Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Disney Princess Heritage

From left to right: Repunzel, Mulan, Jasmine, Ariel, Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora, Belle,
Pocahontas, Tiana, and Marida.

Ever wonder from where the Disney Princesses hail from? Well, the list below has been researched and constructed to the best of our abilities so that we can finally know where the tales originated. Some of the factors that can calculate the origins are the art that goes into the movie, but the main factor is the original tale and where it originates.

Snow White first was introduced in Europe through Grimm's Fairy Tales in 1812-1854, German in origin.  Walt Disney's first princess and animated feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). Snow White is also considered the youngest of the princesses as she is 14 in the Disney production and thought to be nearly five years younger than that in the original tale. (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2013).

Cinderella (1950) is based off of an original fairy tale by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passe in 1697. A version was also included with The Grimms' Fairy Tales (primarily German) (1812-1854). Widespread throughout Europe, the tale origins are French and also called The Little Glass Slipper. (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2013). Cinderella is the proverbial rags to riches story, she's 19 and literally she comes from the 'cinder' or ashes, through the help of her Fairy Godmother, she is able to reach out of the ashes and fight for more. While she wasn't born a princess, she married Prince Charming.

Her given name is Aurora, through extenuating circumstances she is taken into the woods to live with three Fairies who care for her and name her Briar Rose. Sleeping Beauty (1959), is based off of La Belle au bois dormant by Charles Perrault (1697) or "Little Briar Rose", making the origin French. This tale was also adapted and included within the Brother Grimm's writings as well. She embodies the sweet sixteen attributes as she is only 16. (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2013).

The Little Mermaid (1989) originally written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen (1837).  We know Ariel as the curious mermaid princess who is awaiting her life adventure - aren't we all at 16? The origin of The Little Mermaid is from Denmark (bordered by Sweden, Norway and Germany). (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2013).

Beauty and the Beast (1991) first was publsihed in 1740 by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve as La Belle et la Bete, French. Belle's age is estimated to be about 18 (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2013) and has the constant attribute of Disney Princesses of being in search of her life's adventure. Belle, like Cinderella, wasn't born a princess but married Prince Adam.

Aladdin (1992) is based in the Middle East, Arabia. It is one tale within The Book of One Thousand and One Nights ("The Arabian Nights") in the 18th century by Frenchman Antoine Galland.(Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2013). Jasmine is born a princess, the only heir to the Sultan of Agrabah, and is 16 when she meets the charismatic Aladdin, a master thief, who steals her heart.

Pocahontas (1995) (born Matoaka, known as Amonute, and later as Rebecca Rolfe 1595-1617) a Virginian Native American, daughter of Powhatan, the Paramount Chief. (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2013).  She was approximately 19 when her curiosity crossed paths with John Smith, the rest is a heroic legacy. 

Rebellious Mulan (1998) is set in China during the Han Dynast. Fa Mulan is the only daughter of aged warrior Fa Zhou (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2013), who Mulan fears when he is called to duty. She defies the rules of her time to become more than she even knows. She joins the army when she's 17 to impersonate a warrior, but she shines as the nations hero. She has favor with the Emperor and marries Chief Li Shang.

Tiana, 19, is a hard working girl from the 1920's Louisianan era. She is the main protagonist of The Princess and the Frog (2009). Tiana's story is loosely based off of a novel written by E. D. Baker The Frog Princess which is in turn based off of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale The Frog Prince. (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2013). Tiana isn't born a princess, she marries the carefree Prince Naveen.

Tangled (2010) introduces us to Disney's tenth proclaimed princess Rapunzel. Near her 18th birthday she enrolls the services of Flynn Ryder (otherwise known as Eugene Fitzherbert), together they discover the lost princess along with their love for one another. Rapunzel is a German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm (1812) written within their publication of Children's and Household Tales. However, the brothers story is an adaption of Persinette by Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force (1698), which could contribute to a French origin as well. (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2013).

Brave (2012) follows Merida a Scottish Highlands daughter of the head clan Dunbroch, her father King Fergus. She butts-heads with her mother who had decided her fate for her, determined for her daughter to marry - at 16! What 16 year old doesn't butt-heads with their mother at some point - right? (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2013). Merida is strong willed and independent and discovers love through her family.

The Newest Addition...

Frozen (2013) loosely based off of Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tale The Snow Queen (1845). Origin is Danish, like The Little Mermaid. Disney has set Frozen within the Norwegian landscapes. Technically Elsa is Queen of Arendelle, since we are witness to her coronation in the movie. She is the eldest of the two remaining heirs of Arendelle. (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2013). 

Younger sister of Queen Elsa of Arendelle, Princess Anna is an optimistic free-spirited young lady who proves that true love comes in all forms. She is based off of Gerda, from the above mentioned The Snow Queen (1845) written by Hans Christian Anderson. (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2013).
I have also read that three characters within Frozen have had their names adaptive to the original writer. Prince Hans, Kristoff (Christian), and Anna (Anderson).

Frozen is the 53rd animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series... so only 43 more animated feature films to research their origins... 

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