Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Princess Arc - Another post from the tablet of a writer…

On the way to daycare today December and I got in an excellent discussion about character arc in movies.
She is four.
She loves princesses – Disney Princesses, of course.
So really we were analysing the princessinessitudeship of the canon Disney princesses and comparing them to their peers.
What follows is a summary of our conclusions:
Snow White: Born a Princess. Has Princesshood stripped from her. Regains it.
Cinderella: Not a Princess. Becomes a Princess through marriage.
Aurora (Sleeping Beauty to those of you not immersed in the Cult of Princess.): Born a Princess. Not told she is a Princess. Returned to Princesshood. (Though from her perspective she is like Cinderella in Princess-arc, she is in fact more like Snow White.)
Ariel (“The Little Mermaid.”): Born a Princess. Sacrifices/Risks Princesshood (depending on interpretation). Marries into an entirely different Princesshood.
Belle: (That would be ‘Beauty’ as in “Beauty and the Beast.”) Not a Princess. Becomes a Princess through marriage.
Jasmine (A rare non-titular Princess – from “Aladdin.”): Born a Princess. Briefly pretends not to be a Princess. Stays a Princess – in fact the Prince becomes a Prince because of her.
Pocahontas: Born a Princess. Stays a Princess. (Though it bears mentioning that her title is never Princess – it is a cultural equivalent of Chieftain’s Daughter. This is accepted in the canon without much question.)
Mulan: Technically never a Princess! Not even culturally equivalent. But if we accept the general tropes of the Princesses and that she is included as one of the Princesses in the canon by most measures and subsequently re-align her arc with the parallel components then she progresses as follows… Princess. Pretends to not be a Princess. Becomes a more Princessy Princess than before.
Tiana (The Princess and the Frog): Not a Princess. Hooks up with a Prince who has forsaken his Princehood… so really never becomes a Princess.
Rapunzel (You’ve probably heard of her though her film is named the entirely unobvious “Tangled.”): Born a Princess. Taken away and not told she is a Princess. Returned to Princesshood. (Basically the same as Aurora, although in a much more progressive and watchable film.)
Princess Merida (From “Brave” – to the point where lots of people mistakenly call her ‘Brave.’): The
first Disney/Pixar Princess, incidentally. Born a Princess. Stays a Princess. Tells the Princes to sit and spin.
Princess Anna (Perhaps you’ve heard of the indie-darling art-house film “Frozen” – which actually gave us two Princesses.): Born a Princess. Stays a Princess. Has an older sister and (SPOILER) hooks up with a commoner, so is destined to remain a Princess.
Princess Elsa (also from “Frozen.”): Born a Princess. Becomes a Queen (Basically a Princess who has levelled-up, so same thing but… more.) Eschews Princess/Queenhood in favour of Ice-Queen/Princesshood (AKA Being a Hermit.) Returns to regular Queen/Princesshood but is ‘out’ as an Ice-Queen/Princess.

Not really any great insights there, but it was a lot of fun to break it down with my kid.

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