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Headscratchers: The Swan Princess

  • In the main tropes, it was mentioned that Rothbart needed to obtain the kingdom legally, so he could avoid problems that would arise from taking the kingdom by force, like La Résistance or others trying to take the kingdom from him. The thing is, that is not entirely accurate, because people are aware of his banishment, and thus know that he is a psycho-wizard trying to take over the world. This means that even though Rothbart does obtain the kingdom legally, there will still be people who will attempt to overthrow him. As a result, his plot to get Odette to marry him is pointless, because it doesn't, and will not change the publicly known fact that he has attempted crimes against King William before.
    • But if he marries Odette, it's technically her as the heir that makes him king. He doesn't automatically become king, she has to declare him the king. If she did that then legally all his previous crimes would be forgotten or pardoned. Of course there was little chance of Odette doing that anyway but Rothbart hoped he could persuade her.
  • What happened to Odette's kingdom? It has to be active, with Odette somehow still the legal heir, or Rothbart would not have put her through all this hell. Yet, her father is dead, and no mention of made of what happened to it, even in the sequels.
    • I guess it was the same people taking care of the kingdom when they went away every summer? Maybe the sea dividing the kingdoms is very small? I mean, if they can get from their kingdom to Uberta's quickly enough and back, to afford to stay "every June until September" then it can't be that far. If that's the case, it would be pretty easy to just have an adviser rule and send letters back-and-forth, with the occasional visit.
    • It's very possible that another member of Odette's family was made king/queen. That's how the line of succession works with normal royalty (though I know it's a futile effort to try and bring any real world logic into this film). Since Odette married Derek, and is now his queen, she would probably be taken out of the line of succession in her own kingdom. So, whoever was after her in line probably rules now.
    • I assume they at the moment they are ruling it from Swan Lake Castle and once Uberta passes on they will rule both.
    • Remember Odette and Derek's parents wished to merge the two kingdoms into one. Odette's kingdom was probably being ruled by a regent until Odette was found. Now that the two are married the two kingdoms have probably become one, just like the King and Queen planned.
    • The people in William's kingdom are used to the king and princess spending their summers in Uberta's kingdom. They might not even have heard about the whole kidnapping before Derek found Odette, and then they would just need to take a trip back over the sea to tell everyone about William's death and have the kingdoms joined properly.
  • Why didn't William just marry Uberta, rather than go through all that arranged-marriage hassle? They clearly have a thing for each other, and Derek is a perfectly viable heir to the throne.
    • Because then William wouldn't have been able to be dramatically killed by Rothbart, thus giving Derek the motivation he needed to search for Odette. Also, there was probably some kind of arcane law or something. Just try to not think about it too hard.
    • Even though William seems like the classic Disney single father, logically he must have had an offstage spouse who was still alive — Odette had to come from somewhere, and she'd just been born when the plan was constructed.
    • Unless his wife died in childbirth, it was pretty common. Though he hardly appeared to be mourning…maybe he was just shallow.
    • Or maybe...yeah
    • Or maybe it's been a
    • Well, the intro mentions that he's getting older, and Uberta has clearly greying hair, plus the fact that she only has one child in such a time period suggests that she might be infertile already. So maybe it's a "We're both getting older, we don't want this merger to only last until we die, let's have our kids get together to ensure it for much longer than either of us could manage if we hooked up."
    • I second the above. In the sequel, Uberta celebrates her 50th birthday. She's clearly getting on, and it's not possible to have any more children. If Uberta and William married, the kingdoms would only be united for say...twenty years or less. Odette and Derek could unite the kingdom for another fifty years, and don't forget they'd have children, so there would be a legitimate ruler of BOTH after them. And it's not like the two kingdoms are at war; they could afford to wait twenty years.
  • Okay, so Rothbarth was banished by William, so he wanted William's kingdom. Why did he attack them in Uberta's? And how did he get there? And how did he manage to buy a castle? And why hadn't he aged?
    • Because he can do push-up with one arm.
    • He attacked them in Uberta's because there would be less guards. He got there by walking or riding a horse. He has a castle and hasn't aged for the same reason that he was able to turn a woman into a swan, he's a wizard.
    • Because he had to go somewhere while he was banished. He picked a country he knew has communications with William's kingdom. He was either very in on the royal gossip before he got kicked out, or he just got very lucky in that this was where William would come every summer.
  • Why doesn't Rothbart just use his magic to make himself look like Derek and trick Odette into marrying him that way? Or get someone else to marry him and make that woman look like Odette, then leave the real Odette as a swan while he and Clone!Odette go get their new kingdom.
    • Because he would have tricked Odette into marrying him which would make the marriage illegitimate and prevent him from having any right to her kingdom. Marrying anyone else would also prevent him from gaining control of Odette's kingdom. He probably figured eventually she would get sick of being a swan and give in to his demands.
      • But who would know. Odette would be a swan and no one would think that clone!Odette wasn't the genuine article. Do they do DNA test at the crowning, or something?
      • Also, she is a woman! Rothbart totally could have gotten away with that. No one in the kingdom is going to believe her over the king! Or if they do, he'll behead them!
      • Just because he's a man in a classical setting does not mean that, even putting aside that this a softened Equal Opportunities Past, he is a known criminal and as a member of the royal family she's going to have more clout than someone who was well known throughout the Kingdom for attempting a magical coup d'état in the past.
  • And while we're on the subject of getting Odette to marry him, why does he want to let Odette die by the end (I mean besides the fact she's really irritating). Wouldn't that mean he lost his one chance of getting William's kingdom legally? And since when he's he so caught up by what is lawful. I'm sure that kidnapping and regicide is illegal and he doesn't seem so worried about that.
    • By marrying Odette he would have had a legal right to be king that the rest of the kingdom would have to abide by. Once he became king, it wouldn't matter how he came about it since it was his word against a woman's. Most people would side with him against her and he could just lock her up or kill her once he has the throne. By the end of the movie, he's realized that she's not going to change her mind and is angry enough that he's willing to let her die. At this point, she's no longer necessary since he can make a fake Odette.
      • Wait...what? This is a magical animated universe, we have no reason to believe it will have the same seixst standards and laws as our world. Even if it was, you've got to factor class into it. Odette is the princess/queen, and sole heir to the throne. Rothbart is a sorcerer who was banished for treason, which apparently all the kingdom knew about. They are not going to listen to someone who was caught conspiring to take the throne, over their beloved rightful ruler.
    • Apparently, he didn't expect her to try and escape. At all. The fact that she'd nearly succeeded ticked him off too much, the chance she broke the spell wasn't worth begging for her hand anymore. She'd have probably been declared dead (everyone in Uberta's kingdom believed it) so it would be pretty to take over without a legit ruler. Though why he felt he need to make a fake Odette and send her to the ball, when he can just…I dunno, whip out that Power to Destroy? Or stab her? Yeah, it baffles me.
      • Because he wanted her to suffer. A quick death just won't do.
    • Let's be honest, Rothbart, while cunning and clever is still a short-fused and temperamental villian. The moment things look like the're going to get out of hand is the moment he's going to either throw a hissy-fit, or do something spiteful for kicks.
  • AND! AND! Why doesn't he just force her to marry him? He's a villain for heaven's sake! Surely there are better ways of making her marry him that turning her into a swan. Mind Control. Threaten Derek's life if she doesn't. Get a dodgy priest to perform the wedding while she's asleep. In fact out of all the ways to get her to marry him, turning Odette into a swan is as out there forcing her to wear a dress made out of smelly cheese until she gives in. '''What. The. Hell. Is. With. This. Guy?'''
    • His magic might not be able to do much more than change other people's shapes. A swan may be the best thing he can do. Plus, "I wouldn't marry him so he turned me into a swan...I got better" is less believable case for a coerced and therefore fake marriage than "I wouldn't marry him so he threatened to kill my true love."
      • The above troper got the part about the magic completely right. Across all three movies, the exact nature of the Forbidden Arts is repeatedly stated to be limited to creating, changing, and destroying. For example, if you didn't like your couch and you'd mastered the Arts, you could use the Arts to create a new one, change the old one to something more to your liking, blow it to smithereens or any combination of the three. You couldn't use the Arts to, for example, brainwash professional movers to haul your old couch away for free.
    • Also, free will may simply be a factor that his magic cannot overcome.
  • And I know Rothbart "says" that Odette will turn back into a swan no matter where she is but I don't see how. You've got to have the water swirly thing going on by the looks of things. Does she ever test this out? Does she just take her insane kidnapper's word for it? For all we know she is willingly allowing herself to turn back into a swan because she's too dumb to think "Okay let's see if I change while I'm standing on land." I mean the worst thing that could happen is that she would STILL turn into a swan. I think I think too much.
    • The magic might be that she can only turn back into a human by using the water swirly thing. Going too far would cause her to forever be a swan.
    • The water swirly thing seems more like a side effect than a necessary part of the transformation; perhaps on land she would just be surrounded by a magical wind or something. A fair amount of time passes between Odette's kidnapping and most of the events of the film (long enough for the kingdom to assume her dead and for Derek to spend "day after day" practicing and searching for the Great Animal); she could easily have tested the limits of the spell during that time.
  • Am I the only one who thought Odette was a complete hypocrite? She and Derek didn't like each other (or at least, they outwardly displayed contempt for one another) until the scene in the ballroom. At that point, the only thing that has changed about him is his looks, so it would seem that this is what attracts her to him. Yet when she asks him, "Is beauty all that matters?" she gets mad when he replies, "What else is there?"
    • You're not alone. But she's a woman, and that somehow makes it okay, I guess.
    • While I agree that there may be a Double Standard, it is also possible that Odette realized that BOTH Derek and her were only interested in looks and thought it would be disasterous for them to tie the knot.
    • I was also bothered by that. That's why in my head-canon she asked him that because she realized if they only liked each other because of their looks, it would never work out.
    • It is a case of Belligerent Sexual Tension (or they've had a tiny crush on each other since their early teens, but hey, they couldn't spit it out), and the producers didn't want to shove that trope down kids' throats so they won't get the wrong idea. Because, you know, Derek and Odette weren't supposed to proclaim "I love you because you're an arrogant jerk" in front of idealistic kids, so they just pointed out each other's looks as the main turn-on. I messed up my own head here.
      • Well one part of the opening song indicates that Derek at least began to have a crush on Odette before the dramatic love confession part (he's jealous of her flirting with the guards).
      • Derek and Odette definitely had a thing for each other long before they were adults. Derek says twice later in the movie (during the chess scene with Brom and again right after Rothbart dies) that he loved her well before he noticed she was beautiful. Also, look at Odette's expressions when she asks Derek if beauty is all that matters to him and when she's waiting for him to answer. She looks worried and pleading, and clearly was hoping for a different answer, not for an excuse to break the relationship off.
    • What bothers me is that as soon as she is kidnapped and turned into a swan she immediately changes her mind and decides they are really in love after all.
      • That makes no sense to me. Derek eventually proves his love to her (since it's established in the chess scene that he Cannot Spit It Out about how much he loves her, and wants to prove it instead), but that's not until the end of the movie. Why did she declare him her true love?
      • "This is My Idea," only showed clips from maybe 10-15 days out of 10-12 summers, so there could have been a lot more between them than those few squabbles. After all, Derek mentions at the end of the movie that he was attracted to Odette's compassion and bravery all his life, but no hint of this was shown during their childhoods. Odette probably had similar reasons.
    • Keep in mind that when they decide that they're in love, it's a montage song. Which means that more time could be going by, but is just being shown in a single metaphorical scene to keep things moving. As eager as their parents were for a wedding, it seems unlikely that they'd announce an engagement after the two had a revelation and one dance.
      • It wasn't a montage scene, they really did announce their engagement the moment they enter the room together.
    • The simple answer is in Odette's line in the song:
    Odette: I see him smiling an my knees start buckling. I see inside him and my doubts are gone.
    • That means like him she was taken with his looks but looked further at the person she has know for years and his other qualities helped win her over completely.
    • There's also the simple point that while Odette is clearly physically attracted to Derek, she's not the one calling for a marriage and citing physical attraction as the reason.
  • Is Jean-Bob really a prince who was turned into a frog or is he just lying?
    • Probably just delusional.
    • I always figured the joke was that it could go either way. Not that it really mattered because Status Quo Is God.
    • Why do the rest of the characters treat him as if he's crazy for saying that he's a prince anyway? In another setting, he probably would be, but there's a nearby sorcerer with the power to change the shape of anything or anyone which includes turning himself into a winged beast and casting a spell on the aforementioned Swan Princess so that she turns into a bird every night. That said, Jean-Bob's claims of being a transformed prince doesn't sound so far-fetched. Okay, yeah, at the end when he finally got the kiss he wanted from Odette that was supposed to change him back, he still remained a frog, though that could be due to it being a thank you kiss rather than the true love's kiss needed to break spells in fairy tales and Odette only liked him as a friend rather than romantically.
  • Derek's hair. I mean, what the steaming pile of fook was that? Even the kid from Treasure Planet had better hair! I know it's silly, but I just couldn't watch the movie having to look at his hair for so long.
    • What about poor Brom? He had the same style, as did a lot of the males in that movie, if memory recalls.
      • ...who? Yeah, I didn't get too far into the movie, but oh is that first song catchy.
  • Rothbart is shown in "No More Mr. Nice Guy" that he has freaking amazing powers and can magically create clones of people right out of thin air pretty much. He can magically pretty much do anything to his surroundings. He already has a pretty sweet castle of his own, why doesn't he just make his own kingdom right there?
    • Must be part of that Musical World Hypotheses thing.
    • Part of wanting to be an (evil) ruler is wanting to feel control over whatever you rule. Those clones he magic'd up can't resist his power. They just let you do whatever you want and sometimes look scared or in shock as an involuntary reaction. For someone like Rothbart, it's only fun if you know they're miserable and resent you. That's why he takes pleasure in seeing Odette upset; he knows she can't run away from the lake or she'll be a swan forever, but she can't break the spell without either submitting to his will (that sounded cleaner in my mind) or leaving the lake. Besides, he wanted to spite King William. It's much more satisfying to now you're stealing what belonged to your dead enemy than you're reduced to having the conjure up your own.
  • How can it be in the first film that Odette is revived by Rothbart dying, while in the third it took burning the notes of the forbidden arts to bring her back?
    • Because making a vow of undying love to bring her back a second time might seem a tad silly?
      • The vow didn't work. Odette nearly died because Derek made it to the wrong person, remember? It was killing Rothbart that saved Odette. So why didn't killing Zelda, who used the same magic, immediately bring back Odette?
      • I figured it was just hilariously sloppy writing. And that Derek simply turned into a full-on necromancer to bring her back. He Who Fights Monsters and all that.
      • No, I'm pretty sure he wasn't expecting the burning of the notes (and the orb) to bring her back. He was just destroying them as an apology to Odette for not doing so earlier before Zelda stole the notes.
      • Indeed, the interpretation I had was that Odette's revival was a Deus ex Machina reward for destroying the notes — as it would keep someone from using the evil powers they grant ever again. As for the first film, Odette and Derek didn't understand what breaking the spell required in the first place. Derek made the vow with Odette, but the second step to break the spell was for him to prove it to the world. They made the mistake of thinking a mere public declaration of love would do that, and Rothbart was able to trick Derek into making it to the wrong woman. Derek then fights Rothbart in his Great Animal form in hopes of saving Odette...which proves to the world how much he loves her and bears out his original vow to her; thus the curse is broken and she is saved.
      • Plus, when Derek demanded that Rothbart bring Odette back to life, Rothbart declared that Derek would have to defeat him first. I simply assumed that Rothbart had accidentally created either a loophole in Odette's curse, or some sort of a magical verbal contract that he couldn't just go back on.
  • Why is Odette a platinum blonde as a five year old, a redhead as a eight/ten-year-old, and back to platinum blonde as into her early and late teens? Was she dyeing it all these years?
    • Um...her hair looked just a darker blonde when she was in her preteens to me. But yeah, the change was odd. I suppose you could say that happens in real life, but it doesn't seem to in the animated world, and generally what happens is your hair just keeps getting darker. Maybe the guys in charge of color screwed up?
    • I always wondered why she only had freckles that one summer. She never has freckles at any other point in her life.
      • Lots of people get freckles from being out in the sun. She was more of a tomboy during those years, and afterwards became more graceful and feminine, so probably spent less time out in the summer.
      • This troper has many freckles from a childhood spent out in the sun and not a single one has ever disappeared.
  • Also, there's the fact that it apparently took Odette a considerable amount of time to decide to try to make a break and lead Derek to the lake and explain everything. Couldn't she have thought of trying that from the start, once she figured out how the curse worked and everything?
    • She'd thought of it. When Puffin tells her to fly to him, she tells Puffin she doesn't know where she is or how to get to him. And as she needs to land on the lake every night, there's only so much exploring it would be safe to do.
    • Also Odette didn't think of getting a map until Jean Bob suggested it. Without a map, she'd have hardly any way of knowing if she was even close to Derek's kingdom. She's just a princess that's been turned into a bird. Once she has the map, as well as a companion with a good sense of direction, her chances are much better.
  • The villain's plan is pretty stupid as well. With the level of power he shows by the time he returns for revenge, he could have straight-up conquered both kingdoms with no problem.
    • He explained that one. He didn't want to spend the rest of his life fighting rebel uprisings and armies from allied kingdoms, so he wanted to marry into power "legitimately". Of course, he was still an idiot for not realizing the uprisings would happen anyway unless he managed to avoid a 0% Approval Rating (not likely).
  • In the sequel, Clavius succeeds in getting the Forbidden Arts. But does he actually use this godlike power to vanquish his foes and conquer kingdoms? No. He sings a 90's rock song bragging about his power (though it sounds pretty awesome).
    • You can see why Rothbart ditched him.
    • Um, Clavius had only about ten minutes to use his power before the heroes arrived and took the orb. The song was just him celebrating, and really, wouldn't you want to celebrate for at least a little while if you'd just gotten the power to make yourself filthy rich and conquer the world? If he hadn't been stopped, that song would've been just the beginning.
  • In the sequels, why are Derek and Odette living in the place where she was held hostage? Surely they'd have some bad memories and a bit of post traumatic stress, as well as two other kingdoms where they could live instead. And as they later discover, there's evil magic in the basement.
    • It was a perfectly good castle (OK, so it could have used a fixer-upper), so why waste it? It's not far from Euberta's castle and they didn't learn about Rothbart's notes until much later.
  • Trivial, yes, but why on earth does Derek's mum's dress have a late-Victorian style bustle and skirt when the rest of the movie— and even her own bodice!— are fantasy-medieval?
    • Really, none of the clothes line up with each other. Various outfits range hundreds of years apart. This movie also has a woman in an all-armor gown and another woman with corncob clothes. It's best to accept that the animators just went wild with the costumes.
  • Don't Derek and Odette see each other every summer? Why are they both so taken aback at how the other grew up?
    • Love is a fickle thing.
    • Odette always wore her hair in braids or pigtails or something like that all through the movie. When Derek first saw Adult!Odette, her hair was down, and he touches it when they kiss. So maybe Derek just has a thing for long, flowing hair. Or maybe Derek's line about her becoming a swan was just him realizing how he feels and deciding that she was Beautiful All Along? (Or at least since she was a teenager.)
    • It may not have been every summer. "This Is My Idea" showed only clips from about three summers. It could have been every second summer. Or alternately Derek was just still immature and didn't like the thought of having to marry. Remember that this is in a time where if you didn't see someone for a long time, you had no way of knowing what they looked like. Derek would only see Odette for roughly 3-4 months every year and then he'd get a 9 month gap, erasing her appearance from memory temporarily.
      • No, it was definitely every summer, unless the calendar in their kingdoms skips June every other year. Derek and Odette both say that it started every June during "This is My Idea."
    For as long as I remember,
    We've been told we'd someday wed,
    Every June until September,
    All their pushing and annoying hints,
    I've got bruises with their fingerprints.
  • During the climax of the third movie, Wizzer imitates Rothbart's voice in an attempt to distract Zelda. How can he even know how Rothbart's voice sounds?
    • Rothbart was a feared and well-known sorcerer in his time. The gap between the first and third movies is only a few of years. Perhaps Wizzer saw and heard Rothbart in the forest at some point. Wizzer seems to at least know about Rothbart in the film. Either that or Zelda somehow used magic to show Wizzer her memories of him.
  • Bridget. Why in the world did she turn good all of a sudden? And why is everyone so accepting of her? She couldn't have fooled them into thinking that she was never involved, because Odette said that she "must know something about the Forbidden Arts." Yet in the first movie, she helped Rothbart, almost stopped Odette from getting the map, injured all three of the animals, impersonated Odette, nearly killed Odette by tricking Derek into making the vow to her instead, and even gave Swan!Odette a dirty, sadistic smirk right before the spell started sucking her life away. Why didn't Derek and Odette have the old hag beheaded for treason and attempted murder, instead of welcoming her into their home and treating her like a friend?
    • In the third film, Derek tells a story about how he and Rogers searched Rothbart's castle for remnants of the Forbidden Arts. We could assume that Bridget may have cut a deal with them. They would spare her if she gave them all Rothbart's secrets. Rothbart is dead so what reason would she have to be loyal to him? Especially if her life is involved. Since they moved into the castle at Swan Lake, they would need servants. And one that knew the castle at that.

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