002. Mulan (100 things: characters)

002. Mulan

Films: Disney’s Mulan, Hua Mulan

Actress who portrays her: Ming-Na, Zhao Wei

Memorable Quotes (Disney’s Mulan):

“My, what beautiful blossoms we have this year. But look, this one’s late. But I’ll bet that when it blooms, it will be the most beautiful of all.” (Fa Zhou)

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.” (The Emperor of China)

Memorable Quotes (Hua Mulan):

“Today we will stain the battlefield with our blood. Behind us is our homeland. If we have to bleed out our last drop of blood, if we have to become bleached bones in this desert, we must defend it to the death! We must let the Rourans know we Wei warriors will never surrender and will never compromise! Soldiers may rebel against me, generals may leave me for dead, but I, Hua Mulan, will never betray my country!” (Hua Mulan)

The story of Mulan is long, old and varied. If you look to the Disney animation you will find many discrepancies against the original story, which was in fact a poem. I don’t remember much about it but I once looked at a translation in school. We were studying Snow White and Mulan as examples of women in Disney, so that we could write a report on how women were represented in this form of media. It was an interesting task to say the least and it is the very first time I saw Mulan.

If you don’t know the story of Mulan it is brief, she goes to war (pretending to be a boy) so that her old and frail father doesn’t need to. As it turns out she ends up being something of a lifeline for the war.

The Mulan in Disney and the Mulan in the 2009 film known both as Mulan and Hua Mulan couldn’t be more different and yet they are similar.

They both want to honour their family and do what is right. They both know that their father will die if he goes to war and so they take his place.

Mulan is a brave and fearless woman, although she’s not fearless, but she pushes through her fears in order to do something she knows she must. That’s what I love the most about Mulan. She’s from a world where men go to war and women stay at home and yet somehow she still manages to push into a world she’s traditionally not meant for. She battles forward as a woman and she proves that women can be just as powerful, if not more so, than men.

If ever you needed a role model of a woman, of someone who puts their fears to one side in order to live and experience and to save someone they love, then Mulan is that person.

The Disney animated film may glorify the whole story whereas Hua Mulan shows the true nature of such battles and the danger that Mulan and her fellow warriors are in. But they both show this beautiful woman who deserves a lot of praise, not just for doing what she does, but for being who she is.

I especially relate to the Disney Mulan because at one point in the film she’s expected to be this ideal woman, this woman that tradition says must exist and if she’s not that person then she will not bring her family honour. She sings the song Reflection, which I will always hold dear, and I have a feeling many of you may feel similarly.

Look at me
I will never pass for a perfect bride
Or a perfect daughter
Can it be
I’m not meant to play this part?
Now I see
That if I were truly to be myself
I would break my fam’ly’s heart

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight
Back at me?
Why is my reflection someone
I don’t know?
Somehow I cannot hide
Who I am
Though I’ve tried
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

It’s just Mulan, who is lost and unsure that I most relate to because I think we can all feel that way sometimes. We’re not all brave, we’re not all strong and we can’t all be the person we are inside. It’s a sad fact, but it’s something that I think makes Mulan one of the greatest Disney women of all time. She may not be a Princess, she may not have a wicked stepmother, but she can kick ass as well as the next Disney girl. Except maybe Rapunzel from Tangled, but that’s another story for another day.

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001. Bridget Vreeland, Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (100 Things: character)

Bridget “Bee” Vreeland

Books: The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, Second Summer of the Sisterhood, Girls In Pants, Forever In Blue, Sisterhood Everlasting, 3 Willows (The Sisterhood Grows – cameo)

Author: Ann Brashares (novel), Delia Ephron (screenplay), Elizabeth Chandler (screenplay)

Films: The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2

Actress who portrays her: Blake Lively/Ashley Hale (young Bridget)

Family: Franz (father), Marly (mother, deceased), Perry (twin brother), Greta Randolph (grandmother)

Love Interest: Eric Richman

 

Memorable Quotes (by Bridget):

“The thought of a shower under a ceiling makes me claustrophobic…I think I wasn’t made for houses.”

“I have fallen in love with a dirt floor.”

“It happened just how I always imagined it would. So why do I feel this way, Lena? How can something that’s supposed to make you feel so complete end up leaving you so empty? I just wish so much I could talk to my mom. I need her. And that scares me.”

 

Memorable Quotes (about Bridget):

“Single-minded till the point of recklessness.”

“You are brightness, Bee. You are hope. No matter how far down you get, you’ll always have it. That’s what makes you different from your mother.”

 

Most of the time I can’t decide which Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants girl I like the most and for reasons I shan’t disclose, I’m currently a huge fan of Tibby. However, I start my 100 fictional characters I admire list with none other than Bridget Vreeland. She’s wild and independent, she’s stunning and crazy, but she’s also extremely vulnerable.

I admire Bridget in ways I can’t even begin to describe. She has been through a lot in her fictional life and that’s before we even reach the point in which her story begins (in the books/films). It’s not a secret that Bridget’s mother committed suicide and is something which is focused on throughout the whole series. It’s something which affects Bridget nearly every single day of her life and had it not happened I imagine she would be a very different person to the Bridget that we know and love.

She’s a football (soccer) buff and actually she’s very intelligent, though that isn’t the first thing people notice about her. It’s her hair. Blake Lively was a fantastic casting choice for the role because she has the hair and she has the height that makes Bridget who she is. Not to mention her stunning looks. She also has the ability to explore Bridget’s vulnerability whilst being the wild and crazy girl that she is.

The thing that I admire most about Bridget is her desire to live and to live well. She doesn’t do things by halves and despite very down moments in her existence, she still manages to do that. She’s a girl of poles – sometimes she’s up and sometimes she’s down, sometimes she’s bouncing around hyper and sometimes she can’t even get out of bed. But she doesn’t waste her life. There are days she may waste with her low moods, but the ones that she lives, she lives well. She’s not afraid to go out there and experience boys and life and anything she can grasp hold of. She likes to run and sometimes I wish that I could run because she does it when she needs to get away from life.

You know that feeling where you can’t quite explain just how important someone is in your life? I feel like that about Bridget. She’s been there in my world for several years and I don’t regret a moment. Who she is is someone to aspire to, her depression aside, I can’t think of anyone I’d like to be like more.