- “Ah, Arendelle, our most mysterious trade partner. Open those gates so I may unlock your secrets and exploit your riches! Did I say that out loud?”
- ―The Duke of Weselton
The Duke of Weselton is a dignitary from Arendelle's neighboring kingdom Weselton, commonly mispronounced as Weasel Town much to his consternation and annoyance. His title proves he holds great power in his homeland, and on his formal wear, one will notice several badges and medals, indicating a history of significant accomplishment despite his rather meek character. He may also be the most powerful figure in Weselton aside from the ruler itself, though they're never mentioned or even alluded to. The Duke also has two burly bodyguards at his disposal, though they rarely speak and usually stand by the diminutive royal's side to protect from any and all harm. Even so, they do find their boss' character rather odd, considering their facial expressions during their introduction on Elsa's coronation day.
In relation to Arendelle, the Duke of Weselton controls the trading business between the two kingdoms, and notes that he's Arendelle's closest partner in trade. He's likely the closest visiting dignitary in the kingdom during Queen Elsa's coronation judging by his prominence throughout the events of the film. How long he's been associated with the kingdom and whether or not he knew the original king and queen before their deaths is unknown but highly likely.
Official Disney Bio
- "What the Duke of Weselton lacks in stature, he makes up for in arrogance and showboating. He’s determined to get close to the new queen—that is, until Elsa’s magical secret is revealed. Then he’s the first to call her a monster and try to turn her own kingdom against her—anything that might help him exploit Arendelle’s tradable goods."
Contrary to popular belief prior to the movie's release, the Duke of Weselton is in no way heartless or evil. He is, however, heavily pompous and greedy, though it's portrayed in a humorous manner throughout the film. Though invited to Arendelle for the coronation of Queen Elsa, the Duke was far more interested in exploiting Arendelle's tradable goods, as he's the representative of Weselton, Arendelle's former trade partner. He's also extremely interested in Arendelle's history, wanting to know why the castle gates were locked for so many years, and why castle grounds were off limits to outsiders, showing a nosy side of the dignitary. The Duke is a very greedy, a bold faced person who mostly wants for himself and could care less about others.
The Duke's most striking trait is his cowardliness and irrational attitude. Whenever even the slightest oddity occurs, he'll go into a panic, relying on his bodyguard brutes to protect him. He also has a hatred of magic and "sorcery", reason being he finds it to be highly dangerous, explaining why he was so hostile towards Elsa after her powers were revealed at the coronation ball. His fear of magic and the mysterious power it holds is what leads him to perform his only immoral act, which was ordering his thugs to find and kill Elsa, hoping her death would result in the eternal winter curse she accidentally caused to be lifted.
However, despite his flaws, the Duke does have a heart to some degree. He's shown to care for the safety of others, besides himself, as seen when the dastardly Prince Hans claimed Princess Anna was killed by Elsa, the Duke finding the news to be immensely shocking, especially considering the princesses' family ties. This can also be seen again during the chase sequence at the coronation party, where the Duke held a distraught expression as Elsa ran into the crowds in the castle courtyard, likely showing concern for the vulnerable citizens living in Arendelle. Not only that, his negative actions can be considered justifiable, as they were performed out of complete fear. His claims that Elsa was a monster were a result of him nearly being killed by her magic and his conspiracy to have Elsa assassinated was for the purpose of ending winter (as he assumed that was the only way).
For all these reasons, the Duke of Weselton is not a villain, but merely a man who's fear, stubbornness, and ill temper drives him to perform antagonistic acts.
The Duke is a short and slender man with pink skin, a large pointed nose, blue eyes, small circular glasses, a gray mustache above his lips, gray hair on the sides and back of his head, and a gray toupee on the top of his head.
The Duke's attire is a dignitary uniform, consisting of a dark blue coat with gold lining, wavy patterns on the collar, a red shirt underneath, medals on the right side of his coat, a red sash hanging diagonally from his left shoulder, epaulets with tassels, red cuffs at the end of his coat's sleeves, white gloves, gray pants, and black boots.
Arriving in Arendelle
The Duke of Weselton is first seen with his bodyguards entering Arendelle and nearing the castle gates. The greedy royal proves to be extremely excited, deeming Arendelle his most mysterious trade partner, and that he greatly looks forward to unlocking its secrets and exploiting its riches, however he accidentally says this out loud to his guards. Along with the other dignitaries, the Duke attends Elsa's crowning coronation as well as the ball thrown in honor of her first night as queen. Anna and Elsa's majordomo, Kai, introduces the snooty duke, which is when the short royal offers Elsa her first dance as queen, claiming he should have the honor being their closest partner in trade. Elsa rejects the offer politely, but volunteers Anna, to which the Duke agrees to nonetheless. Though he believes otherwise, he's a terrible dancer, constantly stepping on Anna's toes and making a complete fool out of himself. The entire event was merely a chance to become closer to the two princesses, hoping a close relationship would further enhance his trading business with Arendelle. In the middle of his routine, he questions the princess as to why the castle gates were closed for so many years, to which she nervously claims ignorance on the situation.
- “Sorcery! I knew there was something dubious going on here.”
- ―The Duke of Weselton
Not too long after the comedic scene, Anna and Elsa get into an argument, and the drama causes Elsa's secret power over ice and snow to be revealed. The fearful Duke calls her out, claiming it to be dark magic/sorcery, and orders his men to capture her the moment she flees, though he and his goons were nearly killed by an accidental blast caused by the queen, resulting in the Duke calling her out as a monster. Anna, the visiting Prince Hans, and the Duke follow after the queen, who escapes into the mountains, accidentally casting a powerful curse over Arendelle, putting it into an eternal winter. It begins to snow eerily throughout the land, causing the citizens to worry, though the Duke immediately becomes irrational, panicking, albeit humorously. He then suspects Anna to have powers as well, but the princess denies and explains that Elsa means no harm. The stubborn Duke finds it hard to believe, as she nearly killed him with her magic during the chase. However, to free the land from the curse, Anna volunteers to go after the queen. The Duke immediately agrees, but her fiancé, Prince Hans wasn't too fond of the idea. Nevertheless, Anna departs and leaves Hans in charge.
Later on, back in Arendelle, things have become worse with the snow having become ice, freezing the entire kingdom, and the living conditions become unbearable for the citizens as, due to the curse overcoming the land in the middle of summer, no one is prepared for the harsh winter weather that's arrived. Hans and the royal guards are busy giving away free cloaks and other necessities for the kingdom's inhabitants who are struggling to survive, much to the Duke's dismay. The Duke scolds Hans on his actions, not wanting the prince giving away any of Arendelle's tradable goods instead of taking action against Elsa, believing Anna's merely conspiring with her to doom the land. However, the Duke is soon forced to silence himself when Hans snaps at him, threatening the Duke with his power to have him arrested for treason. Disgusted by Hans' claims, the Duke's silenced until Anna's horse returns alone. Hans feels the princess is in danger, and asks volunteers to journey to Queen Elsa's palace with him to find her. The Duke volunteers his bodyguards, and secretly orders them to eliminate Elsa should they find her so they could put an end to the winter.
Back in Arendelle
With Hans in charge, the bodyguards journey to Elsa's ice palace where they ignore Hans' orders to bring no harm to the queen and barge into the icy walls, immediately taking action. However, soon enough, Elsa gains the upper hands and uses her abilities to battle the duo, nearly killing them until Hans intervenes. Even so, the Snow Queen is captured and imprisoned, though the order given to the Duke's thugs either remained confidential or ignored, as the Duke wasn't seen given any punishment or word on the matter, though the thugs weren't seen again for quite some time, likely suspended as punishment for disobeying Hans' commands. Meanwhile, in the castle parlor, Hans decides he'll go back out in an attempt to find Anna, but one of the dignitaries suggests he stays behind, as he's all Arendelle has should Anna fail to return. Just then, however, she does, and desperately asks Hans to kiss her, prompting the Duke and the others to leave the room, giving them some privacy, completely unaware that the prince is actually villainous and power-hungry, planning to betray Anna to steal the throne. Moments later, Hans returns looking distraught just as the Duke declares action be taken once again. He tells them Anna was killed by Elsa, and that they said their marriage vows just before she died in his arms, thus making him king of Arendelle. The claims were lies, but the Duke and other dignitaries are oblivious to the fact, and Hans sentences Queen Elsa to death.
A Fitting Comeuppance
Moments later, Elsa accidentally causes a powerful blizzard to break through as she escapes from her prison cell and the Duke of Weselton joins the other dignitaries, who rush onto the castle balcony to see what the ruckus was. From there, they are able to witness Anna sacrificing herself to save Elsa from the treacherous Hans and mourn for her death once she freezes solid doing so. Fortunately, she thaws soon enough, as well as the entire kingdom after love is revealed to be the breaker of Elsa's curse. The Duke and the dignitaries all rejoice once peace is restored. The Duke, however, is denied speaking with Elsa about businesses, due to his earlier attempt to have her killed. The Duke tries to claim that he was innocent and a victim of fear, but to no avail, as he and his thugs are sent back to Weselton after being told that they are now cut off from trading with Arendelle by order of Queen Elsa. While being pulled aboard his ship, he is heard insisting that his home is not named "Weasel Town" after being mispronounced once again, though purposely by Kai to annoy him.
These two men were hired by the scheming Duke to protect and serve him at all costs. As seen by their expressions at the begining of the film, they find his behavior odd. Whenever even the slightest oddity occurs, his cowardliness and irrational attitude will make him go into a panic, relying on his bodyguards to protect him. When Hans asked for volunteers to go with him to find Anna, the Duke volunteered his two men, secretly telling them to be prepared for whatever happens and to kill the Elsa if they encounter her. When they arrive at Elsa's Ice Palace, Hans tells them that no harm is to come to Elsa, but when they are battling the fierce Marshmallow, the two disobey Hans' orders and try to kill Elsa as the Duke told them to. They almost get killed themselves by pushing Elsa into an enraged state until Hans calms her down. One tries to shoot her with a crossbow until Hans intervenes and causes the arrow to fly upward, causing the ice chandelier to fall down. The guards were not seen after returning Elsa to Arendelle, likely suspended as punishment for disobeying Hans' commands, but the Duke was still seen afterwards so his part in Elsa's attempted assassination was probably ignored, but he might have been scolded by Hans. At the end of the film, the Duke and his bodyguards were sent back to Weselton with a proclamation that Arendelle will no longer do business with them.
Originally, the Duke of Weselton was polite to Elsa, even offering her a dance at the coronation, but this was all to exploit Arendelle's riches in trade. When her powers are revealed to everyone, he is the first to call her a monster and continued to believe so, even though Anna and Hans tried to reassure him that she was not and was just scared. When Hans goes off to find Anna, the Duke volunteers his henchmen and tells them that if they encounter Elsa, they are to kill her, which they failed to do. When Hans told him and the other Dignitaries (as one of his lies) that Anna had died from Elsa's magic, the Duke showed some sadness over Anna's alleged death and was the first to say that there was no doubt that Elsa was a monster and that they were all in danger. At the end of the film, Elsa cuts off all ties with Weselton, due to the Duke's persecution of her.
Throughout the film, Hans and the Duke of Weselton were often at odds. They first interact after Elsa's icy curse has been put upon Arendelle, causing the Duke to panic and declare Elsa a monster, to which Hans disagrees with in an annoyed tone. Later on, after Hans takes control of Arendelle on behalf of Anna, the Duke is openly disapproving of the young prince's actions, causing Hans to snap and threaten the diminutive dignitary to be charged for treason, showing an annoyance of the pompous Duke. Hans, however, uses the Duke's irrational behavior and hatred towards Elsa's magic in his plot to steal the throne, telling him that Anna was killed by Elsa, which immediately has the Duke declaring Elsa a threat to the kingdom, thus allowing Hans to further his plans to execute Elsa, now that he had the necessary support.
The Duke of Weselton was polite to Anna as with her sister and even danced with her (after Elsa told him that her sister dances) and asked her if she knew why the castle gates were shut, but she said that she did not know. When Elsa's powers were revealed, he was briefly hostile towards her, asking if she had magic powers like her sister, but Anna and Hans reassure him that she is ordinary. Anna and Hans argue with the Duke that Elsa was not a monster, but the Duke refuses to believe them. When Anna says that she will go to get Elsa, the Duke quickly agrees, showing that by this point, he was not too concerned with Anna's safety. When Hans was giving out necessities to Arendelle's citizens, the Duke showed that he did not trust Anna, believing that she and Elsa were conspiring to doom them all. But in the end, the Duke showed that he had begun to care about Anna a little as he showed grief when Hans lied to him and the other dignitaries that Anna had been "killed" by Elsa. He then said that there was no doubt that Elsa was a monster to the point of "killing" her own sister; disgusted by her alleged actions.
- Originally, the character that would eventually become the Duke of Weselton was meant to be a royal handler for Anna and Elsa after the death of the their parents; their fussy caretaker. This could explain why the Duke holds common traits to Disney characters in the past portrayed as the fussy, royal stewards such as Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast and Zazu in The Lion King.
- According to the filmmakers, the regent character was going to be voiced by Louis CK.
- The Duke's voice actor, Alan Tudyk, is also known for voicing King Candy. It should be noted that these characters also share similar traits, in that both are elderly, of low stature, have a high status, are very strict yet with a comedic side, have two major henchmen (Wynchel and Duncan for Candy, and The Duke's thugs), and are antagonistic towards the respective deuteragonists (who are actually royalty) by calling them a threat. The only difference is Candy, who seemingly had a friendly personality, is revealed to be truly evil and villainous, whereas the Duke, despite his negative personality traits, is revealed to be not as villainous at all.
- The Duke of Weselton's real name is unknown.
- Although his hometown is pronounced as "Wessel-ton" in the movie, it is often mispronounced as "Weasel-town", a pet peeve of the Duke's.
- While selfish, greedy, and pompous, the Duke is not actually completely evil, since he cared for Anna when she returned, and he's very shocked when Hans told them Anna was dead. He is simply one of Hans' pawns, since he was lied to and manipulated. However, he did order his bodyguards to assassinate Elsa even without Hans' knowledge, which earned him his punishment of being cut off as a trading partner of Arendelle at the end of the movie.
- The Duke is a red herring. At his first appearance, he reveals himself to be wanting to "exploit Arendelle's tradable goods" in a monologue. He follows with "Did I just say that out loud"?. This makes the viewer believe he is the villain, even more so when he calls Elsa out for sorcery, and again when he sends his goons to kill the queen. However, the whole time, he is a merely cover-up for the real villain, Hans.
- Quite noticeably, after Hans is revealed to be the true antagonist of the film, the Duke's character is portrayed as, while still fussy, much more tame in terms of antagonistic behavior seen at the start of the film up until the third act. An example of this is seen when he actually shows concern over Anna after he's told the princess was killed by Elsa, whereas before Hans' reveal, the Duke apparently didn't care for anyone's well being, other than his own, and was apparently against Anna. It's highly likely this is because the red herring aspect of the character was no longer needed, thus revealing the Duke to actually be nothing more than a comedic, temperamental, and paranoid anti-hero, if anything.
- However, when Anna says she's going to get Elsa, while Hans asked "What?", the Duke, however said "Yes!", implying that he didn't care what happened to Anna and all he wanted to do was to put an end to the winter.
- Leading up to the film's release, Disney portrayed the Duke as the main antagonist. This eventually turned out to be a disinformation campaign to hide Hans' true nature.
- The Duke's gasping line, "Sorcery!", has often been compared to Judge Claude Frollo's (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) line, "Witchcraft!", which was exclaimed in a similar manner.
- The Duke is very similar to Chi-Fu from Mulan. Both are cowardly individuals that have shown distrust for women (Mulan for Chi-Fu, Anna and Elsa for the Duke) and get their just punishments in the end.
- The Duke shares similarities with Governor Ratcliffe from Pocahontas. Both are villians who make port cities as their choice of residence, are royal dignitaries. What makes their similarities all the more ironic is how the attempted assassination of Elsa is similar to that of Chief Powhatan's attempted assassination.
- The Duke may be inspired by the Archbishop character from another Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, "The Wild Swans". Both hate a woman, both tries to tell the prince that she is a witch. Ironically, in Elsa's case the prince is evil. Also, the woman's name in the story is Elisa (sounds similar to Elsa).
- Some fans of the film complained the Duke of Weselton's character seemed useless with the role of the villain belonging to Hans. However, this is not the case at all. The Duke of Weselton not only served as the red herring to cover up for Hans' villainy and a secondary antagonist himself, but also as a symbolic character, representing the fear Arendelle's citizens had for Elsa, as the filmmakers had a difficult time showcasing the denizens' feelings towards her after the curse otherwise.
- When the Duke slips on Elsa's ice, Anna and Hans weren't around. When the citizens of Arendelle notice it's snowing, Hans says "You slipped on ice" to the Duke when he was convinced Elsa wanted him dead. However, he and Anna weren't around to see that he slipped and that Elsa froze the fountain.
- (Sighs) "Arendelle, our most mysterious trade partner. Open those gates so I may unlock your secrets and exploit your riches! Did I say that out loud?"
- (When Kai accidentally mispronounced Weselton as Weaseltown) "'Weselton'! Duke of Weselton, Your Majesty. As your closest partner in trade it seems only fitting that I offer you your first dance as queen."
- "If you swoon, let me know! I'll catch you!"
- "Like an agile peacock!"
- "Speaking of, so great to have the gates open. Why did they shut them in the first place? Do you know the reason? Hmm?"
- "They don't call me the 'Little Dipper' for nothing!"
- "Like a chicken with the face of a monkey, I fly!"
- "There she is! Stop her!"
- "Monster! Monster!"
- "Look, it's snowing. It's snowing!"
- "You! Is there sorcery in you, too? Are you a monster, too?!"
- "Prince Hans are we expected to just sit here and freeze while you give away all of Arendelle's tradeable goods"
- "And that's another thing, Has it dawned on you that your princess may be conspiring with a wicked sorceress, to destroy us all"
- "Be prepared for anything. And should you encounter the Queen, you are to put an end to this winter. Do you understand?"
- "There can be no doubt, now. Queen Elsa is a monster, and we are all in grave danger!"
- "This is unacceptable! I am a victim of fear! I have been traumatized!"
- "I demand to see the Queen!"
- "Weselton! It's Weselton!"