A formative time in many a child’s life is their first experience with a wide variety of classic Disney movies. At least, it was for me. Then again, maybe the formative experience is less about watching those movies for the first time, and more the experience of being traumatized by movies made decades ago for children.
Face it. The villains are the best part of any Disney movie. Sometimes they terrify you. Sometimes they gross you out (looking at you Frolo). Sometimes they become twisted personal heroes. But in the case of the Mad Madam Mim in 1963’s The Sword in the Stone, they are all three.
Madam Mim is one of those villains who grows on you over time. When you’re a kid, maybe she’s a little scary, what with her crazy eyes and unclear “madness” and that vibe that she sorta likes eating children with a bit of gravy. But as you move into adulthood, you realize she’s actually the best character in the movie.
- She has magic powers, which means, much like Merlin, she doesn’t need to go to work. Hell, she doesn’t need to put on pants or a bra in the morning and not just because they didn’t have bras or pants for women in the Middle Ages (if it weren’t for all the oppression and the cholera, I’d live there).
- There is absolutely no reason for her to interact with other humans. Hermit life for the win!
- When she does interact with people, it’s because they’ve stumbled onto her little forest cottage, completely against her will and she has carte blanche to act as weird as humanly possible because who the hell cares what this kid thinks? You’re probably just gonna eat him anyway.
- I hear children are high in protein.
- SHE CAN BECOME A DRAGON. That’s like Maleficent levels of awesome, only without all the pesky princes trying to kill you with their giant swords that you know are overcompensating for something.
Sure, Madam Mim is cast as the bad guy in the movie, but that’s only because we’re taking Merlin’s word for it. Arthur is the one who burst into HER home as an obnoxious little bird and then didn’t have the decency to stay for dinner. Did Merlin really need to challenge her to that wizard duel? Did he need to turn himself into a disease and make her ill? No.
Honestly, I think he’s just jealous of her lifestyle. I certainly am.