Today, I want to talk about…
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.
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.
…Tiana. Unless you count wicked stepmoms. And Rapunzel, if you count Gothel.
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?