Sunday, 18 October 2015

Swan princess and best prince ever

As you know I love fantasy. Especially Medieval fantasy and it's really surprising how I hadn't seen Swan princess until with Lind (she had seen them all many times when she was a kid).
Little Ilar would have loved these movies. I mean come on they're great! Cheap Disney copy? umm.. No. I want to talk about one of the core characters through every movie; Prince Derek. Why? Because in my opinion he's so well built character and let me explain just why....

We have watched movies in Finnish. Derek's Finnish voice actor is Topi Lehtipuu who's also an 
opera singer. In English his voice actor is Howard McGillin

In case you haven't seen any of the Swan Princess movies Prince Derek is the man protagonist of the movie all though sometimes he's more of an antagonist to Odette (the swan princess).
Derek is quite stupid and somewhat chauvinist. Those aren't attributes anybody should be proud of but the key at writing a character is how you can get such repulsive character structure to work and in this case how comedic can you make the character without making it even worse? (Because that's pretty much the worse base to build on) Storytelling as a whole is all about credibility and recognizability which both of these Derek delivers perfectly as every character should.

Derek's positive attributes are that he's athletic and great warrior who handles weapons excellently, standard thing to a hero though. This plays big role because Odette relies a lot on Derek when it comes to saving princess from the beast.
The characters in Swan Princess are realistic but in a good way because in some cases the very realism is the reason why character is just plain unpleasant and aggravating. Pingu for example is based on really realistic and recognizable events but that's the exact reason why Pingu and his family's personalities are so repulsive. Pingu acts like spoiled brat sometimes, which is not very cute if you think how many kids are actually exactly like that.

Derek is not evil or even unpleasant, he's just stupid in all simplicity and this is why Derek is his own protagonist and antagonist. This trait and chemistry between Odette and Derek is the reason he's so funny. Odette is a nice and gentle woman who doesn't demand much but often it's still somehow too much for Derek. Derek would do better in less wise company, this wouldn't make a good character nor a movie though.

Maybe his astonishing hairstyle adds the comedic factor a bit. 
Derek thinks hard sometimes. It's not easy to be a hero.

He's not meant to be comedic character but I think the fact that how realistic and recognizable character he is makes him comedic to us at least. How creator meant Derek to be and understood or how closely it was supposed to follow Swan Lake ballet character is beyond me. In the end they ended up making a different kind, comedic and recognizable hero. I think Derek is absolutely great breath of fresh air even today.

He's one situation of each movie where Derek's personality shines:
(Contains slight spoilers of the three first movies.)
First movie, situation one
Derek and Odette have fell in love after their parents attempts to pair them up, Derek just suddenly declares kingdom to organize the wedding because he says: Odette is everything he has ever wanted. Odette doesn't oppose idea but before she accepts she wants to know what this ''everything'' is and Derek answer is: you are beautiful. Odette thanks but then asks: What else?
(Derek is shocked and panics; He hadn't prepared to this!) 
Derek: What else? Odette replies: Is beauty all that matters to you? Everyone in the ball room shakes their head when Derek says: What else is there? Odette ends up rejecting the idea of a wedding...

Arrange a wedding he says...

...But no...Good job, D....

Second movie, situation two
Situation two. Derek is preparing to have supper together with Odette but evil thug Knuckles has light the kingdoms field on fire. Derek apologizes not making to supper and rushes to put out the fire and catch the guilty. Odette is there to help peasants to put down a fire by giving them water. Peasant says: "We're so lucky we have princess like you. You're an angel." At the same time Derek gets back from the chase stating: "That's why I married her. You're so good Odette, so kind!"
Odette gives him water and states calmly; "That was an interesting way to spend our anniversary." Derek replies; "yeah." Derek drinks water but when realizing what Odette just said he coughs out the water: "Huh, today is our anniversary?"
Odette: "Well, yesterday." By now. Derek apologizes Odette replies calmly: "You've been busy." Trying to make Derek feel better. All though scene ends happily at Derek vowing to make up his mistake to Odette, it still one of the many examples of how absent Derek can be what it comes to their relationship and how long temper Odette has with him. Last line of the scene is by Odette:
"I can see why I married you. You're so good at saying you're wrong."
(sidenote: Derek has forgotten his mother's, the queen's, birthday as well)

You got off the hook... This time...

Third movie, situation three
Derek has secretly put away magical notes (rather than destroying them) that cursed Odette into transforming a swan. Derek hasn't told this to Odette, so she wouldn't worry. Derek's motive is thought of that spells can be used to something good in a future. When Odette finds out this she is disheartned and for the good cause: She doesn't want to transform into a swan anymore! She says: "Derek, how could you (hide them instead of destroying them)? Nothing good can ever come from those notes." Derek protects himself by saying: "He and servant Rogers are only ones who know where they are and how he made this for them and kingdom as a whole."
Despite even Rogers attempts to make Derek apologize, Derek doesn't admit that he has done anything wrong and notes end up being stolen by evil wizard, Zelda and Odette is cursed once more. 
Why Derek, oh why,,,

Rogers reveals the secret. It's all downhill from here! Fudge monster (Odette glob) doesn't approve!

Feels like movies are based on basic real life problems, getting a wife, forgetting anniversary and not keeping promises.

Derek has found a vial.

Why are these scenes so comedic all though they're acts of stupid hero? Because everyone can appreciate of braveness (intentional or not it doesn't matter) such character creating. I know so many Dereks in real life. He's just simply too realistic to be just an drawn character.
Why aren't there more ''heroes'' like this?

Thanks for reading!


  1. I guess as a kid I never paid much attention to character development but, The Swan Princess is one of my childhood favorite movies!! How did I not know that there's a third movie?!? Thanks for sharing :))
    ♡ Dulce

    1. It's really good and I wish I could have seen it myself too when I was a kid. Sadly, people doesn't seem to appreciate movie which really bugs me :S I strongly recommend the third movie too all though my favourite is second one :)


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