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Headscratchers: The Little Mermaid

Disney version

  • Wait a minute. If Ariel left in the middle of the "Under the Sea" music number, and Sebastian not only finished the song, but also went back to the castle and accidentally spilled the beans about Ariel, then how did both him and Triton get to the grotto at roughly the same time as Ariel?
    • Off-screen Dramatic Teleportation. It's not just for monsters and killers.
      • Ariel probably didn't get to the grotto nearly as quickly as we're imagining. She is highly distractable and Flounder was having to coax her on for most of the way because he just kept saying "it's a surprise"
    • We have no idea how close the grotto is to the "Under the Sea" location. It could have been right next to the castle, and her grotto many leagues away.

  • Why are Eric's boots gone when Ariel brings him ashore (after rescuing him from drowning)? Boots are very difficult to slip off, and would be even more difficult to slide off in water.
    • Maybe Ariel took them off? Boots are also quite heavy when soaked with water and she probably thought it would be easier to carry him without them.
    • How did Ariel get them off, and keep Eric's head above the surface at the same time?

  • Why Ursula had to set Ariel to fail and also ransom her soul? This troper believes that ransoming her voice was more and enough, or, still waging her soul, letting her succeed could still get her Triton's powers. Let's consider two other possible scenarios:
    • Ariel manages to win Eric over. She gets to keep her legs, (possibly) her voice (if we consider the "loan" part as a mortgage clause to enact only if Ariel failed her intented task), but she becomes unable lo leave land again. Well, Triton had just order everyone in the kingdom to search for Ariel, being utterly distraught. If Ursula told him she was locked on the dry land with a bunch of humans, Triton would have gone ballistic and would have still accepted every pact needed to save her.
    • Ariel fails, but Ursula doesn't claim her soul. Even if she still had the guts to return home, she would have been a pale shell of her former self: the young girl loving to sing, have fun and curious about the human world would have devolved into a mute, heartbroken girl unable to enjoy everything that used to matter in her life. And a father would do everything to get her daughter smile again.

  • The Prequel. Both of Ariel's parents are/were redheads. Ariel is the only one of her siblings with red hair. Red hair is a recessive gene, meaning you need to inherit the gene from both parents. Meaning, red hair is the only hair color the child of two redheads can have. Either merpeople's genes for hair color work completely differently from humans', or Ariel's mother has been less than faithful...
    • Sounds like you've never heard of step-parents.
    • Hollywood Genetics?
    • In the stage musical, the daughters are also different races.
    • Maybe they really aren't all his, or all hers? Considering that fish reproduction is a lot less intimate than the human kind, mer-folk probably wouldn't consider Triton or his wife unfaithful if either of them had been passing unfertilized eggs around to and from friends who came up a bit short for eggs of their own or had too many to use for themselves. Waste not, want not! Ariel being their only child with each other and all the others being half-sisters from either one or the other of her parents might also explain Triton's slight favoritism for Ariel and why she's a bit spoiled: in a way, it would mean she's an only child.
    • This digs into the scale of serious/not-serious mermaid talk. Since if they have breasts to wear sea shell bras over and swim up and down, those are all hallmarks to being an aquatic mammal and not fish at all. The only fish part seems to be the tail and it's not exactly uncommon for whales, dolphins, seals, etc to occasionally get things stuck to tails that would make them look more scaly. Of course alot of this seems silly to talk about this on what is believed pure fiction, but most people don't think of it as anymore than that, so the wrong assumption is more wide spread. "half-man half fish" just sounds better than what a more accurate assumption would be.
      • My sister assumed something like that - although she didn't exactly think of consorts (which could also have happened; with Ariel's mother being Triton's favourite or the only one he was willing to call his wife), she had a more innocent theory - that the others were adopted, and Triton's favouritism towards Ariel was because they couldn't have kids naturally and Ariel was sort of a "Miracle child" that way.
    • This all depends on mermaid genetics, which could wildly vary. A goldfish has 94 chromosomes, compared to humans' 46.
      • ^^ This is what I was thinking. We know that red hair and other fair colors are recessive in humans because of deductive reasoning based off massive amounts of data. We don't know enough about merpeople genetics to know what allele combinations control hair/skin/tail color, what's dominant, codominant, and recessive.

  • In the sequel, why did Ariel search for Melody underwater when she ran away in a boat?
    • The reason she's turned back into a mermaid in the first place is "because she knows these waters." She hadn't been in those waters for 12 years (plus the pregnancy, plus however long she was a human before that), there's no way she'd know those waters better than all the merpeople who'd been searching for Morgana all those years. Not like if she did know those waters, she'd even know where to look to find Melody (which she didn't).
      • I thought Melody went out of range of her waters so she wouldn't have been familiar with them - Maybe Ariel assumed Melody was still within the range of Triton's influence, stuff she was mor familiar with?
    • Mobility. Melody did run away in a boat, but she could catch the boat and get Melody to turn around and go home (or take her home herself — numerous reasons, probably.) instead of a ship. Plus, she's a mother who lost her daughter - She'd probably feel worthless waiting around at home or riding in a ship with Eric when she knows she can swim if she were a mermaid again. I could also say she could describe Melody to other fish, but I imagine that Triton more or less had his daughters and kingdom on the lookout already. Although it could also probably because she really wanted to go swimming again since she spent about 12 years behind a wall with limited sea access, so impulse.

  • What happened to the trident's power in the canon TV series? In the movie it showed almost unlimited power, but in the series it couldn't even take on the villain of the week most of the time. Plus in the series it is revealed that Triton is the only one who knows how to use all of the trident's power. So, um, if Ursula could do all those badass things she did with it in the movie with only part of its power, couldn't 90% of the series plots have been resolved by Triton pointing the trident at whatever villain was around that week and telling it, "You have 30 seconds to get out before I vaporize you, starting now".
    • The film and the series take place in slightly divergent universes. Alternately, they left it out in the yard on a cold night and killed the batteries, so it won't fully recharge.
      • The TV series takes place prior to the film when Ariel's a teenager, thus the trident's had time to build up power.
    • Ursula is a rather skilled witch, it's not that surprising that she manages to do so much with it, even with it at limited power as it's boosting her already impressive power.
    • Triton signed Ursula's contract, meaning he forfeited his power over the trident. Ursula could have written the contract so that she got the trident's powers so when Triton signed it (with the trident I might add), all the power legally(?) belonged to her.
      • To the part about the whole "You have 30 seconds to get out before I vaporize you, starting now" issue in the series (or lack thereof), one episode DID have King Triton resorting to such a method. To put it simply, it was the episode where Sebastian had to act as a negotiator between the Sharkanians and the Atlantican Merpeople, nearing the ending of the episode, the Sharkanians attempt a trojan horse method involving a treasure chest to sneak into the palace and attack King Triton, only he was prepared for them. Long Story short, they seemed to meet their maker as implied by the immediate cut to the outside of the palace.
      • If I recall correctly, we saw the Sharkanians who were in the palace fleeing with smoke trails (smoke underwater? How does that work?!) indicating that they were fried pretty badly, but not killed.

  • At the end of the second film, why do they indicate that Melody's choice would be permanent, I mean Triton seems to be able to change people merpeople into humans and vive versa pretty casually, she could alternate between Atlantica and... wherever she lives without restraint.
    • He probably just didn't want her constantly shifting back and forth as casually as changing clothes. As a king, he has better things to do than being on his granddaughter's beck and call.
    • Well, he could probably easily put a spell in place so when she's on dry land, she's human, but the moment she becomes immersed in saltwater she becomes a mermaid-considering all the other things he's been capable of, I see no reason he couldn't do that, both for her and her mother and even her father, if he wanted to come visit his wife's homeland.
    • It may have been a test of character, to see if Melody had actually learnes to be responsible, or something like that.
    • Similar to the person above, I thought it was a Secret Test of Character. The way I saw it, Triton wanted her to take the walls down now that there was no longer a risk of an evil sea witch wanting to come for her, so he wanted to see if she was willing ot leave him behind, or her birth family, when really, he wanted her to Take a Third Option and destroy the walls.

  • All of the princesses' names begin with one and the same letter (A) so in the DTV prequel what's the point of marking their possessions if nothing makes a difference. It's just redundant. And it's not like anyone but them are using them. The smart thing to do was to put their initials with a different color, like the color of their tails. You know:
    • Aquata — A; Andrina — A; Arista — A; Attina — A; Adella — A; Alana — A; Ariel — A

  • When Ursula drags Ariel underwater after the sun goes down, she's clearly seen still wearing her dress. But in the scene IMMEDIATELY after that, the dress has suddenly vanished and she's wearing her clamshell bra. Even her big ass bow is gone!
    • This was done for the sake of not-looking-stupid. It happens. How silly it'll be to have Ariel underwater as a mermaid dressed as a human. The scenes after Ursula takes her underwater work best with Ariel wearing only her purple seashell bra. If she was still wearing those human clothes, the underwater scenes before the final battle could lose their credibility.
    • Ursula probably ripped Ariel's clothes off off-screen just to intimidate and humiliate her. It's in character.

  • What became of Ariel's Seashell Bra after the beach scene after becoming human? Did she remove it before Scuttle put that old sail on her? Or did she have it on underneath? If so, did she remove it after she got to the castle, and had that bath? What was done with it afterward?
    • The maids either took it and replaced with a cloth one, (or just an undergarment, depending on when this movie takes place), or she got to keep it because they figured it's hers and she's weird that way.

  • In the original, why doesn't Ariel simply write down the things she wants to say to Eric? For a few moments I was thinking, "Oh, well she's probably illiterate, at least in human languages." But she did sign her name in English on that contract. Just because you can't speak doesn't mean you can't communicate, and she does do some nonverbal communication such as facial expression and charades, but never once does she attempt to write anything down. (It'd probably be a short movie if she did, right?)
    • The contract was Translation Convention? It was really written in Mer-language and just appeared in English for the convenience of the audience. That could be why the middle part of the contract looked like gibberish; it wasn't translated.
    • Multiple things - first, some powerful curses prevent people from talking or even writing about it - watch Howl's Moving Castle sometime. Second, everybody considered her a little unusual when she arrived, but put that down to shock from being in a shipwreck. Imagine if she'd started writing down things like "I'm a mermaid and I made a deal with a sea-witch to become human by trading my voice!" And third, telling him she's under a spell and only him falling in love with her can lift it? Well, it's actually quite hard to make somebody love you when they think that there's an ulterior motive (like not becoming a polyop). No matter the reason, Ariel tried to tell Eric what happened. He wasn't any good at charades.
    • And even if she could write something down, it likely wouldn't be in English (that was just for us), it would have been in her language, of which Eric would not have been able to read and understand it.
      • She could have drawn pictures
      • Actually, Ariel was able to write her name in English when she signed Ursula's contract.
    • I like the "magical prevention of writing it" theory. I mean, when Ariel gets her voice back she speaks in English - Eric can obviously understand her.

  • "If you want to cross a bridge, my sweet, you've got to pay the toll." Ariel and Ursula both live underwater and Ariel forgets what streets are called. Even assuming Ursula is more knowledgeable about land-dwelling culture, why would she assume Ariel knew what a bridge was?
    • I'm sorry...Whut??? You're questioning the logic of musical numbers??
    • Also, why would she care what Ariel knew and what she didn't? No big deal if someone won't get a metaphor. The main idea is still clear: if you want something you have to pay, that is all Ariel have to know.
    • While it's probably just musical nonsense with no good answer bridges (generally) do go over water. It's easy to think that Merfolk know perfectly well what those things are that let land critters walk over water rather than swimming across. Considering the number of fairy tales that involve critters that live under bridges and many of them are likely semi if not fully aquatic bridges might even hold a special meaning to Atlanteans.
      • Ursula knows how much Ariel loves and has learned about the human world; she's not using the phrase metaphorically, she's literally offering Ariel the ability to cross bridges for a price. It's part of her temptation!

  • If Eric's parents are actually dead, why is he not a king? And if they're not dead, you'd think the least they could do is show up at Eric's wedding.
    • It's possible he was deemed too young to be king. If his parents are dead and Eric is too young to inherit the throne, they may have a council or adviser running things until Eric is old enough. Alternatively, if they are dead, there could be some law that he couldn't officially be king until he got married.
    • He seems to have enough time on his hands to roam the seas with his ship, date adorkable strangers and stuff. Thus, there may be a council running things for him, with Grimsby tasked to safeguard him until he came out of age.
      • In the official book that I used to read, Grimsby is Eric's guardian. (My first encounter with the word, that's why I remember!
    • Or maybe "Prince" is the title of the ruler in his land.
    • Another variant: Eric is the brother of the king or even some distant relative, who's got the title but no real chance to become a king.
    • That or just to make thing even. Ariel is the princess of the Mermaids, Eric is the prince of...wherever he came from. Princesses still hold onto their title even when their parents are dead and by hereditary rule, they would have already been queens.

  • In "Under the Sea", they say "The seaweed is always greener/in somebody else's lake". How could they know what a lake is? Lakes
are freshwater and all the singing creatures live in salt water, they couldn't even know about lakes.
  • Just because you live in one place, doesn't mean you know nothing of other areas. It's possible they learned about lakes from birds or other animals who can get away from water.
    • Or they've had conversations with salmon and freshwater eels, which spend part of their lives in river systems and part of them in the ocean. Those would know all about lakes.
  • Also, does seaweed grow in lakes?
  • We don't know anything about mermaid physiology. Maybe they can and do live in lakes. They wouldn't be the only animals that can survive both fresh and salt water.
  • Speaking up that musical number, why is Sebastian's primary argument against going to the surface that people eat fish? Ariel is probably the least likely sea creature a human would ever want for food. I'd also mention that fish are already plenty preyed on under the sea anyway, but... ah, whatever.
    • Ariel and the other mermaids can talk to fish. They see the fish as sentient beings. So another sentient being (humans) eating a fish would be really horrible to them.
    • Actually they shouldnīt... fish eat each other all the time. Everything seems to indicate the shark doesnīt speak, and probably isnīt considered a "friend" by the rest of the sea folks, but still, many animals including seagulls and crabs (both friends to Ariel) eat fish. To merfolks, this should be seen as normal and a natural fact of life, although I agree that dinner time would probably be very akward...
    • Despite being a foreign universe reference, Geoff Johns touched the subject in its Aquaman's run. Being able to "talk with fishes" doesn't mean that every fish is "smart" enough to carry a conversation with a sentient being. Sharks doesn't speak, and there are several fishes that don't speak. Thus, while a mermaid would consider eating a sentient lobster/crab/whatever an act of blatant murder, she can still enjoy a nice plate of "non-sentient" fish.
    • I always thought Sebastian's rationale was "The people on land eat fish, so if you try to go up there, they might eat YOU!"
  • Well, Ursula is somehow aware of the Caspian Sea. How can she know about that?

  • So, wait, let me get this straight... at the start of the first movie they're staging a big musical show for the king and his kingdom... and NOBODY bothered to take a roll call of the performers?? NOBODY noticed that Ariel hadn't shown up that day? They start the show without checking that Ariel had arrived for the show, nevermind that she was in her place on stage. Seriously that's one ***ed up theater.
    • Perhaps she slipped away between a rehearsal and the performance? It's not uncommon for performers to have one final rehearsal before the actual show, so no one may have thought to take roll call because they assumed no one would leave.
      • Can't be. Ariel missed the concert because she forgot it was that day, not that she took off on purpose before it.
      • A deleted scene shows Sebastian and Ariel's sisters know she's missing, and he tells the sisters to find her while he stalls things. The fact they start the song without her says (to me at least) Sebastian thought they'd actually found her before the reveal. Nasty sisters? Not unheard of in a Disney movie... Or a classic fairy tale.

  • How does Ariel not get the bends swimming up from the ocean floor to the surface in less time than it takes to black out from lack of oxygen?
    • Our mermaids are different.
    • She wasn't a mermaid at the time of question. Writers did not do the research.
    • Call it one last bit of mermaid biology hanging on, or a side-effect of Ursula's spell. Ursula doesn't want Ariel to suffocate and die on the sea floor — better if she gets a taste of the life she wants, and then have it ripped away.
    • That and Disney probably didn't want to traumatize children by making them watch our heroine come dangerously close to drowning onscreen.
    • Which brings up another point. Given how much she was flailing after her transformation, it's clear that Ariel can't swim for anything without her tail. Bends or no bends, if Sebastian and Flounder hadn't been there, she probably wouldn't have made it to the surface and drowned. Bye, bye, new garden addition and potential blackmail material against Triton.
    • Another thing: Ariel was mostly naked the whole time (except for her Seashell Bra). That water had to have been extremely cold on her now-human body.
    • It was pretty sunny out and Ariel had been in the water all day/life. She'd be used to the temperature.

  • I always wondered, if Ariel had originally succeeded and the deal had been played out honestly, would she have gotten her voice back? Or did that happen only because the seashell was smashed?
    • I believe she wouldn't. The voice was a fee, not a pawn, if I remember correctly.
      • You got it right. Ariel literally wriggled herself out of a seemingly hopeless contract. Cracked Magazine took a huge stab on that, likening to a Broken Aesop: if you're a good, and nice looking girl, you can just get yourself imperiled and wait for a random, rich dude to come at your rescue, while every other victim of Ursula's deals wasn't so fortunate.

  • If Ariel wanted to see Eric again so badly that she ended up trading her freedom and voice for it, why didn't she just swim to the beach and wait for him to show up, maybe lure him into coming by singing? It's shown he visits the beach with Max, especially after being rescued by her. Sure, after 16 years of being told to avoid humans, she must be wary to come into contact with one, but she didn't seem to mind that Eric was waking up and would notice she's a mermaid, and was only spooked away by his servant. Or, now that I think, why didn't she nick Triton's trident, go to the surface and make herself human? After all, the trident's magic seemed to work with the person's intent: Both Ursula and her father used it to destroy things when they wanted so - Triton to destroy her treasures and Ursula trying to kill Eric - but it was also capable of conjuring rainbows when he was happy and turning merpeople into humans because he wanted so. One could always argue that you have to know magic in order to use it, but by being Triton's daughter she must've either inherited his powers or learned some, given that she was a princess...why wouldn't they teach her magic to use it since it passes on in their family?
    • Ariel was planning to do something like that when Triton showed up and destroyed her collection. After that she was too devastated to think clearly and made a deal with Ursula instead. Also, Ursula has powerful magic of her own, it's not surprising she'd know how to use the trident since obtaining it was her goal the whole time.
      • Fridge Brilliance: All of Ursula's contracts work like that. Compare the wimpy merman and the fat mermaid; they already wanted each other to begin with, they didn't need Ursula's input. Ariel didn't need it either, but Ursula (through Flotsam and Jetsam) waited until she felt insecure and overpowered to offer help.

  • Why are the underwater denizens disgusted by humans eating fish when almost everything under the sea eats fish?
    • There are fish and there are fish. You could argue that there are higher, sentient fish and lower, nonsentient fish. Eating the higher kind is cannibalism and eating the lower kind is okay. But since this is a kid's movie, I'm going to go with "the creators were hoping you wouldn't notice."
    • What are the exact words about humans eating fish? I just remember the song, where the only implication is that if you (one of the fish listening) were on the surface, YOU would be eaten.
      • Triton says it when he's scolding Ariel. "Do you think I want to see my youngest daughter snared on some fish-eater's hook?"
    • The TV series shows Ariel eating various plants and seaweed etc. Perhaps that's what they live off?
      • Crabcakes are mentioned in the series, though I don't think we ever see any of the good guys eating them, or anything that looks remotely like fish or meat...not even the killer whales or dolphins, who only eat fish and meat. Everyone 'nice' in the TV series, if shown eating anything, usually have seaweed or kelp in the form of a salad, or similar to a pasta dish.
      • There does seem to be a hierarchy of sentient/non-sentient fish species, though, such as the seahorses in "Stormy", who are clearly more animal-like and do not speak, and are kept to be ridden in a stable. Stormy displays quite a bit of intelligence and empathy, but never speaks, much like Spot the Orca in "Whale of a Tale". Eating the non-sentient fish, particularly if it is done by another only semi-sentient or non-sentient species such as the orcas or dolphins, probably isn't seen as murder, but the merpeople themselves seem to stick to seaweed and artificially made dishes like sweets, pastries and other things that don't require meat of any kind.

  • If Ursula/Vanessa had actually managed to marry Eric, what was she going to do next?
    • Eat him (Just kidding.) Turn back into Ursula. Get Ariel's soul. Use it to ransom the king and get his trident. Essentially pretty much the same plan.
    • And now she has the ruler of a land kingdom wrapped around her little finger as well.
      • Thank goodness for divorce!

  • Prince Eric's kingdom seems very European (many people say Denmark, was this ever Word of God?). If the villain's lair in the sequel was around Antarctica, then how did Melody travel between the North and South poles so quickly?
    • Denmark is the country the original author of The Little Mermaid was from, so naturally many assume Eric's kingdom would be in modern-day Denmark or actually be Denmark. In the sequal, we encounter both penguins and a walrus in the same area. Penguins, as you already mentioned, live at or relatively near the south pole. Walruses are native to northern latitudes so either the penguins or the walrus is in the wrong place. My suggestion: don't think about it too hard unless you're writing a fanfic.
      • They could be in Australia or New Zealand, both of which are near Antarctica and have European ties even to this modern day. This would explain why Daxter... I mean Tip, and his race are found here. It's possible that Dash's ancestors immigrated to Antarctica for food...
      • Wouldn't work. Other wildlife would be horribly wrong for Australia and New Zealand, not to mention the complete lack of anything truly royal of the European variety in either country. Australia only really started getting colonized when it was used as a penal colony and newcomers built on what these involuntary colonists started.

  • Eric's statue somehow ends up in Ariel's grotto. How?????? It's unlikely Flounder could have moved it from where it had landed on the ocean floor, so we have to conclude it floated down from the shipwreck to land in the grotto - but the hole in the roof is way too small. Even Ariel could hardly have fit through it, let alone a huge stone statue.
    • Perhaps Flounder got some help to move it?
    • There was a Disney Adventures comic about this, though it's technically non-canon. Long story short, Flounder eventually got a whale to move it for him.

  • How come King Triton never decided to just punish Ariel for her misbehavior in the prequel and second movie if he was tired of Ariel disobeying him?
    • Because he's all bark and no bite. Apart from blasting the statue of Eric (in which case he feared for her life), he's a real softie.
    • Punish her how? She already ignoring LAWS he's setting down, sending her to her room just isn't going to work, she'll be gone the second he's not looking.

  • How come, at the end of the prequel, Benjamin is punished along with Marina Del Ray? He's not the one who tried to kill Sebastian and Ariel. He gets punished just for being an associate??
    • Presumably because he helped her to an extent, and never told anyone what she was doing or tried to stop her despite knowing what lengths she was willing to go to.

  • Ariel and Eric want to keep Melody out of the ocean because of Morgana and they want to keep her safe and so forbid her to go into the sea, right. So why do they decide to live right next to the freaking sea?! if her safety was that important then they would have moved somewhere where the sea was nowhere near them. Its not like they wanted to stay close to Ariels family seeing as they swore to sever all contact with them so why didnt they get her away from the sea instead of living right next to it and hoping that a wall would keep her from going in? They must have known that living right next to something but forbiding it would make it all the more likely she would get an interest in it, especially seeing as Ariel was rebellious herself and should know exacly how Melody would feel and what she would do?
    • Probably because Ariel doesn't want to cut herself off completely from her family. We see from the scene where she feels the water under her feet that she misses it. It's probably selfish on her part but she probably still wanted to be somewhere where her family could contact her. Also she may have assumed that Morgana would be easily found and didn't see the necessity of moving.
      • In the first movie, Ariel was established as being pretty selfish, so it wouldn't surprise me if that affected her decision, even when it came to her daughter's safety.
      • I doubt selfishness was the reason. Ariel is a very different person than she was in the first movie. Perhaps she forgot that she was once a teen (it happens) or didn't realize Melody could go under the wall. Most parents don't imagine their sweet babies growing up to be rebellious teenagers.
      • No, selfishness is not the reason. Ariel lying to Melody was a very misguided way of trying to protect her. She was completely fine with Melody knowing her heritage until Mogana showed up, and things went downhill from there. Also, it may be implied that she didn't want Melody making the same mistakes she made.

  • In the shipwreck and the shark scene, how could Ariel pass through the window hole without problems while Flounder got seriously stuck in it? He's smaller than Ariel! It should have been easier for him to pass through it!
    • Well, if you look closely, Ariel did have to pull herself through the second time (when they were escaping from Glut) and maybe Flounder is a bit pudgier than Ariel?
    • Flounder doesn't have arms.
    • Presumably she either had to grab him by the body and pull him through, or grab his fins and pull him through. Either way, she wasn't leaving him behind.
      • Her hips should have gotten stuck, if not her shoulders - perhaps merpeople, like rats, have somewhat collapsible skeletal structures?

  • When Eric finds Ariel, he assumes she's not the girl who saved him because she can't speak. Isn't that jumping to conclusions? For all he knew, Ariel could've had laryngitis or some other ailment that causes a temporary loss of voice. At the very least, shouldn't Eric have asked Ariel if she was sick or a similar question?
    • He said "you can't speak?" and she shook her head which he took to assume she couldn't talk at all. From the time period it's set in, I don't think Eric would know about laryngitis or illnesses that would render someone mute. And if he did, isn't this only one or two days after the storm? He'd hardly be delusional enough to believe his mysterious girl with a perfect singing voice somehow developed a disease that rendered her mute within a couple of days.
    • Laryngitis isn't some obscure medical condition you need a CAT scan to diagnose; it's something that most human beings experience at least once in their life. Every culture and time period would know about it.
    • Eric spent the entire movie being prone at jumping to conclusions: it's not an idle though thinking that the same guy believing (despite everyone telling him how impossible that was) that a beautiful girl with a perfect singing voice came to his rescue professing her love to him decided that Ariel's gestures implied a permanent loss of voice and consider her a mute instead of her saviour with laryngitis.
      • Furthermore, someone ill with laryingitis can, in the vast majority of cases, squeeze out some sounds (at least squeeks and raspy attempts to vocalize) from her addled voice box: Ariel was utterly unable to vocalize and, after answering the "you can't speak?" question with a shake of her head, she started flapping her mouth open frantically pointing her throat. We know what she was trying to say because we had just saw the scenes she was pantomiming in full detail: however, hadn't we know, and after seeing a mute girl denying she's able to speak and then pointing her throat and lips with embarassed urgency, we'd be inclined more inclining to think she's a mute and she's feeling really embarassed about bringing up her condition than to think that she's a mystically transformed mermaid with a marvelous singing voice.
      • Even further, in a little contrast with the source material, where the little mermaid is labeled as a "poor little foundling, who happens to be a mute", Eric briefly considers the idea of Ariel being a shipwrecked noblewoman from some distant kingdom. The notion of a girl utterly losing her voice for a great shock is a trope Older than Television.

  • Why is Ursula's demise so damn bizarre??? Yeah,i know it's a reference to the climax of The Call of Cthulhu.You see,right after being impaled by Eric's shipwreck in the stomach,she gets electrocuted.This can be justified by the trident's magic backfiring on her,dealing her an awful lot of massive damage.However,the truly weird part is,when she has her last breaths,her already demonic voice suddenly goes slow-motion and "shuts down" as if it was a robot's or a computer's voice.Isn't Ursula a living mythical creature and not some kind of construct?
    • Dramatic effect?
  • Eric can understand Sebastian once and only once: to hear Ariel's name. How?

    Anime version 
At the end of the movie, Marina sets her pearl hair pin on the ship's balustrade, as a parting gift to the prince, along with a green scale, just like the one she plucked from herself to lay on his wound in the beginning. Where on earth did she get this? We're never shown any scene that could explain this random scale being in her possession after her transformation.

The Great Mouse DetectiveHeadscratchers/Disney Animated CanonBeauty and the Beast

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