The film's Deuteragonist, a career thief on the run for stealing the missing princess's prized tiara who finds himself trying to hide out in her tower. Rapunzel, with no previous knowledge of the outside world, convinces him to accompany her to see the lanterns.Tropes associated with Flynn:
Be Yourself: His character development is kicked off with this from Rapunzel.
Bishōnen: Intentionally invoked, his design is a composite of many men the women in the studio deemed attractive.
Brown Eyes: Noteworthy because of their easily recognizable symbolism: reflecting Flynn's naturally sarcastic and down-to-earth personality in contrast to the ridiculous scenarios he finds himself in. He is also one of the few male Caucasian characters in Western and Eastern animation to have brown eyes.
Butt Monkey: His second most prominent trait. Helps that he seems to be Made of Iron when it comes to physical comedy. Not so resistant to stabbing, though.
Character Development: He stops caring only about himself and learns to love, as well as to just be himself.
Deadpan Snarker: He takes every opportunity to snark about his current situation. except the 'almost drowning' part, which adds to the drama.
Death by Adaptation: Subverted. His counterpart in the source material suffered a nasty Eye Scream instead of dying. The problem is still sorted by Rapunzel's tears though.
Decoy Protagonist: The trailers made it seem like Flynn was the star, even though he is very much the deuteragonist. In-movie, Flynn is the leading narrator, but he quickly denounces himself from being the main character and goes on to tell that yes, this is the story of Rapunzel.
Distressed Dude: It's always Flynn who has to be rescued by Rapunzel, not the other way round! Even when Rapunzel gets Bound and Gagged toward the end of the film, she's able to save Flynn from his mortal knife wound by working off her gag and begging Mother Gothel to let her heal him, which gives Flynn a chance to pull off his would-be Heroic Sacrifice.
Easily Forgiven: Between the start of the movie and the Epilogue, Flynn goes from being wanted for grand theft, to presumably becoming Prince or Prince Consort, and eventually King of the same country. Wow. (Well, given that he did bring back their daughter who had been missing for 18 years, you can see the King and Queen issuing a pardon there).
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In Flynn's last moments of life (as far as he knows), Rapunzel makes a promise to never resist Mother Gothel again so long as she is allowed to save his life. Rather than allow her to save him, Flynn decides to use the last of his strength to cut Rapunzel's hair with a shard of glass, causing it to lose its power and depriving Gothel of the reason Rapunzel was so important to her. In a way, this is a case of this trope going both ways.
Ironic Echo: In the trailer, Flynn calling for Rapunzel to let down her hair was humorous. Less so for the single time he uses it in the movie.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The "jerk" part may be stretching it a little, though. He's not exactly malicious, he just gets himself in a lot of trouble thanks to his thieving and he's reallysassy. He gets better.
Laser-Guided Karma: It would have been much harder for Mother Gothal to have recruited the Stabbington Brothers if he hadn't sold them down the river (figuratively speaking) at the beginning of the story.
Le Parkour: Flynn and the Stabbington brothers use this at times, perhaps most noticeably while climbing on the palace roof in their first scene.
Lovable Rogue: Invoked. He tries to cultivate this image, but his Wanted posters just can't get the nose right.
Love Redeems: Rapunzel's love for Flynn causes him to change his thieving ways and return to bearing his old name Eugene Fitzherbert.
Made of Iron: Flynn should at least be bruised from head to toe with many broken bones and concussions from all the abuse he goes through in this movie, but most of it doesn't leave a scratch on him. Though, he's still vulnerable to daggers and pointy rocks.
When Flynn and Rapunzel are about to see the lights appear, Rapunzel is worried about what to do with her life after she realizes her dream of seeing the lanterns. He consoles her by telling her, "Well, that's the good part I guess. You get to go find a new dream." This turns up again later when Eugene has returned to the tower in an attempt to free Rapunzel. Dying, he says, "You were my new dream." Rapunzel responds, in a tear-filled voice, "And you were mine."
The first and last times Flynn sees Rapunzel's long hair emerge from her tower are nearly identical, with her golden hair forming a loop as it flies out of the window into the sunlit air as he clings to the wall of the tower. The second time, it's not Rapunzel.
Mr. Fanservice: According to an interview, Flynn's design came from the artists having the female staff members writing down all of the celebrities they thought were most good-looking and borrowing from that.
Word of God called the gathering of female staff members "The Hot Man Meeting".
Oh, and X Dies: The opening narration starts off with Flynn stating, "This is the story of how I died." By the time it comes up in the story, odds are good you've forgotten about that line. Additionally, the first-time viewer, after observing his personality, would think he was exaggerating for drama.
Only Sane Man: Just check out his expressions during the "I've Got A Dream" song.
The Southpaw: He fights against Maximus wielding the frying pan with his left hand.
Sticky Fingers: Lifts the loot from his partners early in the film and Rapunzel's tiara in the epilogue.
That Man Is Dead: Flynn Rider dies as he begins embracing his true name and personality. So the Tonight Someone Dies warning at the beginning is very true, it is the story of Flynn's death and his rebirth as Eugene.
They Do: In the narration, Eugene and Rapunzel assure us it is so. We see their wedding in the short.
Unreliable Narrator: He announces that the story isn't about him, but rather Rapunzel, it's actually about both of them.
You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: The only appropriate response to seeing your not-quite girlfriend making friends with the hell-beast of a horse that's been chasing you all over the place.
Voiced by: Donna Murphy
An old woman who was, prior to the film, the only person who knew of the magic flower that could reverse her aging. When the flower is taken from her and ingested by the queen, Gothel instead kidnaps the queen's daughter, who had the essence of the flower, and raises her as her own. Eighteen years later, Gothel is content with keeping Rapunzel as her personal Fountain of Youth, which is forced to change once Rapunzel decides she wants to see the outside world.Tropes associated with Mother Gothel:
Disney Villain Death: Subverted. Although the villain indeed falls from a great height, she dies before she hits the ground due to the rapid aging brought on by Rapunzel's hair being cut. The movie even shows her empty cloak striking the ground.
(looking in the mirror with Rapunzel) Look in that mirror. I see a strong, confident, beautiful young lady. Oh look, you're here too. (laughs).
Evil Is Hammy: Subverted. Gothel definitely counts as a ham in the beginning when she pretends to be a mother figure to Rapunzel, but later in the film when she decides to become "the bad guy", she's basically all evil and no ham.
Evil Plan: Keep Rapunzel locked up in the tower forever so she can stay young forever.
Mother Gothel looks very similar to the way Bernadette Peters portrayed the character in Into the Woods. They even have the exact same motive for locking Rapunzel in the tower (protection from the outside world). There's also the young and old forms both take, the arrogant insistence of being right, and the awesome singing voices. However, the former fills in the blanks with much darker reasons to the point of being a Deconstruction of the latter.
Her eternal youth shtick might also be something of a surviving trait of the original concept of Yzma. Further evidence of this one comes from the fact that The Emperor's New Groove started life as a much more standard Disney flick under the working title Kingdom of the Sun. Note the motif of the kingdom in Tangled. The key difference here is that Proto-Yzma believed that the sun itself was what robbed her of her youth and beauty, while Mother Gothel actually gains hers from the essence of sunlight.
Her over-protectiveness and passive-aggressive emotional manipulation also call to mind Frollo from Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The song "Mother Knows Best" and Frollo's part of "Out There" are, lyrically, uncannily similar.
For some reason, she looks really similar to Cher.
Faux Affably Evil: As motherly, kind, and compromising as she tries to act, the mask is prone to slipping.
Immortal Immaturity: Mother Gothel acts immature for how old she looks, let alone her actual age.
Immortality Immorality: Gothel has lived so long in her youthful form that if she stops, death will be almost instantaneous. Hence her mania at the prospect of Rapunzel leaving her, and (when the chips are down) the claws coming out when Flynn gets in her way.
In the Back: Mother Gothel does this to Flynn/Eugene when she fatally stabs him in the back with her dagger, unseen, while he's trying to save Rapunzel (though, of course, Gothel may or may not be a Dirty Coward, yet she does fight dirty). Guess he should have seen that one coming.
Jerkass: Mother Gothel is an explicable one to Rapunzel from beginning to end it appears and makes little attempts to hide it.
Knife Nut: Gothel's preferred method of combat, when she's not using her hundreds of years of cunning. She doesn't get around to actually stabbing anyone. Until the end, where she really makes it count.
Manipulative Bitch: What she does to Rapunzel for 18 years and how she recruits the Stabbington Brothers.
Marshmallow Hell: Mother Gothel does this a couple of times...or manipulates Rapunzel into running into it, which is basically the same.
Meaningful Echo: Mother Gothel's weary proclaim that she looks like "the bad guy" after an argument with Rapunzel in the beginning of the film. The second time she says it, she decides to take the role much more literally.
Murder the Hypotenuse: Her love for Rapunzel, if it exists, is a twisted and warped thing. It doesn't mean she can't kill Flynn for winning Rapunzel's actual love, leading to Rapunzel's realizing that she doesn't love her.
No Immortal Inertia: The immortality granted by Rapunzel's hair is immediately revoked if her hair is cut, causing anyone surviving in such a way to age rapidly if they touch the hair while it is losing its powers.
No Honor Among Thieves: She promises the Stabbington brothers more wealth, and revenge. They get the latter, and an arrest.
Oh, Crap: Mother Gothel when she sees Maximus; she quickly deduces Rapunzel is gone, fearing the royal guard have found her at last. And again when Mother Gothel returns Rapunzel to the tower after her adventure. As she checks up on her, Rapunzel walks out of her room in a daze and says, "I'm the lost princess." You know Gothel can't think anything but this!
Rapid Aging: Happens to Mother Gothel when she no longer has the power of Rapunzel's hair to maintain her longer-than-normal youth. Definitely doubles as Accidental Nightmare Fuel, as it appears to be pretty damn painful. It happens throughout the rest of the movie too, only more slowly; in only two days away from Rapunzel, she already looks pretty aged by the time they go back to the tower.
Sadist: Mother Gothel is incredibly cruel in her emotional manipulations. Shown best when she tricks Rapunzel into thinking that Eugene betrayed her so that the poor girl would be too heartbroken to ever leave the tower.
Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: She barely features in any of the trailers if they show her at all, while in the film proper she's a central character who even appears on-screen before Rapunzel and Flynn do.
The Sociopath: If you're in the camp that believes that Mother Gothel never loved Rapunzel and only faked affection in order to better control her, then that would mean she raised a child, and one of the nicest people in the world for eighteen years and never saw that child as anything more than a tool for her to use.
Hero Secret Service: Played for laughs, as Pascal seems to view himself as one of these for Rapunzel, often acting as her protector and defender... which gets a bit tricky, seeing as he's a very small chameleon. Although he does manage to stare down Flynn and Maximus. He's the one ultimately responsible for Gothel falling out of the tower at the end.
Hollywood Chameleons: Zig-zagged trope. Most evident at the beginning with the flower vase, but he does change color with mood, like real chameleons, just with a different code.
The Captain of the Guard's horse, who is unfortunately more competent than the captain himself. At the beginning of the movie, he dedicates himself to hunting Flynn down for getting the tiara.Tropes associated with Maximus:
All Animals Are Dogs: Maximus hunts things by following their scent, sits on the ground with his front legs extended, and can wag his tail. All in the name of Rule of Funny.
Amplified Animal Aptitude: Maximus is the most badass character in the entire movie: if he had been around when Rapunzel was a baby he would have tracked down the missing princess before the sunrise. He's also more skilled with a sword than his rider.
Character Development: Maximus in the beginning was all about protocol and rules and regulations, going so far as to track down the lawbreaker even after his rider, the head guard, had fallen off. Later, it turns out he's a real softie for cute young girls and their dreams, and even gives the aforementioned lawbreaker some leeway for the sake of their love, lending his super-horse strength and fighting skills to break Eugene out of prison and the gallows.
Determinator: When hunting Flynn, he's not gonna stop for anything. Except for Rapunzel calling him a good boy.
Expy: This may be unintentional, but whenever Maximus is on screen, it's hard not to think of the horse Altivo from The Road to El Dorado - ESPECIALLY when together with Flynn, since he kind of looks like Tulio from the same movie.
Hazy Feel Turn: After he realizes that Eugene truly cares about Rapunzel, and assembles the Pub Thugs to help him escape execution. From a certain point of view, this could also be considered a Face-Heel Turn. Or it could be that Maximus felt he had an obligation since he'd promised to cut Flynn slack for 24 hours as a favor to Rapunzel (it was her birthday). Maximus has a funny Animal Reaction Shot when Flynn starts acting heartfelt about being rescued.
Horsing Around: Being the Captain of the Guard's horse, Maximus does his best to capture Flynn.
Improbable Weapon User: A sword normally isn't the world's most improbable weapon, but when a horse is wielding it, it could count. In the end, Maximus trains an entire squad of frying-pan wielding guards.
Le Parkour: While Flynn's riding him as part of his prison break.
Made of Iron: The abuse that Maximus' legs put up with would cripple a normal horse a dozen times over. But thanks to Toon Physics, they do fine.
Chekhov's Gun: The hilarious song "I've Got A Dream", performed by the Pub Thugs, illustrates all their most cherished dreams. Later, these dreams come in handy when they band together to rescue Flynn from execution, thanks in part to Maximus. Combined with Chekhov's Skill, especially in the case of the mime. The first big clue to their later Big Damn Heroes moment was when Flynn spots a ceramic unicorn in the room.
Fluffy the Terrible: The Snuggly Duckling sounds a very fitting name for a bar whose main patrons are a bunch of scary-looking rogues. Subverted since said rogues are actually nice guys.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: Pausing when the thugs are fighting over which one will claim Flynn's reward (before the musical number starts), you can see that Atilla (the baker) has a tattoo of a pair of swords crossed over a cupcake.
"I Want" Song: Their commemorative musical number of the light-heart, upbeat and comically lampshading "I've Got A Dream". They're aware they're not the nicest group of fellows, but they still have dreams.
Real Men Wear Pink: All of the pub thugs at the Snuggly Duckling. Some of their dreams include: floral arrangements, interior design, miming, baking cupcakes, knitting, puppet shows, and collecting ceramic unicorns.
Flynn's partners-in-crime at the beginning of the film, whom he leaves at the mercy of the kingdom guards to save his own ass. They're clearly not happy about it, and partner up with Mother Gothel to get him.
Co-Dragons: To Gothel once they start working together.
Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: This trope typefies the relations between Flynn and the Stabbington brothers. Ironically, the Stabbington Brothers are never the ones who do the betraying. (Perhaps they aren't clever enough to manage it.)
The Guards Must Be Crazy: With the exception of Maximus the horse, Corona's guards are incredibly incompetent. First they couldn't catch an old lady running and carrying a baby or find the nearby tower where she hid. Then they couldn't catch Flynn until he was literally tied up and handed to them, despite the fact that he was dancing around town in plain sight and they knew he was accompanied by a girl who really stands out in a crowd. They leave their wimpiest guy alone with two humongous brutes, and he turns out about as effective as you would expect. Finally, it was laughably easy for Flynn to swipe the tiara in the first place.
Mystical Pregnancy: The Queen's pregnancy is of the "normal, supernaturally complicated" variety; she fell ill while carrying Rapunzel. The magic flower that she ingested as a cure gave Rapunzel's hair its magic powers.
Parents Know Their Children: Implied to be the reason Rapunzel's parents recognize her in the end, despite her long blonde hair having been cut and turned brown.
Police Are Useless: It says a lot that the most competent, efficient and devoted member of the guards is the guard leader's horse. Who ends up getting the guard leader's job. For his part, the Captain of the Guard has shown an incredible amount of devotion (how many guys can immediately resume chasing a thief after getting knocked unconscious?) and his heart's certainly in the right place. Unfortunately, he's let down by his poor decision-making, his men, his lack of intelligence and his tendency to get knocked out at the worst possible time.
Proper Lady: The Queen. She is more emotionally resilient, or at least better at looking the part. She's also the one who literally pulls Eugene into the group hug at the end, when he hesitates.
The Voiceless: The King and Queen never speak on-screen. The fact that these two characters have three of the most emotionally charged scenes in the entire movie is a testament to the animation quality of the movie.