Courtyard garden in Arendelle castle
As a loyal castle, Arendelle castle has many facilities, such as loyal stables, a prison, and a courtyard. Among them, the courtyard garden appears quite often throughout the films and artworks. In this article, we try to spot the exact position of the courtyard garden in Arendelle castle.
First, let’s look at the appearance of the courtyard garden throughout the film.
The first appearance of the courtyard garden can be seen in Frozen 1, during the “For the first time in forever” sequence. At the end of the first verse, Anna comes out of the castle and goes to some place that looks like a garden. This would be inside or just outside the castle, given the Arendelle castle wall behind it.
That night, during the coronation party, Anna leaves the Great hall and takes a walk with Hans. Judging from the shape of the door and the arrangement of surrounding objects, this place also seems to be the same as the garden above.
Now, let’s move on to Frozen 2. Although this sequence does not appear in the movie and remains as a deleted scene, Anna and Kristoff were meant to be in the castle garden in “Get this right” song. Above is the concept art of that scene, and we can verify that it is similar to the garden mentioned above.
One more concept art. The above image is the concept art of Iduna and Agnarr in the castle courtyard garden. This looks almost similar to the one with Anna and Kristoff’s, so being the same garden. In other words, the courtyard garden appears throughout the movie in various situations.
Spotting the garden: the main gate..?
Then, where exactly is this garden located? Let’s gather some information about the garden.
First of all, the simplest thing to notice is the presence of a large willow . This tree appears in every garden scene, both on film and concept arts. Then, one place comes to mind if we just consider the willow tree: the front gate of Arendelle castle.
First, look at figure (a) above. This scene is the opening scene, and you can see a willow tree on the rightside of the main gate of Arendelle castle. (b) is the top-view of the same spot, and we can approximate the size of this place.
The reason that some people estimate this as the courtyard garden is also attributed to the appearance of this spot in Frozen 2. In Frozen 2, when Elsa and Anna enter the castle after the town festival, we can see the willow tree in the back. One peculiar thing is that this tree has some kind of glowing decorations, similar to the one ascribed in the concept arts. Based on these observations, some people have claimed this is the courtyard garden.
However, my opinion is that that’s not true because we can find some contradictions if we carefully examine the background objects. Here are the detailed explanations.
We have only mentioned the willow trees, but other factors also exist. First, we can spot a door in the garden (Anna’s leftside).
However, such a door on the castle wall does not exist in the castle’s main gate. There are just plain castle walls. Even if you examine it from different angles and views, you can’t spot the door in this place.
The next thing to consider is the contradiction between the shape of castle walls.
First, let’s look at the walls previously considered a garden. Here, pay attention to the green triangular decoration on the top of the castle wall. Although some are hidden behind the flag, we can estimate that there are 4 decorations between the two pillars.
Now, let’s compare this shape to that in the courtyard garden.
You can see a long wall behind Anna, and if you look closely, you can see the same green triangle-shaped decoration attached to the wall above it. The issue is that, in the case of the front of Arendelle castle, there were only four decorations between the pillars. But in this case, as you can see in the picture above, there are already four, and the wall is much longer.
Also, in the case of the front of Arendelle castle, the castle’s main gate should appear under the left pillar, but there is no such thing.
Description in the book
In the book ‘Dangerous secrets,’ we see
We couldn’t talk about something this important here, in the center of the castle. There were too many eyes and ears. It would be safer to talk in the courtyard garden, despite the cold. Hardly anyone ever went out there these days.
— p57, Dangerous Secrets
That is, the castle garden is depicted as a non-crowded and a quiet place. At the main gate, however, many people pass all day, and very crowded and not a quiet place, so it is difficult to regard this place as above description.
The courtyard garden is also described as where Agnarr drops by to read some books in his downtime, so should be some place not interrupted by town people Putting these observations together, it seems difficult to say this place is the courtyard garden.
South side of the Arendelle castle
Then which place best matches the garden? I think it would be the empty lot on the south side of the Arendelle castle.
The castle’s south side corresponds to the one marked in the picture above. If you closely examine this spot, you can see a large vacant lot and a door through it. Considering various aspects, this is the most appropriate location for the garden.
First, as mentioned earlier, there is a door in and out of Arendelle castle in this vacant lot. The size and shape also match the door in the garden.
The inconsistency of the width of castle wall for the main gate argument does not arise here. On the vacant lot on the south side, the width and size of the castle wall matches to those of garden scene, and you can confirm that the proportions and composition are precisely the same.
Also, if you look closely, there is a rock on the right side of the entrance to the garden, and there is also a rock at the same spot.
In other words, the vacant lot on the south of Arendelle castle completely fits the appearance of the garden depicted in the movie. One problem here is that we don’t see a willow tree. However, I think this is a minor issue that arose from the production process. Here’s why.
In the beginning~middle sequence of Frozen, we see Elsa running away from Arendelle. At the same time, she freezes the whole sea. In this scene, let’s examine the shape of the vacant lot.
The picture above shows the vacan lot depicted at the movie’s beginning and after Elsa’s run. It’s dark, so hard to distinguish, but after some color correction, we can clearly see willow trees in the southern vacant lot.
If the animators were not paying attention to this spot, why did they put a willow tree in this scene? Nothing is known precisely, but one possibility is that the opening sequence was created early in the rendering process. The animators might have designed the Arendelle castle in the early stage of the production process, and later, they needed to put the garden SOMEWHERE around the castle. They might have thought the suitable place would be the southern vacant lot, so they added some sort of trees, rocks, etc. Thus, we can spot the willow trees on some scenes. Of course, I don’t know the exact reason. But if we accept this idea, the location of the gardens of Arendelle castle is almost certain to be to the south of the castle.
And if it is this place,
- It becomes a space where outsiders cannot enter.
- It is located behind the castle, so it becomes a quiet and calm place.
- It becomes suitable place for some love affair seen in the concept arts (Anna-Kristoff or Iduna-Agnarr).
For these reasons, I think this is an appropriate place.
Also, we might assume that the family portaint might be taken in this garden. The door shape resembles to the garden door discussed above, and I think it’s quiet a good place to take a picture.
Comparing various backgrounds, the most appropriate location for the Arendelle castle courtyard garden seems to be the vacant lot on the southern side of the Arendelle castle. Gardens in concept arts also refers this place.