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Headscratchers: Ella Enchanted
  • Is it ever addressed why Ella's fairy godmother or somebody doesn't give her an order like, "Don't allow your curse to compel you to follow any instructions other than this one", or something with similar logic? I remember it bugging me when I read it, but that was almost a decade ago so I may have missed something.
    • Most likely, it just wouldn't work, since that order would conflict with the nature of the curse.
    • Also, it might just be canceled out by the later orders.
      • This. The book has several clear examples where Ella is given a new order that contradicts one she's already obeying, and she just stops obeying the old order and starts obeying the new one.
      • Yes, but is she ever given an order that is explicitly designed to override future ones? That's not necessarily the same as getting contradictory orders. The latter relates to executing an analyzed order, while the former relates to the process of analyzing the order itself. I know none of this probably would have worked if it came up in the story, but I just like to approach it like a computer program or a logic puzzle.
      • Well Lucinda does order her to enjoy all future orders. She does so until Mandy orders her to feel however she likes about them. After a period of confusion between struggling with the remnants of the old order (which would make her enjoy receiving a new one) and her own views (which hated being given orders), she went back to being able to feel however she wanted.
      • This troper agrees, and always wondered why her Mother didn't just say something like "I order you to live the rest of your life as though you were never given the Gift of Obediance- unless it saves you life" or something like that. That way, she was still obey people sometimes, just like a normal human would- but she wouldn't be compelled to all the time, like the 'gift' said to.
    • Surely someone, at some point would've told her to "go f— herself". How did the curse work if the "order" is anatomically impossible?
      • Her hands work fine. I mean, masturbation is considered sex with yourself (or sex with someone you love). But in general I would assume an order like "fly away" or "speak a foreign language" would just bounce off.
      • In the movie, when given an order to "Freeze", she defies gravity in order to do so. Makes one wonder why she was never given an order to save her ill mother.
      • Maybe Mandy didn't know that the curse could make Ella defy laws of physics and magic. In the movie (but definitely not in the book) she seems really inept. If it were in the book, Ella would probably have just fallen on the ground in that position.
      • In the book, it's shown that being ordered to do something doesn't automatically make Ella able to do it. She has to work really hard to be able to obey all her finishing school orders. Later, when the parrot keeps ordering her to kiss him, but flies away from her, she isn't actually able to ever kiss the parrot, but is free from her curse-symptoms as long as she tries to do it.

  • Before Lucinda realizes the error of her ways, it's completely possible for Ella to try and convince her that there's a nice girl out there who really, really wants a fairy gift (Hattie), or say something along the lines of, "Oh, my gift is so wonderful that I'd love for a dear friend of mine to share it with me!" Yes, it's corny, but if Ella kept up the 'simple child' act, it'd probably work. Then Ella could command Hattie to never give her another order for as long as she lived. Or forbid her from speaking at all.
    • It would be possible, but Ella would never inflict her curse upon anyone else, not even someone as vile as Hattie. That's just plain evil.

  • There's one throwaway line when Ella orders herself to wake up at a certain time. I assume that her own orders could be overridden by another's orders, but why didn't she give herself orders more often? Things like "don't forget" or "wake up on time every day"? That'd be pretty damn useful, but other than that one time she acts like she can't do that to herself.
    • We can order ourselves about all day, and we do it to keep ourselves in line. Ella did the same thing - it's only human. Remember "don't slurp"? She was only reminding herself, and Lucinda didn't say anything about giving herself orders.

  • In the film, she's shown to do several physically impossible things when ordered to. Why doesn't she take advantage of that? "Make a mansion appear out of thin air", "Make your fairy god mother take away the gift", that sort of thing.
    • Well, the film is a very different continuity than the book...but yeah, once they introduced that they could have done more with it.
    • "Ella, invent a cure for cancer!"

  • There just one thing in the movie that makes me scream and pull my hair out: In the long run Prince Char doesn't question anything when Ella is thrown to the dungeon, accused from attempted murder for the prince's life (because his evil uncle ordered her to do so) Sure, he doesn't believe it first, but it only takes few words from his uncle to persuade him not to pay a visit to Ella so she could tell the truth and the prince then drops the subject and silently agrees with him and believes his lies. This is mind-boggling, because he knows very well that Ella has been cursed to obey every order she receives, and he didn't stop for a second and think that anyone could exploit that and use her as a tool and a scrapegoat. And not to mention, why didn't he see that something was horribly wrong when Ella first tries to run away from him while trying not to obey the order and later begs his forgiveness and pleads him to order her go away when it doesn't work. Did this guy swallow an Idiot Ball or what?
    • Char didn't know Ella was cursed to obey until she explains everything at the coronation. As to why he easily believes his uncle instead of Ella (despite evidence she's not happy about what's going on), it bugs me as well, but it's implied his uncle has done most of the truly serious thinking in his life for him. Years of being under his uncle's influence are likely hard to toss away in one night without direct evidence.

  • So she has to obey every order she's given, right? It's been a while, but does she have to obey commands left in note form, or does she have to hear them? Because if she doesn't know she's being given an order/ doesn't hear it, she can't obey (can she? Again, it's been a few years and I was half delirious with a fever) so why doesn't the girl invest in some good earplugs? wax? Ask Lucinda to make her deaf? Yeah, it would suck, but better to be deaf than to be a slave to everyone, right? Or... Leave home and build up the illision that she's deaf, so that eventually everyone in town assumes she is and stops talking to her, instead using writing and/or hand signals? Ella's good at languages, she could pick up whatever it is deaf people in Kieria use.
    • She has her fairy godmother read a letter from her father (or Char, I forget) at one point just in case he had ordered her to do something within its contents, so yes, she had to obey written commands too.
  • Would it have been possible for Ella to ask Mandy to command her to never take another order from her stepsisters or stepmother ever again for as long as she lived, or something to that effect? The orders don't really seem to overlap - let's say someone commanded her to tell them why she always obeyed. Would she then disobey her mother's long-ago order to never tell anyone?
    • In the book, Maddy initially had to pretend to act harsh towards Ella for fear of Dame Olga throwing her out, leaving her unable to help Ella. So, Mandy might be worried doing that would expose her.
    • New orders cancel previous, conflicting orders. So yes, if someone directly ordered Ella to tell them why she always obeyed, Ella would tell them about the curse, and it would be impossible for Mandy or anyone else to protect Ella by trying to preempt future commands.


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