There’s a lot to learn from Disney villains, as most of them make grave mistakes that cost them their kingdoms, pride, and puppies. We analyzed 15 prime villain candidates and gleaned what life advice we could from their quips and blunders alike. Here’s what we found:
1. Play to your strengths.
“Well as far as brains go, I’ve got the lion’s share. But when it comes to brute strength, I’m afraid I’m at the shallow end of the gene pool.” Scar knew what he had going on for him, and he worked it (albeit, for evil).
2. Try to overcome sibling rivalry.
Can we pinpoint how exactly Hans became so traitorous? We can only speculate that it was because of his fierce sibling rivalry (he had 13 brothers, after all). Don’t let middle-child-syndrome get the best of you.
3. Surprise weddings can be problematic.
While we can all appreciate a guy who plans ahead, Gaston’s surprise wedding for Belle was taking it a little too far. Chill out and let things progress naturally.
4. Always have a plan B (and C).
We have to hand it to Maleficent: Though she be evil, she be fierce. While it seemed like the spinning-wheel plan was immaculate, she was outsmarted by the fairies. Then, her hedge-of-thorn plan was thwarted by Prince Phillip. And lastly, after transforming into a giant dragon, she was defeated again. Good triumphed, but not for want of trying from the mistress of all evil.
5. Be mindful of your surroundings when you’re talking to yourself.
Ursula could have pulled off her evil plan (marrying Prince Eric disguised as Vanessa) … that is, if she hadn’t been spotted by Scuttle talking to herself in a mirror. Take the vanity down a notch, unless you want to end up a poor unfortunate soul.
6. Use fruit to your advantage.
One of our favorite Disney quotes of all time? Evil Queen’s advice that, “It’s apple pies that make the men folks’ mouths water.” We aren’t sure how this checks out as a courting tactic, but we can attest to the fact that you should always eat your fruits and veggies.
7. Don’t count your puppies before they’re nabbed.
We took some liberties with the old “chicken and egg” saying for this one, but we think Cruella De Vil could have used this advice herself.
8. Be careful what you wish for.
All powerful genie; itty-bitty living space.
9. Never smile at a crocodile.
Clear the aisle but never smile at mister crocodile. Why would you want to, really?
10. Never send an imp to do a god of the underworld’s job.
Pain and Panic were certainly wonderfully loyal to Hades, a great quality in a minion. But their follow through wasn’t the best. Sometimes, if you want a demigod out of the picture, you’ve gotta handle said demigod yourself.
11. Don’t let power go to your head.
As soon as it does, you’ll find yourself saying, “Off with your head!” And no one wants to lose their head, including you. So just handle your authority with grace and aplomb and the above will never be you.
12. Stay away from games of chance.
Even if you’ve got friends on the other side, play it safe and don’t take any deals. You never know when the trickster will end up being tricked.
13. Above all, self-control.
Lady Tremaine had a point, you know?
14. Chart your own course.
We know it’s controversial to label John Silver as a villain, but this life lesson from him holds true: “You gotta take the helm and chart your own course! Stick to it, no matter the squall!” That’s the spirit.
15. Be confident.
“Look in that mirror. I see a strong, confident, beautiful young lady.” Mother Gothel certainly had her fair share of confidence. Just keep it in check, friend.
Tell us what other life lessons you’ve learned from Disney villains in the comments!