Tag Archives: Pocahontas

Pocahontas “Just Around the Riverbend” (1995)

Before the arrival of John Smith and the rest of the English settlers, Pocahontas already has a dilemma to deal with: her father Powhatan returns from a lengthy war against a rival tribe and lets her know that Kocoum, a mighty warrior, has asked permission to marry her. Pocahontas is not exactly thrilled with this development (just listen to how she utters the line “but he’s so….serious.”) but it seems clear that Powhatan expects his daughter to acquiesce to the marriage, reminding her that as the chief’s daughter she needs to take her place among her people. He tries to tell Pocahontas that she needs to settle down by saying she should be more like the steady river that flows next to their village, the river which is “steady as the steady beating drum.”

Pocahontas loves her father very much, but she doesn’t agree with his lesson in the slightest. For her, the river isn’t steady at all, and this sets up “Just Around the Riverbend.”

 

What I love most about rivers is:
You can’t step in the same river twice
The water’s always changing, always flowing
But people, I guess, can’t live like that
We all must pay a price
To be safe, we lose our chance of ever knowing
What’s around the riverbend
Waiting just around the riverbend

I look once more
Just around the riverbend
Beyond the shore
Where the gulls fly free
Don’t know what for
What I dream the day might send
Just around the riverbend
For me
Coming for me

Pocahontas simply can’t imagine living a life where she isn’t free to explore and learn new things. Everyone she knows is content with a steady life, but Pocahontas prefers to go where the wind takes her. And THAT is the source of her dilemma, how does she reconcile being who she is with obeying her father’s wishes? CAN she obey?

I feel it there beyond those trees
Or right behind these waterfalls
Can I ignore that sound of distant drumming
For a handsome sturdy husband
Who builds handsome sturdy walls
And never dreams that something might be coming?
Just around the riverbend
Just around the riverbend

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I look once more
Just around the riverbend
Beyond the shore
Somewhere past the sea
Don’t know what for…
Why do all my dreams extend
Just around the riverbend?
Just around the riverbend…

Should I choose the smoothest course
Steady as the beating drum?
Should I marry Kocoum?
Is all my dreaming at an end?
Or do you still wait for me, Dream Giver
Just around the riverbend?

Pocahontas seems genuinely torn as to what she should do. By rights, she should obey her father and marry Kocoum, who, while very serious, does seem to genuinely care about her (as briefly seen later on in the story). On the other hand, due to the stronge dreams that Pocahontas has been having, she genuinely believes that she may not be meant to settle down and get married. Since she doesn’t know which way to go, Pocahontas has traveled to speak with Grandmother Willow about what she should do.

I really love this song, especially the moment when she rides down the waterfall. To this day, I giggle when I see the expression on Meeko’s face when he realizes they’re not only approaching a waterfall, they’re going down it as well!

Let me know what you think about “Just Around the Riverbend” in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Pocahontas “Virginia Company” (1995)

Pocahontas “Steady as the Beating Drum” (1995)

Pocahontas “Listen With Your Heart” (1995)

Pocahontas “Mine, Mine, Mine” (1995)

Pocahontas “Savages, Part I” (1995)

Pocahontas “Savages, Part II” (1995)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

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Pocahontas “Savages, Part II” (1995)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link

At the conclusion of “Savages, Part I”, the English settlers and the warriors led by Powhatan were preparing for battle (with the latter planning to execute John Smith first thing in the morning). Meanwhile, Pocahontas has fled to Grandmother Willow, upset and depressed that everything is falling apart and the man she’s so recently fallen in love with is going to be executed and there’s nothing she can do to stop it.

Pocahontas “Savages, Part II” (1995)

Grandmother Willow tries to give some advice, reminding Pocahontas of her dream, but she isn’t in the mood to hear it. Meeko, however, is inspired to dig inside his hole in the tree for something.

This “something” turns out to be John Smith’s compass, which contains a large arrow shaped needle inside (Meeko had swiped it during an earlier meeting and Smith had let the raccoon keep it). Pocahontas watches the compass and realizes that as she turns it in her hands, the arrow/needle spins, just like the arrow in her dream!!

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From the moment Pocahontas picked the compass up, the music has begun to pick up in intensity (clearly signalling that something big is about to happen). When she makes the connection between the compass needle and her dream, it picks up a little more. At the peak, there is a short, instrumental refrain of “Listen With Your Heart” as several things happen at once: the sun rises (it’s time for the execution) and the compass needle comes to a stop pointing directly east. The meaning is clear: Pocahontas needs to stop the execution.

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With this decision made, the song resumes with an abrupt cut to Ratcliffe literally walking out of the sunrise, cutting a villainous figure in his black armor. At the same time, Powhatan and his warriors begin the march to the execution site (with Smith in tow) while, in a THIRD musical thread, Pocahontas begins her run to stop an all-out war!

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And, according to the song, Pocahontas truthfully doesn’t know if she can stop this war from happening, but with the power of the spirits (which she invokes along the way), she’s certainly going to try. This semi-hopeful verse is sharply contrasted with the two warring sides who are basically singing the same words (so I’m copying the verse in full):

(Them:)This will be the day/This will be the morning/We will see them dying in the dust

(Pocahontas): I don’t know what I can do/still I know I have to try

(Them):Now we make them pay!

(Pocahontas): Eagle help my feet fly!/(Them): Now without a warning

(Pocahontas): Mountain help my heart be great/(Them): Now we leave ’em blood and bone and dust

(Pocahontas):Spirits of the Earth and Sky/(Them): It’s them, or us

(Pocahontas): Please don’t let it be too late!!/Them: They’re just a bunch of filthy, stinking…

(Them): Savages, savages/demons, devils (kill them!)/savages, savages, what are we waiting for? Destroy their evil race, until there’s no a trace left!

(Pocahontas): How loud are the drums of war!!/Them: Now we see what comes, of trying to be chums/ Pocahontas: Is this the death of all I love, carried in the drumming of…

(All): WAR!!!

Towards the end, all three groups converge at a cliff where the tribe has assembled to execute Smith as revenge for Kocuom’s death. While the approaching settlers watch in horror, Powhatan prepares to crush Smith’s skull with a war hammer (a club with a large stone set in it). At the last moment, Pocahontas darts forward and throws herself over Smith before the hammer can fall.

Saved!!! For now anyway. Pocahontas has an ultimatum: if Powhatan wants to kill John Smith, he has to kill her too, and also she loves him (to the surprise of her father). All of this, Pocahontas says, is the result of walking a path of anger. She, meanwhile, will choose love.

Moved by what his daughter has said, and seeing the slaughter that will come if they continue, Powhatan swears that if there will be any more killing “it will not start with me” and he orders Smith to be released. Everyone begins to lower their weapons, and war seems to have been averted…which is great…right?

Ratcliffe doesn’t think so. This was his big chance to take the Indians out and now the battle isn’t happening at all!. He tries to take advantage by shouting for his men to fire, but the settlers aren’t having it. The whole point of attacking was to rescue Smith, but the tribe has let him go so clearly they don’t want to fight (and therefore neither should they). Seeing his control slip away, Ratcliffe decides to force the issue, grabbing a musket and taking aim at Powhatan. Smith sees this and shoves the chief out of the way just as Ratcliffe fires, taking the bullet instead. Instead of sparking a new conflict, this backfires horribly and Ratcliffe finds him at the receiving end of the settlers’ wrath (a great comeuppance for Ratcliffe by the way, since he ends up being hog-tied by the end).

So on the one hand, the day is saved, but on the other, John is badly injured. This is one Disney film that won’t have the typical ending. How do I mean? Well, you’ll have to check out the finale to find out 🙂

It nearly goes without saying that “Savages, Parts I and II” are one of my favorite Disney songs and I hope you enjoyed reading about it and listening to it.

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For more Pocahontas, see also:

Pocahontas “The Virginia Company” (1995)

Pocahontas “Steady as the Beating Drum” (1995)

Pocahontas “Just Around the Riverbend” (1995)

Pocahontas “Listen With Your Heart” (1995)

Pocahontas “Mine, Mine, Mine!” (1995)

Pocahontas “Savages, Part I” (1995)

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Pocahontas “Savages, Part I” (1995)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

I wanted to save this song for last, but I couldn’t hold out any longer!!!

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With practically every Disney film ever made, there comes a point where events spiral out of control and everything is on the verge of disaster!! “Savages, Part I” begins at such a moment: Kocuom is dead at the hands of Thomas, but only Pocahontas and John Smith know that. The warriors who capture Smith assume that, as the only white man present, that HE fired the shot, and even if Pocahontas told them the truth, they wouldn’t believe her. Chief Powhatan is beyond disappointed in his daughter and he also blames her for Kocuom’s death (“because of YOUR foolishness, Kocuom is dead!”)

Pocahontas “Savages Part I” (1995)

But the turmoil in the village is nothing compared to what’s brewing in the English camp. Thomas has gone racing back to report Smith’s capture, rousing everyone in the process. Ratcliffe is secretly delighted by this turn of events; he’s been itching for any excuse for an all out attack on the “savages” and this provides the perfect opportunity.

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“Savages” begins with Ratcliffe stirring the settlers into a frenzy, reminding them that these “savages” are no good, they deserve to die because they’re different, etc.For example:

What can you expect/from filthy little heathens/here’s what you get when races are diverse!

Their skin’s a hellish red/they’re only good when dead/they’re vermin as I’ve said and worse!!

Actually, the soundtrack version of the song is much nastier, the opening line goes: …from filthy little heathens/their whole disgusting race is like a curse! (I think they realized when they developed this song, that they were going a step too far and they adjusted the line for the home video release of the film.)

Theses opening verses are so openly racist that in the years since its release, this song in particular has gotten a lot of flak, with critics saying the song’s sentiments are completely inappropriate.While is is true that “Savages” expresses racist sentiments, that’s also the point of the entire song!! This song is fully exposing Ratcliffe as the evil, racist villain he’s always been, and the settlers are fully caught up in the wake of his ranting (except for Thomas, who has his own doubts).

They’re savages!
Savages! Barely even human!

Savages! Savages! Drive them from our shore!
They’re not like you and me, which means they must be evil
We must sound the drums of war!

They’re savages!
Savages!
Dirty shrieking devils!

Now we sound the drums of war!

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With the English settlers ramped up to go to war, the song switches to Powhatan’s village, where the villagers are making preparations of their own. While the English consider the Indians to be “savages”, the natives consider the white men to be “demons” who must be wiped out before anyone else can die.

This is what we feared/the pale-face is a demon/the only thing they feel at all is greed.

Beneath that milky hide/there’s emptiness inside/I wonder if they even bleed??

They’re savages! Savages!

Barely even human! Savages! Savages!

Killers at the core…

They’re different from us,
which means they can’t be trusted…

We must sound the drums of war!

They’re savages!
Savages!
First we deal with this one
Then we sound the drums of war!

John Smith can only watch as the war preparations continue, with the Indians planning to execute him before the battle. The camera cuts back and forth to show how alike the two sides really are: both are arming for war, both are really angry and both are beating “the drums of war” (no matter how different they look, a drum is a drum.)

The truth is, both sides are blinded by hatred. Neither can see that they are equally human because one looks different from the other. It’s interesting how, in the song, each side is color-coded and made to look increasingly not-human (the English are colored orange/crimson and the Indians are colored indigo with war paint added on top of it).

Things are definitely out of control, and if the two sides meet, it’s going to be bad (mostly for the Indians, because the English settlers have a lot of muskets and cannons and arrows and spears will have practically zero effect on that kind of firepower.) What’s going to happen? Will John Smith die at sunrise? We’ll find out in “Savages, Part II” !!!!

You can become a patron of the blog at: patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

For more Pocahontas, see also:

Pocahontas “The Virginia Company” (1995)

Pocahontas “Steady as the Beating Drum” (1995)

Pocahontas “Just Around the Riverbend” (1995)

Pocahontas “Listen With Your Heart” (1995)

Pocahontas “Mine, Mine, Mine!” (1995)

Pocahontas “Savages, Part II” (1995)

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Pocahontas “Listen With Your Heart” (1995)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

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Pocahontas has been having some interesting dreams as of late. Actually she’s been having the same dream over and over again: she’s running through the woods when she comes across an arrow lying across the path in front of her. As she watches, it begins spinning around and around, until suddenly, it stops! Pocahontas has no idea what it means, so she’s been eagerly waiting for her father to return home so she can share her dream with him (and hopefully he can interpret it for her).

Except, Pocahontas never gets the chance to share her dream with Powhatan, as he has news of his own: Kocuom has asked permission to marry Pocahontas (and Powhatan has said yes). The free spirited Pocahontas is not exactly thrilled with this idea: Kocuom, while handsome, is a very serious man, and wouldn’t mesh very well with Pocahontas, who loves to dream and follow her heart. Powhatan advises his daughter that Kocuom would make an excellent husband for her, and she should strive to be “steady” in her life, like the large river that runs next to their village.

Pocahontas knows her father means well, but she can’t shake the feeling that she’s meant to do something else, so she travels to visit Grandmother Willow, an ancient talking willow tree that has guided both her and her mother before her (having lived for several hundred years at least).

grandmother-willow-gives-pocahontas-advice

What Pocahontas wants essentially boils down to the question: What is my path (in life)? How do I find it? As it turns out, her mother asked Grandmother Willow the very same question years before. And the answer, was to listen! Listen to the spirits that dwell all around her. And Pocahontas does listen, and she begins to hear strange voices in the wind (I love the voices of the spirits), but she can’t understand what they’re saying. This is how Grandmother Willow’s song begins: if Pocahontas listens “with her heart” she’ll be able to understand anything the spirits tell her.

Que que na-to-ra
You will understand

Listen with your heart
You will understand

Let it break upon you
Like a wave upon the sand

Listen with your heart
You will understand

And it turns out they have a pretty important message to share. Something is coming, something with “strange clouds”. To investigate, Pocahontas climbs to the top of Grandmother Willow, and she does indeed see “strange clouds”, those clouds being the sails of the English ship now approaching the shore.

strange-clouds-pocahontas

Strange clouds indeed!

I find myself wishing this song was longer. Linda Hunt’s voice is soothing and very rich, just the sort of voice you’d expect a centuries-old tree to possess. Thankfully, there is a reprise later on once Pocahontas and John Smith meet up. Hope you enjoyed this peek at one of the shorter songs in this film.

You can become a patron of the blog at: patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

See also:

Pocahontas “The Virginia Company” (1995)

Pocahontas “Steady as the Beating Drum” (1995)

Pocahontas “Just Around the Riverbend” (1995)

Pocahontas “Mine, Mine, Mine!” (1995)

Pocahontas “Savages, Part I” (1995)

Pocahontas “Savages, Part II” (1995)

And if you’d like to read more about animated film music, check out the main page here: Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

Pocahontas “Steady as the Beating Drum” (1995)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

As the battered English ship continues on its way, the action zooms ahead to the tranquil shores of the New World, where life continues on, oblivious to the fact that it will soon change forever. We’re taken to a returning war party, led by Chief Powhatan, that is heading for home after engaging in a long fight with the Massawomecks.

One of the great things about Pocahontas is that it is one of the most realistic animated depictions of a Native American community ever created (as opposed to a more stereotypical representation like the one seen in Peter Pan). We’re given a sweeping overview of daily life: we see women picking corn, young boys playing lacrosse (I’m not sure what their name for the game was), people of all ages, from toddlers to the elderly all living in a fairly organized village.

Hega hega ya-hi-ye-hega
Ya-hi-ye-ne-he hega
Hega hega ya-hi-ye-hega
Ya-hi-ye-ne-he hega

Steady as the beating drum
Singing to the cedar flute
Seasons go and seasons come
Bring the corn and bear the fruit.

steady_as_the_beating_drum

The song tells about the regulated order of daily life; all has been the same for generations. The streams are full of fish, there is plenty of game in the woods, and all life is grounded by a firm belief in the Great Spirit and its power in their lives. All of this is provided to show that these people, while different from the arriving settlers, are hardly “savages” (as Ratcliffe continuously refers to them throughout the film).

By the waters sweet and clean
Where the mighty sturgeon lives
Plant the squash and reap the bean
All the earth our mother gives
O great spirit, hear our song
Help us keep the ancient ways
Keep the sacred fire strong
Walk in balance all our days
Seasons go and seasons come
Steady as the beating drum
Plum to seed to bud to plum.
(Hega hega ya-hi-ye hega)
Steady as the beating drum. 
Hega hega ya-hi-ye-hega.
Ya-hi-ye-ne-he hega.

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In an earlier version of this song, Kocuom (a warrior who would like to marry Pocahontas) had a verse of his own ( where he sang about how he would build Pocahontas “a sturdy house with sturdy walls” (a line referenced later in “Just Around the Riverbend”). Actually, it may have been an entire song in its own right (“Dancing to the Wedding Drum”, but in a behind the scenes feature playing the song, it has nearly the same melody as this song, so I consider them one and the same). I believe this song/verse was cut because Kocuom has a very different personality (he smiles!!!) from what we see in the final film. This is a shame because Kocuom gets very little character development overall and it would have been nice to see this moment between them.

As word spreads that the war party is nearly home, everyone begins to gather at the shore to welcome them. Clearly this is a greatly anticipated homecoming. Chief Powhatan is very happy to be home, but there is one face missing from the crowd…his own daughter Pocahontas! (Go figure the titular character is missing, a similar thing happens in The Little Mermaid, only Pocahontas isn’t in trouble for not being present).

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

You can become a patron of the blog at: patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

And for more great animated film music, check out the main page here: Disney Films & Soundtracks A-Z

See also:

Pocahontas “The Virginia Company” (1995)

Pocahontas “Mine, Mine, Mine!” (1995)

Pocahontas “Just Around the Riverbend” (1995)

Pocahontas “Listen With Your Heart” (1995)

Pocahontas “Savages, Part I” (1995)

Pocahontas “Savages, Part II” (1995)

Pocahontas “Mine, Mine, Mine!” (1995)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link

After a treacherous sea voyage, John Smith and company have arrived on the shores of the New World (what is now part of the state of Virginia). Governor Ratcliffe dispatches Smith to scout the terrain and see if any Indians are about the area. Meanwhile, the rest of the settlers are going to start digging, wait…digging??

The gold of Cortes
The jewels of Pizarro
Will seem like mere trinkets
By this time tomorrow
The gold we find here
Will dwarf them by far
Oh, with all ya got in ya, boys
Dig up Virginia, boys

Mine, boys, mine ev’ry mountain
And dig, boys, dig ’til ya drop
Grab a pick, boys
Quick, boys
Shove in a shovel
Uncover those lovely
Pebbles that sparkle and shine
It’s gold and it’s mine, mine, mine

Yes, that’s right. Ratcliffe (the greedy lout) is convinced that Virginia, like the Spanish New World (Mexico) is full of gold and precious gems. Barely scratch the surface and they’ll all be rich as kings! Of course, Ratcliffe (David Ogden Stiers) has no intention of sharing any of this wealth; his plan (revealed in the following song) is to return to England filthy rich and be ennobled by King James, and then become the envy of the entire court.

Mine_Mine_Mine.png

My rivals back home
It’s not that I’m bitter
But think how they’ll squirm
When they see how I glitter!
The ladies at court
Will be all a-twitter
The king will reward me
He’ll knight me… no, lord me!

It’s mine, mine, mine
For the taking
It’s mine, boys
Mine me that gold!
With those nuggets dug…

It’s glory they’ll gimme
My dear friend, King Jimmy
Will probably build me a shrine
When all of the gold… is mine!

All of this is the basis for the song “Mine, Mine, Mine!” Ratcliffe draws a beautiful picture of the treasures that could be discovered, convincing the settlers to begin a digging and mining operation on a grand scale; leveling trees and digging deep pits in search of treasures that actually don’t exist (in real life, the natives of this area primarily had metal decorations made of copper). Ratcliffe is unwittingly sending the settler’s on a fool’s errand by having them dig up the land for something they’ll never find. The song (for the most part) perfectly highlights how greedy and selfish Ratcliffe really is.

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Meanwhile, John Smith is out exploring the pristine countryside (while a curious Pocahontas follows at a distance). He’s a man of adventure, and he believes he’s finally found the perfect land to explore. Smith isn’t really interested in gold or treasure of any kind, he’s in this for the glory of the adventure. This leads to the rival statements of “mine”: Smith says, “the greatest adventure is mine” while Ratcliffe boasts “all of the gold is mine!”

 

 All of my life, I have searched for a land
Like this one
A wilder, more challenging country
I couldn’t design
Hundreds of dangers await
And I don’t plan to miss one
In a land I can claim
A land I can tame
The greatest adventure is mine!

Two adventures have been started now: John Smith is out exploring (and soon to meet Pocahontas) while Ratcliffe supervises the settlers with their endless digging. So here begins my return to regular posts on Disney film music, I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving 🙂 This post was relatively short but I think they’ll get longer as I get more comfortable writing again

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Become a patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

See also:

Pocahontas “The Virginia Company” (1995)

Pocahontas “Steady as the Beating Drum” (1995)

Pocahontas “Just Around the Riverbend” (1995)

Pocahontas “Listen With Your Heart” (1995)

Pocahontas “Savages, Part I” (1995)

Pocahontas “Savages, Part II” (1995)

And for more great Disney songs and other animated film music, check out the main page here: Disney Films & Soundtracks A-Z

What Disney taught me about life: Things I learned from the Movies

This post is part of the Things I Learned from the Movies Blogathon hosted by Silver Screenings and Speakeasy.

So, I have a confession to make. Originally I was going to write about what Disney films taught me about humor, but as I got started, I realized I couldn’t think of any good examples. So, I decided to make the subject a little broader, and talk about several life lessons I learned from Disney films (my apologies for the last minute change).

  1. Sometimes when you love a person, you have to let them go. This happens in Pocahontas (1995) when Pocahontas and John Smith know they love each other, but John has to go back to England to be treated for his injuries. Pocahontas could go with him, but she needs to stay with her people, and so they say goodbye, even though it breaks both their hearts.
  2. Imagination is a very powerful tool. I learned this from The Sword in the Stone (1963). Most of Merlin’s lessons are based on the Wart’s ability to “imagine” that he is a fish, or a bird or a squirrel before the magic can actually work. And as the Wart’s imagination is opened up further, he grows further and further as a young man.
  3. You don’t always fall in love at first sight. I know most Disney films portray the opposite, but that’s exactly my point. Until very recently, Disney portrayed true love as being something that could occur in a single meeting. Or, to be more generous, something that could occur over a relatively short period of time. While that’s better, I really think that real love takes closer to a year to happen. The good news is that Disney is slowly moving away from “true love at first sight”.

and the most important thing I learned from Disney films?

4. Sometimes the “bad guy” wins. The big example for this comes from The Lion King, when Scar succeeds with his plan to kill Mufasa. While we all want to believe that the hero always wins and the villain always loses, in real life it’s usually the other way around. And, while it took me years to understand, I think it’s good that Disney includes this concept in some of their stories. It hurts, but it’s a lesson that needs to be shared.

And that’s a small sample of the things I learned from Disney movies. I hope you enjoyed checking it out! Thanks to Silver Screenings and Speakeasy for hosting this great blogathon!

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