Esmeralda was always my favourite of the Disney women. She wasn’t a princess but I didn’t care. (This was before Disney really started pushing the ‘princess’ thing anyway.) She doesn’t appear in the Disneyland parks anymore ever from what I can tell. Disney just kinda quietly ignores their version of Hunchback of Notre Dame, probably because… well… if you’ve seen it you’ll know.
But then I found this old Disney autograph book in a drawer and in it was-
This was kinda interesting to me even though I could not remember meeting either of them AT ALL. (I was still a pretty young kid after all.) And also there was no date on the autograph book because children don’t think to date things! So those autographs could’ve been either from 1996 (when HOND actually came out) or 1999. But I have SO FEW MEMORIES of going to Disneyworld in 1996! That’s what the photos are for, to remind me, but honestly I kinda look at them and a lot of the time there isn’t any memory attached.
But a week or two ago I found this tiny little keyring photo album thingy, all the way from the late 90s. You could print out tiny little versions of photos (or get your parents to do so) and store them in a photo album so small you could carry it around with you on your bag or keys. Yeah… that’s what we all did before phones.
So I flipped through the teeny keyring album a couple of times. It was all pictures from our trip in 1999, which I do remember a bit better. And after looking more closely suddenly I realised there was one photo hidden behind another. I pulled it out and…
There was an Esmeralda in Disneyworld in 1999! I don’t know if she was the one who gave me the autograph or if that was a different ’96 Esmeralda, but hey she hung on for a few years in the park after Hunchback of Notre Dame came out and before Disney got cold feet about the contents of the film!
Thank you past me for hiding that photo away where I’d probably have never found it, ya dick.
To celebrate the occasion, here’s some of my favourite ladies from fiction!
Row 1: Amy Pond (Doctor Who), Sephy Hadley (Noughts and Crosses), Gamora (Guardians of the Galaxy/MCU), Rose Tico (Star Wars), Elsa (Frozen/Disney), Melissa Chartres (The Last Man on Earth)
Row 2: Eowyn (The Lord of the Rings/Middle Earth), Quinn Ergon (Final Space), The Thirteenth Doctor (Doctor Who), Princess Bubblegum (Adventure Time), Jane Foster (Thor/MCU), Amy Santiago (Brooklyn 99)
Row 3: Brook Soso (Orange is the New Black), Nebula (Guardians of the Galaxy/MCU), Erica Dundee (The Last Man on Earth), Kitty Winter (Sherlock Holmes), Rose Tyler (Doctor Who), Briony Tallis (Atonement)
Row 4: Meredith Quill (Guardians of the Galaxy/MCU), Missandei (Game of Thrones), Rey (Star Wars), Donna Noble (Doctor Who), Carol Pilbasian (The Last Man on Earth), Esmeralda (The Hunchback of Notre Dame/Disney)
Row 5: Sansa Stark (Game of Thrones), Ash Graven (Final Space), Tiana (The Princess and the Frog/Disney), Sophia Burset (Orange is the New Black), Misty (Pokemon), Clara Oswald (Doctor Who)
Row 6: Bill Potts (Doctor Who), Mary Brown (Paddington), Mako Mori (Pacific Rim), Gwen Stacy (Spider-Man), Jackie Tyler (Doctor Who), Ursula Ditkovich (Spider-Man)
Row 7: Yaz Khan (Doctor Who), Mary Jane Watson (Spider-Man), Marceline (Adventure Time), Michelle (10 Cloverfield Lane,), Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow/MCU), Mantis (Guardians of the Galaxy (MCU)
#1 Use a different movie for each prompt #2 Add photos and/or explanations of how your choices fit the prompts #3 Tag a few friends to play along
Let’s see what we got.
1. A Partridge in a Pear Tree — movie that involves agriculture
OH NO. Okay… Hmm. WAIT! My husband just HANDED ME the most obvious answer. The Martian, a space movie which I love, all about a guy who survives on Mars by growing potatoes. (It’s much, much more interesting than I make it sound there.)
Home to a really good line about humanity and the world:
“Every human being has a basic instinct: to help each other out. If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it’s found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don’t care, but they’re massively outnumbered by the people who do.”
2. Turtledoves — movie about a long-lasting relationship
Back in 2007 this movie ripped my heart out, stamped on it, put it back in, then kicked it upwards through my brain and out my head.
I speak of course of Atonement, the tale of a doomed romance and some beautiful, beautiful dresses. In the end, Robbie and Cecilia can’t survive World War II or the British class system. (Yeah, the British class system, not Briony, is the villain of this story.) But Briony ensures via her writing that they have a long-lasting relationship anyway, and I cry.
3. French Hens — movie that takes place in France
Okay, it’s a toss-up between two movies here, both based on works by Victor Hugo: Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables. And… despite the fact that it has virtually nothing at all to do with the book… I think Hunchback juuuust takes it, because it’s a gorgeous, interesting, progressive-for-Disney film, and I love it.
I can’t even choose one shot from this movie so just have the opening one. And hey! The titular church didn’t burn down this year! It’s still there!
4. Calling Birds — movie where people talk on the phone
Okay, I’m gonna stretch the definition of “phone” a bit here and show you something from The Phantom Menace:
I’m sorry I knoooooow Love Actually probably isn’t really all that great as a movie and it’s so cheesy and corny and up-itself but I love it. It’s like a warm Christmas hug. (And I don’t even really like Christmas, so…)
6. Geese A-laying — movie with a birth or that features babies
So before there was Baby Yoda, there was this equally adorable fella:
And I think his presence is enough to qualify Guardians of the Galaxy 2 as a film that features babies. No births though, unless you count the birth of a god or the birthing chamber stuff on the gold planet or various “rebirths” of characters. Wait… GOTG2 is surprisingly birth-metaphors-heavy actually. Who knew.
7. Swans A-swimming — movie where someone goes swimming
Okay, so maybe this isn’t so much “someone goes swimming” as it is “someone tries to swim and nearly drowns” but…
I can still remember the music from that bit in Fellowship of the Ring after all this time. My god, the last quarter of that movie kicks all kind of ass and tramples on my feelings, I love it so.
“I made a promise, Mr. Frodo. A promise. Don’t you leave him, Samwise Gamgee. And I don’t mean to. I don’t mean to.”
8. Maids A-milking — movie with cows
Okay, this can only be Children of Men. (A film that I very nearly put at #6.) Why? At the film’s pivotal moment we get this beautiful, striking scene featuring a whole lotta cows.
I think it’s meant to be reminiscent of Mary in the manger. And I love it so much. Please watch Childrenof Men, it’s so harrowing but so good, it’s amazing, I promise.
9. Ladies Dancing — movie with a dance scene
AM I GONNA DO IT? YEAH I’M GONNA DO IT. I’m gonna put Spider-Man 3 in here. Yes, that one.
But not for that dance scene… or even that one. You know the much-derided ones I mean. The one I like is this one:
Harry Osborn (in his various incarnations) is my Second Favourite Fictional Character Of All Time, and Mary Jane is pretty high up the list as well, so it was nice to see them have a moment of happiness before one of them dies. Honestly, that’s it. (I unapologetically love Spider-Man 3, even if only for Harry. I admit it. I’m sorry. No wait, no I’m not.)
10. Lords A-leaping — movie about athletes
Aw dang… I’m not good at this genre. But I do really like Noel Clarke’s Fast Girls and no-one else seems to have seen it, so I’m putting it here. I really need to watch it again actually. It suffers from Unnecessary Forced Heterosexual Romance In An Almost All-Woman Film Syndrome but eh, what doesn’t.
(Yeah, the Noel Clarke from Doctor Who. And yes, that is a pre-mega-fame Lily James.)
11. Pipers Piping — movie with someone playing a musical instrument
Wait, NOW I can get Les Miserables in here. During the very start of the “Drink With Me” scene Grantaire (my First Favourite Fictional Character of all time) starts running his hands over a broken piano.
It doesn’t make any sound of course, but that’s so much more poignant than if it had.
12. Drummers Drumming — movie with characters in the military
I don’t really get to go to the cinema much these days but one film I did see this year was Tolkien, which kinda delves in a little into how Tolkien’s experiences in the First World War inspired his writings.
It didn’t get very good reviews, to my surprise, and I suppose the dispute with Tolkien’s descendants definitely didn’t help, but I liked it. It definitely didn’t shy away when depicting the horrors of World War I.
And that’s that…
You should definitely do this meme if you want to! In fact, please do!
I love Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame with all my heart and I’m dreading this remake. If you do it with a non-disabled actor, YOU MISS THE ENTIRE POINT OF THE ORIGINAL. Cast an unknown actor with a real disability. Cast a Romani actress for Esmeralda. Or what’s the point??!