This is a ‘tale as old as time’ that has shaped plenty of childhoods and cemented Belle as one of the most iconic Disney Princesses of all time. However, has the booksmart heroine outfoxed this entire time?
In the golden age of the Disney Renaissance, Beauty and the Beast was a colourful trip to France that adapted the famed fairytale that was first written back in 1740.
The story follows an arrogant prince who is placed under a curse alongside all those inside his castle. After her father is held hostage for trespassing into the castle, Belle replaces daddy dearest as Beast’s prisoner. While it looks like Belle makes this noble sacrifice all on her own, one theory suggests she was just a puppet in the curse of Prince Adam.
Everyone knows Beauty and the Beast unfolds as a magical musical adventure about true love and never judging a book by its cover. While the wicked enchantress who places the curse on the realm is only seen during an opening montage, one Reddit theory things she has a much bigger part to play in the cartoon.
Redditor u/IKindaLikeRunning draws attention to the scene where Belle is in the bookstore and joyfully sings “Little Town”. We hear Belle singing about “daring sword-fights” and “a prince in disguise!” There’s also the line about, “Here’s where she meets Prince Charming, but she won’t discover that it’s him til Chapter 3.”
The friendly bookstore owner doesn’t see Belle as odd like the rest of the town does. In fact, he says she can have the book for free.
Instead of simply giving Belle the book, the theory muses the kindly owner is actually the enchantress in disguise and literally gives Belle the story as her narrative. Although the enchantress is shown as one of the movie’s villains, there’s the idea she was simply trying to teach Beast a lesson and actually wants the curse to be broken.
One supporter wrote, “My eyes lit up at “giving her the story.” The Rose was running out and the Beast hadn’t found love yet. This immediacy supports additional action needed by the enchantress.”
Another added, “The enchantress hangs out in the nearby town, keeping an eye on the girls to see which one will be appropriate to send his way. Belle is the logical choice, since it seems like she’s the only one who would have a chance of picking Beast over Gaston. And she’s been inundated with the fairytale stuff.”
Interestingly, the enchantress/bookshop theory neatly explains how the store can survive while seeming to give away all its books for free.
For a long time though, there’s been a wild idea that the book Belle is reading is actually Aladdin. It’s no small coincidence that Disney was working on Aladdin when Beauty and the Beast hit cinemas.
All the talk of sword fights and a prince in disguise (Prince Ali) definitely lines up with a trip to Agrabah. There’s also the fact that a model version of Beast appears in the Sultan’s tower he’s building in Aladdin — connecting the two via Disney’s very own shared universe.
That being said, others have noted the illustrations in the book make it look like she’s reading Sleeping Beauty. Still, there’s a final hint Belle is reading her own life. Posting on Twitter, one fan site pointed out there’s some pretty similar music between two key scenes of the movie.
 I love this tune. Belle sings it twice: when describing her favorite book, and later (in Something There) when realizing this book is about HER. That’s why I call it her “meta theme.”— Disney Music Theory (@DisneyMusTheory) December 20, 2018
But way more interesting is what happens between these 2 songs, in the background music… pic.twitter.com/qZwVowMqGw
Of course, there are a lot of Dinsey connections that can be found if you look hard enough. The tea set Terk is seen playing as drums in Tarzan includes Mrs. Potts and Chip. How they ended up in the jungle remains a mystery to us all!
Ultimately, we’ll have to wait for confirmation on whether the bookstore owner is a scorning enchantress in disguise or just another literary fan who has aspirations of being a librarian. What do you think?
[Featured Image: Disney]