I was tempted to post this in one of the character discussion threads, but this is a big topic and equally important for both characters. Feel free to move this but I felt like it needed its own thread.
Although this is barely mentioned in the film, the relationship between Triton and Ursula intrigues me so much, especially knowing they're siblings. I'd love to know more about how they interacted while they were younger or what events led up to the banishment. Thoughts?
*Taking a very deep breath* This is my probably long-winded and convoluted explanation of Triton and Ursula's relationship:
So I feel like as long as there have been merpeople, there have also been octopans (i.e. a human/cephalopod race that comes up in Heroes). They have always been at odds with the merpeople for who will be the ruling anthropomorphic race of the oceans. But too bad the merpeople have the trident which is like the electoral college of the ocean; whoever has it wins. But, again like American politics, the octopans think this is unfair and fight anyway. So, there's that theory.
So, Poseidon, Triton's father, comes up with an idea to stop the endless fighting: let's legitimize the octopans so they can be a part of the royal family, give them some power/representation and they'll stop fighting. So, Po-Po chooses from the octopan ruling class Ursula, recently orphaned by the loss of her father in another octo/mermen skirmish, making the choice doubly poignant. He adopts her as his and raises her alongside his son, Triton. The octopans agree to this because when Ursula is of age, she gets half the ocean which is fantastic! But, Ursula really loves her new father and brother (which the octopans didn't count on) and it looks like she won't attempt an overall siege of power like her people would want, but rather rule alongside her brother (insert octopan "boo").
So life for merpeople and octopans becomes peaceful and Triton and Ursula are basically like any other siblings, caring for each other and growing up together...until Ursula finds out the circumstances of her father's death which was seen by only one witness who the octopans sniff out and finally bring to her. Yeah, it was Po-Po who killed her father in battle, making her adoption just look like a very late and selfish apology of a guilty man. Ursula doesn't forget and turns to the octopan leaders who were never really happy with this little peace in the first place.
LONG story short, Ursula lays in wait until Poseidon's death, betrays her brother who is hurt beyond repair (I mean, she just forgets their childhood and turns on him...cold), and makes a coup. Of course, Triton is blindsided, it takes a second, but he gets his bearings, dethrones Ursula, and takes his place as king.
There's a lot of other stuff in there but that is, believe it or not, the short version (we didn't even talk about Ursula's magic). But yeah, that's Triton and Ursula's backstory according to Paige!
That's so interesting, Paige! I never would've framed things that way. It makes me all that more interested in how King Triton and Ursula grew up together.
My interpretation breaks the series canon a little but as much as I love my beloved TV show its canon was shaky anyway.
In my head King Triton and Ursula were blood-siblings and Ursula was once a mermaid, a la Vanessa with a different voice. And she was later cursed into her octopan form and grew to like it or gave herself the form for intimidation purposes. Someone on TVTropes apparently agrees with me. *Squee* tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/WMG/TheLittleMermaid
So Triton and Ursula grew up as blood relatives, sibling rivalry abound. Ursula has all of Ariel's ambitious traits turned up to eleven and with looser morals, so I can imagine there would be conflict between them and Ursula would feel entitled to or even robbed of certain rights/privileges/notoriety. I like thinking of Ursula as the younger/middle child (taking Morgana into account). In a small royal family she's basically forced to live in her brother's shadow. Ouch.
Along the way she discovers her bloodlust for power (which, at a young age, might intrigue and scare her at the same time) and distances herself from her family. I like the idea of her having a turbulent relationship with her father to reinforce the Ariel's doppelganger theory. I blame Heart of Darkness for my shameless love of dopplegangers. It wouldn't be over the same issues, obviously, but familial conflicts have loads of possibilities.
Post by WickedElphie on May 5, 2011 12:05:01 GMT -5
I have a third possible theory. My theory is that Triton was Poseidon's son by his first wife and then he later remarried (possibly for political reasons), and wed an Octopan woman, who was Ursula (and Morgana)'s mother. Making Triton and her half-siblings.
Mare, I really like that idea! I feel like she'd make the change herself; just her personality being so presentational and big I can see her embracing a totally unique and exotic form. Plus, lines like "...he and his flimsy fish-folk" make it seem like she has a feeling of superiority above merpeople that your theory totally explains.
Then Jess, your theory also makes a lot of sense. I agree that there's some kind of political reasoning behind Triton's father taking an octopan bride or orphan.
I do think that Ursula was always just a little darker than the people she was around. She had more of a cynical/vengeful side to her; like wanting the execute people rather than giving them trials. I feel like this was always off-putting to most people but maybe Triton would explain it away when he could.
I would love to talk to Ron and Jon about their initial ideas on how this whole sibling thing would work out!
Oh yes. I assume they made the decision to keep the villain in the family just because it adds an extra layer of conflict. Pity it didn't pan out in the film though. But an hour-and-a-half can't accomplish every conflict you want to include. But that's what fanfic is for. But how they saw the logistics and Ursula and Triton's dynamic really interests me. They didn't interact all that much in the film and when they did, it was over Ariel's life.
But with any of those theories what were their childhoods like? Sibling rivalry or buddy-buddy until something important happened? Clearly Ursula has a world of resentment for her Triton but aside from the banishment we don't know what happened.
I can see it as sort-of friends on Triton's part and nothing but resentment on Ursula's part. Maybe she's the older sibling and a female can only take the throne if there's no male heir. Triton took what she thinks is rightfully hers.
Art by Amy Paulson. All Er-Heads may use without permission!
I could see that working too. Either way Witchy has a wallop of pent-up resentment for Triton. I usually think of her as the younger or middle child (with Morgana) as I know many people in that situation and the difficulties that come along with it. Being forced to live in a sibling's shadow and never quite being recognized for what you deserve. Ursula's selfish streak would only magnify that jealousy and resentment and propel her to what we see in the film.
It would be cool if the film kept the idea of Ursula and Triton being siblings. It would make sense why Ursula believed that she deserved the throne (other than wanting to have power, of course!) I did imagine what Triton and Ursula's relationship during their childhood. Perhaps they were good playmates or at least very close with each other until their dad decided that Triton would have the throne. I don't know if Ursula is the youngest or the oldest. If she was the oldest, she lost her throne to Triton because he is a boy and traditionally boys get thrones. Girls don't unless they're like Elizabeth I who didn't have brothers. If she was the youngest, she had trouble trying to shine; she was always stuck being in her brother's shadow because everybody paid more attention to him than her. Either way, she got jealous and when she got into black magic, Triton no longer cared about her and banished Ursula when she tried to overthrow him.
I think for every villain there's a line between hurting and doing something dangerous/taboo to cope and letting those traits fester into something "evil" if that makes sense. Ursula's definitely crossed it. There could have been issues with the throne or even brother-sister things that just fell apart. But somewhere along the line her personality and her circumstances meshed into badness.
I'd like to think she got into magic in her early teens and at some point in her progression, she scared herself. She grows apart from her family because of this and thus begins the cycle of ostracization and resentment. If she ever had a good relationship with her brother, she certainly lost it.
And how does Triton feel about this? We don't quite know.