The Nokk is one of four elemental spirits of the Enchanted Forest, the others being the fire spirit Bruni, the Earth Giants, and the wind spirit Gale. Like the other spirits, the Nokk once lived in peaceful unity with the Northuldra tribe, granting the humans with travel across its waters, and in return, the Northuldra held the spirits in reverence.
Thirty-four years before the start of the film, the Arendelle king Runeard and his delegation made a trek into the forest. He offered to build a bridge between Arendelle and the Northuldra as a token of peace. But in truth, this was an elaborate plot by the treacherous king who sought to eliminate the tribe and its connection to magic. When Runeard assassinated the Northuldra leader, war erupted between the groups, during which Runeard was killed. The conflict enraged the spirits, who turned against the humans they once aided. Soon thereafter, a powerful curse engrossed the enchanted forest with an impenetrable mist, trapping all within it inside. For the spirits to return to their pacified state, the fallout of Runeard's actions had to be amended, but only by breaking the bridge that instigated the conflict would the curse be lifted.
Role in the film
When Elsa senses a mysterious voice calling to her, Elsa, in a state of jubilation, accidentally alerts the spirits to her presence in Arendelle. In response, the spirits manipulate the elements in Arendelle remotely—the Nokk for its part withdraws all the water in the kingdom's plumbing and fountains—and force its citizens to evacuate so as to keep them from harm's way. The queen and her sister, Anna, learn from Grand Pabbie that they must journey to the Enchanted Forest to mollify the bitter spirits and save the kingdom.
After Elsa's party enters the Enchanted Forest, the Nokk briefly manifests to Olaf when the latter looks into a pond and finds the Nokk staring at him, frightening the snowman away. Later, Elsa encounters it while attempting to traverse the Dark Sea. The Nokk is steadfast in its attempts to drown Elsa, but she uses her powers to create reins and ride the Nokk, eventually taming it. The Nokk then carries her to Ahtohallan, where it dissolves after she disembarks. While traversing the glacier, Elsa is frozen to death. When Anna destroys King Runeard’s dam, thus lifting the curse, Elsa is revived and falls into the sea. She is recovered by the Nokk, who rides Elsa to Arendelle where they are able to stop the wave unleashed by the dam’s destruction from destroying the kingdom.
Afterward, Elsa decides to stay in the Enchanted Forest, as she has discovered that she is the fifth spirit. In the months that follow, the Nokk remains one of Elsa’s closest companions. She occasionally freezes its body into pure ice to allow it to interact on land. In the final scene, Elsa and the Nokk are seen riding through the forest and towards Ahtohallan.
- In Scandinavian folklore, a Nøkk, is a dangerous shapeshifting water-spirit known to lure travelers to the waterside while disguised as a mighty horse or beautiful woman only to drag them into the depths and drown them. It is possible that this is hinted at through the Nokk's attacking of Elsa when it first comes across her.
- Staying true to the mythology on which it is based, the Nokk was initially conceived as a shapeshifter, but the directors wanted the character to have the constant shape of a horse and be portrayed as serious, rather than cartoony.
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