The Duke of Weselton is a dignitary from Arendelle's neighboring kingdom Weselton, commonly mispronounced as Weasel Town. 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.
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 representive 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 nosey side of the dignitary.
The Duke's most stricking 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 uplifted.
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 denizens.
Role in the film
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. 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.
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. 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, Hans and the royal guards are busy giving away free cloaks and other necessities for the kingdom' inhabitants who are struggling to survive in the cold. The Duke scolds Hans on his actions, not wanting the prince giving away any of Arendelle's tradable goods. He also goes and points fingers towards Anna, believing she may be conspiring with Elsa to doom Arendelle, to which Hans immediately snaps at, threatening the Duke with his power to have him arrested for treason. The Duke's silenced until Anna's horse returns alone.
Hans feels she's 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. Later on, back at the castle, Hans returns but was unable to find Anna. Elsa, however, was located and imprisoned. Anna then suddenly appears and is left alone in the parlor with Hans after the Duke leaves to give the two privacy. Moments later, Hans returns and tells the Duke and the other dignitaries Anna's been killed by Elsa after being shot in the heart with ice magic. The Duke is horrified by the news, and officially deems Elsa a menace to society that must be stopped.
Moments later, Elsa accidentally causes a powerful blizzard to break through as she escapes her prison, and the Duke of Weselton joins the other dignitaries who rush onto the castle balcony to see what the chaos was. From there, they are able to witness Anna sacrifice 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 was restored. The Duke, however, is cut off from trading with Arendelle by orders of Queen Elsa, due to his earlier attempt to have her killed. The Duke tries to claim he was innocent and a victim of fear, but to no avail, and he and his thugs are sent back to Weselton, which he is heard insisting is not named "Weasel Town" after being mispronounced once again, though purposely by Kai to annoy him.
- 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, 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 main protagonist (who are actually royalty) by calling them a threat.
- Although his hometown is pronounced as "Wessel-ton," it is often mispronounced as "Weasel-town", a pet peeve of the Duke's.
- While selfish, greedy, and pompous, the Duke is not 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.