i personally think its hilarious that as hard as Frozen 2 tried to make the parents look better than they did in the first film they come out of it looking so much worse than before. like, before at least it was implied they were doing their best and had no magical experience or understanding and grandpabbie scared the shit out of them so like… they made a mistake. now its like ya iduna totally knew all about magic and the fifth spirit and atohollan she just didn’t feel like sharing because it would be an uncomfortable conversation :///
Idk, I personally disagree, and here’s why.
Iduna did know about magic, but she was no expert. She did know about Atohallin, but it was definitely a last resort kind of a thing, because as we heard in the song it was dangerous. But she also did share information on Ahtohallin, through the lullaby, which was… kind of a huge plot point in Frozen 2?
Iduna did share information about Athohallin, and maybe the fifth spirit even before Elsa accidentally struck Anna- the information she failed to share was that she was Northuldra. As far as Iduna knew, these tales were simply stories. It could also be my understanding that Elsa being a fifth spirit may not have been the first thought to cross her mind- it didn’t seem to be the first thing to cross the Northuldra people’s mind.
She knew about magic, but she never used it. Knowing about something and fully understanding it are two separate things. Iduna knew it existed because she’s seen it, but as far as understanding it, she’s only heard stories, which may or may not could have been true.
I’m not saying that this 100% excuses Iduna and Agnarr’s actions, but I am explaining how I interpreted it, and how it does give us a better understanding into why they did what they did.
of course this is your opinion and you can have whatever opinion you want but for clarification, I did not mean that Iduna looks worse because she didn’t tell her daughters she (and they) were Northuldran, I mean she looks worse because she’s had a lifetime of positive experiences with magic so blindly trusting the trolls and only sharing negative stories of magic with her daughters no longer makes sense.
In the first movie, neither parent is shown to have any real experience with magic. They know of the trolls, although they don’t appear to have seen them before since they had to consult a book to figure out where they were, and that’s really it. Nobody else knows magic and everyone appears to distrust it. Despite this, they love Elsa and let her freely use her magic when they’re little. When Anna is hurt the trolls explicitly tell them that both Anna and Elsa are in danger if Elsa doesn’t hide her magic from Anna and only then do they close the castle, for Elsa’s protection. Elsa is having uncontrollable magic because she’s so upset and thus can’t be around Anna and keep the secret. It turns out this was a poor choice and both sisters suffered for it but what else could they do? The only magical authority they’ve ever known tells them both their daughters are in mortal danger if Elsa’s powers are known and they do their best. All they’ve ever known magic as is scary and bad and they trust the trolls to know whats best.
The second film throws all that out the window and straight up is like “yeah Iduna was the favored child of the spirits and she knows they saved her and Agnarr’s life” and in that context, being terrified of magic is not so understadable. Iduna had 16 years of consistent positive interactions with magical spirits and the cultural legacy of her people, which is all about magic and how it protects them. I can still understand her terror of Arendelle knowing but it makes infinitely less sense for her to just shrug her shoulders and let her daughter suffer for a decade. In the first movie she pretty much just stands there while Agnarr tries his best to help Elsa despite not really knowing how. This is of course because they weren’t really planning on her backstory then but with F2 is just sad. She might have never used magic but she was good friends with the wind spirit and had many close magical interactions and her only response is to stand there and look sad while her husband tries to help?
Without knowing she was Northuldran, the sisters only knowledge of their people was that they killed their grandfather and got shut away. If she had told them about her personal interactions with Gale and the other spirits that would have a lot more weight than Agnarr’s “once I saw some spirits and then ten minutes later the entire Arendelle army disappeared and I was king at 14″ story and would have helped both of them to see that magic does exist around them and that it is usually good. If they were afraid Anna would react negatively or share the secret then it would be because she had an Arendelle view of magic: only negative interactions with it, inherently distrustful. They even gave their magical daughter the Arendelle view of it when literally a handful of childhood stories would make Elsa hate herself a whole lot less, knowing that magic is good sometimes. But instead her only magical experiences have been almost killing her sister, finding out her grandfather was killed while spirits went crazy, and then getting shut away for her own.
But instead Iduna didn’t bother to share any personal stories of good magic or questions the trolls idea that Elsa should literally never get to use her powers voluntarily and as a result both her kids grew up knowing only bad things about magic and Elsa hated herself for over a decade. A lot of it is from weird retconning but Iduna sure doesn’t come out of it looking good, which makes it even weirder the entire second film is like “Iduna loved them so much :(( if only she could have spoken to them when she was alive :((( can’t believe Agnarr was the only one with any responsibility for their childhood trauma since Iduna was helpless :(((” Like, you’re already asking Elsa to keep her powers a secret, would it really be unreasonable to tell her about your childhood to help ease her burden? She’s already proven she can keep a secret.