A new 'Frozen' novel takes readers inside the love story of Anna and Elsa's parents. Read the exclusive excerpt.

insider@insider.com (Tarah Chieffi)
·13 mins read
A new "Frozen" book takes readers back to the teen years of Anna and Elsa's parents.
A new "Frozen" book takes readers back to the teen years of Anna and Elsa's parents.

Disney

  • Warning: Spoilers ahead for "Frozen" and "Frozen 2." 

  • In the original "Frozen" film, Anna and Elsa are orphaned when their parents' ship capsizes in a storm.

  • In "Frozen 2" it's revealed that they were sailing on the Dark Sea to uncover the source of Elsa's powers.

  • "Frozen 2: Dangerous Secrets: The Story of Iduna and Agnarr," a prequel young-adult novel from author Mari Mancusi, tells the love story of Anna and Elsa's parents.

  • Readers are taken back to King Agnarr and Queen Iduna's teen years in Arendelle before Anna and Elsa were born.

  • Insider has an exclusive first look at the book's cover and an excerpt from the opening chapter.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Author Mari Mancusi's new young-adult novel, "Frozen 2: Dangerous Secrets: The Story of Iduna and Agnarr," gives readers a new perspective on the Disney story, this time through the eyes of Anna and Elsa's parents.

Save for their ill-fated sea voyage, very little is divulged about Elsa and Anna's parents, King Agnarr and Queen Iduna of Arendelle, in the original "Frozen" film

The 2019 sequel, "Frozen 2," uncovers more about how the couple met and the reason for their journey, but Mancusi's novel from Disney Press reveals that this is only the tip of the iceberg.

The cover of Mari Mancusi's "Frozen 2: Dangerous Secrets: The Story of Iduna and Agnarr."
The cover of Mari Mancusi's "Frozen 2: Dangerous Secrets: The Story of Iduna and Agnarr."

Disney Press

Iduna's secret is revealed to Elsa in 'Frozen 2,' but Agnarr grew up never knowing who saved him from the Enchanted Forest

In the opening scene of "Frozen 2," King Agnarr tells young Anna and Elsa a story about his father, King Runeard, and the dam he built for the Northuldra people who lived in a nearby Enchanted Forest. He says the dam was meant to bring the two groups closer together, but the Northuldrans launched a surprise attack on the Arendellians, killing King Runeard and knocking Agnarr unconscious. 

An unseen hero saved Agnarr before he could be trapped in the forest with the Northuldran and Arendellian fighters who were stranded there by magical spirits. He left the Enchanted Forest believing the spirits who saved him were loyal to his father's mission.

It isn't until later in the film, when the sisters travel to the Enchanted Forest, that they learn the truth. Disapproving of their connection with the magical spirits, King Runeard's "gift" was actually part of his plan to weaken Northuldra's resources and he initiated the fighting. 

They also discover that their mother was a native of Northuldra and, with the help of the elemental spirit of Air, was the one who saved Agnarr. After saving the soon-to-be king's life, Iduna accompanied him on the trip back to Arendelle. The two grew up together, fell in love, and eventually married.

Whether for fear of being judged and cast out, or to protect Agnarr's memory of his father, Iduna never divulged the truth of her heritage or how she came to live in Arendelle.

Anna and Elsa travel to the Enchanted Forest in "Frozen 2."
Anna and Elsa travel to the Enchanted Forest in "Frozen 2."

Walt Disney Animation Studios/YouTube

Iduna and Agnarr's wrecked ship gives Anna and Elsa a clue to the real reason for their voyage

Anna and Elsa grow up believing their parents died on a two-week excursion to the Southern Sea. In the sequel film, the sisters find their parents' washed-up ship and a map that exposed the true reason for their journey. The king and queen were headed north — not south — to a mystical glacier on the Dark Sea that their mother had sung about when they were children.

Ahtohallan, Iduna and Agnarr's intended destination, is revealed as the source of the magical spirits in the Enchanted Forest and Elsa's icy powers. In an attempt to understand their daughter's powers, Iduna and Agnarr set out to reach Ahtohallan, but die trying. 

In 'Frozen 2: Dangerous Secrets: The Story of Iduna and Agnarr,' Iduna finally tells Agnarr who she really is 

Queen Iduna and King Agnarr in "Frozen."
Queen Iduna and King Agnarr in "Frozen."

Disney

Mancusi's new novel expands on the "Frozen" universe by telling the backstory of Anna and Elsa's parents, who weren't much more than a plot point in the original film. 

While at sea, Iduna finally decides it's time to tell Agnarr the truth, and that is where this new "Frozen" story begins. 

Read an exclusive excerpt from Mari Mancusi's 'Dangerous Secrets: The Story of Iduna and Agnarr' below

THE STORM IS GETTING WORSE.

Lightning slashes across an angry black sky, soon followed by the crash of thunder. Waves pound against the ship's hull as I grip the wooden rail with white knuckles. Fierce gusts of wind tug my hair free from its braid, and damp brown strands whip at my face. I don't dare let go to brush them away.

Instead, I keep my eyes on the sea. Looking for her.

In some ways, I've spent my entire life looking for her. And tonight, my journey may finally come to an end. Unfinished. Unfound.

Ahtohallan. Please! I need you!

Perhaps she never existed at all. Perhaps she was simply a myth. A silly song to lull children to sleep. To make them feel safe and secure in a world that's anything but. Perhaps I was a fool to think we could simply go and seek her out. Learn the mother's secrets.

I do know something about a mother's secrets.

Another wave sweeps in, bashing against the ship's hull, sending a spray of icy seawater splashing at my face. I stumble backward, momentarily blinded by the salt stinging my eyes. A strong pair of hands clamps down on my hips; a solid chest at my back keeps me upright.

I turn, already knowing whom I'll find standing tall behind me. The man who has been with me almost my entire life. The man who has made me laugh—and cry—more than anyone else in the world. My husband. The father of my daughters. My enemy. My friend.

My love.

Agnarr, king of Arendelle.

"Come, Iduna," he says, pulling me around to face him. He reaches out, clasping my hands in his. They are as warm and strong as mine are cold and trembling.

I look up, taking in the sharp line of his jaw. The fierceness in his leaf-green eyes. If he's frightened, he's not showing it. "We need to go below deck," he says, shouting to be heard over the furious wind. "Captain's orders. It's not safe up here. One rogue wave could knock you overboard."

I feel a sob rise to my throat. I want to lash out, protest the orders. I'm fine. I can take care of myself. I'm not some silly girl frightened by the elements.

But what I really want to say is, I can't leave. I haven't found her yet.

If I go below, I may never find her.

And if I don't . . .

Elsa. My sweet Elsa . . . My dear Anna . . .

Agnarr gives me a pointed look. I sigh, untangling my hands from his, and begin stumbling toward the stairs that lead to our cabin below, on legs unaccustomed to rough seas. I'm almost there when the ship suddenly pitches hard to the left and I lose my footing, grabbing on to the railing to save myself. I can feel a few of the crew watching me with concern, but I push forward, keeping my head held high. I am a queen, after all. There are certain expectations.

Once below, I push open our cabin door and move inside, letting it bang shut behind me. The captain has given us his cabin for the journey, which I insisted wasn't necessary, but I was overruled. It's the only cabin suited for a fine lady, he protested. Because that's how he sees me.

That's how they all see me now. A fine lady. A perfectly poised Arendellian queen.

But now, at last, Agnarr knows the truth.

I ease myself down on the bed, reaching to grab my knitting needles and my half-finished project. An inappropriate task under the circumstances, but perhaps the only thing that might steady my hands—my pounding heart. I can hear Agnarr push open the door, his strong, solid presence filling the room. But I don't look up. Instead, I start to knit as the ship rocks beneath my

feet. It's dark down below, too dark to really see the delicate yarn, but my hands are sure and true, the repetitive motions as natural and familiar to me as taking in air. Yelana would be proud.

Yelana. Is she still out there, in the Enchanted Forest, still locked in the mist?

Only Ahtohallan knows.

Suddenly, I want to throw my needles across the room. Or collapse on the bed in tears. But I do neither, keeping my attention on the unfinished shawl. Forcing myself to let each stitch lull me into something resembling comfort.

Agnarr pulls out a wooden stool from the captain's desk, sitting down across from me. He picks up a corner of the unfinished shawl, running his large fingers across the tiny stitches. I dare to sneak a peek at him, realizing his eyes have become soft and faraway.

"This is the same pattern," he says slowly. And I know what he means without asking. Because of course it is. I hadn't even realized it when I started, but of course it is.

The same pattern as the shawl my mother knitted me when I was a baby.

The shawl that saved his life.

"It's an old Northuldra pattern," I explain, surprised how easily the words leave my mouth now that the truth is known. "Belonging to my family." I pick up his hand and place it on each symbol in turn. "Earth, fire, water, wind." I pause on the wind symbol, thinking back to

Gale. "It was the Wind Spirit who helped me save your life that day in the forest."

He gives a low whistle. "A wind spirit! If only I'd known," he says, reaching up to brush his thumb gently across my cheek. Even after all these years, his touch still sparks a longing ache deep inside, and it's an imperative, not an option, to drop my needles to return the gesture. To run my fingers against the light stubble of his jaw. "It would have made my stories to the girls so much more interesting."

I smile at this. I can't help it. He has always found a way to help me find sunshine amidst the gloomiest of days. It's strange, though, to realize he knows everything now. After a lifetime overshadowed with secrets, it should feel freeing.

But in truth, it still scares me a little, and I find myself glancing at him when he doesn't know I'm looking. Trying to see, trying to know whether the truth has changed his feelings toward me. Does he resent me for keeping so much from him for so long? Or does he truly understand why I did it? If we survive this night, how will things change between us? Will the truth bring us closer together? Or tear us apart?

Only Ahtohallan knows. . . .

I reach out and take Agnarr's hands in mine, meeting his deep green eyes with my blue ones. I swallow down the lump in my throat that threatens to choke me, and force another smile.

"I will never forget that day," I start with a whisper, not sure he can even hear me over the tempest outside. "That horrible, wonderful day."

"Tell me," he whispers back, leaning in close. I can feel his breath on my lips. Our faces are inches away. "Tell me everything."

I swallow all the words that threaten to jump out of my throat in a hurried rush, throwing myself back on the bed, staring up at the wooden-beamed ceiling. After I breathe calmly, I say, "That might take all night."

He crawls onto the bed, lying down next to me. He reaches out and curls his hand into mine. "For you, I've got forever."

I swallow hard, tears welling in my eyes. I want to protest: we don't have forever. Or even all night. We may not have an hour, judging from the way the wooden beams of the ship are creaking and cracking. But at the same time, it doesn't matter. It's time. It's long past time. He deserves to know everything.

I swipe the tears away, rolling to my side and propping my head up with my elbow. "You have to tell your part, too," I say. "This story isn't only mine, you know."

His arm curls around my waist, his hand settling at the small of my back as he tugs me closer to him. He's so warm. How is it possible that he's still so warm? "I think I can manage that," he says with a small smile. "But you must start. It all began with you, after all."

"All right," I say, resting my head on his chest, his steady heartbeat against my ear. I close my eyes, trying to decide where to begin. So much has happened over the years. But there is that one day. One fateful day that changed the course of both our lives forever.

I open my eyes. "It all starts with the wind," I say. "My dear friend Gale."

As I speak, the words begin to course through me like the forbidding waters roiling outside. And like the waters, I will finally make myself heard.

Agnarr will listen.

He's always been the storyteller in our family. But not this time. Now it's my turn to tell the tale.

You can find out more about Mari Mancusi's work on her website, and her recently released novel,  "Dragon Ops," on Amazon. "Frozen 2: Dangerous Secrets: The Story of Iduna and Agnarr," will be available November 3, 2020, on Amazon.

To watch "Frozen" and "Frozen 2," you'll need a subscription to Disney Plus. You can sign up here for $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year. (When you subscribe to a service through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners.)

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