3

Runeard built a dam for the Northuldra tribe and presented it as a gift to them. In this he had an ulterior motive, but to achieve it the dam had to plausibly seem like something beneficial that they would want.

However the Northuldra are nomads who get most of their protein, clothing and other things they need from reindeer. They don't practice agriculture and we don't see them fishing. It's hard to see how a dam could actually be expected to serve a useful purpose to them. Yet Runeard clearly expected them to think it would. What benefit did he expect them to see in it?

4

The Northuldrans live in a forest bounded on its Northern side by a high mountain wall. Before the dam was put into place, the river ran over a waterfall and directly through their forest, cutting it into two and diminishing the amount of land available to graze their reindeer.

By building a dam and diverting the river's course around the forest, the Northuldrans gain a significant amount of free land and no longer have to make crossings from one side of the river to the other.

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Obviously the dam represents a substantial benefit to them, albeit at the cost of angering the spirits and harming the balance of nature.


The film's Official Deluxe Novelisation concurs with this.

To demonstrate their goodwill and friendship the Arandellians built a mighty dam in the enchanted forest. They placed it on the river that flowed into the ArenFjord, the deep blue body of water upon which Arandelle Castle had been built. The dam connected all the lands and made it easier for the Northuldra and their reindeer to roam.

  • That's a great answer. I wonder if it sheds a different light on Anna's actions later on, as if the geography is as you describe then you would expect the floodwaters to go through the forest, putting the Northuldran's lands in danger as well as Arendelle. Seems that didn't actually happen though. – Batperson Dec 16 '19 at 22:31
  • @Batperson - I'm assuming it would temporarily turn their forest into a flood plain – Valorum Dec 16 '19 at 22:52
  • Perhaps before arriving at Arendelle, Elsa had to make a very quick stop at the Enchanted Forest. And then suggested to Anna to bring a team of engineers next time. – Batperson Dec 16 '19 at 23:17
  • seems you were correct in assuming the forest would be inundated along with Arendelle. We know the Arendelle soldiers accepted Anna's decision only with great reluctance. There is no indication she ever consulted with the Northuldrans! – Batperson Jan 20 at 0:23

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