ByBridget Serdock, writer at
A Jedi master, Pokemon training, keyblade wielding, super powered black belt who dabbles in witchcraft and wizardry
Bridget Serdock

The fad that was Tangled kind of fizzled out with the new Frozen that almost made the world of children and teenage girls alike implode. Now, I don't know about you, but I liked Tangled much more.

Rapunzel made for an interesting character because of how naive she was. I know that we've seen plenty of naive people before, but they were different than Rapunzel in that their nature was naive. Rapunzel, however, was forced into her naivety by the circumstances around her.

And who put her there? Mother Gothel.

Mother Gothel returned the Disney villain to a lovable character after Brave. I know that Frozen kind of threw that idea away yet again, but with Tangled we could once more revel in the beautiful evilness of all that is villainy in the realm of Disney.

Why do we love to hate Mother Gothel?

Mother Gothel has a lot going for her. Humor. Spot on references to plant and animals when talking about Rapunzel. A pretty great singing voice. Manipulative capabilities. A surprisingly manageable mane of curly hair. Almost a motherly love. And some hardened determination to get anything and everything she wants.

Another thing about Mother Gothel, she's probably crazy smart. She's been around for quite some time now. Since long before our story even begins.

And her musical numbers are great. Like all other great Disney villains, she is a clear villain, but a villain with a purpose. She wants something.

But then again, what does Mother Gothel want?

Yeah, it's kind of hard to tell. You know she wants Rapunzel all to herself, she wants to keep her away from the rest of the world, but why?

She tells Rapunzel that some people might want to take her. There are thugs and ruffians out there who will nab her and try and cut her hair and sell it. That they're the ones who cut her hair - which we as the audience know is not true - and that it was she who protected her from the ruffians and thugs.

But what if there was some other reason she kept the flower and Rapunzel safe? What if Mother Gothel had some ulterior motives that was never revealed, something about the magical powers or regeneration that she wanted to protect? What if she knew that normal, average humans couldn't handle this power? What if there was more to her hoarding of the flower and Rapunzel for all those years?

Essentially, my theory is that Mother Gothel knew that the ability of regeneration essentially was too powerful for simple minds. Like the ring of power from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, regeneration was too powerful for humans.

I have a few reasons as to why I believe this. First:

Flynn Rider/Eugene Fitzherbert narrates the story

Now, we all know he's a notorious liar and ladies man and all. Sure, Rapunzel, Pascal, and Maximus showed him how to be a good person and he turned a corner. And now he's a great guy.

But, he doesn't know everything. Not even Rapunzel did. Mother Gothel kept a lot from her. So, neither one knows the truth, the whole truth.

Also, Mother Gothel must've been around a long time for her aging to have progressed that far. Also, we see her before the time of the nearby kingdom Rapunzel was born in.

So, Mother Gothel's got this awesome flower. The flower is regenerative. But she can't let anyone see it or use it because they don't know how to. The kingdom up and stole the flower from her. In the opening, it looks like she didn't want them to find it, but how should we know? No one actually saw her, and it's Flynn Rider telling us the story.

So, who's to say that if they hadn't asked her, she wouldn't have used the power to save the queen.

But no, instead, they misused the flower's powers and unwittingly imbued Rapunzel with those powers. So right there, normal humans cannot handle its powers properly. They forced this power upon a young girl who didn't know how to use it. Mother Gothel then takes the girl in to keep the power and the regeneration safe from the world. She teaches Rapunzel the song that activates that power.

Which brings me to point number 2:

Where did Mother Gothel learn that song? How did she know what it was?

There's no way she was just sitting there, staring at this glowing flower and suddenly was like "you know what's a good idea? I'll sing to it" and it worked.

No, someone had to have told her. Maybe it was God (it is a drop of sunlight after all), or the Gods (they could be polytheists, I don't know), or another old hag, or some shaman or someone. However it worked out, she learned it from someone.

That same person probably taught her the song so that she could protect the flower. So that she could decide who gets to use it and who doesn't. So that she can step up and be the next savior or chosen one or something of the sort.

But then again, she kidnaps a royal member from the royal family. Why on earth would she do that?

She didn't actually want to kidnap Rapunzel

She tried cutting her hair, hoping to harness the ability. Maybe she'd be able to protect enough of it. Find a way to make it a flower again. But she couldn't. Why? Because humans are dumb.

So, she kidnaps Rapunzel and raises her as her own because she must protect this power. Not only that, but she's protecting humanity as well. We cannot be trusted with such a strong power. We would misuse it, as we all know would happen. Especially if a young girl had attained this power, a young princess no less. Look at Elsa, for crying out loud.

She actually, sort of, halfway cares for Rapunzel

I know most of the affection was based on her hair and her capabilities, but you can't deny that a part of her felt something for Rapunzel. She spent eighteen years with her. Even if she were pretending all those years, there comes a point where the act becomes a reality.

How does this support my theory, you ask?

Simple, not only did Mother Gothel want to protect the flower and its abilities at any and all costs, but she was willing to pour her heart and soul into its protection. She would make three day trips just to please her "daughter."

Lastly, she worked damn hard to protect and keep Rapunzel

She went so far as to enlist the aid of two known criminals who would try and kidnap her "daughter" and break her little heart by killing Flynn Rider.

She hunted down Rapunzel. She flirted with a bald, short, old man to find Rapunzel. She even broke the law on several occasions to keep the power of the flower hidden.


At best, Mother Gothel went through all of this, but is like a dirty cop. She follows the rules, but is willing to bend them to get what she wants. She was corrupted by the power of the flower. She was still doing what was asked of her, but kind of fell off the wagon a bit along the way.


Is Mother Gothel a Villain?

For reference, I've done articles on The Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Mulan and Frozen.


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