Coupla updates: first, I spent the last couple days at a camp site with no internet access, sparse electricity, and 100 10-year-olds, taking my daughter on a fifth grade camping trip. I’m tired, I’m dirty, I stink and I worship the ground teachers walk on. Seriously. That accounts for the missing days.
Second, because I love you all SOOOOOO much, we’re doing triples today. Now, my wife says I’ve been a lil mean in discussing Disney do-badders (is that a word?) so I’m going to try play softball with the bad guys. SIKE! I’ma do what I do and we’ll get along famously, right? Right. First up in our bevy of Mouse-shaped baddies is Madam Mim from The Sword in the Stone.
The Sword in the Stone is Disney’s take on the legend of King Arthur—you know the fable: there’s the magical sword Excalibur trapped in a stone or an anvil and the prophecy that whoever pulls the sword becomes the new king of England. There’ve been a couple versions of the story—one with Sean Connery, another with Clive Owen—and they’re usually pretty gritty. The Sword in the Stone is not.
Arthur, called Wart, is a squire/stable boy/peon in the service of a knight. And he’s not good at it. He drops shit, spills shit, breaks shit, etc and this keeps him in constant trouble. Merlin comes along and sees something valuable in lil Wart and decides to train him. You notice we haven’t mentioned Mim yet. Since this story is predominantly about Wart, his relationship with Merlin, and his growth into a king, we don’t get much Mim. But the parts we do get are pretty cool.
So Mim is a witch that lives in the forest. Merlin is teaching Wart how to fly and turns him into a sparrow. When Wart accidently flies down Mim’s chimney (that sounds nasty, doesn’t it?), Mim challenges Merlin to a duel to get the boy back. This is honestly the best part of the movie and I LIKE this one!
The Magnificent Mad Madam Mim (her full name) is both cocky and powerful: she says she’s more powerful then Merlin. And actually tries to kill him! She becomes an alligator, a tiger, a rattlesnake, a rhinoceros and a dragon. She makes the rules (“Rule One: No mineral or vegetable, only animals. Rule Two: No make-believe things like, ooh, pink dragons and stuff. Now, Rule Three: No disappearing.”) and then summarily cheats by turning into a giant purple dragon—talking about “I didn’t say no PURPLE dragons, did I?”
In the end, this is what makes Mim an awesome villain: she cheats. Blatantly. She takes advantage of the situation, puts her power on full display, and is willing to do what it takes to get what she wants. And she hates the sun. Seriously.