- "Well, I'm really not supposed to speak to strangers, but we've met before."
- –Aurora, to the animals.
Princess Aurora, also known by her alias "Briar Rose", is the main protagonist of Disney's 1959 animated feature film Sleeping Beauty.
Princess Aurora is the daughter of King Stefan and Queen Leah. On the day of her birth, the princess is cursed by Maleficent, an evil fairy who wishes her dead on her sixteenth birthday by pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel. However, three good faires named Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather raise the child in a secluded forest where they pray she will be safe from Maleficent's curse.
Appearances and personalityEdit
Aurora is an extremely beautiful 16-year old young woman with long, golden blonde hair, violet eyes, a statuesque figure, and rose red lips. She seems to have inherited all of her beauty from her mother, Queen Leah, to whom she bares a strong resemblance.
Aurora is a kind, shy, sophisticated, elegant, and hopelessly romantic young woman. Due to having lived a rather sheltered early life, courtesy of the Three Good Fairies, Aurora is initially portrayed as timid, naive, and insecure about the world around her, although she's obviously troubled by the fact that her "Aunts" Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather still treat her like a child. However, hroughout the course of the film, and especially in later media, Aurora seems to to have matured into a more self-assured, independent, and confident young princess.
Background and developementEdit
Aurora is based off of the princess in the Brothers Grimm fairytale, Sleeping Beauty. In this fairytale. a princess is given blessings by a few good fairies, and the gifts were, beauty, wit, and musical talent. However, as her gift, a wicked fairy who was overlooked, places the princess under an enchantment, saying that, on reaching adulthood, she will prick her finger on the spindle of the Spinning Wheel of Death and die. However, one last fairy has yet to give her gift. She partially reverses the wicked fairy's curse, proclaiming that the princess will instead fall into a deep sleep for 100 years.
The king forbade spinning on distaff or spindle, or the possession of one, upon pain of death, throughout the kingdom, but all in vain. When the princess was fifteen or sixteen she chanced to come upon an old woman, who was really the wicked fairy in disguise, in a tower of the castle, who was spinning. The princess asked to try the unfamiliar task and the inevitable happened. The wicked fairy's curse was fulfilled. The good fairy returned and put everyone in the castle to sleep. A forest of briars sprang up around the castle, shielding it from the outside world: no one could try to penetrate it without facing certain death in the thorns.
After a hundred years had passed, a prince who had heard the story of the enchantment braved the wood, which parted at his approach, and entered the castle. He trembled upon seeing the princess's beauty and fell on his knees before her. He kissed her, then she woke up, then everyone in the castle woke to continue where they had left off.
Design and characteristicsEditThe original character design of Aurora, done by Tom Oreb, was modeled after the elegant, slender features of British film actress Audrey Hepburn. Aurora's supervising animator, Marc Davis, worked with Oreb to sharpen the princess' features and clothing so that she would fit in with her very stylized and angular surroundings.
As done with several other Disney animated feature films, Walt Disney hired actress Helene Stanley to serve as live-action reference for Aurora during the animation process. Stanley performed similar work for the characters Cinderella in Cinderella (1950), and Anita in One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961).
According to Christopher Finch, author of The Art of Walt Disney, "Disney insisted that all scenes involving human characters should be shot first in live-action to determine that they would work before the expensive business of animation was permitted to start. The animators did not like this way of working, feeling it detracted from their ability to create character. The animators understood the necessity for this approach and in retrospect acknowledged that Disney had handled things with considerable subtlety."
Role in filmEdit
After years of awaiting for a child, a baby girl was born to King Stefan and Queen Leah. They named her Aurora, after the Roman Goddess of the Dawn because she filled their lives with sunshine. When she was born, the kingdom had a party for Aurora, where she became betrothed to Prince Phillip the son of King Stefan's good friend King Hurbert. The three good fairies, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather all decided to give their blessings to the princess. Flora and Fauna give the infant princess the gifts of beauty and song, respectively. However, after Fauna gives her gift, the evil fairy Maleficent arrives. Angered because she wasn't invited to the ceremony, Maleficent puts a curse on baby Aurora. According to Maleficent, on Aurora's sixteenth birthday, She will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die. Maleficent disappears before she is arrested, leaving everyone in shock and horrified. Merryweather, who had not yet given her gift, could not lift the curse, but she could soften it. Instead of death, she would remedy the situation by placing Aurora on a sleeping spell, only to awake by true love's kiss if this was to happen.
Still fearful for the princess's safety, the three good fairies agree to hide the princess as a peasant for sixteen years, until the danger has past. They take the baby to a cottage in the forest and raise her, disguising themselves as her mortal aunts.
Fast forward to Aurora's sixteenth birthday, where it is revealed that Aurora's name has been changed to Briar Rose. Her "aunts" send her out into the forest to pick berries, so that they can prepare her birthday party in secret. While Aurora is out in the forest, she dreams of meeting a handsome prince, while singing "Once Upon a Dream". At first, she is singing with her forest creature friends. But she soon meets with Prince Phillip, who followed her melodic voice. Not knowing who Phillip was, or of their betrothal, she believes him to be a stranger, and attempts to leave. However, she dances with him for a bit, and ends up falling in love. When he asked for her name, she questioned him then left, realizing she wasn't allowed to give her name to strangers. She does, however, tell him where she lives, and asks him to meet her there that night.
At home, Briar Rose comes home to a splendid birthday party. She tells her aunts about the young man that she met, but is confused when they aren't happy for her. Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather reveal Briar Rose's true identity as Princess Aurora, as well as the fact that she is betrothed. The fairies sadly explain that she can never see the young man again, not knowing that he was actually her betrothed. This makes Aurora go to her room crying.
The fairies bring the upset Aurora to her father's castle, and leave her alone for a time. While they are gone, Maleficent enchants the girl, and leads Aurora to a spinning wheel. The fairies realize the danger and go to rescue Aurora, but before they can, Maleficent forces the girl to prick her finger, invoking the curse.
Aurora remains under the curse for sometime. In the meantime, The fairies had discovered that Phillip was the man that Aurora met, after overhearing Phillip's father speak of the prince meeting a peasant girl. After a battle with Maleficent, Phillip is able to get to Aurora and kiss her, breaking the curse. Aurora smiles after she realizes that her betrothed and her love are the same person. The pair go down to meet Aurora's parents, and share a dance. Feeling disapproved by their respective colors, the two fairies, Flora and Merryweather, relentlessly change the color of her dress back and forth from pink to blue.