Disney / The Sword in the Stone

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"A legend is sung of when England was young,
And Knights were brave and bold.
The good King had died, and no one could decide
Who was rightful heir to the Throne.
It seemed that the land would be torn by war,
Or saved by a miracle alone
And that miracle appeared in London town:
The Sword in the Stone."

Disney's take on the tale of King Arthur.

Loosely adapted from the novel of the same name by T. H. White, which became part one of The Once and Future King.

This film version was made in 1963, as the 18th entry in the Disney Animated Canon. It was Walt Disney's penultimate animated film and the last one released while he was still alive. At the start of the story, the king Uther Pendragon has died. Soon after, a sword stuck in an anvil appears in London with a message that says that the person who can remove the sword is the legitimate successor to the throne. However, no one is able to succeed at this task.

Cut several years later to the main protagonist, twelve-year-old Arthur, mainly called Wart. He is an orphan who was taken in and raised by Sir Ector. Wart, who is training to be a squire, is under the apprenticeship of Sir Kay, his older foster brother. One day, while accompanying Kay on a hunting trip, Wart inadvertently distracts the knight, causing the aim of his arrow to go off target, missing the deer and losing the ammo. The younger boy goes into the forest to retrieve it. While doing so, he accidentally crashes into the house of the magician Merlin. Upon meeting, the wizard declares that he will tutor Wart, a decision that greatly changes the boy's life.


This film provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer:
    • There are two female squirrels who qualify (though one of them is ambiguous as to whether or not she's this):
      • The one who falls for Merlin is portrayed as comical when Merlin resumes human form, angrily retreating to her lair and shaking her fist at Merlin.
      • The one squirrel who falls for Wart is drawn to be extremely cute and instead of being portrayed as comical she's portrayed as heartbroken and sympathetic.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Ector keeps referring to Merlin as "Marvin".
  • Action Girl: The girl squirrel for biting the wolf who thought Wart was a nice snack.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • Wart can't help but crack a smile at Merlin's beard getting caught in his doorway and then poofing up.
    • Also, Merlin laughs at Wart's snarky comment about how if Archimedes is grumpy every time he stays up, then "He must be up every night."
    • Archimedes bursts out laughing when Merlin gets a toy plane tangled in his beard so that it crashed into the moat below.
  • Adult Fear:
    • Sir Ector frets when Wart doesn't return from the woods while fetching Kay's arrow, and is Properly Paranoid given a wolf nearly eats Wart several times.
    • It's probably for the best that Ector didn't believe Wart about being turned into a fish and nearly dying thanks to the moat's pike; he might have banned the lessons outright for Wart's safety.
    • For Merlin, it's trying to educate Wart when knighthood offers more visibly gleaming awards and honors. Does This Remind You of Anything? indeed.
    • Archimedes's reaction when Wart ends up trapped in Madam Mim's house, of a young protege getting hurt on his watch.
  • Affably Evil: Madame Mim is cheerful, amiable, and pretty friendly when Wart blunders into her house, and while he can tell she's unpleasant, he doesn't even realize she's dangerous until she tells him she has to kill him which she says with about as much fanfare as someone saying it's suddenly started raining.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Unfortunately for Wart, throwing the girl squirrel's tail over her head and pushing her only made him more desireable for her.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Whenever a person is magically transformed into an animal.
  • Anti-Villain: Sir Ector may be a complete jerk to Wart, but he's not necessarily evil as much as his autocratic, disciplinarian personality is a byproduct of the culture he lives in.
  • All Women Are Lustful: The female squirrels immediately pursue Merlin and Wart as mates, while Madame Mim even sort-of attempts to seduce Wart of all people. The only female character in the film who doesn't deliberately attempt to seduce someone is the scullery maid.
  • Alone with the Psycho: Wart and Madam Mim, with her turning into a cat to eat him up while he's a bird, until Merlin intervenes.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • While it's far from the only adaptation to do so, this sets King Arthur in medieval England, about a thousand years after King Arthur is supposed to have lived. It's particularly glaring when "England" is mentioned as the setting—England only came into existence because Arthur and other Welsh kings failed to stop the English from taking their land.
    • There's also Merlin's comment about helicopters (see Analogy Backfire), which shouldn't exist yet. However, this case is in-universe, because Merlin can see (and even travel) into the future.
  • Analogy Backfire: Merlin teaching Wart that swimming like a fish is like flying a helicopter. Wart doesn't know what he means. Merlin, realizing what he said, told him to forget it.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Some of Merlin's furniture, most memorably the tea service.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Sir Ector punishes Wart for claiming Merlin turned him into a fish, even though Ector knows full well that Merlin is a wizard and has seen him cast snow and disappearing spells.
  • Artistic License – Biology: While it is true the female squirrel chooses a mate, the mate is chosen among a group who wish to court her, and she is the one to be chased. Furthermore, squirrels do not have one mate for life; the male leaves before the birth of the babies. Then again, we wouldn't have this "adorable" scene if it followed that to a T.
  • Artistic License – History:The film recites the age-old myth that people in the Middle Ages thought the earth was flat. In reality, the Ancient Greeks discovered that the world was round thousands of years before.
  • Attractive Bent Species: The girl squirrel who falls in love with Wart.
  • Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad:
    • Madame Mim certainly believes this, as illustrated in the below quote:
      Madame Mim: I suppose Merlin sees some good in you.
      Wart: I suppose so...
      Madame Mim: Yes, and in my book, that's bad!
    • Even Merlin can't help riffing on this: "You should recover in a few weeks, and be as good... I mean, uh, as bad as ever!"
  • Bag of Holding: One of Merlin's magic spells can pack an entire house in a single baggage. It's a Justified Trope since the bag has normal capacity- it's the items themselves that shrink down in order to fit.
    • Lampshaded by Merlin himself "well just a minute boy, well, how else would you get all this in one suitcase I'd like to know."
  • Beleaguered Assistant:
    • Wart is this to Kay for much of the movie because he's a page boy. He's not better treated when promoted to squire.
    • Poor Archimedes... assisting the bumbling old wizard can't be easy.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Mim does not like sunshine.
    • Merlin does not like the martial aspect of English nobility.
    • Likewise, try pissing off Ector by coming up with (in his view) extremely far-fetched excuses for ducking out on your kitchen duties, or trying to defend Merlin's behavior, and you'll send him flying off the handle so far that you'll be given hefty demerits, be doing dishes for the entire castle, and eventually get your dream job as squire revoked and handed off to someone else.
    • When Wart's self-proclaimed squirrel girlfriend finds her beloved in danger, watch out.
  • Big Friendly Dog: The castle hounds, Tiger and Talbon. When Wart is brought home by Merlin, they run over to him, tackle him, and lick his face happily.
  • Black Knight: The knight at the tournament in black armor is the first to demand Wart be given a chance to prove he took the sword out.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • What happens to Wart's cute little squirrel admirer when she discovers that he's not of her kind.
    • Wart himself starts to Cry Cute when standing up for Merlin costs him a chance at being Kay's squire. He then cries again when he finally gets the squire position by luck and Merlin sarcastically congratulates him, pointing out he's nothing.
  • But Now I Must Go: Merlin blasts away to Bermuda. When Wart asks if Merlin ever comes back, Archimedes only answers, "Who knows? Who knows anything?"
  • Call of the Wild Blue Yonder: Wart mentions wishing he could fly, so Merlin turns him into a bird so he can live out his dream.
  • Call Forward: In the Wart mythos, Wart had a tragic love with Guenivere. Merlin tells Wart about the perils of love after the misadventures with the girl squirrel, and how love can be a greater force than gravity.
  • Canon Immigrant: Madam Mim is mistaken as one of these by those who have only read The Once and Future King. Her part was eliminated from that edition, but is present in the original.
  • Catchphrase: Whenever Wart stumbles or falls it's accompanied with the same "Wha, what, whoa!" This happens at least five times during a fairly short movie.
  • Cats Are Mean: Mim, when she turns herself into a cat and later on, a tigress during her Wizard Duel with Merlin.
  • Children Are Innocent: Part of Merlin's motivation. He wants to teach Wart some valuable lessons an adult in medieval England wouldn't be receptive to.
  • The Chosen One: He doesn't quite know what exactly, but Merlin knows Wart is destined for something.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Merlin's transformations are always blue, Wart's are orange, Mim's are purple.
    "Did I say no purple dragons!"
  • Combat Pragmatist: Both Merlin and Mim during their duel, though in Merlin's case he does it while sticking to the rules. Chicken Mim tries to eat worm Merlin? Merlin turns into a walrus and squashes her. When Mim gets stuck in a tree as a rhino, Merlin quickly changes into a goat and headbutts her into a chasm. Mim then turns into a dragon and proceeds to smoke Merlin out of his hiding spots as smaller animals.
  • Control Freak: Sir Ector's autocratic personality makes him distrustful of anything unusual or out of order in his castle, hence his very tough treatment of Wart and outright hostility towards Merlin.
  • Cool Old Guy: Merlin, the time traveling wiseman.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Sir Bart is a Black Knight, yet is by far one of the most reasonable knights, standing up for Wart and giving him a chance to pull out the sword.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: One Wizards' Duel rule is that there is no disobeying the rules. The next rule is that there's no cheating. It's a justified case as Merlin was asking for clarification on the idea of rules: "Rule three: No Disappearing [teleportation/intangibility]" "Rule four: No Cheating!" If Mim was throwing out rules, he wanted to make sure she obeyed them as Archimedes himself warned she was only creating rules so that she could break them (which she did).
  • Deus ex Machina: Late in the film, Hobbs, who Sir Ector had handed the position of squire to after revoking it for Wart, abruptly comes down with a nasty illness, forcing Ector to reinstate Wart as Kay's squire. One would think it was Merlin's doing at first, but in the following scene, Merlin makes no mystery that he is not happy about Wart becoming a squire.
  • Digital Destruction: The 50th Anniversary Blu-Ray suffers from digital smearing and some out-of-focus shots.
  • Disney Villain Death: Subverted. Madame Mim plummets screaming off a cliff and into a bog to her apparent doom, trapped inside a tree with seemingly no hope of escape, to similar effect as the Evil Queen falling off the cliff in Snow White, but instead she pops up moments later having turned herself into a purple dragon.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Merlin has some odd ideas and odd behavior and they are especially odd to someone like Wart, who's only known kitchen duty.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: Mim-the-Elephant during the Wizard's Duel.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Arthur is called "Wart", mostly by his caretaker/guardian Ector and his son Kay. He doesn't seem to mind it that much, though, and Merlin and Archimides call him that as well. Ector only reveals his real name after he pulls out the sword.
  • Epic Fail: Kay loses a jousting match to an immobile dummy.
  • Evil Counterpart: Madame Mim is this to Merlin; evil magic user.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Madame Mim sings a Villain Song about herself complete with dancing and shapeshifting. Merlin is far more restrained.
  • Evil Redhead: Ector and Kay aren't really evil, but they act as antagonistic to Wart as any stern dad and jerky older brother can be expected to be.
  • Evil Plan: Inverted to Good Plan. This movie takes place because Merlin wants to save Wart from a squire's life and make him into something greater.
  • Excalibur in the Stone: The sword is never said to be Excaliburnote , it's just always called the Sword In The Stone.
  • Exact Words: "Nothing make-believe, like pink dragons and stuff." So saith Madame Mim, who turns into a purple dragon instead of a pink one.
    • And then Merlin one-ups her by turning into a germ, which also strictly abides by the stated rules.
  • Familiar: Merlin's owl, Archimedes.
  • Feathered Fiend: A bird of prey tries to eat Wart when he's a bird.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Possibly an unintentional example; when Merlin overdoes his cleaning spell and it messes up the castle, the angered Sir Ector and servant woman call him an "old goat". Later towards the climax of Merlin and Mim's wizard's duel, an old goat is exactly what Merlin turns himself into.
    • The opening of the film shows a wolf, hawk and squirrel in the forest.
  • For the Evulz: Madame Mim commits evil because she herself is evil. There is no Evil Plan.
  • The Genie Knows Jack Nicholson: ...and Merlin knows about indoor plumbing, Bermuda, and helicopters. It's played with in that the creators seem to be going with T.H. White's concept of Merlin living through time backwards. Merlin himself reveals that he's seen "centuries into the future" and that he's even been there. What's the best way to portray that in a children's film, apparently? Have him spout wacky anachronisms!
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The scene with the squirrel listed on the Tear Jerker page very nearly has Merlin discussing the birds and the bees with Wart.
  • Given Name Reveal: Subverted; in the novel Wart's name isn't revealed until the very end of the first book, after he's been crowned king. Here he introduces himself as "Wart, but everyone calls me the Wart."
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Wart is naive and innocent, but has a good heart that allows him to pull the sword from the stone.
  • Happily Ever Before: The movie ends at the start of Wart's reign, and therefore before the fallout with Lancelot and stuff.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Merlin, upon returning from a holiday in twentieth-century Bermuda.
    "And believe me boy, you can have it! One big modern mess! Alakazam!" (changes back into his regular outfit)
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Inverted with Wart's encounter with the female squirrel who, according to Merlin, is a redhead. In Great Britain, a red squirrel is considered native wildlife and a gray squirrel is considered vermin.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Wart undergoes a minor one after losing his chance to become Kay's squire.
  • Hopeless Suitor: The two amorous squirrels who fall for Wart and Merlin. Whereas the old lady squirrel who chases after Merlin is Played for Laughs, Wart's girl squirrel companion is done so as well until the end where it... isn't.
  • Human Traffic Jam: The line of Merlin's belongings going into the bag during the "Higitus Figitus" sequence suffer this when the sugar bowl takes offense at the tea pot knocking off its lid.
  • Humiliation Conga: When Ector and Kay try to interfere with the magically-animated cleaning implements, an assembly line of slapstick ensues.
  • Hypocrite: Merlin tells Wart that magic cannot be used to solve all his problems, even though he uses his magic to do just that.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Merlin finds Wart's plight of being harassed by a lovestruck female squirrel hilarious...until a much older and fatter squirrel falls in love with him.
      Wart: Merlin, I'm tired of being a squirrel. It's nothing but trouble.
      Merlin: Oh, you got trouble!? Look at my- uh, look back there!
    • Also, during the Wizard Duel, after Merlin changes into a walrus to squash Mim, the latter changes into a elephant and calls the former a "big blimp!"
  • Impossible Hourglass Figure: Madame Mim's beautiful form is mundanely impossible because she used magic to achieve it.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Wart would much rather be a squire than play apprentice to an eccentric old man (even if said old man is proven to be a wizard); later, he finds being King to be extremely overwhelming.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: The wizard's duel culminates in Madam Mim breaking one of her own rules and turning into a dragon.
  • Insult Backfire: Madam Mim's "Thank you, my boy, but that's nothing" response when she says that she takes delight in the gruesome and grim and Wart comments "That's terrible."
  • Interspecies Romance: An unintentional example with Merlin and Wart as squirrels. They attract the affections of two female squirrels, both who aren't too pleased to know that they were crushing on humans.
  • It Will Never Catch On: When Merlin predicts the invention of manned flight.
    Archimedes: If man were meant to fly, he would've been born with wings!
  • Jerkass:
    • Kay comes off as a Jerk Jock older brother.
    • Ector, occasionally. As shown when he gives Wart more chores for defending Merlin.
    • The frog in the moat, who kicks Fish!Wart around and does so again when they hide in the same hole to escape from a pike.
  • Jerk Jock: Kay, again, albeit the medieval version (meaning swordplay and jousting instead of football). The idea that Wart wants to be one as well hits Merlin's Berserk Button.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Kay is implied to have at least a few gold flecks. At the end when his father demands he bow to Wart, Kay does so sullenly at first... then after looking at him, does so sincerely.
    • Ector, who is rather quick to apologize to Wart for the way he's treated him. He also shows worry and remorse at the beginning of the movie, when he is worried that Wart is dead.
    • Archimedes may be a cynic, but he genuinely cares about Wart and sticks with him even when Merlin blasts himself off to modern-day Bermuda over Wart being chosen as Kay's squire due to circumstances beyond Sir Ector's control.
  • Jump Scare: Wart peeks around the log to see if the pike is gone, sighs in relief, looks the other way...
    • Less scary example, Wart in squirrel form hides in a tree from an angry woodpecker and the girl squirrel. He peeks out to find she's nowhere to be found. Guess who pops up from inside the same tree next to him?
  • Late to the Punchline: Merlin after Wart's admittedly rather brilliant joke about Archimedes "staying out late every night".
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Merlin talks to Wart about his future legacy:
    Merlin: Why, they might even make a motion picture about you.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • No make-believe creatures like pink dragons, so Mim turns into a purple dragon, it's still make believe, but she doesn't care. (Unless, dragons do exist in this world, just not pink ones; note that Wart mentions slaying dragons as an activity one would perform as a knight.)
    • Merlin one-ups her on this magnificently - while there's a rule that says "no turning into plants or minerals" he turns himself into a germ - which is neither - to infect her and win the duel.
  • Love at First Sight: Both the young squirrel and old squirrel go through this upon meeting Wart and Merlin respectively and try to earn their mates' affection. Then it gets Deconstructed when Wart and Merlin return to their human forms.
  • Love Hurts: One of the most heartbreaking examples. The girl squirrel really loved Wart and immediately starts sobbing in confusion and grief when he reveals himself to be human.
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory: Merlin's cottage is filled with devices of strange purpose and function.
  • Magic Versus Science: Defied. Merlin is a wizard, alright, but he is quite knowledgeable about science; special mention goes to him using his knowledge of germs and disease to infect Madame Mim. He even outright tells Wart that magic can't solve everything. In the end, it seems that a combination of the two can give one an advantage in life.
  • May–December Romance: Subverted, fortunately or unfortunately. The poor girl squirrel who is at best a teenager in human years has no idea that the squirrel she has fallen for is actually a prepubescent boy.
  • Misery Builds Character: Ector is tough on Wart for this reason, especially since as Wart points out to Merlin, he has no parents, no lineage, and no legacy. The medieval world is tough on boys with no social status.
  • Modest Royalty: It's implied Merlin wants to teach Wart to be this sort of king.
  • Mood Whiplash: Two for the price of one. The sequence of sudden mood changes at the end of the scene with the squirrels runs thus:
    • The girl squirrel is cheerful and amorous until Wart becomes human again and breaks her heart.
    • Then comes the hilarity of Sir Ector and Kay trying to fight off the "possessed" kitchen.
  • Morphic Resonance: Whenever a person is magically transformed into an animal their face will remain the same. The Wizard's Duel is considered one of the best examples of this sort of thing ever in animation - no matter what shape they take, Mim always has her crazy eyes and mop of hair, and Merlin always has his mustache/beard and glasses.
  • Muggle Foster Parents: Sir Ector, to Wart/Future King Arthur.
  • Mundane Utility: Merlin uses his magical abilities to have the household chores do themselves so Wart can go out adventuring with him.
  • Musical Chores: The Mundane Utility example uses music.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
  • Never Say "Die": In the Wizard's Duel, Merlin and Mim are trying to 'destroy' each other.
    • And before that, Mim says she is going to 'destroy' Wart when she finds out he's on the side of good.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile:Mim transforms into one during the Wizard's duel.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Wart was voiced by two of the directors' three young sons (the third voiced Mowgli and Christopher Robin) and a third, unrelated child actor. Not one of them had even the slightest trace of the British accent you'd expect from King Arthur.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: The pike. Where'd it come from?
  • Oh Crap!:
    • The wolf when it realizes that Wart and Merlin have gone in the other direction, and it's too tired to follow.
    • The girl squirrel on seeing Wart about to fall from a tree branch.
    • Archimedes when Wart gets trapped with Madam Mim.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: The eponymous Sword in the Stone can only be drawn by the One True King of England.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Merlin transforms Wart in various animals usually, he encourages the latter to not wait for rescue and refuses to use magic except at the last minute. When Mim catches Wart in her house and prepares to "destroy" him, however? Merlin comes booming in a magic swirl and saves him, berating Mim angrily.
  • Palate Propping: Used by fish-Wart against a pike.
  • Papa Wolf: Merlin when Mim nearly "destroys" Wart.
  • Parental Favoritism: Ector's partiality to Kay is somewhat justified by the fact that Wart/Arthur is only his foster child. While he could stand to be nicer to Wart, he's not really mean either... more just strict and demanding, which seems to be his personality in general. In fact, at the start of the film, he's berating Kay for letting Wart go off into the woods by himself. Kay may be the favorite, but Wart at least isn't The Unfavourite.
  • Pet's Homage Name: Merlin's Familiar is an owl named Archimedes, for the ancient Greek mathematician.
  • Polly Wants a Microphone: Archimedes, the talking owl.
  • The Power of Love: Discussed by Merlin and Wart following the incident with the squirrels.
    Merlin: Ah, you see, lad... that love business is a powerful thing.
    Wart: Greater than gravity?
    Merlin: Well, yes, boy, in its way, I'd, uh- Yes, I'd say it's the greatest force on Earth.
  • Prequel: To the King Arthur mythos. (Unofficially, of course.)
  • Private Tutor: Merlin acts as a tutor to Wart.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    • I! HATE! SUNSHINE! I! HATE! HORRIBLE! WHOLESOME! SUNSHINE! I HATE IT, I HATE IT! I HATE! HATE! HATE!..., etc.
    • "And, if you don't mind, I happen to be! A! Bird!
  • Rags to Royalty: Wart goes from being a marginalized orphan to Wart, King of England, overnight.
  • Rays from Heaven: Whenever Wart grabs the sword embedded in the stone.
  • Reality Ensues: Unfortunately for the girl squirrel, just because she saved Wart's life, doesn't mean a Rescue Romance where he falls in love with her will happen, especially since he is a prepubescent child and she's at best a young adult. The Power of Love doesn't work when it's obvious Wart has no intention of being a squirrel forever after being around her the entire time.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • The bearded knight and Sir Pellinore, who protest at multiple people trying to pull the sword out together, and insist that Wart be given a chance to pull out the sword (again).
    • Merlin himself, who teaches Wart all sorts of valuable lessons that would normally be closed to Wart (although Merlin does have irrational moments, they're few and far between, hence he's still this trope).
  • Rescue Romance: Averted. The Girl Squirrel saves Wart from the wolf and happily cuddles with him, but it's clear that no matter how grateful he might be, he's not falling in love with her anytime soon.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Merlin wears both in a midnight blue.
  • Running Gag:
    • Remember the very muscular, intimidating wolf from the opening scene? He reappears as a mangy, flea-bitten mongrel who is constantly having boulders dropped on him, getting the wind knocked out of him after chasing the main protagonists, chomping down on a tree branch, and getting stuck through a pair of branches.
    • Merlin's beard getting caught on various objects.
    • The sugar bowl getting into various mishaps.
  • Sequential Symptom Syndrome: When Merlin describes the symptoms of malignalitaloptereosis to Mim.
  • Shape Shifter Showdown: The nature of the Wizard Duel is the pair of them taking different forms for combat.
  • Shipper on Deck: Merlin to Wart and the red girl squirrel, but mostly because he finds it amusing than heartwarming.
  • Silent Snarker: Merlin's sugar bowl has quite a personality when not delivering sugar to tea cups.
  • Sneeze of Doom: When Mim, sick with malignalitaloptereosis emits fire from sneezing that forces Wart and Archimedes to duck and cover.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the book Mim actually died from having caught all the germs that Merlin turned into all at the same time; in the film she's just incapacitated and has to stay in bed for a few weeks.
  • Spinning out of Here: Merlin spins as he arrives at places.
  • Spit Take: Sir Ector does this when Sir Pellinore tells him that the winner of the New Year's events wins the throne of England.
  • Stalker with a Crush: The female squirrels that pursue Wart and Merlin.
  • Stalking Is Funny If It Is Female After Male: Squirrel Merlin thinks this when it's squirrel Wart being chased, but after he gets a female squirrel pursuing him, he no longer thinks it's funny any more.
  • Stock Audio Clip: See Catchphrase.
  • Stock Footage: Disney was suffering financially while this film was being made, so there's a substantial amount of recycled animation. For instance, Kay trips in the exact same way when chasing Wart at the climax that he does when chasing him into the woods at the film's beginning. Merlin's "pack all the house in the bag" spell is recycled for his "clean the dishes" spell, and Kay's eating a chicken leg during Merlin's arrival is repeated thrice in the same scene.
  • Succession Crisis: England has been kingless for over twelve years.
  • Take That: Some see the character of Madame Mim (who hates sunshine) as one to critics who disliked the light tone of Disney's films.
  • Talking Animal: Archimedes. People who are transformed into animals keep their ability to talk. Interestingly, the girl squirrel, for all her incoherent chatter, says one line of understandable human dialogue, "Oh no!" when her beloved Wart is in danger of falling to his death.
  • Ten Paces and Turn: During the Wizard Duel. Madame Mim proceeds to break this protocol like every other rule she made for the duel such as "no teleporting" and "no cheating".
  • Thriving Ghost Town: Sir Ector's castle is implied to have a fairly large residence, at least enough to fill up the kitchen with mountains of dishes, but we only ever see a handful of people living in it, and that includes Ector, Kay and Wart.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: Or rather through a face full of scales/skin in her case as a dragon and then in her normal form, Madame Mim. One of the side effects she has is changing into various colors (including red from hot flashes and blue from chills) before stopping at green and breaking out in red spots, thanks to Merlin infecting her as a germ.
  • Title Drop: The last line of the opening song, and Sir Ector exclaims "It's the Sword in the Stone" when he reads the first few words of the titular blade's inscription and realises what it is.
  • Tsundere: Archimedes has shades of this. He's insulting and bad-tempered, but seems to genuinely have affection for Wart, so much so that he risks his life to save him from the pike when Wart is transformed into a small fish.
    Wart: That big fish almost swallowed me, and Archimedes... he saved me!
    Archimedes: I did nothing of the sort! I intended to eat him! Young perch is my favorite dish, you know that!
  • The Unintelligible: The girl squirrel. She only squeaks and chitters emotionally. However, she mutters an "Oh no!" when she sees Wart about to fall from a breaking branch.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: In response to Merlin causing a blizzard to appear in the castle, all Kay has to say is an annoyed "So what?"
  • Vain Sorceress: Mim defies this trope. She says she could be beautiful if she wanted to be, and in fact, does change herself into such a form as it it were a parlor trick. Then she admits that such a form is only skin deep and she's happy being ugly.
  • Verbal Tic: Archimedes' "Who? What, what?"
  • Villainous Breakdown: Madam Mim when Merlin infects her with a germ, but unable to do anything but cough and lie down.
  • Villain Song: "The Magnificent, Marvelous, Mad Madame Mim."
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: The girl squirrel is a somewhat mild example.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: As magic users, Merlin and Mim can turn into things like animals...and germs.
  • Warm-Hearted Walrus: It is the good Merlin, not the evil Madam Mim, who turns into a walrus during the wizard duel.
  • Wicked Witch: Madame Mim lives in a cottage in the woods brewing up trouble. When she hears coughing, she hopes that it's a serious illness.
  • Wizard Beard: Usually a problem, as it gets caught on things rather frequently.
  • Wizard Classic: Merlin, though he puts more stock in science than most of the Robe and Wizard Hat set.
  • Wizard Duel: Merlin vs Madame Mim
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: The Wizard Duel, which involves shapeshifting into different animals on the fly to gain an advantage. Mim starts as an alligator, Merlin goes turtle and then rabbit to escape her, Mim goes fox to follow Merlin into a hollow log, Merlin escapes as a caterpillar, Mim becomes a chicken to catch him and sends him flying into the air, and Merlin turns into a walrus, landing on and squashing her. She then grows into an elephant and grabs him with her trunk, he turns into a mouse to frighten her, and she becomes a tiger and then a rattlesnake to catch him, only for Merlin to trick her into a hole and going crab to try and pinch her. She becomes a rhino, lets him grab her horn, and tries to crush him against a tree, but he escapes at the last minute, letting her trap herself through the tree at the top of a cliff. He then turns into a goat to knock her off the cliff, prompting Mim to finally lose her temper, break her own rule and become a dragon, with Merlin turning into a mouse again to escape. Finally, when she catches him, he wins the duel by becoming a germ that makes her horribly sick and unable to continue.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Madame Mim's purple hair. Considering she's a witch and no else does, it could be an effect of her magic.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Disney/TheSwordInTheStone