The main conflict of the film does not result from Merida's wishIt's the fact that she makes it in the first place. The "sacred custom" she defies is not leaving magic to The Fair Folk. When things go to hell, the people blame the royal family for the mess and turn against them.
Elinor and Fergus had a Perfectly Arranged MarriageIn medieval Scotland (hell, in any medieval location) royal marriages were usually a political arrangement. Merida's mother Elinor was likely a noblewoman from a powerful family who was set up in an Arranged Marriage with Fergus when he was either a prince or already a king. Opposites Attract ensued, and the two grew to love each other. They had a daughter and three sons, so their compatibility must have been good. This will likely be brought up when Elinor is pressuring Merida to choose a husband. "You and X will learn to love each other eventually. Your father and I did..." This theory gives more weight to Merida's question in the trailer:
Merida is the heir to the throne because......of her little brothers. They're triplets. Despite the fact that they are boys and should technically be in line before Merida, it would cause complications to leave the kingdom to only one of them. The kingdom would be divided by jealous fights between the three (grown) brothers and the public fighting over which brother is best fit to rule. Civil war would probably ensue. So the throne goes to Merida, who (despite being a woman living in medieval times) is already grown, quite smart, and has the capability to lead. In the Japanese trailer it's hinted by Elinor that Merida is going to be Queen someday. Also, there's the fact that Word of God has said that Merida's the only one who can tell the triplets apart, so that would also naturally cause problems.
One of Merida's suitors will actually like herHe'll become the Abhorrent Admirer and will be a source of comic relief as Merida repeatedly rebuffs his advances.
Merida is secretly the alternate universe lovechild of Wally West and Artemis Crock or Clint Barton and Natasha RomanoffThey're both redhead + archer pairings, see.
Calvin is a descendant of Clan DingwallCome on. Look at Lord Dingwall's son. Does he look like anyone you know?
The kingdom has matriarchal successionFergus had to win Elinor's hand in marriage on the contest and now the same was to be done with Merida. Elinor is focused on Merida's education not the triplets, because Merida is the one that is going to rule one day. After all it is Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe, and the tradition of having the firstborns of the great lords compete for the hand of the princess is a way of providing the queen to be with The Dragon.
Brave takes place in the same universe as How to Train Your DragonPeople have noticed the similarities between Fergus and Stoick. There are a few ways of explaining this.
Going from above, Brave, Tangled, How to Train Your Dragon and Rise of the Guardians all take place in the same universe.Considering the amount of crossover fanfictions that involve two, three or all four of these movies, plus the pairings(Mericup, Hicpunzel, Jackpunzel, Jackcupp etc.) My guess is that these are the best CGI films to come out in the last four years. In some cases I've seen, you can add Harry Potter to the mix for some extra fun.(This troper is doing a story with all of these, plus another movie thrown in)
At some point in the movie, a cart emblazoned with the Pizza Planet logo will make an appearanceBecause it wouldn't be Pixar without it.
The Wisps in the movie are not trying to help Merida, they have their own planThey actually are trying to redeem the fallen Prince. Everything in the movie is directly in service of this goal, or is a side effect thereof.
The Wisps are fantastic beings who have always existed in this version of Scotland and are not tied in any way to the Witch's spellThis is a fairy tale, so any magical element is fair game. They can't be a product of the Witch, unless she is immortal, because the royal family are aware of the Wisps before the events of the film. They're more like reclusive fairies who help a lost human find their way.
The Witch is related in some way to HowlHow else do you explain the whole "Close the door and open it to go somewhere else," bit?
The Witch is another sister of YubabaThey look pretty similar, and both have magical powers...
The stone circle is some kind of portalTwo times in the movie, Merida is at one moment at a place established as some distance away fram the stone circle, only for her to turn around the next moment and find herself in the circle again.
Brave was intended to be a feature-length technical demo-reel to respond to TangledIn an effort to keep Disney from getting overconfident and full of themselves, Pixar decided to do a CGI feature of their own regarding a fantasy world with a girl with ridiculous hair and ridiculous clothes riding through ridiculously real Ghibli Hills, all of which are freakin' hard to animate properly.
Merida is the first pagan Disney PrincessFor a very technical definition (therefore, the Ancient Greek Megara doesn't count). There's been a lot of fuss with the media assuming that she's a lesbian for all the wrong reasons, but more evidence exists for this theory. Fergus mentions fighting the Romans, who left Scotland before its Christianization in the 8th century. This dates Brave to a time prior to then; ergo, the characters practice some form of Celtic paganism.
Elinor purposely had Merida's court dress made painfully skin-tight to keep her from trying to runWhich was why she showed no concern when Merida complained about not being able to move or breathe in it. This was her cunning trick to keep Merida from trying to escape during the "presentation of the suitors" ceremony and the Highland Games. Unfortunately for her, Merida outsmarted her.
The Witch is a time lordThis speaks for itself.
The Wisps are the souls of the slaughtered kingdomTheir goal was to free their fallen prince from his curse as Mor'du. Now that it's done, they can all rest in peace.
The Wisps are souls which were former recipients of the Witch's spellsThis would explain why they and Mor'du's soul are the same color, and why they helped Merida—yes, leading her to the Witch led to everything going wrong, but perhaps they knew/hoped that in the process everything would be righted and improved, including freeing Mor'du as had previously been done for them in even more distant centuries.
Connecting Brave to the rest of the Pixar UniverseThe Witch has a broom that sweeps the floor on its own, regardless of someone holding it. This, despite her saying "You can't imbue wood with magic, trust me I'm a wi- woodcarver" From that, you can say that maybe the broom is actually a precursor to the toys from Toy Story, themselves precursors to the cars from Cars.
The Witch's magic is limited so that she can only turn things and people into bearsSince all of her carvings seem to be bears or prominently feature them and the two spells she gave out turned the people into bears, this seems likely. Her magic is either limited just so, or it's all she knows how to do.
The Witch from Brave is the same witch that set the curse in Beauty and the BeastIts been established that shes long lived, and if bear curses are what she gives out to people who pay her imagine what she'd do to people who actually pissed her off.
The Witch wanted to do a spell for MeridaIf she had just been up-front about it. ("I can change your fate. Pay me to do a spell!"), Merida might have been skeptical, wonder what the Witch's motives were. By tricking Merida into thinking the Witch was hiding being a witch, while being very obvious—"hiding" it without really hiding it, Merida has to "convince" the Witch to do a spell and isn't suspicious of her.
Merida is an immortal like in Highlander
The Witch was acting as a Stealth MentorFar from being the spacey, forgetful witch that she acts like, The Witch was actually forcing Merida and Mor'du before her into a sort of Non-lethal Fly Or Die situation. Once given the spell they asked for, they either had to overcome their arrogance and pride or live with the consequences.
The Wisps were actually evilThink about the places the Wisps lead Merida. They distracted her while a bear snuck up on her, they led her to a witch's house, where she got a spell that caused the entire plot to start by turning her mother into a bear, they brought her to the ruins of an ancient castle where she was attacked and nearly killed by ANOTHER bear, and, while she could have found the circle by herself presumably (she was five feet away), and they led her on a path to it where she wouldn't spot Mor'du. Plus, this fits better with the original stories of them basically leading people off of roads by hypnotzing them and then killing them, and it fits better with them being so CREEPY
The kingdom depicted in the film is on the edge of the RamtopsLooking at maps of the Disc, the Ramtops lead all the way out to the Widdershins sea. Perhaps Merida's kingdom is in the Ramtops, hundreds of years before the current time frame of the books. I mean, look at the place! Barely a piece of flat land to be found! There are abandoned stone circles, real life witches, talking ravens... and it is said in Carpe Jugulum that witches were hated and feared in the Ramtops, way back when. The kingdom could even be the place where the Nac Mac Feegle first landed on the Disc after being kicked out of Fairyland.
Everything was a Batman Gambit by the Witch to help Mor'duIn the wake of his transformation, after killing his family and friends, Mor'du had a My God, What Have I Done? moment, seeking out the Witch who gave him the spell. While he had the strength of ten men, Mor'du no longer had a kingdom to rule, making the transformation meaningless. Convincing the Witch to help him find a way to return to normal, since there was no one left alive for him to mend any rifts with, she promised she would help. While wisps already existed, the blue ones we see were created by the Witch, from the souls of Mor'du's family and friends. Then, the Witch settled down in her cottage, waiting and watching for a soul she hoped would be strong enough to fulfill the curse's escape clause, which would bring an end to all the curse's victims once the conditions were met.
Merida's regular princess dress is enchantedSeriously, it doesn't get damaged climbing the crone's tooth, or after being thrown off of Angus. What does damage it? Falling into the forgotten kingdom's throne room, and Bear!Elinor's claws. Maybe Elinor knew about the witch the whole time, after all, it was her who encouraged Merida's belief in magic. Either that or Merida's dress is made of some sort of cloth that's similar to adamantium.
The Witch is actually Merida's maternal grandmotherElinor has been hiding being her daughter beacause Fergus doesn't believe in magic. Or she could have been asked to choose between her mother and Fergus and cut all bounds with her should she choose Fergus. The Witch however knows Merida is her granddaughter and has been playing dumb during the whole movie while helping them make up.
Merida is interested in magic and is going to be a witch when she gets older.
The three brothers DO get away with murder.Notice how one of them hits a guy in the head with a mace during the scuffle in the castle hall. The next time we see them, the guy is gone...because someone dragged his dead body away.
The witch is Morrigan.Morrigan is a Celtic goddess of war, death and several other things. She can appear like old lady, is associated with crows. Huh?
Fergus is the ancestor of Stephen ColbertHis hatred of bears proved to be genetic.
The witch is related to Miracle Max's wife.They look similar, and sound exactly alike when they shout, "I'm not a witch!"
Merida's family and the three lords who presented their sons are all descended from Mor'du and his brothers.This would make them all cousins to each other, albeit rather distantly.
Wisps are the spirits of people who died feeling remorseful.When Mor'du died, his human spirit looked very sad just before it turned into a wisp. As he lay dying, Mor'du's human side started coming back to him. He remembered all the things he did- killing his brothers, then his own men and countless others. If the above guess is true, he also effectively abandoned his wife and children and made his nieces and nephews fatherless. And he could've stopped it all with just an apology and perhaps a little mortar. Mor'du died feeling remorse for what he did, and now must earn his rest by helping mortals. If a wisp proves themselves by guiding enough mortals to the right path, they can earn the right to rest in peace.
Elinor is the sole heir to a large portion of the land she and Fergus rule over.She's the only child (or the oldest child) of a King and Queen of a land adjacent to that of the four clans. Her parents felt that marrying her to a strong warlord like Fergus would give her kingdom a strong military force to back up Elinor's cool diplomacy. After Fergus united the clans, all their land was annexed to Elinor's inheritance, and part of her kingdom's "ancient laws" allow females to be at least joint rulers of land they legally inherit. Also, the land is tied to the oldest child (or oldest daughter), which is why Elinor puts so much work into Merida's education — she isn't only taught stereotypical princess-y things like manners and poetry, but geography and history as well, because Merida is fully expected to rule in the full sense of the word. If, when all of them reach the age of majority, the kingdom will be split up among the four Dunbroch siblings (as Mor'du's father attempted to do with his children), Merida will inherit her mother's part, which has been a legitimate kingdom for presumably decades. This is why competing for her hand is so important — the one that marries Merida, a future queen, becomes a king by default.
A year or two down the line, Merida will meet an old man dressed in gray.He will ask her to join a quest to liberate a Dwarven kingdom from a dragon. Among other events on the journey, she will get into a pissing contest with a certain Elven archer, get on rather badly with the old man's skin-changing friend, and end up making the nigh-impossible shot that kills the aforementioned dragon.