A Masterpiece of Evil
Table of Contents.
The Story of Maleficent
The Magic of Maleficent
Translations of Maleficent
Her Saga Continues
On the 29th of January, 1959, Sleeping Beauty was first screened. Along with it was the birth of a most powerful and renowned evil villain; Maleficent. From the very first screening of this childhood classic to the modern world, Maleficent has become a powerful Disney symbol for all that is evil.
But Maleficent has a lot to her, aside from the force of evil that must be defeated so the Princess can live happily ever after. She has more symbols to her than a lot of other Disney villains and is more individual than many other villains. Maleficent is one of the newer names to dawn the villain of the Sleeping Beauty story, and she is also the first to continue her legacy from the original story she was created for.
So why do people know Maleficent the best? Was it her dragon form? Was it her clever plan or her evil laugh? There are many reasons, but some of the answers that ring true are her personality, her looks and her lack of comic relief, which few other Disney villains had.
Maleficent celebrated her 48th birthday this year (2007), and as a tribute to her, I have pulled together who she is, the symbols behind her name and powers, and where she is headed today.
To understand Maleficent, we must first look into her story, Sleeing Beauty. The first recorded publication of Sleeping Beauty was back in 1634 and was titled 'Sun, Moon and Talia.' 63 years later, another version, which is the more popular version, was published by Charles Perravlt. Both editions of the story were brought to J.R.R. Tolkien. It may have been him, or someone somewhere in history, who chose the story we are familiar with.
The original story of Sleeping Beauty was once assumed to be two stories, and does indeed read that way in 'The Blue Fairy Book,' by(). It is the first half of the story that we find a more true form of Maleficent. In the story, she is known only as 'The Wicked Fairy.' When she was not invited to the celebrations to bless the newborn princess, she comes along anyway, and curses her to die from pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel. But one of the fairies hadn't given her gift, and undid the spell enough to cause the princess to sleep for 100 years. After this, the Wicked Fairy is never heard from again.
In the second part of the story, Sleeping Beauty is awoken and is living with the prince and his evil mother, the queen, who is of part Ogre. In every known fairytale, Ogre's are foul, human-eating creatures. Well, the Queen wanted to eat the Princesses children, Aurore (Dawn) and LeJour (Day). She was tricked by the cook and the children and princess were spared for the moment.
When the Ogress discovered the trick, she prepared a giant pit of Vipers and other snakes to throw them into. However the Prince and/or King (different stories say different things) return and the Ogress throws herself in out of Shame.
In the early 1900's, the Fairy Books were published by Andrew Lang. These books were of fairy tales from all over the world, and it was here that the stories Sleeping Beauty merged into one. The publication of these books in the early decades of the 20th century created the outline for all fairy tales on how they were originaly told and how they were originally written.
1825, and the Sleeping Beauty Opera was staged. It was written by Michale Carafa and was first staged and performed on the 2/3/1825. Not much is known about this particular Opera, except that it followed the original story of 'Sun, Moon and Talia.' however, the Opera was named 'La belle au bois dormant,' which translates to mean 'Sleeping Beauty.' The style of the Opera was French Libretto.
In 1890, Tchaikovsky wrote and directed the ballet 'The Sleeping Beauty.' It was from here more than anywhere else that Disney drew upon for the movie of Sleeping Beauty. In the ballet, Maleficent takes only one form, but another step is brought forward, and the evil side now has minions to battle for the higher evil. In the Ballet, the evil fairy is named Carabosse. This becomes quite a common term for an Evil Fairy Godmother in the future of a few fairytales.
Quite like the original fairytale, Carabosse storms the celebrations for the princess. She claims that on her 16th birthday, the princess will prick her finger and instantly die. The Lilac Fairy, who is the most powerful of all, undoes some of the curse, saying that the princess will only sleep 100 years until awoken by a prince.
Carabosse reappears during the festivities of the princesses 16th birthday. Disguessed as an old woman, she gives her a bouquet of roses with a needle in it. While the princess is dancing, she pricks her finger and falls asleep. Carabosse reveals herself, basks in her glory and fends off the guards before leaving.
100 years later, Carabosse is in the castle looking on her work of the sleeping princess and court, not knowing that the prince is coming. When the Prince arrives, she sends her minions to fight with the prince. Defeating both the minions and Carabosse, the Prince awakens the Princess, and they marry.
Throughout different tellings and re-writes of Sleeping Beauty, there have been different names for Maleficent and what she brings to the story. One of the more important translations is where the character of Maleficent becomes
In 1959, Sleeping Beauty became a Walt Disney movie. From here, the many attributes of the many characters from the many different versions of Sleeping Beauty and were made into one villain; Maleficent.
Looking at the many forms of Maleficent that date back 373 years, we can see that she is one of the most evolved characters in the fairy tale world. Her original starting point as a Wicked Fairy and an Ogress evolved into the one being as the story evolved, and that one being has changed through history, becoming more powerful and influential in the story.
The Story of Maleficent
A long time ago, a king and queen wished for a child. One day, their wish was granted. They had a daughter and named her Aurora, for she filled their lives with sunshine. A holiday was proclaimed so that all people of higher or lower status could come and see the princess. On that day, the Princesses was betrothed to Prince Phillip, who was the son of King Hubert, the ruler of a neighboring land. Also invited were the three good fairies. They were to give one gift to the Princess. The first two fairies, Funa and Flora, gave the gifts of beauty and song. Before the third fairy, merryweather, could give her gift, she was interupted by the entry of Maleficent. In a taunting voice to hide her rafe, she spoke with the King and Queen. To show she wasn't offended, she placed her gift on the child.
“The Princesses will indeed grow in grace and beauty. Beloved by all who know her. But before the sun sets on her 16th Birthday, she shall prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die.”
Before she could be captured by the guards, maleficent fled the castle and returned to the Forbidden Mountains. Little did she know that merryweather hadn't given her gift. Merryweather, doing her best, tried to reverse the spell.
“Sweet Princess. If through this Wicked Witches trick, a spindle should your finger prick. A ray of hope there still may be in this. The gift I give to thie. Not in death, but just in sleep, the faith of prophesy you'll keep. And from slumber you shall wake when true loves kiss, the spell shall break.”
The good fairies hatched a plan to protect the princess by hiding her form everyone, including the King and Queen. Agreeing to return the child on her 16th Birthday, the fairies disappeared into the night with the sleeping baby.
As time passed, Maleficent tried to find the princess through her minions of Imps and other Dark creatures. When they failed, Maleficent hurled thunder bolts at them. Her castle atop of the Forbidden Mountains cracked with thunder fro her wrath and fury. With less than 24 hours to complete her threat, she sends her Raven Diablo to find the Princess.
“Circle far and wide. Search for a maid of 16 with hair of sunshine gold and lips red as the rose. Go and do not fail me.”
For her 16th Birthday, the fairies used magic to make a dress and cake for Aurora. But in a magical fight, Diablo found the cottage where the the Princess was hidden. Listening, he heard that the fairies were returning the Princess to her Father the King, and that the man she loved would be at the cottage that night. Returning to Maleficent, he told her what he had heard. Maleficent raced to the castle and found the Princess in her chamber alone and crying. Possessing the fire, Maleficent turned into a Will-of-the-Wisp and used its abilities to hypnotize Aurora and get her to follow. Leading her to the top tower in the castle, with the fairies trying to find them, Maleficent turned the Wisp into an enchanted spinning wheel. Aurora put her hand out to touch the spindle. One of the fairies called out to her to not touch anything, but Maleficent was too strong, and Aurora touched the cursed spindle.
Rushing in, the fairies found maleficent standing in front of them.
“You poor, simple fools. Thinking you could defeat me. ME! The Mistress of all Evil. Well here's your precious Princess.” Pulling up her cloak, maleficent showed the Princess fallen, crown askew and fast asleep. Laughing loudly, Maleficent disappeared to finish her plans. Taking her Imps to the cottage, they lay in wait for the man who would awaken Aurora to arrive. When he did, the Imps jumped him and tied him up. In a surprise to even maleficent, the man who truly loved Aurora was Prince Phillip. Laughing cruely, she took him to the Forbidden Mountains. Not realizing the clue she had left behind for the good fairies to follow. Phillip had dropped his hunting hat, and that led the fairies to the Forbidden Mountain in search of the Prince.
Meanwhile, maleficent and her Imps were having a bonfire to celebrate Maleficent's success. Feeling Prince Phillip was missing all the fun, she heads to the dungeon to talk to him, not realizing she is being followed by the three good fairies. When in the dungeon, Maleficent makes one final prophecy to finish her celebrations. Stirring the magic in her staff, she holds it forward to show Phillip the future.
“Behold, King Stephans castle. And in yonder topmost tower, dreaming of her true love, the Princess Aurora. But see the gracious whim of fate. Why, it is the self same peasant maid who won the noble heart of our prince but yesturday.
“She is indeed most wonderous fair. Gold of sunshine in her hair. Lips than shame the red, red rose. In ageless sleep she finds repulse.
“The years roll by. But 100 years to a steadfast heart are but a day. And now the gates of the dungeon part, and our prince is free to go his way. Off he rides on his noble stead. A valient figure straight and tall. To wake his love with loves first kiss.”
Retiring to her quarters, Maleficent plans to rest peacefully. However, Diablo thinks the fairies are about and hangs around in secret. When the fairies free Prince Phillip, they arm him with the shield of virtue and the sword of truth. On trying to escape, Diablo sees them and raises the alarm. The Imps chase Phillip out into the castle grounds, where they tried to hit him with boulders, arrows and boiling oil, but the fairies used their powerful magic to turn the offencive attacks into harmless things. In its last attempt to stop the Prince escaping, Diablo flies to Maleficent's quarters and calls out to her. Merryweather turns Diablo into stone, but too late. Maleficent has stirred and sees the Prince escaping. Climbing to the top of her tower, she shes Phillip escape over the drawbridge. In a fury, she throws thunderbolts at him trying to hit him and destroy his path to freedom. Phillip passes beyond her range, so Maleficent casts a spell to summon a forest of thorns around King Stephan's castle. Phillip sees the forest groing, but bravely charges in and cuts through the forest to the castle. Maleficent sees his victory and flies to the castle in the form of a giant firework. Hitting the ground at the other end of the bridge from Phillip, Maleficent curses madly.
“Now shall you deal with me, oh Prince. And all the powers of a hell.” Laughing furiously, Maleficent bursts into a blaze of green fire and enlarges into a European Dragon.
(Image to be retrieved)
Still not phased by Maleficent's dragon self, Phillip charges her, but her fire breath pushes Phillip off his horse and into the forest of thorns again. After a few more shots at him, Maleficent leans in to see if he is dead, only to get hit on the face by the sword. Not having any luck trying to bite the prince, she sets the whole forest on fire. Running from the fast approaching fire, Phillip climbs a cliff and looks back as the dragon chases him. Forcing him to the edge of the cliff, a fire blast shots the shield of virtue out of Phillips hands and over the edge of the cliff. Laughing at her triumph, Maleficent is about to land the final blow when Phillip, with the blessing of the good fairies, throws his sword which lands straight into her heart. With one last effort, maleficent tries to catch Phillip on er way down but he dodges and Maleficent falls into the fire. The last thing we see of her is her cloak with the sword of truth in it, losing its shine and turning black.
Now Imagine if you will, that every single fairy tale lives in a world of its own, and that when these fairy tales happen, it is over a long period of time, or that it happens frequently or time and space as we know it is denied as they live the story over and over again. Whatever it happens to be, this theory of time and space becomes a part of maleficents next role in the world of fantasy.
Amoung these many worlds of fairy tales is the power of the good and the power of the heartless. The heartless follow people who have good hearts and steal them, or overly corrupted hearts will do as well. All of these things belong to the game series called Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2.
To continue Maleficent's story, we need to follow the hero Sora for a few minutes. In his happy life, he was living with friends on a small island in the middle of no place in particular. But suddenly the world is filled with heartless monsters, and Sora finds he has the most powerful weapon of all. The Keyblade. With this, he can protect the realms of many fairy tales and other places.
Ripped from his world when it was destroy3d, Sora finds himself allied with Donald Duck; a most powerful sorcerer, and Goofy; the bravest of knights. Their opponents are those of evil from many worlds. These people are Hades (Herculies), Oogie Boogie (The Nightmare Before Christmas), Captain Hook (Peter Pan), Ursula (The Little Mermaid), Jafar (Aladdin) and they are all led by our favorite Mistress of evil, Maleficent. Her quest is to find the seven princesses of the realms to open the gateway of pure darkness that is in everyones hearts. To do so, she needs Seven Princesses. Jasmine (Aladdin), Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Belle (Beauty and the Beast), Snow White (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs), Alice (Alice in Wonderland), Cinderella (Cinderella) and Kairi (Kingdom Hearts) With the seven princess in her grasp, she can open the doorway of total darkness, or give the seven princesses to a higher power than herself, and rule with or beneath him. This higher power is Ansem, but he doesn't do a lot in the story alongside Maleficent.
During the game, we watch as the other bad guys get defeated, but we find out a bit more about Maleficent and her other ways of getting things done. From Sora's world, she has befriended and brainwashed Riku, one of Sora's best friends. Now the two of them fight one another throughout the story to try and save their other friend, Kairi, who has lost her heart to the heartless.
Maleficent, knowing Riku could use all the help he can get, gives him the power to control the heartless, with the warning that he needs to be careful what he says and feels, lest the heartless take him too.
At this point of the story, Sora catches up with maleficent, and is confronted by Beast (Beauty and the Beast,) and has to defeat him to get to Maleficent. Inraged at the failure to have Sora eliminated, Maleficent goes up against him herself, first using her human form and fails. Riku, seeing her failure, stabs her with a dark blade and increases her power. Maleficent evolves into her Dragon form. However, Sora defeats Maleficent and kills her. The only thing left behind is her cloak.
We don't hear from Maleficent until the next game. All the realms are revived and Maleficent's cloak is returned to a place known as 'The Tower,” and she is revived when the three good fairies remember her name at the same time. It sounds a little cheesy, but maleficent is back to do some more damage.
The Magic of Maleficent
(Image to be retrieved)
Out of most of the characters that Walt Disney made, Maleficent displays a lot of magical ability. Some physical, some more 'case and effect.' Each ability as it appears in the movie is significant to both Maleficent herself, but in some places, symbolic of other things tied to mythology.
Teleporting/Appearing; The very first thing we see of Maleficent is a bolt of thunder, then a small flame growing quickly to shape Maleficent. Teleporting is one trick given to more villains than heroes, because it gives evil one of its upper hands. Maleficent uses teleporting to keep ahead of her opponents (especially if it is the three good fairies.) Using fire and thunder to teleport around shows a link to evil.
Sleeping Beauty is based in the 14th century, and fire, especially unnatural fire, was associated with the devil and witchcraft. But more on that later.
Winds; What initially signals that maleficent is coming is a forceful wind blowing the doors open and throwing tapestries everywhere. Later, when Maleficent conjours her forest of thorns, it is sent to the castle in clouds traveling on high winds, so her control of elements is rather powerful and unique.
The elements of nature (Fire, Earth, Water and Air) both have positive and negative attributes. For example, fire is warming, but destructive. Water can replenish thirst, but can drown you. What is shown here is that maleficent controls more negative forms of elements. Her control of Air is destructive. Her forcefulness is demonstrted by the powers of the winds when she appears for the first time, and when she summons the forest.
Control of Fire; Fire is Maleficent's signature. For an unatural twist, her fire has a green base, and lets off a thick purple and black smoke. Throughout the movie, we see that Malficent's most controlled element of nature is fire. She is immune to the heat and burning of fire, can control fire to burn quickly, rise, change color, go out, or start in the middle of nowhere. Fire is also the signature element for most dragons. Her draconic form also uses fire from within. This suggests that the fire she can breathe in her dragon form gives her the same protective elements when she is in her human form.
Maleficent's first demonstration of her fire is to ward off the guards when she has finished her prophecy of the Princesses demise. As guards circle her, she sets herself on fire so they can't touch her. From the fire, she teleports away.
What is also very symbolic is opposites. Fire is opposite to water, and Maleficent's least used elemnt (on or off screen) is water. The only mention of it is that she can send frosts to destroy Flora's flowers. And even now, water is in its coldest stage as ice. Maleficent has no level of emotion, which water is symbolic of. During the discussion on how to protect the Princess, Merryweather asks what can they do because Maleficent knows everything, to which Fauna responds, ”Oh, but she doesn't dear. Maleficent doesn't know anything about love, or kindness, or the joy of helping others. You know sometimes I don't think she's really very happy.” fauna is quite right. Maleficent has very little happiness in the 16 years after cursing Aurora. So her overuse of fire is a good sign of how little human emotion she possesses.
Thunder and Lightening; Maleficent's most used offensive magic. When we first visit the Forbidden Mountain, we learn that 'as long as Maleficent's domain, the Forbidden Mountain, thundered with her wrath and frustration, her evil prophecy had not yet been for filled.' (This is a further example on the last paragraph of “Control of Fire.”) Her poer extends to controlling the weather and elements even more so because of her emotions.
When we see her inside having a rant at her Imps for not completing her requests, she glows purple whenever she is truly frustrated. At the same time, thunder and lightening echo outside. When she becomes fully enraged with the Imps, she whirls her staff and thunder flies at them.
Later on, maleficent tries to slow Phillip down y hurling thuderbolts at him. The first destroying an overpass of rock to bring it down on him, and a second to destroy an bridge so he couldn't cross it.
Prophecy; Maleficent has the ability to create prophecies, but these are a cross between creating a future event and fortelling the future. So the prophecy, wheter true or not, is also a curse. The first one is the one she places upon the princess Aurora, and the second is upon Phillip. Both doom lives to something sad and painful. Aurora's death, and Phillip to spend 100 years in Maleficent's dungeon before she releases him as an old man of about 120 to go and kiss his princess of 16.
Both Prophecies have a mystical sense about them, but both of them are intervened in one way or another. The first prophecy is cut off by Merryweather, who grants Aurora ageless sleep as opposed to death. And the prophecy for Phillip does not come to pass, as the fairies free him in less than five minutes of the prophecies creation.
What this comes to prove is that while yes, prophecies can come true, there is a certain rule of how they come to pass. For example; Maleficen'ts first prophecy came to pass because she came and possessed Aurora into doing what she needed...
Will-of-the-Whisp (Wisp); This Mythological creature is one of the travelers most feared disasters. The power of the Wisp. The physical form of a Wisp is a singular or several lights in a marsh/bog, that lure people into following it with its hypnotic light. What the traveler is unaware of is that the lights are leading them to danger that is most definitely fatal, such as quicksand or an animals cave or something dangerous as such.
The Wisp is nothing more than a light, or perhaps a dark fairy, depending on where you go in mythological referances. Either case, it is a high concentration of magic, and many referances agree that it takes a high power of magic to defeat or injure a Wisp. Wisps are immune to physical assults, as either they are simply a ball of transcendent light, or the fairy is far to fast to be hit. But the end result for the person following them is sure death.
This was definitely the best way to get Aurora to follow Maleficent into the tower and to the spinning wheel. Combining a most powerful sorceress with something that is both powerfully strong in magic and untouchable to the human world. Maleficent appears in a transcendent form in Aurora's fireplace, and then turns the green crystal ball on her staff into the Wisp. She herself is apart of the Wisp, so she could use other magic from within, like removing the wall of the fireplace or even moving Aurora along a shorter path and making the fairies go around in circles and down the longer hallways with many different options.
Cursed Spinning Wheel; The cursed spinning wheel is the key turning point in the story. It becomes the trap that the Wisp lead her to, and also becomes the last part of the prophecy. Aurora, while not under the control of the Wisp so much anymore, comes to a choice. But the tempation is too strong for her and she touches the cursed spindle and falls into a deep sleep.
Forest of Thorns;
Black Dragon; According to the rules of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), Black Dragons are foul tempered, angry, possessive, greey and uncontrolable.
Translations of Maleficent
Well, there are many ways to look at Maleficent as an individual without using common denominators for other characters in the movie. Using different translations such as horoscopes, colorations, forms, and so on, we can find many ways to translate who Maleficent is.
Name meaning; As a starting point, lets look at the name 'Maleficent.'
The name is a combination of the English words malice, malevolent and defiant.
Malice; Noun; The desire to cause harm or injury to someone or something.
Word History; Middle English, Old English, Latin
Malevolent; Adjective; Full of ill will or to wishing ill.
Word History; Latin
With the combination of these two words, the end result (and meaning) is; A person who wishes to cause injury and is of ill will. Maleficent fits the bill perfectly. Her short temper for people defying her has led to many an Imp getting shot by a thunderbolt. For not being invited to the the celebrations for baby Aurora, she casts a curse of ill fortune upon the Princess, and that becomes extended onto the whole palace and kingdom.
Chinese Astrology; Of the 12 signs of the Chinese Zodiac, the Dragon is the fifth sign around. There are many descriptions for a dragon. Hre are the ones that we are looking for.
Color coding; Predominantly, Maleficent dresses in black with traces of purple in her robes and cloak. She has different shades of green around her, including her skin color, crystal ball, and any fire she surrounds herself with is green.
Dungeons and Dragons Deity; In this world, black and purple are the colors of the religion of Shar (shahr); the Goddess of Darkness, Loss and the night. Sharians are the makers of their own magic known as 'Shadow Weave' and are blessed with gifts of darkness.
Shar in herself is a twisted being who enjoys the unexpressed pain of others. Common words to describe her are jealousy, cruel, malevolent and one of the greatest forms of evil known. Her power as a deity is to know everything that happens in the darkness and at night, remind you of the pain that has passed but not forgotten, bring out the grudges you hold and help you commit quiet revenge upon your enemies, to name a few things. Her most hated thing is the moon and the goddess of the moon; Selune (seh-loon-ay).
This is a good description of Maleficent and her many translations. Maleficent is much like Shar, in that she is that of darkness, is very jealous and she thrives of darkness and the night. She hates the three good fairies, in turn being Selune. Did Maleficent become a greater deity of the Dungeons and Dragons world? Was the powerful villain of a children's movie the inspiration for the goddess for all that is dark and evil?
(Study unfinished. Will finish in the future.)