Merida is a headstrong princess struggling to take control of her own destiny. As the eldest child of the King and Queen, her life is weighted with responsibilities and expectations. When Merida blatantly defies an ancient tradition, the consequences of her actions prove disastrous for the kingdom — and especially when innocent bystanders-(her mother and brothers)-end up affected. She must race against time to make right the result of her reckless behavior.Voiced by:Kelly Macdonald, Peigi Barker (as a child), Julie Fowlis (off-screen singing voice actor)
Action Dress Rip: During the archery contest. Not the skirt, but the back, shoulders and sleeves by flexing, which is realistic given the action in question.
Action Girl: When confronted with Mor'du, a monster of a bear, she notches an arrow and fires. In the climax, she gets the better of the three chiefs and her father in close combat.
Badass: Aside from using Loophole Abuse to win the archery tournament for her own hand in marriage, climbing the Firefalls, facing Mor'du multiple times even when her arrows were having no effect, and facing her own father in sword combat to protect her mother... she manages to sew a tapestry while galloping on horseback through a raging thunderstorm.
Badass Adorable: In contrast to her mother, Merida is more rambunctiously cute.
Celibate Heroine: She doesn't want to get married, and has no Love Interest in the movie - a first for a Disney Princess. Though Young MacGuffindid get her attention, and she does look stunned when she thinks a strapping Conan type is Dingwall's son.
Compressed Hair: Merida wears a tight-fitting headdress as part of her royal attire, which must be a bother given the untamed mass of her hair.
Cool Big Sis: Her brothers only like their dad's story when she tells it.
Girliness Upgrade: Every doll of Merida has her looking far more ladylike than she is. The Disney store model◊ is closer to the original, but the Mattel collection◊ barely resembles her. This even extends to the tie-in toy archery sets; while the Disney Store's are an accurate replica of her bow, the ones available at other stores are purple.
Gorgeous Period Dress: Although not as blatant as Elinor, the turquoise dress she's effectively forced into (by Elinor, naturally; see True Blue Femininity entry below) is the closest she gets. For most of the film her dresses of choice tend to be simpler but no less nice.
Heart Is an Awesome Power: Mor'du is so heavily armored that Merida's archery is useless. In the end the skill that benefits her most turns out to be sewing- to fix the tapestry.
Horse Archer: Merida's contest of choice is archery because she is an ace with a bow and arrow. She can even hit a perfect bullseye while on horseback. She doesn't share the calmness and self-possession that usually comes with Archer Archetype role, instead matching the untamed power of the horse.
Hot-Blooded: She's more comfortable riding horseback and shooting at arrow targets then sitting at home and calmly discussing matters of state.
In the Hood: Hides her head on a few occasions with the hood of her cape.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's stubborn, rebellious, sarcastic, and self-centered... but underneath it all, she has a kind and heroic heart.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The main conflict of the film is largely Merida's fault because she throws three bullseye into the bethroal tradition.
Of Corset Hurts: At one point, Queen Elinor dresses Princess Merida up in a corset, and Merida complains that she can't breathe. What's really odd about all this is that the movie takes place in Medieval Scotland, and corsets shouldn't exist yet.
Plucky Girl: Her mother transforming into a bear was a shock but quickly made a plan for keeping her safe and fixing the problem.
Politically-Active Princess: King Fergus and the Scottish lords on the verge of war when Princess Merida brings the four factions back together and declares that one should choose who he marries according to his heart. Her suitors agree, stating that their arranged marriage was their fathers' idea. Thus, the clan leaders agree that their sons must win Merida's heart before winning her hand.
Quirky Curls: Yet another contrast with her mother who has two groomed and braided tails.
Rapunzel Hair: If it were straightened, it would be four feet long.
Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Has this opinion at first because she doesn't realize how much Elinor really does for the kingdom. She softens her position later, but still prefers to be out shooting things than sitting around sewing.
Splitting the Arrow / Improbable Aiming Skills: Merida is a damned good shot in archery; hitting three bullseyes in a row and splitting the other guy's arrow on the third with so much force it breaks through the back of the target. She considers herself the winner of the contest for her hand.
Unkempt Beauty: She doesn't need her mother's courtly help to be attractive.
Well Done Daughter Gal: Implied when Merida returns home and tells her family of her adventure of climbing the Fire Falls. Notice that she asked her mother first about what she had done that day. She was visibly disappointed that her mother didn't hear of her accomplishments..
Wild Hair: It's wild because she spends so much time on a horse.
Women Prefer Strong Men: Heavily implied when she's introduced to her suitors. When she meets the Young MacGuffin, the biggest, she doesn't look all that annoyed. Then, notice her "awe" reaction to Young Dingwall, who turned out not be him.
There's also the fact that, originally, she was going to choose the very huge and muscular, Young MacGuffin.
Wrong Genre Savvy: She's intelligent enough to know that just cancelling the games will mortally offend the other clansnote "We'll expect your declarations of war in the morning!", but her attempt to Take a Third Option by entering the games herself winds up with the same result.
Youthful Freckles: For emphasis on the 'growing youth' aspect. She doesn't want to be a queen.
Queen Elinor is fiercely dedicated to the well being of her family and kingdom. As the measured, diplomatic counterpoint to her more impulsive husband, Elinor carries the weight of the kingdom on her shoulders in order to maintain the fragile peace between the volatile clans. Elinor strives to instill in Merida the knowledge and manner of a royal, but her vision of her daughter’s future is at odds with Merida’s desire to forge her own path.Voiced by:Emma ThompsonAs a bear Voiced by:Frank Welker
Action Mom: Becomes one in the climax where she (as a bear) battles Mor'du.
Adorkable: Very much so as a bear for stumbling and other awkardness.
Almighty Mom: There is an all-out, weapons-drawn brawl in the courtyard and what does she do? Calmly walk across it, grab the chiefs by their ears, and stare at her husband. All he can find to say is 'Yes, dear'.
Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: She is tall, beautiful, has very long dark hair and possess a composed and graceful attitude.
Authority Equals Asskicking: In the climax, she breaks a huge stone in half. How? By bashing it with a ten-foot-tall bear. Said bear is trying to kill her at the time. Everyone knows a queen outranks a prince.
Beary Friendly: Grew into this after a while of being transformed into a bear.
Beary Funny: Much comedy is derived from her still acting like her queenly self in bear form.
Deuteragonist: She is just as important to the story as her daughter; they share the bulk of their screen time.
Fantasy Forbidding Mother: Downplayed, but Elinor's constant focus upon propriety and adhering to all the rules and conduct of a princess, while refusing to encourage Merida's love of tomboyish things and particularly battle comes across as this. She does allow Merida her bow, but only reluctantly, and refuses to allow it on the table. She's only doing this to try and prepare her daughter for marriage to preserve peace among the clans, but it can't be denied that Elinor's own personality and interests suggests she is also molding her daughter to be just like her and do what she deems worthwhile (see her opinion of the various woods skills Merida has picked up). Ironically, her father actually encourages such pursuits (something which would break gender roles) and seems to enjoy her taking after him, but doesn't try and force her to follow his path.
Good Parents: She falls into My Beloved Smother territory with her daughter, but it's obvious that she and Fergus love their children and take good care of them. The flashbacks to when Merida was little are strong examples of this.
I Am a Monster: She wrestles with this a few times after her ursine transformation.
Letting Her Hair Down: At the very end of the movie, she stops keeping her hair in long twin tails and instead leaves most of it flowing loose. Also counts as an Expository Hairstyle Change since it signifies that she has loosen up and is opening herself up to seeing things for Merida's point of view.
Silk Hiding Steel: Despite her disapproval of weapons and tomboyish activities, there is no lack of spirit in her personality or steel in her spine. Warriors would rather stop fighting and bow then continue brawling when she passes.
Skunk Stripe: Most likely a sign of her age than anything supernatural... maybe.
Tranquil Fury: When Elinor breaks up the fight between the heads of the clans, she remains very, very calm (certainly calmer than everyone else in the room). When she talks to Merida after the archery competition, the fury is... less tranquil.
True Blue Femininity: At the end of the movie, she wears a dark blue dress, which is a shade darker than her daughter's.
Elinor walks very calmly through the massive fight scene going on in the throne room with the intent of putting a stop to it.
She also does this when Merida crashes the archery contest, though she's much less calm. Also note that, while everyone else is clearly stunned by Merida's actions, Elinor is the only person in the scene who tries to stop her.
Women Are Wiser: Deconstructed. Although Elinor is obviously a better administrator than her husband, the central conflict of the story is she's too obstinate to see the world from her daughter's point of view. Fergus, on the other hand, may have understood that this was the real problem and was attempting to get Elinor to recognize that when he pretended to be Merida. In other words, she's wiser in some ways than her husband but not in others as is more likely in real life.
King Fergus is a heroic warrior with a knobby peg leg – the result of his much-regaled skirmish with the demon bear Mor’du. His vendetta against the beast who took his leg makes Fergus a ferocious and determined bear hunter. Protector of his kingdom and family, Fergus has a heart as big as his triplet sons are mischievous and boundless love for his wife, Queen Elinor. But his pride for his first-born daughter Merida is unmatched, and he has gifted her his great skill and passion for the sword and the bow.Voiced by:Billy Connolly
Action Dad: When his family is in danger his response is call his soldiers and draw his sword.
Fergus: Pretend I'm Merida. Speak to me. (deep breath; high-pitched voice) 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!
He's fond of retelling his encounter with Mor'du at family meals, which the triplets seem to find boring. This is because they've heard it so many times, as suggested by the fact that one of the triplets starts lip-synching along with the telling.
Made of Iron: He was able to take a blow from a beast like Mordu, and survive.
Red Baron: King Fergus is also known as "The Bear King" for his legendary fight with Mor'du, as well as the aforementioned bear-hunting hobby.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: He 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.
Ruling Couple: King Fergus and Queen Elinor are both involved in the welfare of the kingdom.
Tritagonist: After Merida and Elinor he's the most prominent character.
The Wonka: The line "Not another hunt through the castle" implies that it might just be a regular occurrence, but his quirky nature doesn't stop him from being the king.
Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: The Ugly Guy to Elinor's Hot Wife. The couple is also the trope's image.
Identical triplet princes Harris, Hubert and Hamish are adorable, redheaded, and always ready to stir up a bit of mischief, especially if sweets are at stake.
The three lords of the kingdom; Dingwall, Macintosh and MacGuffin; are the unruly, overzealous leaders of their respective clans. Though once warring factions, they have been united under the sword of King Fergus and held together by the diplomacy and political savvy of Queen Elinor. The clans are summoned to Castle DunBroch to compete in the Highland Games, but the lords are soon outraged when Merida defies a sacred tradition. The clans fall back to their history of fervent feuding, which threatens the fragile peace of the entire kingdom.
Strapping Lord MacGuffin is full of brawn and dignity. Though a man of few words, his deep voice resounds across the land demanding respect and contributing to his reputation as the most even-handed and reasonable lord in the kingdom. Even so, like his fellow lords, MacGuffin isn't opposed to a first-rate brawl or full-throated belly laugh.Voiced by: Kevin McKidd
The wiry, indignant and off-kilter leader of his clan, Lord Macintosh is always a heartbeat away from hysterics. His savage smile and fierce appearance, body bedecked in blue war paint and chest pridefully puffed up, proclaim that he's ready for battle at any moment, though his bark may be worse than his bite.Voiced by:Craig Ferguson
Grumpy and quick-tempered, the scrappy Lord Dingwall doesn't let being height-challenged get in the way of solving his problems with fisticuffs. Never one to shy away from an old-fashioned fracas or high-spirited kerfuffle, he has no qualms taking on even the burliest adversary to assert his own position in the kingdom.Voiced by:Robbie Coltrane
Badass Grandpa: He appears to be the oldest of the three chiefs and yet he was still on the front lines of a war perhaps 15 years ago.
Generation Xerox: They all look exactly like young versions of their fathers. There are even several scenes where they are blocked the same way as their elders (While Wee Dingwall kisses Merida's hand on the docks Macintosh and Macguffin stand behind and kid around together. At the same time, their fathers do the same thing as Lord Dingwall hugs Fergus.)
Hopeless Suitor: All are competing for Merida's hand in marriage and are all undesirable in her eyes.
No Name Given: Just like their fathers, their real first names are never revealed.
Vague Age: We're not sure exactly how old any of them are, just that they seem to be somewhere under 20 and above 12.
Speaking an uncommon Scottish dialect that is incomprehensible to most, Young MacGuffin is a shy lad of large proportions. Being the center of attention is not his strong suit, but he will not hesitate to leap into a fight alongside his father and clan when the occasion arises.Voiced by: Kevin McKidd
As the first-born son of a lord, Young Macintosh knows he has it all; athletic physique, undeniable charm and long flowing locks that leave the lasses swooning in his wake. Vanity and legions of devotees can also be a distraction when it comes to bragging rights at the Highland Games.Voiced by: Steven Cree
Agent Peacock: He always makes sure he's looking good when fighting.
Big "NO!": His reaction to not hitting a perfect bull's-eye.
The Charmer: Has a band of fangirls squealing and swooning over him.
Expy: Of Conan the Barbarian. It's most explicit in the whirling sword-kata he performed in his introduction, which is a front-view version of the exact-same sword-kata that Schwarzenegger performed on the beach in the 1982 film.
He seems very loyal to his father, too. When Lord Dingwall has his son attack Lord Macintosh, Young Macintosh punches Lord Dingwall in the face! Later when Merida flips his father during the climax, Young Macintosh runs to his side and helps him back to his feet.
Pec Flex: Does one when his father introduces him.
Gangly, guileless and often lost in his own head, Wee Dingwall is the awkward son of Lord Dingwall. Though Wee Dingwall displays an eagerness that outweighs his inherited small size, his father will proudly employ his only son as an attack dog when the moment is right.Voiced by: Callum O'Neill
Accidental Aiming Skills: Thanks to Fergus startling him at just the right time, he is the only suitor whose arrow hits a bull's-eye.
The Berserker: "Wee Dingwall? Attack!" He's seen at one point gnawing his shield, which was a trait attributed to berserker warriors.
Dumb Blonde: The suitor with bleach blond hair is the one that's not all there.
Dumbass Has a Point: For most of the movie he's undeniably the ditz, but near the end, his one line of dialogue is telling his dad that the whole suitor thing was more his idea, and he just went along with it.
The Fool: He is unquestionably the least competent of the suitors, but through sheer dumb luck he is the only one to hit a bull's-eye.
Black as night with ivory muzzle and fetlocks, Angus is Merida's powerful Shire and her most trusted confidant. Angus is Merida's escape from castle life into the deep forest and the Highlands beyond. Merida target shoots from her perch on his broad back and is able to coax him into one adventure after another. Angus can be balky, stubborn and faint-hearted at times, but is ultimately a devoted and faithful friend to Merida.
Mor'du is the antagonist of Brave, hence the original title of The Bear and the Bow. A feral and dangerous presence, this black bear fought King Fergus when Merida was a wee lass, and he chomped his leg off and won, something that Fergus has vowed to seek revenge for ever since. He stands 15 feet tall, his face is scarred with one dead, red eye, his black fur is coarse and disheveled, and he is covered in arrows and bruises, trophies of those humans who attempted to kill him. He puts Merida in danger more than once during the course of the movie.
And I Must Scream: It's heavily implied that the Prince was suffering this, since he was grateful to Merida for freeing him.
Big Bad: Averted. He has nothing to do with the betrothal or the spell Merida made to get out of it. He's just a dangerous antagonist. Despite this, he is still the villain of the movie.
Bilingual Bonus/Meaningful Name: The name of the demon bear Mor'du is a combination of the words "Mór" and "dubh" (pronounced the same way), the Scots-Gaelic words for "large" and "black". Makes sense when you realise that that bear literally meant 'brown' in Old English.
Karmic Transformation: The legend implies he wasn't the best person, so his transformation could be considered karmic retribution. If the spell is the same one Merida used, it's clear the spell is a karmic response to the pride/ego of the requester - only upon "mending the bond broken by pride" can the spell be reversed. Since Mor'du killed his brothers, mending the bond wasn't possible for him, so his curse stuck.
Large and in Charge: He tried to invoke this trope back when he was a prince. Compared to his brothers, he was simply enormous. The trope certainly applied to him as leader of his armies.
Made of Iron: Arrows just distract him and it takes being crushed by a huge rock to put him down for good.
Meaningful Name/Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The fact the words for "large and black" in Gaelic sound and look so similar to the word for "death" in Latin and the Romance languages is...quite the significant coincidence. (Mordred, anyone?)
Shadow Archetype: He was a prince who tried to change his fate and ended up destroying a kingdom due to his inability to see past his own pride, much as Merida nearly did.
Squashed Flat: In a rare non-comedic example of this trope, this is what happens to him in the climax.
Stealth Hi/Bye: He does this in the beginning of the film, as well as near the end. Considering his size, its pretty shocking how he somehow managed to walk right up to young Merida in broad daylight in a fairly open field.
Suicide by Cop: Heavily implied. Since the Prince's spirit turns into a Wisp, and the Wisps lead Merida around the forest, it is implied that the Wisps were his spirit and that he was trying to be killed so he could be put out of his misery.
Super-Persistent Predator: While Merida does get away from him a few times, he just happens to conveniently find her near the end. And in the last battle he seems way too focused on her anytime he wasn't being beaten or pelted in the face by someone else.
Time Abyss: How old he is isn't revealed, but it IS revealed he was the prince of a kingdom so old that its name isn't even remembered and is believed to only be a legend.
Tragic Monster: It's implied he felt remorse for killing his family and destroying his kingdom.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: While becoming a bear as a consequence of his pride and the witch's spell is pretty tragic in and of itself, he was stuck in the form of this monstrous, hunted being for several centuries because he couldn't find reconciliation with his family. It's only through his death that he seems to regain some part of his humanity back.
A Witch (also referred to as a Wise Woman, and while you're here she personally prefers the title "Woodcarver") who Merida seeks out when she wishes to change her fate. She seems a little batty — alright, way more than a little — but there's no denying she's got magical chops. And though she considers carving wood to be her true calling, she'll still whip up a spell for a customer... at the right price.Voiced by: Julie Walters
Bigger Bad: An unintentional, absent-minded example. Her magic makes her the most powerful person in this story and she has the potential to be dangerous but she's not involved with the movie's core conflict.
Welcome to Crafty Carvers! As you can see, I am currently completely out of stock! If you would like to inquire about portraits or wedding cake toppers, pour in the first vial. If you would like this message in Gaelic, pour in the second vial. If you're that red-headed lass from the other day, pour in the third vial...
Greed: She outright refuses to do Merida any spell because she doesn't want to cause any trouble, but does it when offered a valuable pendant by Merida. If you look closely the design on it features three bears intertwined with each other. Given the Witch's fixation on bears, is it any wonder she wasn't going to pass up that little treasure?
Hermit Guru: Lives in a cottage in the woods, quite far from civilization.
Implausible Deniability: Her claims that she's a woodcarver, not a witch... as she leaves the broom she's sweeping with to sweep the floor by itself.
Karma Houdini: Depending on how you interpret her character, she is arguably the first and only Pixar "villain" to get off Scott Free for her actions if you judge her by human standards.
Knife Nut: She has a dozen of them and they can levitate to threaten people.
Literal Genie: Why Elinor gets turned into a bear. Merida wanted her mother to get off her back, but what she said was "change my mother". Approaches Jerkass Genie territory with the fallen prince - he asks for the strength of ten men, and gets turned into Mor'du.
Literal-Minded: "I want to change my mother." Yes indeed, she can do that.
Non-Malicious Monster: Ultimately, she's not intentionally malevolent at all, just Literal-Minded, indifferent, and a bit forgetful. Heck, she doesn't even want to do witchcraft for Merida because of "too many unsatisfied customers" and only caves in when she's offered a very valuable trinket.
Also, as revealed in "The Legend of Mordu", she saw "a wounded soul behind his bluster, so she agreed to his wish for the strength of ten men, but with a choice. Either he used it to fulfill his desire, or amend his bond with the brothers. He chose the former.
Older than They Look: Hard to believe, I know. But it's implied in the film, and confirmed in supplementary material, that she's the one who sold Mor'du the spell that turned him into a bear, and that happened so long ago the kingdom he ruled is only known in legend. And she was still an old woman — or in the shape of an old woman — then.