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Ursula

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Evil-doer

Ursula the Sea Witch

Full Name
Ursula
Alias
The Sea Witch, Vanessa
Origin
The Little Mermaid (1989)
Occupation
Sea witch, Faustian bargainer
Powers / Skills
Dark magic, magic potions, size alteration, to turn merfolk into condemned polyps
Hobby
Likes to be in power, destroying merpeople's happiness for her own gain.
Goals
To rule the oceans, to take over Atlantica, to return to the palace.
Type of Villain
Witch, Deal Maker, Usurper


Triton's daughter will be mine, and then I'll make him writhe. I'll see him wriggle like a worm on a hook!
~ Ursula

Ursula is the main antagonist of the Little Mermaid franchise. Ursula delights in making deals with "poor unfortunate souls", giving them their hearts desire if they succeed but also secretly sabotaging their efforts to do so. She is voiced by Pat Carroll in all of her appearances. Over the years, Ursula has become one of the most popular, and iconic of all the Disney villains and is one of the franchise's official members.Her appearance is of a plump light lavender-skinned, white-haired female human and from the waist down has black octopus-like tentacles. The character has been compared to Madame Medusa from the 1977 film The Rescuers, in terms of style, dramatics and choice of minions.

The Little Mermaid (book)

Ursula wasn't even named in the fairy tale, being just called the "Sea Witch". It must be noted that in the original fairy tale, the Sea Witch is unpleasant but not villainous. She gives warnings to the Mermaid and at her sisters' request, she provides her with a mean of saving her life. The sisters even offer her their hair as a payment, but she turns them down.

She wasn't described in any way, but the story is nearly the same: The mermaid falls in love with a human, so she disregards everyone's warnings and goes to the Sea Witch. The Sea Witch gave her 3 days to make the human fall in love with her, or she will turn into sea foam. The mermaid, in the story, actually doesn't manage to capture the human's heart (because she was a mermaid, and he was a human), and at the end of the story, the mermaid turns into sea foam and becomes a spirit.

The Little Mermaid (1989)

Through circumstances unknown, Ursula once lived in the palace within Atlanta with Triton and his family, but was banished, again due to circumstances unknown (though it was presumably because of her liberal use of black magic). She made her home in the belly of a dead leviathan, and used her dark powers to "grant wishes" to merfolk. If they succeed, they get their hearts desire. If they fail, she adds them to "her garden", which is a collection of pitiful looking sea creatures who are anchored to the floor. Via her song "Poor Unfortunate Souls", she offers Ariel the chance to be human for three days. If she can get the prince to give her "the kiss of true love" the condition would be permanent, but if not, she would be Ursula's property. Ariel accepts, and Ursula, true to her word, turns her human right then and there, at the cost of her beautiful singing voice.

Later in the movie, Ariel is "too close" to accomplishing her goal, so Ursula decides to "take matters into her own tentacles". Using her powers, she disguises herself as a beautiful dark-haired woman named Vanessa, and uses her magic to put Prince Eric in a trance, forcing him to marry her. Ariel and her friends crash the wedding, and though they stop it and release Ariel's voice, Ariel is too late. Ursula reverts back to her natural form and kidnaps the mermaid. Her father King Triton, warned earlier by Ariel's friend Sebastian, tries to stop Ursula, but Ursula hides behind the contract, demonstrating that it is "legal", "binding", and completely unbreakable, even for [Triton]". The heartbroken king agrees to take his daughter's place, and Ursula finally accomplishes her goal of being the unquestioned ruler of the seas. She grows into a giant monster and traps Ariel in the bottom of a whirlpool she made.
Ursuladeat
Ursula dies.
Ursula attempts to murder Princess Ariel and just as she's about to at last electrocute her to death, she is impaled on the bow of a sunken ship piloted by Eric, which causes her to explode. All the people she kept under her spell, including the king, were released from Ursula's spell for good.

She was voiced by Patt Carrol and was originally voiced by Jennifer Saunders.

Final Battle Ursula Death (HD)(02:36)

Reflections of Ursula

Arsulu
Arsulu (Ursula in disguise) as seen in Disney's The Little Mermaid: Reflection of Ursula.
B1bl1kalAdded by B1bl1kal
Although Vanessa herself doesn't appear in the short story Disney's The Little Mermaid: Reflection of Ursula, she is subtly referenced with Ursula's disguise of Arsulu, a blond mermaid with a red tail and magenta shells which she adopted to infiltrate Atlantica. Just like Vanessa, mirror reflections reveal "Arsulu's" true identity as Ursula, which Ariel later exploited.

Gallery

Trivia

  • The name of Ursula's human disguise, "Vanessa", is derived from the Latin word "Vanitas", meaning "Vanity", "Worthlessness", "Emptiness" and "Nothingness".
  • In an original draft for The Little Mermaid, Vanessa's role in the plot was quite different than in the final version. Originally, Eric proposed to Vanessa willingly after he discovered that she had the voice he was looking for, although he later had second thoughts at the actual wedding, when Vanessa intimidated him into saying "I do". Also, Vanessa was originally supposed to wear a scarf in order to ensure that her identity as Ursula was safe (as it hid her nautilus) when meeting people up close (such as Ariel).
  • She is one of many villains who is an all-encompassing force.
  • The attack on her was actually much different in the original version, as Scuttle and the various aquatic fauna did not start attacking her and the ship until just before the priest could pronounce them Husband and Wife. While fighting off the animals, Vanessa also nearly hinted that she wasn't who she claimed she was so she faked fear at a suspicious Eric. Scuttle, in this version, also decided to exploit the fact that Vanessa's true form can be revealed from her reflection by airlifting the mirror from the bridesroom over to her and positioning it near her, but she caught on and destroyed it before he could get into position. However, her reflection was already exposed from water seeping onto the deck from the animals, thus giving away who she really was to Eric. Perhaps the biggest difference is that Vanessa still kept Ariel's voice, though for some reason, she was unable to use it anymore.
  • At one point while Vanessa was being harassed by Scuttle, she yells angrily "Oh why you little!" and strangles Scuttle in a very similar manner to Homer and Bart in The Simpsons. (Coincidentally, both The Little Mermaid and the first Simpsons full length episode were released in 1989.)
  • Her name is never revealed in the film before the wedding, often in storybooks she is known as The Maiden.
  • Vanessa is one of four characters to possess violet eyes, the other three being Aurora, Megara and Doctor Facilier. On a related note, Vanessa was also the first villain to possess purple eyes, eventually being succeeded by Facilier.
  • In the official comic adaptation, Vanessa was shown multiple times singing in Ariel's voice without the necklace hanging around her neck, implying that so long as the necklace is safe, she will be able to speak with Ariel's voice.
  • Ursula is the first major Disney Villain to have his/her own song. While the villain songs before her were either sung by the henchman (The Siamese Cat Song, The World's Greatest Criminal Mind and The Elegant Captain Hook), The "funny/incompetent" villains (The Magnificent Marvelous Mad Madam Mim, Hi Diddle Dee Dee, Who's Been Painting My Roses Red and Trust in Me), or the heroes who were against the villains (Cruella De Vil and The Phony King of England), while the "serious/non-comedic" villains (The Evil Queen, The Coachman, Chernabog, Lady Tremaine, Maleficent, Shere Khan, Madame Medusa, The Horned King, Bill Sykes, Etc.) never sang at all.

The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea (2000)

Ursula's sister, Morgana (also voiced by Pat Carroll) is the primary antagonist of the movie. In it, it is revealed that Ursula was far more powerful than her sister, and the family favorite. Morgana has been trying to come out of Ursula's shadow her entire life. When Morgana surreptitiously obtains the trident, she cries to the skies that she is now the favored daughter. However, Ariel's daughter Melody steals the trident back and tosses it to her grandfather, Triton, who promptly turns her into ice. As she sinks to the bottom of the ocean, a picture of Ursula (at which Morgana regularly threw darts) sinks down with her.

The TV Series

Ursula appears in the TV series based on the movie as well. She appears in four episodes as the primary antagonist ("Against the Tide", "Tail of Two Crabs", "Heroes" and "Ariel's Treasures"), still opposed to Ariel and her allies.

The Little Mermaid (Broadway musical)

Alg mermaid1
Ursula in the musical
In the musical, Ursula remains largely the same. Her evil nature is still present, she is still a cruel sadist who delights in the suffering of her clients, and she is a very powerful witch. However, there are some key differences as well, the largest being that she is now thin and attractive. She is also Triton's sister, making her Ariel's aunt (an unused plotline for the movie). Her conch is no longer a necklace, but is rather kept on a stand. She still gives Ariel her human legs, still tries to sabotage her, and still seduces Eric to try and ruin her chances. However, the Vanessa subplot was removed, and instead of crashing the wedding, Ariel defeats Ursula in a singing contest. She obtains Triton's trident and conquers the ocean, but is destroyed when Ariel smashes her conch shell, the source of her power.

In the stage show, she was originally portrayed by veteran Broadway actress Sheri Renee Scott.

Kingdom Hearts series

UrsulaKHII
Ursula appears in Kingdom Hearts II
AnimarsAdded by Animars

Ursula watches Sora defeat the Guard Armor in Traverse Town from her post in Hollow Bastion. She suggests that Maleficent should turn him into a Heartless, and it'll "settle things quick enough". After the defeat of the Opposite Armor, the Hellfire Club is beginning to dwindle. Ursula is still her ally, and appears alongside Oogie Boogie and Jafar, reminding Maleficent of the Princesses of Heart.

She returns to her homeworld of Atlantica where she uses Ariel and Sora to find the world's keyhole and steal Sora's Keyblade, as well as the trident. Once she obtains it, she battles the heroes in her cave, and when she is defeated there, she grows giant like in the movie. However, she is defeated again, and destroyed for good.

As in the movies and the TV series, she is voiced by Pat Carroll.

Ursula appears again in Kingdom Hearts II, revived by unknown means. Her role in the game is largely similar to her role in the movie, however, due to the fact that Atlantica is a musical based world in Kingdom Hearts II, she is defeated during the song Ursula's Revenge. Like in the movie, she grows into a giant and attacks Ariel and Eric. Sora knocks the trident out of her hands only for Eric to throw it right through her, killing her.

Poor Unfortunate Souls

Poor Unfortunate Souls Broadway (Full)(06:31)
Poor Unfortunate Souls (English)(05:34)

Reception

As the first major villain of the "Disney Renaissance", Ursula made a considerable impact. An official poll of the top 30 villains in Disney history put her at #5, and the Nostalgia Critic ranked her #6. Ursula was likely the inspiration for Gnorga from A Troll in Central Park.

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