(Photo by Selma Komisky)
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(Photo by Ron Batzdorff courtesy of NBCUniversal Media)
A Fairy Tale Full of Good News
Lessons Learned from Rapunzel and Flynn Rider in ‘Tangled’
By Selma Komisky
One of Disney’s beloved animation film’s “Tangled,” otherwise known as the classic Grimm’s fairy tale, “Rapunzel,” is a delightful story about a beautiful princess that had unusually long blonde hair with magical powers.
With this in mind, let’s take a deeper spiritual look at this story/film.
First, I see Rapunzel represents royalty as she was the daughter to King Frederic and Queen Arianna. Princess of the kingdom of Corona. Metaphorically, she depicts Jesus.
“A child is born to us! A son is given to us! And he will be our ruler. He will be called, ‘Wonderful Counselor,’ ‘Mighty God,’ ‘Eternal Father,’ ‘Prince of Peace.’”
– Isaiah 9:6 (GNV)
Second, John 10:10 says, “The Enemy (Satan) came that he might steal, kill, and destroy.” The princess was stolen at infancy. Mother Gothel is the evil antagonist who abducts the golden baby and foster’s her in seclusion for selfish reasons to keep up her youthful appearance via Rapunzel’s healing long lochs.
Gothel had an ulterior motive. She only told Rapunzel half-truths to prevent her from ever knowing anything about her identity. Later Gothel attempts to murder to keep what she covets most – her youth.
Likewise, At birth King Herod attempted to kill baby Jesus. In Matthew 2:16 Herod lied and asked where the baby Jesus was located, so he too would worship him. Herod never had any intention of sharing his throne with Jesus. He wanted to destroy any sign of a threat. Little did he know the infant was the chosen Messiah.
Third, the princess dies so to speak ( She left behind her royal throne at birth and becomes a commoner). Regardless, deep down she longed for home and couldn’t figure out why. Likewise, King Jesus died sacrificially on the cross for everyone’s sins to be forgiven, so we could have eternal life. Jesus was God one hundred percent divine coming to earth leaving his heavenly throne and becoming one hundred percent human – a Servant. Jesus was always longing for the appointed time to return home to His Father.
Fourth, the king and queen of Corona kept the tradition of releasing lanterns to commemorate their lost princess. Rapunzel knows the lights appear on her birthday every year and is fascinated by them. In the movie they sing “See the Light.” Curious, the damsel is drawn to the light. In turn, Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12, ESV).
Matthew 2:9-11 in The Message Translation also reminds me of the Star of Bethlehem saying, “Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time! They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.”
Jesus came to a dead world to give us life. Curious Goldie would go and see the lights on her 18th birthday. The number 18 stands for “life,” because the Hebrew letters that spell chai, mean “living,” and add up to 18 in this language. Additionally, the lanterns led her to the castle which was her home just as the light of Christ leads us to our eternal home.
Fifth, the tower itself is an analogy of God. Proverbs 18:10 in the NKJV says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.” Furthermore, I also think of the tomb and Jesus’ Resurrection. Gothel mirrors the enemy (Satan) and any evil religious leaders of that day. Because Satan thought he killed Jesus at the cross (crucifixion) and defeated him.
Likewise, the religious High Priests didn’t believe in Jesus but after his death, they feared His resurrection and return and wanted to make sure Jesus couldn’t come out of the tomb. So, they sealed and guarded it. According to John 11:25-26 (ESV) it says “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?’”
Gothel feared her fountain of youth would be found out therefore she restricted the golden girl from ever leaving the tower
Sixth, there was a thief named Flynn Rider who originally stole the princess crown and comes across Rapunzel’s tower when trying to get away. There was a thief on the cross with Jesus’ According to Luke 23:39-43 (ESV) it says “‘But this man has done nothing wrong.’ And he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. And he said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’
Seventh, death can be turned to life! Even after Rapunzel’s failed request to leave the tower by Gothel, this villain’s attempt to take Rapunzel away and even stab Eugene, all is not lost! Plot twist –when Rapunzel agrees to become enslaved to Gothel for life on the condition that she can use her magical locks to heal her love, Eugene suddenly pulls out a knife and cuts Rapunzel’s hair to set her free. Gothel immediately ages and fumbles out the window to her demise. Just when Rapunzel thinks all is lost as Eugene dies, she cries, hoovering over his limp body. Suddenly, her tears containing the power of the flower falls on Eugene’s face and brings him back to life. The thief who was once dead was now alive, becoming a new creation. Flynn Ryder became Eugene Fitzherbert. In turn, Jesus has the ability to forgive and make us new. His healing powers give new life and restore us through salvation.
Finally, at the end, Rapunzel is reunited with her parents in the Kingdom of Corona and lives completely free. And, she found her true love! Eugene is welcomed in the kingdom and pardoned for his wrongs. In the end, everyone lives happily ever after. Moreover, the kingdom in this film can be liken to heaven. We will be forever with our King, forgiven, whole, void of any evil or sorrow and able to truly live happily ever after. This isn’t a fairy tale. This is truth. The Gospel truth. Receive it. Celebrate it. It’s yours today. And that my friends is truly how we will live forever happily ever after.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
– 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)