Monday, May 16, 2011

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme A Man After Midnight: Prince Naveen of Disney’s The Princess and the Frog

Some fellow Indie Authors and I were chatting about our favorite Disney Heroes. We each chose one of our favorites and are sharing our thoughts on what makes them a hero. Enjoy.

The Blog Tour featuring Disney Hero’s!
The Beast of Beauty and the Beast featured on A Words Worth
Prince Phillip of Sleeping Beauty featured on NarniaMum
Flynn Rider of Tangled featured on Austen Aspirations

"The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else." Umberto Eco

Prince Naveen in the hero in the Disney fairytale The Princess and the Frog. He’s one smooth talking sun-of-a-gun with a charming arrogance to match. He is privileged and feels entitled to everything. His parents have cut him off until he marries and so he has come to the party loving city of New Orleans Louisiana to find his bride so he can return to his high-living lifestyle. A fitting place for a playboy prince.

Our first introduction to Naveen is when he descends off the boat, grabs a guitar to play in turn knocking down his valet and then he proceeds to flirt with a group of simpering women who surround him. I have to admit Naveen has a fabulous smile, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Naveen is not the most enduring hero at first glance. Instead it’s more like Fitzwilliam Darcy’s insult to Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice which is not amusing.

Prince Naveen
In an effort for some playboy freedom he gets tangled with the villainous Shadow man (A.K.A. Dr. Facilier) who turns Naveen into a frog and it is Naveen’s envious valet who gets to be the Prince instead. Poor Naveen is now a frog and he wants to be human again. Our hero’s tale does not end with him as a frog however.

Prince Naveen is a flirt and his first meeting with the heroine, Tiana, shows Naveen as cocky. He is under the mistaken impression that she is a real Princess and that her kiss will break the spell. He arrogantly proclaims that to turn him back Tiana must kiss him and he promises that she will enjoy it as all women who kiss him enjoy doing so. Unfortunately, Tiana becomes a frog too.

There is a charming quality about Naveen’s arrogance not found in Darcy. Even when Naveen is being obnoxious there is something enduring about him that captures a ladies interest, but he is still obnoxious.There are a series of occurrences which allow Naveen to grow in our estimation. We constantly see Naveen encourage others dreams, for example Louis the crocodile and his dreams of playing Jazz with the ‘Big Boys’. Yet, it seems he has no dreams of his own, but riches and loose women.
Something that I must point out is that unlike Darcy, Naveen has a wicked sense of humor. He has the ability to make you laugh, which for me is a top quality in a hero. Even when he was being obnoxious and I found myself rolling my eyes I was laughing. We all know that guy who just makes us laugh even when we are trying to be cross with him. Men like that are enduring and you know that beneath all t here bravado there is lurking a heart of gold.

Naveen make our heroine Tiana laugh too. As frogs they are capture by some bayou frog hunters. As they are working on their escape Tiana is amused by the actions of Naveen. Tiana gets in on the antics as well. She sees him in a different light. He is carefree and it is not that he doesn’t want to work he just has not found a purpose too. It is little things that they bond over like Naveen learning how to mince food from Tiana.

Madame Odie, the voodoo priestess of the bayou, wisely proclaims to Tiana and Naveen (while they are frogs) that they need to dig a little deeper and see what they need, not what they want. They want to be human again, but that is not what they need. While we do not get this wisdom until later in the film it is the guiding principle of the film and self-exploration for Naveen as the hero.

Naveen wants to be privileged and rich and he wants to live life as he always has, but what he needs is a sense of value and purpose and more importantly love. This is where you can start to fall in love with Naveen. Through his journey with Tiana he comes to see that there are things worth more than money. He is still arrogant, but in his arrogance is a charming heart which one cannot help put love.

Tiana has always been hard working, holding down two jobs, to fulfill her dream of owning a restaurant. Her hard working etiquette begins to rub off on Naveen who begins to see the value that comes from working for something. That is not all however, as her dreams begin to suddenly mingle with his. He has purpose now.
Naveen relaxing and Tiana working

Through all their adventures to become human again Naveen grows as a character and as a hero. He becomes the man you root for and you secretly hope he gets the girl. There is a scene where they dance. Tiana does not want to dance as she believes she has two left feet, but Naveen will not let her shy away. I’m sure part of falling in love with each other was from dancing. After all, like Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye sing in White Christmas the best things happen while you’re dancing.

Naveen and Tiana dancing
Naveen tries to set up a romantic dinner for Tiana at one point. It goes about as well as Darcy’s Hunsford proposal to Elizabeth. Yet, you still want Naveen become the ultimate hero. Even though you sort of know Naveen and Tiana will end up together you still want to see everything in the middle to show he’s earned the title of hero. A perfect example is in the beginning of the film Naveen would have sneered at work, but by the end, when Tiana has her restaurant, he is seen rolling up his sleeves and working. Suddenly you love him all the more as a hero and more importantly he makes you laugh.

Yes, Naveen gets the girl and they turn back into humans again. As Disney would tell you they lived happily ever after, but I’m sure lovers quarrels occurred as they would in any healthy relationship. Naveen became a hero worthy of his lady loves affection.

That’s the thing with heroes, they hardly ever start out as heroes, but through a series of events they become heroes. It’s a relationship that only grows sweeter over time in its enduring qualities that make both the hero and heroine better together than apart.


Jessica said...

Love The Frog Prince and I love Naveen! It's awesome to see a character grow and change! The best part is that they are willing to stay frogs to be together. Swoon! And of course Naveen has a great sense of humor, even if it most of it is centered around how fabulous he is.

Rebecca (RivkaBelle) said...

"That’s the thing with heroes, they hardly ever start out as heroes, but through a series of events they become heroes."

Here, here! I think that pretty much sums up my philosophy of hero-love in one neat little sentence, Kaydee :o)

Hmm, a wise-crackin' hero, eh? Gotta love those ...

Nancy Kelley said...

I've only read half your post so far, Kaydee, but I have to leave the computer for a bit. I love what you've said so far. (I would argue that Darcy does have a sense of humor--it's just more British!)

Nancy Kelley said...

I think Shakespeare phrased it best: "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em." The characters in the last category are the kind of hero that produce the best story, because there's a built in plot. We want to see that progression as they fight against their destiny, finally accept it, and then move forward to achieve it.

Naveen is also a perfect example of what I talked about today--a hero whose dream changed as he changed.

Excellent post, Kaydee.