original here. dated 2013-01-26.
[A/N: Continuation of yesterday’s post– Idea for a Believable “Rise of the Brave Tangled Dragons” Crossover (Part Two). Which is combining the protagonists of Rise of the Guardians (Jack Frost), Brave (Merida Dunbroch), Tangled (Rapunzel… does she have a last name?), and How To Train Your Dragon (Hiccup Horrendous Haddock… the third?).
Basically, this is me analyzing the four protagonists via Hogwarts Houses and AtLA Elements. Actually… a lot of this was a consolidated cross-post from two separate tumblr posts I made earlier… uh. You can find one of them here, and there’s a link to the other one in that (it’s basically a Matroyshka doll of links and cross-posting… unintentional Rise of the Guardians reference, go me).
Also, I should reiterate that this was before I actually watched Rise of the Guardians though after I watched it I went back and reread this and was surprised by how well I did on Jack’s characterization… So… yeah.]
[[okay, this should be the last part. mostly it’s about my feels/peeves on characterizations and character interactions]]
Part Three: Characterizations and Character Interactions
Since we love The Four because of their collective awesomeness and the potential transcendent friendship, we have to make sure to understand each personality fully and to make the relationships complex and deep. Increasing the number of characters makes writing exponentially harder, especially if we want each character to be realistically three dimensional: Not only do we have to worry about each individual’s personal development we have to consider each character’s relationship with the others and we would have to map out how characters interact with each other when other characters are present. To expound, that means we need to understand/outline the following:
1) Merida’s character
2) Hiccup’s character
3) Jack’s character
4) Rapunzel’s character
5) Merida and Hiccup’s relationship
6) Merida and Jack’s relationship
7) Merida and Rapunzel’s relationship
8) Hiccup and Jack’s relationship
9) Hiccup and Rapunzel’s relationship
10) Jack and Rapunzel’s relationship
11) Merida, Hiccup, and Jack’s interactions
12) Merida, Hiccup, and Rapunzel’s interactions
13) Merida, Jack, and Rapunzel’s interactions
14) Hiccup, Jack, and Rapunzel’s interactions
15) The Four’s interactions alone
16) The Four’s interactions around others
All in all that’s quite a lot to consider, even though we’ve bunched everyone who isn’t The Four into “others” and have Toothless and Pascal (and Angus) be extensions of their humans.
Below I’ve briefly written out my own thoughts–in agreement or disagreement to others’ theories I’ve seen– which is not to say I hold mine to be true (I’m actually quite easy to convince one way or another) since this is really the most subjective aspect of writing. Also, most of my thoughts below are just things that particularly stand out to me or, were I skilled enough to write it, things that I would use as a guiding light but not necessarily the map of a specific scene.
1-4) The Four’s individual characters–this is the foundation which the rest are built on. It may seem like the easiest part, since we have entire movies of proof (as opposed to the crossover interactions which are just theories) but often times we are misled. We are only shown limited examples of how our characters act in certain situations, we’re only given small snatches of their life, and so we must either extrapolate what the rest of their life must be like or fall back on the more obvious aspects of their personality.
For the sake of simplicity (and because I’ve seen several similar posts on tumblr), I’m going to use Hogwarts Houses and Avatar Elements to analyze the characters. I know these aren’t traditionally accepted character building/analyzing methods, but they both encompass other nuances of characterization that, for example, the Myers-Briggs test seems too binary and rigid to fully explore.
Most theories usually put each character in different Houses/Elements, which I think is actually true–though characters do share traits, it’s actually their differences which make the dynamic interesting–we want them to get along because of (or despite) their differences. However, I disagree with the some of the more popular assignments:
1) Merida Dunbroch
According to most posts, Merida is Gryffindor and Fire. I actually disagree with both of these. Yes, the title of her movie is Brave (which is a synonym for courage which is the main feature of Gryffindor) and in it she does take risky, almost reckless, actions. But I actually think she is more suited to Slytherin than Gryffindor–the Harry Potter novels don’t show the full depth of Slytherins because it is seen through Harry’s eyes (and he’s considerably biased against them) but they’re not all Draco and Snape and they can be the heroes as opposed to the villains or antiheroes at best.
Slytherin is defined by ambition and cunning; it’s not necessarily the ambition to be strong or in charge (Merida already is both) and cunning is not outrightly lying, political back-stabbing and double-agent nonsense. Literally the entire movie is about her wanting autonomy and doing whatever she can to achieve it–first she finds the loophole in the clans’ firstborn competition, then she persuades the reluctant witch into selling her a spell by buying all the woodcarvings, then she tricks her mother into eating a magical pastry to change, and finally she negotiates peace (and her right to choose her husband) amongst the clans by using their pride against them.
Further she’s considered Fire primarily because of her temper (and secondarily because her hair is such a lovely red, it’s difficult to not make her Fire), but the only reason why she’s angry in most of the movie is because she’s being forced to be a literal trophy wife. Even if I were to consider her Fire, I’d argue it should be because of her vitality and joy for life, but anyway Merida’s temper is a result of her stubbornness and much more in line with Earth than Fire.
If anything, Merida’s personality is an exact match for Toph who is basically Earth personified according to the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode Bitter Work. Further, her movie does have recurring themes and images of Earth–the first line is “our destiny is tied to the land,” bears, forests, the stone circle where the showdown is, and while will-o’-the-wisps look like blue fireballs they are more likely to be found in bogs, marshes, and graveyards and are considered earth spirits/fairies.
tldr: Merida is Slytherin and Earth.
2) Hiccup Horrendous Haddock
Hiccup is apparently more difficult to pin down, since different posts assign him different things. He’s usually a toss up between Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw and then generally Earth. From what I can tell, he’s usually Earth because it’s the one that’s left after the other three, though some is due to his (comparatively) steady nature and perhaps, shallowly, because his colours are green and brown.
However the key descriptions of Air benders–they’re pacifistic, non-confrontational, and open-minded, they go with the flow and only use their abilities in defence–sounds an awful lot like Hiccup. It also doesn’t hurt that if there were bending, Air would help an awful lot with being a dragon rider, and that his designs for Toothless’ prosthetic fin is similar to the Avatar: The Last Airbender’s air-gliders (though these are just fun things to point out, not actual reasons).
As for Hogwarts House, I can see why there is such an inconclusive draw between Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff because Hiccup does have several qualities from both: Ravenclaws are intelligent, curious, and creative while Hufflepuffs are hard-working, just, and devoted. Further, these are the two Houses which are less known in the novels (again due to “Harry vision” and he hardly interacted with people from either of these Houses), so it isn’t as clear where the divide is. While Gryffindor and Slytherin’s differences are often, and loudly, made clear, the traits of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff are not necessarily opposites of each other. Because of this, we should then use which traits are more prevalent in Hiccup and which are more influential to his movie.
I argue that Hiccup is more Hufflepuff than Ravenclaw; a more elaborate list of traits says that Hufflepuffs are also determined, tenacious, loyal, genuine, well-rounded, fair, open-minded, giving, generous, accepting, compassionate, practical, patient, and dependable. Though his inventions are an important part of his movie and character, most of the movie explores Hiccup’s more Hufflepuff qualities–his loyalty to a village that is disappointed in him, his willingness to see the dragons as sentient beings and not just monsters to be destroyed, the trial-and-error (a lot of error) montage to get Toothless’ fin to work, and his dedication to ending the war between dragons and Vikings even when it costs him his chance to make his father proud. Also we can contrast him to Fishlegs who is a more obvious Ravenclaw.
tldr: Hiccup is Hufflepuff and Air.
3) Jack Frost
I must confess that I know the least about Jack. Luckily, the crossover happens before most of the events in Rise of the Guardians which means his personality in the movie is not necessarily the same as it was when he first was revived by the Man in the Moon. I’m not saying his entire character can be rewritten, because no–writing one of our major protagonists out of character would be foolish–but Jack’s personality analysis will be based on significantly less material than the others’ because we’re using his brief living memory and what we know of him directly after his revival.
Jack is generally classified as Slytherin and Water. Water is obvious considering he was revived by moon magic and he’s pretty much an actual Water bender with all the snow and ice powers, but while those are true it doesn’t give us insight into his character. Water is the element of change, generosity, adaptability, emotions, and turning defence into offence. Jack is the guardian of fun–it is literally his purpose in life (or… non-life) to bring joy to people, which he does by changing boring or dangerous situations into fun ones–the snow days to get kids out of school and when he was alive, saving his sister from the icy lake by turning it into a game. Jack’s generosity is also displayed in that scene, as he risks (and ultimately gives) his life for hers.
As for Slytherin? I don’t understand that one at all. I mean, yes, Jack is sarcastic, sneaky, and somewhat antisocial which the Slytherins from the Harry Potter novels also were, but those aren’t core values of Slytherins. If anything those are manifestations of his mischievous and rebellious nature–and which house had the largest population of pranksters? Gryffindor. Doesn’t Jack seem eerily similar to a young Sirius Black? Besides courage, which Jack has in spades, Gryffindor is defined by passion, playfulness, spontaneity, living in the moment, bluntness, confidence, commitment, recklessness, and self-sacrifice… which Jack also has in spades.
tldr: Jack is Gryffindor and Water.
I usually see Rapunzel assigned to Air because Air is the element of freedom and the movie is ultimately about her gaining her freedom from Mother Gothel. However, she didn’t really want to be free of Mother Gothel (though, yes, that’s probably because of Stockholm’s Syndrome and thus her feelings are rather skewed) she just wanted to see the lanterns. It is entirely possible that, had Mother Gothel brought her to see the lanterns, Rapunzel would have been satisfied and gone back to the tower with little complaint. Even when she was negotiating with Eugene, Rapunzel added the condition of him escorting her back to the tower.
While freedom was a very nice bonus in achieving her actual goal, it’s still ultimately just a byproduct of defying Mother Gothel to see the lanterns. Furthermore, if she really wanted freedom, Rapunzel would not have been so quick to reunite with her biological parents or get married to Eugene (which, essentially, anchors her to Corona).
I argue that Rapunzel is Fire. For the most part, the Fire benders we see in Avatar: The Last Airbender, are the results of decades of using rage and hate as the source of their power, so angry aggression has become the stereotype of Fire. However in the episode The Firebending Masters, we learn that when “properly controlled, Fire is life and industry, comfort and creativity;” just look at Uncle Iroh and his priorities. Even trapped in her tower, Rapunzel embodies all of these aspects in her opening montage. Her daily activities are productive and artistic, and, as I’ve stated earlier, if I were to have Merida be Fire it would be because of her vitality and joy for life which Rapunzel shows more of.
Furthermore, what figuratively fuels Fire bending is one’s drive–the overall motivation in life, or, in other words, one’s dream. Tangled is about Rapunzel flourishing as a person because she finally decides to follow her dream, and the ending of her reuniting with her biological parents and marrying Eugene is more about the comfort of family which and directly opposes the freedom of exploring the wider world beyond the Kingdom of Corona. Fire also works quite neatly with the fact that Rapunzel’s magical abilities are from the sun.
As for Hogwarts House, Rapunzel is Ravenclaw and not just because it was the only one left. Ravenclaws are intelligent, logical, absent-minded, curious, creative, self-entertaining, and interested in understanding and learning about things. While she does also fit the bookish stereotype of Ravenclaws, she is a daydreamer just like Luna Lovegood, the most important Ravenclaw of the novels.
tldr: Rapunzel is Ravenclaw and Fire.
[[Okay, so… the characterizations were a lot longer than I thought, but that means it creates a much sturdier foundation for the actual relationships and interactions. So, yay! I’ll just… put character interactions in another post and call it Part Three and a Half]]