While Elsa gives Anna leadership of Arendelle at the end of Frozen 2, Anna proves she is a better ruler even before her ascent to the throne.
As the first-born child of King Agnarr (Alfred Molina) and Queen Iduna (Evan Rachel Wood), Elsa (Idina Menzel) was next in line to inherit the throne after her parents’ passing and reigned as the Queen of Arendelle for the three years between Frozen and Frozen 2. While Elsa eventually decides to abdicate as the ruler of Arendelle and pass over the title to her sister Anna (Kristen Bell) by the end of the sequel, Anna exhibits leadership qualities throughout both films that prove she’s a better ruler than Elsa, even before her ascent to the throne.
While Frozen 2 begins with Anna, Olaf (Josh Gad), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Sven, and the citizens of Arendelle living contentedly under Elsa’s leadership, Elsa herself is uneasy about her place in the kingdom and hears a mysterious voice calling to her. Setting out to discover the source of the voice, Elsa journeys from the Enchanted Forest to Ahtohallan, a mythical river rumored to retain memories from the past, and learns that not only is her magic a gift from the elemental spirits, but that she herself is the fifth spirit, a mediator between the natural world and civilization. Finally feeling at one with herself and her magic, Elsa comes to the realization that she belongs in the Enchanted Forest where the spirits thrive. While it seems that Anna becomes queen by default after Elsa finds her true calling, one could argue that Anna inherits a role she was always meant for, even more so than Elsa.
One of the qualities that makes Anna a better leader for the kingdom of Arendelle is the fact that she always acts with Arendelle’s best interest in mind throughout the entire Frozen franchise. As early as Frozen, Anna braves the wilderness and travels up the North Mountain with the intention of not only convincing her sister to return, but to persuade her to lift the spell that covers their entire kingdom in a perpetual winter. Within Frozen 2, after Anna learns that her grandfather King Runeard built a dam for the Northuldra people in order to deplete their resources, Anna decides to destroy it even though Arendelle will fall. When Anna makes this tough ethical call, she’s not only taking accountability for her grandfather’s actions, but she’s choosing to repair Arendelle’s relationship with their neighboring nation at a great personal cost: her home.
While Elsa tends to be extremely independent and distant, Anna’s ability to trust and relate with others is a quality that makes her an effective longterm ruler. Growing up with unstable elemental powers, Elsa’s approach to any problem by instinct is to deal with it by herself since working with others presents the opportunity to accidentally harm someone with her magic. With this in mind, Elsa is not so much distrustful of others as she is distrustful of herself around them, which is problematic as a ruler of a group of people. Unlike Elsa, Anna grew up being more open, and while her trusting demeanor got her into trouble in Frozen when she met the suave Prince Hans (Santino Fontana), her own experience has given her the wisdom to know when someone is being genuine or deceptive. While Elsa tends to rely solely on herself, Anna has the ability, as any good leader should, to know when to trust her own instincts and when to listen to the advice of others.
Based on Anna and Elsa’s ancestry, one could argue that Anna was always the rightful ruler of Arendelle. With lineage from both the Northuldra and Arendelle nations, Anna and Elsa follow in their parents footsteps by each having an innate affinity for either the natural world or civilization. While Elsa takes after her mother Iduna with a connection to the spirits of the Enchanted Forest, Anna takes after her father Agnarr, who grew up in the city.
While the sequel is centered around Elsa finding her true calling as the fifth spirit, a reexamination of the plot reveals that Frozen 2 is just as much about Anna finding her purpose. While Elsa may have been into born her calling as the reincarnation of the fifth elemental spirit, Anna earns her title as the Queen of Arendelle, which makes her a true leader.