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Gramma Tala is the tritagonist of the 2016 Disney animated feature film Moana.
Tala is Moana's grandmother and the mother of Motunui's village leader Tui. Like her granddaughter, she has a love for sea exploration, having come from an ancestry of South Pacific navigators. Unlike the other villagers, Tala has not forgotten her roots (or chose to ignore them, as in Tui's case). She hopes to see her people someday return to their former greatness as master wayfinders.
Tala is said to be the "keeper of the ancient stories", having deep knowledge and understanding of her heritage and culture. She is also aware of the growing darkness that threatens her people, and looks to Moana to someday utilize her wayfinding talents to liberate the world.
Tala is spirited, eccentric, and independent. She is fiercely devoted to the idea of being true to yourself and "listening to your heart." As such, she never adhered to normality for the sake of fitting in, making her somewhat of an outcast, though she holds the reputation of "village crazy lady" with prideful awareness. She is also mischievous and playful, at one point noting that she can keep secrets from Tui if she so please, as although he is chief, she is still his mother.
Her independence nevertheless makes her a beloved and respected figure to Moana, who takes after her grandmother more so than her parents. With so much in common, the two share an extremely close bond and provide support constantly throughout Moana's early life, and even following Tala's death.
Despite her individuality, Tala loved her family and people immensely. As the sole villager to believe there's truth behind Polynesia's supernatural elements, Tala lived through much of her latter years with the heavy burden of wanting to restore balance to the dying world, but having no resources to do so. She was nevertheless optimistic throughout the crises, and had the utmost confidence in Moana, the ocean's chosen savior. Trusting the ocean and believing that her granddaughter held the heart and drive necessary to return the heart of Te Fiti and save Montunui, Tala put her wisdom to good use by using her last remaining strength to guide and prepare Moana for her life-changing journey across the sea. This would ultimately benefit Tala's people and the world, as well as end Moana's case of crippling identity crises. Tala words during "I Am Moana (Song of the Ancestors)" strongly implies that each of those outcomes were intentional and foreseen.
Despite her loving intentions, Tala confessed to feelings of guilt for placing so much responsibility on Moana prior to the former's death. So much so, that she felt no disappointment after Moana's apparent failure. When her granddaughter showed a desire to return home despite the mission being incomplete, Tala remained supportive and loving, even promising to remain by Moana's side for the entire trip back. This is an example of Tala's selflessness. More than her love for the seas or respect for her heritage, Tala's greatest pride and concern is the well-being and happiness of her family.
Role in Moana [Spoiler Warning]
Gramma Tala tells Moana that they were born navigators. She dies, but gets reincarnated as a mystical manta ray.