How I Would Have Fixed “Brave” (spoiler alert!)

If you have not seen the new Pixar movie “Brave,” please stop reading. I am going to spoil everything. Ye’ve been warned.

OK. Here is what I thought was happening, based on the fact that I knew the working title for the film was “The Bow and the Bear.” I thought there was only one bear: the queen.

I thought she was always the one and only bear—from the beginning. It would have taken a little rewriting of that first scene, but it could be done. So when the queen ate the potion-laden cake, I thought it was returning her to her natural bear state (sort of like Fiona in “Shrek”).

I haven’t yet worked out why it would be in the kingdom’s interest for Fergus to marry a bear in disguise, but I figure it had something to do with the four rival clans. The one part I did work out is that the tapestry and the queen’s gown were made with the same magical green thread (probably made by that same witch who had a thing for bears).

So in my version, the queen is in a constant battle for control over her natural bear state. Over the years she has come to adapt to human customs and to have some genuine care for her husband and rambunctious boys as well as great love for her daughter. And the queen is being so hard on her daughter for the good of the kingdom. Maybe the marriage will even mean that the queen can revert to being a bear and live happily ever after in the forest.

Of course, this ups the ante even more on the tension between the king and the queen/bear, but I thought that made it all rather complicated and interesting.

If any one else has written about a similar story line, I promise I didn’t steal. It is June 29 at 6:45 p.m. as I write this, and I just got home from the movie.

Any thoughts, fellow fairy tale nerds?


  1. Just got home a little while ago from the movie. I have to give you credit. I couldn’t see any alternate plot lines.

    I think I might have enjoyed yours a little more. It felt a little too predictable (and took nearly forever to get there 🙂 for me, once the bear change happened.

  2. I haven’t seen it. I don’t know if I can find anyone to go with me at this late date. Boys don’t like fairy tales (at least they pretend they don’t if the main character is a princess of some sort). so I may have to wait until it comes out on video. Though this post certainly makes me curious.

  3. reading again, after seeing the movie and laughing! it DID seem like the queen–as bear–knew the way to the witch’s hut, didn’t it? I thought something groovy was going on there. But here’s the romantic in me: I thought the old bear’s spell would be broken and he–being the firstborn–would fall in love with the red-headed princess and everyone would live happily ever after–aka: Beauty and the Beast. I’m hopeless. In the end, I’m glad she’s remained independent and unattached. There are hope for some, after all :).

  4. Grace and I saw the movie last night. Grace said she learned a lot from it, especially, she said, the importance of listening to each other. (I told her if she didn’t listen to her mom, her mom might turn into a bear. I guess in a way Elinor was–even before “the change.”)

    We talked about a young girl who thought she could change her life by changing someone else, about how pride can break relationships, about laying down our lives for each other, about how a girl doesn’t need a guy to “complete” her, about responsibility and seeing things from another perspective. And we laughed at the mom-bear’s antics. We didn’t like some of the crude stuff, but this was a crude time period. And we thought it was pretty cool that two people (the king and queen) who were so different could love each other so deeply. Anyway, maybe I’m just too simple. I couldn’t fix it, cuz I can’t figure out how the writers put this together to begin with. Crazy imaginations.

    • So where were you last Friday night when I needed your excellent analysis? Maybe it’s also that I don’t have a Grace–I have a 13-year-old daughter.

  5. I’m SO GLAD I hadn’t read “The Bear and the Bow” because I loved Brave and knowing the story you’re talking about probably would have made the movie into a disappointment.

    Also, I laughed reading Laura’s middle comment: I, too, thought the he-bear was going to change back into a prince and marry Merida and they would live happily ever after. I know. Hopeless.

    But I’m actually relieved they didn’t do that. It would have been hard to pull off without being cliched or cheesy. And it was SO NICE to have a movie with a woman heroine where she didn’t get married off, where there was no romantic love story.