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    Ariel 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/8940364.png
Voiced by: Jodi Benson
Appearances in alternate continuities: House of Mouse | Kingdom Heartsnote  | Ralph Breaks the Internet

A rebellious mermaid princess, she desired most to live above the sea and learn about humans, despite the wishes of her father, Triton the Sea King. After rescuing the human prince Eric, falling in love with him and having her spirits obliterated during a violent fight with her father, she makes a deal with the sea witch Ursula to be turned into a human. They bargain that she must receive the kiss of True Love by three days, or else belong to Ursula.

She's also a member of the Disney Princess line.


  • '80s Hair: Not the frizzy and curly kind, but her hair is certainly voluminous, and maintains its shape even when being underwater should weigh it down.
  • Action Girl: As a Tomboy with a Girly Streak, Ariel has a very hands-on personality. She loves the excitement of a good adventure, and she doesn't mind getting her hands dirty or putting herself at risk if she feels it's for a good cause. In the original film, this trait is best shown when she outswims and outwits a shark to save Flounder, when she saves Eric's life preventing him from drowning in a storm, and when she dives headfirst into the ocean to swim after Eric's wedding ship at the end. In the TV series, it's revealed that Ariel has had lots of other dangerous undersea adventures, and she has helped her dad protect Atlantica from outside threats several times over.
  • Action Mom: In the sequel, she becomes a mother to her and Eric's only child, Melody. Still doesn't hesitate to get into a fight when necessary.
  • Adaptational Badass: She's a Guile Heroine bordering on Action Girl in the first half of the film (she saves her own prince!), and further versions of her just get better. In the animated series, the stage musical, and some of the Kingdom Hearts games she's right in the action.
  • Adaptational Modesty: In the original story she was topless; here, she is given her iconic, purple seashell bra.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Literally, as in two mermaids change personalities—the most distinguishing traits of Andersen's heroine were that she was thoughtful, quiet, and pensive (quite unlike Ariel), and one of her sisters is actually said to be by far the most daring and boldest of the family (quite like Ariel).
  • Adorkable: When she's human and on dry land for the first time. She takes in everything with an almost contagious amount of childish curiosity and wonderment. And who could forget the scene when she tries to comb her hair with a fork?
  • Age Lift: Downplayed, as the difference is by one year. In the original tale, the little mermaid was 15. In this adaptation, she's 16.
  • Almost Kiss: With Eric, twice:
    • The first happens in a lagoon, which is interrupted by Flotsam and Jetsam so she doesn't fulfill her bargain.
    • The second happens after Ariel regains her voice and breaks Ursula's enchantment over Eric; before they can kiss, the sun sets, causing Ariel to turn back into a mermaid.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Arista views her as one due to Ariel's headstrong and rebellious nature.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: One of the few meanings of "Ariel" in Hebrew is "lion of God".
  • Babies Ever After: She and Eric have a daughter, Melody, in Return to the Sea.
  • The Baby of the Bunch: Ariel is the youngest of Triton's seven daughters.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Wears only a seashell bra for the first half of the movie. Her new outfit in "Ralph Breaks the Internet" does too, in one scene.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Ariel's dream was to become human. To do so, she made a Deal with the Devil that nearly destroyed her home and family. Thankfully, it gets better. Suffers a bit of this in the sequel, as while she is happy being human, married to Eric, and a mother, she also has to be without her family and friends.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Ariel is friendly, playful, and always willing to help, even to total strangers. But if you make her mad? She might just attack you, or try to. Don't be fooled, she was ready and willing to physically attack Ursula, a bigger and (possibly) physically stronger woman who had the most powerful object in the ocean in her hand.
  • Big "NO!": When Melody gives Triton's trident to Morgana in Return to the Sea.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Acts as a surrogate one for Flounder. Ariel is rather protective of him, and when in peril, she always puts his safety before her own, making sure he's always the first to make it out safe.
  • Birds of a Feather: She wanted to escape her underwater life to live above ground. Eric wanted to escape his landlocked life to go out to sea. Part of the reason they bond is because both of them are atypical youths for their time and status, but they're never afraid to be their real selves, and they like that about each other.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The redhead; Andrina and Arista are the blondes; Adella, Aquata, Attina, and Alana are the brunettes.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: While Ariel was completely wrong for allowing Melody to be ignorant of her heritage, she had a good point regarding protecting her from Morgana, who indeed was a huge threat to Melody's life.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Downplayed. While Ariel would openly disagree with her father and rebel against his decisions at times during her youth, usually when she thought he was being close-minded and hotheaded, she also showed that she could be thoughtful and mature (mostly seen in the TV series). This trope is no more in the sequel, where she is now a mother and an adult.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • When Triton destroys her collection of human possessions, blowing all her dreams and ambitions into smithereens in front of her, it traumatizes Ariel quite a lot.
    • When Ariel sees Vanessa with Eric. Punctuated when she's left standing alone on the dock watching the wedding boat leave. She slumps against a pole and curls up into a ball, sobbing brokenly.
  • Character Development: In the original film, Ariel learns she should stick to her convictions about humanity, go for her dreams and trust her instincts, but also learns that her actions can have greater consequences than she could predict and she should be more cautious. By the time of the sequel, with her becoming a mother, Ariel has become more mature and level-headed than she was as a teen; if anything she's a bit overprotective of Melody.
  • Character Tics: Ariel sighs so that it blows her bangs upwards, and bites her lip when excited or nervous, the latter of which was taken from the animator's wife as a habit.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: The second she sees that Eric is trouble, she wastes no time rushing in to save him from drowning.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Seen this way by other merpeople due to her obsession with human things.
  • Collector of the Strange: She has a grotto full of human things, which are considered strange by merfolk standards.
  • Cool Crown: Wears a gold tiara as part of her wedding dress. She gets a few more crowns in the sequel, and of course in the merch.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: The entire plot of the sequel could have been avoided if Ariel had simply told Melody why she was forbidden to go in the sea. When Melody goes missing, Ariel even acknowledges that she blew it.
  • Cute Mute: Ariel when she loses her voice, which requires some of the best animation in the film in getting her to express herself without speaking.
  • Daddy's Girl: Zigzagged. She butts heads with Triton a lot, but she is furious when Ursula transforms him into a polyp. Even her last line in the movie is, "I love you, Daddy."
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Triton is furious when Ariel declares her love for Eric. It's also implied that part of the reason why Ariel agrees to her dangerous deal with Ursula to try to become human and join the human world is to spite King Triton, for his violent and disturbingly abusive reaction to her feelings for Eric, though she winds up regretting this decision later.
  • Deal with the Devil: How Ariel loses her voice to Ursula.
  • Determinator: You can see it in her eyes when she agrees to Ursula's impossible bargain.
  • Deuteragonist: She becomes the second main focus in Return to the Sea, since her daughter, Melody, is the protagonist.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Subverted. After Ariel hears the deal about if she does or doesn't kiss Eric, she starts reasoning that if she becomes human, she'll never see her father or sisters again. Considering what Triton just did, it's very wise of her to factor this in to her decision. Ursula then points out, "But you'll have your man. Life's full of tough choices, isn't it?" Then when Ursula demands Ariel's voice as payment, Ariel immediately protests, "But without my voice, how can I-?" with the obvious concern that she won't get Eric to fall in love with her. Ursula interrupts with, "You'll have your looks! Your pretty face!" and sings about how men prefer women to not talk. While Ariel impulsively signs the contract and runs into problems communicating with Eric, she did put some thought into what she was doing.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Granted, she most likely wasn't thinking straight in the heat of the moment, but you still have to wonder why Ariel chose to blurt out her love for a human while her human-hating father was clearly losing it.
  • Disney Death: Gets hit with this in Ariel's Beginning, though since this is a prequel, some may be more fooled by it than others.
  • Does Not Like Shoes:
    • In the movies and spinoff books, whenever Ariel is human, she seems to go around barefoot a lot more than she is shown wearing footwear. Justified since having feet and toes is a really big deal for Ariel and "Part of Your World" says she wants to experience certain physical sensations like warm sand on human skin, so Ariel probably goes barefoot all the time because she wants to look at her feet and toes and feel things with them as much as possible.
      • The "physical sensations" theory is supported by the scene in The Little Mermaid II where it's shown that she enjoys the feeling of ocean water on her bare feet.
      • Also her fish tail technically makes her a Barefoot Cartoon Animal since she wouldn't have been accustomed to footwear of any sort when a mermaid.
    • In Ralph Breaks the Internet, she's barefoot both under her princess gown and in her comfy outfit of T-shirt and shorts.
  • Doting Parent: Her first scene in Return to the Sea is telling her infant daughter how precious she is and that Melody is her whole world.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Well, Ariel never saw a horse-drawn carriage before, so she didn't know how to drive it. A bit of Hilarity Ensues (it's not stated in the sequel if she learned since then).
  • Earthy Barefoot Character: Ariel has some shades of this, being a rather energetic character who loves adventure, spends most of her time out in the wild, is loved by (almost) all animals, and abandons her shoes at every possible chance. Special mention goes to the scene in The Little Mermaid II where a more proper, strict Ariel takes off her shoes so she can soak her bare feet in some ocean water as a way to reconnect with nature.
  • Easily Forgiven: Even after Ariel unintentionally got her whole civilization put in grave danger due to her Deal with the Devil, Triton forgives Ariel, realizes how much she loves Eric and the human world, and allows her to be with Eric by turning her into a human permanently.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In the first movie, she's introduced forgetting to attend a royal concert that she's the star of because she's too busy excitedly exploring sunken ships looking for human trinkets. She also ignores Flounder's worry that there might be sharks around, and then effortlessly fends off (and saves Flounder from) said shark when it turns up looking for dinner.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: The mermaid isn't a princess in the original fairy tale but becomes one in the Disney adaption. Ariel was made a princess in fact because they wanted to make it a Genre Throwback to the princess movies of Walt's day.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: Gets a big, poofy '80s version in her wedding with Eric, which helped characterize that specific look as a fairy tale wedding dress in the modern age (along with Cinderella).
  • Fatal Flaw: Her curiosity nearly led to Ursula ruling the sea. More specifically, Ariel is a kind, brave, fun-loving, and open-minded individual, but she can also be stubborn and shortsighted. Throughout the film, she ignores Flounder and Sebastian's warnings and keeps putting herself into dangerous situations for the sake of discovery (that, and she was too angry with Sebastian at that point to care what he thought). This eventually catches up to her when she loses a bet she made with Ursula out of anger and hurt, and the sea witch nearly kills her and her friends and family. While Ariel wasn't wrong to want a human life or pursue it, she does learn the hard way that her actions have consequences that can affect more than just herself.
  • Fiery Redhead: More rebellious than angry, and easier to see in the first half of the movie.
  • Fish out of Water: It's actually Ariel's dream, and although she doesn't exactly blend in, she's endearing enough that it doesn't bother the people she meets.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The foolish (late for recitals, constantly breaks her father's rules, and impulsive) to her sisters' responsible (shows up for recitals on time, obey their father's rules, and generally more level-headed).
  • Forgotten First Meeting: With Eric. In the TV series episode "Scuttle", Ariel witnesses a human (Eric) saving a dolphin from being stuck, but she doesn't see his face. However, her future husband's heroic act helped her realize that not all humans are bad.
  • Former Teen Rebel: In the sequel, she scolds Melody for doing what she used to do as a teen. Granted, she did have good reason, but all she ever told Melody was to stay out of the ocean.
  • Freudian Trio: The Id (fiery and emotional) to Sebastian's Superego (overly strict and logical) and Flounder's Ego (more rational than Ariel but more laid back than Sebastian).
  • Friend to All Living Things: True to her status as a Disney Princess, animals on both land and sea tend to love Ariel. It helps that she's the type to try to see the beauty in everything.
  • Futile Hand Reach: Ariel reaches out her hand to stop Melody from giving the trident to Morgana, but it doesn't work out.
  • Generation Xerox: In Return to the Sea, she becomes the overprotective parent with a tense relationship with her rebellious daughter. Just like how she was in The Little Mermaid with Triton.
  • Genki Girl: She frustrates her father with how energetic and adventurous she is.
  • Giant Poofy Sleeves: As per '80s norm, and probably no small part in why poofy sleeves are still considered princess-y (along with Snow White).
  • Girliness Upgrade: By Return to the Sea, she's come a long way from her curiosity/teen rebel phase from the first film, to the point where she's superseded by her own daughter in regards to the Tomboy Princess trope.
  • Good Parents: She may have made a mistake or two with Melody, but the way Melody grew up into a respectful and good-hearted young lady proves she and Eric raised their daughter right.
  • Graceful Ladies Like Purple: Her seashell bikini top, and her dress in the sequel.
  • Happily Married: To Eric in the sequel; they prove to have an incredibly stable marriage whether there is or isn't danger.
  • Heroic BSoD: Briefly undergoes one when "Vanessa" (Ursula in disguise) enchants Eric and the two are set to be married, leaving Ariel unable to fulfill her end of the bargain, meaning she will become Ursula's prisoner and be forever separated from Eric, her father, and her sisters. She can only weep in utter devastation at her loss. However, she snaps out of it upon learning of Ursula's deception and hurries to stop her from marrying Eric.
  • Hidden Depths: Pre-Character Development, despite her usual naivety and impulsiveness, Ariel is shown on many occasions to be serious, careful, and very intelligent and intuitive.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Much like her father, she decides that it's best for Melody's safety to keep Melody ignorant of her true origins and heritage. However, it is Melody's ignorance (and Ariel's unwillingness to be truthful when she finds the locket) that cause her to run away and go against her mother until Morgana reveals her true colors.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: The "Little" Mermaid lives up to her moniker. Ironically, in spite of getting long legs after turning human, Ariel is a rather short woman, and it's only emphasised more when she's next to the taller Eric. The fact that Ariel is wearing heels in all of these pictures really shows how petite' she is. At the end of the movie when they finally kiss, Ariel has to stand on her tiptoes while barefoot in order to reach his lips
  • Hypocrite Has a Point:
    • During her argument with King Triton, Ariel retorts that he doesn't even know about Prince Eric. Despite herself knowing him for about a few days at most, Ariel was more willing to give him a chance than her father, who hated all humans no matter what, was.
    • In the sequel, while it was more of Parental Hypocrisy for Ariel to scold Melody for disobeying her (she did the same thing with Triton when she was a teenager), she had a good reason to keep Melody from the sea. The real mistake was Ariel not being completely truthful to Melody.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Inverted. The mermaid Ariel dreams of being human.
  • "I Want" Song: Her character-establishing song, "Part Of Your World", reveals the admiration she has for the human world and her desire to be a human woman herself.
  • Impossible Hourglass Figure: Ariel has a very slim hourglass figure, both as a mermaid and a human.
  • Improvised Clothes: Due to wearing a Seashell Bra and nothing else when she turns human, Ariel REALLY needs to find something to cover herself with before she goes to look for Eric. Since it's not like your going to find a Pimped-Out Dress lying around on a beach, Scuttle improvises and makes Ariel's first human dress: a strapless gown made from a destroyed sail and some rope.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: When she first becomes human, the only thing she's wearing is her Seashell Bra. Not having much knowledge of clothes, who knows how much longer she would have went naked without care if Scuttle hadn't given her that old sail.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Ariel's innocence is especially emphasized when she meets Ursula, whom she despite many signs decides to trust for a chance to be human, be with Eric and have adventures.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Her closest friends are as listed: Flounder (fish), Sebastian (crab), and Scuttle (seagull).
  • Interspecies Romance: Ariel, a mermaid, falls in love and marries Eric, a human.
  • Intrigued by Humanity: Ariel is probably one of the most quintessential examples of this trope in film history. Despite being raised by her father for years to think humans are nothing more than evil, violent, savage brutes, Ariel is determined to form her own, educated opinion about them from years of discovery, instead of blindly conforming to her father's prejudices. A major part of Ariel's personality is that she tries to understand and appreciate the beauty in everything, even things that the humans have created, and the more she learns about their world, their culture and their history, the more would she like to see it all for herself. Her "I Want" Song, "Part Of Your World", is all about how Ariel is impressed by the seemingly endless potential of a human life, the adventures that could be had with legs, even if she knows her longing for one would make her a freak in mermaid society. Her resolve to become human someday is only strengthened after Eric proves her right about how humans can be good, kind people.
    Ariel: If only I could make him understand, I just don't see things the way he does. I don't see how a world that makes such wonderful things could be bad.
  • It's All About Me: Ariel shows hints of this. She just expects others to agree with everything she does, despite the devastating consequences that may ensue. Good examples are the time when she explored an abandoned ship where sharks were dwelling, while ignoring Flounder's protests. Another time was when she accidentally missed the concert hosted by King Triton. While this was an accident, Ariel barely shows any remorse for it. This is averted in the sequel, as Ariel grows up and learns from her mistakes.
  • It's All My Fault: Combined with My God, What Have I Done?, she takes responsibility for her role in Melody running away and tries to make things right.
  • It Runs in the Family: Ariel sees Triton as an overprotective, suffocating father unable to understand her needs and desires and spends her adolescence trying to find a way to reach her dreams and defy his authority, despite loving him dearly. But then, Ariel manages to reach her dreams, have her father accept her as an adult, marry her sweetheart... and becomes the tormented mother of a rebellious daughter believing her to be overprotective, suffocating, unable to understand her needs and desires, who spends her entire adolescence trying to find a way to reach her dreams and defy her authority, despite loving her mother as much as she loved her father. On the other side, Triton is a loving, doting father trying to shelter his daughter for every perceived threat... as Ariel becomes a similar, if not equal, parental figure for her own daughter. Seems that genetics conspire to turn every rebellious teen in Triton's family into an adult Mama Wolf or Papa Bear as soon as the biological clock starts ticking.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Tends to leap before she looks and worry about fallout later, much to Flounder and Sebastian's consternation.
  • Leitmotif: "Part Of Your World" and "Part Of Your World (Reprise)". Instrumental variations of "Part Of Your World (Reprise)" serve as Ariel and Eric's love theme throughout the film's score.
  • Like Parent Unlike Child: Ariel is one of seven daughters. The other six are blonde and brunette, and perfectly content being mermaids. Ariel is the only redhead, and the only one who finds any interest at all in the surface world. This drastic contrast causes severe friction between her and her father, Triton.
  • Love at First Sight: For Eric. When she first sees him on his boat she is immediately smitten. When her father confronts her over Eric and how he is just as bad as every other human, Ariel impulsively yells she loves him, and this is roughly a few days after Ariel first saw Eric.
  • Made of Iron: During the final battle with Ariel was then knocked into a whirlpool that was several miles deep and survived with little injuries. Such a feat would kill a normal human being if not crushed by the pressure of a whirlpool. Though this may have something to do with Atlanteans bodies having a higher endurance than humans.
  • Mama Bear:
    • Inverted — during the climax of the movie, Ariel attacks Ursula when she transforms her father into a limbless worm.
    • So far the only princess where we see that she's had children (although it's not outright denied that the other princesses become mothers). Ariel will do anything to keep Melody safe — Case in point, she uses Eric's sword to cut one of the sails to knock Morgana away from Melody when the sea witch was holding her daughter hostage.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Ariel has six older sisters: Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Attina, Adella, and Alana.
  • Meaningful Name: Her name is also the name of the air-spirit servant in The Tempest—appropriate for the mermaid who's bent on leaving the water and living an air-breathing existence.
  • Modest Royalty: Ariel always wears casual attire as a mermaid, and in a notable contrast to her sisters, she prefers a very natural look for her hair, always leaving it down and letting it flow freely and naturally, and doesn't wear any hair decorations except for tropical flowers by her ear. Even though she wears more tiaras, regal gowns, fancy shoes, and Prim and Proper Buns as a human, she seems to prefer going barefoot with her hair down and wearing the more modest, less regal-looking "Kiss the Girl" dress.
  • Ms. Fanservice: A pretty, cute and curvy red-headed bikini-top-wearing mermaid with a mesmerizing voice. Special mention when she first becomes human and the only thing she's wearing is her Seashell Bra. Oddly, nobody is attracted to her sisters, despite them dressing identical to Ariel. Even adult men like her, which is quite inappropriate.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: On how she and Flounder met. The TV series shows that they met when Ariel was still a child, while Ariel's Beginning portrays them as meeting when she's a teenager.
  • Mum Looks Like a Sister: In the sequel, despite having a twelve-year-old daughter, Ariel apparently hasn't aged a day since she was sixteen.
  • My Beloved Smother: Becomes an overprotective mother to Melody in Return to the Sea. Unfortunately, it leads to Melody pulling a Screw This, I'm Outta Here! after their argument about Melody's origins.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • After witnessing her father sacrifice himself to save her, Ariel feels remorse for what her actions have done.
    • In Return To The Sea, Ariel realizes her actions have only caused Melody to run away from home, much like her own father did to her years ago.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Ariel is referred to as "the little mermaid" in the original story.
  • Nice Girl: While Ariel has her share of personality flaws, she's overall a very kind, brave, loyal, and sweet person who tries to approach each new situation with an open mind, and is always willing to help out people who are in need of it.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In Return to the Sea, her decision of refusing to tell Melody why she is forbidden to enter the sea is what sets the whole plot in motion. Ariel even acknowledges that she blew it.
  • Oblivious to Love: During the series, she is completely unaware of Urchin's crush on her.
  • Odd Name Out: If you notice, while she's in an Alliterative Family, her name is the only one that doesn't end with an "a".
  • Official Couple: With Prince Eric.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Melody runs away from home in Return to the Sea.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Ariel definitely popularized mermaid characters for a generation. The filmmakers certainly claim that they subverted the blonde, otherworldly, mischievous archetype of the mermaid by creating a rebellious redheaded mermaid who was very human rather than fiery in character. Although little is fleshed out about the culture of mermaids who live in Atlantica in the first two movies (the series fixes this).
  • Parental Abandonment: Ariel has no mother, and while he's not evil, her father is so misguided in his attempts to protect her that she feels emotionally abandoned.
  • Parental Hypocrisy: She becomes a strict mother to Melody, just like how King Triton was to her. This may be justified, as both Triton and Ariel had good reasons to be protective of their offspring.
  • Parental Substitute: She acted as a surrogate mother to Spot, an orphaned killer whale.
  • Parental Title Characterization: Ariel refers to Triton as "daddy", showcasing their close, if complicated, relationship.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Her pink dress and wedding dress in the first movie, and a few more in the sequel.
  • Pinocchio Syndrome: Ariel wishes she could be a human instead of a mermaid, and it makes up the main plot of the first movie. "Part of your World" is a passionate declaration of the desire to become human. The desire becomes uncontrollable after Ariel's encounter with Eric, who could be said to represent the human world she's always longed for. Even after she becomes human, she is just as, if not more, focused on exploring as she is on kissing Eric and saving her own life.
  • Plucky Girl: She's very brave and never gives up.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: The second human dress she's seen wearing, and her nightgown, are pink.
  • Protagonist Title: The "little mermaid" refers to her and the prequel's title is "Ariel's Beginning".
  • Rainbow Motif: With her sisters, they share the different colors of the rainbow. See her sisters' section for more details.
  • Rebellious Princess: Although it's never expressed whether she had any royal duties, she's probably the most rebellious of the princesses. To elaborate, throughout the franchise, Ariel is characterized as an adventurous, hotblooded, outspoken mermaid who will always try to stand up for what she feels is right, even if means butting heads with her own family.
  • Redhead In Green: This is a common colour scheme for her.
    • When she's a mermaid she has a green tail.
    • In the sequel, one of her dresses is green.
    • Her redesign dress is green too.
  • Rescue Romance: Although Eric gets the biggest moment with saving Ariel at the climax, the true Rescue Romance is actually Ariel saving Eric, which leads them both to falling in love. His obsession with the beautiful singer who saved him leads him to overlook Ariel as a love interest for the first day of knowing her.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: The spunky, rambunctious Energetic Girl to Eric's down-to-earth Savvy Guy. In the dinner scene, his housekeeper mentions that he rarely laughed before he met Ariel.
  • Seashell Bra: Most likely the Trope Codifier, but not the Trope Maker—the mermaids in Peter Pan had them first. It's interesting to note that aside from her mother, she is the only mermaid who's bra isn't the same color as her tail.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: When she walks into the dining room in her pink dress, Eric is stunned.
  • She's Got Legs: Gets a nice set of long legs after becoming human.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: To Attina. Ariel is carefree, naive, and impulsive, compared to her mature, serious older sister Attina.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: The TV series shows that Ariel never once expressed any kind of romantic interest in any male. The only person she ever fell in love with was Eric.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Ariel falls in love with Prince Eric because he is kind, brave, humble and heroic, as well as handsome. He's also one of the few characters in the film who never once tries to change her, but likes and appreciates her for who she is. A significant thread in the first film is Ariel trying to win Eric's heart.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: She turns into sea foam at the end of the fairy tale, and must work to gain a soul.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Justified. Ariel was born a mermaid and thus can easily talk to animals, especially sea creatures.
  • Static Character: Zigzagged. Thanks to Eric's influence, Ariel does learn she should stay true to her core beliefs, in spite of her father's xenophobia, and she also learns some of her more impulsive, short-sighted actions can have far-reaching consequences, as noted in Fatal Flaw, but her character doesn't change that much in the first movie compared to other Disney protagonists. This could be a deliberate choice, since one of the main points of the original film is that people keep trying to force Ariel to be something that she's not and she finds happiness and acceptance on land, with Eric. In any case, the sequel gives her further, more significant Character Development, and the prequels flesh out her upbringing.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: In Ariel's Beginning, her mother Queen Athena looks exactly like Ariel with green eyes.
  • Stronger Than She Looks: While it isn't brought up, it's clear Ariel has degree form of super strength. She was able to move a boulder blocking her underwater grotto with ease in which removing a boulder blocking an object or cave is virtually impossible to open, and that's not counting the water pressure. She was also to able to hold Eric above water with only one arm and spent the whole night swimming him to the shore.
  • Title Character: The "little mermaid" refers to Ariel.
  • Tomboy Princess: Very feisty, active, and adventurous, and can hold her own against a shark—the start of a Renaissance-era tradition involving the Disney Princesses.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Despite her tomboyish traits, she's also very flirty and hopelessly romantic.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Decides to impulsively make a deal with Ursula the Sea Witch despite knowing the latter's reputation.
  • True Blue Femininity: The dress she wore while on a date with Eric, as well as the sparkling gown she wears after her final transformation.
  • True Love's Kiss: Her actual given mission in her movie is to get "the kiss of true love".
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In Return of the Sea, her actions to keep Melody Locked Out of the Loop result in the latter running away from home and making a Deal with the Devil to have Morgana transform her into a mermaid.
  • Unwitting Pawn: While Ariel was completely aware of what she was getting into when she made a Deal with the Devil with Ursula, she didn't know that Ursula was using her as a pawn to become the ruler of Atlantica. As quoted by the 2004 Disney Princess storybook:
    Ursula: "It's not you I'm after. You're merely the bait to catch your father."
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Attacks Ursula to stop her from harming Eric.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • In the first movie, she gets called out by Triton for missing the concert and swimming above the ocean.
    • In the second movie, her own daughter calls her out for forbidding her for swimming in the ocean. She later rightfully calls her out for lying to her about her heritage.
  • Youngest Child Wins: Of the "the other ones are boring" variety. Ariel is the most unique in appearance, as well as the most praised in voice. She is the only one with whom the movie focuses on. The animated series and prequel does a bit to flesh out the other sisters.
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    Melody 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/melody318.jpg
Voiced by: Tara Strong

Melody is the protagonist of The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea. She is the daughter of Ariel and Prince Eric, and the princess of her father's kingdom.


  • Accidental Misnaming: When Alex asked for her name, she was too lovestruck to answer completely and said, "Mel-Mel".
  • Adorkable: Interacting with kids her age makes her really awkward. And cute boys? Melody can't even utter a sentence. Especially when she meets a cute merboy during her time in Atlantica.
  • All-Loving Hero: Melody is a Nice Girl and never meant to hurt anyone. Probably not even Morgana at the end.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: A rare example where someone of high status is marginalized, because of her "weird" behavior.
  • Badass Adorable: Melody is a beautiful, adorkable child who, in the climax, goes to attack Morgana.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Melody wished to become a mermaid. She got more than she bargained for.
  • Berserk Button: Implied. Ariel admonishes Melody for going out into the sea and disobeying her rules. When Ariel calls the sea a dangerous place, Melody snaps, takes her locket and runs off into the ocean. She has a similar reaction later when Ariel says that she did everything to protect her, which quickly makes her give the trident to Morgana.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Like her parents and grandfather, Melody is usually a polite person. But, if you make her angry? All bets are off.
  • Be Yourself: The lesson Melody learns at the end of the movie.
    Melody: I just wanted to be a better mermaid than a girl.
    Ariel: Oh no sweetie, it doesn't matter if you have fins or feet. We love you for who you are on the inside, our very brave little girl.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Something she inherited from her father where his thick, black eyebrows.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: On her 12th birthday, Melody is viciously humiliated by her peers because she was talking to a crab (Sebastian).
  • Both Sides Have a Point: While Melody was wrong for deliberately disobeying Ariel and handing the trident to Morgana, she was right in calling Ariel out for lying to her. Even Morgana exploited Melody's ignorance of her heritage & family.
  • Brainy Brunette: Melody inherited her father's black hair and is very smart and mature for her age.
  • Break the Cutie: From her ruined birthday party to discovering that she indirectly stole from her grandfather.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Twice to Ariel.
    • First, Melody yells at her mother for saying the ocean is dangerous even though she's never been in it to the point that she pulls a Screw This, I'm Outta Here!.
    • Second, when Ariel (now in mermaid form) tries to persuade Melody to give her the trident, Melody calls her out for lying to her about Atlantica and trying to keep Melody from the sea despite being aware of how much her daughter loved it.
  • Celibate Hero: Downplayed. Two boys are shown interacting with Melody and she is shown to enjoy interacting with them in turn. But she is never shown expressing any interest in them specifically. Melody only laments that she cannot fit in with children her age.
  • Child of Two Worlds: Zigzagged. While Melody is half-mermaid and half-human ('Never been seen, never before!'/'A child born of sea and shore!') and ultimately brings the human and mermaid communities together at the end of the film, the reason Ariel cut ties with Atlantica was because she thought keeping Melody ignorant of her mermaid heritage was the only way to save her from Morgana.
  • Color Motifs: Throughout the sequel, Melody has shown to be associated with three colors: Pink, white, and, to a certain extent, yellow.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Ariel was a mermaid teenager who was obsessed with the land and wanted to become human, grew up knowing her entire heritage, raised by one parent with six other sisters, and had a healthy amount of confidence. Melody is a human preteen (specifically, Half-Human Hybrid but was born a human) drawn to the ocean and wants to be a mermaid, remained ignorant of her true lineage for most of her life, and is an only child raised by both parents but also gained self-esteem issues. They're not strikingly different in temperament, but their goals are complete opposites.
  • Cool Loser: She's shown to be an outcast despite her high status, good looks, and friendly personality. At her birthday party, the other kids disregard her for talking to a crab (Sebastian).
  • Deal with the Devil: When she trades Triton's trident to Morgana in the second movie in order to become a permanent mermaid.
  • Determinator: One of the strongest qualities she shares with both parents.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Melody strongly prefers going barefoot, only wearing shoes during one scene (where she's pretty much forced to).
  • Establishing Character Moment: Melody's first scene as teenager shows her in the ocean despite her parent's rule of her not going out there. She politely greets Scuttle and Sebastian, and when the latter warns her about going out into the ocean, Melody starts to playfully recite what he's told her thousands of time before happily apologizing, but can't resist because she loves the sea so much. This scene shows she's just like her mother — rebellious, friendly, playful but with a twist: instead of having a love for land, she has a deep love for the sea.
  • Fatal Flaw: Her impulsiveness leads to her making a Deal with the Devil and nearly dooms Atlantica.
  • Fearless Infant: As a baby, she is always shown smiling and giggling, including when she is held hostage by Morgana and almost fed to Undertow.
  • Freudian Trio: The Ego (balances her headstrong nature with her maturity) to Tip's Superego (loud, but on point most of the time) and Dash's Id (the most emotional of them).
  • Friendless Background: She's not shown to have any human friends because they think she's weird.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Justified. She has a strong connection with the creatures of the sea because of her mother being born a mermaid. The Disneystrology even stated that people born on Melody's birthday (January 14) "cherish animals and enjoy their companionship."
  • Generation Xerox: Melody has gained a lot of Ariel's looks (sans hair and eye color), personality, and Deal with the Devil scenario (with some minor differences). The major difference is their dreams (Ariel becoming a human, Melody wanting to be a mermaid).
  • Hair Decorations: Melody wears a variety of these throughout the movie.
    • As a baby, she wears a pink/white bow.
    • During her 12th birthday party, she dons a pink ponytail.
    • Throughout most of the story she wears a blue ponytail.
    • At the end, she's wearing a white ponytail.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The first hybrid in Disney. She is half human (father)-half mermaid (mother). Deconstructed as it leaves her with a lot of insecurity and social awkwardness due to never quite being able to fit in.
  • Has a Type: Implied. The only two possible love interests Melody has are both blondes.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Melody has a lot of low self-esteem issues.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: One of Melody's biggest personal flaws. She is completely naive enough to trust in the Obviously Evil Sea Witch Morgana and do her bidding. And only after she gives Morgana the trident, does she realize her horrible mistake.
  • Human Mom Nonhuman Dad: Inverted. Her mother is nonhuman (mermaid) and her father is the human.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: Melody doesn't show up until the sequel, but is still a remembered and beloved character.
  • Identical Granddaughter: Since Ariel got all of her looks from Athena, Melody also bares a strong resemblance to her grandmother sans the different hair and eye colors.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: In direct contrast to her mother, Melody dreams of being a mermaid.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Melody's blue eyes represent her naive and adventurous personality.
  • Interspecies Friendship: As the only Mer-Human, any friends Melody has qualify as this.
    • Her closest friends include Sebastian (crab), Scuttle (seagull), Tip (penguin), Dash (walrus), and Flounder (fish).
    • She may have possibly became friends with the snooty, human kids.
    • Melody may have also became friends with Alex and his two unnamed friends, the merteens she met in Atlantica.
  • Interspecies Romance: Melody, the first mer-human, apparently has a crush on Alex, a merboy, and really any romance she would have would qualify.
  • It's All My Fault: Melody takes the blame for her actions and makes things right by fighting Morgana and getting the trident from her. Melody apologize for her actions in the end.
  • Kid Has a Point: Her reasons for running away are quite understandable, considering how she felt interacting with her peers and that her mother was keeping truths from her.
  • Kid Hero: Only 12 years old and is the sequel's protagonist.
  • Like Parent, Like Child: While Sebastian states that Melody is "just like her mother" in The Little Mermaid II, many similarities exist between Melody and her father, Eric.
    • From both of her parents, she inherited their sense of adventure, curiosity, kindness, selflessness, humility, and willingness to take risks. She also shares their preference in wearing comfortable clothing
    • From her mother specifically, she inherited Ariel's sassy and headstrong personality.
    • From her father specifically, she inherited Eric's insecurity around others, mild shyness stemming from a sheltered upbringing, and socially-awkward tendencies.
  • Little Miss Badass: She had inherited some of her mother's superhuman traits, namely speed and strength, the latter of which is demonstrated by her scaling an ice wall with little problems late into the film. She also inherited superhuman endurance, as evidenced by her not being crushed into oblivion when forcibly changed back into a human by Morgana despite the depth she was at.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Deconstructed. Ariel thought it would be best to keep Melody's true heritage a secret. But this comes back to haunt her 12 years later when Melody goes to Morgana for help and the sea witch uses Melody's ignorance to her advantage.
  • Love at First Sight: Downplayed. When Melody first meets Alex she is speechless and it's obvious she finds him attractive, but keeps to her task. And at the end, when they meet again, it's also implied he likes her too.
  • Meaningful Name: "Melody" is Greek for "song", which alludes to her mother's love for singing, as well as her own love for it.
  • Modest Royalty: Judging from the mild reactions of the snooty kids, it wasn't uncommon to see the Princess of the Kingdom in her underwear.
  • Motif: Melody is visually associated with seashells, as a reflection of her connection to the sea. Her infant bed had a seashell-themed style. The dresses she wear as a baby and at her twelfth birthday party have full skirts that resemble scallop seashells. She is seen collecting shells in her bag as she explores the sea, and the necklace that she receives from her grandfather is a seashell-shaped locket. As she opens up to various characters about her feelings throughout the film, she also begins to "come out of her shell".
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After she gives Morgana the trident and realizes that Morgana was Evil All Along.
  • Nice Girl: One of the friendliest.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: She probably should have given Triton's trident to Ariel when the latter confronted Morgana. However, her actions in giving the trident to Morgana ends up dooming Atlantica. "You've got no one to blame but yourself," indeed.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When she realizes that Morgan tricked her into giving her Triton's trident to spite Ariel for lying about her heritage.
    • She has another one when she is about to be transformed back into a human after Morgana traps her.
  • Parental Title Characterization: Melody switches between calling Ariel "mother" and "mom", as the former signifies respect while the latter indicates a closer bond.
  • Patchwork Kids: Melody is the perfect blend between both of her parents — She inherited her mother's eyes, nose, and facial structure; she inherited her father's hair color, skin tone, smile, and thick eyebrows.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Being a princess, she has to wear some for formal events.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Her ballroom dress is pink. Her mermaid tail is close to pink.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Even in the ponytail, her hair reaches down to her waist.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Long, black hair with a pale complexion.
  • Rejected Apology: During the climax, when Ariel tries to apologize to Melody for lying to her about her mermaid heritage her whole life, Melody tells her point blank that it's "too late" and spitefully hands the trident over to Morgana. Immediately afterwards, Morgana reveals her true colors to Melody and why Ariel did what she did. In the end, Melody does accept the apology.
  • Rebellious Princess: Disobeyed her parents' rule of not going out into the sea.
  • Red Is Heroic: Her mermaid form has a red tail.
  • Royal Brat: Averted. Melody never uses her title as a princess for selfish or vain reasons.
  • The Runaway: Of the Vagrant variety. Melody runs away from home to find out why the locket she found in the ocean has her name on it, why the music she hears from it is so familiar, and why it has a picture of Atlantica on it despite her mother saying the place was fictional.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After her argument with Ariel, Melody runs off to the ocean to become a mermaid.
  • Single Specimen Species: The only known mer-human to exist.
  • Skewed Priorities: When confronted by Ariel, she prioritizes calling Ariel out for lying over handing the trident back to her grandfather. This is understandable, however, due to Melody being unaware of the fact that Morgana was evil and what the Trident is capable of doing.
  • Smitten Teenage Girl: Downplayed. She's totally lovestruck by the cute, blonde merboy she meets in Atlantica; this detours her initial "mission" in the underwater city.
  • Socially Awkward Hero: Melody will effortlessly sneak out of the castle and go swim in the seas, without any regard to her parents' wishes. But, talking to cute boys or even interacting with kids her own age... That's a challenge.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Deconstructed. Melody has the ability to speak with marine life. Unfortunately, her powers cause her to be marginalized as a freak.
  • Spin Off Spring: As Ariel's daughter, the spotlight shifted to her for the direct-to-video sequel.
  • Take a Third Option: At the end of the film, King Triton offers Melody a choice to either live with him in Atlantica as a mermaid, or stay human and live with her family. She chooses neither: instead using his trident to dissolve the castle's seawall so both humans and merfolk can live together and presumably she gets to switch from human to mermaid from time to time.
  • Teens Are Short: Downplayed. She's at the age where she'll get hit puberty and get taller.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Tomboy who loves to go out and swim to Ariel's Girly Girl who acts quite queenly in the sequel.
  • Tomboyish Ponytail: A black, long ponytail.
  • Tomboy Princess: She is into boyish things and is a princess.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Despite being tomboyish, she has a princess canopy bed and a girl-ish styled bedroom.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Melody in general rushes into decisions without properly thinking them over and misjudges evil beings, and it's one of the reasons for Atlantica's near-downfall. She gave Morgana the trident largely to spite Ariel for lying to her about her mermaid heritage her entire life. She realizes what a bad decision that was seconds later.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Melody doesn’t realize that Morgana was just using her for her revenge scheme until she gives the trident to Morgana out of spite.
  • "Well Done, Daughter!" Girl: Implied in a subtle way in a few scenes.
    Melody: (to Ariel) I just wanted to be a better mermaid than a girl.


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