In case this is your first time, “Who Reigns Supreme?” is an ongoing series of blog posts here at Your WDW Store. In each one, we discuss a different Disney princess and see why one might consider them the best of the bunch. This time, we’re talking about Princess Rapunzel of Tangled and why she stands out — besides the hair, of course.
The Case Against Princess Rapunzel
We are not trying to revive the old Tumblr wars between fans of Tangled and Frozen in this section. Goodness knows we’re glad these squabbles are over. All we are trying to do is observe that many people find Rapunzel rather bland. The character’s critics say that beneath her quirks, there is not much to her.
We can see where they’re coming from. The tenth Disney princess doesn’t seem to stand out much when compared to her predecessors. Rapunzel’s free-spirited? So is everyone from Ariel onward. She can take care of herself? Mulan single-handedly took down an army. Even her appearance — white with blonde hair and pink clothes — isn’t exactly fresh.
Wonderin’ and Wonderin’
Something that makes Rapunzel unique among all Disney princesses is that she doesn’t even know she is one. Kidnapped as a baby and raised by a witch her whole life, she sees herself as an ordinary girl. Her only inkling that her life is unusual comes from the mysterious lights that blaze every year on her birthday. What’s incredibly obvious to viewers is an enigma that takes almost the whole movie to unravel.
Without a royal upbringing, her personality instead stems from her living situation. You’d think being cooped up in a small space for 18 years would make her timid and weird. Instead, she’s practically a bohemian, filling the hours with just about every art and pastime one can do in confinement. She even studies astronomy for fun. Princess Rapunzel is spunky, educated, and interesting — and yes, a little odd.
A Curious Thing
This endless curiosity may be Rapunzel’s defining character trait. Consider that Mother Gothel, her only real human connection, inculcates a view of the world as a dangerous place full of dangerous people. Then consider how the youth quickly places her trust in the first person to enter her tower. A more timid person would have thrown Flynn Rider out the window. Instead, she probes his unconscious body, then asks him questions about the world beyond her walls, then leaves with him.
Far from dimming Rapunzel’s interest in meeting other people, Gothel’s enforcement of isolation and denial of questions seems to have only fueled it. She gets the baddest dudes in the nastiest dive to open up about their dreams. As soon as she reaches the Kingdom of Corona, she starts a block party just by pulling people into a circle. Even when she has no reason to trust Flynn after an apparent betrayal, she still offers to save him at the cost of her freedom.
It’s this curiosity that changes Rapunzel’s life permanently. Note that she only suffers when she doesn’t question her guardian’s assertions — about the lights, about staying inside, about Flynn abandoning her. The turning point in their relationship is when Rapunzel puts some clues together and realizes the truth of her birth. This trait is highly underrated in discussions of her character, and it makes her stand out.
Tangled Gifts at Your WDW Store
If you are curious about what great Princess Rapunzel merch is available out there, look no further than Your WDW Store. We offer all kinds of great gifts related to Tangled, its protagonist, and its other memorable characters.