18 de abril de 2013

Love at first sight

Many people refuse to believe in it, even if many studies conclude that human beings take less than a minute to fall in love – that our 'reptilian brains' make the decision way before that knowledge is accessible to our conscious minds, and then a chemical storm follows.

It's no wonder that folk tales and fairy tales play on this trope so often.

One of the first examples I saw of this trope in full action was on The Little Mermaid. After the scientific evidence I got about Love, I saw it with brand new eyes, even though there's no evidence supporting the existence of mermaids... Yet!

I love the scene when Ariel first sees Eric, before she saves his life. I love everything about it. Max, too. I love that dog. It was the only animal who couldn't "speak human" for the entire film, but he was one of the most intelligent creatures in it. The moment when he meets Ariel is just hilarious. For Max, it was love at first sniff.

Disclaimer: Written for love, not for profit. "The Little Mermaid" does not legally belong to me. It belongs to: Walt Disney Productions and Silver Screen Partners IV who produced it and to Buena Vista Film Distribution Company, who aired it.

As she approached the ship, Ariel began to hear a cheerful melody and felt compelled to come closer. Next thing she knew, she was right next to the ship and started climbing it, until she got to a hole at the side of the vessel she could look through. She watched the deck from one end to another: some men were playing a happy song on instruments she had in her collection while others danced and clapped their hands, always smiling. Musicians!, she thought, that’s what they are! Humans play music and have fun just as merfolk do. Her heart jumped happily as she admired them dancing on their legs. It all seemed so simple and so pretty. Some of them danced so swiftly they seemed to levitate. Another creature pranced around on four legs, barking and wagging its tail. Max was having the time of his life. He couldn’t contain his excitement; he loved being there with his master and the happy music made him want to jump too. Suddenly the wind shifted and the night breeze brought a new scent that made the dog halt. Max sniffed the night air deeply... whatever that scent wasn’t on the ship... The English Sheepdog put his nose to the ground and followed his lead. Ariel saw the creature approaching her fast and hid, afraid he would hurt her or denounce her presence to the humans... She waited a few seconds and then peeked again, hoping the creature didn’t notice her after all, but there he was! They locked eyes for a second... The creature seemed to be smiling at her with a mouth full of sharp teeth... Max had never seen such a strange human before... She looked just like all the other two-legged humans he knew except for her... fish tail! She was warm-hearted too, unlike some two-legged, but she was scared of him, so Max comforted her the only way he could: he gave her a big kiss! 

First meeting

     Then, he heard his master whistling “Max, here boy.” And went to him. Ariel wiped her cheek, rather surprised at the creature’s behavior. She didn’t know what he was exactly, but he seemed friendly enough. Eric wondered what the dog was up to so far away from the rest of the party. “Hey, come on, mutt, whatcha doing, huh Max?” Ariel saw the furry creature leaping over one human and licking him on the cheek as well and she was open-mouthed. There he was... less than five meters away... the final piece of her puzzle. She heard the young man say: “Good boy, good boy!” and he stroked the furry creature. The infinite warmth of his action enveloped her heart completely and she surrendered unconditionally... A familiar voice startled her: “Hey there, sweetie! Quite a show, eh?” “Scuttle, be quiet! They'll hear you.”, Ariel whispered, turning her attention back to the young man. Thinking that it was all a game, Scuttle flew surreptitiously next to the little mermaid and hid in her hair, saying: “Oooh, I gotcha, I gotcha. We're being intrepidatious!” Ariel looked at him, wondering what he was going to do next, hoping that he would go away. To her horror, the seagull cried at the top of his lungs: “WE'RE OUT TO DISCOVER-” Quickly, she grabbed his beak annoyed by his loudness. “I've never seen a human this close before...” said Ariel. He was, in fact, just a few meters away from her, playing music for his furry four-legged friend. The interaction between the two was so enthralling, that the mermaid sighed enraptured: “Oh – he's very handsome, isn't he?” Scuttle didn’t understand what she could possibly see in that four-legged: “I dunno, he looks kinda hairy and slobbery to me.” Ariel chuckled at her friend’s comment: “Not that one! The one playing the snarfblat.” The celebrations ceased when Grimsby called everybody’s attention to the high point of that night: “Silence! Silence! It is now my honor and privilege to present our esteemed Prince Eric with a very special, very expensive, very large birthday present.” He bowed to his future king and pointed to a large object covered by a canvas and wrapped around with a red ribbon. “His name is Eric!” Ariel smiled to herself. The sailors cheered their future ruler, while the birthday boy felt kind of embarrassed for being the center of attention.  Grimsby’s formal speech didn’t make him feel any more at ease, so he responded by patting his old friend and advisor on the back: “Ah, Grimsby – y'old beanpole, you shouldn't have.” “I know. Happy birthday, Eric!” The drums rang as one sailor pulled off the canvas, revealing an enormous statue of the future king. The young man looked at the statue in disbelief: the noble pose was overblown, with the sword and shield with a big E in the center... The young prince did not recognize himself in that representation in marble. Reading his master’s thoughts, Max growled at the statue, apprehensive with this stone giant. Still, Eric thought, Grimsby had put so much effort into it... he couldn’t disappoint him. He cleared his throat, trying to think of something good to say about it. “Gee, Grim. It's, err, it's, err - it's really somethin'...” It was no use: the statue was twice his size and too pompous to ever resemble him, but still, Grimsby looked happy. “Yes, I commissioned it myself. Of course, I had hoped it would be a wedding present, but-” Eric chuckled nervously. He knew all too well where that comment was aiming at. “Come on, Grim, don't start!” He took the telescope from the hands of his adviser and Ariel hid when she saw that he was coming too close. Looking through the telescope, Eric said: “Look, you're not still sore because I didn't fall for the princess of Glauerhaven, are you?” Grimsby hated to bring that subject up, but the prince’s insistence in postponing his future really disturbed him. “Oh, Eric, it isn't me alone. The entire kingdom wants to see you happily settled down with the right girl.” Eric sat on the railing and looked at the dark horizon: “Well, she's out there somewhere. I just-” Ariel was startled to see the prince lower his head... but his eyes were closed. “I just haven't found her yet.” Eric murmured desolate. Ariel heard Grimsby’s reply: “Well, perhaps you haven't been looking hard enough.” and agreed. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if he just opened his eyes, she thought. But he kept talking to his friend: “Believe me, Grim, when I find her I'll know - without a doubt. It'll just – bam! – hit me – like lightning.”

Ariel sees Eric

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