i just rewatched aladdin with the roommates and it got me thinking
aladdin wishes to be made a prince, but all genie does is get him a lot of stuff and money. that’s not what a prince is. a prince is the son of the king, someone in line for the throne. someone with a lot of money is just - rich. so what i think is:
genie goes okay, that’s a big one - and i can do it! but not on my own, not if you want to do it right. not if you truly want a chance to marry your princess for real, as a prince. and aladdin is a foolish, moral, kind boy - and he agrees. he’s fallen in love with jasmine, an innocent all encompassing love, and he’ll do anything for this sweet, clever girl he only knew for a few hours. so genie takes him across the desert, far from agrabah, and plops right in the middle of a skirmish and is like okay, good luck! and aladdin is like ?????
but there’s assholes with swords attacking a young girl, and aladdin doesn’t even have to think about that, just like when he stood in front of the whip for those little kids. there are three men against him, but he’s fast and clever and has been against a dozen trained palace guards. so it’s not easy to get out of there alive, especially with the little girl to protect, but he manages it with only a thin slice on his upper arm, and he’s endured worse for less. so he picks up the little girl and says “i think we should get out of here, hmm?” and she’s in a pretty red silk getup with tiny jewels encrusted on her like stars against sunset. and she nods and throws her arms around his neck. she won’t talk, only points in the direction of home, but aladdin’s okay with that, he’s used to quiet, scared kids. so he keeps up a steady stream of stories of agrabah, which seems almost like this other desert land. but there are more men with swords and aladdin is like what the fuck is going on, but he hides the girl in a corner and fights them too. and that’s how it goes all the way home. there’s no one on the streets really, and they all scatter when the men attack, and they keep on attacking, he fights his way all the way through the city with the girl on his hip or hidden away.
and he should have known, of course, but he was tired and bruised and bleeding by the time he realized the little girl is silently guiding him to the palace and he’s like why can’t you princesses stay inside??? but he walks up and the guards get one look at the child in his arms and whisk him through and multiple people try to take the girl away but she won’t budge from him, a stubborn pout to her lips as her hands remained locked behind his neck. and he’s finally tossed into a throne room where a tall old man is sitting in agony and two young men pace in front of him, each at least a decade older than aladdin. “they’ve taken our sister!” one of the younger men hiss, “i don’t care about their power or their connections, they’ve taken esfir, and we must go get her!”
“uh,” he clears his throat, “hi?”
and all three men whirl on him and the old man stumble-runs to him. esfir finally lets go of aladdin to picked up and twirled around by her father. the two men are rahim and shapur and they look in wonder at this dirty boy of fifteen who’s returned the girl to them, and he speaks with an accent and clearly is not from here and they get the story from him - he’s traveled across the desert because those in his own country want him dead. “you know,” rahim says as the king clutches at esfir in desperate relief, “you could have held her for ransom. you almost died saving her, and we would have paid handsomely to have her returned safely.”
and aladdin gives him a flat disapproving look, appearing in this moment four times his age, and says “people are not objects or bargaining chips. especially not lost little girls.” and rahim and shapur share an impressed conspiring look and they each grab one of his arms and lead him away. “hey! what are you -”
“do be quiet little brother,” shapur says cheerfully, “we really have to get you out of your rags.”