Otherwise Known As: The Mistress of All Evil (Self-Entitled)
Premiered in: Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Voiced By: Eleanor Audley
Okay, be honest with me now people. How many of you don’t immediately think of Maleficent when the words “Disney Villains” are spoken? Maleficent is to Disney Villains what Mickey Mouse is to Disney as a whole, you simply cannot hear the words without imagining her at the head. Maleficent has been recognized so much as the face of villainy amongst the Disney Family that she is often the leader and/or greatest threat of any collaboration amongst the Disney Villains should they ever team together.
She is the leader of the Overtakers in The Kingdom Keepers series of novels, a guiding hand to the heartless in the Kingdom Hearts games, and is often the most meddlesome villain at any daytime show at Disneyland and its fellow parks across the globe, going so far as to transform into a dragon in order to gobble Mickey Mouse to turn his dreams into nightmares.
Amongst the many villainesses of Disney, I’d be hard pressed to say that Maleficent is not amongst my top favorites of the bunch though, like the Queen of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, I can’t help but feel that there’s more to her background than we’re privy to in the film itself. Apparently, Disney feels the same as Maleficent is to be the titular character in her own film this year, the first for any Disney Villain. As of the time of this posting, the film’s premier date is set for May 30, so mark your calendars people! With that being said, let us try and divulge what motivates our dear Wicked Fairy…
There’s no denying that the straw that broke the camel’s back was Maleficent being uninvited to Aurora’s christening but there begs the question, and one of my chief points as to Maleficent’s true character.
Why does she care?
No, seriously, think about it… Why should she care whether or not she received an invitation to the christening of the new princess unless it was, otherwise, the last amongst many others that had been otherwise had “gone missing”. Her first words upon arrival, after complimenting/mocking the attendance of Aurora’s christening is admitting her distress at not being invited and while she may have been mocking them about this, she does appear surprised when Merryweather snaps at her saying that she was not wanted.
What’s really confusing though, is how the King and Queen refer to Maleficent… The King calls her a creature, obviously ticked off at her putting a death curse on his daughter, but prior to that the Queen called her “Excellency” meaning that whatever she was prior to being snubbed, Maleficent was a member of the court in some fashion, likely of the same standing, if not even more, than the Good Fairies themselves as she had land property within mystical whirlwind distance of the castle.
Whatever the reasons behind her not being invited, it was enough for Maleficent to take revenge on King Stefan and his wife and hurt them as much as they had hurt her and, in that regard, she succeeded. True, her curse had originally been for Aurora to die before her sixteenth birthday and though it had been changed to ageless sleep until true love’s kiss, she took their daughter away for a good sixteen years and tortured their thoughts that any passing day could mean their daughter’s death, something that no happy ending can ever truly replace.
Maleficent’s minions… are idiots. Goons, the whole lot of them, and certainly befitting their name in ways I thought impossible of any creature with enough sense to speak. I’ve no idea where Maleficent found them or why she decided to them under her wing but if it was a paid service of any kind than Maleficent is due a huge reimbursement fee. For sixteen years she had them search for Aurora, again with no reason as to why given that the curse would play out regardless and she was the one who left it with a sixteen year time limit, and for the entire time the idiots spent combing every town, every forest, and every mountain.
For a baby.
Sixteen years spent looking for a baby.
Honestly, I’m surprised that she hadn’t turned the whole of them into kindling right then and there.
Yet… even when Maleficent has tricked Aurora into pricking her finger and falling into ageless sleep and even goes so far as to capture Philip and ensuring that once a hundred years pass by, she’ll release him to break the spell. Yes, this can be argued as her torturing him but… again, why would she make such a promise at all? That and as soon as she leaves the room, she speaks to her pet raven, Diablo, that for the first time in sixteen years she’ll sleep well.
Again, why? What was it about this curse, about this whole entire scheme, that drove her to be such… such a perfectionist? Why waste time searching for Aurora if she was to prick her finger within the entirety of sixteen years? Why not be ticked off when the spell was altered to eternal sleep rather than instantaneous death? Why, when she turned into a dragon, did she waste time gloating and not charbroil Phillip the moment he lost his shield? Darn it, she had him and she had to stop and laugh maniacally beforehand!
Ultimately, Phillip’s “Sword of Truth” and the spell “that evil die and good endure” supposedly kills Maleficent in the climax of the film. I say supposedly because, in almost every other media, Maleficent just does not stay dead and the spell itself is flawed in too many ways to count. I ask you, whoever has heard of a creature that is entirely evil to the very core of their being? … Aside from Chernabog but that’s hardly the point! Consider once more, my dear readers, a line uttered by the good fairy Fauna in reference to Maleficent’s character both in the animated film and likely in the live action prequel
“Maleficent doesn’t know anything about love, or kindness, or the joy of helping others. You know, sometimes I don’t think she’s really very happy…”