Remember when “princess” used to be a term to describe someone who didn’t really know how to do anything for themselves? Who was pampered and catered to and probably hadn’t faced too many obstacles in his or her life? Well the term has had a bit of a resurrection as of late, and not just because of Disney.
The princesses in Once Upon A Time are not only complex, tasked with saving the fairytale world and tough enough to kick butt on a regular basis, but they do it in style, if you ask us. With news that Brave‘s Merdia (played by Amy Manson) will be the next royal gal joining the series when it returns for Season 5 this Sunday, we decided it’s high time to rank these Princesses in all their royal highness glory.
9. Cinderella (Jessy Schram)
Oh Cinderelly. We barely knew thee.
Fighting Skills: Non-existent. After all, she only appeared in one episode of the first season, and there was very little battle skills required.
Savviness: Not-so savvy. Who makes a deal with the devil to give up their first born? Oh, that’s right — Cinderella.
Overall Interestingness: She might have been one of the first princesses to catch our attention, but as the years have gone by we realized that her entire story revolved around getting a man. The series was very much reminiscent of that, with little time for any further development devoted to her character.
8. Rapunzel (Alexandra Metz)
That’s some mighty long hair.
Fighting Skills: None, as herself. But as the witch (aka a manifestation of herself and her fear) she managed to give Prince Charming a pretty decent run for his money.
Savviness: Just okay. We want to give her props for her evil alter-ego, but really who gets themselves locked in a tower for so long? At least she wasn’t waiting for a prince to rescue her; he just happened to be the first person who came her way.
Overall Interestingness: We loved that this version of Rapunzel was played by a black actress. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see her nearly enough as she’s been relegated to one single episode. Here’s hoping that changes in the future.
7. Aurora (Sarah Bolger)
Fighting Skills: Decent. Although we credit most of her survival to her protector, Mulan.
Savviness: We give her full points for aligning herself with an A-plus team of fighters — hey, not everyone is born to fight. But knowing how to build up your team requires smarts.
Overall Interestingness: In working with Mulan, Snow and Emma, Aurora became an infinitely more interesting character than the one we saw in Sleeping Beauty. Probably because here, she’s actually a living, breathing person as opposed to a comatose gal waiting for a kiss from some dude she’s never met.
6. Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin)
Fighting Skills: Snow has proven herself with a sword time and time again. She’s also the one who has proven true love conquers all, and that, sometimes, is mightier than the sword.
Savviness: Regal and wise, Snow’s many years of ruling have allowed her to see things with a more just eye than most. Unfortunately, sometimes that also makes her kind of judgy.
Overall Interestingness: We go back and forth on Snow, depending on her storyline. Our favourite moments are when we get to go back to the Enchanted Forest and see her in all her glory, but she’s had her moments in Storybrooke too.
5. Elsa (Georgina Haig)
It sure is chilly in here.
Fighting Skills: When you can turn your angriest, fieriest enemies into sheer ice, we’d say your power does most of the fighting for you. But you certainly have to have some pretty nifty aim. Also, as we learned, control of your emotions.
Savviness: This beauty is definitely more brawn than brains — when it comes to controlling her emotions only. After all, she was smart enough to lock herself away so that she wouldn’t hurt anyone.
Overall Interestingness: Sadly, Elsa’s appearance in Storybrooke was a little hyped up given all of the Frozen fanfare, so they would have had a hard time feeling fresh no matter what they did. At least the evil queen helped breathe new life into the story, but we were always not-so-secretly holding out hope for more Elsa-Anna time.
4. Ariel (Joanna García Swisher)
Look at that thingamajig!
Fighting Skills: When it comes to any kind of land battle, this mermaid is clearly at a disadvantage. But if you meet her in the water? Well, you’d better watch out.
Savviness: Sure, sure. So Ursula tricked her into losing her voice. But now that she has it back, she’s served as an important messenger and representative for many of the characters, and that requires someone with a very strong presence of mind indeed.
Overall Interestingness: Ariel has always been one of our favourites, especially since she pops up whenever the story requires her. As one of the good guys in Storybrooke, she’s served her purpose many times over, and we’re always excited when they bring her back in because you know it’s going to be for something good.
3. Anna (Elizabeth Lail)
Sisters are better than any misters.
Fighting Skills: Awesome. She was the one who taught David how to handle a sword and defend himself, if you’ll recall.
Savviness: Also pretty awesome, even if she is a little too easy to trust sometimes. In fact the only downfall was that we didn’t see enough of her.
Overall Interestingness: Given the Frozen rage with young gals everywhere at the moment (okay, and maybe some of us older gals too) we were hoping for more Anna last season. Sadly, that wasn’t meant to be. But we’re still hoping for more of her in the near future. After all, with Evil Emma on the horizon Storybrooke could use another hero who’s nifty with the sword.
2. Mulan (Jamie Chung)
All hail the merry men.
Fighting Skills: Top notch. How many other women have been asked to join Robin Hood and his band of merry men over the years? None? Exactly.
Savviness: Mulan is one Princess who actually holds her cards close to her chest, and not on her sleeve. The result is that her enemies very rarely see her coming.
Overall Interestingness: Quite high, actually. If anything we were disappointed to see that she carried a flame for Adam after all, but we can forgive that, knowing how she was going to fight for Aurora’s safety anyhow.
1. Belle (Emilie de Ravin)
Looks at those books.
Fighting Skills: Belle might not be classically trained in the art of fighting, but she’s certainly proven that she can hold her own when it comes to bravery. Hey, at least she tries, rather than hiding out in the corner, which is more than we can say for some of the OUAT characters.
Savviness: We mean, books are kind of her thing. You can’t get much smarter than that. Plus, Belle brings out the best in the worst of beasts, including Rumple. That is one of the biggest advantages anyone on this show has, period.
Overall Interestingness: Given that most of Belle’s storylines are at the heart of the show, and that she gets all of the fun stuff with Rumple, we’d say she takes the cake as far as princesses go. Who didn’t die when they finally put her in that famed yellow dress to dance in the library with Rumple? Even though it’s an image we all had in our heads (and obviously, knew was eventually coming), we’ve been so into her story that it felt exciting, not inevitable.
Who are your favourite princesses? Sound off in the comments below.