It never occurred to me in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast that Belle was giving up her dreams of adventure in the great wide somewhere to be with the Prince Formerly Known as Beast. She gives them up at the beginning of the story to save her father, but by the end, what’s she done?
- Joined a society of transformed humans in an enchanted castle.
- Fought wolves in a snowstorm.
- Held her own against a ferocious Beast and changed him.
- Saved her father’s life and freedom, and the life of the Beast.
- Escaped that poor provincial town (and that boorish, brainless Gaston)
She’s had a big adventure…and now that the prince is human again and she’s cast her lot in with him, she has the resources and freedom to have more.
That’s why I can’t stand “A Change in Me,” the song that was added to the stage musical a few years in. It takes a criticism that I always thought was unfair — that she’s OK with giving up her dreams to be with a guy — and makes it canon.