Domain: Agrabah, Iraq (Ancient Times)
Premiered in: Aladdin (1992)
Voiced By: Linda Larkin
Born to the Sultan of Agrabah, Jasmine is a born royal whose duties to her kingdom have driven her to desire a life outside the palace walls or, more specifically, a life where she will not be forced to wed someone thanks to a law that predates even her old father’s reign. Jasmine is distinct amongst the Disney Princesses in that she is of Middle Eastern descent and is one of the ones that fall under the category of “rebellious princess” alongside the likes of Ariel. In point of fact, I dare say that Jasmine is even more rebellious than even Ariel is thanks in no small part to her always getting involved in whatever adventure Aladdin has gotten himself into.
Though if we are to exclude the rather fabulously well-done animated series there is another reason why I firmly believe that it is her courage that makes Jasmine a Princess of Heart. Say what you will of Ariel’s hoarding human objects and Belle’s love of literature, Jasmine was both willing and able to run away from her life as a princess. Taking aside the fact that she had little to no idea what life was actually like outside the palace walls, Jasmine still showed her courage when she attempted to trick Jafar into thinking that the Genie had made her fall in love with him. One must remember that aside from being no Prince Charming in the looks department, Jafar was, quite literally, the most powerful sorcerer on Earth at the time and was more than willing to see her die a slow and painful death.
I’ve heard that courage isn’t the absence of fear but continuing on despite that fear. If that’s the case, give this girl a medal to coincide with her crown please.
While Jasmine shares companions with Aladdin and even forms a strange sort of love-to-hate relationship with Iago, Jafar’s former hench-parrot, Jasmine’s one true companion throughout most of her life has always been her pet tiger, Rajah. As befitting the translation of his name, Rajah is every bit the prince of tigers though he is no Shere Khan. That is to say, Rajah has, on more than one occasion apparently, attacked/humiliated any suitor that Jasmine refused and whom did not take “no” for the dismissal that it was. Many a pant’s bottom was torn free by this tiger’s jaws and many a prince should be thankful that was all that he removed.
This leads me to one of the many “Palace Pets” that I find great issues with. What is Jasmine’s Palace Pet you ask? Why, another tiger! A tiger cub to be specific and one whom she has imaginatively named “Sultan” which I’m sure makes for much confusion abounds when her father is in the room. I’m sorry to be sounding so sarcastic but this… this is just so stupid. I can perfectly understand why all the other Princesses got a pet to call their own and while I did disagree on some of the cosmetics for those choices, and a cat for someone who was previous half fish, I still thought it was a sound idea. But this? This is an insult to Rajah! Rajah, who grew up alongside Jasmine for all of his life and certainly most of hers. Rajah, who faced sorcerers and all manner of magical miscreants in defense of his princess and in his place we get this… This unoriginally named cub whose origin story is that he was found napping amongst some silk wrappings in the middle of the market place?
As to Jasmine’s kingdom of Agrabah, located somewhere in the dunes of Iraq, it is a place that is both thriving… and not. As is evidenced by the size and scope of the palace itself, Agrabah thus seem to possess quite a treasury but that does not wholly extend to its people of whom many have to resort to petty thievery just to get by. On the palace itself, by golly has anyone ever truly tried to measure that thing? I mean, look at the screencap below, the smallest tower is easily over three times the size of the largest building in the city proper!
Finally, as to Jasmine’s redesign… Frankly, I rather like it more than her usual outfit. While I’m sure many have joked on the original outfit, and especially the one Jafar had outfitted her in, the new one truly fits Jasmine as a princess. While I do question the Fleur-de-lys stitched into the overskirt I do commend the slight change in hairstyle and the new earrings that actually allow us to see her ears. Her original outfit is nice and all but when I was a child I had wrongfully assumed that it was her nightwear given that, aside from her shoes and few pieces of jewelry, the outfit does resemble something one would wear to bed rather than out on a date across the globe to see a whole new world.