This was not a fic I was originally going to recommend, because not only is it unfinished, I worry that it might be abandoned. But underoriginal’s The Queen’s Eyes is too good a story to pass up. Like all things, it does have its problems—personally, I think the story could expand on some of the mythology it’s introduced—but it also has a lot to offer, and I was pleasantly surprised by those things, since nothing in the story summary indicated that they would be there.
Desperate to find a way to redeem their brother, the princes of the Southern Isles send Hans back to Arrendale. Hans agrees to become a member of the elite and mysterious police force called the Queen’s Eyes. At first, he wonders why he is given so much power, but he slowly comes to realize the price. As Hans starts to wonder if he made the right choice, Anna struggles with her own powers awakening and the possibility that she may never be able to adventure again, Kristoff tries to find a way to marry a princess despite his low class even with Elsa’s blessing, and the Queen herself begins to crack under the pressure of the crown. Meanwhile, a terrible snowstorm ravaging the Southern Isles raises an even more dangerous problem; what if Elsa isn’t the only sorcerer out there?
Potential trigger warning for transphobia ahead.
This story is loaded with characters and mythology, and I loved every minute of it. But that’s not really what caught my eye when reading this fic. For starters, unlike many other Frozen fics that like to excuse, apologize, of even justify Hans’s actions, The Queen’s Eyes does not. It addresses Hans’s internal conflicts and develops his character, but he is still a villain who needs to be rehabilitated. It’s sad that I’m actually recommending a story because the author is not an abuse-apologist—you would think that would be more common, or even the standard, but it’s not.
In The Queen’s Eyes, we also get to meet all of Hans’s other brothers, but he has two brothers in particular that I want to talk about. In this fic, they are called Torben and Gunnar. I love both of them, especially Gunnar. Though I think underoriginal did a wonderful job with all twelve of the brothers, it’s these two that stand out to me, since they provide the story with some much needed queer representation. For starters, Torben is married to a woman named Elva. They are both queer. Their marriage to each other is not unpleasant, but it is one of convenience. Torben is in love with a man named Henrik, and Elva is in love with Henrik’s wife Annelise. I love that these four characters are engaged in a polyamorous relationship and yet they are not objectified at all. Their non-heteronormativity was not added into the story in order to be titillating to readers, and that’s more than I can say for some fanfiction. In The Queen’s Eyes, we have yet to meet either Henrik or Annelise, but it is something that I am looking forward to should the author continue the story.
However, the character that I really ended up wanting to know more about was Gunnar, who is transgender. This took me by surprise, because I really hadn’t been expecting it, and I think underoriginal did an outstanding job portraying Gunner. Like Torben’s sexuality, Gunnar is not defined by his gender identity, nor is he a walking stereotype. Gunnar has thus far been a well-rounded character. I do feel I should mention a few things about his reception by readers, though. Even though underoriginal has done a superb job at not stereotyping him and adding in this much needed representation, and even though most of the comments about Gunnar are positive in nature, there’s always the occasional one that really goes to show why we need more positive transgender representation in fanfiction.
So… not all the princes are boys then.
Underoriginal thankfully responded to this comment to explain the situation.
Yes and no. Gunnar is physically female, but he is most definitely a boy and should be referred to as such.
On the other hand, Jannik [another of Hans’s brothers] is genderqueer, which means sometimes he’s a boy and sometimes shes a girl. He’s physically male, like the rest of the princes.
Unfortunately, Torben, Gunnar, and Jannik are minor characters who we don’t get to see that often, which isn’t too surprising, considering that the fic is essentially about Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, and Hans. But at the very least, underoriginal understands a lot of the struggles that LGBTQ+ characters face. Even though all of the main characters appear to be accepting of LGBTQ+ people, underoriginal does not erase their issues, and even if we don’t see anyone acting transphobic or homophobic in the story, Gunnar’s negative reaction to Kristoff discovering his being transgender goes to show that this is something he has to deal all too often. As I said, this story is incomplete, and I worry that it might be abandoned, but what chapters underoriginal already has up are pretty fun reads, and I would definitely check it out.