Disney’s Tangled is one of my all time FAVORITE Disney movies. I’m kinda obsessed with it. #noshame. When it first came out I would watch it again and again trying to gather all the details in this epic animated film (don’t believe me? Just ask my younger brother. He was so annoyed with how often I would watch Tangled).
Today we’re going to glean lessons from Tangled and learn how this classic fairy tale can be an allegory for our faith.
Once upon a time in a far away kingdom a baby princess was born. She had hair as golden as the sun, and her parents named her Rapunzel.
One night, an old woman (named Mother Gothel) who was obsessed with staying alive forever broke into the castle and stole Rapunzel.
Why, you ask?
When Rapunzel’s mother was pregnant with her, she became very ill. Legend had it that there was a magic flower that had the power to heal the sick and the injured, so all of the king’s soldiers searched for the flower. Once they found it, the fed it to the mother and she was healed.
The flower’s magical powers transferred themselves into Rapunzel’s hair. Mother Gothel had been using the flower’s powers to stay young for centuries, and she was not pleased that it no longer existed. However, once she realized that Rapunzel’s hair had this power, she kidnapped her.
Rapunzel grew up in a tall tower, far away from the castle. Mother Gothel never told Rapunzel that Rapunzel was the princess. Rapunzel grew up thinking the reason she was hidden away was because the “evil world outside the tower” would exploit her for her magic hair.
She didn’t realize that evil lurked in her own home.
Every year on Rapunzel’s birthday, the kingdom released floating lanterns out of hope that they would lead the lost princess home. Rapunzel could see the lanterns from her window, and longed to see them up close in person. There was just one problem: Mother Gothel.
Mother Gothel didn’t want Rapunzel leaving the tower. Ever. She claimed she was trying to protect Rapunzel, but in reality Mother Gothel just wanted to keep Rapunzel’s power to herself. She didn’t want someone to realize that Rapunzel was the princess.
Well, too bad for Mother Gothel, because Rapunzel decided to leave the tower anyway. She enlists the help of Flynn Rider- a thief- and they depart the tower.
They journey to the castle and have a number of adventures along the way.
Once they are in the heart of the kingdom, Rapunzel is overjoyed. It’s better than she could have imagined!
That night, Rapunzel and Flynn watch the floating lanterns float into the sky. Rapunzel is utterly captivated by them and she and Flynn realize that they are falling in love.
After a series of unfortunate events, Rapunzel finds herself back with Mother Gothel in the tall tower. She is sad that her adventure is over, and sad that she can no longer be with Flynn.
Suddenly, everything clicks and Rapunzel realizes she is the lost princess.
Flynn comes to Rapunzel’s rescue, but he ends up getting hurt and needing Rapunzel’s hair to save him. But before she could heal him, Flynn chops off Rapunzel’s hair, freeing her from Mother Gothel’s grasp.
Flynn and Rapunzel return to the kingdom and she is reunited with her parents. They all live happily ever after. The end ;)
How Tangled relates to Christianity:
I don’t believe this story was meant to be an allegory of the Christian faith. However, there are some clear parallels we can discover.
Think of it in terms of Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son (found in Luke 15:11-32).
In this story, a man’s son claims all of his inheritance early and then leaves his family. He goes to a city and there he spends all of his money. Now he finds himself poor and coveting the food the pigs eat. He’s to ashamed to go home, but finally realizes being a servant to his father would be better than a life of poverty. So he returns home and is surprised to be welcomed joyfully by his father.
The lesson from this story is that no matter how much wrong we do, God will gladly accept us into His kingdom.
Similarly, Rapunzel was distant from her home. She belonged in the castle with her father, the king, but she didn’t know who she was. Her “mother” lied to her and kept her from seeing the truth about the royal family. Mother Gothel also held her captive and refused to set her free.
In essence, we are Rapunzel.
We are held captive by sin (which we can compare to Mother Gothel) which lies to us and keeps us from learning the truth about God and about ourselves. Sin desperately wants us to stay ignorant of the fact that we are children of the King (God).
Once Rapunzel realized she was the lost princess, she tried to escape Mother Gothel.. Without Flynn she was unable to. I don’t think we can really compare Flynn to Jesus, but in our spiritual journeys we do have people who walk alongside us and show us the way to the King. Jesus ultimately saves us, but other people help us realize that we need saving.
For her whole life, Rapunzel didn’t realize she was being held captive. She thought she was safe and at home.
Sin is like that. It slips in and makes us comfortable. Sadly, it can be really easy for someone to go their whole life without realizing they need to be saved.
Rapunzel was a good person. She was kind and she obeyed her mother (for the most part). She was brave and tried to keep the peace between two enemies.
However, none of that changed the fact that she was held captive. Her hair was her weakness- her direct tie to sin. She still needed to be saved from Mother Gothel and ultimately her hair (paralleled to the sin within herself).
Someone can be a good person and still be a “lost princess” in need of saving and knowing the truth of who they are.
Two questions to ask yourself:
“Am I a lost princess?”
Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord and asked Him to forgive you of your sins? Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?
If you’ve said yes to both of those questions above, then my dear friend, you are not a lost princess. You are a daughter of the King.
As we see in the parable of the prodigal son, even children can become distant from their father. If you’ve been distant from the King as of late, I urge you to come back home to Him. He’ll welcome you with open arms.
“How can I help people discover their Father?”
Once you are no longer a lost princess you have the Royal Commission to bring your fellow sisters and brothers back home to the King.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Worried that you are unworthy of this task? No worries. God can use anyone who’s willing.
See also: 3 Fears of Evangelism Debunked
Flynn Rider was a wanted thief and the last person anyone would expect to lead the lost princess home. Yet he did.
Even if some people may doubt you and think you are unworthy to tell them about Jesus, you’re not. God has given you your story to tell others for a reason. Don’t keep it to yourself.
From now on, whenever you watch the movie Tangled, rejoice in your salvation! You once were lost, but now you’re found! Go out and tell others about this joy!