Character Analysis: Descendants, The Lost Kids (2015-11-11)

A/N1: Because I missed Descendants, even if the Wicked World series kind of messes with all my head-canons from the movie… So as far as I’m concerned, the movie is alpha canon while the book(s) and animated shorts are beta canon. Not that canons necessarily correlate with head-canons buuuuut…

Anyway, the lost kids!

With any of my character analyses I am open to alternate interpretations, so please feel free to reblog with your own analysis. 🙂

Phlegmatic – Apathetic/Conflicted
IS(F/t)P = Artisan = Composer/crafter

Sanguine – Optimist
EN(F/t)J = Idealist/Rational = Teacher/field-marshal
“True” Slytherin

Choleric – Realist
ESTP = Artisan = Promoter

Melancholic – Cynic
INT(J/p) = Rational = Mastermind/architect

Reasoning under the cut.

The Four Temperament / Four Philosophy Ensemble

If you’ve read my previous character analyses, you’ll know that I’m relatively new and not very fond of this trope. That being said, it does have some redeemable insights, so I decided to proceed with it anyway. The links above lead to the TVTropes pages but, like Wikipedia, TVTropes is not the authority on these.

Here’s a really quick break down of what the ensembles are and how they correspond to each other:

Sanguine – extroverted, emotional, people-oriented – Optimist
Choleric – extroverted, unemotional, task-oriented – Realist
Melancholic – introverted, emotional, task-oriented – Cynic
Phlegmatic – introverted, unemotional, people-oriented – Apathetic/Conflicted

The two obvious ones for this were Jay and Mal. I consider both of them to be more “task-oriented” than the other two–to them people are either obstacles or means to an end (especially the Auradon students who are then subjected to their respective charm/intimidation). They may know how to manipulate people, but that doesn’t mean they necessarily care about other people’s feelings. Then when you compare the extroverted and unemotional traits of the Choleric temperament with the introverted and emotional traits of the Melancholic temperament, it seems pretty clear to me that Jay is Choleric and Mal is Melancholic. Their corresponding Philosophies match as well, with Jay being the Realist and Mal being, in comparison, the Cynic.

Then for Evie and Carlos, the two “people-oriented” temperaments–Evie is undoubtedly an extrovert; while Carlos isn’t as definitively an introvert as Mal is, I do think he is one, especially what we see of him in the movie. As for emotional versus unemotional, it could be argued that both of them act emotionally during the events of the movie (unsurprising, considering how big a change it is for all of them) but I think, in comparison, Evie’s character arc is more about becoming more in touch with herself and her feelings whereas Carlos’ is making decisions despite his feelings.

I ultimately had to fall back on the Philosophies to choose. Hence, Evie as the Optimist–looking forward to Auradon, even if it was a big change, believing in herself even after Chad’s actions. And Carlos as the Apathetic/Conflicted–both because, basically, once he had Dude he literally cared about nothing else for the rest of the movie, because, as I said before, most of his story arc is making decisions despite his feelings, leaving the Isle despite/because of his conflicted feelings about his mother, reaching out to Dude despite being afraid of dogs, etc. The corresponding temperaments are then Sanguine for Evie and Phlegmatic for Carlos.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Here’s the basics of the MBTI: it’s a set of four binaries which combine to produce one of sixteen distinct personality types. The binaries are:
Extroversion vs Introversion = self/society
Sensing vs iNtuition = learning/information
Thinking vs Feeling = decision-making
Judging vs Perceiving = planning/(re)acting

And so with that in mind, here’s the Lost kids:

Carlos – IS(F/t)P
As I’ve previously stated, I do believe Carlos is an introvert–not as much of one as Mal, but he doesn’t need people. More so in the book, he’s easily satisfied so long as he has stuff to tinker about with–in the movie, his story doesn’t revolve around people, it revolves around his own fears (of dogs, of his mother, of getting hurt) and him overcoming it. Sensors focus on facts and details more than the bigger picture, they inherently trust what they’ve experienced or what can be proven more than what could be (he’s quick to overcome his fear of dogs when presented with proof that Dude isn’t a rabid monster even though his mother told him otherwise). Feeling vs thinking I figure he is in the middle of the spectrum–given his book background of enjoying technical and scientific fields he is a little bit thinking, but the decisions we see him making in the movie are feelings based. For the most part, Carlos isn’t decisive–he goes along with other people’s plans–in addition, he’s adaptable (getting the alarm to shut off during the failed heist) and likes to mix work and play (literally playing video games before helping Mal plan the heist), hence Perceiving.

Evie – EN(F/t)J
Evie is the most extroverted of the group, she enjoys being around people and gets energized in group situations. Unlike Carlos, she is a big picture kind of person, always having the idea of meeting her very own Prince Charming, to the point where she trusted him even though she had no idea what kind of person he was (which, unfortunately for her, ended up being a heartbreaking asshole kind of person). Like Carlos, she is in the middle of the feeling vs thinking spectrum, though for slightly different reasons–for the movie she is mostly a Feeler due to her generosity, even excluding her crush manipulating her, she genuinely wanted to help Mal feel beautiful for her date with Ben. But there’s some pragmatism within that–wanting to impress her crush could lead to her fairytale ending, and when Lonnie wanted a new hairstyle Evie sought payment. As for Judging, well, her whole life has been following the large plan to find and marry a prince. Even without that, she’s constantly working (making absolutely gorgeous dresses and, at some point, a sleeping potion, when she’s not doing Chad’s homework), very decisive, and organized.

Jay – ESTP
Jay was, again, pretty easy to decide on. Despite his father’s “teaching,” Jay is both a team player and fond of groups–whether they be tourney players, princesses he can flirt with, or his friends. He is more on the sensing side, focusing more on what is tangible than not, and due to his task-orientedness almost to the point indifference he is more of a thinker than a feeler. Like Carlos, Jay is more of a reactor than an instigator (he follows, he doesn’t plan) and given his thieving spree early on he likewise believes in play before work.

Mal – INT(J/p)
Similarly, Mal was also pretty easy to decide on. She is an almost textbook case of introversion, and while some of that may be due to her misanthropy, she honestly does not need people or like crowds–she works best one-on-one. Like Evie, she is a big picture kind of person and her method of problem solving isn’t a single track method–in order to get the wand she sees and considers and even sort of implements multiple methods, she knows the wand is the Fairy Godmother’s so she cultivates a “relationship” with Jane, when that doesn’t yield anything, she plans the museum heist, when that fails, she seizes on the opportunity that the coronation presents–hence intuition (N).

The thinking vs feeling was a little tricky, not because I think she’s in the middle of the spectrum like Evie and Carlos, but because a lot of this movie was disguising her “thinking” tendencies for “feeling.” Let me explain–as previously mentioned, she is very task-oriented like Jay; people and their feelings are obstacles/tools, not something to be considered when making decisions–but basically the entire movie is about her emotional journey from following her mother’s orders to being her own person. Her decisions are in line to maximize benefit to herself–yes, even her “cure brownies” because she didn’t make them for Ben’s benefit but rather to alleviate her own guilt. Even her speech about the Lost kids staying in Auradon, it was a very logical breakdown of happiness–this makes you happy so you should stay here, this makes you unhappy so you shouldn’t go back, even though emotions don’t necessarily follow cause and effect like that.

It’s actually the the Judging vs perceiving spectrum which I think she falls in the middle for–ultimately, since she is the major decision maker of the group and her penchant for focusing on her work over play, I did decide on Judging more than perceiving. But she is still a little perceiving since the decision to get the wand was originally her mother’s and even though she was the planner of each of the different attempts to get the wand, they were pretty loose plans created as they went. Get to the museum, okay, now what? Can’t get past the forcefield, now what? Become Ben’s girlfriend before the coronation. 

Keirsey Temperaments

The Keirsey Temperaments are somewhat based on MBTI, in that it splits the types into a set of four temperaments and then gives fancy titles to the types within the temperaments. You can go to the link above to check out the individual titles for the MB types (they’re pretty interesting reads).

The temperaments correspond to the MBTI binaries as such: _S_J = Guardian, _S_P = Artisan, _NF_ = Idealist, _NT_ = Rational. The temperaments are sort of like two binaries as well–focusing on Communication and Action, that is: Concrete vs Abstract communicators and Utilitarian vs Cooperative actors. So Guardians are Concrete Cooperators, Idealists are Abstract Cooperators, Artisans are Concrete Utilitarians, and Rationals are Abstract Utilitarians.

Surprisingly, unlike my previous character analyses, the Lost kids aren’t arranged so that there is one of each type of temperament. Or perhaps that shouldn’t be surprising; given that, for all their differences, they are all villain kids and from the Isle of the Lost, certain temperaments simply aren’t practical on the Isle.

From the above types for the Lost kids, we get Carlos as an Artisan (specifically Composer/crafter), Evie as either an Idealist or a Rational (specifically Teacher or field-marshal), Jay as an Artisan (Promoter), and Mal as a Rational (Mastermind/architect). For the most part, on the Isle, I do think that Carlos, Evie, and Mal are their lowercase designations–on the Isle you have to be careful with your feelings, and given that Mal’s mother basically rules the Isle Mal is subject to Maleficent’s plans, not her own.

Artisans and Rationals are both Utilitarians–both act pragmatically, ignoring/bending rules in order to achieve their goals. While Artisans generally focus on quick, effective payoffs, Rationals want to fulfill their objectives as thoroughly and efficiently as possible. On the Isle, that kind of utilitarian mindset is not only encouraged but also, possibly, literally cultivated by their parents.

Since most of the movie isn’t on Auradon, however, a lot of what we see of Carlos, Evie, and Mal are their uppercase designations. Carlos and Evie both have the freedom to use their emotions whereas Mal has to step up and be de facto leader of the group. It doesn’t really change much for either Carlos or Mal–Carlos is still an Artisan whereas Mal is still a Rational, but Evie jumps from Rational to Idealist. Idealists are Abstract Cooperators–they focus mostly on their hopes and the possibilities for the future, and try to reach their goals without breaking their personal code of ethics–which also matches pretty well with Evie’s Sanguine/Optimist designation.

Avatar Elements

Like Hogwarts Houses, which is the next section, I believe that the Elements from the Avatar series does provide some nifty looks into characters’ personalities as well as having a convenient numerical match up. The above link sends you to a list of bending arts in the Avatar world, but if you follow through to the main articles of the Elements you can find more in-depth descriptions on the spirituality behind the respective elements. 

I actually did some brainstorming regarding a Descendants x Avatar fusion in which only the Lost kids (and Fairy Godmother) are benders. I stand by the elemental designations I gave to each of them there, but I’ll go into more detail here (character-wise, that is). So, I posit that Carlos is Air, Evie is Water, Jay is Earth, and Mal is Fire, and here is why:

Air is the element of freedom, pacifism, open-mindedness, and adaptability. In a symbolic sense, Carlos’ character arc is about him freeing himself from his past, his mother’s abuse, his fears. He’s never the one to instigate conflicts, is more likely to run than fight, and the rare cases when he stands up against his mother (in the video call) and Maleficent (at the coronation) it’s in defense of his friends not himself. He was willing to give Dude a chance, despite his phobia of dogs, and in a larger sense he was open to going to Auradon even though that’s where dogs are. As for adaptability, I’ve already mentioned it above so…

Water is the element of change, generosity, balance, and emotions. As previously stated, Evie is–especially amongst the Lost kids–generous and the most in touch emotionally; she knows her emotions and knows how to use emotions. Her story throughout the movie is about her achieving an inner peace, a balance between what she thinks she wants and what she actually needs, between expectations and being true to herself. All of them change in the movie, but with Evie it’s subtle. Visually, you see her outfits changing, yes–becoming softer and blending in more with the Auradon style–but character-wise she gains self-confidence. She goes from someone who sees her talents as a means to get a prince to someone who sees her talents as what makes her inherently amazing; she doesn’t need a prince to be complete, she already is.

Earth is the element of substance, determination, stability, and straightforwardness. Earth is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the least spiritual of the elements and is treated very pragmatically. Similarly, Jay’s character arc isn’t as emotionally wrought as the others’–sure, he does doubt the plan to steal the wand way before anyone else does, but it’s as much logical take on emotions much like Mal’s speech on happiness is–for the most part it’s just him shedding his father’s misanthropic lessons to reveal the literal team player that he really is underneath. But, he never really accepted that to begin with. When his friends are being threatened, he steps forward to protect them–even when it’s by Maleficent’s dragon form–he is, almost literally, the rock the others rely on.

Fire is the element of power (though it may be better to say that it is the element of energy), industry, creativity, and drive. As previously stated, Mal is hard working and artistic. Like in the Avatar series, Mal’s drive is at first twisted for her mother’s nefarious gains, whereas Zuko at first only knows how to power his bending through anger and hate. But, ultimately, both Zuko and Mal discover good and wrest control of their life away from their toxic parents and societal expectations. In AtLA, the Fire Nation only sees their bending as a way to destroy and consume, but as the Sun Warriors and dragons explain, that is only when they are out of control. When in control, fire isn’t destruction it’s creation which parallels Mal’s story line.

Hogwarts Houses (surely, no link is necessary… :P)

I greatly enjoyed @kisapandemonium‘s lovely GIF edit and, frankly, agree. The tag “#finally a group of slytherins we can all get behind” basically sums up what I loved so much about the Descendants movies. Because all of the Lost kids are Slytherins (and not because of the “Slytherin=evil” bullshit)–cunning, ambitious, pragmatic–and I’m so fond of that fact.

However, I also enjoy the idea (I don’t know where the original post is, sorry, but it’s not mine) that each of the Golden Trio represent another House–with Harry being Slytherin, Hermione being Ravenclaw, and Ron being Hufflepuff. I also enjoy the implication that follows, in that Neville is a “True” Gryffindor (I also don’t remember the original post, but I believe it was something like… Neville was a Hat stall only because he kept arguing against being a Gryffindor and the Hat was pretty damn sure he was a Gryffindor. Because the fact that Neville argued against the Hat). And so I kind of want to mix those two together.

While I do believe that all of the Lost kids are Slytherins–if we were to have “secondary House alignments” then Carlos would be Gryffindor, Jay would be Hufflepuff, and Mal would be Ravenclaw, while Evie is the “True” Slytherin. Carlos’ story arc is about facing his fears–dogs, physical confrontations (on the tourney field), his mother, Maleficent–hence, Gryffindor. Throughout the movie, Jay shows such utter loyalty to his friends that he even willingly throws himself in front of a dragon to protect them. As for the “Slyther-claw” vs the “True” Slytherin, that was a bit of a toss up. But, ultimately, Mal isn’t all that ambitious, certainly not in comparison to Evie. Mal was content on the Isle, graffitiing her symbol wherever she could put it and committing small acts of evil. Evie, in comparison, has always wanted more out of life–while that no longer includes a prince to marry, now it’s a desire to be more than what other people expect from her.

And that’s all, folks! If you got this far then I hoped you enjoyed 🙂


A/N2: It seems kind of cowardly to hide this in the author’s notes of a separate post, but I think Ain’t No Rest is officially going to be on hiatus. It, as I feared, collapsed under its own weight and lack of direction.

That being said, that does free me up to do other non-ANR Descendants fic. And I’m not saying that means I’ll do Once The Always, but I am planning on re-watching the TCoN movies soon so…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s