Tag Archives: quest for camelot

Songs for Dad: Animation Style

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Tomorrow is Father’s Day so have a Dad Themed meta! What better way to express your love for Dad than with music? There are two Disney songs and one non-Disney song that are Dad centered. Let’s dive in!

Father and Son

In the third Aladdin movie, Aladdin finally met his long lost father. They have a strained relationship on account of Cassim being absent (and the fact that he’s The King of Thieves—minor detail). In this song, Genie tries to help them make some positive progress in their relationship.

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And boy do they need it…

This song is different than the ones we’re gonna talk about because it’s not the kid and parent singing. Instead it is someone else commenting on a father/son relationship.

It’s a big bright beautiful future

Thank you your lucky stars, you’re alive

You’ve got someone special to talk to

A friend that you can trust for life

I love the optimism here, the notion that any relationship can be fixed or mended. Sometimes families become estranged and there’s bad blood there forever, which is just really sad. But Genie is here to tell you that as long as you’re both alive, there’s always a chance things can get better.

The second line also literally relates to Aladdin and Cassim, since Aladdin did think his dad was dead for basically his whole life. Shame on Disney for killing family so often or keeping them alive and separating them.

Next, “special someone to talk to” is a really sweet line. Usually moms are the parent you’re supposed to turn to with your problems because women are more interested in sharing their feelings, but here, dads are friends and trustworthy and they’ll have your back forever. This is similar with the idea that no one will ever love you as much as your family.

You’ve been on your own with no family ties

But those solo days are done

You’ll be two of a kind

Spending quality time

Together as father and son

Again, this stanza starts with referencing the estrangement and this becomes more pronounced as the song goes on. Aladdin and Cassim have both been separated, alone, and while their reconciliation will make them two of a kind since they’ll be together, they already are. They’re both thieves (or, Aladdin was) and they’ve both been alone. They already have things in common. Once they spend some time together, they’ll be able to see how similar they are and become two peas in a pod, basically.

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Building model ships

Taking fishing trips

Working hand in hand

Painting the palace and moving the sand

First ten to go, with your daddy-o

Once you break the ice

You can postulate paternal advice

Here is a list of typical “Dad Things.” Building things, fishing, the visuals also show them playing football together. But then we’re back to the estrangement (“break the ice”) and that good can come out of it if they just work through it.

It’s a fine fantobulous future

I see fruit on the family tree

You’ll be great as the grumpy old grand-pa

Bouncing babies on your knee

You can fall asleep on the comfy couch

After playing one on one

Dreaming back to back

That you walloped the Shaq

Together as father and son

There’s a bunch going on here. The Shaq reference at the end again ties back to sports and things Aladdin and his dad can do together. But I like this idea of family continuing to expand and that one day, Aladdin and Jasmine will have kids so not only is Cassim gaining his son, he’s also gaining grandkids and a daughter-in-law and father-in-law. Cassim may have missed all of this with his son, but he gets to watch his son do what he couldn’t and be supportive and have a relationship with him now. Plus he gets to meet his adorable grandkids and love them. Estranged family members miss out on those big moments in life when they let things get in the way. The genie does not want that for Aladdin and Cassim.

Maybe a bumpy ride

We’ll make it side by side

Good afternoon, I’ll be your travel guide

Move over, laddie,

Make room for Daddy

Gotta whole new shoulder to cry on

“Bumpy ride” takes us back to the fact that this isn’t gonna happen overnight. There’s probably a lot of anger, resentment, and sadness to work through. All relationships take time. They’re messy. They’re hard and painful. But the benefits, like gaining someone to build model ships with. 😉

We talked about earlier how a father here gets to be someone you can talk to and in this stanza we also see he’s a shoulder you can cry on. That’s really nice, especially to tell boys. Our society conditions boys not to cry, which is really damaging. This song includes all the masculine things like sports and fishing and also says you can talk and you can cry and that’s perfectly normal. Props to you, Disney. You did something good.

Take a chance now give it a spin

You’ve had chums for palin’ around with

But you’ve never had a friend like him

Put your checkered past behind you now

No more living on the run

Face the big bright beautiful future

Together as father and son

We’ve reached the end! So let’s just start with the callback to movie one, Friend Like Me. The song purposefully classifies family and friends differently. We like to say friends are the family you choose for yourself, or friends feel like family, but there’s also the saying blood is thicker than water. And since this is a song about how awesome a relationship with your dad is, of course, they’re going with the latter.

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We end right back where we started, with the future and all the possibilities that lie ahead. The estrangement and isolation doesn’t need to be permanent. They just need to make the choice.

On My Father’s Wings

Our next song selection is from Quest for Camelot. This one is different from above since Kayley sings this just after her father has died. What you need to know is: Kayley adored her father. Her dad = who she wanted to be. So now her hero has literally died/been murdered. This is where Kayley affirms her mission to live up to the man her father was, to be like him, to remember him.

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This song is very straightforward. The visuals are really what matters. Kayley goes back to the beach she used to visit her with dad. She draws the symbol of the knights, the three intertwined rings, and actually has a flashback to when they would play together.

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Quest for Camelot is all about Kayley wanting to be a knight, but being told she can’t because she’s a girl. Her father was the only person that believed she could be a knight and when she loses him, she doesn’t know how to escape society’s expectations, but knows she still wants to.

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And I will fly on my father’s wings

To places I have never been

There is so much I’ve never seen

And I can feel his heart beat still

And I will do great things

On my father’s wings

This world I’ll never see

My dreams that just won’t be

This horse’s stride, with one day’s ride

Will have covered more distance than me

Kayley still feels her father with her, which is a beautiful message about the people we love never leaving us.

Someday, with his spirit to guide me

And his memory beside me

I will be free

To fly on my father’s wings

To places I have never been

Kayley is trapped tending a farm, what she’s supposed to do. So she turns it into an adventure, using the pitchfork as pole vault, a jousting stick, and finally hitting the bulls eye with it. She uses a spoon and bucket cover as a sword and shield.

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Kayley’s inspiration to be a knight stems from her father. If he wasn’t her father, she seriously would not be the person we see on film.

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This tells us that dads matter so much to the development of a child. Even Aladdin was affected by not having a father since earlier in the film he tells Jasmine that he feels like he comes from nowhere, like he just appeared out of thin air. Even in movie one he hated being referred to as a street rat, like he was worthless. He didn’t have a father in his life to take care of him or build up his self-esteem like Kayley did.

Nobody Else But You

Do you remember this Goofy Movie tune? I did not. (Props to Mel for reminding me!)

Before the song starts, Max and Goofy are mid-fight and they are really going at it. Max resent being treated like a kid, but to Goofy, Max is his kid. Goofy’s just trying to figure out what his role is now that Max is growing up and doesn’t want him around as much. Cue the sad feels.

goofy movie fight

But then the song starts and all the happy feels! They totally make peace and love each other to bits.

Max

There are times you drive me, shall we say, bananas

And your mind is missing, no offense, a screw

Still, whatever mess I land in

Who is always understandin’?

Nobody else but you

Goofy

Oh, your moodiness is now and then, bewilderin’

And your values may be, so to speak, askew

I love how it’s Max that makes the effort to go first and it takes him a few tries to get it going. Goofy and Max both have their differences, but none of that really matters in the long run. Family and dads in particular, are there for you when you mess up. Say you impersonate a pop star to get the girl and then tell her you know that pop star and will be on stage at his concert and give her a shout out and then have to highjack your father/son bonding trip to make it happen.

Goofy, for his part, is just dealing with what all parents do: that shift that happens when kids become teenagers. Parents have a hard game to play because they need to give their kids space to learn on their own, figure out who they are, and let them make their own choices. Teenage years are that inbetween phase and it’s hard for everyone involved.

goofy movie always my son

Nobody else but you

It’s just our luck

We’re stuck together

Nobody else but you

Is crazy enough to believe we’ll come through

Parents pretty much always have your back. Even when it doesn’t seem like it, sometimes my mom flat out has to tell me, “I’m always on your side.” We don’t get to pick our parents and parents do not get to pick their kid. It really is luck, pretty much, that got us here. That’s what family is. There are hard times and confusing times and sad times, but family are the people you’re always supposed to have in your corner. They’re automatically there for you.

Max

So your jokes are all, let’s face it, pre-historic 

Goofy

And your music sounds like monkeys in a zoo

Both

But when life becomes distressin’

Who’ll I be S.O.S’in? 

See, your automatic. They’re who you call when shit goes to hell. No matter what your differences, big or small, material or moral, you’re stuck with them so suck it up. No, kidding. But it’s nice. Sadly, not everyone does have their automatic. But adoptive parents and siblings and grandparents and aunts and uncles and even good friends can be that automatic, too. Because really, it was luck you got them, too.

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Both

Hard times we’ve had a few

Goofy

Like we’re thrown in the drink

Max

Like we’re tossed outta town

Both

But when I start to sink, than I’d rather go down

With nobody else but Y-O-U!

The visuals here have them actually sinking since they get sucked in a whirlpool, which is a silly animation touch. This ending section is pretty much everything I’ve been saying. Like Aladdin and Cassim and their hard times, Goofy and Max have had something more akin to ‘normal problems’ but if all you have are ‘normal problems’ then well… they feel like big problems. But both pairs of fathers and sons were able to work it out in the end. Cause, family.

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Conclusion

In what was probably the cheesiest meta in AM history…

No, but seriously. Okay all these songs are nice and all, but why are they all between fathers and sons? There are way more daughter/dad duos in animation. Especially in Disney with their KILL THE MOM fetish. That leaves so many princesses with fathers (Snow White, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, & Pocahontas) (Aurora, Hercules, Mulan all had moms also, but their dads arguably played a much larger role in their stories.) The Lion King was also largely about Mufasa and Simba, while Sarabi had a very minor role. If you go the Pixar route, look at The Incredibles which yes, featured a family, but the dad had the biggest storyline.

Turn to Dreamworks and The Croods is about a family, but again largely revolves around the father character. Even in the Shrek franchise we meet Fiona’s dad and Shrek 2 is largely about Shrek and Fiona’s dad finding common ground. How to Train Your Dragon finds Hiccup without a mother, though this is rectified in part two (so amazing), but the dad so far has played a much larger role in the story. Maybe this will be different in movie 3 (if we get one/are we getting one?).

From other studios, we have Despicable Me, which focuses on a foster/adoptive father. Could Gru have been a woman? In The Swan Princess, Odette’s mother dies in the very beginning and though her father dies a bit later into the film, she was still raised by him and seemingly close. Look at how many more father figures feature prominently in animated movies. Anastasia is mostly about Anya and her grandma, but in the beginning, before it all goes to shit, Anya dances with her father and then imagines dancing with him again in Once Upon a December.

While I am unhappy with the lack of mom-rep, the amount of dad-rep is overwhelming. So why few songs about dad and family? Why does romance get all the best songs?

However, for the songs we do get, they’re all positive. It’s good. All is happy in animated-dad land. Unless you’re Kayley’s dad.

Happy Father’s Day.

Who is your fave animated dad?

Follow AM on Twitter and Tumblr.

Cheers,

M&M

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Animated Love Songs (Part 2)

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Happy Valentine’s Day!! Whether you’re single or in a relationship or unsure where you stand with someone, today is a made up holiday where the greeting card business gets a well needed boost. Or it’s, like, a day to tell everyone you know how much you love them. Okay! Let’s continue with our Animated Love Songs meta.

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Love is an Open Door – Frozen (Mel)

Ooh, I’ve been excited to talk about this one.

I’ll admit it: I have a lot of gripes with Frozen. But I can’t deny that “Love is an Open Door” is handled brilliantly, mainly because it’s a song where you can go back and find subtle foreshadowing. There were a lot of complaints about Hans’ villainy coming out of left field, but if you reexamine, you can see the small seeds planted for his antagonistic role.

“Love is an Open Door” is mainly about Anna and Hans, who have always been shut out and ignored by their siblings, and how their love for one another is an open door that gives them new possibilities. But what they want out of their relationship is completely different.

So let’s take a look at motivations.

Anna: All my life has been a series of doors in my face,

And then suddenly I bump into you

Hans: Yeah! It’s like,

I’ve been searching my whole life to find my own place

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Anna has always felt like she was alone in life. “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” really cements her loneliness and her desire to have someone to talk to. When Hans waltzes into her life, she’s found someone who she feels confident enough to talk to. Hans doesn’t shut her out the way Elsa does: instead, he listens sympathetically, and understands her struggles perfectly.

frozen find my own place

For a way, it’s similar for Hans, but let’s hone in on his word choice. He specifically mentions that he wants to find his own place – and he glances at Arendelle when he says this. He isn’t referencing Anna – he’s referencing her kingdom. That’s really important, considering that we find out later that he wanted to marry her so he could rule Arendelle. To Anna, he is referencing her, and that’s where the double meaning comes in.

Anna (and the audience, on first viewing) assumes that Hans is on the same page as her. But Hans has a completely different agenda, which makes “Love is an Open Door” a very unique love song. Does it follow the love song formula? Yes. But this is the first love song where one half of the party is being duplicitous and outright manipulating the other party.

Anna: But with you

Hans: But with you, I’ve found my place

Anna: I see your face

Both: And it’s nothing like I’ve ever known before

Love is an open door

Notice the way that Hans’ lyrics are focused on Arendelle, while Anna’s lyrics are focused on Hans? I bet you didn’t pick up on that on your first watch. Neither did I, until I watched Frozen again and little alarm bells went off in my head.

Our mental synchronization can have but one explanation:

You – and I –were just meant to be

frozen mental synch

Here’s where some irony slips in, because they’re not really as synchronized as they think. Or rather, Anna thinks they’re on the same page, but Hans knows they’re not.

Say goodbye (say goodbye)

To the pain of the past

We don’t have to feel it anymore

frozen love is an open door

Anna and Hans have obviously both had some turbulent/lonely childhoods. I mean, your brothers pretending you don’t exist? It could be a lie, considering Hans has lied about a lot, but if it’s the truth, it explains a lot about Hans’ motivations. Hans has never had a place to call his own. With twelve older brothers, being brother thirteen means you’re virtually destined for nothingness, and the second that he met Anna, he saw an opportunity to marry into something that could be his. Why didn’t he hone in on Elsa, the future queen? Well, he might’ve thought she was more unapproachable, and there was the fact that he met Anna first, and more importantly, genuinely seemed to like her.

Frozen is oddly conflicting about Hans and Anna’s relationship. They show us instances that indicate that Hans really does have feelings for Anna (like the scene when she runs off and he’s staring after her with that silly smile on his face), but then they refute it at the end. The creators didn’t really make up their minds on whether Hans actually had some shred of feelings for Anna, or whether she was just an easy target. I like to think it was a mix of both. Therefore, I think there is a bit of truth in Hans’ song: he does like Anna, but the chilling part of Hans is that he likes power more. And when he’s given the opportunity to take Arendelle for himself, he’s willing to let Anna die to make it happen.

frozen punch hans

One last thing I want to talk about before we move on is the end of the song, and the repetition of a certain lyric:

Love is an open door, love is an open door

Life can be so much more

With you (with you) with you

Love is an open door

The title of the song is dropped a lot during the song. So what does “love is an open door” really mean? Well, it was multiple meanings. For Anna, her love for Hans is an open door in opposition to all of the doors that have been shut on her in the past. It’s a chance to be with someone and have someone who trusts her and will stick by her no matter what.

For Hans, he sees Anna’s love for him as an open door to find his own place on the throne of Arendelle. Whether he has genuine feelings for her or not, being with her gives him a shot at being king, and finally having something that is solely his.

So is this a love song?

frozen IT'S TRUE LOVE

In a way, yes. But it’s so much more than that. And that’s why it remains my favorite song from Frozen.

 

Looking Through Your Eyes (Quest for Camelot)—Mic

Ugh, this song is so sweet. It’s basically all about how beautiful and perfect the world is when you’re in love.

Look at the sky tell me what do you see

Just close your eyes and describe it to me

The heavens are sparkling with starlight tonight

That’s what I see through your eyes

Firstly, Garrett is blind. So part of him is actually asking Kayley to describe it to him. But, Garrett is also a cynic and a loner, so he would never say the ‘heavens are sparkling with starlight.’

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Love has changed him, opened him up and it wasn’t something he was looking for. Kayley wasn’t looking for love either, since she was on a hero’s quest to save Camelot (and hopefully become a knight).

It’s out of our hands, we can’t stop what we have begun

And love just took me by surprise, looking through your eyes

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To continue the same thread:

I see a world we’re meant to see together

And it is so much more than I remember

More than I remember

More than I have known 

Love has changed the way they see their surroundings and even what they want out of life. Nothing matters unless they’re together (And suddenly I know why life is worthwhile).

Visually, the sequence is also important. Garrett is trusting Kayley to be his eyes, but it’s not all on his side. He also brings her into his world and shows her how he uses his walking stick as a weapon.There’s newfound trust between them.

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Here in the night, I see the sun

Here in the dark, our two hearts are one 

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I’m reading Wuthering Heights right now (if you read my Oliver Twist & Company meta, you know I’m taking an Early Victorian Novels class) and Cathy and Heathcliff share a similar sentiment. They consider themselves one being and when Cathy dies, Heathcliff says something to the effect of, how can I live without my soul? That’s kind of the same sentiment here, though Kayley and Garrett are way healthier than Cathy and Heathcliff.

 

Bella Notte (Lady and the Tramp)—Mic

Bella Notte is Italian for “beautiful night.” This song basically backdrops the perfect first date and one of Disney’s most iconic scenes: the spaghetti kiss. It’s sung with a heavy Italian accent, at first, and plays up this very romantic vibe.

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Visually, the sequence is very simple. They have dinner together in an alley and don’t eat anything special: tomato sauce and meatballs is a straightforward dish. Anyone can make it. They don’t do anything particularly special. They walk around town, they go to the park, they’re just together. And it’s a beautiful night because they are together and they are in love.

lady and the tramp eye sex hehe

Side by side with your loved one,

You’ll find enchantment here.

The night will weave its magic spell,

When the one you love is near

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It’s not a beautiful night because it’s not raining or because it’s not too cold. It’s a beautiful night because Lady and Tramp are together.

Look at the skies, they have stars in their eyes

Skies don’t have eyes. It’s not about the sky.

lady and tramp stars in their eyes

It’s about Lady and Tramp and how totally mystified they are by other person (dog). It’s about how they feel about each other. It’s an allegory or something like that.

It’s not about the material things like a big fancy or dinner or a shiny car (doghouse). It’s about being with that other person (dog). That is what makes una bella notte.

Buongiorno! (Doggies did the deed.)

lady and the tramp day after

 

Kiss the Girl – The Little Mermaid (Mel)

“Kiss the Girl” is probably one of the most straightforward love songs Disney has: Sebastian wants Eric to go on and kiss the girl already.

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“Kiss the Girl” is sung by Sebastian, and the first verse is basically Sebastian summing up Eric’s thoughts on Ariel:

There, you see her, sitting there across the way

She don’t got a lot to say, but there’s something about her

And you don’t know why, but you’re dying to try

You wanna kiss the girl

It’s pretty obvious at this point in the movie that Eric is interested in Ariel. Her fascination with the world around her and her lively nature draws him in. Even without her voice, Ariel’s body language and expressions convey her feelings and thoughts quite well. And while it’s clear Eric doesn’t know everything about her, he knows enough to like her – and possibly want to kiss her.

Yes, you want her;

Look at her, you know you do

Possible she wants you too;

There is one way to ask her

Here’s where Sebastian nudges Eric, trying to get him to notice Ariel’s obvious interest in him – or rather, the way she plays with her hair and tries to avoid his gaze until she realizes he’s looking at her the way she’s been looking at him.

little mermaid kiss the girl

Eric, of course, drives us crazy by being uncertain and not ready to kiss Ariel, because he’s still hung up on the chick that saved him. Of course, if he knew that was Ariel, this would make things smoother, but then we wouldn’t have much of a plot, would we? So we have Sebastian to goad him into kissing Ariel, because of what he might lose out on if he doesn’t.

Ain’t it sad, ain’t it a shame?

Too bad; he gonna miss the girl

Boy you better do it soon; no time will be better

She don’t say a word, and she won’t say a word

Until you kiss the girl

Eric doesn’t realize it, but the nag for Ariel to get her kiss is so that she can stay on land permanently, thus why there’s such a rush for Eric to kiss her in the lyrics. Of course, Eric doesn’t pick up on this.

little mermaid kiss the girl paddling

The nagging aspect of the song actually kind of bothered me, because while I understood the purpose of the time limit in story, the pressure put on Eric to “kiss the girl” was a bit annoying.

While Eric and Ariel don’t get that kiss by the end of the song, thanks to Ursula’s interference, they do at the end of the movie. Sometimes it takes a bit of time for someone to get up the nerve to kiss the girl, as evidenced by Eric’s long wait, and that’s perfectly alright. It’s also okay for a woman to take the lead, but I digress. Eventually, he got to kiss the girl, and it was worth the wait that both of them endured.

 

Something There (Beauty and the Beast)—Mic

Something There is a really sweet song about discovering those first inklings of a crush. It’s the first time Belle and Beast really start to see each other for who they are and begin to like that person.

The music actually begins sometime before the first lyric is sung and it’s when Belle and Beast are finally eating together. They both make concessions and compromise. Beast eats with his mouth, but attempts to use a spoon. He’s really bad at it after so many years, but Belle sees his effort and proposes a new way.

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When they go outside to feed the birds and she sings:

There’s something sweet and almost kind

But he was mean and he was coarse and unrefined

And now he’s dear and so unsure

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She’s not just referring to him trying to feed the birds. She’s talking about what happened at dinner and what happened when he risked his life to save hers. It’s a combination of everything that has happened between them, building up to this awakening.

I wonder why I didn’t see it there before

Belle, dude, that’s because it was NOT there before. The beast had to learn. He was cursed because he was a vain brat. It’s not like he was kind before he was punished. So Beast has never actually known how to be “sweet” and “kind” or “dear.” His schemas are totally being rewritten by Belle.

And when we touched she didn’t shudder at my paw

No it can’t be, I’ll just ignore

But then she’s never looked at me that way before 

The beast was a jerk as a kid, but he also had it rough as a beast. He was feared, loathed. He also may not have been very friendly—we saw how he treated Maurice. We don’t how much was the beast assuming or how much was what he had learned. It certainly seems like he had negative experiences with people since he says to Belle’s father, “You’ve come to stare at the beast!” So when Belle comes, he’s not open to considering she may be different. He also doesn’t know how to break the curse. He has no real concept of love.

Belle touching his paw is important to him. It represents her not fearing his exterior, but let’s be real. She never did. Besides their first meeting, which, can you blame her? No one expects to see a walking, talking (yelling), horned animal thing. He had locked her father in a cell. He didn’t make a good first impression. The only time Belle feared him was when he yelled at her in the west wing. And he didn’t just yell. He popped out of the darkness and prowled around and then started breaking and throwing stuff.

Whatever the beast’s path is, it all plays into this now. He can’t even think that she may like him or feel the same way he does. Love is conditional for him. Love has to be beautiful. And he is not.

New and a bit alarming

Who’d have ever thought that this could be?

True that he’s no Prince Charming

But there’s something in him that I simply didn’t see

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Belle kinda feels the same way he does. Well, they both feel exactly the same. They’re crushing and terrified. While Belle admits he’s not the typical romantic hero, Beast has no mention of Belle being the opposite of a princess. It contrasts with the way the town sees her as this outsider. She’s “peculiar” to them, but not to the Beast. Finally someone sees Belle the way she’s meant to be seen and he’s totally smitten by her.

The song then cuts to the observers:

And who’d have guessed they’d come together on their own?

It’s so peculiar.

Ah, there is that word again. Peculiar. Everything is peculiar if you don’t understand it.

Belle is peculiar because she does not fit into her society and the town shuns her for it. But one can never truly know someone, at least not by judging them and making assumptions. The town does that.

And if people are hard to understand, then love is even harder. Mrs. Potts and Lumiere and Cogsworth certainly can’t understand it. But they don’t have to. Only Belle and Beast do and it’s not peculiar to them. They never use that word.

 

Beauty and the Beast–Beauty and the Beast (Mel)

“Beauty and the Beast” (the song) touches on one of the oldest fictional clichés ever: the couple that starts out as adversaries, and then becomes something more. Mrs. Potts even spells out the trope for us at the start of the song:

Tale as old as time; true as it can be

Barely even friends, then somebody bends unexpectedly

beauty dancing

It sums up Belle and the Beast pretty well, doesn’t it? They started out as two people who could barely stand one another, and then somebody (in this case, the Beast) bends unexpectedly and surprises Belle.

Just a little change

Small, to say the least

Both a little scared

Neither one prepared

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast has gotten flack by critics for the Beast’s attitude, and that Belle ending up with him could be a result of Stockholm Syndrome (since she starts out as his prisoner). But what a lot of its contenders forget is that Belle doesn’t even like the Beast as a person. In fact, she detests him and calls him out on his bad attitude. And when she does that, guess what? He realizes she was right, and then promptly changes his ways and treats her with respect and dignity, something she never got from her last suitor, Gaston.

The change aspect is something that was originally touched on in “Something There” and then reappears again. It’s the Beast’s change in attitude that makes Belle reevaluate him as a person, and later as a romantic prospect. I also like the “both a little scared, neither one prepared” sentiment, because both the Beast and Belle aren’t quite sure of what to make of their feelings for one another, and like most people in love, they’re uncertain of whether they should make the first move, or how to even handle their feelings.

Ever just the same; ever a surprise

Ever as before, and ever just as sure

As the sun will rise

This was a weird verse for me at first until I broke it down and realized that it was Mrs. Potts touching on the cliché again. We’ve seen this story a lot of times (“ever just the same”; “ever as before”) but we’re still surprised that these couples make it at times (“ever a surprise”). Still, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise when we realize that the couple is set up in such a way that it’s so obvious that they should be together.

It also relates to how the characters view the relationship. That last line – “ever just as sure as the sun will rise” – relates to the inevitability of Belle and the Beast’s relationship to the Beast’s staff. However, to Belle and the Beast, it’s a surprise to them, because they never expected to feel this way about one another.

Tale as old as time,

Tune as old as song,

Bittersweet and strange,

Finding you can change,

Learning you were wrong

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Those last three lines right there sum up the relationship flawlessly. “Finding you can change” clearly relates to the Beast, who hadn’t realized his capacity for change until he finally attempted it. “Learning you were wrong” relates to both sides of the couple; they carried a lot of assumptions about one another, and it was only by coming together and learning about each other that they grew past the assumptions and saw the person beneath them. Their relationship at this point has been bittersweet and strange, but now they’re at a point where they finally understand one another. They’re on the same page, and they’re even on the same pace, as evidenced by their flawless dancing.

Last week, I mentioned how important it was that Anya let Dimitri lead during the Waltz Reprise, and how their dancing in sync related to them as a couple. Here, a similar occurrence happens with Belle and the Beast. Dancing takes a lot of trust. Much like how stubborn Anya lets Dimitri take the reins, the stubborn Beast lets Belle take control during their dance.  This represents the way their relationship has balanced out. Both sides trust one another, and both aren’t afraid to let the other take control. How’s that for an epic romance?

 

Can You Feel The Love Tonight (The Lion King)—Mic

Can You Feel The Love Tonight might make history for having the most number of narrators in a single love song: four! We start with Timon, who is so mad Simba and Nala have found each other. To him, this union will destroy his boys club.

But then we switch to Nala and she is happy. She’s probably happy for the first time in a long time considering she’s been under Scar’s dictatorship and thought her best friend died. Her line about the world being in perfect harmony is so great since she is finally at peace after experiencing the instability in the Pride Lands.

Another narrator change occurs and we get Simba’s perspective. He’s happy to see her too, but also scared she won’t understand what happened. He, himself, doesn’t understand what happened, which is why he’s been hiding with Timon and Pumba. Nala knows right away something is up with him—

He’s holding back, he’s hiding

But what, I can’t decide

She doesn’t know exactly, but she knows something is off. “I can’t decide” implies she has some theories since he is her best friend. They really are in perfect harmony.

Once again, we swap narrators and this time it’s this overarching third person POV. Simba and Nala were physically apart during the start of the song, on different sides of the water.

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Then they’re playing together and running around. They are together, falling into their old rhythm.

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This POV is like a narration.

Can you feel the love tonight?

You needn’t look too far

Stealing through the night’s uncertainties

Love is where they are

Timon saw clearly (I can see what’s happening), but Nala and Simba were both kinda stumbling around (and they don’t have a clue), their past stopping them from moving forward. But once they do admit their feelings (Nala licking Simba), the third person narrator lets us know that, yeah, they’re in love, and nothing, not even their pasts or the troubles ahead, can stop them.

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Then we have one last change, back to the beginning, bookending with Timon and Pumba. It’s kind of symbolic, since Simba fled and became complacent with Timon and Pumba and then had to find the courage to leave and go back. They mark the shift in Simba’s story. Timon and Pumba open and close this song and by the end, Timon has convinced his friend that Simba having a lady friend will tear them apart.

And if he falls in love tonight

It can be assumed

His carefree days with us are history

In short, our pal is doomed

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Nala coming back does represent a change for Simba. But it doesn’t really have anything to do with love. Simba chooses to go back because Nala reminded him of who he’d left behind and also told him what had happened in his absence. His carefree days are over because he goes back to be king, not because Nala has come to crash the party. And their pal is not doomed, since Timon and Pumba go with him and end up living in the Pride Lands. Everyone ends up in perfect harmony.

 

Let Me Be Your Wings (Thumbelina)—Mic

Let me tell you how much I loved this song when I was a kid: too much. I think it was because I had a giant crush on Cornelius, but whatever.

Let me be your wings

Let me be your only love

Let me take you far beyond the stars

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Thumbelina is a story about fairies, so of course wings feature very heavily. Thumbelina is the size of a fairy, but she is not one. She has no wings. And she falls in love with the fairy prince.

Everyday I’ll take you higher

and I’ll never let you fall

Wings are safety, security. They are a means of travel and protection and all that stuff. Cornelius, le fairy prince, wants to be that for her. He is also literally talking about being her wings since he carries her everywhere during this sequence, or takes her for a joyride on his bumblebee.

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But his words are deeper than that.

Leave behind the world you know

for another world of wondrous things

We’ll see the universe and dance on Saturns’s rings

Fly with me and I will be your wings

Leave behind being on your own, be with me. Come into the world of love, cheesy as that sounds. But all these love songs are about how love changes you or how love binds two people into one, or love is scary and thrilling. Cornelius is asking Thumbelina and promising to be everything for her. He will protect her and he will build her up and they will go on adventures together.

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Heaven isn’t too far.

Heaven is where you are,

Stay with me and let me be your wings 

Like Through Your Eyes, Bella Notte, Love, Can You Feel The Love Tonight, and many others, happiness and completeness only comes with the other person. Love is overpowering and encompassing and the music of animation takes that all and wraps into pretty music that we know every lyric to.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

What is your favorite love song? Who is your OTP? What is your favorite romantic moment in Disney/non-Disney movies? SWOON BELOW!

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Cheers,

M&M

Quest for Camelot: I Couldn’t Just Talk About One Thing

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I went into my re-watch of Quest for Camelot expecting to write about its portrayal of people (and dragons) with disabilities. What I found was a deeper element of the film that tied that into this message of togetherness. It makes total sense, too, when you consider that the story of King Arthur is about one man uniting a bunch of warring clans and tribes to make Camelot, the greatest city in the world. And so, lets consider this three metas in one! It is the holy trinity of metas.

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Quest for Camelot is no Disney classic, but it is a pretty great film (not made by Disney). Kayley is the protagonist, a girl hellbent on being a knight. She idolized her father from a young age, dreaming of being a knight just like him. When he’s killed by a greedy knight, Ruber, Kayley is determined more than ever to follow in his footstep. The only problem is, women are not knights. Trapped at home, Kayley’s moment finally comes when Ruber steals Excalibur and comes to collect her mother, Julianna, and have her lead his army into Camelot by tricking King Arthur. When news that Ruber’s pet gryffin lost the sword reaches her, Kayley rides off to the Forbidden Forest to retrieve it before he can. There she meets Garrett, a blind badass hermit, and a two-headed, fireless and flightless dragon, Devon and Cornwall. Predictably, Kayley and Garrett fall in love and they all save the day together. And voila, that’s all you need to know if you haven’t seen the film.

Family in Quest for Camelot

  • Kayley: On My Father’s Wings

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The first facet of Camelot’s theme of togetherness is Kayley’s relationship to her father. Since she was a little girl, Kayley has adored her father and the knights. She wants to hear the same story of King Arthur over and over again and go to Camelot.

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“I’m coming with you, daddy!” Little Kayley says when her dad has to go to Camelot for a meeting of the Round Table. When you’re older, her father says—famous last words. And off he goes and I cry buckets when little Kayley sees all the knights bringing her dad’s body back and is so excited her dad’s home and has no idea—

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Anyway.

So brings us to the song On My Father’s Wings, one of my favorites. When your dad sucks, it’s nice to imagine he’s a brave knight. Taking a play from Disney fashion, this is Kayley’s I Want song. She wants to be a knight, she wants to be guided by her father, she wants to do great things.

If you were with me now
I’d find myself in you

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I want to live my life
The way you said I would
With courage as my light
Fighting for what’s right
Like you made me believe I could

Kayley wants to be her father’s daughter: “One day, I’ll be a knight, like father.” With his death, there’s no one really that encourages her to go for her dreams. Her mother, Julianna, is amazing, but doesn’t encourage her to become a knight.

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Julianna: That’s a job for the knights.
Kayley: But I want to be a knight.

However, once Ruber attacks their home, Julianna is the one that tells Kayley to go and warn Arthur. Kayley is hesitant to leave her mother in Ruber’s clutches, but goes. When she hears that Ruber has lost the sword, she decides to get if before he can instead of riding to Camelot. Kayley finally gets her big adventure, her chance to achieve glory.

Kayley: How am I going to do great things if I’m stuck here? With these silly chickens?

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Don’t worry, Kayley. Your time has come! When Garrett suggests they make camp for the night, Kayley rebuffs this.

Garrett: No one travels through the Forbidden Forest at tonight.
Kayley: My father Sir Lionel would have.

The imprint her father left on her is Kayley’s driving force. She still grieves for him and she still aspires to be like him.

I will fly on my father’s wings
To places I have never been
There is so much I’ve never seen
And I can feel his heartbeat still
And I will do great things
On my father’s wings

And in poetic fashion, Kayley even echoes her father’s final lines, while staring down the same foe: I will not serve a false king.

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Even the villain gets it: You’re in the way, just like your father. Since you’re dying to be just like him, lets see if I can help you out.

But he can’t, because, um, duh, villains never win. Kayley and Garrett defeat Ruber and finally, the are both knighted—Kayley holding her father’s shield! I’ve heard lots of complaints or criticisms from people that animated movies feature a lot of death of parental figures and that it doesn’t affect the main character as much as it should. Quest for Camelot is not one of those. Kayley’s father has never been far from her mind and probably pushed her harder.

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Disability in Quest for Camelot

Representation is SO important. The world is not made up for fully able bodied peoples. Ableism is a real problem and Quest for Camelot is a movie that tackles that. Garrett is blind, but that does not stop him from being a total badass and helping Kayley save the day. Cornwall and Devon are a two-headed dragon that can’t fly, breath fire, and well, are physically different because they have TWO HEADS.

  • Garrett: I Stand Alone

Garrett’s motto is the title of his song I Stand Alone. He was blinded in a stable fire after he risked himself to save the horses and was knocked in the eyes by a spooked horse. His dream of being a knight slipped away from him, ridiculed by the people of Camelot. Towards the end of the film, when Kayley says she wishes he could see Camelot, Garrett says, “I have seen it and there was no place for me.”

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Garrett might be physically disabled, but that doesn’t stop him. He’s a great fighter and his walking stick doubles as a weapon. Emotionally, however, Garrett is all locked up. His character arc isn’t about learning to overcome his blindness, it’s about overcoming the emotional walls he put up. When he saves Kayley from Ruber’s mechanical army in the beginning, there’s no hesitation. His disability does not make him feel weak because he’s not weak. In fact, when Kayley tells him Excalibur is somewhere in the forest, he’s ready to go and find it himself. He’s not lacking in bravery and strength. His real problem is emotional.

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The one exception to Garrett’s standing alone-ness is Aiden, a falcon. Aiden is his eyes, in Garrett’s words, and caws every time danger is about to strike. Garrett relies on his other senses, especially the auditory and olfactory ones.

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His fighting strategy, inn his own terms is, “Take position, face your fear, and hold your ground till the last possible moment.” Aiden is frequently the voice of when it is the last possible moment. This mantra is how Kayley and Garrett defeat Ruber at the end of the film.

There are other examples of Garrett using his senses in the the film, such as smell and touch when they enter Dragon Country. Kayley is unaware they’ve crossed over even though she can see it with her own eyes. Later, when they hatch a plan to get Exalibur back from a giant, Garret needs Kayley to describe the layout to him and then he’s able to come up with a plan. His hearing is very important and the moment he can’t hear is when he gets injured, but he’s healed by the knowledge of the forest he passed onto Kayley, such as which plants are medicinal.

Despite everything, Garrett does not lose his sense of humor.

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When he saves Kayley, meeting her for the first time, she doesn’t realize he’s blind right away. But when she does, she says, “Oh, I didn’t realize you were…” Garrett takes the opportunity to throw out some adjectives, like rugged and handsome, but when she finally says blind, he quips, “You know I always forget that one.”

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Later, when Kayley sees Aiden, also known as Merlin’s bird Silver Wings, she says, “Hey your bird has silver wings.” And Garrett, ever the charmer: “Really? I’ll have to take your word for it.”

Garrett is such a great step towards representation. While blind, this feature is a mere facet of who he is. He has wants, he wants to become a knight, but fears he can’t. He wants to be with Kayley, but is afraid. He had a life before we met him; he was a stable boy in Camelot. He’s sarcastic, already shown above. He’s not just the “blind warrior,” as Ruber calls him.

He eventually overcomes his fears when Kayley’s been captured. He goes back to Camelot and joins the fight. When they confront Ruber and the bastard breaks his walking stick, Kayley comes up with a plan to trap Excalibur back in the stone. They take position, face their fears, and hold their ground until the last possible moment, tricking Ruber and using Garrett’s technique. The film does not devalue Garrett because he is blind. In fact, they validate the things he’s learned, most importantly at the end of the film when it is Garrett’s tactics that prevail.

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  • Devon and Cornwall: If I Didn’t Have You

If I Didn’t Have You was one of my FAVORITE songs ever as a kid. I loved this musical number. It shocked me now to come back to these characters and see them in an entirely new light. Devon and Cornwall are the reason “cousins shouldn’t marry” (hello incest joke!). They’re not classically handicapped and I don’t want to say they are a mutation, but they’re different from the norm. I think an argument can be made that they are a symbol of disability. Seriously, I do not want to offend anyone and I’m really nervous. I want to phrase this properly and respectfully. Devon and Cornwall also can’t breathe fire or fly, which are serious disabilities if you’re a dragon and Devon and Cornwall certainly are.

They are bullied by their fellow dragon-peers. Devon calls them “fire breathing bullies” and after they lead Kayley and Garrett underground to escape, they say they know every place to hide because they’ve been “dodging those bullies since we were two hundred years old.” Now, Devon and Cornwall aren’t disabled in the traditional sense like Garrett. Their problems fall on the fantastical side because of the nature of the film and the story being told, but I think the fact that they do look different and aren’t “normal” by conventional standards, does make them a symbol of disability.

Their song If I Didn’t Have You, while hilarious and witty, can be applied to anyone that wants to change something about themselves. It can be something as simple as, I wish I didn’t have a big nose, to something deeper like, I wish I wasn’t blind. Devon and Cornwall imagine all the possibilities their lives could go if they weren’t stuck with another head. Where Garrett’s arc is not about learning to cope with his disability, it is for the dragons. They’re not in the right headspace, constantly bickering with each other, and angsting. That changes as they gain confidence traveling with Kayley and Garrett.

The other part of the Devon/Cornwall conflict is that they can’t breath fire or fly. This is a more mental than physical problem, though they are unaware of this for the majority of the film. Once they stop bickering and putting each other down, once they are united because their friend Kayley is kidnapped, they can fly. When they notices they’re flying, they argue again, “I did it!” “You mean I did it!” Logical Garrett says: “Don’t you get it? The only reason you can’t fly is that you can’t agree on anything.” Obviously, no one’s disability is solved this easily but the message is that by loving yourself for who you are and embracing every part of you, you won’t be beholden to your disability.

Finally, at the end of the film, Devon and Cornwall DO get separated, but choose to be reattached. They love themselves the way they are.

Quest for Camelot: We’re all in this Together

  • United We Stand VS I Stand Alone VS Through Your Eyes

The music in Quest for Camelot really carries this theme of togetherness through till the very end. United We Stand is the opening song of the knights. It sets up the world and the values of the society.

United we stand
Now and forever
In truth, divided we fall

Hand upon hand
Brother to brother
No one shall be greater than all

From the start, this message of strength in numbers is told to us. Which, everyone knows the Knights of the Round Table are all about teamwork and crap like that. But then we meet Garrett and his song, I Stand Alone totally flips that.

Like every tree stands on its own
Reaching for the sky I stand alone
I share my world with no one else
All by myself I stand alone

As was already stated, Garrett’s arc is all about his overcoming that feeling. I mean, he lives in the FORBIDDEN Forest. He’s not about uniting and standing together. Garrett feels rejected by society, so he’s shut himself away. He tells Kayley flat out he’s a hermit and later, once he, Kayley, Devon, and Cornwall have made it out of dragon country in one piece, he says “Good news is, we’re out of dragon country, the better news is, this is where we say goodbye.” Garrett is not one for the whole team playing. Neither is Kayley, really, since after he finishes his song, she retorts, “I stand alone, too. I just need your help this once.” Kayley has always wanted to prove herself. She resents the gender roles that makes her a homemaker: “Taking care of the house… boring… where’s the glory in that?”

But, there’s Kayley, who he falls in love with. When he’s injured, Kayley can’t bear the thought of losing him. He’s not just her guide. She says, “Please don’t die, I can’t do this without you.” Kayley has always wanted to be a knight, but unlike Garrett, she never gave up on that dream. But she wanted to do great things on her own.

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Kayley, too, had to learn the power that comes from having a partner, from standing with someone (a la her “I stand alone, too” comment). After she heals him, they admit their feelings and the song Through Your Eyes plays. This song is all about two people becoming one, a unity.

Our two hearts are one
It’s out of our hands
We can’t stop what we have begun
And love just took me by surprise
Looking through your eyes

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Kayley and Garrett have learned that some things can’t be done alone. That together, by standing together, they are stronger. Well… they only learn it for a little while, since once they reach Camelot, Garrett tells Kayley to return the sword alone.

Kayley: But we’ll deliver the sword together.
Garrett: No, you deliver it. I don’t belong in that world. (Instrumental I Stand Alone plays)
Kayley: (as he walks away) (whispering) But you belong in mine.

*Feels*

  • Things Everyone Learned

By the time Kayley decides to go back for Garrett, it’s too late. Ruber has already caught up to her. And once Garrett hears this, he goes after her, no questions asked. No more fear. The only hitch is, he’ll never make it to Camelot in time… unless Devon and Cornwall fly!

Devon and Cornwall are united in their love for Kayley and want to save her. The moment they put their differences aside because they are equal in their resolve to save their friend, they are a team! They can fly! They even choose to remain one at the end, instead of separating. They even protect Aiden/Silver Wings from Ruber’s gryffin. It’s not about one person. It’s about everyone helping everyone

Just before Kayley and Garrett stop Ruber and the creep thinks he’s won, he says, “Two for the price of one.” Again, it reminds is Kayley and Garrett are a team. But Ruber, actually, in a rather odd turn of events, actually also falls into this message of togetherness. He interrupts United We Stand and visually appears out of the shadows the first time we meet him, a sign that he’s different from everyone else. His beliefs aren’t in line. But, when he gets Excalibur, finally, he attaches it to his arm.

Like Hook.

So morbidly, Ruber too enters a unity with the sword and becomes one with it. It’s really weird and I wonder if the creators were thinking this way when they were building the story.

Let’s switch gears a little—because that got weird fast—and look at King Arthur, Camelot, and his knights. Arthur also needs to be reminded of the importance of teamwork. He wants to go after Ruber and get Excalibur back, but he was wounded in Ruber’s attack and must heed Merlin’s advice: he must rely on the courage of his people. People! More than one. It’s not about valiant King Arthur riding in and saving the day. It’s about a collective force coming together.

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Visually, we’re also shown the three ringed symbol of Arthur’s rule: the one true king, the sword, and the lands he united. We also see subjects dancing in large group numbers. Everything is collective here. That message of united we stand isn’t lost in simple world building aspects like this.

  • Wrapping Up

If it wasn’t totally obvious, I completely recommend Quest for Camelot. It does fail in the people of color aspect, everyone is white. But it does show us grief, a mother/daughter relationship I didn’t get to touch on but is very strong and also important, and really, most importantly Garrett: a strong amazing blind character. Devon and Cornwall too are important in terms of disability, but they’re merely just symbols. Garrett is a human, is disabled, and kicks ass (literally and figuratively).

What do you think? Have you seen Quest for Camelot? What’s your favorite song?

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Cheers,
-M&M!