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Damsel teaches the importance of vengeance

"Three were taken, three must be given"

By 'Vive AkughaPublished 2 months ago 10 min read
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Image Credit: Screenshot from Netflix on YouTube

After Eleven from the Stranger Things series, Millie Bobby Brown is known for her Enola Holmes character in the 2 character-titled movies. She is no stranger to portraying strength in women and she continues to do so as Elodie in 2024's Netflix movie, Damsel. It is yet another production where Millie Bobby Brown runs away from danger, confronts danger, and cuts her hair. On a more serious note, the movie's focus on vengeance through strength, trust, and teamwork is rather interesting.

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Elodie is the first daughter of Lord Bayford(Ray Winstone), the leader of their barren land. Their people struggle to keep warm and eat well, making a deal more enticing. Lord Bayford accepts a deal for Elodie to wed Prince Henry(Nick Robinson) of Aurea. Despite her reservations, she accepts it due to the encouragement from her family and for the benefit of her people. They head to Aurea to seal their ties and notice some things on their way. Their desperation and vulnerability make them immune to strange things as they stare at the dragon statues before overlooking them. Elodie had also mentioned that she had never heard of Aurea but the family focuses on the betterment within their grasp. They settle into Aurea taking in the extremity of their wealth and preparing for the upcoming wedding. Elodie spends time with Henry and Lord Bayford is completely informed about the deal. He is downcast and sternly avoids discussing it with his wife, Lady Bayford (Angela Bassett).

Lady Bayford realizing something is amiss tries to make conversation with Queen Isabelle (Robin Wright) claiming that they would soon be family. However, this is shut down immediately. The Queen makes it known that this deal is solely for their mutual benefit, a bride for her and money for them. She belittles Lady Bayford by discussing her father's profession as a rope maker. Lady Bayford was proud of her father's respected position but the Queen informs her that they may have soared to a high position in society but "one mustn't forget one's station." This and the Queen's mistake of Elodie's name alerted Lady Bayford. She is made aware that they have no real interest in them as the Queen said she didn't need more family and referred to Elodie as Eloise. She makes this concern known to Elodie in the presence of Floria (Brooke Carter).

Image Credit: Screenshot from Netflix on YouTube

She believes that "they may be royalty, but that doesn't make them good people." Floria is hesitant to the concerns and questions their stepmother but Elodie receives the warning before Lord Bayford interrupts them. She expresses her concerns to Lord Bayford as well telling him that she hopes he knows what he's doing. Elodie had expressed her uncertainty to Floria and said she wished their mother were there to talk to. Their appreciation for their stepmother was made known as they called her good-intentioned but exhausting. Floria encouraged and consoled Elodie saying, "You're Elodie. You can do anything."

Floria believes everything will be fine and supports Elodie throughout. Henry and Elodie are wed. After the wedding, she realizes the depths of the royal tradition which lands her in a position to fight for her life or to give up as a sacrifice. Her father accepts her goodbye knowing it may be her last and Lady Bayford's worries are evident but Floria is happy for her. After her send-off, they head to pay homage to his ancestors, something she just finds out.

Image Credit: Screenshot from Netflix on YouTube

Despite the eerie nature of things, Elodie keeps looking at the bright side and holds his hand for strength. She ignores the strange masked people, coin throwing and blood ritual as she's told the story about the tradition. The prince carries her regardless of her objection and throws her into the same chasm she threw the coin in. Figuring out her situation and seeing the items from other women, she realized that she was a sacrifice. She is devastated and calls on her mother to give her strength.

She encounters the dragon (Shohreh Aghdashloo) and they talk. She shares her name and is informed that as a royal she is there to fulfill the deal. The dragon said she was promised, owed and every generation must pay. She tells Elodie to run as they start their game of predator and prey. Elodie fearfully finds a sanctuary. She utilizes her clothes and adornment as tools on her journey as she praises saying, "One for the dress."

Image Credit: Screenshot from Netflix on YouTube

Her escape lands her in a safe spot she realizes was most utilized. She sees the names of the victims before her and again, takes in the gravity of the situation. In a dream, she is told by one of the ladies that there's a lie. As she awoke she realized that her wounds were covered by the glowworms. After her initial panic, she realizes that they helped her by healing her and says, "I'm deeply sorry for underestimating you." The underestimation applies to her as well as she refuses to simply accept her situation.

She is strengthened by the map carved out by the previous princesses and a path to victory and freedom is made. She continues to utilize the glowworms as a light source and is determined to avenge the ladies as she adds her name to the list, hoping to be the last. The movie stresses you out as you follow the taunting, hope, despair and more of Elodie's story. The dragon finds her in a not-safe area and tells her that she should stop resisting because "Three were taken, three must be given." The dragon is distracted by the call for Elodie and her father's presence is made known. He came back with some men to find her.

Lord Bayford is spared for a moment to call Elodie out but after his apology, he tells her not to come out. He says that he made a mistake by sacrificing the one he loved most for the good of his people. He thought he could live with his choice to take the gold but couldn't and came to find her. The dragon wounds him deeply but is distracted before he dies. Elodie goes to him. He expresses his regret and tells her that she is expected at the ship. His life ends after he says, "Forgive me."

Elodie finally escapes using the ropes her father told her to take but she hides to avoid the dragon chasing her. This angers her and results in brief chaos which angers the Queen. She says she knew Elodie was trouble and that she would fix things. She got Floria as a replacement saying they were promised a daughter. Henry objected saying that it was enough and he could not do this because she was too young but his mother said he was weak. She said, "A prince protects his kingdom, without hesitation or complaint." The Queen joins her blood with Floria and says she should be thrown in.

An injured Lady Bayford informs Elodie about Floria's abduction and Elodie heads back. She does her entire run again with much strength and determination this time.

Image Credit: Screenshot from Netflix on YouTube

The dragon knew that Elodie would come for Floria and was unwilling to let her leave because they did not give her little ones the same mercy. Elodie makes a timed distraction and heads to Floria. She tells Floria to hide and that she must tell the dragon the truth because the plan is not progressing well. She explains to the dragon that they were both lied to.

She says she was told that the dragon set upon them and that the king came only to defend his people but the dragon said the king came unprovoked. She said that her children were the last daughters of her line so she would take their daughters till the end. Elodie explains that they are not their daughters but that angers the dragon. She could smell it in their blood and thought she was being lied to again. They fight and at some point, the dragon says they are to die alone. She tells Elodie to accept her fate as she did her's.

Elodie says she is not alone because she has an army with her- the innocent women sent to die. Still believing that she is a royal, the dragon says that their kind was never innocent. Elodie tricks the dragon into being burned which calms her for continued discussion. She shows the dragon the cut on her hand and explains that is how they are made a royal which is how she smells royal blood. She says they fooled the dragon and that she's been killing innocent girls just like they did. The dragon says she should end things then but Elodie declines and says she's done doing things she's told. She gets the glowworms to heal her and returns to the kingdom.

Image Credit: Screenshot from Netflix on YouTube

Back at the kingdom, the prince is being wed to yet another helpless girl. Elodie asks if the lady being wed was to be the third and Henry explains that she would be the last then he could marry whomever he wants. The Queen said he didn't need to explain himself to her, a "commoner". Elodie tells the girl to take her family and run which she did. She gives everyone one last chance to do the same but not a lot take it. The Queen asks her that because she escaped the dragon, she thinks she should be feared. She says it is not her that should be feared and that this is the end of her story. This gives way for the dragon to get her revenge by setting the actual royal family ablaze. Floria, Lady Bayford and Elodie reunite. Elodie calls her mother and they escape with the dragon. They head back home with a bounty of supplies to look after their people.

Side-note

Image Credit: Screenshot from Netflix on YouTube

Another tale of retold history. This could be a metaphor for indigenous people being overtaken by foreigners. The royal ancestors came to the land but found out a creature last of its kind already lived there. They set upon the creature and lied saying that the beast set upon them so they had to defend themselves. They killed her young unprovoked and right when they hatched. She didn't even get to see them. The King(Matt Slack) killed her babies and asked for mercy. The audacity.

Vengeance was vital to avenge the dead ladies and babies but to also end the cycle they shamelessly continued. They continuously lied to the dragon and sacrificed innocent girls to avoid the wrath of the dragon for the royal betrayal. They showed no sign of change much less repentance so it was important to end things. Elodie was motivated by the other ladies, Floria, and her will to live. The dragon was motivated by her hurt for her babies as she kept their corpses probably to remember why she was doing this and possibly because she couldn't throw them out. The dragon previously undisturbed was plagued by centuries of misery. They took her children, took her land and took her happiness.

I liked the list of the victim's names. They may be forgotten publicly but their contribution did not go unnoticed. It was weird how the people were unaffected by the rotating princesses though. They said they did this for every generation but 4 girls were being put up during the time Elodie was there. Princess Victoria(Nicole Joseph), Elodie, Floria, and the lady being wed. Did they send more people because the ladies are not eaten or killed by the dragon, so they don't count? They said the lady being wed to Henry was to be the third but how?

Image Credit: Screenshot from Netflix on YouTube

The story told to Elodie during the ceremony was that the dragon said that to share the island the king should sacrifice his three daughters and he did. It was made known that despite it being torturous, his duty to his people was stronger and they carried out this ceremony every generation.

Elodie believed in the power of duty too as encouraged by her father. Before the wedding, she had said to Henry, "My happiness is a small price to pay for the future of my people." Henry has a sense of duty as well. He had some time to learn about her, clicked with her and still carried this out. I felt bad for him for a split second because he was hesitant. They were surrounded and it was an obligation, at the time I liked his apology because he seemed shackled. This changed. 

Henry was complacent. He was complicit. He was weak. He was tired of the confines of being a royal. He said to Elodie that he dreamed of seeing the world just like her and that it was tiring to be constantly monitored. When Elodie returned, Henry tried to save himself and console Elodie as well as his guilty conscience. He said that he truly hadn't slept since and Elodie finishes that by saying since he tried to kill her sister. She puts the responsibility he detaches from himself back on him. He said that the lady he was being wed to would be the last then he could marry whomever he wanted. This is something I believe he has been told since the first victim but chooses to believe till now.

Anyone being complicit is bad but they didn't have as much power as Henry. He's too afraid to actually do the right thing. His mother said he was too weak when standing up for Floria but it could also be applied to being too weak in this entire process. He objects or apologizes to console himself and maybe with actual remorse but he is passive like his father, King Roderick(Milo Twomey). I did find it interesting that he didn't try to run despite the possibility.

The battles were female-focused and the king's presence was not notable. I thought the Queen was a descendant of the King who killed the dragon's young. Despite their claim that he gave up his three daughters, they are liars and probably never sent his actual daughters. She has the same hatred of the dragon calling her a beast and she carries the tradition on. She does not respect the dragon enough to honour the deal the right way. They altered history to fit their agenda similar to reality which exists of various perspectives of history catering to one idea or the other.

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About the Creator

'Vive Akugha

I write on various things: social issues, well-being, cinema and out of curiosity. More!

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