Recently while I was goofing off with a group of friends, the oh-so-popular topic of Disney villains was brought up, which led me to the question, "Which Disney villain do you think you're most like?" Some of their answers were fairly expected: One said Ursula, one was stuck between Scar and Maleficent... but when it came to my turn, I was surprised, and slightly disturbed, to find mine was Mother Gothel.
Why disturbed, you may ask? I've always considered Gothel one of the darker Disney villains. Gaston may be able to rouse a mob to attack his rival for Belle's hand, and Ursula may use you as a tool to get to your father, but Gothel will get into your mind, with no help from any sort of magic, mind you, and twist your doubts and your fears until they're all you can feel. Most Disney villains will fight you face to face while monologuing about how much they love being evil. Gothel will give you a hug and then stab you in the back.
More to the point, Gothel uses a strategy I absolutely hate: manipulation. She doesn't have to use magic or blackmail to get what she wants, because she knows how to get into your mind and use every doubt you've ever had until you don't know what to think anymore. As someone with depression, that idea truly frightens me. So, you may understand why I was so shocked to realize how similar she is to me.
Or, rather, how similar she is to me at my darkest points. The times when I become so bitter and angry that I shove aside everything I love about kindness and empathy for a taste of power or revenge. When I'm hurting so badly I want the world to hurt with me, because how dare they be happy with themselves when I can't be?
Maybe that's what scares me the most about Gothel - the fact that I recognize her.
In the end, maybe that's what everyone is most afraid of, when something as simple as a story creates such a deep-set fear: the darkest side of themselves.
Fare thee well, friend!