Nokk, trolls and giants? Frozen 2 seems to be based on Icelandic folklore and likely foreshadows the awakening of Anna’s magical powers.
If you are unfamiliar with Nordic folklore you were probably really confused by the new trailer for Frozen 2. Giants, mountain trolls, fairies and a spirit horse… it all seems so strange, but not if you live in Iceland.
60% of Icelandic people still believe that they share their island with other magical creatures. These wonderfully strange mythical creatures are embedded into Iceland’s history, culture and even politics.
On the last day of Jul Icelandic people go celebrate event called ‘alfa brenna’ where they dance around a bonfire while singing songs about these creatures. The belief transcends common folklore, too. Some stones are protected by Iceland’s government because they still believe that magical fairies live in side them. So, they build their national roads around them.
We are convinced that Frozen 2 is set in Iceland. And, to prove it, we’ve picked five of the most obvious Icelandic moments from the trailer.
Nokk / Nokken
Disney revealed the water-horse in Frozen 2 to be Nokk (better known a Neck in English); which is obviously the Nordic water-spirit Nokken and derives from the old Icelandic word Nykr.
The form neck appears in English and Swedish (näcken or nek), where the Swedish form is derived from Old Swedish neker, which corresponds to Old Icelandic nykr (gen. nykrs), and nykk in New Norwegian. In Old Danish, the form was nikke and in modern Danish and Norwegian Bokmål it is nøk, nøkke.
The first tales of Nokk were told by travelers who went to Iceland. They told stories of a majestic black horse with backwards hooves that would entice passers to tame it, but the second they got on her back they would get stuck and she would run off into the ocean and disappear.
People are still superstitious about Nokk and check to see if the hooves are backwards on wild Icelandic horses.
Black Sand Beach
The new trailer starts off with Elsa on a black sand beach staring out to sea. She then freezes the giant waves and makes a run for it.
This black sand beach looks like one of the most iconic Icelandic locations called Reynisfjara.
With its enormous basalt stacks, roaring Atlantic waves and stunning panoramas, Reynisfjara is widely considered to be the most beautiful example of Iceland’s black sand beaches. In 1991, National Geographic voted Reynisfjara as one of the Top 10 non-tropical beaches to visit on the planet.
Upon visiting the beach, travelers will immediately observe rocky sea stacks sitting off the shoreline, known as Reynisdrangar.
According to local Icelandic folklore, these large basalt columns were once gaints trying to pull ships from the ocean to shore. However, these trolls were dim and went out too late in the night; dawn broke on the horizon, turning the trolls into solid stone.
Another legend tells of a husband whose wife was kidnapped and killed by two trolls. The man followed the trolls down to Reynisfjara where he froze them, ensuring that they would never kill again.
This one couldn’t be more obvious. Those are Icelandic trolls! They live in the hills and mountains and bring mischief where ever they roll. They are not bad or evil or anything… they are just a bit naughty.
The 13 Icelandic Christmas lads are half trolls and half witch. Their dad was a mountain troll called Leppaludi who had kids with the wicked Icelandic witch, Gryla.
These poor little trolls look terrified which probably means there is a much darker Icelandic creature, or creatures, on the loose. What could it be?
And it’s probably the giants. Iceland was once ruled by these giants but through time they died off and turned into stone.
There are still many unexplained landmarks around the countryside believed to be stone-turned giants. On a tour of Iceland one of the guides pointed out a stone lodged between two rock formation of a distant island. He told me that the locals believe that this stone was thrown by an angry king giant from the shores of Iceland. The scary thing is, this stone perfectly fits a hole on the main island meaning it most likely came from there.
To make things even spookier, there are people who say that the giants aren’t dead, just sleeping, and will wake one day and rule the lands once more. Is that the plot to Frozen 2?
If you are familiar with Norse mythology you might be thinking, ‘this could take place anywhere in Scandinavia’. I don’t blame you for thinking that. All Nordic countries did believe in these beings – and you will hear similar stories told by locals no matter where you go. But the final proof that this story takes place in Iceland is this… Katla.
That’s Elsa and Anna standing on front of Katla; Iceland’s most dangerous volcano. The last time it erupted it extended the coast of Iceland by 5 kilometers!
Although it is the most dangerous volcano in Iceland it is not the most famous. Katla has a sister, and she gets all the attention. Meet Hekla!
Anna’s magical powers
Hekla was once feared as being the gateway to hell and travelers were warned to steer clear from her. This is most likely because Hekla erupts quite regularly; not ashamed to show her magical abilities to the world.
Fun fact: Hekla and Katla are also two very popular Icelandic female names. The two volcanoes are thought of as sisters, just like Elsa and Anna!
Hmm… could this be foreshadowing the coming of Anna’s magical powers in Frozen 2? Perhaps her powers have been laying dormant all this time and she is just ready to erupt? Is Hekla Elsa and Katla Anna? Will it be fire versus Ice? After all, Anna is a redhead.