|“||You don't frighten me. Begone!||„|
|~ King Winterbolt|
|“||No! When my scepter dies, I go too! I turn- I turn- I turn... into... a tree...||„|
|~ Winterbolt's last words|
Winterbolt is the main antagonist in the 1979 television special Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July. He is an evil snow sorcerer who creates blizzards and snowstorms.
He was voiced by the late Paul Frees.
Centuries before Santa Claus came to be, Winterbolt ruled over the North Pole with an icy iron fist. His magic came from his Ice Scepter, and he had two powerful ice dragons who cause the storms. Lady Boreal of the aurora borealis confronted him and used her powers to put him in a deep sleep. Unfortunately, he could arise again when Lady Boreal's powers would begin to die and so he vowed to return with a vengeance.
When he awoke, he discovers Santa Claus as the new ruler of the North Pole and tries to overthrow him. Through the knowledge of the Genie of the Ice Scepter, Winterbolt learns that if Santa fails to deliver the toys on Christmas Eve, then he could take his place and give out toys of evil. He then commands his ice dragons to brew up the blizzard of the century. Lady Boreal discovered this treacherous act and used the last of her powers to give Rudolph his shining nose. Winterbolt and Lady Boreal were both the reasons behind the events of Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer.
With Rudolph saving Christmas, Winterbolt had to get rid of the reindeer first, but because Lady Boreal spread her magic all over the north pole, his powers had no effect on Rudolph. He had to get Rudolph away from the North Pole and make him do something evil to make his nose stop glowing. When Rudolph's friend Milton arrived to pick up ice cream for a circus, Winterbolt used this as an advantage. He also has the power to control one's thoughts and he "hypnotized" Milton to convince Rudolph to perform in the circus, which he agrees. Winterbolt then appears to Rudolph and Frosty, telling them he is a gentle snow wizard and he gives Frosty and his family snow amulets which will prevent them from melting in the summer heat. The amulets, however, would only work until the end of the circus finale, so he also convinces Santa to pick up the snow family.
Winterbolt's plan was working; while Rudolph was working in the circus, Winterbolt recruits a reindeer reject named Scratcher to get Rudolph to do something evil. He then traps Santa and Mrs. Claus in a storm which would severly delay them of getting Frosty. Scratcher tricks Rudolph into giving Sam Spangles, dressed as a cop, the circus money behind everyone's backs. Winterbolt then went down to the circus on his own sleigh, mushed by snakes, and doublecrosses Rudolph. He tells Rudolph his diabolical plan and how it worked as Rudolph could no longer make his nose glow. He then forbade Rudolph from telling everyone the truth because by doing so, Frosty and his family would melt.
As Frosty was the only one who witnessed what happened, he tries to negotiate with Winterbolt. Winterbolt learns, through the genie, of Frosty's origin and how his hat keeps him alive. Winterbolt now wants the hat so he can make an army of evil snowmen. He tricks Frosty into giving his hat in exchange of Winterbolt curing Rudolph's nose. Rudolph discovered what had happened and chased Winterbolt to get the hat back. Winterbolt unleashes his snakes but Rudolph outmanuvers them. He then charges at the wizard, making him drop the hat. Rudolph grabbed the hat and his courageous act brought his nose back to life and he ran off to to fix everything. With Frosty saved and the circus money given back, everyone forgives Rudolph but Winterbolt appears for one final standoff. Lady Lorraine, the circus ringmaster throws her iron-made guns at his scepter, breaking it. The scepter was the source of Winterbolt's power and without it, he was powerless. His final words were: "No! When my scepter dies, I go too! I turn- I turn- I turn... into... a tree...". With his being reduced to a lifeless tree forever, Lilly concludes, "What an exit," indicating that Winterbolt was too dangerous to be left alive. His storm cleared up for Santa and his wife to get to the circus.
- The special he appears in, Rudolph nnd Frosty's Christmas in July, is unique among Rankin/Bass' holiday offerings. It features the Mickey Rooney-voiced Santa Claus, as opposed to the version that appeared in prior Rudolph specials. It was nearly of feature film length, as opposed to the half-hour or hour most R/B holiday events were. It also featured nearly every last R/B Holiday character ever, at least in a cameo or walk-on. It was also almost a series finale, as R/B's next stop-motion Holiday special featured the version of Santa from L. Frank Baum's The Life And Adventures pf Santa Claus, and was unconnected to the world of the 60's and 70's classic characters.
- Winterbolt is among the very few R/B holiday special villains to actually be killed/destroyed rather than reformed. Lorraine's use of iron against magic is actually traditional.
- Winterbolt bears a resemblance to the Winter Warlock, once the enemy of Kris Kringle (Santa) in the original Santa Claus is Comin' to Town. However, while the mortal-leaning Winter Warlock became a friend once Kris touched his heart with a small gesture of friendship, Winterbolt was an ancient long-lived entity bearing no good in his heart.
- Winterbolt also bears a resemblance to Saruman from The Lord of the Rings, as both are evil Wizards, as well as virtually ageless beings, and both rely on magic staffs which leaves their masters either powerless or weakened if destroyed.