The Little Mermaid Reveals One Important Character’s Death That Changes King Triton’s Life Forever
Released earlier this May, the live-action reimagining of The Little Mermaid is slowly but surely regaining positive reactions from both critics and fans despite all the backlash behind the scenes. Besides the cast’s brilliant acting, the movie is largely faithful to its predecessor is a huge plus point to its audience. Apart from the main characters that stay the same, it also includes a character’s death, an important one who has an extremely close relationship with Ariel (Halle Bailey), her siblings, and of course, King Triton (Javier Bardem).
The character we are talking about here is no one else but Ariel’s mother, who’s known as Athena in the animated version. A perfect and inspirational mother figure and a caring wife, Athena, unfortunately, suffers a tragic fate in the cartoon, and this detail is also mentioned in the remake. Let’s learn more about Athena and her demise in this article, and how the dreadful event has changed King Triton’s perspective forever.
#1. Athena’s demise has made King Triton a different merman.
Like its 1989 predecessor, the live-action of The Little Mermaid presents an unspoken rule in the mermaid kingdom: They are forbidden from interacting with humans, or even set their foot – I mean fin, to their land. This is due to the tragic past of King Triton’s family: his beloved wife, who’s also the dear mother to their children, unfortunately passed away before the events of the film take place. And the one who caused it? A human.
Athena’s death affects everyone in the undersea kingdom heavily, especially Ariel and King Triton, hence the latter’s deep hatred towards humans as a whole. He condemns humanity, paints them as cruel and vicious creatures to others, and forbids anyone to make contact with them.
#2. Ariel’s true love has made King Triton realize something.
Of course, even when she learns the truth, Ariel still manages to keep her fascination with humans, and believes that the actions of the minority aren’t enough to berate the whole species. However, she can’t reason against her own father, as the pain in his heart is too big. The fact that human also hunts on their water doesn’t help, either.
Unable to change King Triton’s mind, a desperate Ariel reaches out to the sea witch – Ursula (Melissa McCarthy), and willing to exchange her singing voice for a pair of human legs. Ariel gets to travel to the world of man and falls in love with Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King). By the end of the remake, their love has somewhat convinced King Triton and changed his view toward humans, and he even gives his blessings to the couple, so that they can stay happily forever after.
#3. Ariel’s mother’s death is a bit different in the animated version.
Queen Athena’s passing isn’t mentioned in the 1989 animated film, but rather in its sequel, The Little Mermaid III: Ariel’s Beginning. Taking place before the events of the first part, the movie features Ariel’s mother, Athena, who has an unwavering passion for music and greatly influences her daughters. Unfortunately, she was brutally killed by a crashing pirate ship rather than one man, after trying to retrieve the music box gotten from her husband.
Pained by the queen’s death, King Triton blames music being the cause of her demise and forbids music from anywhere in the ocean. Triton’s ban in this movie is pretty weird and unreasonable, compared to the deep hatred he feels for humans for killing his wife, which makes much more sense. Though generally, the reimagining stays quite faithful to the animated film in this aspect, by making Athena’s death a solid reason to change his husband’s perspective towards humanity.
#4. Queen Athena’s demise sends a message to the viewers.
Disney movies have a knack for killing off the protagonists’ parents for character development, but compared to the others, Queen Athena’s death is especially gruesome. Though her demise in the original is more of an accident, it also implies how humanity keeps salvaging the sea without caring about the consequences. Therefore, the films, live-action included, also try to send a clear message about the damage we do to the environment, hoping things change for the better.
Do you think King Triton’s reason is just to forbid mermaids to meet humans? Share your thoughts below in the comments.