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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TAMU chapter.

Warning this article contains spoilers from the movie 

Recently there’s been a new hit movie that Netflix released a few weeks ago. “Damsel”, starring Millie Bobby Brown from Stranger Things, is a story about Princess Elodie and her adventure of marrying a prince to save her doomed kingdom. The movie starts as a typical fairytale about a kingdom in distress with a king who decides to marry off his daughter, who dreams of exploring the world, to an unknown prince. Unsurprisingly, the princess falls in love with the prince but he betrays her by sacrificing her to a dragon. I let out the loudest gasp when the prince threw her off the cliff because I thought he was going to go against his mother’s wishes and run away with her. But no, he drops her like a sack of potatoes without a second thought. Some prince charming. 

Anyway after being thrown into the cavern, Elodie has an emotional moment where she yells and tries to climb out by using the roots of the trees. Instead of throwing herself down and crying because she feels hopeless, she fights to survive and doesn’t wait for anyone to save her. It was a moment of empowerment for women. Shortly after this, she comes face to face with the dragon who she was sacrificed for. The dragon is determined to kill Elodie and the audience can only assume it’s because the dragon is evil. Elodie fights and manages to get away but not without serious injuries. After roaming the cave she comes across a secret spot that other sacrificed princesses used for a safe haven. Elodie finds a wall covered with names and it is heartbreaking to know none of them made it. This scene depicts the royal family’s treachery, as they murder innocent princesses to maintain their power. But Elodie is determined to not follow the same fate.

Elodie tries to escape the cave by following a map one of the other princesses made only to find out that it was a dead end. This movie did a great job of keeping the adrenaline of the audience up because nothing was as you expected. The strong-willed princess does not escape with the help of the past princesses. Luckily, Elodie’s father came back for her and brought a group of men to fight the dragon, which is another plot twist. I honestly didn’t think that her father would be the one to save her, because in most stories it is the prince who does the saving. It was a nice change but one that ended in her father’s death. Before finding her father though, Elodie discovers that the previous king killed the dragon’s three children, and to make up for it, the king had to give the dragon his three daughters. This ritual would be continued for generations to keep the dragon from attacking the kingdom. It becomes clear to Elodie that the royal family has been lying to the dragon and sacrificing princesses who are not of royal blood. This realization causes Elodie to become determined to expose the truth.

With the help of her father, Elodie escapes and hides. The queen, furious with Elodie’s actions, takes her younger sister and sacrifices her to the dragon. I would like to note that Elodie’s stepmother is not your typical fairytale stepmother as she truly cares for her stepdaughters and would sacrifice herself for them. This is a modern improvement of the stereotypical stepmother and I would love to see more of it. The prince, while all of this is happening, is still on the sidelines letting his crazy mother sacrifice a child. Elodie, even though she escaped, heads back to the cave without hesitation once she finds out about her sister. She is determined to fight the dragon head-on by herself and they fight until both she and the dragon are on the brink of death. The battle ends when Elodie tricks the dragon into setting itself on fire. Elodie explains to the dragon that they both were tricked and that the dragon has been killing innocent princesses. The dragon tells Elodie to kill it and surprisingly, or unsurprisingly, she doesn’t. She lets the dragon live. This threw me off because Elodie seemed like the kind of person to avenge those who were wronged and I thought to avenge the dead princesses she would kill the dragon. Once again a plot twist I didn’t see coming.

At the end of the movie, we see a wedding and the prince with the third about to be sacrificed princess. Even though he sees every morally wrong thing his mother does, the prince still goes along with it. Thankfully, when Elodie tells the princess to run away she does and everyone else who has a conscience runs away too. The dragon, showing no mercy, swoops down and kills the corrupt royal family, the prince included. In this scene, I loved how Elodie shut the prince up when he tried to explain his actions – like dude, you knew of this messed up ritual and didn’t stop it so you’re just as evil. I’m glad he didn’t have a redemption arc because he could have stopped this whole ritual by taking responsibility for the past and removing his mother from the throne. I think he realized there was no way to make up for his mistakes so he just accepts death. The movie ends on a happy note with Elodie and the dragon moving on from their past to explore the world together. 

I really enjoyed this movie and I can see why everyone on TikTok and Instagram was hyping it up. It takes the traditional fairytale story and modernizes it with darkness and the reality that in the end you only have yourself to rely on. Elodie could not rely on the prince or anyone else to save her, as countless princesses had before her. She was a self-sufficient damsel who didn’t need saving and symbolizes the strength and potential of all women who believe in themselves.

Chasey Christenson is a senior member of Her Campus at Texas A&M University. She covers the latest music trends, Korean drama recommendations, and the occasional book reviews. She hopes to raise awareness of topics that she is passionate about while being able to show her creative side. Outside of Her Campus she has worked at the VA office helping students continue their education at Texas A&M. Chasey has had a passion for writing ever since she was young and won the 2016 Great Lakes Anthology Award where she became a published author. She is currently a student at Texas A&M University majoring in psychology with dreams of becoming an Applied Behavior Analysis. In her free time, Chasey enjoys listening to music, reading books, writing short stories, watching Netflix, and going on the occasional walk with her friends. She is passionate about helping others and being a voice for those who go unnoticed or unappreciated.