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CHARACTER CORNER: Princess Merida of Dunbroch

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

Princess Merida of Dunbroch is a Scottish princess and the daughter of Queen Elinor and King Fergus from the Pixar movie, "Brave." She is the eleventh official Disney Princess and the first to originate from Pixar. Merida 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

Despite the Queen's desire to see Merida as a proper royal lady, Princess Merida is headstrong, free-spirited and athletic girl who wants to take control of her own destiny. She has perfected her skill in archery, sword-fighting and riding her horse, Angus. She is actually one of the most skilled archers ever seen in her kingdom. At 16 years old, she has an outgoing, forceful, and willful personality. Merida does have a playful softness at heart; particularly when it comes to her younger triplet brothers, Harris, Hubert, and Hamish.

The brainchild of original director, Brenda Chapman, Merida is Pixar's first female lead. Overall, Merida has received good reports from critics, some saying she is "a breath of fresh air" among the princesses. Merida is voiced by actress Kelly Macdonald. Macdonald was hired to replace Reese Witherspoon, the actress originally cast in the role. Two of the songs in the movie, "Touch the Sky" and "Into The Open Air," were sung by Julie Fowlis, as Merida's off-screen musical thoughts. 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.

Currently, Merida is a very common character to meet and greet at the various Disney parks. In Disneyland, she meets guests in "Fantasy Faire" and she is featured in the "World of Color" show and Disney California Adventure. In Magic Kingdom at WDW, she can be found at Fairytale Garden in Fantasyland and she participates in "Happily Ever After" and the "Festival of Fantasy Parade." In Disneyland Paris, she meets guests in Frontierland. Merida also appears in the nighttime show "Disney Dreams!". From February 8 to May 10, 2016, Merida was part of "La Forêt de l'Enchantement: Une aventure" musicale Disney. At Hong Kong Disneyland, Merida appears in the stage show "Mickey and the Wondrous Book" in "Storybook Theater", singing "Touch the Sky" with Ariel and Rapunzel. she is also in "Disney in the Stars", however she doesn't have plans to do meet and greets just yet. At Tokyo Disney Resort, Merida can be seen at "Pixar Playtime" in "Tokyo DisneySea". She is also introduced to the Tokyo Disneyland version of "It's a Small World" ride when the attraction reopened in 2018. In Shanghai Disneyland, Merida can be found at "Enchanted Storybook Castle" and "Golden Fairytale Fanfare."

On May 11, 2013, Merida joined the Disney Princess line-up, making her the eleventh Disney Princess in the franchise, and so far the only Disney Princess to not come from the Disney Animated Canon. Just few fun facts about Princess Merida of DunBroch:

Her name means "honorable" in Gaelic. Many people believe that "Merida" is a variation of "Meredith". However, Brave is set in Scotland perhaps during the Celtic times, so this cannot be true. "Meredith" is a Welsh name, and until the late twentieth century, it was exclusively male (meaning "lord"). 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's film (along with Moana) is the shortest title among all the Disney Princess films. 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 throughout the film. Merida is the first Pixar character to appear on Once Upon a Time, as well as on Sofia the First.She is the first Princess whose film is not a musical, though two of the songs were sung by characters.She is also the first Princess to ever sing a song in any language aside from English.She is the first Disney Princess, with the second being Moana, to originate neither from a fairy tale/literature work or based on a historical figureMerida is the first Princess to be devoid of a love interest, followed by Moana.She and Moana are currently the only Disney Princesses who do not have a "Palace Pet."

Edited By: Ryder Lazo

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