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Brave is a Disney/Pixar animated film featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman and Irene Mecchi; and directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman. It was released on June 22, 2012.


In Scotland, a child princess named Merida of the clan DunBroch is given a bow and arrows by her father, King Fergus, for her birthday. Her mother, Queen Elinor, is dismayed. While venturing into the woods to fetch a stray arrow, Merida encounters a will-o'-the-wisp. Soon afterwards, Mor'du, a huge demon-bear, attacks the family. Merida flees on horseback with Elinor, while Fergus fights off Mor'du at the cost of his left leg.

Later as a free-spirited and headstrong young woman, Merida discovers that she is to be betrothed to the son of one her father's allies, much to her dismay. Reminding Merida of a legend of a prince whose pride and refusal to follow his father's wishes destroyed his kingdom, Elinor warns her that failure to consent to the betrothal could harm DunBroch.

The allied clan chieftains arrive with their first-born sons to compete in the Highland Games for Merida's hand in marriage. Merida twists the rules, announcing that she is eligible to compete for her own hand as the first-born of Clan DunBroch. She defeats each of her suitors in an archery contest, shaming the other clans and leading to an argument with Elinor. When Merida storms out, she follows the wisps to the hut of an elderly witch. Merida bargains with the witch, and receives an enchanted cake that will change her fate.

The cake causes Elinor to transform into a black bear. Merida returns to the witch's cottage with Elinor, who still retains most of her human personality. The witch has abandoned the cottage but left a message: unless Merida is able to "mend the bond torn by pride" before the second sunrise, the spell will become permanent. Merida and Elinor are led by the wisps to ancient ruins, where they encounter Mor'du. Merida discovers that he was once the power-mad prince in the legend, transformed by a similar spell. Merida vows to her mother that she will not let her become a wild animal like Mor'du. She believes that she can reverse the spell by repairing a tapestry she damaged during their argument.

The clans are on the verge of war. Having learned the importance of responsibility from her experience with her mother, Merida intends to declare herself ready to choose a suitor as tradition demands. However, with silent encouragement from Elinor, she instead insists that the first-born should be allowed to marry in their own time to whomever they choose. The clans agree, breaking tradition but renewing and strengthening their alliance. Merida sneaks into the tapestry room with Elinor. Elinor, who is losing her humanity, attacks Fergus, but suddenly regains her composure and flees the castle. Mistaking the queen for Mor'du, Fergus pursues the bear with the other clans. With the help of her triplet brothers, who have been transformed by the enchanted cake into bear cubs, Merida repairs the torn tapestry while riding after her father. The clans and Fergus capture Elinor, but Merida intervenes before Mor'du attacks. Mor'du scatters the clan warriors and targets Merida. Elinor intercedes, using her bear strength to hold off Mor'du until he is crushed by a falling menhir. This releases the fallen prince's spirit, who silently thanks Elinor for freeing him. As the sun rises for the second time, Merida, oblivious to the realization of what the witch's riddle actually means, reconciles with her mother. The queen and the triplets are turned back into humans, and the family is reunited.

Later, Merida and Elinor work together on a new tapestry of Merida and Elinor as a bear, when they are called to the docks to bid farewell to the other clans. Their bond renewed and strengthened by their adventure, Merida and Elinor become inseparable.

Show Adaptation

  • The events on Once Upon a Time's fifth season take place approximately 10 years after the events of the film.[1]
  • The three Lords from the film do not rule anymore. Their sons, who all appear in the film as Merida's suitors, are now the Lords of their clans.
  • The Wisps are said to lead anyone who catches them to their destination and help them find what they're looking for, an attribute that wasn't present on the movie. They also seem to be solid and can be held.
  • The Hill of Stones is located in the Enchanted Forest.
  • Contrary to the film, the magic which turns people into bears does not take the form of a cake, but the form of a potion.
  • Merida has a very negative attitude towards witches, possibly because of the events of the film.

Characters Featured

Original Character Adapted as First Featured in
Merida Merida "The Dark Swan"
Angus Merida's horse "The Bear King"
Queen Elinor Queen Elinor "The Bear King"
King Fergus King Fergus "The Bear King"
Harris, Hubert and Hamish Merida's Brothers "The Bear and the Bow"
Wee Dingwall Lord Dingwall "The Bear and the Bow"
Young MacGuffin Lord MacGuffin "The Bear and the Bow"
Young Macintosh Lord Macintosh "The Bear and the Bow"
Mor'du Mor'du (mentioned) "The Bear King"
Will-o'-the-wisps Will-o'-the-wisps "The Dark Swan"
The Witch The Witch "The Bear King"

Items Featured

Original Item Adapted as First Featured in
Merida's bow King Fergus' Bow "The Dark Swan"
Witch's cauldron Witch's Cauldron "The Bear and the Bow"
Witch's magic cake Spell of Mor'du "The Bear and the Bow"

Locations Featured

Original Location Adapted as First Featured in
DunBroch DunBroch "The Bear and the Bow"
Hill of Stones Hill of Stones "The Dark Swan"
Witch's Cottage Witch's Cottage "The Bear and the Bow"
DunBroch Castle DunBroch Castle "The Bear King"


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