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Ursula became an octopus because she created Horcruxes, just like Voldemort
Supporting the theory that Vanessa (with a mermaid tail) was her original form, she dabbled into dark magic to increase her powers, jealous as she was of her brother Triton and all the recognition that he got. To assume immortality she created horcruxes, which eventually distorted her body until she sprouted a few more tails and became the fat octopus we see today. It makes sense in every way; she hid in the Leviathan corpse because nearly all of her horcruxes had already been destroyed (hence her line "And now, look at me - wasted away to practically nothing"; she was referring to her lack of Horcruxes). It also explains why she was so horrified when her eels died (guess why their eyes were so vibrant? They were Ursula's personal Naginis!) and that she died only after the eels, her final Horcruxes, were destroyed. (Triton's trident was probably the only thing that could destroy them anyway).
  • That is an awesome theory.

Marina from the Little Mermaid III trailer is Ursula
She shares a similar attitude. She has a similar hairstyle and she is shown sitting on a chair that resembles Ursula's tentacles. Her breasts are covered by what looks like a purple version of Ursula's black dress in the first film. She is shown sending eels out in a attempt to murder Ariel (which obviously failed, as the film is a prequel). Triton will find out about this murder attempt, use the trident to turn her into the octopus form she is in the movie and TV series, and then banish her forever. This sets up her actions in the first film and reveals why she said "When I lived at the palace". Since she and Sebastion appeared to argue a lot, this would explain her particular hatred for him she showed in the TV series. Watch the trailer yourself and decide.
  • Hm. That trailer has pirates in it. Pirates, eh?
  • Jossed? Sorta? It turned out, she clearly wasn't meant to be Ursula. However, judging from the fact that does have electric eels as minions and all… I think it could still stand as a theory.

Ursula is Triton's sister, and thus Ariel's aunt
In a deleted scene in the first film, she is explicitly stated as Triton's sister. If, as theorized above, she is Marina from the prequel third movie, that would explain why Triton apparently trusted her to babysit all his daughters.
  • In the Broadway musical, her being Triton's sister is canon.
  • It was also in the Disney book.
    • I agree. But, she'd be more of his half sister. They'd have the same father, but not the same mother; thus, this would explain why Ursula's half-octopus, and why Morgana is not related to Triton.
    • In the series Once Upon a Time, it is also canon Ursula is the daughter of Poseidon. Those familiar with Greek mythology know Poseidon's son is Triton, so it would seem the show would make this canon as well. Gets tricky though in the sense that while Ariel does appear, she shares no scenes with the real Ursula and, as far as we know, isn't the daughter of Triton, or even a princess at all. So her being Ursula's niece is still unknown within, ironically. Guess you can't have it both ways, all the time.

Marina from the Little Mermaid III trailer is Ursula and Morgana's mother.
Basically everything from the theory above, only with the addition of her being the mother of Ursula and Morgana. When Triton cursed her, he also cursed her younger daughters as well.
  • Impossible. She is obviously younger than Ursula and Morgana. Even if she were not, she couldn't be old enough to be their mother.
  • Plus,that would make Ursula younger than Ariel is, by 15 years. Sorry, wrong.

Marina from the Little Mermaid III is Queen Athena's sister.
Hence how she acquired her job despite her ditzy qualities. It's worthwhile to note that some of Triton's daughters resemble Marina, in backing up this theory. Andrina in particular has her hair, eyes, tail... and dry humor. (When Marina takes off her wig, tiny strands of golden blonde hair are shown.) Oh yeah, and the best evidence is that Marina and Athena have the same eyes.

Sophie is the second chance of Marina Del Rey. Vlad is Benjamin the Manatee.
Watch both Anastasia and Ariel's Beginning with this in mind, and tell me you don't see the resemblances. Marina even had hair of Sophie's color before it fell out. As a bit of trivia, in real life, Sophie's character's inspiration was governess to the Romanov daughters before the revolution, just as Marina was governess to King Triton's daughters. My theory with the animated worlds is that someone believed Marina deserved a second chance at happiness and living a spirited life as opposed to rotting in jail or whatever her final fate was (even if she did become Ursula, which is something people have split opinions over). The mermaid movies end right around the time Vlad and Sophie were born, too. Perfect time for reincarnation.

The music ban in the Little Mermaid III trailer is a metaphor for prohibition
Sebastian's club looks an awful lot like a speakeasy of 1920's America, doesn't it? Especially given the rather ruthless policing of music outside of the clubs...

Sebastian's club in the third movie is the local equivalent to a gay bar.
  • I'm glad someone else thought so too!

Captain Hook was responsible for the death of Ariel's mom.

  • Stay with me here. In the prequel, that cove looks a lot like the mermaid cove in Neverland. And the ship flies a pirate flag. Who's the local pirate of Neverland? Captain Hook. Ergo, Captain Hook indirectly caused the events of The Little Mermaid.
    • Really? I always thought it was Captain Barbossa that unwittingly crushed Athena, considering that the timeline for both The Little Mermaid and Pirates of the Caribbean are set around the same time (Peter Pan is set during the early 1900s). Not to mention that, in Kingdom Hearts II, the locations of Atlantica and Port Royal are very close to each other...
      • Of course, Neverland is not far from Atlantica in KH1.
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  • I think the ship was the Black Pearl, and when it hit Athena, Jack Sparrow looked and said "Oops. Uh...mates, full sail!"

The seashell bras were for structural purposes, not modesty.
Since getting slapped in the face with a bag of fat every time the mermaids with large breasts (or really fat mermen) turned forward and down would be rather uncomfortable. That's why the only other clothing was a crown, and Ariel had to be told by the characters who were more familiar with humans to get some clothes on. Triton and the other mermen didn't have them because they didn't have anything to keep in place, not because of some double-standard of public decency like with humans, and Ursula didn't need one because of her altered physiology as an octopode.
  • Isn't that the reason bras were invented in the first place, as an alternative to the constricting corset?
    • Yes, though not specifically for the corset.
  • Besides, in the prequel baby girl mermaids wear straps of cloth around their chests, ala the wrap Lilo wears when she goes hula dancing. It's probably the same in our culture- both for support and modesty, as bare male chests are far less controversial than bare female chests.

Ursula is the underwater version of a wendigo
Cannibals are the most likely to become wendigos. Ursula is the only octopode we see (at least in the first movie), and the only humanoid sea-dweller seen to eat other sea creatures. In addition, wendigos are said to be creatures of great spiritual power, which would explain Ursula's magical abilities. Given her tendency for scheming, she might have broken a fish-eating taboo intentionally in order to gain power, and become banished as a result of being found out.

Triton hates (originally hated?) humans because he doesn't/didn't know that humans aren't cannibals.

Most fish eat other fish; it stands to reason that merfolk, at least on some level, practice cannibalism. There are lots of different types of merfolk, and Triton only seems to have proper dominion over ordinary fish-folk (unlike octopus-folk, dolphin-folk or manta-folk, some of whom are shown to be at least antagonistic in the animated series), so it's possible that enemy tribes will sometimes eat each other. Triton naturally assumed that humans are also cannibals who happen to also eat fish, meaning that merfolk are somehow extra delicious.

Atlantica has a magic presence in it that causes anyone there to have an irresistible urge to sing.
This explains Ariel and Ursula randomly bursting into song. Sure, Sebastian performs a musical number ("Kiss the Girl") for Eric and Ariel, but it's implied that the song was written beforehand. This also explains why Sora suddenly enjoys this while in Atlantica.
  • But what about Les Poissons? That's sung by a character who's not only not a resident of Atlantica, but who's also a chef who takes pleasure in chopping up and cooking fish. Interesting theory, though.
    • Though considering that he also told a crab to "Fight like a man" he may just be a CloudCuckooLander.

The Little Mermaid was based on The Beatles' Octopus's Garden.
Or at least parts of it, Ariel's cave sound very similar as how The Other Wiki describes an Octopus's Garden, and also both Under The Sea and Octopus's Garden sing about the joy of living under the sea, free from labor and dancing around all the day. Hell, the first line of Octopus's Garden is "I'd like to be under the sea".
  • Jossed. The Disney film was actually based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same title, which was written in 1836.
  • Although the soundtrack album of the sequel does include that song, sung by Sebastian!

Vanessa was the original form of Ursula, was Triton's sister, but her use of dark magic corrupted her and turned her into an octopod.
.If you really think about it, it wouldn't be all that implausible. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that Ursula was in fact Triton's sister like some sources say. Well, why is she half octopus instead of a regular mermaid like her brother? Her dark magic corrupted her. Before Ursula had eight legs, she had a fin just like Triton. She wanted the power to rule the ocean but couldn't because Triton was on the throne. Because he had more power then her, she looked to darker arts for more power. The best way was to turn the merfolk who came to her for help into those slug things. Every deal she made gave her some sort of edge. While she got magic and the potential to over throw Triton, it corrupted her and turned her into an octopod over time. Triton caught on quickly and promptly banished her. Since she's been isolated for a good twenty some years (if Triton's daughter's ages by the first movie are any indication) then she's been collecting more victims so by the time of the movie, Ursula has enough power to overthrow Triton. She just waited for the perfect opportunity. Also, look at Vanessa's appearance: she may not look a lot like Ariel, but she looks like some of Ariel's sisters. Compare the shape of her face to Aquata and Andrina and her hair to Attina and Arista. Quite the similarities between them, right? It would make sense that an aunt would be similar to her nieces in some ways, wouldn't it?
  • Which also begs to question about Morgana's role. My speculation is she IS in fact Ursula's sister and Triton's too. To Elaborate: Morgana and her mother were both regular mermaids once upon a time. She had Morgana from a previous marriage and when her spouse died by whatever means she married Triton's father. This means Triton and Ursula could have been the half-siblings of Morgana. As the second movie tells us, she was her mother's un-favorite. She wasn't the King's daughter so he probably didn't care. With Ursula her mother's favorite and she probably having nothing in common with Triton, Morgana grew resentful and lonely. When Ursula tried to use her dark magic to gain the throne, perhaps she got the idea from Morgana who wanted the power to impress her mother and gain her favor for her own selfish reasons but backfiring.

The young blond merboy in the sequel that Melody befriends is the son of Urchin.
The boy has blond hair and the same nose as Urchin. He's probably a little older then Melody and may take more after his mother. Also, his tale is the same color as Urchin's. Their friendship may also be a nod to how Urchin and Ariel met when they were younger.
  • Taking it further, his mother is Ariel's Cute Mute friend Gabriella, explaining why he's slightly Ambiguously Brown. After Ariel left for the surface Urchin and Gabriella became closer with Urchin learning sign language while they went on adventures of their own. When Urchin suddenly became a handsome merman after puberty they became a couple and eventually had their son Alex. Urchin finds it rather amusing that Melody is interested in his son considering his own crush on Ariel

Triton had a harem.
  • Basically, King Triton had many wives and sired daughters from each one, though only one (Ariel's mother) was officially considered queen. This explains why all his daughters look so different from one another. While for the most part, he treats his daughters equally, he favors Ariel to some extent because she's the daughter of the official queen, his favorite wife.
    • I agree. Notice how when Ariel talks about Athena she says MY mother, not OUR mother? That could be confirmation right there, although judging by how the other sisters react at the mention of Athena they considered her a mother even if she wasn't their biological mother. Also Ariel is the only red head among her sisters despite Triton and Athena both being red heads.

Alternatively, why Triton's daughters are different...
  • Triton and Athena were married, but thought they might have been infertile so they adopted daughters instead. Ariel meanwhile is Triton's only biological daughter because Ariel was a miracle child - on top of her resemblance to Athena, Ariel was a child they thought they'd never have. So of course that's also why Triton's very protective of her.

Melody won't be an only child for much longer.
Seriously, just LOOK at the expressions on Ariel's face during the last musical number of the film. Morgana threatening Melody's life is probably the only reason they didn't have more kids after her, and now that she's gone, they have no reason to put off having more children.

  • Relating to this, Melody's new siblings will probably be twin girls: Harmony and Rhythm.
    • Nah, a son named Christian! (as in, Hans Christian....)
      • Well, Ariel did save Hans Christian's life in the TV series. And since she probably read the story that he wrote after she married Eric, she owed him big...

The third movie is a story made up by Flounder.
It follows some canon but not others. And most notably, Flounder is way more brave and badass in this film than in the series and other movies where he's usually a bit of a coward or at least cautious. He made up this tale to impress someone, though it may be loosely based on 'real' events.

"Attina" is a pet name for "Athena."
As the first-born princess, she was named after mother, but her baby sisters always pronounced her name as "Attina," and it stuck.
  • Sebastian narrates the opening scene of the prequel, and pronounces "Athena" as "Attina".

The Mozart who lost his harp (and piano, and bathtub) wasn't "The" Mozart.
Hans Christian Andersen also appeared in the series. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was dead 14 years before Andersen was even born. However, the Mozart who was unlucky to have lost some items at sea could be one of his sons. Most likely Franz Mozart, who was also a composer. Or it could be Karl Mozart who had planned to open a piano store but didn't due to lack of funds (and now we know why).

Eric is Danish.

Little Mermaid takes place in Denmark, in a shared universe with Frozen and Tangled.
Frozen takes place in Norway, Tangled in Germany, and Elsa & Anna's parents were on their way to Rapunzel's wedding with their ship when they sank/died. Going from Norway to Germany over sea takes you right past the coast of Denmark, and this is where The Little Mermaid would take place (of course, the author of the original fairy tale is Danish). And the kicker is that the sunken ship that Ariel explores, is Elsa & Anna's parents' ship.
  • But on the other hand, the sea wildlife seems much too tropical to be Scandinavian, almost more Caribbean-like (plus: Sebastian's Jamaican accent, much?), or possibly Southern European like near Portugal...

Merpeople are descended from humans magically crossed with fish.
This is why, despite their piscine lower physique, they still have rather human relationships with each other. Laying eggs and fertilizing them aren't exactly very intimate the way human sexuality is, so we should hardly expect mermaids and mermen to have the same kind of erotic desires for each other that humans do, yet here we see Ariel pining away for Eric, her father and sisters being certain she's in love with some lucky merman, and Ursula revealing that one of her deals was with a mermaid and merman who wanted to be more physically attractive to each other. How could any of this be true unless merpeople still retain some human sexuality? Maybe, since they lack the parts, the way they express erotic love for each other is just through a lot of cuddling. As for how merpeople ever came to exist in the first place, we've already seen the magic for changing either species into the other. These spells were probably developed by some ancient Gaelic wizard or the like.

Morgana is really a disguised Ursula
  • Who knows? Ursula's a sea witch, so she probably had to the powers to bring herself back from the dead. She could also manipulate memories as well, so to prevent people from knowing that she's back, she took on another form, calling herself Morgana, and edited everyone's memories to cause them to think Ursula had an insane sister, thus explaining Morgana's Remember the New Guy? status. But then she accidently edited her own memories and lost her powers, causing the Morgana hoax to become genuine.

Triton is the son of Poseidon
  • Thus that would make Ariel and Hercules cousins!
    • Confirmed if you ask Ariel and Hercules at Disneyland.
    • In the TV Series, it's revealed that Triton's father was King Neptune. But seeing as Poseidon and Neptune are the same person, different names, it's still valid. In the Broadway version of the film, it is canon that Poseidon is both Ursula and Triton's father.

After being turned back into merfolk, "Longing to be thinner" and "Wants to get the girl" wind up staying together.
  • Just because that would be cute.

The ancestors of the merfolk of Atlantica were humans.
Their city fell into the sea and the people were magically transformed into merfolk. This happened such a long time ago that everybody forgot. Hence why the palaces have staircases even though merpeople have no use for them.
  • For that matter, why do you believe it's called ""Atlanti""ca in the first place ? The sunken city was Atlantis.note 

Ursula is a literal bastard.
She's Ariel's aunt, but only through one grandparent. Triton's father, for whatever reason, had an indiscretion with a caecelia. While Ursula got to be with Triton, it was only because of obligation. Triton and Ariel try to pretend she's not related due to being the previous king's Old Shame. Her bastardry made her spiteful of her legitimate family, and lusted towards their power. The people she turns to worms are noblemen, as part of her revenge against the class that rejected her.

To the inhabitants of the ocean the Caspian Sea has the status of an alien planet or a mythical otherworld
During her spell Ursula summons the winds of the Caspian Sea (among other things). Now the Caspian Sea is an inland sea in central Asia, meaning it is disconnected from the oceans Ursula herself (and the other characters) live in. It stands to reason that the Caspian Sea, a theoreticlaly inhabitable place, surrounded by (to merfolk) uninhabitable environment would be a rough equivalent to an alien planet for them, or alternatively, a mythical place regarded as magical, hence Ursula calling upon its winds for her spell.It is possible that knowledge of the Caspian Sea is restricted to magic users and scholars.

Urchin is related to the Royal Family, probably an illegitimate son of Triton's
He's an orphan, we don't know his parentage, and in the episode "Trident True" of the TV series, he pulls the trident out of its stand when Triton leaves it alone. Return to the Sea later establishes that only Triton and his direct descendants can do this, which is why Triton feels safe leaving it unattended. At the end of the episode, Triton says that he should take more precautions for protecting the trident, but he never actually does, because he's the only one who knows that Urchin taking it was a special case. He also hastily (a little too hastily) tells Urchin that he isn't his father, but considers him a part of the family anyway, and Ariel's sisters comment that he feels like the annoying younger brother that they never had. This fits in perfectly with the interpretation that Triton had a harem, and certainly casts a different light on Urchin's implied crush on Ariel.

Triton conjured the storm that sunk Eric's ship
Before the end of the first movie, Triton repeatedly states that humans are Always Chaotic Evil, and that he places zero value on their lives ("One less human to worry about!"), so he would think nothing to killing humans that he thinks are a threat to Atlantica, especially if it prevents discovery. The sailors associate fine weather with King Triton being in a good mood, suggesting that they've developed a partial idea of what's going on from him wrecking their ships. Eric's ship was close to Atlantica at the time, as it came within easy sight of Ariel's grotto, raising the risk of being spotted by Triton. This is another reason why Triton was so angry at Ariel for saving Eric—she spoiled his plans—and also reinforces the theme of Triton's oppressive tactics driving Ariel closer to the surface world, as her relationship with Eric really started when she rescued him, and she gathers human relics from all of the shipwrecks. This also explains the graveyard of ships that Ursula summons at the climax—the physical remains of Triton's past victims, all gathered in the vicinity of Atlantica. After Eric kills Ursula, however, Triton realizes that he's been murdering innocents for no reason, and now owes his life to one of the humans he tried to kill. Turning Ariel into a human is his attempt to atone for this with a personal sacrifice, and as much about giving Eric what he wanted as making things up to Ariel.

Vanessa was a separate person from Ursula.
This troper's seen a few people around suggest this, and they thought to themselves 'Sure...Why not? To clarify, the Vanessa we see in The Little Mermaid is Ursula, undeniably. But where did Ursula get that disguise from, hm? Sure, maybe she just conjured it up, but that's the lazy way out. How about this - Once merfolk defaults on one of Ursula's dodgy deals, Ursula has the capability to take their form? The real Vanessa was one of the many merfolk to take up an offer that she couldn't complete, for whatever reason. Considering that Ursula uses her for a land form, maybe it's possible that the real Vanessa was just like Ariel, a mermaid wanting to explore the world up above? Thankfully, she was released from her torment at the end of the film, as with everyone else. Who knows, maybe she and Ariel can meet up some day?

Ariel's arc is a metaphor for Mt F transgenderism.
  • Ariel has her daddy's public expectations of her but a secret collection of stuff (in the case of a transgender girl this would be women's clothing). When her collection and subsequent desire to be a part of that world is revealed to her father he tries to destroy it (many parents of transgender girls, out of fear for what society might do if they discover the truth, try to shut down the interests of the child). Then we have her making a deal with Ursula, who is according to many websites based on the drag queen Divine, make what is effectively a back alley hormone sale. She gives her a treatment that is mixed up from magic and potions, and like actual hormones if no surgery is involved, is reversible after the pills run out. Much like an actual transgender girl (hormones can create a female to male voice change, but not the other way around because of the Adam's Apple), she can't use her voice, because people would discover who she was. The story tells it as her voice being taken away, but this is effectively the case. Ursula on the other hand, can pass as female when she wants to, and actually has a feminine voice that she is not afraid to use. At the climax, we have her publicly outed, Eric not minding, and her father finally supports her "transition" to life out on surface. Rather than using temporary "spells" he enacts her change on a lasting level with a large sharp object.
    • Fun Fact: A bio-pic on Christine Jorgensen (The Christine Jorgensen Story. Yeah. Creative title.) has a scene where she takes many pictures of her stay in Denmark. The statue of The Little Mermaid is prominent.

Morgana is actually a former Magical Girl with no connections to Ursula
  • In reality, Morgana was originally a normal mermaid who, as a teenager and inspired by Ariel, struck a deal with Kyubey, and gained Ursula's powers to use for good, as well as the abilities to alter memories. But she soon succumbed to despair out of envy towards Ursula's legacy, became a witch, and altered everyone's memories to think she's related to Ursula. Madoka's wish retconed the entire second movie, and allowed Melody to grow up aware of her mermaid heritage, with Morgana dying at the hands of a Wraith.
    • And then Rebellion made sure that Morgana never even became a Magical Girl, and is probably living peacefully as a mermaid somewhere in Atlantica.

The Hans Christian Andersen tale

The witch only demanded the mermaid's voice as payment because...

  • She was testing her to see if she REALLY loved the prince as much as she thought she did. The witch didn't want the little mermaid to sacrifice everything over a teenage crush who she may get over eventually, so she tried to scare her out of the idea by pricing the deal as high as possible. In truth the sea witch COULD have concocted the exact same spell through other means of payment, but simply chose not to while CLAIMING that it couldn't be done any other way. Sadly, the little mermaid wanted a soul and the prince's affections enough to go ahead with it, so the witch went ahead with it anyway, possibly feeling obligated to conduct the spell as she claimed she would, or feeling okay with stripping the mermaid of her voice so long as she was truly willing to compromise it for legs and a chance with the prince and for an immortal soul. The wrenching agony that came with every step the little mermaid took with her new legs may have actually been beyond the sea witch's control, similarly to how doctors cannot always help patients with the side affects to medications prescribed to them.
  • A little something I got from one of the fanfictions. The witch had the price be the mermaid's voice so she wouldn't tell the humans of the merpeople. Think about it, she was a naive teenager, and probably one with loose lips. The witch didn't want humans to start going after the merpeople, so to both grant the girl's wish and keep them safe, she took the one thing that would've allowed the mermaid to spread the news (assuming she didn't know the written language of the humans).

"The Little Mermaid" and "The Velveteen Rabbit" are essentially the same story.

  • Think about it. Both the little mermaid and the velveteen rabbit desire to achieve a state of being that can only be attained by being loved by a human in some way (for the little mermaid, it's gaining an immortal soul and going to Heaven; for the rabbit, it's becoming real), and these prerequisites are explained to them by two sagely, wizened older characters in their lives (for the mermaid, it's her grandmother, for the rabbit, it's the Skin Horse). Eventually, both characters are able to attract the attention of the object of their affections (the prince and the little boy); however, it doesn't last, as the prince marries the princess he assumed saved his life, and the boy contracts scarlet fever and receives a higher quality stuffed rabbit as a replacement for the velveteen rabbit, who is to be burned along with all his other toys and is quickly forgotten by the boy. Because of this, both characters are overshadowed by someone else more appealing to the ones they love, and are doomed because of it. However, both characters are redeemed through the love that they either felt for others or that others felt for them, and are able to ascend to the respective higher planes of existence they'd both dreamed about; the velveteen rabbit becomes real, and the little mermaid is resurrected as a Daughter of the Air until she is able to earn a soul and go to Heaven.

Alternative Title(s): Little Mermaid


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