Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Charming vs Philip: Disney Princes Smackdown Vol. 1

Well we've done a little bit of exploration for how to bring your YA characters to life, what questions to ask, what to know about their personality and formative years, what sorts of histories are necessary for you as a writer to know about so that your story rocks, and we've been totally stealing characters from Disney to do this.

Click here for Aladdin.

Click here for The Little Mermaid.

Click here for Beauty and the Beast.

Don't worry there is more to come, but today...let's talk about ROMANCE!!

What makes us fall head over heels in love with a literary character? Is it his alpha male personality? Is it his cool abilities? His wit? His intelligence? His snarky remarks? The fact that he will risk his life for you (I mean the heroine of the novel)? Is it his looks? His morals? All of the above? WHAT IS IT?

We shall explore. To start this competition off I want to bring two men into the arena.

Prince Philip, say hello to everyone!

"Good day fair maidens, how are ye doing on this fine day? I had a wonderful dream last night that I would meet you. Shall we sing?"

Uh, no, Phil, this is a blog. We don't sing. Please stand over there.

And Prince Charming, say hello!

"Hello all and welcome to my blog."

Um, Charming, you might be the prince of the entire kingdom, but this isn't your blog, it's the FNC's.

"What's mine is your and yours is mine."

Umm yeah...just go stand in the corner over there. Ok? Thanks!

Well ladies, we have two princes (no not like the Spin Doctors song) and they are both charming...

"Oh Oh! Me! Me! You said my name, Charming."

Charming Shhhhh! I'm trying to make a point, I can't have you jumping up and down every second because your name is also an adjective.

Prince Charming (smolders)

Ok as I was saying, they are well-mannered, and very handsome and very rich and powerful, because they are royalty and all.

Charming and Philip puff out their chests and beam!

But honestly... while riches, looks, and power are nice and all, I need more. Tell me why should I fall in love with you?

"Well first of all I have perfected the art of wearing a feather on my head."

Um that's nice, but I was thinking something deeper. What are your hobbies? What special qualities can you bring to a relationship?

"Oh yes that fair maiden, I was en route to the point. I am very good with a sword."

Ummmmm (lol)

"What's so funny? I cut down all of those thorns hiding the castle where my true love lay sleeping."

Sorry. And hmmmm, so not only are you cute, but your well muscled too. Interesting...

"Why that's nothing! Good with a sword! Well I do say! I am resourceful and I do not let such things as a glass slipper without a matching pair go to waste. I found my fair maiden, Cinderella, using the brilliant tactic of deductive logic. If the shoe fits, then wear it."

Uh-huh, so you're saying you have brains.

"Yes indeed oh fair one."

Oh Charming, I love it when you say that. But I'm still not convinced. Can you ride a horse?

"Well I have a horse, it pulls my carriage..."

"I have a horse! And I can ride my horse! I'm very strong, very muscled. I use my sword when I ride my horse."

Philip, I kind of worry about you.

"Nonsense fair maiden, I'd slay dragons for your love. I took on the evil fairy Milificent."

Yeah true, but you're kind of hard to talk to. Do you like books? Play sports? Like the movies? Have a secret desire to be a racecar driver?

"I am simply Prince Philip. I cut down branches and can bring  fair maidens back to life with a kiss."

Ummm, Charming, what about you? What else is there to you? Do you like science? Want to discuss philosophy? Long walks on the beach? Have you memorized the secret recipe to your dead grandmother's soup because she was the only one who really understood you when you were five?

"I can find lost shoes!"

Oh geez! Charming, you're making this really hard on me. Is there anything you can do well? Any reason at all I should love you? Are you kind to animals? Do you volunteer to feed the poor?

"Yes, there is something. I'm a really great dancer!"

Philip! Please tell me you can do better. I need a reason to love you, please! 15 years of believing Disney's fairy tale princes were worth it are about to go out the window!

"I think I can convince you."


"Now close your eyes..."


"What? I'm a good kisser!"

Ok gentlemen, thanks for coming-there's the door. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

"But we've met before! In a dream-"

Philip! Out!

Ok Ladies, well there you have it. Both are pretty handsome, both have excellent arm candy potential and while a bit shallow, they are sincere. But just not quite enough to make me swoon. Also there didn't seem to be enough going on with them. One of my favorite Cinderella adaptations is Ever After with Drew Barrymore.

He was kind of a spoiled brat. He didn't want to be king. He wanted to be free and experience the world and discuss art, ride his horse, read books, talk about philosophy, debate ethics. He liked to sneak out, and he was rash and sometimes needed to be rescued himself (remember when Drew threw him on her back-yeah girl!).

Anyway, he grew up in the movie, he learned from Drew, he made social statements (I want to invite the gypsies to the ball!) and yeah, he was one hell of a great kisser.

So what say you ladies? Who won the smackdown? What qualities could have redeemed Philip and Charming?

Stay tuned for round 2...


  1. Well, I suppose one redeeming quality of Prince Charming is that even once he figures out Cinderella is nothing more than a scullery maid (although I can't remember if in the Disney version she was secretly a princess/noble all along?) he still digs her.

    I think both of them needed be less about the conquest and more about the ride--y'know, like in Enchanted! "Aurora, let's go on a date."

  2. Also, Dougray Scott (the guy from Ever After) is mad hot. I LOVE him.

  3. Ah yeah that was a redeeming quality-love is blind. But in a YA novel it just would not hold up alone, unless of course things played out more like in Ever After and she had to hide her secret from him and then finally he found out and oh-didn't care! Or he cared that she lied and they fought about her lying and she thought he was mad bc she was a scullery maid and they both blow up at the other and then finally he convinces her he doesnt care and they both say they're sorry and yeah...

  4. Well I always liked Sleeping Beauty and Philip more so I'm biased but Charming couldn't even be bothered to go look for the girl who captured his heart. He stayed behind in his palace!

  5. I agree with Stephanie on the Sleeping Beauty point. Even though he's still a two dimensional character, he's still better than Charming (Hello! Slayed a dragon for the woman he loved. I would do that in a heartbeat for my wife.) And, on a point that Frankie Diane Mallis brought up (I'm probably going to get shoes thrown at me for this) with Twilight as proof, the two dimensional Charming or Philip character works. Just like Charming and Philip, Edward is obsessed with Bella, and there is little more to his character (or Bella's for that matter). Just saying.

    as a ps: i will admit that I have read every Twilight book and enjoyed them thoroughly. character development and some other literary stuff might be lacking, but Mrs. Meyer is an absolutely wonderful storyteller.

  6. Ryan, I love a man who can admit to Twilight!

  7. LOL, that was too funny. OK, so given Charming's shoe obsession, I would rather shop with him than, well, do other things. So I choose...Edward? No ok, I choose Phillip.

  8. I loved this! It made my day.

    Hmm. I think Phillip's redeeming quality would have to be his practical skills. Imagine being stuck in a forest with the princes, Phillip would be in a much better position to guarantee survival. It's almost like an Indiana Jones VS. James Bond debate, which I frequently hold in my head.

  9. I think it is along the lines that they always get one another. (Unlike life where your husband looks at you like your crazy.) Or the fact that they always protective and caring. In most books the male character never fails you. They are PERFECT!!!!

  10. Haha! That's so cool! Um...they're both pretty...well...pretty nothing...just pretty...!
    I think I like Philip better...no...I dunno :-)

  11. If you go by the original movies alone, Prince Phillip had more of a part and substance. I've always thought it funny that he probably did more talking than Aurora in the original movie. Charming was given more to do in Cinderella 3,so to be fair, Phillip should have been given the 21st Century film equivalent.
    That being said, and the fairy tale romance brushed aside,Phillip did keep his promise to meet, risked life and limb to get to the castle, is a good rider,and a swordsman, and can take getting thrown off his horse into a mud puddle without getting upset. When Charming was redone for the Cinderella 3, I have a feeling some of what he did (eg:talking to his horse) was a nod to Prince Phillip and Samson.

  12. I always thought that Phillip was a pretty good character. He defies his parents (rebellious!) because he thinks, "I can't marry my betrothed! I just fell in love with a beautiful woman in the woods!" He is a connoisseur of the arts (case in point: singing with Aurora!). He is silly (talks to his horse!). And finally, he faces death when he battles Maleficent. AND he's not omnipotent: he relies on the fairies for most, if not all of the help in saving Aurora. Sure, maybe he's not the most nuanced of all cartoon princes, but he certainly beats Prince Charming-- (he doesn't even have a real name!!)


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