(Insert Witty Title– preferably song lyrics)

Today, I want to talk about…

Disney Princesses.

I love Disney movies. And I like Disney Princesses. Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel and Merida are the official ones and I’m going to throw in Elsa and Anna for this post.

My favorite one is Rapunzel with Mulan as a close second. Elsa and Belle tie for third.

Now, instead of using this whole post to fangirl (because I know every male reader I have would just love that), I want to talk about something specific.

Family dynamics.

This is a fascinating topic. Okay, let’s play a game. We are going to separate the princesses into groups.

Which ones were actually born into royalty?

Snow White, Aurora, Ariel, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Rapunzel, Merida, and the Frozen sisters.

Which ones have siblings?

The list really starts to go down now.

Elsa and Anna (duh.), Merida, and Ariel.

Wow. Only four of the princesses have siblings. So… out of 13 princesses, only 4 of them have siblings. And only Merida has brothers (aka: heirs to the throne).

I guess you could count Cinderella’s stepsisters as siblings, but they were really antagonists.

Alright, round two!

Which of the princesses have both parents?

Rapunzel, Aurora, Mulan, and Merida.

What about just Dad?

Ariel, Jasmine, Belle, and Pocahontas.

Just Mom?

…Tiana. Unless you count wicked stepmoms. And Rapunzel, if you count Gothel.

Orphans?

Snow, Cindy, and the Frozen sisters. Unless you count wicked stepmoms.

 

Huh. Interesting facts here.

Is there a point to this? No. Not really. I could say something about how every family is different and how the princesses’ childhood influenced the rest of their stories and all that.

In fact, I think I will.

Bringing the writing side of this to the table, your character’s backstory and family situation will influence their personality and choices.

Rapunzel for example. She was brought up believing Gothel was her mother. Gothel told her the world was dangerous and full of people who want to hurt her. Remember the scene in Tangled when Rapunzel has just left the tower, something rustles the bushes, and she jumps onto Flynn’s back? Remember when she’s scared that’s she’s doing the wrong thing by leaving?

Aurora had a very similar upbringing, oddly enough. When Prince Philip first runs into her in the woods, she scared and wary of him. (And then she decides she’s in love, but that’s Disney.) Why? Because the three fairies told her not to talk to strangers. As far as Aurora knew, Philip was a stranger.

What about Merida? She was rebellious. Not exactly a trait you see in her parents and past… or is it? Not rebellion, but stubbornness and strength. Her father fought a bear and lived through it. Merida saw that. Queen Elinor was stubborn. But she was strong, too. Can you imagine seeing your husband fight a bear? Can you imagine him losing his leg because of it? Can you imagine ruling a kingdom? I know the Fergus is technically the king, but it seems to me that Elinor does a good bit herself, if not most of it. Plus, triplet sons. Child care is hard work (I’m only an older sister) and having three mischievous sons and a tomboy teenage daughter… These were the examples Merida had. Is it any wonder that she decided to take matters into her own hands when she was being forced into marriage (Of course, we can still partially blame rebellion and teenage hormones on this.)? But Merida’s strength, stubbornness, and love for her mother were major parts of the story.

This is fairly simplistic stuff. But extremely important. Family and upbringing determine so much.

Think about your characters. Even side characters need motives and backstory. Even if you don’t ever tell the character’s backstory and family situation in the book, it’s still a good thing for you to know.

Anyone have anything to add? And who are your top three Disney princesses?

 

 

 

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14 thoughts on “(Insert Witty Title– preferably song lyrics)

  1. Oh gosh, don’t make me pick between Anna and Elsa. They can tie as one, right? So probably Anna/Elsa, Merida, and Rupunzel. Although I DO love Mulan. And Mushu. Not that Mushu is a princess…well, okay, sometimes he acts like a princess. BUT WHATEVER. I also love Mushu. I think the family dynamics are interesting and I like that they’re varied too! It’s not just “everyone is an orphan” like a lot of disney-haters just assume. I always forget Merida’s a Disney princess, though. >_<

    • Yes, you can have Elsa and Anna as one. 😉
      Mushu is awesome.
      YES! Variation is awesome. But wait… THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO HATE DISNEY!?! HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE!?!

  2. Haha, I will have to give Mushu the nickname “Princess” from now on. Especially since in BBC Merlin, Gwaine consistently calls Arthur “the Princess!” X-P
    And don’t make me choose, please. People will just make me feel guilty for liking certain princesses, and I will feel guilty for picking ones who are better thought out but who have a more liberal message (such as “your parents aren’t wiser than you, they’re just older”–UGH! I’d rather learn from someone more experienced!) appended when I’d rather love on Ranger’s Apprentice (the only thing I objected to in the first book was a punishment for the bullies which was a bit excessive)!
    Sorry, I really enjoyed Ranger’s Apprentice… can you tell? :-3

          • I’ve only read the first. But I’m hooked. It’s almost like a blend of LotR, Redwall, and the one G.A. Henty book where they’re traveling through the wilds… oh, sorry, that’s a lot of them. But it has the unexpected, natural humor of Arthur Ransome’s work, as well. (Swallows and Amazons is mostly about outdoorsmanship, anyway 😉 ) 🙂

              • G.A. Henty’s novels are historical novels; they’re well written, but with the drawback that the plots can be a bit predictable. Arthur Ransome wrote the Swallows and Amazons books, which are really fun to read; they’re about the summer vacations of the Swallows–John, Susan, Titty, and Roger–and Amazon Pirates, or Amazons for short–Nancy and Peggy. (The Swallows named their group for their boat. The Amazons’ boat just happened to be named Amazon, as well.)

  3. Oh yes. My narrator had an abusive mother and sister, and no father, and so he’s wary of girls and afraid that pretty much everyone will hurt him in some way or another. I feel really mean now, when I put his backstory like that…

    Favorite disney princesses… well, hmm. Probably Belle, Rapunzel, and Mulan. In no particular order. I’ve seen Tangled more than any Disney princess movie. In fact, I’ve only seen Mulan once. And I have not seen Frozen even once.

    …in the background, my dad is telling my mother about how Thor is apparently a Disney princess. O.o

    • Marvel released a comic book or at least news about it, in which Thor is a woman. Disney owns the Avengers. Thor is the child of a king. Thor is now a Disney Princess. It’s a little strange…
      We are authors, my dear Shim. We must be a little mean for the good of the story. It’s called tough love. 😉

  4. Great post. Completely agree with what you said about backstory. Interesting family stats about the princesses.

    I think my fave Disney princess would be Anna/Elsa (I’m going to copy Cait and count them as one), Mulan, and Rapunzel.

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