Boy had all of movie history to support taking that failed proposal and making it an awkward pity party about him, and instead he first was like “It’s okay, we’re just not at the same place yet, we still love each other” and then followed it up with an apology and a promise to stick with her until he understands her life struggles. THIS IS LOVE.
Rapunzel was Raised to Not Show Physical Affection
We’ve all seen that Gothel makes Rapunzel come to her for hugs, but today I realized it goes deeper than that. Gothel doesn’t want Rapunzel showing physical affection unless she has been given specific permission. Opening her arms is that unspoken permission.
For example, towards the beginning, when she’s reminding Gothel that it’s her birthday tomorrow, she grabs her arm in exuberance. Gothel is put out and then pries Rapunzel’s hands off her arm, all the while pretending she doesn’t remember (or care) that her birthday - something Rapunzel is extremely excited about - is fast approaching.
She also uses Rapunzel’s need for physical affection, deliberately taunting and “teaching” her with it by pretending to offer it, then taking it away immediately.
The first bazzilionty times I saw this movie, I always assumed Rapunzel was relieved to see Gothel towards the end of Mother Knows Best just because she was scared.
But now I realize it’s not only because she’s scared, but because Gothel is now giving Rapunzel permission to seek the creature comfort of physical contact that she so desperately needs after the gamut of fear she’s run.
Eugene, on the other hand, starts showing physical affection as soon as he starts feeling any affection for Rapunzel at all. He uses it as a comfort. Yet Rapunzel keeps her hands to herself.
It continues when he gives her the little flag, touching the small of her back in an affectionate way. But her hands (and attention) are full at this moment.
In fact, the first time she realizes she’s touching him, and he’s touching her, and there’s affection and enjoyment buzzing between them, she’s the first to pull away.
She’s alarmed at first, then apologetic and sheepish. Sorry I was touching you, Eugene. And he politely takes a step back, tuned in to her discomfort and giving her a little more space.
But that is why the moment on the boat is so important, and why Rapunzel has the reaction she does.
In taking Rapunzel’s hand, out of the blue (as far as she can tell), it’s sending her a clear message that he feels the same about her that she does about him, and that physical affection is both alright and wanted. That he will seek out her attention in a way Gothel never has. And from this moment on, she touches him often, holding hands for the rest of the song, brushing his hair from his face as he lay dying, and never letting go of his head, even after he’d died in her arms. Not to mention kissing him when he lives again, holding hands on the balcony while they wait for her parents and end-of-movie smooching.
In Tangled and Tangled: The Series, Rapunzel is the sole heir to the crown as the only child of her father, Kind Frederic. Rapunzel’s position as a future queen seems to have raised many questions in the fandom. Because I’m a history enthusiast, I wanted to make some points clear for all fans and fanfiction writers.
Rapunzel will become a queen of her own right, a queen regnant. This means she will inherit her power and become the sovereign ruler of Corona. This differs greatly from her own mother, Queen Ariana. As king, King Frederic is the sovereign ruler of Corona. As his wife, Ariana is actually a queen consort, being the wife of a king. This means that Queen Ariana shares her husband’s rank and title but not his sovereign power. The series actually confirms this, as about all decisions this far have been made by Frederic alone; King came down hard on crime, King enacts a martial law that forbids Rapunzel from leaving Corona, King will decide what happens to Eugene after his confession to the queen…
But the biggest question in fandom seems to concern Eugene and his status after Rapunzel becomes queen. And no, he will not become a king. This is both a historical fact according to European tradition (while Corona is a fantasy land, it is definitely in Europe) and something Eugene himself points out at the end of Tangled, where he says that Rapunzel ruled her kingdom with wisdom and grace. Not they and their kingdom, Rapunzel and her kingdom.
Eugene becomes prince consort. This means that he will not have sovereign power. Husband of a queen is not called a king unless he has inherited sovereign right to rule himself. Husband of the queen will not share her rank and title. This is because of male primogeniture; male heirs are given privileges before females. King means a male ruler who has inherited his right to rule and so ideally, queen would actually be queen consort. However, Rapunzel is an only child so she will definitely become queen regnant instead. Eugene will not hold any royal power. Instead, he will most likely act as counsel and guide for his wife, Rapunzel.
I know it may seem strange for many fans that Eugene will not become king or hold any actual power. This is because traditionally, Western stories have loved to glorify male heroes by giving them power and titles. I don’t see many people wondering what Cinderella or Tiana will do after their princes become kings and I think that is because it’s just so easy to imagine a heroine as simply a wife but it’s harder to imagine a hero as simply a husband, with position depending completely on his partner. I personally take Tangled as a great opportunity to get used to and celebrate a heroine finally having power in her own right and becoming a great female ruler.
This has been some interesting historical and not so historical trivia for today. Rapunzel will become an amazing queen and Eugene will be there to support her all the way through.
As a sidenote, Rapunzel will never become Rapunzel Fitzherbert. Royalty in Europe do not need last names even today. And even so, Rapunzel is clearly higher in rank. It would be unwise to give up her father’s name after marriage as she will inherit his title and power. Actually, historically in such cases husbands could take their wife’s name instead. I think Eugene was either using his commoner thinking or simply making cute rhymes in Tangled Before Ever After when he sang about her becoming “Mrs Eugene Fitzherbert”. Modern fics are a different matter, of course. But taking your husband’s name is not the only way to be cute and romantic so I’m sure their marriage is just as sweet anyway.
Eugene is telling this as a bedtime story to their kids.
Like, all I could imagine is this adorable little brown haired kid with green eyes sitting in bed watching as he makes this really dramatic face, and begins
“This is the story of how I died!”
and they look a little scared, so he quickly goes
“Don’t worry, this is actually a very fun story and the truth is, it isn’t even mine. This is the story of a girl named Rapunzel and it starts with the sun.”
And they both look at Rapunzel real quick because, hey, Mom’s in the story, great!
And by the end they’re both teasing each other and making sappy faces and the kid’s giggling and half asleep and
“There you go, kiddo. That’s the story of how we met. Sweet dreams, sunshine. Tomorrow night we’re gonna tell you the story of how your Aunt Elsa froze her entire fucking country because of her emotional issues.”