main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Headscratchers: Cinderella


  • Are Lady Treamine and her daughters Ella's only family?
    • Presumably, yes. Her mother died prior to the movie (possibly even during infancy) and her father died when she was still a small child. If she had other relatives, they surely would've stepped in or even been living with her and father. Also, the reason her father remarried was he felt she needed "a mother's care". An aunt or grandmother could've easily filled that role if she had any.
  • Possibly Cinderella's biggest Idiot Ball moment: Assuming the Disney version isn't the only one where this happens, what made Cinderella think "Midnight = GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE!"? What did she have to lose by letting the spell break in front of the Prince? He would've witnessed that magic was real, and then she could've explained the how she got all her stuff to get to the ball and why the original pink dress was destroyed. I doubt the Prince would've refused to believe her after already being in love with her by then.
    • He could've thought she was a witch who was trying to enchant him to marry into the royal family, or a fairy trying to play a trick on him. It's certainly the sort of thing that happens in fairy tales. And Cinderella doesn't know if the Prince would take kindly to being tricked in such a manner.
    • Except she didn't know he was the Prince to start with. She made the excuse of running out after midnight by telling him that she 'hadn't met the Prince yet' and runs off before he could tell her that he was the Prince. She believed he was just a handsome guest at the ball which explains why she was surprised when she found out it was the Prince that was looking for her by royal decree.
    • The fairy godmother might be a little more at blame here. She told Cinderella everything would reverse at midnight. It's kind of understandable Cinderella assumes that means she'd have to leave. Perhaps if the godmother had said something along the lines of "You can dance all night, but be warned...", Cinderella may have opted to stay. On top of that, she was panicking when she remembered. Generally, when people remember things all of a sudden, they tend to panic because it takes them a few moments to remember exactly what it was for. Basically, she just acted on impulse.
  • If the glass slippers were created by the fairy godmother's magic, and the magic ended at midnight, then how did the lost slipper still exist by the time they were trying them on everyone?
    • Always thought that the fairy godmother left the shoes as mementos, in the Disney version at least, since we have that scene where Cinderella cradles it and directs her thanks to the sky as if the funny old magic lady is also Jesus.
    • Maybe the shoes have to be together in order to disappear.
    • Its just like the bound armor in Oblivion, damage it and drop it, then it wont disappear when the time runs out.
      • Cinderella is the story of a fairy godmother's successful plan for helping a deserving young woman.
  • Was Cinderella really the only person in the kingdom who the slippers could fit?

    • Hm, there's no actual reason on the story itself, but the Grimms mention the sisters cutting chunks of their feet to fit the shoe, so probably it's because her feet were incredibly and amazingly small.
    • As I understand it, the story has its roots in an old Chinese tale, so the "delicate beauty" implied by Our Heroine's tiny feet were really the result of foot-binding. Squick.

      • In the Chinese version the heroine had feet naturally small, gain without pain, and that is why her sisters were so jealous of her. Must have been uncomfortable though...
    • They were custom made, so, yeah.
    • I've seen versions of the story where the slippers magically change size so that Cinderella's feet are the only ones that fit in them.
    • Cinderella is the story of a fairy godmother's successful plan for helping a deserving young woman.
    • The Witches Abroad retelling lampshades this by having Nanny Ogg of all people possess the same foot size.
    • The Disney version Lampshades this:
    Duke: But, Sire, this slipper may fit any number of girls.
    King: That's his problem. He's given his word, we'll hold him to it.
    • And then Cinderella III: Twist In Time took it further: the stepmother uses magic to make the shoe fit Anastasia's foot first and so they go to the palace instead of Cinderella. When the prince sees Anastasia, he knows that she isn't the woman he danced with and realizes the possibility that the shoe could have fit multiple girls.
    • She could have a really weird foot size (very narrow, very wide, quarter size, etc.)
      • That was how it was explained in Ella Enchanted, that the slippers were fairy made (which was why they didn't break) and why they were so small - fairies were notorious for having tiny feet. Ella had a few drops of fairy blood in her, so she too had very small feet.
    • In Just Ella, she actually got the shoes by creating a wager that a glassblower could make her shoes she could walk in. If she made it ten steps, she got the shoes for free.

    • I always thought they were enchanted to be unbearably uncomfortable to anyone who wasn't Cinderella, like how in the '97 Rogers and Hammerstein's version where the stepmother puts it on and it fits, but it really hurts her to wear. Like yeah, Cinderella has the same size feet as other girls and women, but the shoes would reject anyone that wasn't her.

    • She very well could have been yes. The idea of searching via the shoe is not actually as ridiculous as you would presume if you think about it. First of all, you could say that Cinderella had particularly tiny feet. Second, consider the material. They are GLASS slippers. The major problem with glass slippers is, of course, the chance that they will shatter and stab your foot all over. Now the fairy godmother could have magically reinforced them, but the prince doesn't know that. Now, with shoes, you never want them to be too big, since your foot could easily slip out. With a glass shoe, you could slip your foot out and step on the shoe, and stab your foot. But what about the shoe being too small? Shoes today can be made of cloth and leather. And if a shoe is a little small for you, as in you can get your foot in but it's tight, that's not really too big a deal. Those shoes can stretch out with use. But glass is not flexible like that. If it's too tight on you, that puts more pressure on the glass and increases the chance of it shattering. And furthermore, it makes using it very painful. This troper had to wear a plastic leg brace for several years, occasionally getting new molds. One of those was to close in one spot, and this troper had a habit at the time of moving in the brace. Very quickly, the skin in that spot dried out, cracked, burned very badly, and nearly blistered, and that was through socks. The same thing could happen with glass shoes if it's too close to the skin. So essentially, glass slipper would have to basically be molded to the exact size and shape of the foot. It would have to be an absolute perfect fit. They aren't just looking for ANYBODY who can get their foot in there, they are looking for the person who exactly matches this shoe, which is practically a footprint. Combined with particularly small feet, the list of potential matches would be rather narrowed down. So all in all, there is a certain logic to the "try on the slipper" idea.

  • This applies mostly to the modern "fairy godmother" versions — WHERE THE HELL WAS THIS GODMOTHER BEFORE THE BALL?! The godmother couldn't be bothered to help out Cindy at all when she was being tormented by her stepmother and stepsisters?
    • Cindy hadn't asked for help before. In the Disney version, she's cheerful despite the way they treat her until they destroy the dress. In the earlier fairy tales, while she's unhappy as a servant, the magic help only appears when she cries at her mother's grave and expresses a wish that she could go to the ball ( she's never even given a chance to make a dress in those versions.)
      • Actually, why does the fairy godmother help at all? She lives in a mansion, has plenty of food to eat, and even though she's treated poorly, she maintains a really good attitude.

      • A really good attitude that had finally reached the breaking point. Cinderella had taken the final piece of abuse needed to completly shatter her optomistic mind and was giving up all hope on her dreams and actually all hope of happiness. That was what finally called the fairy godmother.

    • In Ella Enchanted and the Roger's and Hammerstein's version of Cinderella, the fairy godmother was involved in Cindy's life, she just didn't know said godmother was magic. As for why the godmother didn't help her earlier, in Ella Enchanted there were rules as to how much or what kinds of magic fairies could use (which was why there was so much trouble, the fairy that cursed Ella used a spell that was too "big" to be used). The godmother for Ella would only use smaller spells, for things like housecleaning or cooking. In the musical, it was never really stated why the godmother never helped Cinderella, but it was implied that she thought her goddaughter's dreams were silly. She only decided to help her that one night because she was so moved by Cinderella's wishes to go to the ball.
    • This was addressed in Jim Henson's Hey, Cinderella! of all things. When the fairy godmother shows up, Cinderella asks what caused her to appear. The godmother says "Because you cried!" When Cinderella points out that she's cried before without the godmother appearing, she gives some excuse about being busy. It's also shown that the godmother wasn't too with it (she implies that she left Pinocchio in a whale and forgot about him).

    • Or else it's just that they aren't allowed to interfere too much. As compared to spiriting a girl away from her wicked stepmother and setting her up with an entire independent life, giving her a dress to go to one dance isn't much interference at all.

  • Why doesn't Cinderella ever do anything about her situation, in any of the adaptations? In the Hilary Duff and Selena Gomez versions, it gets even stranger. Instead of Cinderella fearing her Step-Evils, why couldn't she make them fear her? Neither of them had to do those stupid tasks.The worst thing these diva stepmothers could do is pull them out of school, which would be illegal anyway. I just think these girls could have done a lot more to improve their lives, with just a little bit of brute force and perhaps tying the ditzy stepsisters up in respective closets.

    • What exactly could Cinderella do? Tell Lady Tremaine and the two step-sisters to eff off? Wow, nice going, hun, you just made your life a lot more miserable than ever before!! She had no power in that place. It was this life or be in the streets. Tying them up and shoving them in closets would grant her a stay at some jail.

    • In Ella Enchanted, Ella does take revenge whenever she can. She slips her stepmother herbs that make her fall asleep at a banquet, tricks Hattie into smelling a flower that makes her tell the truth for a period of time, and slips mice and spiders into Hattie's bed. Which is pretty impressive when you consider that Ella is the one who has a genuine reason why she can't outright refuse to be a servant and leave (the curse).

      • But unlike poor Cindy, Ella had the help and support of her fairy godmother, the Prince, a magic book, among other things. She was also considerably much more intelligent than her stepfamily and found it easy to trick or insult them without them noticing, so she could get away with some things. There's also Ella discovering she has the ability to make her voice "persuasive" which helps her out later on, like when she is captured by ogres and otherwise would have been eaten.

    • Rewatching the Disney version, I get the impression that their Cinderella is just too nice for her own good and wouldn't wish harm on anyone. You'd imagine that if the Prince wanted to punish Lady Tremaine and her daughters, Cinderella would be all "Oh, but they're not really that bad." She's just that kind of person.

    • ^ I doubt that; we see Disney's Cinderella frequently complaining her life ("Time to start another day!", "Goodness, morning, noon, and night...", "Oh, now what do they want? All right, all right! I'm coming!"). Women's rights just sucked in those days; a woman just up and leaving home and supporting herself on her own was a lot harder, if not an impossibility, compared today. Her step-mother took her father's fortune when he died, so she essentially had nothing and nowhere to go. Women's only hope of leaving home in far too many settings is marriage — unfair, depressing, but true.

^Its either was marriage or the other option was being a (paid) servant in another family's household. Because she wouldn't have been seen as equal in that house, the Master if alive could have beat her and maybe "force himself" on her and his sons (if he had any) could also force themselves on her...

  • There is also the fact that if she is outnumbered...

    • There's also the fact that no one would likely hire a homeless orphan girl (she might be accused of having some scandal) to begin with if she tried to runaway. Also, I'm pretty sure going to the ball to meet some guy who would like and marry her so she can leave her stepmother's house is doing something.

    • In a TV movie version of the story, the Godmother asks Cinderella why she doesn't just leave and improve her own life. Cinderella reveals that she promised her father on his death bed that she'd keep the family together. During the conversation, we are led to believe that she got along with her stepmother and sisters before his death and they had gotten progressively worse in the years since.
    • In Maid In Manhattan, Marisa IS trying to improve her life on her own—she's preparing to apply for a management position before she's distracted by her romance with Christopher.
    • That is also the case in Ever After. Danielle wouldn't leave the manor because it was her home and she knew that the Baroness and the two daughters would never take care of it.
  • In Disney's version (first sequel) it shown she's very popular in town and she's many friends in there, many of them with business. Why didn't she ask them for a job? Or, if she is so beloved, why none of them offered her? They must know how she passed from a wealthy girl to a servant in her own home.
  • That might depend on Cinderella's age. Remember, a lot of the early Disney fairytales had heroines that were around 16 to be true to the original story, even if they looked like they were in their 20's. Cindy might have been one of these cases, which means she has to stay with the Tremaines and can't get hired/live in someone else's home without the stempmom's permission. Unless she wants to be arrested or something for "running away."
  • One thing that bothers me is this: Cinderella, in most versions, is nobility. From what I understand, nobility hobknobbed as that was how they kept their influence in court and amongst other nobles. This means that while Cinderella, being young, may not have gone visiting, she surely would have been seen by her father's friends when they came to visit him. Did no one notice that their friend's daughter who is now a marriagable age and might make a fine wife for their sons is nowhere to be seen after her father passes? Did they not think to check in with her, or to invite her to visit along with her stepmother/sisters to see if one of them would be a good match?
    • Depending on the version (if it even says anything about him at all, most don't) Cinderella's father is usually less of a nobleman and more of a wealthy scholar or businessman who "married up" by hooking up with the Wicked Stepmother. Chances are if he had friends, they were probably not of a social class to be checking up on a Lady who had lost her husband — and even if they were, it's unlikely the stepmother would have allowed them to visit if she thought they would object to how she was treating said late husband's daughter.
    • Not to mention that nobility or not, if a girl is essentially downgraded into a servant, a guy probably wouldn't want her in times like that. In Ever After, Danielle looks utterly ashamed and near tears when she confesses to Henry that she was the daughter of a noble lady because she was still a servant.
  • If the shoes are made to fit Cinderella's feet perfectly, why does she lose one of them?
    • The shoe doesn't cover most of the top of her foot, and...well, there's a reason shoes are usually made of flexible material.

Disney versions

  • About the Disney version: Right after the mice sing their song and Jaq and Gus go after the stuff for Cinderella's gown, they see the stepsisters complaining about always having to go wearing the same old sash and beads, to the point of calling them "trash". If that's what they thought, then why did they have to tear Cindy's gown later on because of them?
    • Because they're just that spoiled. The fact that they rip up her dress over accessories they don't even like makes their Kick the Dog all the more epic and the scene that much more heartbreaking.
    • Because it was just an excuse. They needed a reason to keep Cinderella from going to the ball. Lady Tremaine recognizes the beads and the sash as belonging to Anastasia and Drizella. The two step-sisters then tear her dress, making it impossible for her to go to the ball. They couldn't have cared less about the beads and the sash.
    • Because they're jealous bitches who hate the idea that Cinderella could take things that they don't like and look good in them.
  • Why do people keep trying to compare the Disney version to the Brothers Grimm tale even though the opening credits say they used a different version as their source?
    • Nobody reads the credits?
      • Exactly - the number of people who assume Tetsuya Nomura did more than draw pictures for the recent Final Fantasy games should show that.
    • Because people who don't like Disney resent their fairy tale adaptations for being both cheerful and ubiquitous, and like to believe that the "real" versions are darker and therefore better. Of course, Disney has done its share of bowdlerizing, which is why some people feel that way in the first place, but people with strong opinions have a tendency to selectively accept facts which support their position.
  • Am I the only one who noticed how Cinderella sang a whole flipping song about how precious dreams are and how nobody can tell her to stop dreaming, and then not even a minute later she tells her dog to stop his dreaming? I know it can be argued that she was just trying to protect him, but still, hypocritical much?
    • Her exact words are "if you don't want to lose a nice warm bed you'll get rid of those dreams". It's not hypocrisy so much as her reminding herself that both of them are at the mercy of her stepmother's "kindness" and could wind up on the streets for disobeying.
    • Her dreams were of a life of freedom and romance; his were about doing not-so-nice things to Lucifer.
    • Plus, there are two meanings of "dream" in action here. First there's an experience in your mind during sleep, Cinderella is against these if they include actions that will get you in trouble in real life. Second there's a hoped-for vision of the future, Cinderella is for these. It's all she has to keep going, after all.
    • Also she stops dreaming (in her sleep) because there is work to be done. Bruno was sleeping in late because he was dreaming of chasing Lucifer. Cinderella probably believes that there is a time for dreaming and also a time for work to be done.
  • When Lady Tremaine locks Cinderella in her room in the Disney version, why doesn't the fairy godmother show up and unlock the door? She was willing to make an entire dress and carriage for her earlier, so surely unlocking a door would be no trouble.
    • She's not there to fix Cindy's every problem with a wave of her wand (if she were, she'd probably have shown up a lot sooner). Cinderella's friends were helping her escape, and they succeeded. She didn't need magic that time. Had they failed, maybe then the Godmother would have intervened. Just like before, when she showed up only after the attempt by the animals to help Cinderella attend the ball was unfairly ruined.
  • What happened to the sister's baker boyfriend from the second film? Is the third movie before that one?
    • In effect you're right, the third movie was more a retelling of the first story; the second one was the true sequel.
    • The end credits of the third movie show a still shot of the baker offering her a cupcake, implying that they do end up together the second time around as well.
  • Why is the cat considered a villain? I know he's Lady Tremaine's pet, but for most of the movie, all he's really trying to do is eat the mice. Isn't that what cats do in real life?
    • He also tracks mud over the floor (making multiple paths) right after Cinderella wiped it (see here).
      • He also baits the dog and, when he traps one of the mice under the cup towards the end, it seems pretty obvious he's doing it not to catch a mouse but to foil the attempt to rescue Cinderella.
    • They're not really just pets, though—clearly the cat is more intelligent than real-life cats. And he was a very malicious cat. You'll notice Cinderella doesn't treat him like a feared villain, just the mice, who *do* have a reason to be scared of him.
    • I think Lucifer may have started out just trying to catch mice, like all cats like to do, but after so many years of being thwarted by Cinderella he began to really hate her. Thus all the malicious behavior.
    • Lucifer also takes great glee in Cinderella's suffering, such as when he looks smug after Drizella has a moo-cow about Gus, and snickers at her in another part of the film when she's in trouble, and Lucifer deliberately acts to prevent her from getting the key and going downstairs, all for the sake of eating Gus. Lucifer is just downright malicious, and is the only character to actually even come close to pissing Cinderella off by tracking dirt around after she cleaned the floors like that.
    • He's a cat. I don't see how he's acting that odd for a cat, especially if he has a vendetta against her for getting in the way of his mice.
      • The difference is that here, in the Fairy Tale universe, these mice are depicted as rationally intelligent and self-aware to a human-like extent — They even compose their own music, for crying out loud. And while less overtly anthropomorphic, so is the cat. An intelligent creature killing other intelligent creatures for pleasure (he explicitly is well fed and has no need to supplement his diet, but hunts the mice solely For the Evulz) is commonly considered evil in fantasy settings, regardless of whether such behavior might be appropriate to its ecological niche. For example, it's perfectly natural for trolls to eat hobbits, yet we have little trouble thinking them evil for doing so. Think of the mice as smaller and hairier hobbits.
    • The cat is pure evil. Notice how he only chases the mice when they want to assist Cinderella in any way. In the third movie, he was more than willing to go along with Lady Tremaine's plan to keep Cinderella from getting married. He was also about to catch Cinderella in the castle while she was hiding. That's no ordinary cat. It's no wonder he ended up getting Killed Off for Real.
      • According to a tie-in book, Cindy's father was allergic to cats; thus, Lady Tremaine used him for her murder scheme, and kept him for other, unknown, evil plots. Of course, I don't consider this canon.
  • What I'd like to know is, whatever happened to that poor heroic (and underrated) dog Bruno? He seemed to have up and vanished when the second and third movies came along. Which really makes no sense at all during the third film. When we saw a flashback of Cinderella locked up in her room. We should have seen Bruno too, so what gives?
    • He's not as marketable as the mice and (I guess) the birds.
  • What I want to know is why, when people write fanfic parodies, they insist on calling them "(Character)ella", like "Lilyella" for a Marauders-era James/Lily fic. "Cinder" is clearly addressed as the nickname for a girl called Ella- the cinders come from the fire.
  • What if Cinderella didn't make it in time to try on the slipper? You think Tremaine would've murdered her, or worse?
    • Probably not. Since the slipper didn't fit Anastasia or Drizella, the duke would leave and nothing would change. Lady Tremaine would have just kept Cinderella working in the house, gloating that she has finally won. She still needs a house servant doesn't she?
      • Well, by this point, she's too much in love to resume working for her step-family and would plan on trying to return to her prince, no matter the cost (similar to Ariel). And since we've got a Fairy Godmother, it's possible that love would also be magical. Thus, the only way to stop Cinderella from finally having her wish would be to murder her.

  • Ok this is what bugs me. At the time period that the movie takes place. Its highly unlikely that a woman on a subsequent marriage would keep her first husband's last name. So to me that implies that Tremaine is Ella's last name too. To explain why the Steps have the last name? Probably because Ella's father adopted them.
    • Or if she was the one with the 'name', she might have kept her own. It's mentioned somewhere above that Cinderella's father could have been 'new money' while Lady Tremaine was a penniless aristocrat.
    • It's a fairy tale with a fairy godmother and transformation magic, and you're worried about historical accuracy?

  • How in this or any other conceivable world did Lady Tremaine think she was going to marry off one of her daughters to the Crown Prince? Anastasia and Drizella have precisely zero redeeming qualities. They're not pretty. They're not nice. They have no discernable skills or talents. They don't come from money. Where, exactly, are you going to find an eligible bachelor who could stand one of them for more than two minutes, let alone marry them? I know, I know, it's just a fairy tale, but still...
    • Compared to her sister, Anastasia isn't completely hopeless; she does attract a suitor in the second film. Granted he's just a merchant, but still...
    • She may see them as better than they are, due to either mother's love or desperation. Note that, despite the very obvious lack of talent, they still sing and (attempt to) play the flute.
    • Or she thought that even if the prince rejected them there could be others men in the party with money and power. And after the ball, the prince said he would married to the girl who could wear the slipper whoever she was.
  • Following on the bit above about the cat being a villain for sadistically killing very human-like, dress-making and singing mice, this troper just realized that Lady Tremaine is arguably a far worse person for being guilty of mass murder by mousetrap than for harassing her stepdaughter. To Cindy she's "merely" an awfully cruel parent; to the mice she's a Hitler/Stalin figure, with Lucifer her chief executioner . . .
    • And in reverse, this re-emphasizes the importance of the Establishing Character Moment of Cindy saving little Gus (and thus by implication also his friends, earlier and offscreen) out of said traps. Think about it. Instead of merely suffering stoically, she's actually a sort of Scarlet Pimpernel figure rescuing people doomed to arbitrary execution by tyrannical authorities, then hiding them and providing them with shelter and clothing. Isn't this a tad more heroic than the mook-bashing most Action Girls in modern animation are saddled with?
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. ToadHeadscratchers/Disney Animated CanonAlice in Wonderland

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy