A Tangled Breakdown: Mother Gothel

A breakdown of Mother Gothel, including her potential history and basic role in Tangled the Series.

As always, a spoiler alert is in effect from here on out.

Okay. This may sound a bit weird, but hear me out.

After watching this series, I’m starting to wonder if we were supposed to learn more about Gothel. There’s a line from Zhan Tiri that’s got me thinking: in the finale, when she says, “And as for you? You lost before you even began, girl. Just like your mother: felled by your own ego.” She must’ve known Gothel pretty well and watched from the Lost Realm when Rapunzel indirectly defeated her through Pascal. She likely gloated over her fall, since she wanted all the power whenever she returned.

At some point (after Zhan Tiri’s banishment but before Cassandra’s birth), Gothel struck out on her own to use the sundrop. She’s not a truly immortal servant like the others in the show (Sugracha and Tromus), and it would make sense if she never actually ended up serving Zhan Tiri — I don’t think her vanity would let her do that. Zhan Tiri probably told her about the sundrop, but she had to wait until Zhan Tiri was gone to search for it. Except she likely didn’t know that Zhan Tiri could still keep tabs on her through her servants and as that creepy British ghost girl. (Though … since the ghost girl was in the House of Yesterday’s Tomorrows, and her servants didn’t return until their release, I don’t really know about that.) Thus, she would know that Gothel now possessed the sundrop.

As for Cassandra, I think she was definitely an accident. Gothel can be extremely romantic, and she might flirt with some poor guy for her own reasons and then have to look after the child once the man died. Either that, or Zhan Tiri had a hand in it, though considering she was still that creepy British ghost girl I’m not entirely sure how that would work. (Though I can definitely see her only appearing to Gothel like she did to Cassandra in the series and stroking her ego in order to get her way. Or through some other means — she’s kinda ridiculously powerful.)

Zhan Tiri didn’t orchestrate Gothel going after Rapunzel — she knew Gothel’s vanity would do that. However, she probably did file Cassandra away, and planned to use her when the time was right. She also noticed Gothel’s own fall, and wanted to do the same to Cassandra.

But here’s the trick. That didn’t work with Cassandra. She had someone to keep her from falling in Rapunzel, which meant she could avoid repeating her mother’s mistakes. And just so we’re clear — Zhan Tiri was wrong. Cassandra has ambition to have control over her own life and be recognized and respected for her talents. That’s nothing like Gothel, who thought she deserved to own Rapunzel for her power, up to and including murdering a man to keep her.

Yeesh. Seems like Gothel is even worse than she seemed.

Citation: Tangled the Series/Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure. Created by Chris Sonnenburg and Shane Prigmore. Disney Television, 2017–2020.

Your fairytale enthusiast,

Kirsten Hardin

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