Thursday, January 15, 2015

Five Reasons You Need A Flynn Rider In Your Life

Last week I recounted various reasons why I love Rapunzel from Tangled and why everybody needs to have a Rapunzel-like person in their life.

However, the Tangled story would not be complete without a certain thief along for the adventure... Yes, that’s right: I’m talking about Flynn Rider (or if you prefer, Eugene Fitzherbert).

Now this charming fugitive brings a completely different perspective to the world than Rapunzel’s upbeat, optimistic dreamy-ness. He’s less stuck in a tower (head in the clouds) and more running for his life (down-to-earth). This gives him a different character to balance her character out.

Which is what brings me to this: I think you—yes, you—need a Flynn Rider in your life. Why, you ask? Well I have a few reasons…

Reason #1: He’s honest.
Now I know you’re thinking: honest, really? You are talking about the guy who lies about his name from introduction and also happens to be the kingdom of Corona’s biggest fugitive. And he’s honest?
Yes. I think he is honest. At least to a point.

You see, when Flynn Rider—not Eugene Fitzherbert—comes on the scene, he knows what he wants. He’s honest about what drives him (riches) and what he wants to accomplish. From the start, we know he wants the crown because it’s worth something, because he steals it from the people helping him steal it, because he agrees to do anything to get it back (even if that means taking a strange girl with a lot of hair to see floating lanterns).

He’s honest to himself. He knows what he wants—“an island that I own, tanned, rested, and alone, surrounded by enormous piles of money”—and he’s not afraid to let people know.

Later, we see his honesty growing the more time he spends with Rapunzel. His interactions with Maximus and Pascal, as well as the people of Corona show glimpses of his true character—and his honesty.

He buys Rapunzel the sun flag (which ultimately helps her realize who she is); he throws Maximus the bag of apples and states he bought them. Most of them. Even in that little moment—though it was probably meant as more humor than anything else—he’s being honest about how he got the apples.

Reason #2: He’s real.
Aside from the fact that the animating team had a “hot man meeting” to create Flynn Rider (aka he’s the perfect man), Flynn Rider comes across very real. Along with the honesty thing, his actions speak truth.

From his sarcasm to his reactions to certain happenings—"frying pans, who knew right?"—he comes across very believable. It not only provides us with laughs and swoon-worthy fangirl feels, but Flynn Rider is something to be admired for his boldness.

He doesn’t seem to care much for what other people think about him (except when they just can’t get his nose right!). He says he can’t sing because he doesn’t want to, not because he can’t sing (which by the way, as he falls in love with Rapunzel, he voluntarily sings, no sword points to pressure him). He has many layers to his character.

One on hand, he’s the charming thief that climbs a tower to hide. This side of Flynn knows he can swoon any maiden in the land with that smolder (well, any maiden except Rapunzel apparently) and get away with any heist. On the hidden side, he’s just a poor orphan boy that wants to be a hero and be known, be loved, be accepted. He isn’t painted black and white like Rapunzel. He’s been in the real world his whole life and his “paints” have blended together.

Everybody, whether we admit it or not, has a hidden side. A side we aren’t sure we want to reveal to the world because of rejection. Flynn Rider is like that; it makes him real.

Reason #3: He’s a realist. 
Rapunzel is the dreamer of all dreamers. Her head is always in the clouds, whether because of sitting atop a tower or drifting away with floating lanterns. But Flynn isn’t. At least not entirely.

Oh, he has dreams like everybody else. (No really! Just much less touchy-feely) I did mention the island and the piles of money. He thinks he knows what he wants at least. He has goals—steal the crown from the castle, steal the crown from my friends, run away, oh and hide in a tower! He also wants a castle.

But he knows he can’t just snap his fingers and wish the dreams to come true. He doesn’t have a genie in a lamp to help him along. He’s a realist; he’s down-to-earth.

Because of his upbringing, an orphan, he’s seen the real world. And that has made him learn that dreams don’t just come true because your heart wishes it. He knows there are obstacles and things he has to overcome or dodge or run away from in order to get what he wants. However, he doesn’t necessarily let that stop him; he still chases his dreams.

Plus, he knows that his true dream—to be like Flynnigan Rider, a swashbuckling hero with money to help people—is a bit of a stretch. So he settles with what he can attain: money and possibly privacy. Anybody can have a dream, but not everybody is as far-fetched as Rapunzel with their dreams. Most of the world is like Flynn: they dream but that’s all it is to them.

This grounds a person; it makes them see the world as it is—maybe not with men with pointy teeth but a place that takes hard work and time to accomplish something worthwhile. And a person like that is perfect to match up with a dreamer like Rapunzel. Otherwise that dreamer might float away and come crashing down hard.

Reason #4: He has integrity.
I know, I know. I already used the h-word, and now I’m going to point at a known fugitive and declare he has integrity? Yes. Yes, I am.

You could argue integrity is a lot like honesty, which is true, but in Flynn Rider’s case it means much more.

Flynn knows he’s charming, he knows he’s good looking, and he knows he’s smart. He thinks he can get out of any situation with a quick smolder and a raise of his eyebrows. And if that doesn’t work, he thinks of something else pretty quickly (case in point: his encounter with Rapunzel). He knows he can manipulate people easily.

But when it comes to something he cares about—someone he cares about—his integrity shines through. After getting to know Rapunzel, he would never use his charms on her. Instead, his actions show his care for her. He spends the day in the city making her happy, he buys her a flag and a lantern of her own, and he pushes away thoughts of the crown to focus on her. And when the moment he comes, he decides to give up the crown to set things right.

Last, his integrity is shown when he is arrested and can only think of Rapunzel. He walks to his deathbed and he fights the guards to talk to the Stabbington Brothers about her, not to attempt escape. He tries to reconcile with Maximus since the horse came to help save him, and he even does what he thinks is best for Rapunzel even if that means he dies.

He may be charming and seem conceited, but as I stated before, there’s more than one side to a person like Flynn Rider: and his other side—that orphan boy dreaming about becoming a hero—has integrity, just like any true hero would.

Reason #5: He can change.
The most important aspect of Flynn Rider’s character is his ability to change. Yes, he’s quick thinking and when one idea of his fails, he can strategize his way out of the situation in another way. But I’m talking about the big stuff he changes.

He’s originally a thief with nothing but eyes and a heart for money. He has charm and good looks, but he comes across conceited and flaky—and well, as funny and drool-worthy as he, not very likeable at first. Even his partners in crime, the Stabbington brother, hate his shenanigans ever before he robs them of the crown.

But he doesn’t stay the manipulating thief. He changes. Suddenly he’s tied to a chair (with hair) and encountering a girl who turns his world upside-down. How could he not change? (well—Mother Gothel never changed, so it’s possible).

When Flynn and Rapunzel get stuck in a cave that’s quickly filling with water, the true side of Flynn Rider is revealed. He’s Eugene Fitzherbert. He opens up because this is his last moment to clean his slate and maybe give something back to the girl who just helped save his life from being captured by guards (and a crazy horse) or beat up by the Stabbington brothers.

From that point on, there’s a lot of changes in Flynn. He’s still got his streak of charms and quick thinking, but he also appears more grateful and thoughtful of others. He helps get firewood, he spends the day with Rapunzel, he even doesn’t get in a fight with Maximus (at least right away). Much later, he changes heart and his dreams because of Rapunzel.

The Flynn Rider we meet at the beginning of the movie would never have given up his life for a strange girl locked in a tower. His perspective is shifted because of Rapunzel; and his actions follow along with it. Suddenly, he can’t imagine a world without this crazy, optimistic, bright-eyed girl. So he does what he can: he saves her and risks his life.

This kind of change fuels the rest of Flynn Rider’s Eugene Fitzherbert’s character for the rest of the film and his future with Rapunzel. No way would the kingdoms greatest fugitive be allowed to step near the castle, except that he changed. He gave up “thieving and basically, turned it all around” (sort of). And while his charm is still scene in the last few moments of the movie, it shows that changes can still retain the better aspects of a person.

Flynn Rider has easily become one of my favorite animated characters and is a main reason why I love Tangled (and he's voiced by one of my favorite actors, Zachary Levi). Since I’m a big dreamer and Rapunzel to many people, I find it necessary for myself to find my own versions of Flynn Rider to ground me to reality.

What about you? Are you Flynn Rider to someone, grounding them in their daydreams? Or are you in need of a Flynn Rider-esque friend to make sure you don’t float away?



  1. I want a Flynn Rider after reading this post.

    ...I mean, I did before, but now I *really* do. :p I'm not quite as head-in-the-clouds as Rapunzel, but I'd like to think I lean more towards the dreamy side of things, so I guess that means you can sign me up for a Flynn friend?? (preferably without the smoulder.)

    1. Hahahahaha! I think I've always wanted (and need) a Flynn Rider too.

      Thanks for reading. :)

  2. I'd like to say I'm as sensible, good looking and smart as Flynn Rider, but I'm honestly a bit of an air head, and unpredictable. I probably need a Flynn Rider to keep me grounded and to make me think before I do something stupid. And preferable just as good looking... Did I say that out loud? XD

    1. Oh, I'm with you on that one. Sometimes I think I'm being sensible until I realize I've been distracted by something shiny and dreamy (books, movies, places, etc.).

      Annnnd of course, who can resist the smolder? xD

  3. Guys, I want Flynn Rider.
    Just when I thought I was starting to get over my crush on him, your charming post brought it crashing back. I'm definitely more a Rapunzel type, and I always joke that my future husband has to be like Flynn/Eugene. A girl can dream right? ;)