle with my horse. And for every moment after."
  • "Just you?"
  • "Twelve older brothers. Three of them pretended I was invisible, literally, for two years."
  • "It's what brothers do."
  • "I would never shut you out."
  • "I love crazy!"
  • "Love is an open door!"
  • "Can I say something crazy? Will you marry me?"
  • "Do not question the princess. She left me in charge and I will not hesitate to protect Arendelle from treason."
  • "We are here to find Princess Anna. Be on guard, but no harm is to come to the queen."
  • "Don't be the monster they fear you are!"
  • "I couldn't just let them kill you."
  • "You said she would never hurt you."
  • "A true love's kiss."
  • "Oh, Anna. If only there was someone out there who loved you."
  • "As thirteenth in line in my own kingdom, I didn't stand a chance. I knew I would have to marry into the throne somewhere."
  • "As heir, Elsa was preferable, of course. But no one was getting anywhere with her. But you... You were so desperate for love, you were willing to marry me just like that! I figured after we married, I would have to stage a little accident for Elsa." (tips a pitcher of water onto the fire, extinguishing it) "But then, she doomed herself, and you were dumb enough to go after her. All that's left now is to kill Elsa, and bring back summer."
  • (When Anna tells him he's no match for Elsa) "No, you're no match for Elsa. I, on the other hand, am the hero who is going to save Arendelle from destruction."
  • "Oh... I already have."
  • "Princess Anna is... Dead."
  • "With a heavy heart, I charge Queen Elsa of Arendelle with treason. And sentence her to death."
  • "Elsa! You can't run from this!"
  • "Your sister is dead! Because of you!"
  • "Anna? But she froze your heart."

Trivia

  • In the film, he is voiced by Santino Fontana.
  • When put together, Hans, Kristoff, Anna and Sven sound like Hans Christian Andersen.[6]
  • Given his last name, it's quite possible that Prince Hans may have been based on Jérôme Bonaparte – the 19th century German king of Westphalia, and youngest brother of Napoleon Bonaparte. 
  • Elements of Hans' character are based on the Evil Mirror from the original Snow Queen. In the original fairy tale, it is said that those who looked into this mirror, the darkest aspects of their personality would come to the surface, and that if a glass shard of this mirror got into one's body, their heart would freeze as a result of their cold nature. The mirror in the story was pivotal for it had caused one of the protagonists, Kai, to become cold towards his friend Gerda (the inspiration for Anna).
    • In an interview with Jennifer Lee, Lee confirms that Hans was partially based upon the concept of the Evil Mirror in the original story, as the fairy tale had a lot to do with mirrors. So, as she explains, what Hans is a mirror which appears charming to the person, but is "hollow or sociopathic" in pretense.[1]
  • Hans' last name is "Westergaard", according to a tweet from Jennifer Lee and A Frozen Heart.[2][3] In a deleted scene (featuring "Bad Elsa"), a character named "Admiral Westergård" was mentioned, possibly being the earlier drafting of Hans.
    • The description of the admiral in the scene closely matches that of Hans', (Elsa mentions that he "loves her [Anna] so."). According to Lee, the changing of the character's last name never occurred when the character was ultimately rewritten into Hans.
  • The name Hans is popularly used in such countries as Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
  • Hans' voice actor Santino Fontana originally auditioned for the role of Kristoff, but after the story changed, he auditioned for Hans.
  • Hans has his own distinct theme that plays when he woos Anna, and it's especially noticeable when he pulls in for the kiss. After the betrayal, his theme can still be heard, albeit with a darker tone.
  • All of Hans' voice recordings were completed in a matter of five days.[7]
  • According to one of the coloring books, Hans is a naval officer.
  • In Disney on Ice, Hans claims his brothers had him convinced he was a troll they had adopted.
  • Hans is essentially the complete opposite of many of the heroic characters in Frozen:
    • Anna, for while both were shut out for many years, she actually wants to reconnect with her sister and would do anything to reconnect with her. Hans, on the other hand, only wanted to get more attention than his 12 brothers and as such would do anything to be on top, even if it means murder and forced marriage.
    • Elsa, for while she shuts Anna out, she does that to protect her. Hans, on the other hand, while he would never shut Anna out, he only does that so that he would get to the throne, then he shuts her in the parlor to keep Anna from escaping the cold.
      • On another thought, it's interesting to note that both Hans and Elsa wear gloves the majority of the movie. Both use them to "conceal" their true selves - Elsa wears hers at the beginning to hide her powers, and Hans wears his throughout the whole movie up until his big reveal at the fireplace.
      • It's also interesting to note that both Hans and Elsa are associated with the unlucky number 13, but with a different twist - Elsa, being the 13th Disney Princess, remains good and caring; whereas Hans, being the 13th child in his family, turns out to be selfish and cruel.
    • Kristoff, for while very gruff and tough on the outside, he's actually kind-hearted and friendly on the inside. Hans, on the other hand, while being kind and friendly on the outside, is actually cruel and ruthless on the inside.
      • Another thing to think of is that while both are Anna's love interest, Kristoff is the only one of the two who really loved her, while Hans only loved power and was using her. Also, Kristoff would never hurt Anna, while Hans was willing to let Anna freeze to death.
    • Olaf, for while he represents the love between Elsa and Anna, Hans represents the breaking of Elsa and Anna's bond.
      • Another observation is that while Olaf is goofy and naive but still affectionate, loving, and cares deeply for his friends, Hans, on the other hand, is classy, sophisticated and intelligent but is cold-hearted, ruthless and sadistic.
  • Hans is a rather unique Disney villain in many ways. Usually, when a villain is introduced into a film, the audience gets the idea that this character is not to be trusted, although some protagonists trust them, however (i.e. Simba, because Scar is his uncle). But with Hans, not only is Anna fooled by him, but the audience as well. This makes Hans one of the sneakiest and most dangerous of all Disney villains.
  • There are several subtle hints to Hans' villainy throughout the film before his reveal:
    • Hans' duet with Anna, "Love is an Open Door", holds a few dark meanings on Hans' side of the song. The lines "I've been searching my whole life to find my own place" and "Love is an open door" secretly represent Hans' quest to dominate a kingdom, and doing so through false romance with Anna, who is his door to power.
    • Also during the song, Hans also doesn't match Anna's movements, leaving the two out of sync, which at first comes across as him being charmingly awkward but shows that he is struggling to match her character to appeal to her.
    • When Anna decides to leave to find Elsa, Hans protests because he doesn't want her to get hurt. However, when she rapidly makes him in charge, he then doesn't even offer to go with her, letting her ride off alone. He also visibly perks up at being made acting Regent.
    • His personality isn't consistent at all because it changes radically depending on who he's interacting with, as opposed to the grounded personalities of the other characters. Hans even coldly threatens the Duke with a charge of treason, unlike his gentle persona shown earlier.
    • If one looks closely, before one of the Duke's men shoots Elsa with an arrow, Hans briefly glances upward to Elsa's chandelier after calming Elsa down. Afterwards, Hans quickly intervenes with the crossbow's aim to fire at the chandelier to appear as an attempt to save Elsa.
  • According to Jennifer Lee, Hans is around 23 years old.[8]
  • In a cut draft of the film, after Hans' sword was destroyed by Anna's frozen body, he was going to have a second wind and try to attack again, only for Kristoff to knock him out. This was cut because it distracted from dramatic mourning of Anna in the scene, which was more important. The fight still happens in some storybooks though.
  • Hans' character is a major subversion of the classical Disney Prince; Hans himself notes of this during his betrayal, and uses it to his advantage.
  • His line "Are you sure you can trust her? I don't want you getting hurt." is ironic since he's the one who shouldn't be trusted by Anna, and he's the one who hurts Anna by fooling her.
  • Hans has more on-screen time dressed in his coronation suit than he does in his normal formal wear.
  • When Anna first meets Hans, she trips on a wooden bucket and crashes into him, sending the bucket flying and landing on her head. The last thing we see of Hans is him being tossed into a cage under the ship heading back to the Southern Isles so that he would be judged by his twelve brothers for his crimes. When the cage door is slammed shut, a wooden bucket falls and lands on his head.
  • Hans is strikingly similar to King Frederick VI of Denmark; their facial structure, hair and facial hair are almost identical, and both tried to gain power by a coup d'état, but where Hans failed, Frederick succeeded. It is quite possible that Hans is based on a young Frederick. However, Frederick kept a woman alive to serve as his queen, his wife Marie of Hesse-Kassel, while Hans wanted to kill both Anna and Elsa.
  • Ironically, in a trailer for Frozen, he was referred to as the "Nice guy," although this was most likely to keep his true nature hidden from viewers.
  • A chess set is seen in the background when Hans is explaining his scheme to Anna and extinguishing the heat sources in the room, symbolizing his exploitation of her as a "pawn" in his plans.
  • Universally, along with Man from Bambi, Lady Tremaine from Cinderella and Lotso from Toy Story 3, Hans is arguably one of the most hated Disney villains because of his heartless treatment towards Anna and Elsa.
  • Originally, as seen in a Frozen coloring book, Hans and Elsa were intended to battle, most likely in the scene in which Hans and his army seize Elsa's ice palace or during the climax.
  • Hans has the most siblings of any Disney Villain, with twelve older brothers.
  • When Elsa sees her reflection through the window, she sees it from the right panel, and can clearly see other people outside showing care and concern for them. But when Hans does the same thing, he sees it from the left panel instead, and only sees himself, as he cares for just himself.
  • Anna's horse coming back to the palace, Hans trying to calm it down, and showing concern about the rider is very similar to when Philippe returned to Belle without Maurice much to Belle's concern. The only major difference, however, is that Belle was truly concerned about Maurice's safety, while Hans faked concern for Anna.
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