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- “Nonsense, child. If you'd lost all your faith, I couldn't be here. And here I am.”
- ―The Fairy Godmother
The Fairy Godmother is a supporting character in Disney's 1950animated feature film, Cinderella. As her name suggests, she is the magical fairy godmother of the film's titular character.
As she herself explains, the Fairy Godmother is the embodiment of Cinderella's hope. She did not appear until Cinderella was at her weakest point — in the case of the film, the moment Cinderella nearly loses hope of escaping her abusers and living a better life – and introduced herself as a physical beacon of hope. When her arrival nears, twinkling lights will surround the area in which the Fairy Godmother is to appear; said lights will then gather and form themselves into the godmother.
The Fairy Godmother is equipped with a magic wand that she can summon from nothingness. Said wand holds incredible power, such as metamorphosis and the ability to warp reality, among others. The wand's magic is not exclusive to the Fairy Godmother, however, as mortals can also wield its power and use it as they so please, be it for good or evil. How much magic the Fairy Godmother holds without her wand is questionable, though it has been implied to be minimal.
- “The Fairy Godmother should have a kindly voice with a certain age in it. I don't see her as being goofy or stupid, but rather as having a wonderful sense of humor.”
- ―Walt Disney
The Fairy Godmother's design underwent numerous changes in development, with the original source becoming difficult to narrow down. Eventually, layout artist Ken O'Connor looked to his wife, Mary Alice O'Connor, for inspiration. The Fairy Godmother's design was what Ken tried to imagine how she'd look a few decades older. Dedicated to community work and charities, Mary Alice's personality served to fit the character as well.
The Fairy Godmother is a motherly, kind, and genuine character with an optimistically pure heart. She serves as a physical symbol of hope in Cinderella's life and speaks with a gentle tone. Though wise to a degree, the Fairy Godmother tends to be comically absent-minded, continuously loses sight of the obvious, and has a habit of both losing her wand and forgetting her magic words "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo". Even so, she can piece together her mind quickly enough and enjoys her ability to ensure dreams come true, treating Cinderella as her own daughter, in a sense.
For all of her sweetness, she doesn't sympathize with those who are cruel or unforgiving towards others. This is evidenced by her scene in the original film, where Lucifer tries to attack Gus, only to be scared off after she turns the mouse into a majestic horse. As Lucifer retreats in fear, the Fairy Godmother teasingly blasts sparks of magic from her wand towards him, while tauntingly saying, "Serves him right!"
- In 2010, Fairy Godmother christened Tiana for her welcome into the Disney Princess court in New York City, New York.
- On October 2, 2011, she also christened Rapunzel for her welcome into the Disney Princess royal court in London, England.
- Verna Felton, the Fairy Godmother, provided the voices for many other famous Disney roles, including the Elephant Matriarch and Mrs. Jumbo in Dumbo, the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, Aunt Sarah in Lady and the Tramp, Winifred in The Jungle Book, and both Flora and the Queen in Sleeping Beauty.
- The Fairy Godmother is described in Descendants: Wicked World and Rise of the Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel as being the most powerful magic user in the world, along with Maleficent.