Princess Merida is the daughter of King Fergus and Queen Elinor in Disney/Pixar's 2012 film Brave. She is voiced by Kelly Macdonald, her off-screen singing voice is provided by Julie Fowlis and is the first Scottish princess in the Disney Princess franchise. Merida is the 11th official Disney Princess.
Princess Merida is the headstrong and free-spirited 16-year old tomboyish, willful daughter of Queen Elinor who rules the kingdom alongside her husband, King Fergus. Queen Elinor's expectations of her daughter cause Merida to see Elinor as being distant while also causing friction between the two. Despite Elinor's desire to see Merida as a proper royal lady, Merida is an impetuous girl who wants to take control of her own destiny. Merida has honed her skill in archery, and is one of the most skilled archers ever seen. She is also skilled in sword-fighting and racing across the countryside on her horse, Angus. Despite her outgoing, forceful, headstrong and willful personality, Merida does have a playful softness of heart; particularly when it comes to her younger triplet brothers.
Merida is a very brave, bold, daring, courageous, stubborn, rebellious and headstrong girl who does not fit the stereotypical princess role. Rather than being a damsel in distress who is subservient to the customs, traditions, and social restrictions her society places on her and expects her to follow, Merida openly rebels and defies her heritage as a princess and would like for nothing more than to be a normal girl. She is very athletic and enjoys nothing more than riding her horse Angus and practicing her archery, of which she is the best in the kingdom. She also seems to be skilled in sword fighting, as shown in the Brave featurette "Cutting the Class". She tends to be ungraceful and has bad manners, and is extremely tomboyish.
In terms of personality, she greatly parallels and resembles her father, as the two both tend to be unruly, impulsive and loud. However, she also does resemble her mother in terms of stubbornness and inability to listen to others.
When Merida was younger, she was a very small, cute little child and had a close relationship with both her mother and her father. She showed a curious side as she followed the wisps, despite needing to go back to the trail and seemed to believe in the legends and myths of her kingdom, highlighting her innocence and naivety. She also tended to be playful, as shown by her playing hide and seek with her mother and being very hyperactive. She is also shown to have developed an interest in archery early on her childhood, possibly by influence from her father.
As she has grown up, Merida is still very energetic and free spirited, but has a more strained relationship with her mother (though she still holds the same good relationship with her father) and is more rebellious. This is because she views the strict training and social etiquette that her mother teaches her as tedious and bothersome. She also thinks her mother places too much expectation on her to become the same type of person she is without listening to what she wants to be, which is true since her mother continually and strictly instructed her in how to be a "proper" princess, and arranged for the three clans to present the three clans' next heirs as potential fiancées for Merida without her consent while neglecting Merida's feelings. However, Merida also hardly ever understands her mother's feelings about wanting to do what she believed would be best for Merida or properly conveying her feelings and understanding how her desire for freedom and rebelliousness could potentially and negatively affect the kingdom. Over the course of the film, however, after Merida rebonds with her mother (in bear form) while they catch fish to eat at a river bank and realizes all the trouble she has caused with her reckless actions, she proceeds to make amends and (with help from her mother) creates a diplomatic solution that allows everyone to be happy and for her to have a better understanding of the importance of her mother's role and wisdom while teaching her mother to learn to listen and understand her better.
She is also shown to be very adventurous and brave, as she enjoys wandering around the forests that surround her kingdom and even climbed the Crone's Tooth and drank from the fire falls, something her father has mentioned that only the bravest kings have done. She was also willing to defend her mother from her father after her father tried to kill her (as she was in her bear form and he mistakenly believed that she in her bear form killed Elinor) and again when she shot arrows at Mor'du to protect him from attacking her father.
Unfortunately, Merida is very short tempered and impulsive, causing her to do things without considering the consequences her actions can lead to. For example, she wanted her parents to call off the gathering for the three clans allied with the DunBroch despite the fact it could possibly lead to war. She also entered the games that would determine who would be her bride so she could "shoot for her own hand". However, she was unaware that this would lead to a disagreement between the three clans and DunBroch clan until after she returns to the castle with her mother after going to the witch's cottage in an attempt to find a way to reverse the curse that turned Elinor into the bear. This was also shown when she bought a spell from a witch to "change her mother" without realizing the potential harm the spell could do to her or what would happen to her. It is through seeing the consequences of her actions that she goes to appreciate the role her mother plays as diplomat, especially when (due to Elinor being a bear) Merida had to act as the diplomat and settle matters herself. This also helps to mend the distance between her and Elinor.
Merida can also be slightly selfish, as shown when after feeding her mother the cake that contained the spell that would "change her mother", she ignored her mother's pain and groaning and consistently bombarded her with questions of whether she had changed her mind about the engagement, and also when she wanted to call off the gathering, despite seemingly knowing it might cause trouble as she mentions "we expect your declarations of war in the morning". However, Merida can understand when she is in the wrong and will do her best to fix what has happened.
Despite her impulsiveness and short tempered nature, Merida can keep a calm head in a dangerous situation, as shown when she managed to calm her mother after her mother nearly attacked and ran frantically after the wisps and when she settled the dispute between the three different clans. She is also very quick witted, as she quickly managed to bargain the witch for a spell by offering to give her her necklace in exchange for all of the wood carvings and one spell and when she realized she could enter herself in the games as she was "the first born of the four clans" and could therefore win her own hand in marriage, along with understanding that Mor'du the bear was actually the prince from the legends who led his kingdom into war between him and his brothers due to his selfish desire and lust for power.
Merida is kind and caring to those she really cares about and who are very close to her, as shown through her interaction with her family, particularly her brothers (whom she dotes on). She is also shown to care for her horse, Angus, greatly, as she personally tends and cares for him and doesn't let anyone else do it for her.
Overall, Merida has grown throughout the course of the film from a stubborn, rebellious, and defiant person to a more understanding, open minded individual but remaining brave, courageous, kind, adventurous, free spirited, compassionate, and loyal to those she loves the most.
Currently, Merida is a very common character to meet and greet at the various Disney parks. In the Magic Kingdom, she can be found at Fairytale Garden in Fantasyland. At Disneyland Park, she meets guests near the It's a Small World attraction near a gate used as a parade terminus. She is also seen sometimes at the World Showcase in Epcot.
Merida received a few changes for the "deluxe princess" redesign. Her dress is brighter in color, is now off-the-shoulders, and was given glittery designs of celtic patterns and on her arms with a belt with a piece of a kilt with the pattern representing Clan DunBroch. Merida's thick curly reddish-orange hair is much smoother, for it was quite thick in her film.
Update to this controversy: In response to the petition on Change.org, with over 200,000 signatures, Disney says that this controversy had been "blown out of proportion" and that this redesign will be used for a "limited line of products" and as a "one-time stylized version" for Merida's coronation.
Even though many are convinced that Disney has pulled Merida's redesign (because she appears like she does in her movie on the Disney Princess website), this is not true. The Disney Princess website was never updated with Merida's redesign, so, like Disney insisted, you can't push back to something that was never changed to begin with."
Between May and October of 2013, Disney used Merida's Pixar appearance in marketing. In October, a new redesign of Merida, that was more in line with the public's wishes was released.
As of 2014, new redesign of Merida is used only in her 'personal' marketing, when she is alone in merchandise. In products where she is seen along with other Princesses (also in all press releases, books and magazines) her old 'coronation'-redesign is used, to make her look more match to other Princesses.
- "Can I shoot an arrow? [picks up the large bow from the table] Can I? Can I? Can I? Can I? Please, can I?" [falls and laughs as the bow is too big for her]
- "I missed..."
- "I saw a will-o'-the-wisp!"
- [narrating] "Some say our destiny is tied to the land, as much a part of us as we are of it. Others say fate is woven together like a cloth, so that one's destiny intertwines with many others. It's the one thing we search for, or fight to change. Some never find it. But there are some who are led."
- [narrating] "I became a sister to three new brothers. The princes. Hamish, Hubert, and Harris. Wee devils, more like. They get away with murder! I can never get away with anything!"
- [narrating] "But every once in a while, there's a day when I don't have to be a princess. No lessons, no expectations. A day where anything can happen. A day I can change my fate."
- [cuts in] "WHOOSH! One swipe, his sword shattered. Then CHOMP! Dad's leg was clean off! Down the monster's throat it went!"
- "Mor'du has never been seen since. And is roaming the wilds, waiting his chance at revenge." [roars]
- [moans] "Mum! It's just my bow!"
- [removes her bow from the table] "Mum, you'll never guess what I did today!"
- "I climbed up the Crone's Tooth and drank from the Fire Falls."
- [disappointed] "...Nothing, Mum."
- [in the royal stables; taking care of Angus and rehearsing her own speech] "Call off the gathering! Would that kill them? You're the queen. You can just tell the lords, "The princess is not ready for this. In fact, she might not ever be ready for this, so that's that. Good day to you. We'll expect your declarations of war in the morning."
- "I don't want my life to be over. I want my freedom!"
- "I'm not doing any of this to hurt you."
- "But it's my life, it's... I'm just not ready."
- "I think I could make you understand if you would just..."
- "Listen. [Angus whinnies at her] I swear, Angus, this isn't going to happen. [Angus touches her sympathetically and she pets him] Not if I have any say in it."
- [after Young MacGuffin shoots and misses] "I bet he wishes he was tossing cabers."
- [sarcastically] "Oh, that's attractive."
- [to King Fergus] "Good arm!"
- "I am Merida, firstborn descendant of Clan Dun'Broch! And I'll be shooting for my own hand!"
- "You're the one that wants me to...!"
- "I followed the rules!"
- "I just don't care how..."
- "Just listen!"
- "OCH! This is so unfair!"
- [grabs a sword and swings it around angrily] "You were never there for me! This whole marriage is what you want! Do you ever bother to ask what I want? No! You walk around telling me what to do, what not to do! Trying to make me be like you! Well, I'm not going to be like you!"
- "And you're a beast! [points her sword at the family tapestry that Elinor had been working on] That's what you are!"
- [sticks the tip of her sword into the tapestry] "I'll never be like you!"
- "I'd rather DIE than be like you!"
- [excitedly] "You're a WITCH!"
- "That's why the wisps led me here!"
- [more excited] "You'll change my fate!"
- "You see... It's my mother--"
- "A cake?"
- "Yes! I want it! Are you sure... if I give this to my Mum, it will change my fate?"
- [after Queen Elinor unexpectedly turns into a bear] "Mum? You're... You're a BEAR! Why a bear? OH! That scaffy witch gave me a gammy spell! [Bear Elinor glares at her, demanding to know what she meant] It's not my fault. I didn't ask her to change you into a bear! I just wanted her to change... [guilty] you."
- "There's no use having a go at me. The witch is to blame!"
- "Stop! STOP!! [She takes the sheet away from Bear Elinor and she gasps in horror, covering her body with her paws] You're COVERED with FUR! You're not naked. It's not like anybody's gonna see you! [They suddenly realize that Maudie the maid is looking at them in horror. Bear Elinor sheepishly waves at Maudie and she screams and runs away] Now you've done it."
- [Elinor gestures to Merida's bow on the table] "Sorry, I don't speak Bear."
- [looks at the black berries; to Bear Elinor] "Find those by the creek, did you? [Bear Elinor nods and keeps eating the berries] They're nightshade berries. [Bear Elinor eats another one] They're poisonous. [Bear Elinor spits out the berries and tries to chug down some water] Where did you get this water? It has worms!"
- "Legends are lessons. They ring with truths. Our kingdom is young; our stories are not yet legends, but in them, our bond was struck. Our clans were once enemies. But when we were threatened from the north, you joined together to defend our lands. You fought for each other. You risked everything for each other."
- [closing narration] "There are those who say fate is something beyond our command. That destiny is not our own, but I know better. Our fate lives within us, you only have to be brave enough to see it."
- She joined the Disney Princess line-up on May 11, 2013, making her the 11th Disney Princess in the franchise, and so far the only Disney Princess to not come from the Disney Animated Canon.
- In fact, she is the first whose film is not a musical, though two of the songs were sung by characters.
- She is the second Disney Princess with red hair (the first being Ariel from The Little Mermaid) and the third Disney Princess with blue eyes (the first two being Cinderella and Ariel, and followed by Anna and Elsa).
- She is unique among other Disney Princesses as she has no love interest.
- She is the 2nd computer-animated Disney Princess and the 2nd one with freckles, the first being Rapunzel, followed by Anna and Elsa.
- She is the second Disney Princess to have her film rated PG after Rapunzel from Tangled, and followed by Anna and Elsa from Frozen.
- She is the second Princess to have biological siblings (Ariel being the first and Anna and Elsa being the third and fourth).
- Merida is the first (and currently the only) Disney Princess to have siblings of the opposite gender (three triplet brothers to be exact), since the other Disney Princesses have sisters, stepsisters, or are an only child.
- Merida is also the first Disney Princess to be the first-born sibling, followed by Elsa being Anna's older sister.
- She is the third Princess to use a weapon (shortbow and arrows) in her feature film. Mulan being the first in using swords and fans, and Rapunzel being the second in using a frying pan (though a frying pan isn't a real weapon; she just uses it for one, making Merida the second to use an actual weapon).
- She is the second Princess to be trained with a bow and arrow, Mulan being the first.
- She is the second Princess to be raised by both of her biological parents for her entire current life, Mulan being the first.
- She is the only Princess who isn't a Spell Card character in Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom.
- She is the fourth Princess to wear a cape in her feature film. Snow White being the first, Aurora being the second, Mulan (in her soldier uniform) third, and Anna and Elsa being the fifth and sixth. Belle wears one in her direct-to-DVD midquel Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas and Jasmine wears a cape in the Aladdin episode "The Wind Jackal of Mozenrath".
- She is the fourth Princess to have a horse companion. The others being Cinderella, Belle and Mulan.
- Merida is the fifth to be shown physically as a child in her feature film. Cinderella being the first, Aurora the second, Tiana the third, Rapunzel the fourth, Anna the sixth, and Elsa the seventh.
- She is the second Princess to have a parent physically transformed, Ariel being the first.
- She is the second Princess to be visibly wounded (gets cut on her right arm by Elinor as a bear). The first being Mulan (she was cut on her chest by Shan Yu).
- She is the first Princess in a film in which the villain is defeated by a parent.
- She is the fifth Disney Princess in which she has to deal with an unwanted marriage as a major or minor source of conflict. Aurora is the first (in which she did not know the boy she met was Prince Phillip), Belle is the second (as she has to deal with Gaston's intent to marry her solely out of vanity and to fulfill societal norms), Jasmine is the third (in that her father is trying to marry her off before her next birthday), and Pocahontas is the fourth (in that her father is trying to marry her off to Kocoum). Hers is because, like with Jasmine and Pocahontas, one of her parents wants to marry her off.
- She is the second to not have an American accent as she has a Scottish accent, the first being Aurora as she has an English accent, though Tiana's Southern accent makes her the third Princess without a standard American accent.
- Merida is the third Princess with the least redesign update, the first being Tiana, second being Rapunzel.
- Merida is the first Princess to not have a love interest, followed by Elsa.
- Merida is the second Princess to stop her father from killing a loved one (her mother), the first being Pocahontas stopping her father from killing her love (John Smith), although Fergus did not know that the bear he was trying to kill was Elinor and thought that Elinor was already dead because of the bear..
- She is the first and so far only Disney Princess to originate neither from a fairy tale/literature work (Snow White; Aurora from "Sleeping Beauty"; Cinderella; Ariel from "The Little Mermaid"; Belle from "Beauty and the Beast"; Rapunzel; Anna and Elsa from "The Snow Queen"; Tiana from "The Frog Prince"; and Jasmine from the "Aladdin" story of "1001 Arabian Nights") or based on a historical figure (Pocahontas and Mulan).
- She is one of many Princesses to throw a hissy-fit when she gets mad.
- Tia Kratter, responsible for Merida's initial character design, has admitted that Merida was based on British model and actress Lily Cole and Brenda Chapman came up with the concept of Merida's character as a combination of one of her daughters and a friend.
- One of the most notable things is that she is the first female protagonist in all of Pixar history. The second, will be Joy from upcoming film Inside Out.
- Merida is the third heroine/main protagonist to have a talent in a sport. Pocahontas being the first, since she is able to canoe down rapids, and Mulan being the second with martial arts.
- Reese Witherspoon was originally casted to voice Merida, but due to scheduling conflicts, she was replaced by Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald.
- The setting location for Merida's story is the 5th specified after Belle (France), Pocahontas (Virginia, USA), Mulan (China) and Tiana (Louisiana, USA). Jasmine is the exception, since though the setting is of Middle Eastern influence and architecture, there is no country name ever mentioned for the location of the Agrabah Kingdom.
- Merida is the third Pixar Princess after Atta and Dot in 1998 from A Bug's Life. However, she is the first human Pixar Princess.
- Merida is the only Pixar Princess in the main Disney Princess franchise, and as such is technically the only Disney Princess to originate from a film not actually made by Disney.
- Merida is the second main character to have a talent for archery and compete in archery tournaments, the first being Robin Hood, but the third character to be a skilled archer, the second being Mulan.
- Merida has more than 1500 individually sculpted, red strands that generate about 111,700 total hairs.
- If Merida's curls were straightened, her hair would be four feet long and reach the middle of her calf.
- With five dresses, plus a cloak, quiver, hand wrap and necklace, as well as torn dresses, Merida has a total of 22 different costumes. She also has five different hairstyles.
- Merida is the second Disney character to say to someone turned into a bear "I don't speak bear". The 1st being Tanana who says that to Kenai when he is a bear.
- Merida is one of the few human heroines to not be seen barefoot in any of her media yet. She shares the likes of this with Snow White, Alice, Eilonwy, Belle, Anna and Elsa.
- Apparently, Merida and Young MacGuffin were going to be the "canon" couple, but then the filmmakers decided it would be better to leave her single.
- DunBroch is thought to be set near Glencoe, Scotland.
- Merida is the third main character of a Pixar film not to have a love interest, the first being Sulley, and the second being Remy.
- After her coronation into the Disney Princess line in May 11, 2013, she is the first Princess to be devoid of a love interest, followed by Elsa.
- Merida is the fourth Disney Princess to choose to run away from home, the first being Snow White, second being Jasmine, third being Mulan, and fifth being Elsa. Ariel and Rapunzel didn't actually run away. They were taking an offer to leave home to fulfill their destinies (Flotsam and Jetsam to Ariel, and Flynn Rider to Rapunzel).
- Merida is the third Disney Princess to be locked in her bedroom by a parental figure, the first being Cinderella and the second being Rapunzel. However, in Merida's case Fergus did this to protect her, whileLady Tremaine did it to Cinderella to stop her from marrying the prince. Some suggest that Elsa could be the third, but her parents did not lock her in her bedroom, they made her stay in there for the majority of her childhood. Ariel also doesn't count as she and her sisters were only grounded/beached (in the 3rd film and in some episodes of the TV series) by King Triton, not locked up. Some suggest that Aurora could be the third after King Stefan locked her in a bedroom in Maleficent. However, in Aurora's case Stefan also did this to protect her and this occurrence might not count since the film is live-action.
- Merida shares her interest in apples with Snow White.
- Merida's hair is softened in her 2D appearance.
- Merida will be the first Disney Princess to wield a weapon in merchandise.
- Merida is the first Disney Princess, since Pocahontas, to be raised as royalty. The others include Snow White, Ariel, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Anna and Elsa.
- Merida is the first flesh-and-blood Pixar meet-in-greet character in any of the Disney Parks.
- Merida is the first Princess to debut in a redesigned costume rather than a plain design (in her case, because her former 2D controversial redesign).
- Merida is the third Princess with a controversial redesign, the first two being Pocahontas and Mulan.
- Merida is the first Princess to come from an original story which is considered a fairy tale.
- Merida is currently the third Disney Princess without a sequel, with the first two being Snow White and Tiana. She is followed by Anna and Elsa.
- Merida is the first and only Princess to not sing at all in her current age. However, she did sing a song as a child with her mother, "Noble Maiden Faire", which is considered the film's main theme song.
- Her name means "honorable" in Gaelic.
- All six members of the royal DunBroch family have been seen without their clothes at one point, but Merida is the only one that actually wears undergarments (a long, white shift resembling a white version of her dark blue-green dress, it also doubles as her nightgown). She is also the fourth Disney female to be seen in her undergarments, after Esmeralda, Mulan, and Rapunzel (behind-the-scenes only). Unlike their underdresses, which have shoulder straps, hers has long sleeves.
- Along with Elsa and Anna, she does not have a Palace Pet.
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