When I was but a wee thing, very little in this world scared me more than the villains from Disney movies. They were horrible. They were devious. They were manipulative. They were….possibly misunderstood.
It was after my stunning realization that the Wicked Witch might not be so wicked after all that I began to rethink my opinions on all my childhood villains.
Some of them are evil, no doubt about it.
Ordering your stepdaughter’s heart be cut out because a prince was singing her a love song? Not cool Queenie. Now considering that your stepdaughter was fourteen and the prince’s age was undetermined, I could see sending your huntsman after him.
Skinning puppies? Sorry Cruella, can’t talk yourself out of that one.
Killing your brother, telling everyone your nephew did it (including the kid himself), hitting on your sister-in-law and running the kingdom into the ground? That’s just hard to come back from, Scar.
But there are a couple who still have me on the fence. Two ladies whose actions certainly were not well advised, but were they evil? Maybe you can help me decide:
First Impression: She’s a demon. Has to be. All those flowing black robes and skin that sometimes seems to be tinted green, sometimes purple. She hangs around with ravens and can turn into a DRAGON. Evil. Evil. Evil.
Upon Reflection: Why is she so angry? Everyone in the kingdom is snubbing her. Have you ever been the ONLY person left off the party invitation? Wouldn’t that make everyone a little glum? Sure, her nickname is “Mistress of All Evil,” but she gave it to herself. Classic over compensation to mask deep insecurities. And the whole turning into a dragon and trying to eat everyone? If that’s not a cry for help, I don’t know what is.
First Impression: She’s an evil witch trying to use the good king’s daughter to destroy him. She preys on wishers and dreamers, turning them into emaciated polyps. She can increase to massive proportions at will and tries to kill the young mermaid who was only looking for true love. Conclusion: Bad guy.
Upon Reflection: Ursula was cast from her home by Triton (who some report to be her brother) causing understandable mental anguish. But did she let it overcome her? No. She became a successful businesswoman. She has a lot of power, why should she be expected to use it free of charge? And can we really blame her for trying to take precautions against merpeople breaking contracts, particularly when it seems as though so many of them are less than reliable? If we are to judge based on her business with Ariel, she lays out her terms very clearly. She’ll turn Ariel human for three days. If Ariel gets a kiss of true love, transformation is permanent. If not, back to mermaid form and under Ursula’s power. Sure, these might be harsh terms, but they’re clear. And you know what Ariel does after they’re explained? Signs the damn contract. The whole pretending to be the woman of Eric’s dreams thing might fall in a morally gray area, but what it comes down to is that rather than meeting the terms of the contract that she herself signed, Ariel is complicit in killing the woman that she willingly entered into business with. Ursula was a tough businesswoman, yes. But deserving of being impaled on a ship? I don’t think it’s that cut and dry.
So what do you say, vile or simply vilified? Where do these ladies fall?