In Disney's Beauty and the Beast the woman who cursed Beast for being a shallow little brat is only known as the 'Beautiful Enchantress,' but this surprisingly fan theory suggests this moralistic magician is closer to Belle than we ever imagined.
Reddit user Obversa has used her love of French history, and eagle eye when it comes to behind the scenes Disney extras to unmasked this mysterious but wildly important character, and it seems like she could be none other than Belle's own mother.
It's all a little sketchy and far-fetched in places, but this is definitely an interesting thing to think about...
We know very little about Belle's mother, but there are a few clues about her identity lurking in various corners of the expansive Disney universe.
From Once Upon a Time we learn that her name is 'Colette' and in the official Disney musical the townsfolk imply that she is from a very sophisticated background when they say:
You are your mother's daughter; therefore you are class...creme de la creme
The most important clue with have to link her to the 'Beautiful Enchantress' is an official Disney image of Belle and her mother that is displayed in the Magic Kingdom that you can see below:
From this portrait, it's plain to see that Belle's mother is associated with the major symbol of the entire movie, the rose.
Not only is there a large rose on the front of her dress, but she is also surrounded by the flowers whereas Belle seems to be represented by the fleur-der-lis or the French lily.
While the fan theory makes many links to the symbolism of both the rose and the fleur-der-lis pointing to a noble birth, the most interesting thing for Disney fans is the visual link to the image of the enchantress that we see in the stained glass window in the end credits.
According to Obversa, the enchantress on the stained glass window has a few important visual links back to Belle's mother in the one existing portrait of her which go as follows:
- The enchantress may be blond, but as she was a shape-shifter who could change from an old crone to a beautiful enchantress, this is hardly enough to disqualify her from being Belle's mother
- The green, yellow and white of her gown are also the colors of the fleur-de-lis which is linked to Belle in the previous portrait. Could this be a foreshadowing of her and The Beast meeting?
Let's Get Historical
It's time to get your thinking cap on, because the rest of the links here are delving deep into the depths of French history and get a little complex at times.
Firstly, the crown of three stars above the enchantress's head could be very significant because they suggest that she was a Vidame. It was these people's jobs to:
Perform functions on-behalf of the prince-count in the church's earthly interest, canonically incompatible with the clerical state, or at least deemed inappropriate, especially involving violence, even in the service of justice, and to act as protector...Their chief functions were to protect the temporalities of the see, to represent the bishop at the count's court of justice, to exercise the bishop's temporal jurisdiction in his name (placitum or curia vice-domini) and to lead the episcopal levies to war.
So, if young Beast is the prince, then it makes sense that the enchantress was the Vidame who was concerned with his behavior and seeking justice for the kingdom.
According to Obversa, this also links in to the Vidame's role as a representative of the bishops and Godly power.
As a "protector" of "justice", the "enchantress" curses Prince Adam into a beastly form, so that the prince's monstrous exterior matches the ugliness within him. This also fits the theme of divine retribution, or an angel - or a messenger of God (in this case, the Church) - or another being with magical powers and an ethereal appearance punishing a mortal for his/her transgressions. This also ties into the "God-given right to rule" that many, including the French monarchs, believed in at the time, that only God could bestow the kings and queens with his authority both mortal and divine.
This is where the theory gets a little sketchy, although there is a lot of evidence to supposedly prove Beast was the Crown Prince of France, there is little more to link Belle's mother to the portrait apart from her speculated noble birth.
The Language of the Rose
Of course, the most important thing in this theory is the language of the rose and Obversa goes on to conclude:
Last but not least, since medieval times, roses have symbolized love and beauty. Who else is named as a "beauty?" Belle, whose name, in French, literally means "beauty." Belle's famous yellow-and-white dress also matches the colors of the fleur-de-lis, symbolizing her purity [of body and heart], chastity, and innocence. This is especially crucial, as Belle represents Prince Adam's "salvation" from his "beastly side" (sins and transgressions) through Belle's love.
The rose and fleur-de-lis color scheme and relation of Belle to her mother, and also to the "enchantress" also is a heavy clue that Belle's mother is "the enchantress".
Personally, I'm not entirely convinced. I like the idea of all of the historical ties, but as far as I can see the link between Belle's mother and the stained glass window is superficial to say the least.