Fairy tales — and more specifically, Disney stories — played a very big role in our lives growing up. Now I’m bit of a thinker, but from a very young age I had always wondered about the logic behind the good and evil in fairy tales. I loved the stories but the reasoning behind a nice person to act like a fool and an evil person to not have any valid reasons behind their actions always stirred up questions in my head after a bed time story, which my mom became expert at dodging over the years. So when I watched Maleficent, I was surprised by how Disney made something even more practical than Frozen and to be honest, I wished that we grew up to these rather than the good old fairy tales. I also felt glad that our children would come into a world where kids are not lied to but told the truth in a form that they understand.
Why is Maleficent so great?
1. There is more to people than what appears on the surface.
While growing up, the only way Maleficent was portrayed in cartoons was a skinny lady with horns and a cape who cursed the daughter on an innocent royal family for no reason in particular. Writing fiction was easy back then, there was good and then there was evil. Good people were absolutely perfect in every way, made no mistakes ever, reached heights only with righteousness and were always stupid, over trusting and always the victims. Then it was simple to justify a villain character just by calling it evil and making him/her do the worst possible deeds for the pettiest of reasons. But once we grew up and saw the world for what it was we realized on our own that people are far more complicated than this, there is no clear way to separate good from evil and this world struggles between the shades of gray.
The worst possible person might be the one most broken, cheated and hurt from his/her naive days and maybe that person is the one who still has the softest heart, just protected by the strongest shell, which might be easier to pierce through if someone intended.
People who you think are nice might wear the most beautiful masks but there might be absolutely nothing deep down. They might even pull off the most cruel things in the need for power.
2. Being the villain might not be so bad.
Maleficent proves one thing: almost everyone needs to misbehave once in their life. It is better to make mistakes and learn from them than to play the victim or let the suffering consume you. It’s fine to be a little evil towards the ones who have wronged you, they probably deserve it.
Also pegging people as villains is not as easy as it was in our old fairy tales because maybe the person with the hardest exterior and the strongest shell is just fighting with their own demons within and maybe they are the only ones who will come to your rescue when no one else will.
3. There is no such thing as a true love’s kiss.
People talk about love at first sight and how in one day their love became the strongest force in the universe; we were born in an age when this was the only version of love we were acquainted with as children. With time and struggles we realize that there are people in our lives who have earned our trust and love over the years by constantly being by our side and showing compassion when we feel lost — people like friends, family and our guardian angels like what Maleficent was to Aurora and the faithful crow was to Maleficent. The hormonal surge towards the person we feel “infatuated” with makes us bypass everything before we put them on the same level and sometime even higher than the ones who truly love us.
True loves take years to develop, several difficult times to see if the person we love stands by us and a lot of understanding and respect. Attraction and infatuation are not love. And no matter how much fairy dust is sprinkled on it to make you believe otherwise, it will not work the same in a situation when love is the only thing that will save you.
4. Stop waiting for Prince Charming.
Just like the fairies assumed that the prince will show up and save the day, we do too. People often run around with a check list for the person that they want to end up with some day and often get disappointed when they finally find that person. Sometimes it is the so-called evil fairy that will stand as your guardian where prince charming would fail and sometimes your companion or friend will, just like the crow who never left Maleficent’s side even when she pushed him away. Maybe just like Maleficent, sometimes you have to be your own white knight and learn to fight your own battles instead of looking for someone to hide behind.
5. You can make your own happy ending.
More often than not, people end up losing their individuality when the fall in love and we live in a society where the transition from ‘me’ to ‘we’ is actually considered healthy. Maleficent was a strong, powerful fairy and the man she fell in love with clipped her wings and caged them to rise to power while she spent her years in misery and hurt, building her walls and suffering from the betrayal. But as she went on a vindictive journey to avenge her loss, she finds who she really is. Her happy ending was when she finally got them back and could feel the sun again on her skin as she flew above the clouds. The only person who will fix you or make life beautiful is you alone. If you keep on leading a life expecting love from others, you will only end with misery and the only way to change that is to find yourself, find your wings and learn to love yourself first.