Maleficent is a dragon who cursed an infant because she wasn’t invited to a christening, this woman CANNOT raise a child.
Queen Griemhilde is a conceited, vain witch who killed a 14 year old because she was prettier than her, this woman CANNOT raise a child.
Jafar hypnotised the sultan, got himself turned into a magician, a genie, just for power and forced a 15 year old to be his slave girl, this man CANNOT raise a child.
Cruella DeVil is a mentally ill woman whose affection consists of derogatory comments, blowing smoke in your face and never taking no for an answer, this woman CANNOT raise a child.
So, let’s say Evie, Carlos, Mal and Jay grow up on an island without magic, surrounded by murderers, thieves, people who did bad things, people who are proud of these things. Let’s say, they don’t teach them to be evil. Let’s say, they teach them ‘don’t let anyone keep you from what you want, you are a queen, a dragon, a genie, you are magic’. Ben has dreams about a girl with green eyes and lilac hair, of a girl who is different, something fae, and he remembers the fairy who cursed his father because he wasn’t kind, so he asks his parents to let some of the villain’s kids stay in Auradon. Show them goodness.
When they arrive, they don’t arrive in a tumbling mess. They don’t even get out of the car, and when the chauffeur opens the door, there’s a stick thin girl with long blue hair staring at her hands, a muscled boy who almost isn’t a boy anymore, rubbing the bands on his arms, the girl from his dreams, eyes glowing, a little boy dressed in fur curled up in their laps.
They aren’t used to magic, even though it is in their very cores. So they take time to get used to it, to learn to live with death and power under their skin.
They weren’t sent to get a wand for world domination. They were sent to get a wand for freedom. So it takes them longer to realise just what their parents did. It takes talks and family day and Queen Leiah screaming at the top of her lungs (‘Get away from here, do not touch my grandchild, my daughter will never be mine because of you, how dare you, how dare you?’) for Mal to realise that this isn’t about invitations and pettiness. It’s about a woman with hair as yellow as gold and lips that shame the red red rose, growing up poor, in a cottage, falling to her death at the touch of a spindle, this is about her mother talking about the raven with more fondness than her, this is about all the things her mother did, no matter the reason.
Evie still studies with Doug, and she hasn’t been taught to score a prince, she’s been taught to use her beauty, it is all men want, get rid of them before they get rid of you, do NOT die. So she meets with Doug at his house and Dopey stares at her and then he gets Snow White, who breaks down crying at the sight of this thin, beautiful girl with hair in a colour that has haunted her sleep ('what did she do to you, was it not enough for her to kill me, what has she done to you’) and Evie realises that her mother’s stories are not about men, they are about this woman, about her sister, who was 14 and beautiful and dead. And this is about her and all the bones she can count when she looks in the mirror.
Jay befriends the only other Arabian speaking children he can find, plays gurney, ruthless and self centered and for him, and one day Aladdin picks his children up and Jay does one of those backflips where he stays in the air for too long and it knocks the wind out of him. Jay doesn’t understand because of Aladdin, he sees a thief, who is like him, but it isn’t what makes him think, tourney does the trick because they are a team and the world does not revolve around him, he is not the center of the universe.
Carlos knows that his mother is wrong from the moment he is old enough to master critical thinking. She shrieks and hits and worships fur and he spends his days begging for scraps. There’s no magic in him, no rush he gets from crossing the barrier, so he helps his friends. They have always been his lifeline, so maybe now he can be theirs.