Who can forget Brave? Well, most people did who saw Frozen two years after its release. But I certainly haven't. Merida is my favorite Disney Princess. That right used to be held by Mulan, but not anymore. Merida is fantastic. And so is her family. Why don't we just remember how awesome they are in story telling with the story that Fergus tells around the dinner table to his children.
I saw something that day, something I'll not forget. It stands 12 feet tall, with razor sharp claws, its hide littered with the weapons of fallen warriors, its face scarred with one dead eye. I drew my sword and...
Chomp! Dad's leg was clean off!
Ah, that's my favorite part!
I still remembering hearing this for the first time in the trailer released a year before and waiting with baited breath for its release. This story was fantastic. And the banter this family had was much like my own. So, it's no surprise I want to look into the villain of this movie
I know what you're thinking. There was no real villain in Brave. Even Mor'du wasn't entirely evil in truth. He was a victim of circumstance. But if you're smart enough (you probably are, this doesn't take a genius to see coming) you'll be able to figure out who I'm going to say is the most likely culprit to be a villain.
That's right. The witch.
Now, if you've read or heard of Jon Negroni's Pixar theory, then you might be questioning why I've picked the witch seeing as she's a far unlikely to even be an antihero in another Pixar movie. Seriously, though, read the Pixar Theory it's great. If you're not into reading, here's one fantastic video I've found on it (it's twelve minutes long, but worth it).
But back to my point, the Witch.
So the Witch is this old hag that we don't know much about. Here's what we do know about her:
- The wisps know who she is. The will o' the wisps lead Merida to the witch because they knew what she wanted. However, there is warning that guards these wisps as well. They're said to either lead you toward treasure or doom.
- She knows a spell that can supposedly change your fate. The spell, however, doesn't do that. It changes who you are entirely. And it has been used at least once before Merida comes across the witch. How many times is uncertain and how many times after is also unknown.
- The witch is seriously paranoid, but will do anything for money. When Merida approaches her, she goes on the defensive until Merida offers to pay a great sum for all she has in shop.
And that's kind of it. We don't know much more beyond that. I don't know about you, but that seems a little sketchy.
But then again, in Princess and the Frog, Tiana and Naveen blindly trust Mama Odie, who is an equally senile old woman practiced in the arts of witch craft. So a creepy old lady in the woods doesn't really mean anything, I guess.
But then again, why does she leave right after giving Merida the potion to change her mother into a bear, hm?
All she leaves Merida with is a message telling her what to do. "Fate can be changed, look inside, mend the bond torn by pride."
Not only is that cryptic and extremely unhelpful, but why did she leave?
Yes, Merida did buy out her entire stock leaving her without want for customers and enough coin to go to the Wicker Man Festival in Stornoway she talks about, but why leave instead of finding Merida to tell her the dangers of the spell? If the spell was time bound, of course it'd be of the utmost urgency to relay the message to Merida herself. But no, she leaves an automated message for her to find.
Whose to say she even told Mor'du this when he came to the witch with a similar wish. He was unable to mend the bond torn by pride. And I think we can infer he wanted to, because when he - in bear form - finally falls, he becomes a wisp and thanks Merida. He didn't want to live on forever as a bear unable to feel human emotion or think rationally anymore.
If anything, the bear persona was like a parasite placed on him by the witch. The bear took over his consciousness to the point Mor'du, the real Mor'du, sat inside his own mind watched helplessly as the bear slaughtered all these people.
There's a slight chance I read way too much into this spell with that last part. Just food for thought.
So, the witch has seen what her spells have done to Mor'du. How he destroyed his brothers, ruined his kingdom and slaughtered all those people. Yet, she didn't care that she gave Merida's mother the same spell. And then she runs.
What innocent person runs away?
Another interesting tidbit that I'd like to add is that the wisps will lead you either to treasure or doom. The first time Merida sees the wisps, they lead her back to her family and away from Mor'du. Next she travels to the witch. After that, she goes to Mor'du's ruin of a castle where he lives. Lastly, she is led to her mother who is in danger.
The first time can certainly be considered a treasure. Going to Mor'du seems a lot like doom that missed its strike. The other two are questionable. But here's my suggestion.
The wisps knew that the witch had this spell that could destroy yet another kingdom. They led her there to retrieve this spell that should've brought the downfall of at least her mother, probably her as well.
When Elinor was in danger I think this was another treasure. It was so that Merida could help her mother and reverse the spell. However, it can be interpreted that the wisps were leading her to her own doom believing that either Mor'du or Elinor would kill Merida.
The wisps seemed to repeatedly lead Merida to danger. I'm not suggesting that they were evil or were acting on behalf of the witch. I am saying that they lead Merida to a witch who had a spell known to cause an entire kingdom's collapse.
We've no idea how Mor'du got his hands on the spell. Maybe the wisps led him there. Or maybe, just maybe, the witch was a part of that kingdom and watched it collapse with little care.
I don't think the witch is evil. I do find it suspicious that she left after giving Merida that spell, but she's not evil. More than likely, she left because the stigma of being a witch - specifically the witch who made Mor'du - isn't exactly something she wants following her around. She's just an old woman who cares more about money than anything else.