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"Frying Pans! Who knew, right?"

Who knew that the 50'th movie in the Disney Animated Canon would be full of revelations?

Fridge Brilliance

  • During Mother Knows Best Gothel tells Rapunzel that the world is "Dark and selfish and cruel", then Gothel puts Rapunzel in front of a mirror to pinpoint all her unpleasant traits, saying "On your own, you won't survive!" And then when Rapuzel confronts Gothel after realizing she is the lost princess, she pushes Gothel onto the mirror, causing it to break. This could be a metaphor for Rapunzel realizing that she can survive on her own and that the world is not the dark one Gothel described. Or, in her own words:
    • Rapunzel: (clenching Gothel by the wrist) You were wrong about the world, and you were wrong about me!
  • Eugene really did get both of his dreams, except for the alone part. His song lyric was that he wished to be "On an Island that I own, tanned and rested and alone, surrounded by enormous piles of money." Rapunzel's parents' castle is on an island, and their kingdom certainly doesn't seem that poor.
    • Also, in regards to the part about living somewhere sunny, the entire kingdom has a sun motif. Also, he marries Rapunzel, who is constantly compared to and represented by the sun.
  • The chameleon, Pascal, which Rapunzel apparently kept hidden from Gothel, hints at her real spirit.
  • With the emotional abuse that Mother Gothel casually heaps on Rapunzel on an everyday basis, and her building up and building on Rapunzel's terrors of the outside world (let alone being locked in one small building all your life), shouldn't Rapunzel be a raging bundle of neuroses and absolutely unable to venture outside? Wait a minute - Rapunzel herself contains the essence of the Sun. Her natural state is delight, liveliness, and joy. Everything Mother Gothel did every day could only barely keep her down.
    • The sunlight's also why almost everyone who encounters Rapunzel is charmed by her. The magic gives her a "glowing" personality that naturally attracts people. Explains how she made such a big impression on the kingdom in the few short days/weeks before she was kidnapped.
  • Pay attention to the mobile that baby Rapunzel has. You can clearly see a chameleon, a duck, a horse, and a little Cupid. Each of these appear in the story in some way.
    • What does the fifth item on the mobile that looks like a blue duck with a yellow belly suppose to reference? Maybe it doesn't mean anything.
      • It represents the Snuggly Duckling, the bar where Rapunzel and Flynn meet all of those Lovable Rogues.
      • This says that it's the birds she sees after leaving the tower for the first time.
  • Gothel is dressed several centuries behind the people of the kingdom, just to show how very old she really is. Also, the line in "Mother Knows Best" about the plague. More than likely she could have very well lived through the thing.
    • Maybe her dress isn't centuries behind. When we first see Gothel, she's wearing a red cloak and green dress, and when see her again centuries later, this time she's wearing a black cloak and red dress of same style and design, and they look brand new and not out of place, implying that the fashion of Gothel's clothing may still be in.
      • Maybe she sews her own clothing?
  • Why does Gothel agree to go on a three day journey to get Rapunzel paint? That's another method emotional abusers use: doing big extravagant tasks so that they can hold it over their victim's head and have another reason to guilt trip them.
    • It's a three day trip as far as Rapunzel knows. If the shells are closer, Gothel could have just gone a few steps away from the tower, grabbed the shells, and partied for three days without Rapunzel knowing anything.
      • If it were so easy, she would not have been so hesitant and needed convincing. Thinking of it an a method of emotional abuse works better.
      • Unless Gothel played up how hard it was to get the paint so Rapunzel would feel guilty about it anyway.
    • Gothel was obviously uneasy about leaving Rapunzel along for three days; it would mean that she has to wait that much longer to get the daily youthening, and after expressing such a desire to go outside, it would be unwise to leave her alone for so long if avoidable. I think that it really was three days away, and she agreed because she really did care about Rapunzel, at least a bit.
      • Gothel doesn't agree to do it until Rapunzel mentions that she thought it would be better than the 'stars'. She doesn't want to do it but it seems to be a way to get Rapunzel to drop the subject of leaving the tower.
  • The first thing we hear from Flynn is how much he wants a palace. What does he get at the end?
  • Mother Gothel frequently calling Rapunzel "flower". In a way, she literally is her flower. And her name derives from rampion, the magical flower of the Prologue.
    • Alternatively, her hair is the second coming of the magical blossom. Notice that cut locks do not appear to grow after being cut, similar to how flower petals won't grow back out if you take a chunk out of them. Presumably, if you'd plucked a petal or torn it in any way on the original sun flower, the entire petal would have ceased to be magical.
    • Except as she retained the power to heal, her hair isn't the only petal on her.
  • Flynn's real name being Eugene. It's a little thing, but the name does mean "Born to Royalty" or "Royal". Who's to say that he wasn't intentionally named so by the filmmakers? It's possible he was named thus to suggest that he is Rapunzel's "prince in disguise".
  • Reading this site's Does This Remind You of Anything? entry regarding the Villain Song reprise made me realize that, although Disney had to change the actual plot so as not to include pregnancy and such, they still kept the (commonly accepted) sexual awakening theme of the original tale. They were true to the essence of the original story, which is far more important than adhering letter-by-letter to the literal plot.
  • There's this line in "Mother Knows Best".

 Plus, I believe, gettin' kinda chubby

I'm just sayin' 'cuz I wuv ya!

    • At face value, it just looks like Gothel being a Jerkass to keep Rapunzel down just like the rest of the song, but it's actually a very clever Shout-Out to the original story, where the witch finds out about Rapunzel's prince because she gets pregnant and her clothes don't fit anymore.
  • Brad Garrett being able to sing as Hook Hand Thug in "I've Got a Dream". For those who know of his previous work, this comes off as a stroke of Fridge Brilliance: in The Pacifier he plays another thug-like fellow who ends up singing the part of Mother Abbess in The Sound Of Music production in-story at the end!
  • I noticed on my second viewing that Mother Gothel was clutching a piece of hair as it was withering both times the rejuvenation was revoked. It occurred to me that it may not have been a case of simple No Immortal Inertia.
    • Also, when it happens the first time, Rapunzel's hair is nowhere near as long as it is later...Mother Gothel doesn't de-age/degenerate to dust and bones until the second time, when the hair is a lot longer.
  • At first, the Snuggly Duckling is funny simply because it's a Bad Guy Bar with a totally harmless-sounding name. Then we learn about the patrons' Hidden Depths, and realize it's a pun on the original Ugly Duckling tale; like said duckling, the thugs are rough and ugly on the outside, but good on the inside.
  • ENDING SPOILERS PRESENT So in the end after Flynn cuts Rapunzel's hair, Gothel shrivels away- but the Queen doesn't become ill/near-death again in the kingdom. Apparantly the healings are permanent while youth restorings, while temporary, can be revoked.
    • Also, the cut on Flynn's left palm does not re-open, which, after only a single day, it should have, if all the flower's magical restorations are revoked. But it's also possible that if the events of the story had happened within Gothel's natural lifespan, and she had only used the flower to restore her youth once or twice, it would not have been revoked, but Gothel's been abusing the flower's power for simply too long, piling up a debt of youth, as it were, that all get's forcibly recalled at the end. (Note how it appears that as time goes on, the intervals during which Gothel gets her youth restored seem to get shorter and shorter, and she ages faster and faster between sessions with the flower. At the beginning of the story, it seems like at least several weeks had to have passed between the time the flower is taken from her (time to get the flower back to the kingdom, prepare it for the queen, for the queen to recover, to give birth, for the celebration of the Rapunzel's birth, and for Rapunzel to grow a little - she's clearly no longer a neonate when she's kidnapped) and the time she gets it back, while 18 years later, she's already showing visible signs of aging after only a couple days.)
    • My guess would be that since healing is a natural process, de-aging is... obviously not. So when the flower's magic just speeds up a natural process, you only need it once, whereas if it does something unnatural, it'll need repeating again and again. This doesn't really explain why Flynn's resurrection works, though.
      • I put that down to half The Power of Love and half that's basically what happened in the original.
      • I assumed that her tears contain (or possibly contained) the same power as her hair, and since Flynn had just died it was able to ressusitate him and heal the wound, much like our doctors can technically bring somebody back from the dead, if they've only been dead for a very short time.
    • Gothel's song specifically refers to turning back time. The longer she uses the magic, the longer ago was her original youth.
  • When you see the Stabbington Brothers spy on Flynn/Eugene and Rapunzel, they are carrying a green lantern. It's not theirs - it's Mother Gothel's, and because they're working for her now that they have it..
  • This is the first Disney Princess film that tells you magic is not the key to happiness, since Flynn ultimately decided that the power from the sun was what was causing all the problems. The Princess and the Frog also told this, but did not exclude magic completely.
    • And the first where someone reacts with shock to the idea of magic being real. Even modern Tiana accepted as a given that Facilier had real magic powers, and that a kiss could actually restore Naveen.
  • When Gothel stabs Flynn/Eugene, she wounds an area roughly where the solar plexus is. When Rapunzel's healing teardrop works, a flower forms on it. In Hindu theology, the Manipura is the yellow/golden chackra of the Sun/fire, located on the solar plexus, and like all chackras its supposed to resemble a flower.
    • Sorry to spoil your fun, but the stab wound is on the lower right side of the abdomen, while the solar plexus is located in the center around the stomach much higher up. Not even situs inversus totalus could make your theory work. So, not even close.
  • The tear at the end. The flower's magic was said to be contained in her hair, and then that happened. One shot in the opening shows how the flower was given to the Queen- in a tea!
  • Rapunzel has a pretty heavy attack with that frying pan, not to mention the fact that she swings both herself and Flynn around on her hair with little trouble. Doesn't that seem rather strong for a girl who's spent her whole life locked away in three rooms? Oh that's right, she hauls Mother Gothel up a fifty-foot tower by herself EVERY DAY. Jeez, this girl must have developed some serious muscles.
  • If Rapunzel has never left the tower before, that means she's seen very little sunlight. So shouldn't she be pale and sickly? Wait a minute, she has the sun inside her.
    • She also has a wide open balcony she sits on and a sun roof that fills the room with light.
  • The Opening Narration has Flynn saying "This is the story of how I died" and indeed this does happen in a way. "Flynn Rider" dies, but the man he actually is, Eugene Fitzherbert, lives instead.
  • In "Mother Knows Best", Gothel calls Rapunzel "pet". Which is exactly what she is to Gothel, a pet in a gilded cage. And all those things she amuses herself with in "When Will My Life Begin" which Gothel presumably has given her and which make it appear that Gothel loves her, are like the "enrichment" we give caged animals - like a pet gerbil's running wheel.
  • In "I Have a Dream", the thug playing the piano at one points plays a "trill". A "trill" usually requires two fingers to play, and he does it with his hook. Playing a trill with only a single "appendage" to press down the keys might not be completely impossible, but at the least would require near superhuman wrist dexterity. So that hook-handed thug who dreamed of being a concert pianist is quite justified in his dream. Because. he. is. damn. good.
    • And he's also an early adopter. If the movie takes place around 1780 as Word of God says, then the piano in its modern form would only have been developed a few years previously (and even it's predecessor, the pianoforte, would only have been around for barely 50 years or so).
  • Note how shocked Rapunzel looks when Gothel finally gets sick of her requesting to go outside and coldly informs her that she will never leave the tower. It's not just because she's being told she'll never leave; it's the first time Gothel has ever let her true nature slip completely in front of Rapunzel (that is, the coldly avaricious person she really is rather than the syrupy sweet mother who 'teases' her).
  • Eugene's joking words at the end "and after years and years of asking, I finally said yes" does in fact seem largely irrelevant to the royalty portrayed in the movie, but it does make sense: as Princess, Rapunzel would probably propose to Eugene instead of it being the other way around, since she is the one with real power and Eugene is lower in rank to her. Sure, they do turn it on its head in the head with Eugene saying that he asked her, but despite that, his earlier comment holds true to the principles that govern royal families, especially in the matter of marriage.
    • I saw it as more Disney trying to have their cake and eat it too with regard to gender stereotyping. Not in a bad way, however--with that specific wording, they manage to entertain the idea of the woman being the one to propose without making Rapunzel look marriage-crazy, which would have Unfortunate Implications given her youth and sheltered upbringing. They've come to realize how bad some of their earlier movies look by having the heroine only 16 and getting married at the end, and in more recent ones have gone out of their way to demonstrate that they aren't doing that anymore. Rapunzel turns 18 over the course of the movie and the ending tells us that she and Flynn are together for several years before they tie the knot.
  • Remember the single lantern that floats down to the water next to Eugene and Rapunzel's boat after they have launched their own lanterns, which Rapunzel gently lifts and tosses back into the sky? Unlike the pair of lanterns they just launched, this lantern is decorated with the royal sun insignia - suggesting that it might be the initial lantern that the king and queen launched from their balcony, the lantern that was supposed to find the lost princess, and it did!
  • At the end of the movie, there is quite the contrast between the Queen and King's appearances. He is much more careworn and wrinkled, with much gray in his hair, while she still looks as youthful and beautiful as she did when Rapunzel was a baby. Aside from the fact that he was likely ravaged with grief while she still held out hope her daughter would be found, remember that she ingested the flower. If the flower's magic does/did indeed make Rapunzel immortal, or at least long-lived and youthful (she really doesn't look 18), it stands to reason that it would do the same to her mother. So, she's retained her youthful beauty while the king still got older.
  • Having Rapunzel and Gothel singing to invoke the magic from the flower is a pretty good way to kick off a musical. However, it brings to mind the old wives' tale that if you speak or sing to your plants, they grow better. Likely unintentional but still a sudden moment where the lightbulb went on over my head while rewatching this movie.
  • How did Flynn and Rapunzel get to see the King and Queen when he's the most wanted man in the kingdom? Simple, Maximus vouched for his character. While he can't talk, he can certainly impress on the guards "He's with me." Once he and Rapunzel are with the king and queen, the rest is golden.
  • If you pay close attention during the introduction of the thugs at the Snuggly Duckling, you'll notice a number of subtle hints at their gentler nature, like how one thug (Killer) is wearing spools of thread on his spiky helmet and has sewing needles stuck into his shoulder pads.
  • She make a starchart on her wall with the phases of the Moon, her own constellations and what looks like a analemma. She spent serious time looking out the window at night and at how the Sun moved along the wall.
  • Eugene cuts Rapunzel's hair before she can heal him, killing Mother Gothel in the process. Now, it may seemed stupid he didn't just wait until after he was healed, but think about it. He didn't know WHY Gothel needed the hair, he just knew she did. For all he knew, cutting the hair would've not affected her at all and Rapunzel would be bound to her promise. So with the information Eugene had, the only logical move was cut the hair before he was healed.
    • Also take into account that Flynn/Eugene was a very selfish human being when Rapunzel first met him (his greatest dream was to be completely alone). Over the course of their journey together, Eugene learns to care for her more than he cares for himself, and that kind of love throws all logic out the window where your own well-being is concerned. So when Rapunzel was facing a future of slavery to Gothel's vanity, his life was the last thing on his mind and her survival was all that mattered.
    • I just figured he was thinking logically. Rapunzel had promised that after she had healed Eugene, she would go with Mother Gothel with no resistance. Rapunzel was very clear that she never beaks her promises (which is the only reason Gothel agreed to allow the healing). This means that as soon as Eugene was healed, Rapunzel was to be taken away somewhere "no one would find her ever again". As Eugene was chained up, he probably knew that he may not have been able to reach her hair as soon as he was healed, and that this was his best (and most likely only) chance to cut her hair. True that he did not know how this would affect Gothel, but he did know that her hair was the reason Gothel kept her captive, and thus would lose interest in keeping Rapunzel locked away should her hair be removed. Either way, he knew this was probably his last chance to gain Rapunzel her freedom, by Gothel's choice or by her death.
  • Rapunzel losing her magic is nicely foreshadowed, and not just by the cut lock either. Mother Gothel tells Rapunzel how the world is dark, selfish, and cruel, and "if it finds even the slightest ray of sunshine, it destroys it." She's talking about Rapunzel's disappointment in Flynn and the loss of her sunny demeanor, but think about it: while Rapunzel is metaphorically referred to as "flower," she's also metaphorically "the sun," or more specifically, her powers are, since that's where they came from. The outside world really does find a piece of the sun, and destroys it... part of it anyway. But not because it's dark, selfish, and cruel.
    • I realised this upon hearing the destroying sunshine line, but thought of it a different way as well; maybe Gothel wasn't only talking about the loss of Rapunzel's sunny demeanor, but also feeling as though it was unfair for anyone to search for and then take her healing flower for any reason, and was bitter about the plant being destroyed in order to save two unimportant people (in Gothel's own opinion).
  • Rapunzel's usage of the frying pan as weaponry has upon the third rewatching, seemed to just smack of Girrrl Power. It makes sense thusly: the frying pan is a tool used in the kitchen, and Rapunzel remarks in her "I Want" Song that she is fond of cooking, and using frying pans throughout history by women of the past to defend themselves doesn't sound so unlikely either. In short, the "tool of the kitchen" in Rapunzel's hands becomes a symbol of "Girl Power."
    • Of course the frying pan is the most useful weapon in the movie. If the swords were effective the movie wouldn't be suitable for kids
  • There are some people who complain that, in reality, the King and Queen are selfish for destroying the flower whereas MG is so much better because she just has to sing to it, but, what if that was why Rapunzel was born with the golden hair in the first place. Not literally, because literally this is the truth, but in a sense, the movie is all about second chances. MG is selfish and hides the flower away, so she loses her chance to have the flower. The Queen destroyed the flower out of ignorance rather than malice, so she and the king were given a second chance with raising it, and using it for good by way of Rapunzel. MG took the child as a second chance for keeping the flower, and she abused her second chance too. In the end, Flynn/Eugene is given a second chance at life, the King and Queen are given a second chance at raising a daughter, the thugs are given a second chance with their lives... It's all about the second chance, and not wasting it! [1]
  • Came across a comment about fairy tales on the Literature page: the reason most fairy tales have pain or near-death is because love is about facing your biggest fears. Eugene takes on the persona of Flynn Rider to escape his past and to actually live a life more exciting than being nothing. He's not afraid to stand out, in fact he wants people to notice him; the only reason he's upset by the Wanted posters is because they keep getting his nose wrong. As he spends more time with Rapunzel, though, he's okay with melting into the background and allowing her to shine.[2] Cutting off Rapunzel's hair and allowing himself to die - in fact becoming nothing - is how he faces this fear, giving himself over to love.
    • He had to let go of "Flynn", because "Eugene" finally had something worthwhile.
  • It was either unintentional or a very subtle Shout-Out, but the ceramic unicorn reminds this troper of The Glass Menagerie. Everybody in Tangled needs to break some kind of illusion to have a better life - except the Stabbington twins, who need a good lawyer.
  • Some people discussing the climactic scene in another forum agreed that it corresponds very, very closely to their experiences escaping from certain types of toxic upbringing, in which the parent plunges further and further into a world in which children are used to prop up their parents' fantasies of power, significance, and righteousness, cutting off as much contact with the outside as possible.
    • Gothel = the child's actual mother, father, or both.
    • Rapunzel's parents = her real-world relatives/kind neighbors/that one teacher, who can't do anything to get her out because Gothel is legally her parent(s), but they keep connected as best they can.
    • The crown = memories of unconditional love and trust, unrecognized at first.
    • Rapunzel's hair = the list of rules, taboos, etc., that weigh her down. She can use them, but she can't get away from them--they drag along behind her wherever she goes.
    • Gothel using Rapunzel's power to keep herself young = the parent(s) using the child as a fantasy prop or proof that they are doing everything right. The child is less important than what the parent(s) can get out of having her/him. Note that Gothel wouldn't even have Rapunzel if she could have just cut her hair and run away.
    • Rapunzel's healing power = her unquenchable conscience, soul, etc.--the parts of her spirit that Gothel wants to control.
    • The sun: Seeing clearly, seeing beyond the deceptions.
    • Flynn: that one friend who barges into Rapunzel's life more than even the neighbors and teachers, pushing her to challenge herself and be more than she is.
      So the movie can be read like this: Naive, sheltered adult child of a domineering parent steps out of her carefully constructed and constricted world and sees the real world. The parent sees her happiness and becomes enraged because the parent's self-worth depends on having an obedient, pliant child. The parent tricks the child into cutting the connections she is forming with the outside world and gets her to return home, but the child cannot unsee what has been seen. Now the power games are no longer even thinly concealed. The adult child asserts her adulthood--note how tall and fierce Rapunzel looks as she turns to walk out of the tower--and the parent pounces. However, the friends the adult child has made outside aren't fooled by the parent's lies and refuse to give up on her. The parent summons up all of the mental conditioning that has been imposed on the child. The friends from outside will be destroyed utterly if the child does not give in! However, the threats the parent utters only make sense to people who have been raised in that system of belief and the friend from outside who comes to the house denies the system utterly. The child then discovers that the power that she thought came from the system she is tangled up in really comes from inside her. The parent loses all power over the child and also loses whatever he/she was getting out of dominating the child. When we next see the adult child, she is really adult, confident, wise, and capable, and surrounded by people who really love her.
  • On the main page, it's noted that, surprisingly, Rapunzel is an only child despite the fact that her parents are hereditary monarchs, and thus need an heir to continue their family line. Considering that the first pregnancy nearly killed both mother and child, and it was only the intervention of a now-long gone healing potion that saved her, they've probably become wary of trying for more children (or perhaps cannot conceive another for some reason connected to this). This adds the knowledge that their family line and kingdom is probably doomed to the already-painful loss of a much loved daughter.
  • A fair amount of attention is paid to Rapunzel's bare feet in the first 2/3 of the film. Just Fan Service, right? Well, look closely at those scenes and compare them to each other, starting with the opening "I Want" Song, in the tower where Rapunzel is at home and comfortable, then when she first leaves the tower, then over the course of the journey, and finally the Kingdom Dance scene, after which although Rapunzel's feet are shown again, they are not the focus of a scene ever again, not a single frame. Yes, the Fan Service has thematic significance!
  • Rapunzel makes candles, some of the pots are lumpy or misshapen with bad paint jobs, she knits, there's a dress mannequin and a spinning wheel. She has made practically everything in the tower.
  • Freeze frame just when Eugene cuts Rapunzel's hair. Directly above and behind his head is a heart--and Rapunzel probably painted it.
  • The film makes it clear that Rapunzel is 18 years old, which is the technical age of a consenting adult... Disney probably didn't want any underage things going on.
    • Not everywhere has 18 for the age of consent, a case of SoCalization.
      • Not really. Most of the US States have 18 for the age of consent. More importantly, 18 is typically considered when you become an adult and when you leave the nest (head to college) so it's the perfect age for Rapunzel to start challenging Mother Gothel.
  • Rapunzel is intelligent, extremely skilled and knowledgeable in many ways, but entirely lacking in worldly experience. In other words, an ivory tower intellectual.
  • When Rapunzel's hair is cut, the Queen doesnt spontaneously die and Eugene's hand stay healed. But all the anti-aging of Mother Gothel is reversed. I noticed something about this: both times, the hair/flower is wet/in water. The Queen drinks a tea, Eugene is healed while Rapunzels hair is still wet. And when he is healed at the end, its from her tears
  • The healing power of the flower, and then Rapunzel's hair, comes from a single drop of the Sun that fell to Earth. Once Rapunzel's hair is destroyed, a single drop falls from her eye onto Flynn's face. That's not a tear, that's the original drop, performing one last act of healing!
    • This feels very true, since when Rapunzel was born of the drop of sun, she also, sort of, became the sun, and what fell from her eye was just like what fell from the real sun. See examples above.
  • Right before Rapunzel steps out to confront her "mother", you see a brief scene of her panting in her room, which I didn't understand the importance of. Then after the 3rd rewatch I finally got it. Rapunzel is working up the courage to ask her "Mother" if she is the lost princess, because she had just admitted how Mother Gothel was right about Eugene. Sure, Rapunzel had disobeyed Gothel before in the forest, but this time, Rapunzel realizes that depending on how Mother Gothel answers, everything in their relationship is going to change. The one scene before she steps out is important in building atmosphere before the great confrontation between "mother" and "daughter" as Rapunzel prepares to see if she'll have to sever all ties with the only parental figure she knew.
  • Tangled incorporates elements of all the classic Disney Princess films that came before it. Princess taken from her parents in infancy and raised in secret. The villain is a Vain Sorceress who appears both as a beautiful young woman and an old crone. The villain also has a abusive, quasi-parental relationship with the heroine. Meanwhile, the love interest is a lovable rogue of low origin on the run from the law, who shares an Almost Kiss with the heroine during a starry evening while on a rowboat.
  • Originally, I was a little put out that Disney wouldn't market Rapunzel as a brunette - until I realized, that's actually a spoiler!
  • Throughout the movie Rapunzel refers to Gothel as Mother, what the viewers and Rapunzel herself fail to notice is that that's Gothel's first name. Gothel isn't taking it as an affectionate nickname, they're really on a first name basis.
    • Is it really her first name, though? It seems more of a title or descriptor than a name. I mean, in some versions of the original story, she's called Dame Gothel, which is basically "Lady Gothel" so I don't think "Mother" is actually meant to be taken as a first name.
  • At the end of the movie, Rapunzel still has short hair, leading to several questions and theories about why this is. However, there's one non-magical explanation that might explain it; for the first eighteen years of her life Rapunzel has been forced to drag what must have eventually been a hugely heavy and inconvenient collection of hair behind her. While it might have come in useful from time to time, now that it's gone and she's free from the tower, a weight has been (both literally and metaphorically) lifted from her shoulders and she is free of a life-long burden (again both literally and metaphorically); is it any wonder that she might prefer keeping her hair short from now on?
  • However, note that when she's talking to Flynn about how her hair doesn't regrow when it's cut, she shows him the lock of her hair that was cut when she was baby, when Mother Gothel thought she could just cut the hair and take it with her. She's showing him this when she's 17, meaning that hair didn't grow a single inch during 17 years of her life. It's not a matter of her wanting to keep it short or not, she has no choice. When she cuts her hair, it just does NOT grow back.

Fridge Horror

  • If you listen carefully to the first reprise (sadly not in the actual film, but available on the Tangled OST) of Gothel's Villain Song, "Mother Knows Best", it includes this delicious bit of Foreshadowing about her eventual fate:

 Go ahead and leave me, I deserve it

Let me die alone here, be my guest.

    • This is an eerie Foreshadowing of her eventual death, because that is exactly she has feared from the very beginning of the movie, and if Rapunzel truly does leave her, she will die - alone, deprived of her "magical flower" of an adopted daughter.
    • Remember...

 I'm not getting any younger down here!

  • Rapunzel's tears seem to retain some healing/rejuvenating power if they're cried for the pain/loss of someone she truly loves. Thank God that Mother Gothel was already dead by the time that little tidbit of information came to light. Imagine the swiftness and brutality with which things would have descended into crapsack horror if she'd survived to see it.
    • Of course, she would also have to be singing the song at the same time to activate the powers. Note that her hair didn't just radiate healing powers, it needed to be activated.
  • All throughout the entirety of "Mother Knows Best" is Gothel doing various things to Rapunzel to convince her that the outside world is dangerous, but it is Gothel who trips Rapunzel and accuses her of being "clumsy". And despite all this, Rapunzel flees into her "mother's" arms for comfort at the end of it, and because of those incidents, the song carries a very high volume of Does This Remind You of Anything?.
    • Rapunzel has lived in that tower for 18 years. This was not the first time she asked Mom to go see the lanterns. Mother Gothel has been terrorizing her with similar musical numbers for the last 18 years. Just to cow her into obedience.
  • Rapunzel's tears can cure death. Rapunzel is constantly in internal contact with her own bodily fluids. Let's hope the "cure death" thing works a finite number of times, cos otherwise...
    • Eugene was dead for less than a minute, chances of Rapunzel's tear bringing him back to life were the highest and highly possible.
  • It's a good thing Rapunzel was desperate enough to try and sing the song even after Eugene cut her hair. She had no idea her tears contained the same healing power, and if she hadn't used the song to express something that had finally been hers to lose, Eugene would have stayed dead. It was nothing more than an accident, really. That would have put quite a damper on her family reunion, not to mention the rest of her life, because she would have felt responsible.
    • On the other hand, the song is basically her only form of loving interaction she remembers in her life, when Gothel would sing it for her, so it makes sense that it would be the first thing that came to mind.
  • If Rapunzel had never been in the outside world before, having been locked in a tower for 18 years, imagine what would have happened if she had never met Flynn and tried to go to the "lights" alone.
  • At the climax when Flynn climbs up the tower, you can see that her hair's not going through the hook she uses when lifting people. That means there's nothing to take the strain from the pulling away from her head, and he's yanking violently on her scalp with every move he makes. Owww.
  • Also note that Gothel's affectionate looks and caresses are all directed at Rapunzel's magic hair. Rapunzel herself gets the syrupy-sweet putdowns and brushoffs.
  • At the film's climax, Rapunzel promises to always stay with Mother Gothel if she lets her heal Flynn. It sounds like a typical heroic promise, but remember what Rapunzel said earlier. She always keeps her promises. So even if Flynn did somehow find Rapunzel again, even if Mother Gothel did drop her guard another time, Rapunzel would make no effort to escape. Despite knowing how wonderful the world is and what her "mother" did to her, despite knowing that the man she loves is somewhere in the world, she would spend the rest of her life locked up somewhere. And given how Rapunzel seemed to stay in a pretty good state of health throughout most of the events of her life, it wouldn't be a stretch to guess that she would live for a good number of years. And because Mother Gothel is getting eternal youth from her, she'll never die and release Rapunzel from the promise.
  • Chameleons live a maximum of five years normally. Assuming she's not like other Disney Princesses and Rapunzel only has Pascal as a friend... well, imagine your only friend dying every five years at best. This is how Rapunzel has lived, having to hide her only friends her entire life.
    • I dunno, that chameleon seems to spend a lot of time on Rapunzel's shoulder, wrapped up in her magic hair... he's probably getting extra time, just like Mother Gothel. Since Rapunzel is fully aware of the healing powers (as shown by the healing-Flynn's-hand scene), she might sing Pascal back to health whenever he's looking kinda peaky.
    • Not to mention that, as this is the only Disney movie where magic isn't taken for granted, Rapunzel's talking to an animal is most likely a sign of mental illness. Not surprising she's going a little stir crazy after all that time.
    • But, wait. If Pascal was receiving the same age-treatment Mother Gothel was by hiding in her hair, and Mother Gothel turned to dust when Rapunzel's hair was cut--... Oh god, Pascal!
  • It's unlikely that Gothel could live with Rapunzel for 18 years, raise her as her own, and STILL not love her. Despite this she continues to abuse Rapunzel, and moreover, PASCAL MURDERS RAPUNZEL'S MOTHER-FIGURE.
    • On a different Fridge Horrory note... What if Gothel lived with Rapunzel, cared for her, and still was willing to chain her up, kill the man she had started to love and take her far away to never see the light of day again...
    • Rapunzel would in all likelihood live forever. The flower's magic would keep her young just as it keeps Gothel young, and if it wasn't automatic, Gothel would make her use it on herself so she will still be around for Gothel to use it, too.
    • Im not sure if its automatic- but it could be, because you have to touch the hair for it to be used. and rapunzel does because its attached to her head. If its not automatic Rapunzel would just be using the flower when Mother gothel makes her sing.
    • And just to add to it, remember: Gothel chained up Flynn "just in case he got any ideas". She never said she'd unchain him...
  • Combining two things here: Rapunzel's hair symbolizing her virginity and complaints I've seen that Flynn's cutting of her hair at the end robs her of agency. Putting the two together... does that mean the ending could be read as a rape scene?
    • More like a literal liberation combined with a metaphorical sexual liberation.
    • Another even more overt virginity symbol is Rapunzel's crown. Which puts an alternate spin on Gothel's "Mother Knows Best" Reprise, as well as the scene where Rapunzel thinks Flynn has taken the crown and dumped her (sold her to the Stabbington brothers, in fact).
      • Well the new medical term for the woman's hymen is "corona" which literally translates as "crown".
    • Wait, so basically Euguene is re-enacting the infamous Dominic Deegan Stonewater/Melna rape scene?
    • Cannot watch the movie without thinking of this, although I'd always seen it as crown = sex, hair = virginity.
  • OK if Eugene means born of royalty and Fitz-blank means bastard son of blank then let's really hope that Rapunzel's father is not called King Herbert. The Hair colour does match the royal family though.
  • To go with my edit under "Fridge Brilliance" above, the same people were struck by Gothel's Villain Song. It's like a Greatest Hits of Messing With Your Child's Mind.
    • She shuts out all the light from outside, then puts out every candle Rapunzel tries to light.
    • She promises comfort and protection, only to pull a vanishing act when Rapunzel takes her up on it, heightening her fear.
    • She attacks Rapunzel's appearance, behavior, and character, but in a sweet tone of voice. ("I'm just sayin' 'cause I wuv ya!")
    • She acts melodramatic, but accuses Rapunzel of dramatizing and upsetting her.
    • She disguises aggressive dominance as affection--squishing Rapunzel's face, yanking her arm, rolling her up in her own hair.
    • She strings together exaggerated facts and outright lies to terrify Rapunzel out of ever leaving the tower.
    • She presents herself as the only safety in Rapunzel's dark, terrifying world--but of course there are conditions. ("I have only one request... Never ask to leave this tower again.")
    • And she does it all with a horrible, smug smile...
  • Gothel considered the flower and its healing powers exclusively hers. When she first found baby Rapunzel, she cut off a piece of the golden hair only to find that it didn't work, so she took Rapunzel. What if the hair did work even when it was cut? She'd probably have killed Rapunzel right afterward to make sure that no one else could use the powers.
    • That's even more creepy if you read the novelization, which implies that the original reason Mother Gothel entered baby Rapunzel's room with a knife was to get revenge for "stealing" the flower. It wasn't until she saw how Rapunzel's hair was a similar shade of gold that she hit upon the idea that it could perform the same magic.
  • The original story had the evil witch take the baby after her father took the witch's plants. This happened in the movie, too. When Mother Gothel had her flower taken from her by the Kingdom, she stole Rapunzel as revenge.
  • Mother Gothel's irrational emphasis on (non)-aging, because she fears it will ruin her looks. Well, haven't all women, through all the ages of time, longed to be eternally young and beautiful, because they fear that age will wash their beauty away?
    • Personally, I prefer to focus on my internal beauty. That is to say, please don't make sweeping generalizations based on gender.
      • We(men) do worry about aging, yes, but for different reasons. most men don't care about their hair turning white or their face getting wrinkled. men fear the decay of time and having to admit that we are slowly getting weaker.
    • And also, you make it sound like men never worry about aging at all...
  • " This is the story of how I died." How many viewers do you think took that seriously?
  • Considering it's shown that Rapunzel's hair, when cut, never grows back... well, I hope she likes that haircut.
    • Unless she kept cutting that one strand of brown hair throughout the years to keep it hidden. Who wants a 70 ft brown lock to clash with all that blonde hair?
    • If the hair doesn't grow back but does become loose like normal hair, wont she become bald?
  • This troper has been feeling it and she knows other people with a similar upbringing can feel it too. Every song in the movie is an Ear Worm. But most especially "Mother Knows Best". If you've been raised in a similar fashion to Rapunzel, and knowing what Gothel's true intentions were, it is awfully disturbing to have this song playing in your head over and over and over again...
  • Flynn had an awfully close call while he was stuffed into Rapunzel's wardrobe. If Gothel hadn't flipped out at Rapunzel and shocked her into changing her mind about her course of action, Rapunzel would have managed to reveal Flynn's presence - and while Rapunzel assumed it would serve as proof that she was strong enough to risk going out to see the lanterns, imagine how Gothel would really have reacted?
  • What kind of kingdom do Rapunzel’s parents run? Why a kingdom where people can be executed for thievery mere hours after apprehension without a trial.
    • One, he stole the crown of the lost Princess, which may be akin to a man stealing the jewelry of Princess Diana. So it is a serious offense. It is also not his first offense as he is wanted for other crimes in the kingdom. Third he has the item on him, so there was no question of guilt. Fourth, the kingdom is not the United States, there are no rights a person is typically granted. They likely operate on the premise of Guilty until proven Innocent, as was the common ideal in the middle ages. So as a result, justice is a swift action in the kingdom for repeat offenders.
  • Tangled example here: When Flynn says 'This is the story of how I died', it doesn't mean right at the very end (why would they reveal such a big plot point?) it means Flynn dies, but Eugene Fitzhebert lives on!
    • Also from Tangled, it the "I love you more" "I love you most" seemed out of character, even with Mother Gothel raising Rapunzel... until I realized right after she says it, she kisses Rapunzel's hair.
  • Tangled: When Gothel was singing "Mother Knows Best" to convince Rapunzel that the outside world was dangerous, notice how she was the one tripping Rapunzel and calling her clumsy (and that's not mentioning the rest of the other Jerkass things she says to Rapunzel). And right after, Rapunzel immediately runs into Gothel's arms for comfort. The Fridge Horror enters the picture when you realize that Gothel has been doing this to Rapunzel for the past eighteen years to keep her in the tower.
    • Also, there's the scene where Mother Gothel tries to take Rapunzel back but Rapunzel refuses. Just look at what Mother Gothel does - she sneers at Rapunzel, calls her silly and naive, says that she just imagined up a romance, and then tries to break Rapunzel's faith in Flynn (pretty much the only healthy emotional connection she's had in the entire movie) by saying "He's using you and when he leaves you, don't come crying to me". In other words, she belittles Rapunzel, tries to turn her against one of the few people in the movies who does care about her, and then sends Rapunzel on a guilt-trip by pretending to abandon her. And it works. After the Stabbington brothers try to kidnap her, Rapunzel dives right back into her "mother's" arms for protection.
      • Add the disturbing element that most of these things are often said by parents genuinely trying to protect their children from suspected users and abusers. The difference is that loving parents don't go out of their way to set up the accused as guilty. Gothel is the supreme manipulator.
    • Not to mention the scene where the Stabbington brothers encounter Rapunzel and try to capture her. The ominous atmosphere made it seem more like they were trying to rape her.
      • Or sell her as a sex slave, considering that they were talking so much about how valuable she is to them...
    • Rapunzel's promise to Mother Gothel that she would never run away becomes a lot creepier when you realize that even if Flynn managed to find her again or if Gothel did let her guard down, she would make no effort to leave. Despite knowing how wonderful the outside world is and the man she loves is somewhere in the world, she would remain locked up for the rest of her life, never attempting to leave again. And considering how Rapunzel would live for a considerably long time and Gothel would essentially become immortal, Rapunzel would never be free from her promise.
    • And Gothel chained Flynn up before letting Rapunzel try to heal him. If things had gone as expected, he would have died anyway... but much slower.
    • Also, Rapunzel's magic hair makes Mother Gothel effectively immortal. That means that if Rapunzel had gone through with the deal, there wouldn't even have been the chance that Rapunzel would have been freed by Gothel dying. No, Rapunzel would have had nothing to look forward to in life but being locked in a room, growing up and letting life pass her by, and knowing all the while that it's all because her "mother" is using her.
    • Evil or not, Gothel was still Rapunzel's mother figure. Rapunzel sees the only mother she has ever known fall out a window and disintegrate into dust. That's going to come back and haunt her.
    • From Mother Knows Best, the final line: "Don't forget it! You'll regret it ... " On first watching, it just sounds like more warning and scare-tactics. After seeing the rest of the movie ("You want me to be the bad guy? Fine. Now I'm the bad guy.") it sounds a lot more like a threat.
    • From 'Mother Knows Best' again, look at Rapunzel's reaction when Gothel warns her about the plague. Why would Rapunzel be scared of this? She has healing magic, she could get rid of the plague in seconds. She's not scared of the illness, she's scared of the reactions if people found out. Gothel likes to terrorise Rapunzel with stories of how awful the outside world is, it's not hard to picture her telling a young Rapunzel in great detail, of this terrible sickness that swept the world and left people covered in sores and boils and choking, how if people found out she could cure it she'd be forced into a room, tied to these dying bodies by her hair and held captive until she healed every last one. What a cruel fate, it's better to stay safe in this tower than imprisoned in a small room surrounded by death. What's worse, on some level Gothel is right.

Fridge Logic

Go here.


  1. Ironically I figured this out for myself on the second viewing.
  2. Although this might also be because of her actually containing the sun.
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