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.
It had very good parts and really eh no parts. A lot of it is funny. Rapunzel’s introspective scenes have heart. Some of it feels like Tangled. A lot doesn’t.
I blogged about the latter half posts ago, but I’ll reiterate:
1) Eugene tells Rapunzel that no one expects her to get into her princess role overnight even though it has been six months. Why does Rapunzel not know basic etiquette after six months? Isn’t being a fast learner one of her strengths in Tangled?
2) The show loses sense of Eugene in crucial areas:
*At the campfire in Tangled, he unveiled a fleeting moment of regret over choosing his thief career. While he makes an excuse for why he chose it, you can hear the shame in his voice, the tone that says, “I realize it’s wrong.” So, after shedding his alias, you would think someone who is returning to their genuine self would have moments of sitting in that regret and taking some responsibility for their own inner peace. Instead, he calls himself “a misunderstood good guy” and proceeds to make excuses for his crimes in a manner “Flynn” would do; unlike the Eugene under those stars, he doesn’t see anything wrong with his old ways.
If not, then what is the point of him adopting new ones?
*Rapunzel is depressed because royal life has been her prison for what has technically been six months. She doesn’t tell Eugene this, who miraculously doesn’t understand why her new life, an existence which compromises her individuality and social freedom, is not everything she dreamed it would be. From his POV, she has a family, him, and luxury, so “what the heck?” While she never verbally says she longs to see the world despite that adventure-hungry expression he saw her wearing in the opening, he clearly knows she does. He tells her in this exact same convo that he’s been all over the world and nothing compares to what she has now, pretty much undermining the importance of her seeing that world with her own two eyes. No matter how tender he sounds, he is essentially saying her desire is unjustified because he’s already had 20+ years to travel and that gaining new experiences beyond her gilded cage isn’t relevant to her life.
This plot device doesn’t sell because:
A) Eugene has been living with her for six flipping months. He just helped her escape a grittier version of a sheltered lifestyle in Tangled. TBEA is telling us Rap had less than 48 hours to be her own individual with no rules for all 18 years and six months of her life, and you’re telling me Eugene is “oblivious” to her needs? And for six months? He claims that his 9-5 job is keeping an eye on Rapunzel, which should mean he has witnessed what she has been going through at some point in all of those six months. He can not be clueless to why she feels trapped (it’s in broad daylight). He would not tell her she doesn’t need to see the world after already being trapped.
B) Eugene understood that Rapunzel needed to get away from her first sheltered home environment, see the world for herself, and exercise her own agency in Tangled’s campfire scene. That’s why he softens up on showing her around Corona in the first place. They also have a clip of him showing her the world map to further drive this point home. He even makes a speech about Flynnigan Rider “going anywhere he wanted to go and doing anything he wanted to do” to tell us why he sought the global tourist life, too. Personal freedom and agency not only defines Eugene’s role, it defines his appeal.
Tangled’s directors basically said they are “well matched” because he’s seen everything and she’s seen nothing, which suggests that Eugene built up an innate drive to show her the world. One of the first things he ever tells her is that “a little freedom/rebellion/adventure” to get some distance between herself and her overprotective parent are all a healthy part of growing up.
TBEA omits this very foundation for no other reason than to feed Rapunzel’s drive to get away from the castle. The omission gives us an Eugene who is not in tune with Rapunzel, which is the same thing as him not being in tune with himself. While it makes sense for him to glorify his end of the new lifestyle, it doesn’t make sense for him to be this disconnected from her or his Tangled characterization.
In my head, I picture him wanting to talk to her father no matter how scary he is, because Rapunzel is suffering from a watered down readaptation of Gothel’s rules. Eugene not only knows what that looks like, he saw what that created: a naive girl who was 18 years behind in life.
Additionally, his ability to read her and other people like an open book was terrifyingly uncanny in Tangled, which also makes oblivious Eugene unconvincing. His reading skills are shown once but not in the department that really matters (Rapunzel’s heart). They pretty much deleted the whole point of their connection in favor of plot drivers. It’s an interesting relationship blockade, but it’s not Eupunzel relationship canon, and in the midst of it, TBEA fails to incorporate the benefits of Eugene’s con artist psychology.
*There’s a touch of flanderization in the comical relief department. Eugene’s immaturity is laid on thicker than I recall. The weird lack of togetherness (I thought he should’ve mentioned how “the story of how he died” was really the beginning of his and Rapunzel’s new lives together instead of bellowing, “heaven,” and the songs don’t give me a sense of taking on the journey together) makes him come off self-centered. To overcompensate for it, the show attempts to drop fluff to please some fans in the ship’s fanbase. The worst part is Cassandra goes out of her way to tell Eugene he’s being self-centered, as if to remind us that Eugene’s current perspective of Rapunzel’s feelings is more of a plot driver than a take on an in-character post-canon portrayal.
*Why is he so comfortable with proposing to Rapunzel if the king and some of the guests are sending “we don’t fully accept you yet, sonny” airs? 🤔 If canon Eugene sensed even the slightest ambivalence from her father, I don’t think he’d be confident about surprising Frederic. Wouldn’t he be respectful by giving Fred a head’s up?
*I also think it’s weird that he’s 26 and so romantically adolescent here. He is pushing an 18 year old girl who hasn’t even lived her life or grown up yet to marry him and settle down with him in a castle forever. I know Tangled implied that he was the jumper in the marriage field, but I don’t think he wouldn’t let her have a chance to live and grow first. If he was a Disney Princess this rushed attitude would get a lot of criticism and less, “aw, that’s cute.” I honestly thought canon Eugene would act like more of an adult about it by recognizing how much maturing Rapunzel needs to do because she’s 8 years younger than him and lived in a tower for 18 years, rational stuff that’s in your face. Rational stuff practical Eugene would say.
In conclusion, Eugene can have all of the feelings he has in TBEA while not being oblivious to Rapunzel’s. Like this: “This is what I want, but I totally get what she needs without her saying a word….yet that doesn’t change the fact that I feel this limbo inside because I want something different right now.”
2) Rapunzel’s King Triton daddy doesn’t match the man I saw tiny yet telling glimpses of in the movie or the short film; it’s easier to headcanon her mother as the matriarch. Again, withholding physical affection, pressuring her, suppressing her personality because she’s a princess without even doing it in a loving way (he makes her feel incompetent), letting his guests belittle her for being ignorant, and exuding this outright restrained exterior doesn’t make him seem like that sensitive, teary-eyed, bear-hugging king who had his daughter hidden from him for 18 years. It doesn’t make him seem like ANY father who just had their abducted daughter returned to them, actually. It reads like Rapunzel never went missing at all.
He’s somewhat cold towards her and it’s uncomfortable. It’s a little silly that the reason why the king wouldn’t let her interact with villagers was because she was royalty, not because she had been kidnapped. That reason didn’t really become a reason until the end.
The ending of Tangled takes place after Rapunzel was returned as far as I am aware. The king lets her touch and mingle with everyone without chaperones or that strict “you are royalty” rule, so this REALLY doesn’t fit.
I was never keen on Rapunzel getting her hair back, but these eh’s are way too iffy for me to look past, especially because these flaws are what a gooood chunk of the plot revolves around to actually make a storyline. I’d be pretty surprised if a Tangled fan (especially a Eugunzel fan) called this flawless or something Tangled’s team would’ve written line for line. The general plot about Rapunzel wanting more seems like something the Tangled crew would write, but not most of the execution or a lot of the characterizations (or the hair coming back, for that matter). This definitely feels like isolated TV canon to the point where I can kind of see why this series didn’t land an actual movie for the theaters.
The TBEA plot could work just fine with Frederic being a hugger. A dad who is very affectionately attentive towards a daughter he hasn’t seen for 18 years while still being dramatically overprotective (if not for the ending of Tangled showing how free Rapunzel was to interact with everyone, which I’m still led to believe was present tense footage with present-to-future narration from Eugene. Fred could still lock her in after the hair comes back, though).
Eugene can still want to get married, romanticize his new security blanket, and feel impatient inside because Rapunzel isn’t on that level with him without being-out-of-touch with her need for agency or surprising Daddy Dearest with a proposal. He can, you know, have some forethought and caution. Thus far, the project’s direction has a “because the plot demands it” syndrome, making me question what the point currently is if it’s going to rewrite some of the characters and themes just to make the plot function.
For @butterflydrming in case she wanted to know what I thought afterwards. 😉 I can understand why you’d leave TV canon alone. 😅
In ancient Rome, bay trees were believed to be immune from the
strikes of lightning. The Roman emperor Tiberius always crowned himself
with bay leaves during a thunderstorm.
Bay trees, seemingly
withered and dead, can revive in vitality even after a protracted time,
which led bay to be used at funerals as an emblem of resurrection. If
your bay leaves withered upon your tree, it was an omen portending a
death in the family.
The crackle of a bay leaf when thrown into a
fire is a sign of good fortune. Bay leaves that burn silently mean bad
luck. Bay leaves placed under your pillow will bring pleasant dreams.
Had a strange Ashita no Joe dream. Yoko wanted to bring Rikiishi back to life, but she needed a spare body to do so. I’m not sure how, but she got Noriko (idk why) to give up her body. Maybe Yoko tricked her, or perhaps convinced her that it would be a better use of her body than her humble-girl-trying-to-make-it-through-life life path ever would be. Yoko’s gone mad with grief and is being shitty, but Noriko’s in a bad enough time herself to believe it.
A ceremony is done, and Rikiishi’s soul is brought back. I guess an ‘Ace Attorney’ style of possession is at play here where being possessed entails the body changing to match the deceased person’s, because Rikiishi is back entirely. For the first time in an eternity, his eyes open again.
Being alive is disorienting, but with Yoko there to help, he’s adjusting to the living world. However, he eventually discovers what exactly she did to bring him back. He’s angered and disgusted, yet saddened to see how broken Yoko had become after he died, but he can’t let this be.
He couldn’t allow himself to stay in someone else’s body. But… He would need to die a second time. The rest of the dream was of Rikiishi coming to terms with his situation, and eventually being okay with the brief second chance he had been given to be in the world again with his loved ones. He allows the tenuous bond that was holding him to the body to weaken, then fade altogether.
Summary: Years after his resurrection, Killian dreams of a changed Underworld and finds some unexpected closure. (On AO3.) Rating: G Word Count: ~2700 Pairing: Killian/Milah, Killian/Emma
A/N: Had Millian feels this morning so I just sat and wrote this because I am still FURIOUS that they didn’t get to see each other when she helped rescue him in S5.
It’s been years. Killian thought he’d gotten past all the lingering emotional stress from his time in the Underworld, but recently he’s been having these dreams – dreams of a morphed Storybrooke, with a reddened sky and a town full of long-passed residents from every realm imaginable.
The thing is, they aren’t memories. There’s something decidedly different about the Underworld in his dreams than the one he recalls being psychologically tormented and physically tortured in all those years ago. He wishes he could put his finger on it, but it’s a tad difficult when, upon waking, the dreams become fuzzy and the images all but fade in his conscious mind.
And they aren’t nightmares, either, which is peculiar. Killian has very few good memories in the Underworld. His reunion with his brother was one. That had given him closure in a way he’d never thought possible. His friends (family, really) saving him from a gruesome fate at the hands of Hades himself, that’s another good one. Discovering that his dearest Emma was, indeed, his True Love… well, that had been one hell of a good memory, even if the subsequent parting with her filled him with despair. Perhaps ‘bittersweet’ is more apropos. Most of his time spent in that dreadful place, though, he’d rather wipe clean from his brain. The searing, electric pain of being at the end of Hades’ lashes. The heart-wrenching feeling of inadequacy and uselessness when the god threatened his loved ones. The pure, unfiltered rage that bubbled inside of him at learning of Milah’s fate, once again fucked over by that devil of a man he spent so long trying to exact revenge upon.
I only recently started reading the new, canonical Marvel comics (Star Wars, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, etc.), and I was surprised by how much the character of Padme seemingly haunts the issues. This is especially true for the Darth Vader series, but there is one really great example in Princess Leia.
I’ll go over the specific examples first, then I’ll do a little speculating as to why her presence is being invoked so often.
The main title doesn’t have the explicit references to her that the other titles do, but several plot points are meant to evoke thoughts of her. Princess Leia only has one explicit reference, but it’s a great one.
A couple of things are going on here: First, it hints at one of the last great unexplored moments of Star Wars
lore: Luke and Leia learning the name and story of their mother. This
is something we’ve never seen in any major visual medium, and something
that wasn’t even covered all that well in the novels before the
reboot. With the amount of Padme they’re building into the comics, it’s a good bet they want to explore that moment as soon as they can.
Secondly, it hints at Leia’s force sensitivity. The artist is going out of his way to show that Leia is seeing a different reality than Evaan. The mural/glass relief is in profile, it is only Leia who sees Padme turn and gaze at her. For all we know, it’s not even a portrait of Amidala specifically, since we just see a profile in ceremonial robes that all the queens wear. It’s Leia’s vision that makes it into Padme. This is a really haunting moment that can only be explained by the Force.
Now to move on to Darth Vader, which contains so many overt references to Padme that I won’t be able to go into each one. Suffice it to say that almost everything Vader sees or hears sends him rocketing off into memories and pain; we’re shown this happening a few times, but can infer that it’s happening almost continuously. A few things did stand out as significant, however:
1. Vader’s Most Private Ship
There are two things that are absolutely amazing about this ship. First is that Vader has it at all. It’s a very rare design, made for and available for only the Naboo Royal Family. It is the exact type of ship that Padme had when they first met and that Vader left Tatooine on, and my bet is that it is the exact ship. Secondly, this is his private, private ship. Until this point (Issue #4) we’ve seen him fly around in his customized TIE, the ship he uses most often. This Nubian comes out of nowhere, and is seemingly for very special occasions. Aphra might be the only person who has ever seen it (more on her later), and she calls it “a pretty little thing” Not exactly what you’d expect Darth Vader to travel in.
2. “Ever been to Geonosis, Lord Vader?”
This is also from Issue 4. This is one of several moments where images of Padme flash through Vader’s mind. Most of the others are from Episode III, dealing with her pregnancy and death, with this one being the only one from their early romance. This is the first flashback of Padme we get, showing how psychologically tortured Vader is just day-to-day. It also shows, for anyone that hadn’t picked it up before, that Aphra looks a lot like Padme.
To put it simply, Aphra is Dark!Padme. I don’t mean that to be reductionist, or that Aphra is a carbon copy of Padme, only that the writers are pretty clearly setting up Aphra as a thematic mirror for Padme. Her ship even has a name with ‘angel’ in it, which is impossible to hear without thinking of Padme. Further, the full name of her ship is Ark Angel, which is just “Dark Angel” with the ‘D’ erased!).
Aphra is as amoral as Padme was moral, as cynical as Padme as idealistic, and as attracted to violence, strength and power as Padme was repulsed by it. Aphra is a version of Padme that would have accepted suitless!Vader’s offer to be Empress. This is the version of Padme whose love and attraction would grow as his power grew. She’s everything he thought he wanted, but all he can do is remember what he’s lost.
With that established, their relationship and their interactions become loaded with significance. At the tail end of their first meeting, Aphra says something that has launched a fair few shippers. Which is a fair reading, because Aphra is clearly over-the-moon for Vader. To me, however, it also is a call-back and inversion to Anakin and Padme’s first scene, which had a similarly over-the-top proclamation.
Likewise, they have a scene earlier where Aphra activates a protocol droid and shows it off to Anakin, inverting the Padme/Anakin scene where Anakin activates 3PO and shows off. This adds a depth to the dynamic that I love, beyond the potential (but ultimately improbable) romance.
I personally can’t wait to see where Aphra goes from here, with Vader but with others if possible. I can’t help but imagine Aphra becoming involved with a Princess Leia storyline, or perhaps being the person who discovers the information that reveals to the twins their mother’s story.
Getting back to Padme and her role in future Star Wars stuff… with as much as they’re including of Padme in the comics, I know the reveal of her name to the twins will be a big deal. My only question becomes when and where they’ll do the reveal. In the comics, in a book, in the movies? It almost seems like they would want to save their biggest remaining dangling thread of the OT for the movies, maybe get Natalie Portman to do a cameo as a recording or a force spirit. It’s hard to imagine the twins not finding out for 35 years, though, so my best guess is that the reveal will be one of the big climaxes of the Star Wars comics.
I think they have to wrestle with Padme in the ST, however. It would seem a huge disservice otherwise. Because of the nature of the series, she’s completely missing from the OT and was never really explored in the Post-Jedi EU. The ST is the last chance to really explore her impact on her children and perhaps her grandchildren. We know Kylo Ren has a fetish for Vader paraphernalia, and many suspect that he’s a child of either Leia or Luke… so maybe he’s actually interested in both his grandparents? Why exactly is he collecting Vader’s relics, anyway? Anytime I see something like that, one person gathering up powerful relics of a dead person, I think resurrection ceremony. My dream image would be a parallel to the images from the trailer of Anakin’s lightsaber and Vader’s mask being found or passed on, only with Padme’s Japor Snippet. Wouldn’t it be awesome if Kylo Ren were trying to resurrect his grandparents?
Rey is another avenue through which information about Padme could enter the story, although I’m not exactly sure how since all we’ve seen her do so far is run and shoot. But with the heavy speculation of her being Leia’s daughter, fueled by how similar she looks to Padme, Leia, and Shmi, I would love if she brought Padme’s presence back into the trilogies.