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->"''Change your fate.''"
-->-- The movie's TagLine

''Brave'', Creator/{{Pixar}}'s 13th feature-length film, is their first journey into the {{Fantasy}} genre (of the FairyTale kind), and their first with a female protagonist. It tells the tale of a RebelliousPrincess named Merida in the mythical Scottish kingdom of [=DunBroch=], who wants only to live as freely as she desires. Her father, the rough and boisterous King Fergus, has an eternal grudge against all bears since he lost his left leg to a demon bruin named Mor'du. Her mother, the restrained and graceful Queen Elinor, [[ArrangedMarriage wants her to marry]] the eldest son of the head of one of the three neighboring clans, all brought together under her rule. When the mother and daughter have a falling out, Merida encounters a mysterious witch in the forest and buys a spell to change her mother, hoping to reverse her decision on the marriage. Said spell has unforeseen consequences for Merida and her family, leading to a race to undo it before the damage becomes permanent.

While in development, the film [[WorkingTitle was called]] ''The Bear and the Bow'', and was originally directed by Brenda Chapman (''WesternAnimation/ThePrinceOfEgypt''), but she was replaced by story artist Mark Andrews and [[Franchise/SamAndMaxFreelancePolice Steve Purcell]]. Chapman, who is Pixar's first female director, has a co-directing credit.

'''Character tropes go on to the [[Characters/{{Brave}} Characters Sheet]].'''
!!Provides examples of:


* AccidentalAimingSkills: Twice:
** During the tournament, Wee Dingwall handles the bow as if he's never touched one before the tournament. When Fergus gets tired of making fun of him, he screams for him to "Shoot, boy!" and Dingwall jumps and looses his arrow -- into a perfect bull's-eye. Everyone is understandably shocked.
** When Merida recounts the story of the four lords banding together to save Scotland from invaders.
-->'''Merida''': And we all know how Lord Dingwall broke the enemy line--
-->'''Macintosh''': With a mighty throw of his spear!
-->'''Dingwall''': I was aiming at ''you'', you big tumshie!
* ActionDressRip: Merida during her archery contest. Rather than the skirt, it's the shoulders and back that get ripped when she deliberately flexes to overcome the restrictive clothes. It gets further shredded after she is thrown off a horse and runs through the forest.
* AdultFear:
** In the beginning, when Fergus sees the giant demon bear Mor'du bearing down on his wife and young daughter, who are completely defenceless, when they'd been feeling completely safe, or what Elinor must have felt taking Merida and running away on horseback, leaving her husband and his men behind to fight the bear, with no way of knowing the outcome until after the whole affair.
** Though long since over it by the time the main length of the movie occurred, Queen Elinor was probably quite distraught over her husband suffering loss of limb at the hands of Mor'du.
** The scene where Fergus finds [[spoiler:Elinor's]] torn dress... just think what awful scenarios he must have been imagining.
** Running into the tapestry room and finding what looked like the same bear who killed Elinor attacking his daughter.
** Merida is down in the abandoned castle and [[TheDreaded Mor'du]] shows up and tries to kill her. Elinor is helpless to protect her daughter who is trapped with this [[BearsAreBadNews bear]] because she cannot fit through the hole.
** The whole scene where Mor'du is relentlessly pursuing Merida and manages to trap her beneath him, snarling straight into Merida's face as he prepares to rip her apart and then likely ''eat'' her. And Fergus is lying off to the side, unable to reach his daughter in time to save her. It's this act that finally makes [[spoiler: bear Elinor]] go ballistic and square off against Mor'du in a battle of MamaBear vs. [[BearsAreBadNews Evil Bear]]. The entire sequence is an [[SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome amazing showcase]] of a frightened and vengeful mother desperately trying to protect her child from one of the most dangerous creatures in existence.
** What both Elinor and Fergus may have thought after realizing that they had sent their tiny daughter into the woods to fetch the arrow, alone, defenceless, with that very same giant bear stalking her the entire time, where he could have attacked and killed her without their knowledge.
** When Merida runs off after the fight with her mother, her mother is clearly very relieved to see her again and voices that she had no idea when she'd be back or if she was all right -- after all, her daughter was running on horseback in the woods, roamed by a monster bear, without her bow or any kind of protection. Even without the threat of a bear attack, there's still the fact that she could be hurt or killed in many other ways out there on her own, such as being thrown by her horse and injured with no one to help her. She was thrown, but thankfully wasn't harmed.
** Elinor is hesitant about leaving the castle temporarily because she doesn't want to leave the triplets behind. Merida assures her they'll be fine. [[spoiler:And they are...except they decide to sample the magic bear pie.]]
** The fear of war breaking out if the marriage isn't arranged properly.
* AdventurousIrishViolins: Adventurous Scottish Violins, befitting the ancient Celtic setting, the musical score of ''Brave'' contains this trope.
* AesopEnforcer: The witch serves as an Enforcer to both Merida and Mor'du. [[spoiler:Considering how Mor'du's story wound up, she either thought that granting Merida's request would release Mor'du and end well for her, or just didn't care.]]
* AmbiguousSituation: At the end, [[spoiler:did Elinor transform back to a human because the sunlight had to shine on the tapestry before it'd work ("mend the bond" literally), or did she transform because Merida finally acknowledged that she was the cause of her mother's predicament and tearfully told her she loved her ("mend the bond" metaphorically?) Or were ''both'' needed?]]
* AmplifiedAnimalAptitude: Regular example: Angus the horse. The other examples were magically enhanced: [[spoiler:the witch's crow, Mor'du the demon bear, and the enchanted Queen Elinor, also a bear.]]
* AnachronismStew:
** The tartan (15th-16th century), kilt (18th century)[[note]]Scottish clans have been wearing kilts in the style as seen in the movie since the 16th century. Wearing the kilt was outlawed in the mid 18th century after some rebellions, and was re-legalised near the end of that century, just in time for it to be romanticised by Sir Walter Scott[[/note]] and woad warpaint (Iron Age); forks and tea (didn't make landfall in Britain till mid-17th century); Highland games (19th century, and Canadian); bagpipes (14th century)[[note]]Originating in such Middle Eastern countries as Turkey, Persia, Mesopotamia, and later found in Spain, Portugal, and throughout Eastern Europe[[/note]]; references to recently fighting both the Romans (1st-5th century), and the Vikings (8th-11th century); the carnyx (Iron Age) and bears (extinct in Scotland since the 9th-10th century at the latest) ''at the same time''.
** The sleeves on Merida's dresses are too tight to have existed before sewing technology developed in the 14th century (unless she sews them up each morning), and the slashes on the shoulders and elbows are a fashion of Renaissance Italy.
** One mainly justified through RuleOfFunny: the witch uses a welding mask when making the spell.
** The castle has features not introduced until the very end of the medieval period, yet looks like it's been there for centuries.
** The language spoken throughout the film is primarily Modern English with a faint Scots accent and is [[JustifiedTrope easily understood by most Anglophones]]. The exceptions to this are the occasional Gaelic word or phrase, [[TheUnintelligible Young MacGuffin]] who speaks in Doric, and an [[ThrowItIn improvised line borrowed from]] [[ComicStrip/TheBroons Oor Wullie]], all PlayedForLaughs.
* AnimalMotifs: The [=DunBroch=] clan symbol is three black bears. King Fergus hunts them for sport, too.
** ''Every single carving'' the witch has made is a bear. Justified because she advertises it as bear-themed carving.
* AnimalNemesis: Mor'du the bear, for Fergus (and eventually Merida) ever since the bear attacked his family.
* AnimalReactionShot: Angus serves as silent and slightly sarcastic commentary throughout the film.
* AnimationBump: The film is technically very impressive and improves on several aspects of Pixar's already impressive 3-D technology. They even rewrote their entire animation system for the first time ever.
* {{Animorphism}}: Merida purchases a spell from a witch that will "change" her mother ... [[spoiler:into a bear.]]
* AnnoyingArrows: Merida's arrows don't do much to Mor'du, who has arrows and weapons sticking out of his skin from all the other warriors he has faced. [[spoiler:Mor'du isn't just a normal bear.]]
* AppropriateAnimalAttire: Played with. After the mother turned into a bear she covers herself in a blanket. Merida notes that this is unnecessary as she is covered with fur.
* ArrangedMarriage: The sons of the three lords compete in the Highland Games for Merida's hand in marriage. She prefers her freedom and does not want to get married yet, so she sabotages their chances by entering and winning the archery contest. And at the end of the movie [[spoiler:the three suitors reveal that ''they'' weren't exactly thrilled at the idea of getting married just yet either.]] It's not so much Merida doesn't want to marry at all as she doesn't want to get married ''now'' at fifteen and she doesn't want to marry a stranger. [[spoiler: It turns out that her potential husbands feel exactly the same way. The idea of getting acquainted with Merida ''first'' clearly appeals to all three.]]
* ArrowCatch: The big guy from Lord Dingwall's entourage pulls this off at one point.
* AteTheSpoon: The cauldron full of goop from which the witch's spell-cake is made.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: King Fergus and the three lords. All four in charge, all can hold their own in a fight.
* BadassFamily: Merida is a peerless archer, Fergus a seasoned warrior and leader, and the boys are a team of cunning ninjas. Elinor seems to be the odd one out as her strength is in communication, [[MamaBear but then...]]
* BadassFingersnap: The Witch does all of her non-potion related magic with snaps. Up to, and including, summoning a horde of flying knives, axes, and other sharp implements to threaten Merida.
* BalefulPolymorph: [[spoiler:Queen Elinor and the triplets are turned into bears, just as previously happened to the prince that became Mor'du.]]
* BarBrawl: The three lords and their clans gather at the castle for the Highland Games, in which their sons will compete for the right to Merida's hand in marriage. At some point a massive fight breaks out (including [[ManBitesMan biting]] and at least one purple nurple). Fergus makes a feeble attempt to defuse the situation before diving into the fray, leaving Elinor to restore order.
* BearsAreBadNews: The demon bear Mor'du, who is described by Pixar as "Literature/MobyDick [[RecycledInSpace on land]]". [[spoiler:The curse threatens the kingdom by changing Elinor into a bear -- and a target for those aware of this trope.]]
* BearyFunny: [[spoiler: The triplets, when turned into bears, still remain comic relief characters.]]
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: Wishing for "the strength of ten men" or something to "change my mother" both result in the same thing. Judging by [[spoiler:all the carvings]], it's possible that [[WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer this is the only spell]] the witch ''knows''.
* BedsheetLadder: A [[FanDisservice kilt]] [[SugarWiki/FunnyMoments ladder]], actually.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Elinor -- polite, genteel, formal, a diplomat who abhors weapons and violence, always seeking to unite the clans and bring peace and´ prosperity to Scotland. [[MamaBear But when you threaten her daughter]]...
* BigDamnHeroes:
** [[spoiler:Merida and the triplets to Elinor.]]
** [[spoiler:Elinor does the same for Merida, bursting free from the ropes tying her down and fighting Mor'du when said demon bear is busy threatening her daughter]].
* TheBigDamnKiss: Fergus and Elinor do this near the end of the movie...right in front of Merida and ''all'' the clans, no less!
* BigNo:
** Young Macintosh's reaction to not hitting a perfect bull's-eye.
** Later in the movie, Fergus yells this [[spoiler:when Bear!Elinor hurts Merida.]]
* BigShutUp: Used a few times, first by Fergus, later by Merida.
** "'''SHUT IT!!!'''"
* BigWhat: Lord Macintosh does this when his son [[spoiler:reveals that he doesn't want to compete for Merida's hand.]]
* BilingualBonus:
** Castle [=DunBroch=], where the family lives, translates to Castle Castle Castle.
** In Scots Gaelic "mòr" means big, and "dubh" (pronounced "du") means black -- an apt description of the demon bear Mor'du.
** Merida's name in Hebrew means "to rebel".
* BloodlessCarnage: None of Mor'du’s wounds bleed; non of the huntsmen attacked by Mor'du even ''receive'' any visible wounds.
* BothSidesHaveAPoint: One of the main points of the movie; Queen Elinor insists that having Merida do an ArrangedMarriage with one of the clan lords' sons is necessary for the kingdom's growth and stability. And while being unreasonable, she does have a point, especially when Merida's LoopholeAbuse nearly launches the clans into war. She also points out that sometimes [[MarriageBeforeRomance it DOES go pretty well and can blossom into a loving relationship (like Elinor and Fergus')]] At the same time, Merida is righteously upset that she wasn't told about the betrothal until the day before it happened, she's still fairly young to even consider marriage at that time in her life, and she still wants a bit of freedom from society's expectations of her. Added to the fact that Merida is downright ''terrified'' of the idea, it's hard to blame her for her attempt to get out of it. [[spoiler: A key factor in their reconciliation and freeing Elinor from the curse is both of them realizing that the other has very legitimate points about their views on both the matter and their ways of solving conflicts. The diplomacy skills that Merida was taught by Elinor during the princess lessons allows her to pacify the clan lords and restore peace, while the fighting and survival skills Merida taught Elinor in bear form allows her to defeat Mor'du for good. Furthermore, Elinor allows Merida to break tradition by suggesting that the first-borns of the clans should be allowed to choose to marry whoever they want when they're ready for it, something which the clan lords consent to.]].
%%* BraidsOfBarbarism: Many of the men.
* BraveScot: They're Scots. And they're brave! And the movie is called ''Brave''! Certainly they're not shy about fighting [[BearsAreBadNews bears]].
* BrickJoke:
** Early in the movie, Merida says she will buy all the carvings in the witch's house. [[TheStinger After the credits]], the witch's crow comes up to deliver all of them. The shocked guard who receives the delivery is the same one the boys were picking on earlier when they cut off his moustache. And once again, he's sleeping on the job.
** [[spoiler:After Elinor's turned into a bear and struggles to cover herself with something, Merida rolls her eyes and tries assuring her mom that she's fine--as a bear, she's covered in fur, so Elinor technically isn't naked. But when the Queen's finally returned to her human form, she and her daughter realize that she's totally naked under the tapestry, and Elinor has to gently break the news to Fergus that she's naked under her blanket.]]
* BrightCastle: [[http://pixartimes.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/brave-concept-art-hi-res-image-3.jpg Castle [=DunBroch=],]] though it looks more like a fortress than the traditional fairy tale variety. It helps that when the team at Pixar went to Scotland, they made sure to study ''Scottish Castles'' which Castle [=DunBroch=] is a near picture perfect recreation of in terms of building style; less extravagance, more utility.
* CantGetAwayWithNothing: A more comedic version--Merida's little brothers never get caught while Merida can never catch a break.
* CarryingACake: If there are sweets in the area, the triplets ''will'' steal them.
* CassandraTruth: Fergus doesn't believe in magic. Nor does he believe Merida’s belated explanations that [[spoiler:the bear in the castle is actually his wife.]]
* CentralTheme: Reconciliation. It's the focus of the CurseEscapeClause, at the center of the personal conflict between Merida and Elinor and also the key to the climax between the four clans.
* ChairmanOfTheBrawl: A variant, as Young [=MacGuffin=] uses a bench, not a chair.
* ChasingAButterfly: In the opening scene, a young Merida follows the wills-o'-the-wisp into the forest, where she is attacked by [[BearsAreBadNews Mor'du the bear]].
* ChekhovsGun:
** When [[spoiler:Elinor as a bear]] accidentally runs into one of the standing stones, it cracks and wobbles. This is later used to [[spoiler:kill Mor'du.]]
** The tapestry may or may not qualify, depending on [[spoiler:whether one interprets the witch's instructions as telling Merida to repair the tapestry or her relationship with Elinor.]]
* ChekhovsGunman: [[spoiler:The last prince from Elinor's story.]]
* ChekhovsSkill:
** Merida uses some of her hated lessons (public speaking and history) to excellent effect late in the film.
** One of Merida's not-so-hated skills, archery, is used to help Elinor survive in the wilderness, proving archery's value.
** Also, the ability to climb stone walls wearing a heavy woolen dress. Anyone who had tried simply WALKING in one of those things can appreciate just how much of a skill this truly is.
** Plus, knowing how to sew for the climax with the tapestry. [[UpToEleven While riding horseback, at night, and in the rain.]]
* ChildMarriageVeto: Merida doesn't want to be married, so she pulls some RulesLawyer stuff to get out of it by entering the contest, in which only the firstborn of each clan may compete. Fortuitously Merida is firstborn.
--> "I am Merida, first-born descendant of clan [=DunBroch=], and I'll be shooting for ''my own'' hand!"
* ChronicallyKilledActor: Creator/BillyConnolly downplays this trope; his character isn't killed by the bear attack at the beginning of the film, only crippled.
* CircleOfStandingStones: Seen as a place where Merida keeps being drawn to, [[spoiler: and where the curse on Elinor and Mor'du is broken]].
* ColorCodedCharacters: The four lords have red ([=MacGuffin=]), blue ([=DunBroch=], Merida's clan), green (Dingwall), and yellow (Mackintosh) tartans.
* ComicRolePlay: Fergus as Merida, helping Elinor practise patching things up.
--> "I don't want to get married, I want to stay single and let my hair flow in the wind as I ride through the glen firing arrows into the sunset!"
* CompressedHair: It is nothing short of miraculous how Queen Elinor manages to tuck all of Merida's profusely curly, waist-length hair under a small wimple that barely bulges and, when Merida reveals herself at the archery tournament, her hair flows as freely as if it had never been subjected to the accursed wimple.
* ContinuityCameo: The royal family appears in car form on a tapestry inside a pub in ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars 2}}''. [[http://s3.amazonaws.com/data.tumblr.com/tumblr_lya7v5eL8X1r9yokvo1_1280.jpg Here]] is the pic as it appeared in ''Cars 2'', and [[http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120503190345/pixar/images/5/55/NewHeroTapestry1_colorstairs.jpg here]] is how it looks in ''Brave''.
** The Pizza Planet truck makes [[http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m6l7o9gwx91qd2z7ho1_1280.jpg an appearance inside the Witch's hut]]. Watch closely while she's carving wood, it flashes by pretty quickly.
*** The ball from ''WesternAnimation/LuxoJr'' [[http://images.wikia.com/pixar/images/d/df/Ball.jpg is also hidden in the rubble.]]
** And just like ''Cars 2'' referenced ''Brave'', ''Brave'' has a [[http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120703140123/pixar/images/f/fc/B175_33cs.sel16.121.jpg carved]] [[WesternAnimation/MonstersUniversity Sulley]].
* CoolBoat: The three lords each have one of these and use them to cross the loch to reach Castle [=DunBroch=]. As soon as they notice each other they basically start up an impromptu drag race.
* CreatorCameo:
** Co-director Steve Purcell voices the witch's crow familiar.
** Composer Patrick Doyle voices Martin (one of the guards).
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: Wee Dingwall appears dim at best, but when the fights break out he's a fierce and almost psychotic fighter. Almost like a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berserker berserker]] in fact. The name comes from the words for "bear shirt" (that is, the clothing they wore into battle), which means it just might be intentional.
* CueTheSun: Played with. The sun rising after the terrible, stormy night is symbolic of the defeat of Mor'du and [[spoiler:the end of his curse]] but it's also a moment fraught with worry because of [[spoiler:the need to [[CelestialDeadline change Elinor back]] [[RaceAgainstTheClock before it happens]]]]. So it's both a relief and suspenseful.
* {{Curse}}: A "beastly curse" is unleashed on the land as a result of Merida's wish, specifically [[spoiler:Queen Elinor being transformed into a bear.]]
* CurseEscapeClause: Aside from the CelestialDeadline of breaking the spell [[RaceAgainstTheClock before the second sunrise]], there's an actual rhyme whose meaning Merida must puzzle out. "Fate be changed/Look inside/Mend the bond/Torn by pride."
** Interestingly, in a short film on the DVD, the witch explains more of the back-story for Mor'du and how he was given a similar clause. She made a small cauldron for him, which he could use to gain the strength of ten men as he wanted, or he could instead use it to heal the rift he caused within his family. As you can probably guess, he chose the former, slaughtered his brothers, and then his own men either turned on him, or fled in fear because they only saw a beast, not their leader. So unlike Merida, he ended up destroying his kingdom due to his wish to change his fate.
* DamselInDistress: Merida, despite being pretty active and fearless, needs rescuing several times in the movie. [[PlayingWithATrope Sometimes while trying to save someone else or just after escaping from some other danger.]]
* DarkerAndEdgier: [[Creator/PixarRegulars Lee Unkrich]] has described the film as a "very gritty adventure", darker and more mature in tone than the typical Franchise/DisneyPrincess movie. The trailer also breaks Pixar's tradition with funny gag-based teaser trailers and {{Audience Alienating Premise}}s, setting the audience up for a story akin to that of a traditional HighFantasy. Still, they're mind-bogglingly aimed at the youngest crowds, choosing to focus on the comic relief and completely hiding the true premise of the movie, possibly because of its darker and edgier roots.
* DeathGlare: Merida and Elinor do this to each other right after the last arrow hits the bull's-eye.
* DeathOfPersonality: Merida and Elinor must RaceAgainstTheClock to break the spell that [[spoiler: gave Elinor a bear's body]] or [[spoiler: she will lose her humanity and become like any other non-sentient bear.]]
* DeconstructedTrope:
** To TomboyPrincess. While Merida's frustration at society's expectations of her is treated sympathetically, the negative consequences of her headstrong and selfish backlash are what set the plot in motion, forcing her to atone for her actions and find a compromise between her desires and her responsibilities.
** ScrewDestiny, too. "Changing one's fate" is not as simple as finding a loophole or asking for a spell; in real life, this sort of thing is complicated and there are ''serious'' consequences for doing it incorrectly. Merida's true journey will be centered '''not''' just on flipping the bird to rules and tradition and getting away with it solely because she's TheProtagonist, but on seeing that [[ComingOfAgeStory forging one's destiny]] [[CharacterDevelopment is more complex than one thinks]] and that you must face both the pros and the cons of such decisions.
* {{Dedication}}: When Mor'du is killed towards the end of the film he turns into a will o' the wisp and we realise that they are the spirit of the dead. During the credits a will o' the wisp appears over the credit "dedicated with love and gratitude to UsefulNotes/SteveJobs, our partner, mentor and friend."
* DefrostingIceQueen: Elinor may be a non-romantic version of this trope for Merida. A great deal of their problem was that Elinor is very prim and proper and exceedingly frustrated that Merida isn't; both of them have to change by the end but Elinor is notably much more relaxed in the end.
* DeliberatelyMonochrome: The scene in the Ancient kingdom, complete with SplashOfColor.
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dun "Dun"]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broch "broch"]] are, respectively, the Gaelic and Scots words for "fort". Therefore, "Castle [=DunBroch=]" could be translated as "Castle [=CastleCastle=]". It's TruthInTelevision for a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tautological_place_names surprising]] number of places...
* {{Deuteragonist}}: Although it's not given in the advertising, the movie's tale is just as much about Elinor learning to understand her daughter's perspective as it is about Merida learning to own up to her actions and face her (eventual) duties.
* DidNotGetTheGirl: Refreshingly, this is a Disney Pixar film in which the princess doesn't ''want'' to be "got" and succeeds in remaining single.
* DidNotThinkThisThrough: Merida demands a spell from the witch that will change her mother, Elinor in order to make Elinor forget about Merida’s betroyal. Merida doesn’t even give herself time to consider the actual consequences for the spell. She can’t even assume that she’s asking for a spell that would transform her mother into an animal or creature. Without heeding the witch’ warning, Merida jumps straight to her conclusion.
** Witch: You’re sure you know what you’re doing?
** Merida: A spell to change my mom.
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: In the climax, Fergus ''punches Mor'du in the face'', but this only serves to enrage the beast. The one who finally takes him down is [[spoiler:Elinor.]]
* DisneyDeath: A variation where instead of physically dying it looks like Elinor has permanently become a bear in addition to her mind becoming bestial. Of course, everything turns out okay at the end thanks to ThePowerOfLove.[[note]]or due to a DelayedReaction, depending on the interpretation[[/note]].
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything:
** Wee Dingwall has...[[TheLoinsSleepTonight difficulties]] with his bow and arrow.
** Elinor's [[WhatHaveIDone reaction]] upon seeing Merida's scratches mimic a human parent realizing s/he's become abusive.
* DramaticallyMissingThePoint: [[spoiler:Up until [[AlwaysClose the last few seconds]], after Elinor seems to have turned permanently into a bear in body and mind, Merida assumes that the tapestry is what needed to be mended as "torn by pride", and not her relationship with her mother and [[ItsAllMyFault changing]] her [[NeverMyFault attitude]] toward the situation from blaming the witch to blaming herself. Although it may be worth noting that the transformation back didn't happen until the sunlight actually fell across the re-stitched tear in the tapestry...and this in turn happened right after Merida's change and declaration. Whether this was mere symbolic coincidence or if there really was a connection between the tapestry and Merida's actions is up to the viewer to decide.]]
** [[spoiler:It's true metaphorically inasmuch as Merida repairing the tapestry to save her mother's life made her realise that in spite of everything, she still cared about her mother and desperately wanted to repair the relationship between them.]]
* DyingDeclarationOfLove: Merida, to Elinor, at the end when [[spoiler:mending the tapestry to reverse the spell doesn't seem to work, and Elinor will be a bear forever]].

* EarAche: TheHighQueen Elinor breaks up a fight by simply StrollingThroughTheChaos and dragging the instigators (her husband and the three clan lords) out by their ears.
* EmpathicEnvironment: The climax of the movie where Mor'du is faced once and for all [[spoiler:(and Merida works to break the spell on her mother)]] takes place during a violent, fairly frightening thunderstorm, which ends after he is killed, [[CueTheSun just in time for the]] [[CelestialDeadline (fateful)]] [[CueTheSun sunrise]].
* EmptyPilesOfClothing: After the spell takes effect, Elinor's torn robes are left on the floor of her room. When Fergus eventually discovers this, he goes ballistic.
* EnemyMine: The quest to find Elinor and hunt down Mor'du unites the four hostile clans.
* EnemyRisingBehind: After Merida realizes [[spoiler:the prince from her mother's legend is Mor'du]], she then [[OhCrap realizes]] that said bear has appeared behind her.
** [[http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m4nvglznvg1qhiczbo1_500.jpg This concept art poster]], which makes it appear that Merida is hunting while being stalked by a bear. [[spoiler:She's actually protecting it.]]
* EngagementChallenge: A contest is set up for the hand of Merida as part of tradition. Merida does not approve. She tries to fight it by competing in the contest for her own hand. She wins.
* {{Escapism}}: Merida rides her horse, practices her archery and does anything she can to keep her mind off what she considers the boring lessons her mother is teaching her regarding etiquette and managing a kingdom. Things come to a head when time catches up with her and she has to actually deal with matters head-on.
* EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses: Played with; in a refreshing twist, being a Princess is shown for what it is, a ''position of future power'' that requires genuine work and training as opposed to being simply free to do as one pleases.
* EverythingsLouderWithBagpipes: The pipers strike up whenever the lords start fighting. One even casually dodges a bench that flies at him.
* ExactWords: Merida wished for [[spoiler:her mother to "change" without specifying in what manner]]; the prince of the legend asked for [[spoiler:"the strength of ten men".]] Merida takes advantage of this when the contest for her hand is declared among "the first-born of each clan".
* ExpositoryHairstyleChange:
** When Elinor dresses Merida for the presentation, she shoves her hair into a wimple. It's fairly bursting at the seams, just like Merida's personality. When she defies her mother, she ditches the wimple and announces herself by pulling her hood off and revealing her wild, loose locks.
** By the end of the movie, Elinor has let her hair down from its former tight braid into hanging loosely down her back. This is a subtle indication that she's mellowed out.
* ExtremelyShortTimespan: Excluding the prologue, the movie is set over a period of three days.
%%* EyesAlwaysShut: Lord Mc Guffin.
* FacePalm: Lord [=MacGuffin=] facepalms after his son's arrow misses the bull's-eye.
* TheFairFolk: The [[WillOTheWisp Wisps]]. They're also said to have the power to [[spoiler:[[WindsOfDestinyChange change fate]].]]
** They're frequently shown leading Merida away from danger. Twice they lead her away from Mor'du and towards help before she even knows he's there. They also lead her to the ruined castle [[spoiler:so she can learn the truth about the legend of the princes, and the true danger of the spell]], and in the end they lead her back to the stone circle [[spoiler:so she can save her mother]]. If not benign, they are at least fairly neutral.
* FeministFantasy: The film stars Merida, a RebelliousPrincess that is something of a tomboy. She's an exceptional archer, as well as skilled at horseback riding and rock climbing, and constantly battles with her strict, traditional mother. The story focuses on the relationship between mother and daughter, as an arrange marriage and a curse forces them to work together and begin understanding one another better. [[spoiler: Merida comes to see her mother's quiet strength, and the heavy responsibility she shoulders as both a mother and a Queen. Meanwhile, Queen Elinor comes to respect her daughter's independence and decides against forcing her into a political marriage. As a ''literal'' MamaBear, she faces down and defeats a monster bear in order to protect her husband and children. The curse is lifted once Merida is able to accept her mistakes, and reconcile with her mother. The political marriage is called off, with both Merida ''and'' her suitors declaring that they want to MarryForLove and the relationship between Elinor and Merida strengthened considerably]].
* FeudingFamilies: The three lords don't get along with each other and are the leaders of their respective [[TheClan clans]]. It's up to the royal family to keep the feuding from escalating into war.
* FlashbackCut: When Merida falls into the ruin cave and learns about Mor'du's past, there is a quick flashback to the scene where she tore the tapestry.
* FlirtatiousSmackOnTheAss: Fergus does this to Elinor in the first scene just as Elinor is berating him on giving Merida her first bow., causing her to jump briefly in surprise.
* FoodAsBribe: Merida gets her brothers to help her and [[spoiler:Bear!Elinor]] get out of the castle by offering to let them have all her desserts for three weeks. When this is met with a hard look, she revises the offer to a whole year of her desserts. They help her out after that.
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** [[spoiler:"You're a beast!"]]
** [[spoiler:At the abandoned castle, Bear!Elinor knocks over a large rock to keep Mor'du from getting her daughter.]]
** When Merida is leading her mother upstairs after [[spoiler:feeding her the enchanted cake]], there is a shot where the two of them are framed right behind [[spoiler:the stuffed bear]] Fergus was using for target practice on the throne.
** The three bear sculptures the witch tries to sell Merida all foreshadow the following major events of the story:
*** The sculpture of two bears playing with a box that the witch describes by saying, "Add a touch of whimsy to any dark chamber" represents the comedic "whimsy" of Elinor moving through the castle immediately after she turns into a bear.
** The second sculpture of a bear catching fish represents the scene in which Merida teaches Elinor to fish.
** The third sculpture of bears recreating the creation of Adam from the Sistine Chapel represents Mor'du and Elinor both [[TakeMyHand reaching their paws]] toward Merida as she tries to escape the ruins.
** Also this:
--->'''Merida:''' Did he get what he wanted?\\
'''Witch:''' [[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor Oh, yes]].
** In the legend of the four princes, when you see the last one [[spoiler:turning on the others, he gives a roar that sounds very much like a bear.]]
** At the very beginning when Elinor is playing with Toddler Merida "I'm gonna gobble you up!", [[spoiler: which later on she as a non-sentient bear attempts]].
* ForInconveniencePressOne: The witch leaves a recorded message ''on her cauldron'' when she has to go to Stornaway, complete with "pour in the first vial" options.
* FourIsDeath: The four princes in the legend.
** The four (present-day) lords can't get along at all. "You saved me!" "I was ''aiming'' for you!" (laughter)
** Averted with Merida and her three younger brothers. They are all shown to be very close and loving with one another, if a little manipulative when it comes to desserts, which is in direct contrast with the four princes of legend.
* FourLegsGoodTwoLegsBetter: PlayedForDrama, as [[spoiler:Bear!Elinor]] spends most of [[spoiler:her]] time on two legs (and acting human) but reverts to RunningOnAllFours whenever [[spoiler:she starts [[TheMindIsAPlaythingOfTheBody losing her humanity]] and becoming a "bear on the inside".]]
* FreezeFrameBonus: If you look at [[http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/pixar/images/6/68/Brave-logo.jpg/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/1280?cb=20110523234040 the title]] closely, you can see Merida hidden in the letter B, and Elinor in the letter E.
* FunbagAirbag: One of the bear cubs dives into Maudie's chest [[spoiler:to get a key which Fergus gave her to keep Merida from escaping and she stuffed down her dress to keep it from them.]]
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: Every time the big muscular guy is in the shot, keep an eye on him.
** Just after the [[BarBrawl throne room brawl]] between clans, a sheep flies through the air behind Lord Fergus's shoulder.
** When Lord Dingwall's son hit the bull's-eye, Lord Dingwall does a victory dance ending with him mooning the other two lords... and two little kids next to their mother in the crowd, causing the little girl to put her face into her mother's dress and start to cry.
* FutileHandReach: Merida, while locked into her room by her father, reaches from her window towards her mother as the latter flees the castle.
* GagBoobs: Maudie, the castle maid, who has a cleavage in which you could quite literally lose a bear cub.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar:
** In the first scene, Fergus ''playfully grabs Elinor's butt''. It's just off-camera, but her reaction makes it undeniable.
** This little bit of dialogue:
--->'''Witch:''' The last time I did this was for a prince.\\
'''Crow:''' Easy on the eyes! Tight pants!
** Merida drugging her Mom to make her change her mind.
** "I would be shooting for my own hand!" [[ADateWithRosiePalms Think about that for a second.]]
** One of the bear cubs [[FunbagAirbag dives directly in between]] [[BuxomIsBetter Maudie's]] [[FunbagAirbag bosoms to retrieve a key]]. One of the other two looks away. The other looks on excitedly.
** At the end [[spoiler: after Queen Elinor turns back to a human, she wears nothing but the fabric that was needed to undo the spell. She announces quietly that she is naked to Fergus. His reaction? He proceeds to [[MaleGaze look her down]] with a perverted smile on his face.]] Her following reaction to tell him not to stare at her and do something (other men being around) sells it completely.
* GladIThoughtOfIt:
** When Merida goes back to the stone circle, only to fail to find any wisps, her mother immediately begins following the direction Merida said she'd gone to reach the witch's cottage, logically assuming that, barring magic being used to conceal the path, it should still be there. Once Merida begins recognising landmarks, she immediately acts as if physically retracing her steps was ''her'' idea, and upon finding the cottage again cries, "I did it, I found it!" Her mother's expressions throughout all this are priceless.
** When Merida [[spoiler:gives Elinor's decision to let her marry for love instead of station]], Lord Macintosh starts to exclaim how stupid the idea is. After everyone else agrees it's a wonderful idea, he [[OpinionFlipflop changes his tune]] and claims "I'm glad I thought of it".
* GrayRainOfDepression: During their night in the ruins of the witch's cottage, after Merida has learned her rash act of obtaining a spell to change her fate has [[spoiler:possibly doomed her mother to live forever as a bear.]]
* GuysSmashGirlsShoot: Played straight for most of the movie where Merida's weapon of choice is the bow and arrow, while male characters mostly use swords. There is one scene, though, which shows Merida is a pretty good swordfighter, too.
** This is also a Brick Joke. In the beginning of the film, there is a short scene where Fergus is shown adjusting to his new wooden leg by fighting. In that scene, a man swings his sword at the wooden leg, only for the leg to stop the blade. in the climax, Merida does the same move, although this time it is successful.
* HeadDesk: One of the triplets drops his head on the dinner table while listening to Fergus retell his encounter with Mor'du. It would seem that the king is more impressed with the story than his sons are.
** Later, when [[spoiler:Bear!Elinor]] discovers that the berries she got were nightshade berries and the water was full of worms, she drops her head on the makeshift table, causing it to go flying.
* HeroicResolve: During the climax Elinor bear is helplessly tied down by Fergus' men but once she sees Mor'du attacking Merida, she goes into MamaBear mode providing her with the extra strength to break herself free to save her daughter and Fergus from the dreaded bear Mor'du.
* HoldingTheFloor: In order for [[spoiler:Bear!Elinor]] to get into the castle and retrieve the [[spoiler:torn tapestry]], Merida has to distract her father and the lords, who are all at the point of starting a war. She essentially fills in for the queen by giving an eloquent speech that ultimately restores peace; [[spoiler:Bear!Elinor]] helps Merida out a lot by MimingTheCues. Merida even channels her mother a bit when she strides in like she owns the place and ''everyone stops fighting''.
* HollywoodCuisine: "Boys! Don't just play with your [[StockYuck haggis]]!"
* {{Hunk}}: The only guy Merida seems impressed with at all, if only because of his sheer size, is a guy who looks like this. Too bad he's not ''really'' Lord Dingwall's son. [[spoiler:Also, that guy ends up being interested in Maudie, the maid.]]

* ICanSeeMyHouseFromHere: When the triplets lure the men hunting the bear in castle to the top of a tower, someone in the group says this StockPhrase.
* IKissYourHand: Played for laughs at the end. [[spoiler:Wee Dingwall]] does it to Merida -- and she looks none too comfortable with it, since he just ''won't stop''.
* ImplausibleDeniability[=/=]MostDefinitelyNotAVillain: The witch, who continually insists her shop is a normal store, that [[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial her carvings do not have magic spells enchanted in them]] and that she is most certainly not a witch.
-->'''Merida:''' ''(gleefully)'' You're a witch!\\
'''Witch:''' ''(furiously grinding on a lathe}'' [[InsistentTerminology Wood-carver]]!
** Merida has a few ImplausibleDeniability moments of the NeverMyFault variety. She keeps saying it's not her fault that [[spoiler:Elinor became a bear]], but she finally takes the blame during the HoldingTheFloor scene.
* ImprobableAimingSkills: Merida is never shown to miss (after the TimeSkip) and makes the [[SplittingTheArrow shot of the century]] in the archery contest
** Fergus, who taught her, is no slouch either, he puts an arrow in each of a stuffed bear's nostrils, one between it's eyes and sticks it with various thrown axes and spears.
* ImprobableWeaponUser: During the BarBrawl, Young [=MacGuffin=] uses a long bench as a weapon.
* InformedAbility: We're told that Fergus, the clan lords and their heirs are great warriors who won great battles against Vikings. What we see of their combat abilities mostly consists of mosh pit antics and getting flung around by bears.
* InsistentTerminology: She's not a witch, she's a woodcarver. A witch. Woodcarver! Witch! WOODCARVER!
* IntimateArtistry: At the start of the film, Queen Elinor is sewing a family tapestry of herself, King Fergus, and their daughter Merida. Merida splits the tapestry with a sword when she and Elinor fight, symbolizing their conflict and separation, and she stitches it back together when she is attempting to repair their relationship.
* IResembleThatRemark: A self-inflicted case: a frustrated Elinor complains to Fergus that Merida inherited her stubbornness from him. Oh, really, Elinor?
* IronicEcho: "How do you know you don't like it if you won't try it?"
** [[spoiler:"...Which is not my fault"/"This is all my fault!"]]
** [[spoiler:"You were never there for me"/"You were always there for me."]]
* ItTastesLikeFeet: Believing that Merida baked the enchanted cake, Elinor tries to be polite about how it tastes, describing it as "tart..and then gamey".
* JawDrop: The triplets, along with the mounted deer head they were playing with, upon seeing [[spoiler:Bear!Elinor]] for the first time.
* JustHitHim: Mor'du often chooses to only throw the huntsmen away instead of using his paws for much more devastating attacks.
* LandmarkOfLore: The circle of standing stones is loosely based on [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/44/Standing_Stones_of_Callanish_%28Callanish_I%29_%289605427%29.jpg the Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis]], with a bit of Orkney's Ring of Brodgar thrown in.
* LastSecondWordSwap: When Merida sees the witch's broom move by itself, the witch assures her she's mistaken: "You can't magically imbue wooden objects with life, and I should know, I'm a wi-- a whittler. Of wood."
* LateArrivalSpoiler: The trailers and official website go to great pains to hide a number of details about the plot, but the toyline and at least a handful of pins (including one for Father's Day) are quite clear about the fact that [[spoiler:Elinor and the boys are turned into bears.]]
* LeftTheBackgroundMusicOn: During the BarBrawl scene, there's a whole group of bagpipers who start playing as soon as the fight breaks out. [[LettingTheAirOutOfTheBand They stop when it stops]] and start again when it starts again.
* LeParkour: Right before Merida's day out on horseback, she does a couple of very traceur-like moves.
* LessonsInSophistication: The film shows us Merida's impatience with her princess lessons and her clear preference for archery and horseback riding. However, her indifference is shown as somewhat immature, with the movie going to some lengths to help her see her mother's side of things.
* LettingHerHairDown:
** This happens at the end of the movie as a symbol of how much [[spoiler:Elinor]] has changed.
** In the tapestry Elinor works on, Merida is shown with her hair in a neat braid, her head under a coif -- completely unlike the wild mane we see her sporting. This also happens when [[CompressedHair Elinor forces Merida's hair under a coif]] to present her to the heads of the clans; it's bulging out under the cloth and Merida performs a minor version of this trope by tugging out a lock of her fringe to hang in front of her face as a minor act of rebellion. However, Merida's hair is portrayed as wild and curly in the new tapestry Elinor and Merida sew together at the end of the film, showing, again, how Elinor's opinion of her daughter has changed considerably.
%%* LettingTheAirOutOfTheBand: covered under LeftTheBackgroundMusicOn
* LicensedGame: Which follows a very different plot involving Merida travelling across the land to cleanse all the waystones corrupted by Mor'du in order to break the curse on her mother.
* TheLittleShopThatWasntThereYesterday: Played with; the witch's cottage is still there later when Merida and [[spoiler:her mother]] return, but the place is abandoned, with no stock, and the witch has gone off "[[MythologyGag to the Wicker Man festival]]."[[note]]{{Justified}} on account of Merida promising to buy the witch's entire stock of woodcarvings in exchange for a spell.[[/note]] Merida even says "ItWasHereISwear"! [[spoiler:Then it blows up. So it won't be there tomorrow, either.]]
* LockedIntoStrangeness: Elinor retains a thread of gray hair after her transformation back to human form.
* LoopholeAbuse: The first-born of every clan competes for Merida's hand in a contest of her choosing. Merida's the first-born of her clan, and is really good at archery. She uses these facts to her advantage. (It ends up being pretty pointless, since, despite the fact that Merida ''won'' the competition, her mother invokes RuleZero essentially telling her "tough luck", though she later invokes RuleZero in favor of breaking tradition.)
* TheLostWoods: The woods outside the town are home to a witch and spirits and an old abandoned castle.
* LoyalAnimalCompanion:
** Merida is joined by a bear in her quest -- it's loyal because [[spoiler:she's her now-cursed mother.]]
** Angus the horse, even when he doesn't agree with Merida.

* MadeOfIron: Everyone who fights Mor'du and doesn't die, especially Fergus. Even with a broken peg leg, he ''still'' tries to take him on, and survives being hurled against a huge rock at full speed without any noticeable injuries. Mor'du himself is peppered with scars and broken arrows from old encounters.
%%* MamaBear
%% This is a character trope, don't list this on the main page
* ManBitesMan: Wee Dingwall, of all people, does this to Lord Macintosh during the BarBrawl scene.
* ManInAKilt: {{Justified|Trope}} as the setting is the Scottish Highlands from where the kilt originated, albeit about 800 years too early.
* MarriageBeforeRomance: Elinor mentions at one point that she and Fergus were betrothed. Despite her admitting she had misgivings at first (this is news to her husband), they are very happy together.
* MatchCut: In the epilogue, the shot of Fergus throwing one of the naked triplets in the air becomes him catching him clothed back at Castle [=DunBroch=].
* MeaningfulBackgroundEvent: The bear in the poster. See BearsAreBadNews.
* MeaningfulEcho: [[spoiler:"Legends are lessons. They ring with truths."]]
* MeaningfulName:
** Lord [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Dingwall]], though his official profile makes him seem more like TheNapoleon.
** [=MacGuffin=] and Macintosh are most likely puns on MacGuffin (a plot device) and UsefulNotes/AppleMacintosh (a reference to Pixar co-founder UsefulNotes/SteveJobs).
** The name of the {{bear|sAreBadNews}} Mor'du comes from the Scottish Gaelic "mór dubh" (pronounced the same way), meaning [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "large and black."]] 'Mordu' is also French for 'bitten' which is a fitting bear name.
** In Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish "mord" means "murder".
* MedievalMorons: Look no further than the scene at the royal court where almost everyone is fighting like children.
* TheMiddleAges:
-->'''Mark Andrews:''' It's actually a non-period in Scotland ... Between the [[TheLowMiddleAges 8th and the 12th centuries]].
* MimingTheCues: Elinor does this to help Merida give a speech to the clans -- she can't give the speech herself, after all, since she's a bear.
* TheMindIsAPlaythingOfTheBody: [[spoiler:A problem with Queen Elinor, and the prince much earlier. The longer the curse runs, the less humanity they retain.]]
* AMinorKidroduction: Merida appears in the first scene as a child before it switches to her as a teenager.
* MisplacedWildlife: There were no bears in medieval Scotland. (then again, [[FridgeBrilliance of all the still-living bears seen in the film, not one of them is a REAL bear...]])
** Bears are attested as late as the Pictish era (A.D. 800), and historians believe the last Scottish bear was hunted down by A.D. 1000. Roughly speaking, there would still have been bears during the depicted time.
* MistakenForOwnMurderer: Fergus stumbles upon Elinor's torn dress and then on her bear-self attacking Merida. He nearly kills her in vengeance for his wife.
* MobySchtick: Fergus's grudge against Mor'du, and bears, stemming from the loss of his leg.
* MoodWhiplash: A heartwarming and hilarious scene of mother-daughter bonding as they catch fish together turns into [[spoiler:Bear!Elinor nearly attacking Merida as she [[TheMindIsAPlaythingOfTheBody reverts to animal instincts]].]]
* MorphicResonance: {{Averted|Trope}} with [[spoiler:Elinor, though she tries vainly to keep her regal posture in bear form and insists on wearing her coronet for a while.]]
* MostWritersAreMale: John Lasseter on why Creator/{{Pixar}} hasn't had a female main character before: "We're a bunch of guys."
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone:
** During a huge fight between Elinor and Merida, Elinor tosses Merida's bow in the fire. Merida leaves the castle in tears. When she hears the bowstring snap from the burning, Elinor suddenly realizes what she's done and desperately tries to dig it out of the fire before it's destroyed. Elinor holds the singed bow, her daughter's most prized possession nearly destroyed by her own hand, and collapses to the floor in tears. Before that, if you listen closely, you can hear her whisper, "What have I done?"
** Later in the movie, Elinor gets it again [[spoiler:when she snaps out of [[TheMindIsAPlaythingOfTheBody acting like a bear]], only to discover that she's hurt not only her daughter, but also Fergus.]]
** The latter half of the movie is one long case of this for Merida herself, as she fully realises what her own actions through the movie have brought to everyone ''and'' herself.
* NakedPeopleAreFunny: The result of the clans climbing down from the top of the roof using their kilt cloths as a makeshift ladder. Also [[spoiler:the triplets, when they turn back.]]
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: The giant "demon bear" is named Mor'du.
* NeverTrustATrailer:
** This [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wV_IvGp_pWU Japanese trailer]] tries really, ''really'' hard to make this movie into Pixar's ''Anime/PrincessMononoke'' by implying the renegade prince and Merida broke "the law of the forest." The only similarity to ''Princess Mononoke''/Studio Ghibli films is a female protagonist, the wisps/forest spirits in appearance, and a forest setting.
** The trailers never seemed to meet a middle ground on what the film was truly about:
*** Some of the trailers try to play up the "epic adventure" aspects of the story by focusing on natural panoramas, shots of Merida wandering through the wilderness, and taglines about taking journeys. In reality [[spoiler:the farthest that Merida ever travels is to the witch's cottage (which isn't even that far from the castle), and there's far less action in the movie that the trailer seems to suggest. The bulk of the story is about Merida's conflict with her mother.]]
*** Some of the trailers emphasized WesternAnimation/{{Shrek}}-like slapstick, subversive humor (in the form of setting up for something epic and grandiose and making a lowbrow joke out of it for laughs), and comedy rather than the personal story of mother and daughter that it is. Some Christmas DVD advertising used almost every single appearance by the triplets getting up to mischief, plus a few token shots of Merida, to make it look like a "[[BadlyBatteredBabysitter girl struggles to babysit her tearaway siblings]]" movie.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Twice by the same person
** Merida brings the kingdom to the brink of war by competing for (and winning) her own hand in marriage.
** Merida [[spoiler: makes a wish that turns her mother into a bear]], almost [[spoiler:leading to her death]].
* NobodyHereButUsBirds: One of Merida's brothers uses a bird sound to signal a warning to the others.
* NobodyHereButUsStatues: [[spoiler:Bear!Elinor pretending to be the stuffed bear.]]
* NoDelaysForTheWicked: After the bear is discovered, it takes almost no time at all to throw together a group of huntsmen and launch on a chase.
* NoodleIncident: "Here we go, another hunt through the castle!"
* NoPeripheralVision: When Elinor [[spoiler:as a bear]] sneaks into the crowded ballroom by backing against the wall and tip-toeing, Merida distracts everyone by having them focus on her. No one — not even those who face her — notice Elinor moving around [[spoiler:in her large form]] and occasionally even actively waving to draw Merida’s attention, even though she should be in their cone of vision. The only person who gets suspicious is a guard who has his back to the wall [[spoiler:and even he believes her to be a stuffed bear when she poses as one.]] Even King Fergus, who [[AnimalNemesis has it out bad]] for ''any'' bear, and was '''''facing''''' in that direction, fails to see her.
* NotThisOneThatOne: Merida and her parents assume the [[{{Hunk}} big strong guy]] Lord Dingwall is pointing at is his son (and one of her possible suitors), when he's really pointing at the scrawny kid hiding behind him.
* OfCorsetHurts: Merida didn't like being laced up.
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome: The fight between Fergus and Mor'du became a legend, yet the scene cuts away at the beginning of this epic event.
** Mor'du's jaw has clearly been broken at some point.... [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu Think about that!]]
* OhCrap:
** Queen Elinor gets several:
*** She gets one after an explosive argument when she realizes that the bowstring of Merida's bow has just snapped in the fireplace [[spoiler: She barely salvages the bow, though -- cue MyGodWhatHaveIDone.]]
*** She gets one as a bear when she realizes she's become one, especially when she looks at the mirror.
*** Another Bear!Elinor moment is [[spoiler: when she sees she's lashing out as a permanent, feral bear, especially near the climax, after her husband, [[CassandraTruth not realizing that the bear is his wife]], spots her and Merida and attacks her.]]
** Merida gets some of these moments too:
*** In the trailer, at the circle of standing stones, she senses Mor'du.
*** When she sees her furious mother marching towards her before [[spoiler: she torches her prized bow.]]
*** She gets another when [[BigBad Mor'du]] [[spoiler: is revealed as the eldest prince who destroyed the ancient kingdom.]]
*** Another one during this scene is when Mor'du is about to attack her.
*** When Mor'du shows up, after she [[spoiler: defends Bear Elinor from her husband.]]
*** Finally, she gets one when [[spoiler: [[CelestialDeadline the second sunrise]] begins to show up.]]
** Fergus gets one when he spots Merida and [[spoiler: Bear Elinor, whom he thinks [[MistakenForOwnMurderer is Mor'du]], but has actually lapsed into a wild bear.]]
* OOCIsSeriousBusiness: [[spoiler:It becomes quite clear there is something wrong with Elinor when she gets out of the river and leaves her crown behind.]]
* OrangeBlueContrast: The movie poster, pictured above.
* OutnumberedSibling: Merida has three little brothers, though unlike most examples, they get along just fine.
* ParodyCommercial:
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GINUwnK60P4 "Kilt. Are you brave enough to wear one?"]]
** "Royalty Records presents 19 of the greatest bagpipe hits ever collected on one LP! [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIWZT8YAXjE Freedom Broch]]!"
* PlotParallel: Mor'du's backstory mirrors the one of Merida and her mother only that he did not choose as wisely and ended up locked in his bear form.
* PoorCommunicationKills: After Merida and her mother understand what has happened, Merida could’ve conspicuously drawn her father aside and told him just what had happened so that he would not freak out and that nobody would unintentionally cause harm. Instead, they choose the option of first trying to hide and then outright escaping the castle — the place with greatest safety potential for them given that they were its rulers.
** Similarly when they have to get back inside the castle after escaping, once again they choose to try and sneak in on their own and (again) not tell Fergus anything beforehand.
** And finally when Fergus does locate them in the castle, the only thing Merida tells him is a meaningless drivel — right until it’s already too late to convince him of anything and [[RuleOfDrama prevent him from making any dramatic bad decisions]].
** All somewhat justified in that Fergus doesn't believe in magic and might have simply gone ballistic sooner.
* PrimalScene: Downplayed at the end of the movie, when Merida witnesses her father and [[spoiler:naked]] mother kissing fairly passionately in front of her. Oooops.
* ProtectorBehindBars: Near the climax, Fergus locks Merida in the tapestry room to protect her from a bear [[spoiler:who he thinks killed Elinor. However, said bear he and the lords are trying to kill ''is'' Elinor, and Merida already has attempted to convince her father, [[CassandraTruth but he doesn't believe in magic.]] With Merida locked up and stuck in the tapestry room, she is helples and unable to aid her mother.]]

* RaceAgainstTheClock: Merida has to break the curse before "[[CelestialDeadline the second sunrise]]" or else it's permanent.
* RealityEnsues: Merida thinks her LoopholeAbuse during the contest will save her from marriage which is usually what happens when a character finds a loophole in fantasy. [[spoiler:She actually makes everything worse. She pisses her mother off so badly that they get into a huge fight which results in Elinor burning Merida's bow and Merida running away, and her humiliation of the clans' sons brings everyone to the brink of war.]]
* RecitationHandclasp: Merida assumes this position when receiving elocution lessons from Elinor.
* RecurringExtra: The {{Hunk}} from Clan Dingwall appears several times.
* RevengeBeforeReason: Fergus, who is so set on bringing down Mor'du, and later the bear he thinks killed his wife, that he won't listen to Merida [[spoiler:trying to tell him the bear ''is'' his wife. In his defense, it's a bit much to believe out of nowhere.]]
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: The royal family of [=DunBroch=] qualifies as a whole: Elinor is shown in the opening meal scene receiving letters of many sorts, thus implying she is the one handling matters of state. Merida is being trained by Elinor to fill her shoes someday but she has fighting skills from her father. Said father, Fergus, was explicitly chosen as their king after he led the other clans to victory against invading Vikings and whether it's evil monster bears or invading armies he takes care of it. Even the toddler triplets are crafty tricksters capable of distracting an entire castle to prevent diplomatic incidents. The other clan leaders and their heirs are also involved in the kingdom's defense.
* RubeGoldbergDevice: The witch uses such a contraption to activate her MagicCauldron the second time Merida visits her hut.
* RuleOfSymbolism: The rent tapestry / shattered carving of the four princes. EmpathicEnvironment[=/=]CueTheSun. Merida tearing her dress to win the archery tournament (just as she wants to tear free of her role / tear through the expectations) -- a dress she earlier said [[OfCorsetHurts made it so she]] "couldn't breathe". All the {{Foreshadowing}}. The scene where Elinor tells the legend of the four princes using a [[ChessMotifs chess board and pieces]] to illustrate it. The burned bow. The ruined castle of the fallen kingdom versus BrightCastle [=DunBroch=] (both are located on suspiciously similar peninsulas above a loch). [[spoiler:Bear!Elinor taking her crown off to indulge in bear feeding habits, then leaving it behind as she [[TheMindIsAPlaythingOfTheBody regresses]]]]. There's a lot of it -- and [[TropesAreNotBad it's all done right]].
* RuleOfThree:
** The Three Lords, the three failing suitors and Merida's identical triplet brothers who only she's able to tell apart (even when [[spoiler:they're bear cubs!]]).
** Elinor: "Weapons off the table." "Weapons off the table!" [[spoiler:As a bear: "Grrr-rrrr rrrgh RRR!"]]
** Merida [[spoiler:after discovering she turned her mother into a bear]]: "It's not my fault." "It's not my fault!" [[spoiler:"I'm so sorry, it's all my fault!" which breaks the curse.]]
* SayMyName: Fergus screams "ELINOOOOORRRRRR!" [[spoiler:when he finds her torn dress and believes she's been killed by a bear.]]
* ScaryShadowFakeout: Merida's little brothers use a plucked chicken to make a shadow which looks like a bear to help lead the adults on a wild goose chase looking for the bear in the castle.
* SceneryPorn: Pixar is animating the beautiful Scottish Highlands. [[http://pixartimes.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/brave-concept-art-hi-res-image-3.jpg Just]] [[http://pixartimes.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/brave-concept-art-hi-res-image-1.jpg look]] [[http://staytoonedin.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/brave-concept-art-meridatakesoff.jpg at]] the concept art.
** The animation was so complex that Pixar had to completely rewrite their animation software, something that they haven't done in ''25 years''.
* SecretPath: Merida and Bear Elinor sneak back into the castle via the sewers.
* SentimentalMusicCue: Starts to play in the background when [[spoiler:Merida gives her speech to the three lords and her father on resolving their conflicts]]. It even features bagpipes!
* ShapeshiftingExcludesClothing: Elinor's clothes are torn when she turns into a bear.
* ShoutOut:
** To ''WesternAnimation/FindingNemo'': Aside from the "rebellious child and strong-willed parent learn to appreciate each other after a crisis" plot, there's [[spoiler:Bear!Elinor's pupils widening into [[BlackEyesOfCrazy Black Eyes Of Animal-ity]] when she becomes a "real" bear, just like Bruce the great white shark's eyes go black when he goes into feeding frenzy-mode.]]
** "Sorry, [[Disney/BrotherBear I don't speak bear]]."
** The Witch's answering cauldron says she's gone to ''Film/{{The Wicker Man|1973}}'' festival in Stornoway.
** Clan Macintosh's [[http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150930150446286&set=a.10150725958266286.388564.258948136285&type=1&theater sigil]] looks suspiciously [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Rennie_Mackintosh Art Nouveau]].
** The shot of [[spoiler:The eldest of the four princes with a human body and Mor'du's head]] is a reference to ''Anime/PorcoRosso''.
** In a moment of frustration, Merida shouts out "Jings, crivvens, help ma Boab!", a trio of catchphrases from beloved Scottish comic strip [[http://crivensjingsandhelpmaboab.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/apologies-for-name.html?m=1 Oor Wullie]].
** Merida sabotages a competition where she is the prize by entering said competition herself. Her fellow RebelliousPrincess Calla of Disney's ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfTheGummiBears'' did the exact same thing in the episode "Girl's Knight Out." Calla's tournament also included an archery portion (although it also had others).
** Merida must have been taking archery lessons from Disney/RobinHood, their style, skills, and even their winning tournament shots are very similar.
* ShownTheirWork: According to [[http://archive.wired.com/geekdad/2012/02/new-brave-trailer-gets-it-right/ this article]], the mistakes made by Merida's suitors in the archery contest are all legitimate errors inexperienced archers can make.
** And Merida is shown wearing her quiver of arrows at her side not on her back, a mistake dating back to Film/TheAdventuresOfRobinHood.
*** While the back quiver is famous in fiction and in North America, Europe (and especially the British Isles) more commonly used the belt quiver seen at Merida's side.
* SirNotAppearingInThisTrailer: The Witch did not appear in any of the trailers and had a few seconds in featurettes at most.
* SistineSteal: Of all things, this appears in the witch's cottage among her carvings. [[spoiler:With bears, of course.]]
-->'''Witch:''' Here's a conversation starter!
* SlapstickKnowsNoGender: Maudie, and later [[spoiler:Bear!Elinor]] face just as much slapstick humor as the men.
* TheSmurfettePrinciple: The film has a 1:3 female-to-male ratio. However, this is Pixar's first movie with a female protagonist.
* SpitTake: Fergus pulls one of these at the dinner table. [[spoiler:Bear!Elinor]] does it later after Merida tells her that the water she’s drinking has worms.
* SplittingTheArrow: Merida does this when she wins the archery contest.
* StealthPun:
** ACXIII. [[note]] Hint, it's a Roman Numeral version of A113, a common Pixar EasterEgg.[[/note]]
* TheStinger: Doubles as a BrickJoke. Earlier, Merida arranged to buy all the witch's woodcarvings if she got some magical help. As promised, after the credits they are delivered to the castle by the crow -- to the surprise of the guard ("Sign here, please").
* SymbolicallyBrokenObject: the tapestry Merida slices in anger explicitly represents the broken bond between her and her mother. Later, we see a carving of the four princes that has been similarly broken.
* TakeMyHand: Bear Elinor tries to do this to Merida as an attempt to save her daughter from the evil bear Mor'du. It works.
* TalkingAnimal: The witch's crow.
* TheTapeKnewYouWouldSayThat: The facsimile the witch leaves behind for Merida in the cauldron rolls its eyes in exasperation and repeats itself when Merida fails to understand the cryptic advice.
* TearsOfRemorse: Elinor sheds these after destroying Merida's bow. After Merida runs out of the room in tears, Elinor realises what she's done as the bowstring snaps in the fire, digs it out, but sees it has been ruined and breaks down sobbing.
* TemptingFate: When Merida tries to sneak her Bear Elinor out of the castle, she notes that "It's not like anyone's gonna see you!". Cue the father and his men coming up the stairs.
* ThemeMusicPowerUp: Merida displays some awesome mounted archery skills when "Touch the Sky" starts playing in the background.
* ThisWasHisTrueForm: [[spoiler:Mor'du's spirit rises from its body in the form of the human prince he used to be.]]
* ThoseTwoGuys: A pair of castle maids, usually seen with Maudie.
* ThriftyScot: Downplayed when Merida chooses to open King Fergus's private reserves after telling the clans of Dingwall, [=MacGuffin=], and Macintosh that their sons should be able to choose love for themselves in due time, and Fergus decides to use the small drinking vessels.
* ThrowTheDogABone: Maudie lucks out at the end of the movie.
* ThwartedCoupDeGrace: During the climax When Elinor bear is tied down and Fergus is about to deal her a finishing blow, an arrow from Merida [[BlastingItOutOfTheirHands blasts the sword out of his hand]].
* TimeToStepUpCommander: With only a modicum of sign coaching from her mother, Merida manages to pacify the tribes about to declare war on one another over her unwillingness to go through with the ArrangedMarriage. It helps that that the heirs of the tribes aren't keen on the union either, as clearly stated by [[TheUnintelligible Young MacGuffin]].
* TitleDrop:
-->'''Merida:''' Fate lives within us, you only have to be brave enough to see it.
* TrademarkFavoriteFood: The triplets love pastries a lot.
* ATragedyOfImpulsiveness:
** Merida's impatience, along with her and Elinor's refusal to listen to each other's feelings, results in the situation that the former has to fix in the first place.
** Fergus rushes off to confront Elinor in her bear after he mistakes her for dead without listening to Merida's pleas.
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil:
** As beautiful as the "Mother's Day" trailer is, the trailer may have [[spoiler:given away a few of the ending shots of the film at the tail end of it.]]
** Some other trailers and in-movie shots also shows Merida walking with, saving or jumping to the rescue of a bear, which is pretty spoilerish when the first trailers shows the main antagonist, or one of the main antagonists, of the movie to be a giant grizzly. Apparently sources have already revealed the smaller, more timid looking bear that's seen with Merida to be [[spoiler:her transformed mother.]]
** Several [[{{Novelization}} movie tie-in books]] were released before the movie itself, too. Naturally, reading them spoils the whole plot of the movie.
** A toy commercial also completely spoiled [[spoiler:the bear transformation.]]
** The movie is being distributed with trailers for a video game that offer minor spoilers.
* TrueBlueFemininity: Elinor tries to invoke this with Merida before and during the contest, making her wear a tight turquoise dress. Merida doesn't like this, preferring her darker and less restrictive dark blue dress.
* TwoScenesOneDialogue: Between Merida and Elinor in the beginning, including quite a few cases of FinishingEachOthersSentences.
-->'''Elinor''' [''repairing the tapestry'']: Merida, all this work, all the time spent preparing you, schooling you, giving you everything we never had. I ask you, what do you expect us to do?\\
'''Merida''' [''in the stables'']: Call off the gathering! Would that kill them? You're the queen. You can just tell the lords the princess is not ready for this. In fact, she might not ever be ready for this, so that's that. Good day to you. We'll expect your declarations of war in the morning.\\
'''Elinor''': I understand this must all seem unfair. Even I had reservations when I faced betrothal. But we can't just run away from who we are.\\
'''Merida''': I don't want my life to be over. I want my freedom!\\
'''Elinor''': But are you willing to pay the price your freedom will cost?\\
'''Merida''': I'm not doing any of this to hurt you.\\
'''Elinor''': If you could just try to see what I do, I do out of love.\\
'''Merida''': But it's ''my life'', it's... I'm just not ready.\\
'''Elinor''': I think you'd see, if you could just...\\
'''Merida''': I think I could make you understand if you would just...\\
'''Elinor''': Listen.\\
'''Merida''': Listen.

* UnflinchingWalk: The Queen does this ''impressively'' during the BarBrawl scene.
** Then Merida does it equally well later on, to stop all-out ''war''.
* VictoriasSecretCompartment: Entrusted with a key, Maudie hides it in her bosom.
* TheVillainSucksSong: [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlM9NAYXT6w The Song of Mor'du.]]
* ViolentGlaswegian: All the tribes enjoy having a go at each other after a brief exchange of insults, with King Fergus finding it all immensely entertaining. Fergus manages to calm them down, but after the princess get them going again with a sneak attack, it takes [[TheHighQueen Queen Elinor calmly walking through the fray and corralling the lords and her king]] to get them to behave themselves.
* WantedAGenderConformingChild: Queen Elinor wants Merida to be more feminine.
* WasOnceAMan: [[spoiler:Mor'du, having asked for the strength of ten men, seems to have taken heartily to his new identity as a complete monster.]]
* WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer: The witch's bear motif is noticeably prevalent in ''all'' her professional dealings. The only spell she seems to know is [[spoiler:turning people into bears.]]
* WhereWhere: In the scene where [[spoiler:Elinor turns into a bear; Merida screams, Elinor turns and sees a bear's shadow on the wall, and attempts to shield Merida with her body because she hasn't realised yet that she ''is'' the bear.]]
* WhiteAndGrayMorality: Both due to the main focus of the story being a mother-daughter conflict where both have their reasons, and the antagonist per se being a wild animal -- though a vicious one [[spoiler:who used to be human.]]
* WhyDontYouJustShootHim: At one point Mor'du has a completely defenceless Merida at his mercy, and yet he only drags time and roars at her until Elinor can enter the fight and save her daughter.
* WillOTheWisp: The [[FauxFlame Wisps]], which appear as glowing blue lights and apparently have the power to lead people to their fate and encourage them to change it. They are based on Scottish lore of will o' the wisps that lead people to treasure or doom. At the end of the movie, it's shown that they are actual ghosts.
* WimpFight: Young McIntosh and Wee Dingwall fight another in such a way during the throne room brawl.
* WingedSoulFliesOffAtDeath: [[spoiler:Mor'du's]] ghost, in human form, rises regally from the corpse of his crushed ursine body, nods respectfully to Merida and her mother and then vanishes.
->"[[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer A bear! You made a bear!"\\
"I didn't mean to!"\\
"Undo it! Undo it!]]"