Too Entangled in Captivity?

My daughter is 4 years old. One thing I am focused on as a father is helping her to become a strong, independent thoughtful & caring person. I’ve read some parenting books. I discuss fatherhood with other dads. I try to keep the long term in mind for her without getting so focused on every little detail. But based on the movie Tangled, all I need to do for my daughter to reach these lofty character goals is to lock her in a tower until she is 18 and only let her interact with a self-absorbed woman who is solely focused on her own appearance.


Come on, we all know that Rapunzel would be crazy right? It’s not just me, is it? From birth, this girl has been locked in a tower by Mother Gothel who won’t let her cut her hair or even speak to another living person. Sure, she has ‘kept busy’ during her imprisonment with hobbies like reading books, painting, baking, playing guitar, sewing, knitting and even a spot of ventriloquism for good measure. But she has learned to do them either on her own or possibly with the help of her jailor. She has basically lived one step above solitary confinement for her entire life. That coupled with the realization she is the lost princess and her mother is actually her kidnapper would most likely push her over the edge. And even if she was able to brush that off, her mind would be so tangled making it nearly impossible for her to function properly outside of the confines of that tower for a long, long time.

That being said, if Mother Gothel wrote a parenting book I would definitely give it a read. She may be a murderous, narcissistic kidnapper but she might be able to help get my daughter into Juilliard.


More to come. Follow me here: @DadsQuestions

Image Credit:


  1. Your analysis of the fairy tale made me smile. Your article reminded me of this old book I read called “The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales”. Keep up the good work

    1. Maybe….Pascal is quite a mystery. How did he get there? Was he a gift from Mother Gothel? I don’t think that chameleon’s are indigenous to that region…

  2. This makes sense… I definitely agree that she would be completely crazy around people. She does seem to have poor-ish judgement at the Duckling place, but really:
    How in the world did she trap Flynn Rider? With no experience in trapping people! Or people at all!
    nice post!

    1. Thanks! Glad you liked it. I actually think that her romance with Flynn is actually a direct result of her past…she doesn’t understand that there are probably better men out there. Granted Flynn turns his life around but it doesn’t mean that she has to marry the first guy she met…must have been the smolder. đŸ˜‰

      1. Must have been the smolder huh? [cracks up]
        I agree (with the Flynn Rider part) Then again, many Disney movies follow the whole first man you met thing. One of the best things about Frozen and Enchanted.

  3. I loved this analysis and I’m a pretty big Disney fan myself. I do think she would have some sort of isolation problems. I mean I hate spending half my day locked up in my room revising, that’s enough to make me go crazy so it’s hard to imagine spending 18 years isolated with no one else but your “mother”. I love the comments above about her relationship with Flynn and I do think that their bond did start because he was the first person she had seen other than her “Mother” for 18 years.

    1. Kayleigh – Thanks for the nice words! Glad you liked it. Since I started this blog I have been so pleasantly surprised by the thoughtful comments and feedback. Often comments are inane and off topic but many people are adding some great thoughts here. Hope to see you around here again soon! đŸ˜‰

  4. I totally agree with your post. There’s just one thing. You see, Rapunzel wouldn’t necessarily be crazy because the tower is the only thing she’s ever known. You said it yourself that she’s been there from birth. I do think it would drive her a little crazy to be cooped up, though. That gives me a question: Would she have turned out differently if she hadn’t been kidnapped, and was raised by her biological family?

    1. I know. That is a testament to Mother Gothel as it was her that raised such a wonderful, fun, smart woman. Makes you look at her in a little different light as a villain. Thanks for the comment!

  5. Rapunzel has a lot of talents, probably due to all the time on her hands. Her paintings could give her a new world to look at as well as a change in scenery in the tower. She also had a window to look out of to give her a change of scenery. However, I’m pretty sure that a two story tower with one window would have led to the paint fumes getting to her. Mother Gothel probably came home a few times to a high daughter.
    As for Pascal, I think Mother Gothel gave him to Rapunzel at a young age as a companion for her when Gothel left everyday.

  6. I think we need to give a lot of credit to Mother Gothel. After all, she spent how many decades (centuries?) hiding that flower and extending her life. All of her family, friends, and associates would have been long dead. She is the one who truly knew isolation. Rapunzel had her dreams. Mother Gothel lived long enough to watch all of her dreams die. The strength required to live numerous lifetimes is great. The many disciplines she learned, she passed on to Rapunzel. It was not merely idle and selfish talk that kept Rapunzel from leaving the tower, it was the rules of self-preservation that Mother Gothel, herself, lived by.
    As for the chameleon, Pascal, the common (or Mediterranean) chameleon is native to the countries in and around the Mediterranean Sea. If Mother Gothel originated in those areas and left after her identity as an enchantress was discovered, her familiar (her link to magical power) would have gone with her. Pascal is Gothel’s familiar. However, once the magic flower was plucked and Rapunzel born, the magic was within Rapunzel. Enchantments would have to wait until such time as Rapunzel was of age. You see, with the magic being a part of Rapunzel, the girl became Gothel’s connection to the magic. While Gothel was raising Rapunzel as a “daughter”, she was also taking good care of her new familiar. Once Rapunzel came of age, they would both set off on a course into greater and greater enchantments. The previous familiar knew that his time was limited. This is why he was always hiding from Mother Gothel – he did not want to be caught, or even seen, and have her remember that she did not need a small familiar anymore. The magic was far greater now that Rapunzel was grown.
    So let’s give Mother Gothel a little bit of credit. She was not raising a human being, she was caring for a familiar against the day when they would both unlock the forbidden gates and rain havoc down on the entire kingdom.
    Unfortunately we will never know how that would have turned out, because Flynn became the self-sacrificing hero with the motto, “Hair today, gone tomorrow”, leaving Mother Gothel as nothing more than dust in the wind.

  7. I always thought that Mother Gothel was the one who was insane.
    She kept that flower for centuries- and seemingly had no human contact. She would have been projecting like crazy onto that thing, maybe even thinking of it as a friend or a child- then the palace soldiers come and DESTROY it!

    That is going to mess her up pretty badly.

    “Remeber Rapunzel the outside world is a dangerous place. Whenever it sees even the smallest drop of sunlight it destroys it.”
    Gothel might actually have been trying to protect Rapunzel- so she wouldn’t get juiced like the flower. And when you remember all the suspicious characters Rapunzel met and the many life-and-death situations she got into, Gothel was kind of right…

So, what do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s